Sunday, October 30, 2011


168 HOURS (give or take a few)

The ING NYC MARATHON is in ONE WEEK. I can't believe it is so soon! I CAN NOT WAIT!

I have so much to do before Josh and I leave on Thursday...the next few days are going to be a different kind of marathon. But it will be worth it!

I did my last 10 mile "long run" this morning and I am so ready. Everything feels good... I have trained my butt off.... I am ready. One week!!

Ok, that is all I have time for right now. Church, pumpkin carving, house cleaning, packing, organizing, planning, bill-paying... the to-do list is long. But I am smiling! :) ONE WEEK!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Inspiration Friday

Here are two stories to enjoy and find some inspiration in this Friday morning.

The first story you can find here and is about 16 year old Sami Stoner, who is legally blind and running on her cross country team in high school with a guide dog. How cool is this? She is an amazing example of "no excuses" and about finding a way to do the things you love no matter what. I love how she is showing that people with disabilities can do SO much more than most people think. My Noah is legally blind and this story just makes me smile BIG happy smiles.

The second story is that of Julia Chase-Brand who is 69 years old and racing this weekend. Chase-Band is one of the pioneers in women's road racing. From the NY Times article which you can find here, "Fifty years ago, when she and two other women ran there the first time, it was a widely publicized act of civil disobedience that became a pioneering moment in female distance running in the United States."

I am eternally grateful to and inspired by Julia Chase-Brand, Kathrine Switzer (first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon), and all the other brave, passionate women who were pioneers in women's running and racing and have paved the way for me and some many others to pursue our own passions and dreams.

Happy Friday!

Don't forget to enter my happy feet Sof Sole giveaway here!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Giveaway for your feet!

I haven't had a giveaway in a while, and thanks to the awesome company, Sof Sole, I have a great prize package for a lucky reader. Sof Sole's slogan is "The Sole of Performance" and they have a new line of performance insoles that are specific by gender and arch type. You can see their full line of women's performance insoles here and their line of men's performance insoles here.

One winner will receive their choice of performance insoles from Sof Sole, a pair of Sof Sole socks and some other goodies from Sof Sole. Their products are made for athletes, including runners.

To enter all you need to do is leave a comment below saying you would like to enter.

For bonus entries -

- Like Sof Sole on Facebook (they have lots of info and giveaways on their Facebook page) here (leave a comment and tell me you did and you will get one bonus entry)

- Link to this giveaway on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, whatever. (Leave a comment and tell me you did and you will get one bonus entry for each share)

- Make a new donation to my Team MEB fundraising for the NYC Marathon (less than 10 days away now!) I have met my fundraising goal but would love to raise additional money for this awesome cause and to help kids in need have access to healthy, active lifestyles. (This will be good for 10 bonus entries into this giveaway)

That's it! I will use to pick a winner in the morning on November 3. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Secret Identity

Last night I was in the laundry room, and as I pulled the umpteenth piece of clothing out of the dryer today and shook it out, one of my running socks fell out of the toddler-sized sweatshirt and landed on the laundry room floor.

As I looked down at my running sock, I smiled without even thinking about it.

And that reaction got me to thinking...

My running clothes make me smile and make me happy, and part of that is because when I pull on my shorts and those socks that I only wear when I am running, it is sort of like putting on my "super suit" and my running me is sort of like a secret identity or alter ego,

When I am out there on the road or the track or even on the treadmill, running 8, 10, 14, 20 or more miles... paying attention to miles, splits, and paces...pushing myself physically and mentally... I am a different Erin than I usually am. I am still me of course, but I am a me that most people wouldn't suspect exists when they see me in my jeans and hoodies, or hear that I am a mom of 12, or just bump into me in the grocery store.

Most people see the "me" that I am most of the time...the me that is happily rocking my Noah, helping kids with homework, joking with teenagers, snuggling Josh, reading scriptures, cleaning dirty floors, doing loads of laundry, working on the computer, cooking meals, paying bills... nurturing, cleaning, organizing, planning.

