Monday, February 28, 2011

February recap

It's kind of crazy that it is already March tomorrow. Seems like it was just Christmas! Yay for March though... spring, St. Patty's day, my birthday! :)

February was a great running month for me. I ran 190 miles, including a 19 mile run and a 20 mile run. I feel like I got into a very good groove with my intervals, tempo runs, pace runs, etc. and with getting my strength training done twice a week. I do feel like I have kicked my training up to the next level and am hoping that pays off on April 16 (Salt Lake City Marathon!)

February is also the month I hit 70lbs in my weight loss, ditched my insoles, got my new Ravenna 2's and jumped up to Hal Higdon's Intermediate 2 marathon training plan. Good month!

If you haven't yet, make sure you enter my Punkeelove Headband Giveaway and help spread the word. These are some really awesome headbands for running, just hanging out, or anything active you like to do. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Outside won

I got up this morning and was still going back and forth and back forth about doing my 20-miler on the treadmill or outside. I even put on my boots and coat and walked out to the main road to see how icy it looked (and to see how cold it really felt out there). The road didn't look too bad so I figured eh... screw the cold. Outside won.

I got bundled up and on my way. It was 7 degrees. The first couple of miles were so crazy stupid windy that I almost turned around and went back to my treadmill. But I am glad that I didn't because it turned out to be a nice run. I ran 10 miles out and back on our highway, and there was very, very little traffic (Sunday mornings in a small town!). The road was dry most of the time, although I ran on packed snow on and off and I had to walk over a couple of small bridges because of ice-skating-rink-like conditions. But other than that, no complaints. The sun was up and out for the second half and at my back and the sky was super blue. It was perfect! I did get a lot of uphill running done. There was over 1000 ft of climb on the 10 miles out. Between that and the wind, it felt awesome to turn around! I did manage to keep just barely over a 10 minute mile pace (and my long run pace is supposed to be 9:40-10:40).

My poor water bottle froze again, and with about five miles left to go I was digging and shaking out HEED slushy from my bottle trying to get some kind of hydration. Does anyone have a water bottle that doesn't freeze???

The craziest thing that happened is this dopey dog ran with me for over 10 miles! Last fall when Jenny and I were running a lot this same dog joined up with us a few times. He lives somewhere a few miles south of us but we don't know where because he is always just running around loose. He is some kind of shepherd mix and is very very cute, but not the smartest creature ever put on the earth. He seems quite young, although he is big. He will come close but won't get within an arm's reach no matter how much I sweet talk him (and he is not interested in my Hammer gels!) so there is no catching him. I have also tried to scare him off but he must know I am harmless because there is just no getting rid of him.

This morning  he was standing in the middle of the highway as I came around a corner like he was waiting for me. He literally jumped into the air with joy, bolted at me (luckily I know he is friendly), stopped a few feet away, and then took of running again in the direction I was headed. He stayed about 20-50 feet ahead of me and was constantly looking back to make sure I was still coming. When I stopped to pee quickly at one point he sat and waited. Sheesh! The bad part is that he is SO STUPID about cars... he runs back and forth across the highway and even runs at and in front of the cars. I really think he thought he was protecting me or something. And of course, since he is running just in front of me, all these angry drivers think that he is MY DOG and that I am some dumb runner out with my dog off the leash. Today I wished I had a sign that said, "He's not my dog. He's just an escort I can't get rid of."

I ran over five miles from where he joined me, and then I was at the 10 mile mark so I turned around. When he realized I had turned around he FLEW to catch up and then get his 20 or so feet ahead of me again. Crazy dog. When we got back to the area that he had joined me (at which point he had run with me for over 10 miles) I started yelling at him to go home, and he finally took off up a small side street and didn't rejoin me. I was so afraid that he was going to get hit and I so wish I knew where he lived so I could talk to his owner (he does have a collar on but no tags and he looks very well fed.)

I don't run with a camera or my phone or else I would have taken some pictures.

Anyway, that was my first 20-miler of this marathon training. Two more to go!  I got home and had hot chocolate and an ice bath. My inner ankles are a bit sore but not too bad and everything else feels good. It feels great to say I ran 30 miles this weekend. :)

If you haven't yet, make sure you enter my Punkeelove Headband Giveaway!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Try a tri?

This morning's 10 mile run was pretty uneventful. I jumped on the treadmill and got it done, with the first 8 miles at a 8:57 pace, the ninth mile at a 8:47 pace and the last mile at a 8:40 pace. I had a little soreness/tightness in my inner ankles for the first mile but was good after that.

I am making myself nuts trying to decide "inside" or "outside" for tomorrow's 20 miler. Single digit temps and icy roads or treadmill ad nauseam? Hmmmmmmm

Anyway...

So, a few people have asked me if I have any plans to try a triathlon.

It seems that there is a definite pattern amongst many runners that starts with being able to run a few miles without dying, moves up to running a couple of shorter races, progresses to running a few longer distance races, and then leads to tackling triathlons. Heck, even the Biggest Loser contestants have been on TV doing tri's.

Both of my good running friends have either done a tri or are planning on their first this year. My awesome husband is doing his first tri this year. (He's gonna rock it!) My mother in law has done a couple of triathlons!

But me? The short answer is, I am a one trick pony. I run. That's it.

Now don't get me wrong. I am NOT one to say "I could never..." or "I would never..." to anything. In fact I have no doubt that I could do a triathlon, and knowing the way that I throw myself into whatever I do, I am pretty confident that I would do fairly well. I am in great shape, I have always been able to swim, and I never say die.

The thing is, I am just barely able to make the time to train for one sport. I really don't know how I would find the time to also get in swims and bike rides on top of my running miles without neglecting something big time. Right now my life feels really, really well balanced, and I don't want to mess that up.

On top of that, it is also already challenging to find ways to afford my running habit. I am pretty confident that I couldn't squeeze a bike, wetsuit, and other tri gear out of the budget right now, even if I really wanted to.

I also have to mention that there is no public pool (indoor or outdoor) or a gym with a pool here, so any regular swimming training would be tough. Josh's swim training for his tri is going to either involve quite a commute, cost some money, or be really, really cold (and possibly all of the above).

And maybe the biggest issue of all is that I HATE RIDING A BIKE. There. I admitted it. I know, I know, I know that so many people love it, but I just DON'T. I don't like spin, I don't like mountain biking, I don't like road cycling, I don't like stationary bikes. I just don't like them. When I hurt my  hip last year and couldn't run for two weeks I rode a bike to be able to keep in shape and I did 12-15 mile rides and even though it went much faster than running 12-15 miles, it just felt so tedious to me. And my butt hurt and my back hurt and my wrists hurt and man was it uncomfortable. And the helmet bugs me. And I hate having the traffic coming up behind me where I can't see it coming. Whine whine waaaah waaaaah.

I think cycling is an awesome sport and lots of people I love and admire love to ride their bikes. I wanted to like it. I think it would be a great way to cross train. But it's just not my thing.

I guess you could say I have a lack of time, lack of funds, lack of ambition and lack of desire to pursue triathlons.  But I think all of you triathletes are awesome and I am a huge fan. :)

So for the time being, I am going to stick with running, and focusing on marathons. Maybe things will change in the future, but running marathons is what I love, what I enjoy and what I feel passionate about right now.

How about you? Do you swim, bike AND run? Have you done a tri or are you planning on one? If you have done one, what is your favorite part? What's your least favorite? Am I the only person on the planet who hates riding a bike??

Friday, February 25, 2011

Y is for Yay

It's Friday! It is my running day off, which I am trying to embrace since I did a great interval run yesterday (six 1/2 mile repeats at 7:30 pace with a 1/4 mile slow run in between... five miles total) and I have 30 miles planned for the weekend (10 tomorrow, 20 on Sunday). 

I am way excited about an email I got last night! My friend Terzah is going to be driving to my house (from Boulder, Colorado) on her way to the Top of Utah Marathon in September. We will drive together to Logan, UT, stay in a hotel and then run the marathon the next morning. This is supposed to be a beautiful, awesome course (all gentle down hill) and I am really looking forward to running it. I am hoping that Jenny will be injury free and will come with us too since Jenny and I started talking about running this race together last year. A marathon and a girls' weekend? Yay!!!! Anyone else out there planning on running TOU this fall?? How about the Salt Lake City Marathon in April?


