Sunday, February 28, 2010

6 days and a Tutu!

Only 6 full days between now and race day!
My sweet Mother spent a big part of today making me a tutu to wear during my race.  She was kind enough to take pictures of the tutu in process specifically so that I could share them with all of you.  Thanks Mom!

A couple of the colors she picked out - she's a trooper to work with tulle for me.  Apparently it creates LOTS of static to work with this much tulle.

I'm guessing this took a while... Such precision - the little white dots are pins. Thanks Mom!

And now to tie a bajillion knots...

Getting close!

The finished project on my brave younger brother.  He helped, and then he even modeled it so I could see it.
Rumor has it this little number will be in the mail tomorrow.  My mom is shipping it express from South Dakota to Oregon.  I'll be watching my mailbox with great anticipation! I can't wait to rock the Princess Marathon in this thing!  Woohoo!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

7 days left!


Only 7 full days remain between now and my race - yay!  Which means only 5 until we leave.  My "to-do" list is one thing shorter after my long run this morning, which was FANTASTIC!  I felt really strong and it was such a sunny and beautiful morning.  We had one of those mornings where the sky is bright blue, and the clouds are all puffy and cute.  This was a nice change after a couple days of constant rain!  
My experience with the Clif Shots was uneventful.  Perhaps they deserve credit for how great I felt during the run today? This is the first time I've actually used any sort of nutrition on long runs (or any run for that matter).  I keep reading that you should use some sort of food, or liquid, nutrition during long runs - but haven't ever "gone there."  I think I've been nervous about bumping into something that doesn't work and sends me sprinting for bushes (or a porto-potty if I'm lucky!) with tummy troubles.  I've done all of my long runs up to this point without any sort of hydration or nutrition.  Maybe this is why some of them are harder than I'd expect them to be?  I'll keep experimenting now that I've "gone there," and will keep you posted.  I bought two Clif Shots at REI yesterday, and had one of them 15 minutes before I left, and one at about 2.75 miles into my 6 mile run.  I was concerned that 6 miles wasn't nearly "long" enough - in terms of "long runs" - for me to see how my body would respond, so I guessed that having one before I left and then having a second one might exaggerate their impact enough to help me see if they'd betray me and send me running for bushes.  :)  The great news is, I was just fine.  Aside from getting my fingers all chocolatey while trying to open the pouches while maintaining my pace, it was seamless.  Oh, and then there is deciding what to do with the litter after you empty the pouch.  I opted for licking it clean and folding it neatly to put in my pocket.  Yep, I'm one of those people.  Thank goodness I had pockets to put it in.  I actually don't mind licking chocolate off my hands when I'm running, it was a nice little highlight.  Though I didn't appreciate still feeling a little "sticky" afterwards, which is inevitable when you get chocolate hands... now I'll have to decide if I'm going to carry wet naps, or if I'll just get over it and run with sticky hands.  Will my embarrassment over carrying wet-naps overcome my OCD avoidance of sticky-hands?  If I'm carrying gels, a cell phone, keys, and maybe even water at some point - I'm not too far away from needing some sort of fanny-pack or belt.  I'm just not sure I feel ready for a fanny pack.  The jury is still out.

 Did I mention yet that I got to borrow my friend Jenn's Garmin?  Because... I got to borrow my friend Jenn's Garmin!  She has the Garmin Forerunner 310XT, which she uses for runs, biking and swimming - as she's training for her first triathlon.  She was even nice enough to come over and explain how it works (I'm tech-illiterate), set it up for me, and even let me borrow her heart rate monitor.  


My final verdict - I. LOVE. this. thing. 

It kept track of how fast I was going, my distance, my time AND my heart rate ALL at one time.  At the end of each mile it buzzed at me and displayed my split time for that mile.  It even stored that information for me so I could see my data for each mile.  For those who are interested (and because I am excited to write it all down somewhere) - here are the details;

Mile 1:
Time: 11:38.94
Speed: 5.2mph
Avg HR: 152bpm
Calories: 152

Mile 2:
Time: 13:06.54
Speed: 4.6mph
Avg HR: 160bpm
Calories: 175

Mile 3: - The Mile with the HUGE hill...
Speed: 4.4mph
Avg HR: 161bpm
Calories: 181

Mile 4:
Time: 12:56.53
Speed: 4.6mph
Avg HR: 175bpm
Calories: 193

Mile 5: Headed to the Imagination Station!
Time: 12:38.29
Speed: 4.7mph
Avg HR: 174bpm
Calories: 184

Mile 6: In some neighborhoods around the High School
Time: 11:55.30
Speed: 5mph
Avg HR: 179
Calories: 182

"Mile 7" - AKA... the .01 mile it took me to figure how to shut it off... 
Time: 04.69 seconds
Speed: 5.3mph
Avg HR: 173 bpm
Calories = 0 (ha!)