But in my running clothes, I am another me. I am a dedicated athlete. I am in great physical shape. I am committed. I sweat. I push. I train. I demand much from myself. I work towards goals. I am focused. I am disciplined yet free all at the same time. I am driven. I am strong. I am a runner.

Through running I have found strength that I did not know I had. I have found abilities I did not know I had and have achieved things I never could have imagined were possible. Running has added another dimension to my life and another piece to who I am.

I am still a daughter of God, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an adoption coordinator, an eternal optimist, an early riser, a Disney-lover, a homebody, a bookworm, a believer, an advocate, a writer, a chicken, a tender heart, a perfectionist, an animal lover, a cheap date, a hard-worker, a sensitive soul, and lots of other things.

But when I slip on my running clothes... my "super suit"... I am a runner.  I am an athlete. And that makes me smile.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy Sunday!

We had an awesome, super fun day yesterday. We drove about two hours out of town and took the kids to a big straw maze. The teens down to the toddler all thought it was a great time (and Josh and I thoroughly enjoyed it too!) We had dinner at Applebee's to celebrate TWO kid birthdays this week, and then we took the kids to Twizzle Berry, my very favorite frozen yogurt place.

The kids LOVED getting their bowls (buckets?), filling up with frozen yogurt flavors (the pumpkin was REALLY good) and then loading on the toppings. Oh the toppings! There was everything from chocolate covered pretzels to cereal to candy to fruit to rice krispie treats... SO many options.  It was way fun to watch the kids make their desserts. The weighing of their creations was too fun. Two of the big boys were just over 20 ounces. That is over a POUND of dessert. When Ryan finished he said, "I am not proud of what I just did." HA! We all laughed.

They had the "Just Dance" game set up in Twizzle Berry so there was dancing with the dessert. I got a great video clip of a bunch of the kids dancing together that I will post once I get it up loaded.

This morning was a 14 mile run (which went great and after last week's 23 miler seemed really short!), and the NYC Marathon is TWO WEEKS from today. I really really can't wait.

I am off to enjoy the rest of the afternoon with my family. I will leave you with a quote that I am LOVING. :) Happy Sunday!

"Do the crazy thing.
The-hard-to-imagine-but-somehow-you-did thing.
The brings you to your knees thing.
The no-one-would-ever-do-it-that-way thing.
The safety-net-would-not-even-matter thing.
The it-could-kill-you-but-not-trying-is-another-kind-of-death thing.
The thing on your heart.
and let them gasp right before they call it a thing of wonder." - Ciona Rouse

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The need for speed

I have gotten quite a few questions lately about my training... about what plan I am using, what I do for speedwork, etc. so I am going to write a little about it. Sorry if it is boring, and I hope it is helpful to some. :)

The NYC Marathon will be my sixth marathon ever and my sixth in under a year. I ran my first marathon on Dec. 5, 2010 (the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon). Here is my marathon race history:

12/5/10 - Vegas RnR Marathon - 4:15:50
1/9/11 - Disney World Marathon - 4:20:18
4/16/11 - Salt Lake City Marathon - 3:57:29
9/3/11 - Pocatello Marathon - 3:32:36
9/17/11 - Top of Utah Marathon -3:28:15

I have been very lucky to find that my body recovers quickly and adapts well to training. And most importantly, I love it. :) I love the marathon distance. Love it!

My training has changed quite a bit in the last year. For my very first marathon, I used the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan. There was one 20 miler, and the longest mileage week was about 35 miles. There was not any speed work and I didn't pay attention to my pace. I just got the miles done (although I did notice I was getting faster as the training progressed).  I finished Vegas in what I think was a respectable time for a first marathon. I never hit the wall and was injury free before and after.

Since my second marathon ended up being just a month later there wasn't any real training for it. I took a week or two to recover from Vegas, did another typical week with a long run and then tapered for Disney. Again, I ran well and felt good the entire time, and was free from injuries.