I got this fun idea from T over at Racing With Babes. Here is the Erin ABC's. :)


(A) Age: I am 33... will be 34 in March. Yay for birthdays!
(B) Bed Size: King! Josh teases me though that we could make do with a twin because I sleep all snuggled up to him and we only use a little piece of the bed most of the time. What can I say? I am a snuggler. And I love him. And he's warm. :)
(C) Chore You Hate: Cooking. I don't mind cleaning, but I have no patience for cooking.
(D) Dogs? Yup. We have one little dog, Rocko, who is inside, and one crazy black lab, Jazz, who lives outside (because of her commitment to regularly finding and rolling in disgusting, smelly, nasty stuff). Jazz is a great running partner though.
(E) Essential Start Your Day Item: Loaded oatmeal!
(F) Favorite Color: Green - the more obnoxious the shade, the better
(G) Gold or Silver? I dont' wear much jewelry, but my wedding ring is white gold and I LOVE it, and my favorite Africa necklace is silver.
(H) Height: 5ft 4 3/4 inches to be exact. Just not quite 5'5"
(I) Instruments You Play: Violin
(J) Job Title: Special Needs Adoption Coordinator, Mom, "Domestic Engineer"
(K) Kids: 12 - 3 I gave birth to, 9 we adopted. Merc 15, Nate 14, Ryan 13, Des 12, Shane 11, Ben 10, Amanda 9, Maggie 9, Belane 7, Marcus 6, Solomon 5, Noah 2
(L) Live: Wyoming!! (I was born and raised in NY though).
(M) Mom's Name: Pam
(N) Nicknames: My Dad has called me "Fur" since I was little. In college I was "Small Fry". Josh calls me "babe". Kids call me Mom, Mommy, Ma, Mama, and some friends call me "Er".
(O) Overnight Hospital Stays? I had major surgery after I got squished by a horse and had internal injuries. Other than that, just for the births of my three bio sons. There were A LOT of ER visits though...
(P) Pet Peeve: when people lie and when people smoke in their cars with their kids in there!
(Q) Quote from a Movie: hmmmm, about a thousand of them from Princess Bride and the Toy Story movies... my Dad and I have a bunch from My Blue Heaven and all sorts of movies from when I was younger...Lately the kids and I have a bunch from Despicable Me... heck my family can communicate almost entirely from movie quotes. Way too hard of a question!
(R) Right or Left Handed? Right.
(S) Siblings: One younger sister and one younger brother.
(T) Time You Wake Up? 5am if I am running outside, 6am every other day.
(U) Underwear: Not when I run :)
(V) Vegetable You Dislike: I HATE PEAS. I make faces and pick them out of everything like I am five years old. Bleck.
(W) What Makes You Run Late: I don't run late... I am almost always on time, 12 kids and all. Every once and awhile if we are headed to Salt Lake for appointments and the weather is REALLY bad it slows us down and makes us a little late. I hate being late for anything.
(X) X-Rays You've Had Done: My whole body after the horse squishing incident. I have never had a broken bone besides my big toe.
(Y) Yummy Food You Make: I make pretty rockin' enchilladas and I am good at baking (brownies, cookies, cake, etc.) when I have time.
(Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: Elephants are my favorite! 
 
If you haven't yet, make sure you enter my Punkeelove Headband Giveaway!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Punkeelove Headband giveaway!

Sorry to the guys...this is a girly-ish giveaway. BUT, guys could certainly still enter and win for a wife, daughter, girlfriend or someone else... or for yourself if that is your thing... no judgment here.  (And I promise my next two giveaways are gender neutral). :)

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win two awesome Punkeelove headbands from We Cover Your Head thanks to Running Diva Mom.

I have to say that I really, really love these headbands. I have tried quite a few different popular brand headbands marketed to runners and they either just don't stay put on my head or look goofy or are uncomfortable. I have a LOT of thick hair.

Punkeelove headbands come in several widths and LOTS of different cute styles and prints. They even make personalized headbands which are so fun and cute. But I think my favorite feature of the Punkeelove headbands is that they are adjustable! Each band has a row of holes and the cutest little button that you can use to adjust the small elastic portion of the headband on the back of your head. So you get a custom fit... not too tight, not too loose.

There are some other headbands out there that are very similar in appearance to the Punkeelove headbands, however they are not adjustable and I found that the longer elastic on those and shorter "material" design resulted in pointy corners hurting behind my ears. That has not been an issue with the Punkeelove bands at all. I have worn these for up to 20-mile runs and they have been very comfortable and have NOT budged.

Punkeelove headbands are not just for runners. They would be great for any activity or sport, or just for wearing around and looking cute. 

I was so happy with my headbands that I wrote to Jennifer, one of the two creative women behind Punkeelove headbands, and offered to do a giveaway here on my blog and she graciously agreed.

SO, one lucky reader of See Mom Run Far will win either two Punkeelove headbands of your choice, or one custom embroidered headband of your choice. The hard part will be trying to choose which headbands you want if you win. :)

Here is a post-run pic in my favorite green poka-dot Punkeelove headband


Here I am in one with my jeans and hoodie.



Here are your opportunities to enter. You can choose one or do them all. Please leave a comment for each entry. I will take entries until the morning of March 3 and I will choose a winner that morning.

How to enter -
- Become a "follower" of this blog (scroll down on the right hand side and click "Follow") and let me know, or if you are already a follower tell me so. :)

- Add http://seemomrunfar.blogspot.com/ to your blog roll and let me know you did (or tell me I am already on your blog roll)

- Post about this giveaway on your blog and/or on Facebook and link back to this blog (one entry for each way you share about the giveaway)

- Go to the Punkeelove Facebook page and join/like them.

- Go to the Punkeelove webpage, look around, and tell me something you like.

Thanks for participating! Good luck!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Awesome

Here is another awesome quote from Kristin Armstrong, runner and author. This TOTALLY sums up running for me.

"Although raising three children is the best adventure of all, this phase of my life is not marked by freedom—in terms of liberties and indulgences with time. But there is freedom in running. There is liberty and indulgence with time, even 30 precious minutes, if that's all the day affords. I am reminded—even if not one single thing on my calendar reflects it—that adventure is out there, always whispering to me, calling me forward."  - Kristin Armstrong

Strength?

I have a lot of miles this week! My training plan for this week looks like this -
Monday - 3 miles (easy) plus strength training
Tuesday - 5 miles (tempo run) 1 mile gradual speed up to 8:00 pace, hold that for two miles, run one mile at 7:53 place, and use last mile to gradually slow down to 9:30 place
Wednesday - 10 miles at 9:13 pace
Thursday - 5 miles of 1/2 mile intervals at 7:30 pace with 1/4 mile recovery in between plus strength training
Friday - off
Saturday - 10 miles at 8:50ish pace
Sunday - 20 miles at 9:50ish pace

And I am happy to say that my inner ankles (which have been sore since I ditched my insoles almost three weeks ago) seem to be getting better despite the miles. I was worried for a bit that ditching my insoles was causing an injury, all the while hoping that my body was just adjusting to not having the insoles and I would emerge a stronger runner on the other side of the adjustment. It was pointed out to me by several smarter runners that it probably would have been wiser to make the change SLOWLY, but I am not very good at doing things slowly. I decided the insoles were bugging me and I probably didn't need them and I ditched them.

There is still a bit of soreness and tenderness, but it is definitely getting better. I am doing lots of exercises and stretches to strengthen/loosen the tendons in that area and like I said, I am very happy that it seems to be resolving despite the high miles. If it didn't I wouldn't really know what to do because when I tried to put the insoles back in a week or so ago just to see if it helped everything felt tons WORSE. The rest of my body feels awesome... my knees and hips have ITB bands and everything else have never felt better (KNOCKING ON EVERYTHING WOOD IN MY REACH).