Distance: 6.01 miles
Time: 1:15:50
Average Speed: 4.8mph
Average HR: 166bpm
Max Speed: 7.3mph
Max HR: 189bpm
Calories burned: 1057

My husband brought our son to the Imagination Station - a little park by the high school where I ended my run - and we all got to enjoy the sunshine and the park for a little while.  I'm hoping that doing long runs and ending at the park for a family picnic might become a family tradition during the summer.  

Friday, February 26, 2010

8 Days to Go... For Reals This Time

If you were paying attention, yesterday I accidently calculated that I only had 8 days to go before my race.  Oops.  I stand corrected.  There are NOW 8 full days between me and my first half marathon.  I've never been sure how you're supposed to do countdowns.  Is it based on the number of full days left? Or on midnight? Or the number of times you will sleep until then?  I personally favor the "number of sleeps" remaining.  Though, having the leisurely life of a stay-at-home Mama, I have more than the occasional nap.  We'll just decide not to count those.

Good then, I'm glad that's settled.

So - wait... that makes 9 more sleeps.  Boo.

Back to 8 full days then.


What is a first-timer to do 8 days before her first half marathon?  Today I went with my friend Ashley to REI to check out GU packs and energy bars and such.  I read on the race information that there is a "food station" at mile 8 which consists of Clif Shots.  I've never dealt with such things first hand, and figured if I'm going to have access to them at mile 8 of the race, I should give them a try on my last long run.  I'm guessing that a six mile "long run" probably doesn't compare to what I'd be feeling at mile 8, or even mile 10 - but I can at least try them out and see how I feel.  My worst nightmare is that I'd get an unruly tummy and end up poo-ing myself.   Rumor has it that surprising your system with a foreign goo-pack can make that sort of thing happen.  I'm not 100% sure that I'll use the Clif Shots when I'm out there on the race course, but if I do have problems with them tomorrow, at least I'll know for sure to stay away.

To Goo... or not to Goo?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Only 9 days!

There are only  9 days between now and my race, and only 7 before we leave for Florida.  Woohoo!
Between now and race day I will be teaching the last session of my Life Work class, packing, and trying not to get freaked out about the whole thing.  

I'm sure it's going to be a wonderful experience.  And I'm looking forward to sharing it with all of you. 

Tonight Daniel and I went to the gym and did another round of Couch to 5k together.  He's still in week two, after missing two weeks (or more?) of running because of a trip to California and being nervous to get back in there.  We did a few extra sets together to complete 2 whole miles, and then he headed off to the bikes while I did enough extra sets to finish out three miles.
Tapering sure feels counterintuitive.  I've read all kinds of articles and heard from other runners that pulling back on the amount of mileage you do in the two weeks before a half marathon really does improve your performance.  It just feels SO weird to go from doing 5-6 mile speed runs (which should have been up to 8-10 miles if I hadn't gotten sidetracked with injuries and a cold) and 10 mile long runs, to then doing a 6 miler.    It also feels strange to be skipping all of my weight-lifting sessions for over two weeks.  You're only supposed to lay off of them for the two weeks prior, but because I was sick last week, I didn't get any sessions in then, either! My poor trainer is going to forget who I am, for sure.  Or she's going to annihilate me with some crazy workout when I get back.  At this point, I'm itching to get back into the weights scene, which is a good feeling.  For a while I was really dreading my workouts and wishing I could just run everyday.

My life is full of so much *drama!*  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is this what they call "Junk Miles?"