For the Salt Lake Marathon I really wanted to get under four hours, and decided to start adding in some speed work to my training. This time I used the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 Marathon training plan, and I added in some speedwork. I used the mileage on the HH plan, but made Tuesdays "speedwork" day, and then did a tempo or pace run on Thursdays. I started by doing the speework on the treadmill (which felt safer than the track or the roads somehow, and the track was buried in snow anyway). 

At first the speedwork was really hard (and the paces I was running my speed intervals at are paces I run regular runs at now). Paying attention to my paces and pushing my paces was new. But I liked it, and I loved the awesome feeling I had at the end of a tough speed workout. AND, even better... I noticed that the more I did it, the faster I got. When the snow melted I took it to the track, and I LOVE doing speedwork on the track. Love it. And it feels much easier to me than the treadmill.

I do my tempo and marathon pace runs on the road now too. Those are tougher than on the treadmill or track because you have hills (at least where I live!) but races often have hills too so I figure it is good for me.

Training for SLC I ran three 20 milers in my training and my longest mileage week was 58 miles, with most weeks about 40-50 miles.  This was the first marathon I felt like I "raced" and I was very proud and excited to get a time under four hours. I ran strong and was still free from any major injuries.

For my fall marathons, the awesome (and super fast!) Dorothy over at Mile Posts sent me a training plan to try. This one had three 20 milers again, with the highest mileage week being at about 60 miles and most weeks being at around 55 miles. I PRed in both of my fall marathons and qualified for Boston. I did give myself a puffy and sore achilles that set me back a week or two after switching around my training because of a trip, but I learned an important lesson (never do back to back speedwork days). I rested and took care of the achilles and it was 100% in time for my races.

And right now I am following the Bart Yasso "hardcore" marathon training plan (found in his My Life on the Run book).  I love the Yasso training plan and it is my favorite so far. He offers lots of great tips and advice, as well as a 10-day or 7-day training schedule to pick from (I am using the 7-day schedule). My longest training week has been 66 miles and I have had a bunch of weeks over 60 miles (LOVE this mileage). This plan has you run two 20 milers and two long runs over 20 miles, which was new for me (and beneficial I think).

I have done a lot of reading on training and training plans. including "Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon - How to Be Your Own Best Coach" (which I am going to reread). The two things that I really took away from it though were NOT to be afraid to tweak/change up any training plan to make it work best for you, and the benefits of race specific training and confidence building workouts.

A typical training week looks like this for me right now.

Monday - easy recovery run, 6 miles
Tuesday - speedwork, 10 miles total (examples - mile repeats, or 10x800m)
Wednesday - easy run, 8 miles
Thursday - 10 miles with 8 miles at marathon pace, or 5-6 miles at tempo pace
Friday - rest day or super easy 6 miles
Saturday - 8 miles
Sunday - 16-23 mile long run with four miles at marathon pace

I have lost my running buddy and Josh has been having some ITB pain, so almost all of my runs are done by myself. I run outside for almost all of them, but relent to the treadmill when the roads are very icy.

I use the McMillan Running Calculator to determine what my interval, tempo, pace run and other training paces should be. I am a big believer that when you look at your speedwork goals they should scare you a little bit.  Beyond the physical benefits I have gotten from speedwork, I believe that I have gotten mental strength as well. Conquering a tough speed workout, and hitting your paces even though you are tired and hurting towards the end, builds confidence and teaches you how to keep going when the going gets tough (like, say, mile 21 of a marathon) :)

On my "easy" days I usually don't wear my Garmin, time myself, or think about pace at all. I just run by feel.

This morning I did a marathon pace run. These 10 milers are one of my hardest training runs, but also are the biggest confidence boosters for me. I do a one mile warm up, eight miles at marathon goal pace and then a one mile cool down.  In my plan for the NYC marathon, my slowest mile is an 8:10 (first mile) and my fastest is a 7:16, with a 7:31 average pace.

This morning I ran 8:58 (warm up) then 7:25, 7:24, 7:28, 7:12, 7:18, 7:29, 7:21, 7:22, 9:10 (cool down).