Ok, so strength training. I admit that I just started doing it a couple of months ago, and I only started doing it because I read over and over and over and over and over that it would make me a better runner, help prevent injuries, etc. Twice a week I do a set of exercises that the runners on Josh's track team do and that I got from running magazines. Right now I am doing lunges, squats, rocket jumps, donkey kicks, side knee lifts, side leg raises, planks, push-ups (I can do 20 in a row now!), V-sits, crunches and a bridge. And you know what? Even though I can see it is making me stronger I just don't like doing it. Josh laughs at me that I gripe about 20 minutes of exercises when I can gut out 3 hours on the treadmill, but that's me I guess. If I could just run, I would. :)

I don't have a gym membership and honestly there is no way I would get to a gym with all of our schedules, so classes, etc. are not an option. (We only have one tiny gym here where we live anyway... no pool or anything very exciting). Getting my miles in and my two short strength training sessions a week is as much time as I can squeeze out of the week for exercise. And I have no patience for exercise DVDs or videos... I never really have. So, for now I will stick with my little routine of exercises.

So how about you? Do you strength train? Cross train? What do you do? Do you enjoy it? How is your training going this week?

I have a way fun giveaway that I am going to post tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Affording the habit

Thanks for your comments on my what to wear post. I didn't get many comments on the what to eat post, so if you have a favorite dish, food, snack, etc. please go leave a comment and share. I am always looking out for new ideas on good things to eat, as I think a lot of us are.  :)


Now on to today's topic...


A reader recently asked me about how I afford my running habit.

On one hand, we often hear about how cheap running is... how all you  need is a good pair of shoes and you can run anywhere and anytime, without any other special equipment required. It's a really nice idea.... however...


If you run regularly, you soon realize that it is good to have some real running capris or shorts (and lots of people love those running skirts), and a moisture-wicking top or two. For girls, a good running bra is pretty darn essential. You need some good running socks because if you run in cotton socks you will probably get blisters. Your hair drives you crazy when you run so you gotta try one of those cool running headbands (or at least a hat or a visor). If you run in the winter you need gloves and something for your head and probably some warm tights. If you run in the rain you really should have a waterproof layer that is still breathable.

When you start running longer distances you realize you need something to carry water in... a hand held bottle or a waist-belt. You also need some sort of fuel for those long runs and races so many turn to energy gels or similar products (there are MANY) and something more to drink than water. If you run an overnight relay or train in the wee hours of the morning or late at night, you  need to have a reflective vest and a headlamp so you can see and be seen. If you run in the daylight sunglasses are really nice.

If you are running a lot of miles, that "one pair of shoes is all you need" turns into a new pair of running shoes every three months (give or take, depending on your miles).


And then there are all of those other things that runners don't necessarily NEED, but are nice to have and help with training... Garmins, compression socks, arm sleeves, good headphones that won't fall out, armband for your IPOD, more running clothes, insoles (if you use them), foam rollers, nutritional products, running magazines and books, BodyGlide (who wants chafing?) and on and on and on. If you get injured, there are all sorts of products on the market to treat and prevent injuries.


Let us not forget that if you like to race, entry fees are not cheap and unless you are really lucky and live close to lots of races there is often some sort of travel expense involved. And then there are bigger ticket things like a treadmill and/or gym membership...


So yeah... there can be a lot of expenses with running!



For me, when I first started running, it was pretty darn cheap. I got one pair of running shoes which I was told would be good for 350-500 miles or so (and I couldn't imagine every running that many miles). I was only running 2-3 miles a day, so those shoes lasted a LONG time, and I made do with the clothes that I had. I didn't really care about my pace or my time.  I did one local 5k that had a $15 entrance fee. I had no need for gels or water bottles or a Garmin or compression stuff or much else. For my birthday and Christmas I got a cute running shirt or two and some "real" running capris. And I was set!

I think if that was the extent that I took my running to, it would have remained a relatively very cheap activity for me. 


When I signed up to run on my first Ragnar team, all of a sudden I had a few more needs. We each needed to have a reflective vest, a headlamp and a flashy butt light. A hat and a hand held water bottle were recommended, and for the first time I heard about energy gels.


And it sort of snow-balled from there. The more I trained and the longer distances I ran and raced, the more stuff I "needed" (or at least wanted). I went through shoes A LOT faster. I developed a Hammer gel habit. :) I wanted to try compression tights and arm sleeves, and how about a kick butt tank to make me look tough?

So how do I afford it? As I have said, our income has taken a big hit in the last few years (several big hits actually) and with 12 kids, our "extra" money is almost non-existent right now. My only real priority is my running shoes. My Dad made me promise that if I was going to run I would always wear good shoes, so I do, and I keep them replaced as needed. I usually buy them from Roadrunnersports.com, and as a VIP I get a good discount. I also check out Runningwarehouse.com which often has great prices (and cheap fast shipping). Often Roadrunnersports has good deals and when they do I take advantage (they recently had a "buy one pair of shoes, get 25% off the second pair and 15% off the whole order for being a VIP" sale so I jumped on that and got two pairs). I always keep my eyes out for good sales and deals. I got my black tank on clearance (was over $40, I got it for under $20) because new prints and colors had come out and plain black was on clearance.



For everything else, I take advantage of birthdays and Christmas gifts. I haven't gotten anything that wasn't  running related for almost two years now. :) I have very generous and supportive parents which helps a lot. The other thing that we do is Josh and I plan out the races we want to do for the year and then pay for them when we know we will have a bit of extra money. Josh gets paid for his three coaching seasons in three "chunks" (at the end of each season) and with our family size we always get a great tax return. When we get them we budget those bigger chunks of money on what needs to go where, and always try to save a little for some fun things.  For Josh and I right now, "fun things" means races. We also skip buying each other Valentine's gifts and anniversary gifts and use the money we would have dropped on flowers, meals out, and chocolate and put it towards our athletic hobbies.

I am a really low-maintenance, low-cost gal beyond my running. I have already established that I don't spend much on my wardrobe. I wear minimal makeup, and I buy cheap stuff and don't replace it often. I don't have a shoe habit (other than my running shoes) and don't spend money or purses, jewelry or anything like that. I don't get manicures, pedicures or massages. I only get my hair cut once every few months and I don't color it (yet). I don't buy hot drinks at Starbucks or anywhere like that, or scrapbook (or have any other costly hobbies), or go "out" often. Really, running is the only area that I spend money on myself at all.


So I guess for me, the answer to the "how do you afford your habit" question in a nutshell is that I skimp in other areas, look for sales/deals, and make it my "I have a little money what should I do with it" priority.


How about you? Is running expensive for you or do you keep it cheap? What is your biggest expense? How do you afford your habit? Have you given up other things? What have you sacrificed? Has anyone taken on a side job? Robbed a bank? (Just kidding... don't tell me if you did). Any advice or tips for the rest of us? Please share. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

What to wear?

In response to my "70" post someone asked, "how many new clothes have you had to buy, since you def can't still be wearing your size 18s!! And so how does that fit into your budget?" 

Nope, my size 18's are long gone. Unfortunately though, I have not been able to buy many new clothes. I have exactly two pairs of size 4 pants (both jeans) that fit me well that I bought on clearance from Target after Christmas, two bras that fit right (my boobs have sadly completely disappeared) and everything else I have is way too big. Last year for my birthday (March 24!) I got some size 8's, which I really thought was as small as I would ever be. I can make them work if I have to, but they are definitely not flattering and don't stay up.  I also got one new bathing suit and a couple of tops last year (and of course a few new articles of running clothing!), almost all of which is now too big as well. It's a happy problem though!

But that said, our budget is insanely tight right now, and new clothes for me is just way loooooooow on the priority list (kids, food, bills, gas, etc. etc. etc.). Every once and a while friends will give us some hand me down clothes for my older girls, and I completely admit to skimming a couple of skirts and tops off of the piles. So yeah, my wardrobe is extremely limited (and mostly baggy) right now, but like I said, it's a happy problem. I figure I will just slowly pick up one or two things here or there in the sizes I need.

Tomorrow I have a post coming on a somewhat similar subject - how to afford your running habit. :) Stay tuned!

What to eat?

Someone asked me, "I know you have to cook for 12 children, so what kinds of things do you eat throughout the day to fuel your running and at the same time maintain your weight loss?"

Let me say right off that I don't like to cook. Maybe I would if I had more free time during the day, but between Josh and our 12 kids, my job (I work from home), running, laundry and chores, homework, etc. etc. etc. there just isn't a lot of time left to cook. If I could wave a magic wand three times a day and have food appear on the table like it does at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies, I would be all over it.

I do usually eat different foods than what I feed the kids (they almost never have anything left over!), although on weekends we usually all eat the same dinners. For the kids I typically make big batches of filling, kid-friendly food like enchilladas, pasta dishes, dirty potatoes, tacos, chili, lasagna, etc. I do serve at least one fruit and/or veggie at every meal for them and all of my kids are pretty good eaters.