I did a little over 4.5 miles today, and had a really rough go of it.  For some reason my "comfortable" pace felt SO slow to me, like I was shuffling along rather than really running.  So I'd get annoyed with that pace and try to push myself "just a little" faster, and end up feeling horrible and getting this weird feeling like someone was standing on top of my stomach.  So frustrating!  I made it over halfway through with alternating between these two extremes before I finally started walking little bits here and there.  I couldn't make up my  mind whether I was trying to primarily complete the distance (and not worry about the time), or trying to hit a certain pace (but maybe not get the entire distance in).  I ended up arguing with myself for most of the run, throwing in some walking, and finally settling on finishing the distance I set out to complete.  From start to finish, I complete 4.58 miles in ~70 minutes.  That time includes stops at at least 6 crosswalks - so I don't know how much difference that really makes.  My pace was close to 16min/mile, which was discouraging.  The Disney course requires that you maintain a 16m/m pace in order to be allowed to finish the race.  Today's run has me wrestling with doubts and frustration.  I'm hoping that's a normal part of being in your taper before your first half marathon.

I'd love to hear any advice from experienced runners about how I can make sure I'm in top shape for my race.  Is there anything I should avoid? I know I should steer away from caffeinated beverages and try to focus on healthy, whole foods.  I read that you're not supposed to strength train during your taper - is that true?  I'm absolutely ITCHING to get back to my weights routine, and feeling like a major couch potato with only 3 workouts a week. 

Someone tell me everything is going to work out.

I will console myself with visions of the tutu I shall wear while running.  Even if I end up shuffling through the whole race, at least I'll be shuffling in a tutu.

The only question that remains is, do I go for a red one to match my shirt? Or do I go cotton-candy style like this beauty?  Choices, choices.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In case you missed Operation: Love Muffin - Photos!

I thought I'd share some of the pictures of the lovely nummies that got baked and decorated around here a couple weeks ago.  Just looking at these pictures is (almost) enough to motivate me to make more cookies.  Almost.  ;)

These were my favorite!!

Some fancy "Love Muffins" and a boxed set of cookies
Apparently my kitchen is a little dark... because the frosting ended up being rather "HULK"-ish.  

My big pile of "Love Muffin" minis - so yummy

Some mini cupcakes for my friend Kelly's moving party!
I'm digging the "prettier" ones on the right... lol

More of Kelly's mini cupcakes - yum yum!

Getting Ready for Disney!

I just had to share some pictures of the race jersey's I got in the mail last weekend.  There are less than 10 days until my race, and I'm starting to get all jittery (in the good way) about our trip!  Yay!

CafeRunningMom's do Disney!

I'm part of a Running Mom's group on this great Mom's networking site called CafeMom. These ladies are the ones who first told me about the Disney race, and they've been a great encouragement and support as I've gone from not being able to run for a full minute, to preparing to run for (maybe?) three full hours. :) We'll have these great shirts to help us recognize each other. I'm planning on wearing mine to the Kid's Races on Saturday morning in hopes that I'll run into someone from the group and be able to say "Hallo!"

The "Running on Muffins & Love" Shirt

My shout-out to all my MufFANS 
(Really, Becca Sue, did you have to take it there?)

This little number is the one I'll be wearing during the race.  The picture on the front is a picture taken by Ashley Gruber of my cute little "Muffins & Love" Amigurimi pair.  They're still sitting around my house making Ethan smile.

The back is a shirty-shout-out to all of the people who've supported me in my quest to train and prepare for this half-marathon.  Most of them are muffin-buyers, others helped in other ways.  I'm so excited to have this reminder of their love with me during the race!

Fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Training Update - Feeling Nervous!

As you know, Operation: Love Muffin took over the Condgon house for nearly a full week.  During family night on Tuesday we made cookie dough and then let it sit in the fridge. On Wednesday I baked my brains out.  Then Thursday was over 12 hours of frosting.  Followed by a Friday of delivers in Vancouver and Portland, a Saturday with deliveries in Portland, and a Sunday with deliveries in Portland.  Each of those nights also entailed staying up until 2-4am crocheting dinosaurs at the last minute.  What a rush!

I should have known that I'd drive myself right into the arms of a head cold. Hehe.  Now that the rush is over, I'm officially stuffy, sneezy, sniffly, and probably at least 3 other Dwarfs all at the same time.