On top of my running schedule I do strength training twice a week. I don't use weights or machines, I just do a half hour routine of exercises like lunges, squats, pushups, V-sits, planks, etc. I work everything from glutes to legs to shoulders to arms to core. I think this has really helped me get strong over all and avoid injury. Besides that, I don't cross train (unless you count laundry or vacuuming).

I also do a short warm up before every run, and stretch and foam roll after every run (and foam roll again at night if I have any sore spots or am extra stiff after a tough run). I ice sore spots right away and try to stay in tune with my body. Any run over 13 miles ends with an ice bath.

This is what has worked for me so far. I am sort of just winging it as I go. I read a lot and when I find that something works I go with it. I try to keep pushing myself, and am excited to see how far I can progress. I enjoy it all immensely. :)

If you have questions or advice for me, please leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Going For It

I can NOT wait.

In just over two weeks, Josh and I will be on our way to New York. I am excited for the trip. I am excited for the time away with Josh. I am excited to see my parents, my brother and other family. I am excited to see friends. And I am EXCITED to run the NYC Marathon!!!

Last year I was home from church with a sick Noah, and the NYC Marathon was on TV. I watched it and was so emotional... I even cried watching the start. I texted my Dad and Pam and told them that I really wanted to run it some day. At that point I hadn't even run my first marathon. I wasn't 100% sure I even COULD run a marathon. But I knew I wanted to run the NYC Marathon... more than any other.

At first I struggled to come up with a plan for this race. I raced two marathons in September. I qualified for Boston. I got a sub 3:30 PR. I thought maybe I would just run NYC for pressure, no goals... just go run.

But then I started thinking...
I have trained HARD leading up to, and since Top of Utah.
I have no aches, pains, or injuries.
I am in the best shape I have ever been in.
I am primed for a PR.
I enjoy racing.
I am running my dream race.

So why not go for it?

People have pointed out to me that NYC is not a fast or easy course with the crowds or the hills. But I have a good wave and corral, I am used to running hills, and I've never been one to back down from a challenge.

And I am used to living and training at over 6000ft elevation and will be racing at sea level, so that has to give me some benefit, right? :)

At first I was worried about being overly optimistic about my abilities or about shooting for a goal that I won't be able to reach. My parents are going to be there. Josh is going to get to see me race and finish (and he has only gotten to be at two of my marathons). My brother is coming! I will have friends there cheering me on.  I want to do well. I worried about disappointing anyone (including myself).

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my family and friends are going to love me and be proud of me whether I finish in 2 hours or 7 hours.  And the only way I won't be disappointed in myself is if I go out and run my best, and give it my all. I don't want to look back and wish I had been braver or tried harder.

I don't just want to RUN the NYC marathon. I want to RACE the NYC Marathon. I want to go for it.  I am going to go for it.

So what's the plan?

Right now, my A goal is to run a 3:1x:xx. That means shaving off just over 8 minutes from my PR in September. Based on my training times, I think it's doable. It will require me running my guts out and everything coming together just right, but I know it's possible and I am going to go for it. If I don't feel well or there is a freak heat wave or it just isn't my day for one reason or another, then I will readjust my goals and get sub 3:20 another day soon.  I hope to at least leave NYC with a shiny new marathon PR (better than 3:28).

No matter what I am going to enjoy this race, soak in the amazing experience, give it my all, and do my best on the streets of NYC.

I have studied (and studied and studied) the course. I used the awesome Greg Maclin calculator to come up with a race plan and a pace band that take into account the hills on the course and the way I want to run this race. I have a plan! I am going to take this taper seriously (which I did not really do for Pocatello or Top of Utah). And I am going to believe in myself. I am going to trust in my training, have faith, and BELIEVE that I am going to run a kick butt race in NYC.