Throughout my journey of trying to be healthier, I discovered that eating 'better" has as much to do with what you DO eat as it does with what you don't. I think that when people think about dieting and eating healthy they often think of all the stuff they "can't" or "won't" eat. Once I focused on what I could and should eat, I found I wasn't hungry and it was a lot more positive outlook.

I also don't count calories (I know that is blasphemy in some circles but I just don't). I do read labels and am very aware of the calories, fat, etc. in the foods that I eat and use that info to make good choices, but I don't count or tally my calories. I do stick to "serving sizes" on packages for snacks, etc. but I couldn't tell you how many calories I eat in a day.

Here are some things that I eat regularly now that I almost never ate before -
Lots of fruits (easily 4-6 servings a day), especially berries. LOVE them. They are one of my favorite "new foods"
Lots of veggies (again, easily 4-6 servings a day). I am quite sure that just over two years ago there were times that I went at least several days without eating a single vegetable. Seriously. Spinach is one of my favorites right now, either fresh or sauteed in a pan with a tiny drip of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
beans - I love them in rice or in chili. They are so versatile and tasty.
yogurt (usually Greek, often with berries)
whole grains (pastas, breads, brown rice, etc.)
fish (everything from canned tuna to fresh salmon)
hummus (really, really good) I love to put hummus and tomato in a whole wheat tortilla and grill it like a quesadilla.
sweet potatoes and regular potatoes (ok, so I always ate lots of "brown" potatoes, although now I am baking them instead of frying or mashing with butter. I love my baked "brown" potatoes with some salsa on top or some broccoli and cheese, and a baked sweet potato is perfect with a little cinnamon).
popcorn - Again, I always have loved popcorn but now I have a healthier alternative. I love the Smartpop 100 calories bags. They are one of my favorite snacks.
gum - Ok, so I don't eat gum, but I chew it a lot. I found that sometimes I just want something in my mouth, and having something that tastes sweet and keeps my mouth busy keeps me from eating when I don't want or need to.

I also drink lots of water (instead of can after can after can after can after can after can of diet soda... I never drink diet soda now. On the very rare occasion I have soda for a treat, I have the real deal).

Here is everything that I ate yesterday to give you an idea of a typical eating day for me.

During my early-morning 19 mile run on the treadmill - four Hammer gels and 22 ounces of Hammer HEED drink

Breakfast - a large glass of chocolate milk (1% milk and Ovaltine) and my breakfast of champions (loaded oatmeal). Seriously I have this for breakfast 99 days out of 100. I crave it.

Snack - 1 orange, half of a green apple, and 1 serving of organic, whole grain pretzel sticks

Lunch - a whole wheat bagel with turkey, cream cheese, lettuce and tomato (I ate the whole tomato) and a big side of sauteed spinach.

Snack - I bag (100 calories) of Smartpop Kettle Corn popcorn with a handful or two of Cocoa Puffs thrown in. This is a "revamp" of my old favorite - double buttered movie popcorn with a bag of M&Ms thrown in. The new version of this snack has under 200 calories and is a big bowl of snack that takes a long time to eat and is super satisfying. I love salty and sweet together. :)

Dinner - Josh made a huge "vat" of sliced potatoes and baked them, and we topped them with canned tomatoes, diced peppers, seasoning and a little cheddar cheese.

I had one chocolate sandwich cookie that Amanda shared with me, and then I was done eating for the day. I sipped on my water bottle filled with Banana flavored Nuun all day and refilled that quite a few times.

And that is a pretty typical food day for me. Besides my breakfast I do mix things up a lot and am always looking for new ideas so if you have a favorite healthy meal or snack, please leave a comment. :)

What's your favorite stuff to eat?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oh yeah

19 freaking miles on the treadmill. ( I have teenagers. Apparently freaking is a cool word).
DONE.
9:50 pace for the first 16 miles, 9:05 pace for the last two.
Yee haw. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

70

As of today, I have officially lost 70lbs. That means I lost more than 1/3 of myself! I weighed 207 lbs on December 28, 2008. I had been roughly the same size for more than 10 years. I wasn't happy with myself, but I wasn't unhappy enough to do anything to change. When I told people that I weighed over 200 lbs, lots of them said, "You never looked like you weighed that much." I am not sure if that is true or if it is just what people say to be nice when you tell them you were way overweight, but regardless, I was 207 lbs (and am 5ft almost 5 inches tall).

We got a Wii Fit for Christmas that year and on Dec. 28, once the kids were in bed, Josh and I decided to mess around with it. Well, I stood on it and that darn thing told me I was obese and blew up the little cartoon version of me to the point that I looked like a beachball with limbs. 207 lbs. It pissed me off. It pissed me off a lot. I finally was unhappy enough to change.

From that day on, I started exercising six days a week (and I have ever since). I knew lots of people who had dieted successfully short term on lots of different diet plans, but all seemed to gain most or all of the weight back once they went off the diet. So my plan from the beginning was not to do anything that would ever "end". I wanted to make permanent changes to how I ate and how I lived.

I cut out soda, except for the rare treat. I stopped eating after 7pm. I started watching portion sizes. I started eating more whole grains, beans, fruits, veggies, etc. and less "junk". I chewed gum while I was feeding the kids so I wouldn't pick at the food I was making them. I thought about what I put in my mouth.

And sure enough, that weight started coming off.

I didn't really have a weight goal. I figured that I was going to continue exercising and eating well (for the rest of my life!) and that sooner or later my weight would level off at a healthy place.

In September 2009 (just over 8 months after I started this journey) I hit 50lbs lost (157). I was THRILLED. Up until then the weight came off at about 6lbs a month. After that it came off a lot more slowly. In fact I leveled off at 153 for months and months and months. And I was happy with it! I vividly remember telling Jenny one day that 153 must be my  healthy weight because that was wear I was "stuck" for months. I felt good and I looked good. Last fall I celebrated losing and keeping the 50lbs off for over a year.

But then I started training for my first marathon. Somewhere during this time my mindset went from running to help me lose weight, to eating better to be a better runner. I added in more healthy foods and cut out a bit more junk (although I still treat myself in small portions) and that combined with the increased training led to another 20lbs coming off without me trying to lose more weight.

I looked at the scale this morning when it said 137 I wanted to cry. I did not ever think that was a realistic goal for me. In fact, I remember when I was somewhere in the 170's and a friend who was also trying to lose weight said, "150 is a nice round number. It would be great to be in the 150's," and I remember thinking there was no way I was going to get off another 20+ pounds. Ha! :)

Just over two years ago I was stuffed into a size 18. Today I am very comfortable in a size 4. A 4! I used to think that people who wore a size 4 were mythical creatures like leprechauns and unicorns. I'm serious.

Right now I am super happy at 137, and if I never lose another pound I will be just fine with that. I am at a healthy weight, and my body is strong and healthy. I feel awesome. 

Someone posted a question about what I eat during the day and I will answer that this week. But for now I will say that I do eat a lot. My body is burning lots of calories with my running and I keep it well-fueled. I am one of those people who feels better if I eat smaller meals often throughout the day instead of three bigger meals, so I usually eat three average-sized meals and two good snacks.

Anyway, I just wanted to celebrate today. 70lbs lost feels pretty dang awesome. If I had known how amazing happy, healthy and fit would feel, I would have done it so much earlier. :)

Here are a couple of before and after pics.

Josh and I... Josh has lost over 50 lbs and is also kicking butt. He has his first tri this year! 

This was when we were in Ethiopia getting our Solomon in March, 2008

Here I am a month and a half ago at the Disney Marathon (I weighed 141 the day before)

and then here I am today. 137. Woo hoo!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Winner Winner!

There were 120 entries all together for this giveaway, and Random.org chose SHEL!

Congrats Shel on winning a $55 gift certificate to CSN Stores. I will be emailing you with details on how to get shopping with your prize money. Thanks to everybody for participating!

And to all my runner readers out there, I have a few fun runner-themed giveaways coming up soon, so stay tuned.I leave you with two awesome quotes that I have gotten from Runners World this week. I love quotes, and these two are just perfect and are my two new favorites. :)

"Running has given me the courage to start, the determination to keep trying, and the childlike spirit to have fun along the way. Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running."