See the resemblance?
This is actually the first time I've gotten sick since I started running over a year ago...I think.  When I was a high school and college student, I was sick with head colds and sinus stuff nearly constantly.  I didn't even know what it felt like to NOT be congested until I graduated from college, quit my job at the Admissions office and started sleeping in and quit being all stressed out by work and projects.  I guess by spending nearly a week running on 3 hours of sleep a night, and eating mostly frosting and junk fast food, I was just asking for trouble.  Well... it is what it is.

This past weekend I was scheduled to run 11 miles.  Instead, I talked my husband into spending Saturday and Sunday morning with our son so I could get some much-needed rest.  I'm definitely feeling more rested, but somehow feel even more aware of how stuffy I am.  Is it possible to both feel better AND worse at the same time?

So what is a girl to do?  I am feeling nervous about my training.  This week (between now and Sunday) is my last week to "train hard" before I'm supposed to start my "taper" to rest up and be ready for the race.  I wouldn't think twice about laying low this week and starting my taper a little early, but my mileage these past few weeks has not been as high as my training schedule recommends.  To be fair, I have only missed 3 out of 15 long runs so far - which is pretty stellar.  And I've been very faithful about getting my maintenance miles and speed-training in as well.  My running form buddies reassure me that I've done the hard work and should be fine.  But does that keep me from worrying?  Only mostly.  :) 

I think no matter how much training I would have done, I would still approach that finish line with some fear.  Will I be able to run 13.1 miles?  
Will I get overwhelmed by my own self-doubt and fear?
Will I wimp out and hitch a cart to the end?

I've done so many impossible things so far this year.  I've completed my first 5k race, my first 10k, acheieved a new PR in a second 10k, and have completed 6, 7, 8, 9, and even 10 mile training runs.  I've run in the HOT sun.  I've run in the pouring-down rain.  I've run with a screaming toddler in a jogging stroller.  I've pushed myself so hard I wanted to puke - trying to keep up with my speedy friend Kaylee.  I've slumped along by myself.  I've attacked 2 of my scariest, "I could never do that!" hills.  And I did a lot of that with shoes that didn't fit properly.  

I've done quite a bit.

I think I'll decide to focus on everything I have done in the past year, instead of worrying about what I "might not" be able to do.

So where does that leave me with my last week of training?  I've got two agendas; 
1.) Get better!  
I haven't been sick much in the past two years, but I have lingering fears of how hard my colds stuck around back in high school and college.  I want to feel 100% better by race day so I can enjoy the experience.

2.) Finish my training!
I've abandoned any fantasy of setting a speed goal for this race.  I've been told my (most) veteran runners that your only goal for your first race - of any distance - should be to finish.  I'm usually a huge person for details and planning (I should show you all my very detailed training plan/log), and so far have followed my plan religiously.  Of my 48 scheduled training runs, I've only missed 9.  I'm doing pretty good so far.  I've only missed runs to prevent injury, to try and keep a cold from turning into an infection, and one because I missed my busy husband.  I can't go back and make any changes, and to be honest - I don't think I would even if I could.  All I can do now is look at the days I have left and train smart.  

With those two goals in mind, here's my plan;
Mon- I did one mile on Monday to remind my body that we love running :)
Tues - I'm going to ease back in by doing 3-5 miles 
Wed - I'll get my last leg workout in while I still can.  Taper = no weights.
Thurs - 3-5 miles again, speedy if I'm up for it, easy if I'm not.
Fri - My last upper body workout (no weights for me during taper!)
Sat - 11 miles
Sun - REST!

So, there's the plan.  I'm not feeling happy about skipping two long runs in a row- but it is what it is.  I guess we can chalk it up to an example of how important it is to do your long run when you can, because you can't count on "tomorrow." You never know what the next day will bring!

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Operation: Love Muffin - Done and Done (well... almost)

My yarney crew

I have one more Triceratops to finish and deliver, and then Operation: Love Muffin will officially be closed!

I want to send a sincere "THANK YOU!" to every person who supported me by ordering cute yarney dinosaurs, roses, cookies, candies, muffins and cards.  This whole experience was definitely quite the adventure, to say the least.  I'm sure some of you are interested in the details, so I figured I'd fill you in!