Julie Isphording, Marathon winner


"In the midst of regular life, running is the touchstone that breathes adventure into my soul. I can feel the trail under my feet, the press of the hill, the gallop of the track, the burn of my lungs, the stir of wonder and possibility. Running reminds me that there is more to me than what is readily apparent much of the time. I don't always need to see it, but oh how I need to know it's there. Like having an alter ego, or a super-cool super-hero identity."
Kristin Armstrong, Author and runner

Do you have a favorite running quote? If so, please share!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Awwww shucks!

Thanks everybody for the compliments on my Love Yourself picture. I am extra grateful that none of you said I looked good "for a mom of 12". It cracks me up when people say that. What on earth does that mean? It sounds like a compliment, but I am pretty sure it isn't. Let me tell you, the bar is set reeeeEEEAaaaallly low for a mom of 12. Dressed by noon? Two matching shoes? No offensive smells? No food on her face? Wow...she looks GOOD for a mom of 12. :)

If you somehow missed it, the big news in the running world right now is that the Boston Marathon changed things up to ensure that the most competitive (fastest) runners get to run the Boston Marathon. They also announced faster qualifying times starting in 2013. For all the details you can find an article here on Runners World.

Since my marathon career is just brand new, I hadn't put a whole lot of thought or stress into qualifying, although of course I am aware that for the average runner it is the Holy Grail of running accomplishments to "BQ" (qualify for Boston). I don't think it is out of the realm of possibility for me, although since I think it is highly unlikely that I would ever smash the time requirements by a huge amount, it seems like the chances of me ever getting to actually run Boston now are slim to none. Eh. I am ok with that. Right now my focus is on continuing to train and get faster. If I do BQ one day I will be proud and excited about the accomplishment, even if I don't ever get to actually run in the race. So for me this doesn't have a huge impact, although I am sad for people who have had this as a dream race and now have such slim chances of getting to run it.

I did a 4.5 mile interval run this morning with my first four 1/2 mile intervals at a 7:30 pace and the last one at 7:19. My dang inner ankles are still sore but they get better as the run goes on (seem to loosen up). I tried to put the insoles back into my running shoes to see if it helped and it made everything hurt more, so I am hoping my muscles are just still getting used to running without the insoles and I will keep doing what I am doing and fingers crossed the soreness will go away.

Josh is off to coach at the high school Simplot Games in Idaho for three days and the kids have no school tomorrow or Monday so I will be single mom and a runner with a lot of miles to get in this weekend.  Wish me luck!

Remember, today is your last chance to enter my giveaway for $55! Winner will be announced tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reasons to Run

Marathon #3 for me, the Salt Lake City Marathon, is exactly two months from today. Woo hoo! I am already excited.

I have gotten a few questions lately about motivation. I think that the winter is a hard time to be motivated for a lot of people. Cold weather, icy roads, short days and illness all make it challenging to find times to get a run in regularly. Here are a couple of Q and A's on the topic. :)

"Do you ever struggle with motivation/exhaustion in the early morning? You seem like such a go-getter, but is it ever hard to stick to your plan? I'm also an early morning exerciser, but when I'm up all night with the baby, I do have trouble getting up and sticking to my plans. Do you just need very little sleep? What is your secret?"

Yup, I am definitely tired some mornings.  With 12 kids, chances are good on any night that someone is waking up at some point and needing something. Noah is hooked up to a feeding pump and often the alarm goes off at night (sometimes more than once) and I have to mess with it. I rarely sleep all night long without an interruption. And I definitely do need sleep... I have found that I feel much better if I get at least 6 1/2-7 hours and I don't function super well if I regularly get less than that. I definitely do go to bed earlier since I started running. Early to bed, early to rise, blah blah blah. :)

I have found that for me it works to get into a routine so that I... in the words of Nike... "just do it". Yeah, I am tired every morning, and if I had to make the decision at 4:30 or 5:30am if I wanted to exercise or not, it would most likely be a NOT. So every night I lay out my running clothes and anything else I need and set my alarm. When that alarm goes off I just go on autopilot. There is no "will I run?"... I just get up and run.

When I run outside (instead of the treadmill) I get up and run earlier than I do when I am running on the 'mill, and I found that it really helps to have someone to run with. Knowing that someone else is dragging their butt out of bed and waiting for you is very motivating. AND, I do know that no matter how tired I am that I will feel better for the rest of the day if I do run. I figure if I don't get a good night's sleep that I will be tired no matter what, but I will have a better attitude and will feel physically better if I run. I have never regretted going on a run and always, always feel better after one.

and

"Now, how about a post on motivation???? That seems like your real secret weapon!"

Since I started running I have often claimed that I may not have a lot of natural physical talent, but what I have going for me is that I am stubborn. I don't give up and I don't quit, and I have an inner drive to be better at whatever I am doing. In fact I think that one of my biggest strengths when it comes to running is my mental toughness. I never would have described myself as mentally tough a few years ago, but through running I have found out that I am tough. And I like it.

So yeah, I am pretty darn self-motivated. I was just thinking about this yesterday... thinking about what my motivation is to be a runner and to continually push myself. At first, my motivation was definitely weight loss. Then once I had gotten to a healthy weight, there was this constant, underlying fear that the weight would all come back if I slacked off at all on exercising and that fear was a big motivator to keep running. (I lost over 65lbs... I have a post coming soon on my thoughts on weight loss, eating, running, etc.)

But as I was contemplating this yesterday I asked myself, "If you could get a guarantee that you would never gain a single pound back even if you quit running and exercising today, would you keep running?" I didn't have to think about it long to know my answer. I would definitely keep running. It is a lot "bigger" to me than weight loss now.

I love running. I love "being" a runner. I love doing something just for myself. I love the mental and physical challenge of pushing myself to run further and faster. I love the sense of accomplishment. I love feeling like an athlete. I love racing.  I love having a training plan and sticking to it and working towards a goal. I love starting each day with a good hard sweat.

For me, running helps keep me in good physical shape, and it also keeps my mind and spirit in good shape. Maybe I am an endorphin addict?? :) When I don't run, I miss those feelings. I have to make myself take my rest day each week because I could easily run every day.

For awhile I thought that I would be happy just running 3-5 miles a day, six days a week. And then I decided to train for a half marathon. And then someone planted the seed that I could run a full marathon. And I got hooked! I love marathons and I really, really enjoy running races. I found having a marathon scheduled in the winter made me stay motivated when it got harder to run because of weather and darkness. Races are motivating to me... I want to race, I want to do well and beat my previous times, so I have to train. But if I could never run another race, I would still run.

So there are a lot of things that motivate me to keep running. Wanting to stay in good shape, racing, the desire to be faster, time with friends,  having time for myself, the way I feel afterwards, etc. are all motivators. But I think the biggest motivator is just that I love running and I love being a runner. I hope to be able to keep running for my whole life.

I think all runners have their own motivations, although I bet there are many we have in common. I bet the same holds true for our challenges.

So what motivates you to get out of bed and get your runs done? Racing? Fitness? A goal you set? The social aspect? Mental health? Something else?

What are your biggest challenges? Weather? Darkness? Injuries? Tiredness? Busy schedule? Just not feeling like running?

Leave a comment. :)

And remember, you have until Friday morning to enter my giveaway for $55!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love Yourself Valentine Challenge

The awesome Zoe over at Run, Zoe, Run! had a really cool "Love Yourself Valentine Challenge". She mailed out a bunch of cool little skull and crossbones tattoos to people who wanted to participate, and then we were supposed to put the tattoo somewhere on our body that we are the most proud of as a result of running, and then share a photo of it.

Well, Josh refused to take a picture of my butt and forbid me to put such a picture on the internet. (He's no fun)  :)

I thought about taking a pic of one of my calves or thighs because they are super-awesome-muscular, but I was afraid that when the flash hit the extreme whiteness of my leg skin that the effect would be blinding and painful to your eyes. So you can thank me for not...

So I went with my shoulder... I  have to say I really am loving my whole upper body (with the exception of my incredible-disappearing boobs). I love having defined shoulders, collarbones, etc. and thanks to my cross training I am starting to even get some muscles. And for some reason wearing a blank tank makes me feel really tough. I didn't even like to wear short sleeves before my weight loss/running, so this is a huge change for me. :)

Ok, it is REALLY really hard to try and take your own picture, smile and flex all at the same time. Here is my best attempt. :) I am not really flexing and you can barely see my cute tattoo, but you get the idea.

What body part do you love of yourself, or what body part has changed the most as a result of your running? As much as I love the physical changes I have seen in myself since I became a runner, I also equally love the mental changes I can see in myself. More on that tomorrow with my post on motivation. :)

And remember, you have until Friday morning to enter my giveaway for $55!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The 'mill versus the great outdoors

 Happy Valentine's Day!!
My kids woke up to a spread of candy at their seats at the table and they each had a love note from me (it took a long time to write 12 notes!!) They were all excited to wear their pink and red clothes and to bring their Valentine's to school for their friends. Should be a fun day for everyone! Josh and I had our date over the weekend so we aren't doing anything special today, but he is the love of my life and I am so grateful that he is my Valentine today and everyday.

I did a quick three mile run and then my strength training this morning. My inner ankles were still sore but no worse (and I think maybe slightly better than yesterday). I am sitting here with a bag of frozen corn on each ankle to ice. :)

Ok, so today's topic is treadmills. Here are a couple of treadmill related questions from readers...

On the 'mill, what do you do with the incline? Also, how are you liking your mill, now?
For those that are newer to this blog, just over a month ago I uh.... ummmm....accidentally bought a treadmill (really!) I have to say that I am really, really liking it. My new Nordictrack is running perfectly. I love the built in speakers (no headphones required!) and the built in fan. The belt is longer and wider than my old treadmill which is nice, and it runs SO so smoothly, even at fast speeds. It is nice not having to worry about it stopping, jerking or throwing me off. :)
Here I am on the new 'mill





In regards to the incline, I was doing some research and found this cool chart that tells you what pace a treadmill pace and incline is equal to when running outside. I have no idea how accurate it is, but I thought it was interesting. If I am not doing hill work, I usually set the treadmill incline at 0.5% or 1% for the length of the run. I never run with it at 0%. What do you do with your treadmill incline?

And while we are on the subject, how do you feel about treadmills? Love them? Hate them? Can't live without them?

I admit to having a love-hate relationship with mine. If given the choice I would always choose running outside, but here are my pros and cons.
Treadmill pro's
- I can run even when the roads are an ice skating rink or the temps are below 0.
- I can run even when Josh is gone and my big kids are at school and I am home with the little ones.
- The bathroom is always very close by.
- No cars

Treadmill cons
- BOOOORRRRIIIINNNNGGGGGGG
- The kids can still "need me", the phone still rings, people still come to the door, etc. so it is the not the same emotional freedom of being gone for a run outside.
- It just feels harder
- Did I mention boring?

So, I love my treadmill because it ensures that I can always get my runs in no matter what the weather or our schedule entails. But beyond that, I kind of hate it because I swear every mile feels twice as long on the treadmill.

And I know that "they" (whoever "they" are) say that running on a treadmill is easier and that you probably won't be able to run as fast outside as you can on a treadmill, but I find the opposite to be true. When I run outside it feels so much easier to me than the treadmill and my paces come so much faster and easier. Anyone else or I am just weird??

I usually do the majority of my running on the treadmill in December, January and February, although I try to get my weekend runs done outside whenever I can. Somewhere in March I will start getting up early early and getting my runs done outside every day again. Once I start that I probably won't use the treadmill except for the rare occasion until the winter again.

How about you? Do you run on a treadmill regularly? Love it? Hate it? What are your pros and cons?

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! And remember, you have until Friday morning to enter my giveaway for $55!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekend in review and sore ankles?

I got nine miles done yesterday and 12 today. It is a "scale back" week in my training and then next week on the weekend I have nine miles on Saturday and 19 miles on Sunday scheduled.

Ok, confession time. For the last few days I have been having some soreness in my inner ankles. Heels are fine, calves are fine, outer ankles are fine...knees and hips feel better than ever. It feels the worst the first mile or so of a run, then fades a lot as I loosen up and then doesn't get worse as I go on. Today I ran on the treadmill to be safe, since I figured if it got to hurting a lot I could stop running but it never got worse so I finished the 12 miles.

I am pretty confident from what I have read that the soreness is a bit of tibialis posterior tendonitis and is from getting rid of my insoles, and my feet/ankles getting used to less support.  I have been running without the insoles for almost two weeks now (including a 17 miler) and I didn't start having any soreness until a few days ago (a week after the change). I tried putting the insoles in this morning again just to walk around to see if it felt better and if I should run in them again, but the insoles felt SO stiff and icky under my feet. It's crazy to me that I ran in them all the time and now after just a short time without them that they feel so bad in my shoes.

So what to do? I am hoping that the soreness is my feet/ankles adjusting, and not a sign that I need the insoles. They were really bugging my arches and just felt like more support than I needed. From what I have read this soreness is a result of overpronating (which I have been told that I do mildly) but my Ravenna's are stability shoes that are supposed to correct overpronation. My plan for now is to keep running without the extra insoles and hope that the soreness goes away. If it gets worse I guess I will have to re-evaluate. Anyone else ever deal with this? I'd love some advice if anyone has any. I don't want to run myself into an injury, but I'd love to be able to keep going without the insoles if my muscles will adjust.

Despite the soreness it was a good running weekend and my paces were just where they needed to be (8:55 for my 9 mile pace run on Saturday and 9:50 for today's "long" run).

Ok, on to a couple of short Q and A's. :)

So, is the Hammer Fizz a bubbly drink...or does it fizz and dissolve? 
I had to make Josh taste it and make sure he agrees with me. He did! Hammer Endurolytes Fizz is a fizz and dissolve drink, not a bubbly drink. Mango is still my favorite flavor although the grapefruit is really light and nice. Yes, it is a lot like Nuun, although I like these flavors better and the tabs go further (I need 1 1/2 of Nuun tablets for my big water bottle and one tab of the Hammer is just fine).


And my favorite question ever...
Can you mail me some of your energy, optimism, hope, exuberance , love, compassion, passion and joy? that would be awesome. address to follow. 
Love it! Thanks so much for the smile and the kind words. Send me your address and I will see what I can come up with. :)

Here is a pic of Josh and I from yesterday when we went on a REAL LIVE DATE WITH NOT A SINGLE CHILD. :) And remember, you can still enter my giveaway. $55 is a lot of money!! Hope everyone had some good running this weekend. More tomorrow.

 

Friday, February 11, 2011

First Giveaway!

Happy Friday everybody! We had a long day yesterday driving to Salt Lake (it is a 3 hour trip each direction). We took Noah (two years old), Solomon (five), Marcus (six) and Belane (seven). We went to Shriner's and got Noah's new wheelchair (it is awesome! I will post pics on my family blog later today if you are interested) and Shorty and Belane had their regular appointments at Primary Childrens.

After all the medical stuff Josh and I took the kids to PF Changs. We had never been, and we had two gift certificates that we got courtesy of running the Rock n Roll marathon and half marathon in Las Vegas. It was yummy!

So yesterday ended up being my "off" day for running for the week and today I did my intervals. I did four miles total, with a one mile warm up at 9:22 pace, then half mile intervals at a 7:30 pace with a quarter mile recovery jog in between, and a quarter mile recovery at the end. Then I did my strength training, which I still don't love, but has gotten a lot easier and I am believing will make me a stronger athlete all around. :)

On tap this weekend I have nine miles tomorrow and 12 on Sunday. Fingers crossed for clear enough roads and warmer temps than last week (it has to be warmer than 1 degree right? Please say yes!)

But enough about me... on to the giveaway!

CSN Stores has offered a $55 promotional code that can be used at any of their online stores for one of my lucky readers! $55 can go a long way and CSN has a TON of great products. They have a wide variety of furniture and you could choose anything from with a LCD TV Stand or something bigger like bunkbeds and dining sets. They also have outdoor items, baby and children's items, rugs, decor, bed and bath...tons of items that you could use this $55 for or towards.

The $55 will be given away to one reader from this blog or my family blog and you can enter on one blog or on both blogs to double your chances. I will combine all of the entries from both blogs and randomly choose a winner next Friday, February 18.

To enter on this blog you can do one or all of the following, and you can earn one entry for each. Please leave a comment for each entry. And please note that the ways to enter are slightly different on each blog.