  • 7 dinosaurs, a lion, and two smiley little hearts made several Valentine's Days brighter with their yarney cuteness
  • 86 cookies said "I love you" for some people
  • Each of the 9 rose bouquets found a new home in the arms of someone who loves them
  • The candy pouches weren't as big of a hit - only 4 of them went. Oh well... 9 more bags of chocolate for me! I'm sure I'll find a way to cope with it! ;)
This was a great learning experience for me. Some items sold more than I guessed - like the dinosaurs! And some sold less - like the candy pouches. In the process I managed to create 4 of my own crochet patterns, which will hopefully do well posted on Etsy.  I'll have to let you all know when I get them posted. :)

The most significant thing that I got from this experience, is that I am loved. Truly and deeply.  I know that probably half of the folks who humored me by buying gifts for their loved ones are usually the ones who protest such "manufactured holidays."  Yet they put money down on silly trinkets because it helps me pursue a major life change.

My biggest hero in this whole thing is my husband.  He put down half of the money needed to buy supplies, and told me that even if I didn't make a penny he was glad to support me and to see what I learn in the process. 

For the record I did manage to break even.  On paper the profit was just about $35.  Not super impressive. But we took a risk, learned a lot, had a great adventure, and were blessed and cheered on by our loved ones.  I can't wait to actually finish my race and do everyone proud!

Again - THANK YOU!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

If Mama Sue Can Do It - So Can You

I received a very sweet email this morning from a gal who stumbled across my blog. She asked me some great questions about getting started on your own running journey, and I wanted to share her email - and my response - with you, in hopes that it might be an encouragement to someone else as well!

Here is her email:

Mama Sue!!! I got to your blog from another and have been inspired by your training and even after seeing your cute knitting I decided to finally teach myself to knit!!! i will never be able to do the cute things you do and will only be able to do squares or scarves (if i can last that long) but none the less it has taken my attention away from my want to eat at night!!!!!

From reading your blog I have decided I would like to push myself and run my first 5k. I haven't been the most athletic person in my life. I go to a trainer now but wouldn't call me a work out addict!! I do know I feel better on the days I go see him though. I am not by all means a thin girl either but want to be!!! or at least just want to be fit!!! I am working on that and becoming healthy so after marrying my fiance (finally after being together for 7 years) we can start trying on having a baby!!! Late in life of course at 32!!! But needless to say I have this fear and something keeping my butt from getting on the treadmill. How did you make that first move? How did you push yourself to start? Did you notice a quick change in your weight after starting to run?

I have never been a runner!!! Ever!!!! I don't even remember running that much as a child. but I want to be one!!! I want to do this and have that marked off my list of things I want to do or see if I can do them. I think it will give me that confidence and sense of accomplishment that I so need right now in my life! I have looked at the couch to 5K program and that first week scares me!!!! Why!!!! Is that the best way to start!!!

Whatever help you can give would be great!!! You are an inspiration and I am so looking forward to reading more of your accomplishments!!!!

Take care,

Kelly W
(Bethlehem, GA)

And my response:

Hey Kelly!

Thanks for sharing your questions with me! I'm glad to hear that my story has been encouraging. Believe me, if I can run a 5k ANYONE can. :)

My first attempt at doing the Couch to 5k program actually flopped. I was wearing the wrong kind of shoes, and was trying to start out with trail running pushing my huge baby in his baby jogger. By the first day of week 2 I was hobbling around with stabbing pains in my knees. I gave up and resigned myself to the Curves gym I was a part of at the time. That must have been Sept 2008 or so. I continued working out at Curves until April of 2009, when my husband and I decided to join a gym together that had childcare. We got a personal training package that had one session per month (for each of us) so we could get use to the machines and stuff.