- Become a "follower" of this blog (scroll down on the right hand side and click "Follow") and let me know, or tell me that you already are.

- Add http://seemomrunfar.blogspot.com/ to your blog roll and let me know you did (or tell me I am already on your blog roll)

- Post about this giveaway on your blog and/or on Facebook and link back to this blog (one entry for each way you share about the giveaway)

- Go to CSN Stores and look around and leave me a comment telling me something you might buy with your $55 winnings. :)

Remember you can head over to Full House, Full Hands, Full Hearts and enter over there too. Thanks for participating and good luck! (I have some running specific giveaways coming up soon as well).

I have gotten some good questions to answer and have some fun topics coming up for running posts. More soon!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's Hammer Time!

My-my-my-my music hits me so hard, makes me say...

No wait, not that Hammer. :)

Hammer Nutrition!

Since I started running longer distances, I have played with different types of fuels. After some research and experimentation, I have become a HUGE fan of Hammer Nutrition products. I always use Hammer gels (Apple Cinnamon and Montana Huckleberry are my favorites!) and Hammer HEED (High Energy Electrolyte Drink) to fuel on long runs and in races. For me I found it works super well to take a Hammer gel once before a race, and then every four miles in my marathons, while sipping on HEED in my hand-held bottle and supplementing with water from occasional aid stations. I haven't bonked yet following that formula (knock on wood!) Hammer products have not bothered my uber-sensitive stomach (and lots of other brands have).

With my success with Hammer products, I was super excited to find THESE new products when I was browsing online the other day.


Check out Hammer Nutrition's new Endurolytes Fizz! I ordered a tube of each flavor (mango, grapefruit and lemon lime), and these are GREAT. The tubes come with 13 tablets, and one tablet is enough for my big 24 ounce water bottle. I love the flavors (especially mango) and I love having a very low calorie something to drink during the day. It definitely makes it easier for me to drink more water when it tastes so good. I love that there are no refined sugars or artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners give me headaches and I definitely don't need that.

Since this drink is very very low calories (practically none) I will continue to use the HEED for my long runs and races for fuel along with my Hammer gels, but Endurolytes Fizz is definitely my new drink of choice for staying hydrated throughout the day, and before and after runs.

Unfortunately Hammer Nutrition doesn't do blog giveaways, but they DO have a cool referral program. If you go to Hammer Nutrition through this link (and are a new customer to their website) you will get 15% off your order total for going through my link (and it helps me earn credit towards free products, so it is a win-win).

There is no time limit to the link, so use it whenever. Someone asked me a little bit ago what types of gels I like, so here is your answer. I am a Hammer fan.

OK, hitting the road soon to go to Shriner's in Utah and get Noah some new wheels. More soon (including a real giveaway). :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Entertainment, Sundays and Friends

 This morning's run was 9 miles on the treadmill. I ran the first 8 miles at a 9:05 pace, then ran 3/4 of a mile at 8:41 and the last 1/4 mile at 8:00. It was a good run, but in regards to my treadmill entertainment, I am getting dangerously close to the end of my last season of Alias. I will have to come up with something else to watch while stuck on the treadmill (although I am hoping hoping that by March the roads will be clear more often than not and we will be out of negative temps). Any recommendations on shows to watch? I only have a laptop to use while on the 'mill (so I am limited to DVDs). I didn't use the treadmill once between mid March and early December last year and I am looking forward to running outside all the time again SOON.

Tomorrow I am supposed to do four miles and strength train, but I am going to have to switch that work out with Friday (my day off) and take tomorrow off because I have to drive to Utah to take my youngest to Shriner's to get his wheel chair. Wish us luck!

Ok, two quick questions and answers. :)

On Sundays do you run before church or after church?

Josh and I believe in honoring the Sabbath. We don't shop on Sundays, we don't work on Sundays and we don't eat out on Sundays. Sunday is always a family day and unless someone is sick, we all go to church every Sunday.

When I first started training for longer races and had to have a long run day each week, I quickly realized that Sunday was the only day that it would work for me. It is the only day that Josh is always home, and the only day I can get away with going out on a 2-3 hour run. I do have older kids that are usually home when Josh is gone, but I just don't feel good about being out of the house that long, especially with Noah's special needs. Some people may consider running on Sunday as breaking the Sabbath, but I don't. I have talked to Josh about it and prayed about it and feel good about it. Running is my mental "rest". I get up early and am back by the time Josh and the kids are having breakfast. I shower, we go to church, and we spend the rest of the day resting together. We go to bed early. :)

As for the timing, right now our church meets at 1pm (we share the church building with other wards so our time changes each year) so it is easy for me to get a long run done before church. Last year we met at 11am and I was still able to get my runs done before church (I get everyone's church clothes and everything else ready the day before).  If we end up going to church at 9am next year I'll have to come up with a new plan. :)


 Do you and Jenny still run together?


For those of you who have read my blog(s) for awhile you know that Jenny is my neighbor/best bud/running partner. We started running together when we signed up to be on the same Ragnar Wasatch Back team last spring, and through all of those days of getting up early and all the hours and hours and hours of conversation, we built a really great friendship. After Ragnar we kept on running together every day and decided to train for a half marathon, and then after the half we kept on running together every day and decided to train for a full marathon.

Pretty early on in the marathon training Jenny knew she wasn't going to be able to travel to Vegas to run the marathon with me, and yet she still trained with me to just about the bitter end. Unfortunately on the last 20 mile run of the training she hurt her knee, and between her injury and our nasty dark, icy, cold winters she hasn't been running much the last few months. She still lives next door but I miss her like crazy. She is an awesome friend and a wonderful person to be around, and there is nothing like starting off every day with a dear friend, running and talking.

She has been logging some miles at the gym the last few weeks and has some new shoes coming, so hopefully she will be back to running with me soon. We are on a Ragnar team together again this year (call me Captain!) and as spring gets closer and closer I get more and more excited about heading out on morning runs with Jenny again.

So for this marathon training I am on my own, but I am hoping Jenny and I will be running together again soon.

She says I will have to "be nice" to her when we start running together again because I have been training so much and she hasn't... BUT... I vividly remember the days when I was fat and slow and she would blow me away, so we shall see. Maybe I'll be nice, maybe not (just kidding Jenny!!!)   :)

As much as I miss the company, especially on the long runs, I have to say that I think doing the marathon training on my own has brought a new level of mental toughness. This week was the first time I went on a really long run all on my own, and those 17 miles ended up to be great (COLD but great). I was pleasantly surprised. :)

Here is Jenny and I at the top of the mountain pass we like to start our long runs at. This was in October, one Sunday morning around 5:45 am. :)
Me in green, Jenny in pink :)

 How about you? Do you run on Sundays? Do you run with a friend? A group? By yourself?

And let me just say, if you have never run in a Ragnar Relay you are SO missing out. Seriously, it is the most fun you can have in running shoes (keepin' it PG here people). :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Movin' on up

This morning I did a four mile tempo run on the treadmill. I started at a 9:22 pace and over the first mile and a half I bumped up the speed every tenth of a mile until I was at a 8:00 pace. I ran that pace for a mile and a half, and then bumped it up to just under a 7:30 pace for a half mile. For the last half a mile I gradually worked back down to a 9:22 pace to cool down. It was a great run! It feels good to run fast (for me). :)

Ok, another question and answer. Someone asked,
"I know you have posted this before but I can't find it... what training program did you use to get up to running the marathon distance? You are inspiring me to think beyond my default 5K..." 
My first real training for distance was last year when my friend Jenny and I decided to do our first half marathon. We did the Hal Higdon half marathon training plan and since I like to run six days a week we added in some miles so we only had one "off" day a week. I remember at the beginning looking at the training plan and trying to imagine running TEN MILES (and a 13.1 mile race!) but the training really, really works. We stuck to it and we were more than ready for our first half.

When we decided to train for our first marathon, we went with the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 training plan. I went with the Intermediate and not the novice because the Novice would have been a big step down in the miles I was already running.

I like Hal! I like his training plans, I like his books, I like his attitude towards racing, training and running.The only changes I made to this training plan is that I ran 3 miles on Mondays as a recovery because I found that I felt better when I did a few easy miles after my long runs than I did when I did nothing. So every Monday I did an easy three miles. The training worked great for me... I ran my first marathon and never hit the wall, never had to walk and had no injuries during the training.

I was planning on using the same Intermediate 1 plan for the Salt Lake City Marathon in April (while adding in some speed work and using the McMillan calculator to figure out my target paces for different runs), and that is how I started off, but last week I decided to jump up to the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 training plan (in week 8 of 18 weeks). I was really just craving more miles. I know a lot of people are going with training plans that have you run less, but I really like running six days a week and I like getting in lots of miles. My body feels great and I am hoping to improve my time, so I decided to jump up a plan. It really isn't a huge difference (for example, this Saturday I ran 8 miles instead of 7, on Sunday I ran 17 miles instead of 15, and I will have three 20 milers total instead of two).

I am still doing my three mile recovery runs on Mondays, and intervals and tempo runs twice a week and strength training twice a week. Josh said last night that he really can notice my stomach area firming up after a few weeks of consistent strength training (although he may have just been trying to get me into bed...not that he has to try very hard) :)


How about you? You ever change training plans in the middle of training? Why? What is your favorite training plan (for any distance?) Are you lucky enough to have a coach (in "real" life or online?) I would love to try a coach but money definitely doesn't allow for it.

Stay tuned... I have my first giveaways coming up and I am excited. :) More Q and A's coming soon too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Questions and Answers - Squeeze those thighs??

Someone asked me "so, do you wear compression tights during your marathons? After?"

The short answer is "Yes". I got a pair of these CW-X Pro Tights last year and LOVE them. They are not a "keep you warm" tight, other than being something over your bare skin. In fact during the Vegas marathon it got pretty warm for the last hour or two, and my legs felt nice and cool (the tights have Coolmax and UV protection). That said, thus far all of my marathon training and running has been in cooler weather. In December in Vegas the temps were in upper 30's or low 40's at the start and just over 60 at the finish, and in Disney in January the temps were about the same at the start and in the 50's at the finish.


Here is what I wore for both marathons
Both feet off the ground. Yee haw! :)
I wore the CW-X tights, blank tank, Moeben arm sleeves, black beanie, Tifosi Logic sunglasses, Brooks running shoes and socks, and my Garmin. And I carry my 22 ounce handheld bottle with Hammer HEED drink (and Hammer gels in the pocket). In both races I was FREEZING at the start (even with a throw away sweatshirt), chilly but ok once I started running, and very comfortable the rest of the race (never too hot or too cold).


In both races I saw quite a few other people in tights and of course lots of people in shorts. I have used a second pair of tights to wear the day/night after my marathons and they feel very good for recovery. I don't really know if they help a lot or not, but they feel good (I have a pair of compression socks I like after a long run too). After both marathons I only took two days off and then ran again on the third day, and I had very limited soreness after both races. Again, I don't know how much of that has to do with the tights or not.

Josh really loves his compression socks for running and for recovery.


I plan on wearing this same outfit or something similar for the Salt Lake City Marathon in April as the temps will likely be quite chilly, however when I run the Top of Utah marathon in Logan, UT in September I may try some shorts since it will likely be quite a bit warmer. I have never run in the traditional runner short shorts as I don't really love my legs (they are muscular as all get out but they are paler than the moon and I have those icky veins on one leg). I don't want to scare my fellow runners.... Maybe I will give them a go though. I also haven't run in a running skirt. I figure I don't wear skirts normally (except for church!) so it doesn't make much sense to wear them for running. Just not my style.


So how about you? Have you run in compression tights or socks? Like them? Love them? Can't live without 'em? Hate them? Never tried them? Anything you HAVE to wear for a race?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bad-A

I have been told before that I am Bad-A$$ when it comes to running, but I don't usually feel that way. Today? Today I feel pretty dang Bad-A$$.

I ran 17 miles outside, all by myself. My goal pace for my long runs is supposed to be between 9:38 and 10:38 and I ran at about a 9:50 average pace.

Starting temperature was 1 degree F.
Finishing temp was 4 degrees F. (The sun was out, but wasn't doing me any favors).

Water bottle froze. Gels froze. It was really stinkin cold.

But my feet and legs felt awesome (LOVE my new Brooks Ravenna 2's) and it was a really good run. Then I got home and got in an ice bath. I may never warm up and I am pretty sure that my face will probably be red now for a few days but I feel super great and yeah... even a little Bad-A$$.

25 miles done this weekend!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Breakfast of Champions?

Here is a picture of my favorite post-run breakfast. I always run first thing in the morning and I don't eat before. If I am running eight miles or more I gel every 4-5 miles. If the run is under that I don't eat anything until I am done.

As soon as I am done stretching I make a big glass of 1% milk with Ovaltine. Then I whip up a bowl of this wonderful concoction. :)
Erin's fabulous post-run oatmeal


This is one serving of Quaker's Instant oatmeal (made with just water and a bit of cinnamon), and then I add to it
-one whole banana, chopped up
-about half a cup of berries (blueberries are my favorite, today was a mix). In the winter I use frozen berries.
- about a 1/4 cup of raisins
- a handful of some kind of chopped nuts (today was pecans)
- a handful of chocolate chips (because come on... chocolate chips make everything better, right?)

Josh contends that it is no longer oatmeal by the time I get done adding everything to it, but I love it. I crave it when I am done running. It keeps me full for quite a while and it is pretty darn yummy too. The only time I eat "plain" oatmeal is before a marathon.

So what do you think? Does it look good? Gross? What is your "breakfast of champions"?

PS I got 8 miles done this morning and have 17 to do tomorrow. Fingers and toes are crossed that the roads will be clear enough to run outside!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Questions and Answers - Need for Speed

I am going to answer the questions I have been asked in emails once or twice a week. If you have a question (running? weight loss? 12 kids?) please feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email. :)

Here is the first one I will answer - 


My question for you is, how can I get faster? I run quite slowly (11 minute miles) and have been this same speed since I could run a full mile. is this just "my pace" or is there a way I can train myself to go faster?

Ok, I am not a coach or an expert in any way, but I definitely think that with work, almost any runner can get faster. Remember that "fast" is a very fluid concept though. What is super fast to one runner is an easy pace for another, and what some consider a fast pace is impossible to comprehend for others.  But again, I do think getting faster is something that just about any runner can do with training and dedication.

When I first started out, I was THRILLED with anything under 12 minutes a mile. After awhile I remember thinking that being able to finish my three miles at under 10 minutes a mile was FAST. Now I can comfortably run in the 8-9 minute a mile range for long runs and have finished two marathons at about a 9:30 pace.  I ran my first 5K race in a time of 32 minutes and something seconds, and I was super happy with that. A year later I ran a 5K and had a time of 23:33 (a 7:35 pace), and was crazy happy with that. This year when I run it again, I am hoping to be even faster. I am certainly not a "super fast" runner, but I have been able to better my average pace and my race times over a fairly short period of time.

So how did I do it (and how do I continue to try and get faster)? As Hal Higdon says, "If you want to run fast, you have to run fast." Adding some speedwork into your runs, whether you do fartleks, tempo runs, pace runs, intervals, hill work, track work, etc. will help you get faster. I have recently incorporated all of those into my training and have found myself consistently hitting faster paces and times. Here is a good article from Runner's World on how to start adding in some speed work to your training. At first I was afraid to try and run fast, but then I tried it and found out that is is wicked fun. I love to finish a run with a good hard sprint.

 I have also found that logging in lots of miles, losing weight and bettering my form have all also helped me increase my speed. Using my Garmin 305 (which I LOVE) has helped me to get an idea of what different paces feel like outside and has helped with speed work a lot. When I first started running I didn't think I would care about my pace or speed (or lack thereof) and I know plenty of casual runners who just enjoy running at whatever pace they run at. But after I toed the line at my first race I realized that I definitely did care and I have consistently strived to be able to run longer and faster. I know I am 33 years old and that two years ago I had not even gone on my first run yet, but I am excited to see how much faster I can get and how well I can do. It's part of the fun for me. :)

So how about you more experienced runners? How do you get faster? Any tips? :) Happy weekend everybody!

This picture was taken at the 5K last summer when I finished in 23:33 and second in my age group. This picture makes me laugh because my friend Katie says I look like a girl in a Breck commercial. (I have no idea why I didn't put in a pony tail).  I have lost 15lbs since this race and done a lot more speed work so I am hoping to be faster when I run it again this summer. :)