I actually got back into the C25K on accident. :) I was using the treadmills for my cardio when I joined LA Fitness. My basic approach was to just get on and start walking. The treadmills at our gym have a heart rate monitor on them, so I watched my heart rate and aimed to keep it in the "fat burn" zone. The treadmill even had a whole display and chart, so all I had to do was adjust the speed or incline to get myself moving faster. I noticed as the days and weeks went by that I was having to increase the speed more and more each time in order to get my heart rate up. I was getting in shape! Then one day I had to push the speed all the way up to 4mph - which was CRAZY to me at that point. It actually felt more natural to jog a little slowly than to walk quickly. And so, without realizing it, I was jogging. :) I decided I'd pull out my Couch to 5k plan again and just give it a shot. After surviving the first workout, I re-joined an online running group I'd been part of on The ladies there inspired me to keep chasing after my goals and not give up. They even had a half marathon planned for March 2010... in DISNEYWORLD! After surviving the first week of C25K, which I never thought I'd do again, I figured maybe I could dream a little bigger and set a goal to do the half marathon. The gals in the running group reassured me that it was an attainable goal - as it was about a year away. So I looked at race calendars around my town and found a 5k that was 10 weeks out, and then a 10k ten weeks out from that. That way I had some smaller, manageable goals to work towards.

So that's how I got started. :) As far as tips or encouragement for getting started here are some basic things to keep in mind;

1.) Dream big, but start small
You don't have to run a 5k this week, or even this month. You can take your time. It's good to have a big goal in mind, and then to break that goal into smaller mini-goals that you can celebrate along the way.

2.) Plan your work & then work your plan
I'm really motivated by calendars and charts, so I took the C25K program and turned it into a pretty excel spreadsheet. Then when I finished a workout, I'd color it in and celebrate by writing a blog about it. It's good to know the "Big picture" of your total plan, and then to just focus on one step at a time.

3.) Show up
The hardest part about getting my workouts in is getting out the door at going to the gym. :) We've got so many excuses and things that hold us back - you just have to purpose in your heart that you're going to do it, and DO IT. :)

4.) Find a support system
If you have people that you can share your goals with, it helps make you accountable to someone. Plus, it's great to have a big cheering section when you do complete that first workout - or even that first entire minute of running!

5.) Celebrate your victories
One way that I celebrate my running victories is to keep up with my blog. I love to write about my experiences and hear about how they impact other people. You might consider starting up a blog, yourself! Races are also a "reward" for me. Especially when they are in Disneyworld. Haha!

As for your question about my weight - I actually didn't see a quick change when I started running. Weight loss is one of the most simple - and yet complicated - things. Since I started running back in April of 2009 I've lost about 20 pounds (which is on top of the 20 pounds I lost before that point by going to Curves). That weight has come off VERY slowly for me, and in weird little spurts. One pound here, 6 there, gain back a couple, lose a few more, etc. The big change I did see was in my body fat percentage. I recommend asking about that at your gym. Tracking your body fat percentage is really encouraging, because you can see all of the change going on underneath that you don't see on the scale. Running builds major muscle - which makes your body really hungry for protein and good carbs. I've had the most success with weight loss when I am keeping a food journal and aiming to get my calories in at a 50-25-25 ratio. 50% from carbs, 25% protein, and 25% healthy fats. has an awesome calorie counting and meal planning feature. Running - and physical activity - is only about 10% of the weight-loss equation. 90% of it is dealing with the eating habits that got you where you are now. I'm still working on the food aspect of it all - and get overwhelmed with it all pretty easily. But I have noticed that by switching all my carbs to whole-grains (no white flour or white rice), and by focusing on eating vegetables twice a day - that makes a big difference. And I just FEEL better, too. I'll definitely be diving in to the nutrition aspect pretty hard after my half-marathon, and plan on sharing what I learn in the blog - so stay tuned!

As for your running journey - I'd say go ahead and just commit to spending two weeks playing around with the treadmill before you jump in to the Couch to 5k program (unless you want to jump right in!). You can play around with the heart rate monitor stuff and feel the change that happens in your fitness level as you work to push yourself. Then when you're feeling a little more ready to take the plunge - just go for it! You can always repeat weeks or take time off if you need to. The important thing is it get out there and get moving! And maybe invite your fiance along with you?

Feel free to let me know if you have any more questions. :) I'd love to keep in touch and here about how your running journey is going. And if you do end up starting a blog - please let me know! I'd love to follow along and cheer for you.

Best wishes,
Mama Sue

What a blessing to hear that my little blog, and my running journey, has been encouraging to another woman.  Yay!  And I am completely sincere when I say, if Mama Sue can do it - then anyone can do it.  You guys must remember all of the doubt and whining and crazy-talk that I shared when I was pushing for that first 5k, right?  Well if little 'ol sissy-pants Mama Sue can tough it out - you can too.  :)  So do it!

And in case any of you are feeling like trying your first 5k - I highly recommend the Couch to 5k program.  I used a free download from in my i-pod while I was doing intervals.  It was helpful for me to watch the clock at times, but it was also helpful for me to just "trust" the music and push through when I didn't know 100% how much longer I had to run.  :)

If anyone else would like to share their running journey - or ask me questions about mine - please feel free! You can email me at  Who knows - you might even make the blog!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Speed Training is my favorite

It's official: Speed Training workouts are my absolute favorite. Why?

I enjoy that feeling of sheer awesomeness when I'm sprinting my little brains out at what feels to me like "lightening speeds." And the speed workouts I've been doing are all timed, so I know exactly how long I have to hold out the pace. This helps me focus through the pain, the doubts, and the feeling of "oh-I'm-gonna-puke!" by reminding myself, "oh look, you only have to do this for 10 more seconds!" Then a few weeks down the road you can look back at how long you were able to hold out at the beginning, and see measurable results in your ability to maintain speed and to feel comfortable while doing so.

For the record - I'm not doing speed training for the purpose of achieving a desired time during my half marathon. There is a part of me that would sure like to beat 2:15:00, because that would beat Rebecca's (from Biggest Loser Season 8) time. But my primary goals for this first half marathon are to finish with a smile on my face (and not a barfy grimace like my first 5k... lol!), and to have FUN! I'll be in Disneyworld for crying out loud!

I was scheduled to do 8 miles of running this morning, including a warm-up and cool down mile (2 total) and 6 miles of speed intervals in the middle. It's tough to work 8 total miles into a workout when I'm on a 2 hour time-limit with the Kid's Club at our gym, but I can't let that stop me from trying, right?

Today I jumped back in to the C25K-ish speed intervals I've been doing with Daniel. He's on week 2, which consists of six sets of (90s jog + 2min walk). For fun, I like to shake up that 90 second interval and do 30 @ 5mph, then 30 @6mph, then 30 @ 7mph. The first time I tried that I was thrilled that I could hold out at an 8:34min/mile pace for a whole 30 seconds. Only about 16 more of those and I'll be able to do a whole sub-9min mile. Haha!

After completing those six sets, I was only about 2 miles in so I decided to try what I'm calling "super sets" in my head. I jumped up the times to 1 minute at 5mph, then 1 minute at 6mph, and then 30 seconds at 7mph. About halfway through that 6mph minute my booty and legs are absolutely burning! So I really had to dig deep and focus on running strong to get through the last 30 seconds of 6mph, and then to brave an additional 7mph for 30 seconds. It is crazy to see what our bodies are capable of if we will just risk a little and push outside our comfort zone.

After the first three sets I was feeling pretty strong. When I headed into the fourth one I started bargaining with myself about it being the "last one." When I get to that point in my mind, the best thing to do is to trick myself. lol. So I told myself I only had to finish the set I was on and then I could be done. After my two minutes of recovery walking, however, I was feeling strong enough to start into a fifth set. I did happen to pout my way through that set and was starting to feel all wimpy and whiney - but I made myself finish it anyway. "Surely this is the last one!" But after another 2 minutes of recovery walking I convinced myself, "if you've already done five, you can do just one more." So I did. If I had a trainer to blame I'm sure I would hate their guts, but it's a little confusing to be mad at yourself for tricking your own self into pushing harder than you thought you could.

Perhaps I am a little crazy? :)

In all, I finished 5 miles doing those intervals, and then hit some sort of mental wall. I could have dug a little deeper and pushed past it again, but I found the convenient excuse of "oh look- I only have half an hour left" and talked myself into biking the last three miles of my workout. I think I did those three miles in 15:03? Not 100% sure.

What a fun day!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I made this shirt because I love you!

Hey Friends!

I've been sitting on a wonderful idea for the last several months and have finally found a way to make it come to life!

I used Zazzle to create my own custom running shirt to wear during my half marathon. If you'll check out the link below you'll see on the front it features that "Muffins & Love" group name. On the back are the names of all of the people who have purchased muffins, given supplies, or otherwise helped support me in making my dream of running the Disney race a reality!

I'm so excited!

And - I can still add names to it, in case anyone is interested in stopping by Operation: Love Muffin for some last-minute Valentine's Day shopping. (hint, hint!)

Want one of your own? I'm working on a special shirt for my friends, family and fans to purchase. I'll have to think of something really sweet and cute... something about you being my love muffin.

Could I be any cheesier? I propose that I could not!

I'm on ZAZZLE!!

This preliminary link will take you to some of the products I've got up on Keep checking back regularly for more products!

See more personalized gifts from Zazzle.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fitness Update!

Just a short one;

My body fat percentage dropped from 29.3% last month to 28.5%

I'm slowing inching my way into the "Fitness" range! Only 4.5% to lose, which translates into about 10 more lbs to lose. 10-ish. The formula I'm using isn't exact and neither is the measuring device I use at the gym - but it's better than nothing!

So - anyone want to place bets (or just guess) on how long it will take me to lose another 10lbs and officially be "fit?"

Speed Workout Today!

I finally managed to get in more than 3 miles on a weekly run today! After my break for my achilles and a slow return back, I'm finally feeling strong enough to really push it during the speed workout.

I did 7 miles total, and though my training plan called for 8 I am confident that I gave it my best and that it was a good strong effort.

After a one mile warm-up at 4mph, I did Daniel's C25K W2D1 intervals with him;

90 seconds running
2 minutes walking
(times six - for a total of 21 minutes)

I decided it would be fun to shake things up a little during the speed intervals, so I spent 30 seconds at 5mph, then 30 at 6mph, and the final 30 at 7mph. It was glorious! I tired myself out rather quickly and was feeling a good 'ol burn in my hiney by the time I'd hit the 7mph stretch. I love that feeling! I'm hoping it means we're burning calories... and I assume it has at least something to do with that!

After Daniel was finished he took off for some meetings and I did a lap at 5mph while I thought through what I should do for the rest of the workout. I decided to jump back into the same intervals and did another set of 6 of them. Somewhere between set 4 and 5 (or maybe 5 and 6?) I lost count and decided I'd just play around until I hit 7. On the next interval I added 5 seconds to each 30 second interval.

Then I got brave. I picked it up to 1 full minute at 5mph, 1 full minute at 6mph, and then 30 seconds at 7mph. What a doozy! I felt so strong and athletic! My time time I was nearing the end of the first 5mph minute, my legs and buns were all ready feeling fatigued. Near the end of the 6mph minute I was thinking, "I can't go on!" But I talked myself into at least trying and I did the full 30 seconds of 7mph. What a rush!

It sort of makes my head spin to think about possibly trying even faster speeds, but I think I'll hover around my 5/6/7 speeds for a while and play around until I'm comfortable. Then maybe we'll dig in, jump that speed up and chase the burn later? Haha.

So much fun!

Oh, and I finished the 7 miles in 1:37:53... I'll have to use a calculator to figure out average pace, but seeing as how that factors in quite a few segments of walking at 3mph for recovery and a couple laps at 4mph - I'd say that's actually impressive.

Long Time No Blog!

It's definitely been too long since I checked in with an update about my training.  I should be in bed resting up for my speed workout tomorrow morning, but I wanted to make sure I dropped a little "update" for those of you who are wondering how I'm doing. 

  • I completed my first (of two) 10 milers last Saturday!
  • When we hit mile 9 of that run, Kaylee announced the time (1:49:00) - 21 minutes FASTER than my run the week before.  WHAT?!?
  • My husband finished his first week of Couch to 5k - with me at his side - last week!
  • My son has been spontaneously shouting "wun-een!" while walking around outside, and then bursting into a little baby-jog across the yard.  I think he's ready for his race!
  • On Monday I finished my two mile easy jog in less than 24 minutes - with a sub 12m/m pace. Yay!
  • Oh - and there are now only 5 days left to get your entries in the Diamond Pendant Giveaway!  Check out Operation: Love Muffin and email me at if you'd like more info!
So those are the updates for now, friends!  I'll keep you posted as I complete another week of training, and as Daniel gets through week 2 of C25K.

Did I mention I'm starting to get anxious about our trip to Disney? Not in the nervous way, but in the "I'm-SO-FREAKING-Excited-I-Can't-Even-Sleep-So-I'm-Blogging-At-1am" sort of way.