A sub 3:20 marathon PR would be amazing for me. It's a goal, a dream and a challenge. I have had two people that I love and admire tell me to "go and get it". So I am going for it. :)

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
-T.S. Eliot

"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second. Give your dreams all you've got and you'll be amazed at the energy."
- William James 

"The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move."
-John Wooden

"Racing is the fun part; it's the reward of all the hard work."
-Kara Goucher

"When I do the best I can with what I have, then I have won my race."
-Jay Foonberg, 72-year-old runner 

"Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can."
-Lowell Thomas

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
- Thomas Jefferson

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions; small people always do that –- but the really great make you feel that you, too, are great."
-Mark Twain 

"The real purpose of running isn't to win a race; it's to test the limits of the human heart."
- Bill Bowerman

"Love yourself, for who and what you are; protect your dream and develop your talent to the fullest extent."
-Joan Benoit Samuelson 

"Anything is possible, but you have to believe and you have to fight."
-Lance Armstrong

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Whew.  Crazy couple of days. Today kicked me in the butt for awhile! There wasn't anything terrible or really worth complaining about, just a lot of little stresses. I've had lots of work and work stress. My P.O.S. laptop died. (I am back to being a Mac and will never, ever be a PC again. Ever). We have construction going on outside, with our old deck coming down and a new deck with a wheelchair ramp for Noah going up.  (That will be SO nice to have when it is all done). The construction guys accidentally ripped out the wires that provided our phone and internet service while they were ripping out the old deck, so we had phone fix-it guys here too, and a $300 bill we'll have to fight over with construction guys. Life is never boring! Josh and the kids luckily are great (busy, but great). The greatest.

The kids have lots going on this games, orchestra trip, choir trip, appointments, AND a birthday on Thursday and then another on Monday. Everyone is getting super excited for Halloween too of course, and we are hoping to get out of town and take the family to a corn maze, pumpkin farm, haunted house place. I do so love the fall!

This morning's speed work was 12x400m repeats (eight miles total with warm up and cool down). I did the 400m repeats at an average 6:09 pace and felt good, especially considering that I ran 23 miles on Sunday. 400s are just short bursts of speed, but 12 (mentally!) is a lot of repeats. But I enjoy speedwork and love the feeling of finishing a tough speed workout. With the way that the rest of the day went today, I am so glad I got this done early this morning!

Since I added in regular speedwork to my weekly workouts I have seen steady improvements in my overall speed and paces, so these workouts, although tough, are important to me. I do a speed/interval workout once a week (Tuesdays) and a tempo run or marathon pace run once a week (Thursdays). I do think these workouts, along with my overall increased mileage (gradually up from 25 miles a week to 65 miles a week) have been the keys to my getting faster (and hopefully will continue to help me to do so). :)

And when you start out the day conquering a tough workout, you are ready to take on whatever else life throws out you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

big numbers!

This morning I ran 23 miles. That's the longest I have run at once without getting a medal at the end. :) I took it slow and felt great the whole way... no aches or pains. I love running.

This morning I also hit my 2,000th mile run this year. As of today, I have run 2,005 miles in 2011. Woo hoo!

The NYC marathon is THREE WEEKS from today! I can hardly believe it and am SO excited. And I feel very very ready for this race. More soon!

I hope you all are enjoying your Sunday and congrats to everyone racing today!! I am going to go snuggle Josh and watch a movie with my family.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Doctor Doctor

How the heck is it Friday already? Sheesh! This week has flown by. Crazy.

(This next part is not running related at all, but is part of my life). Yesterday we had to make a semi-emergency run to the children's hospital in Utah (seven hours in the car. BLECK). Noah is fed by a GJ tube. It is a surgically implanted tube that goes right into his belly and then a feeding pump gives him a small amount of special formula through the GJ tube for 20 hours a day. The food goes directly into his intestines, because when he is fed into his stomach he throws up and aspirates (gets it into his lungs). He also can't swallow without choking, so he doesn't take anything by mouth. The GJ tube has worked miracles for Noah. It has allowed him to get the nutrition he needs to grow and develop without choking and getting pnuemonias and he is THRIVING and making huge progress in all areas (other than eating).

Here is what it looks like when he is all hooked up. I change the gauze, tape, and tubing at least once every 24 hours. The tubing runs down his leg, is secured around his ankle, and goes into the feeding pump which is in a small, portable backpack that he drags around.

The downside is that the GJ tube can ONLY be put in or changed or "fixed" by an interventional radiologist at the children's hospital, which is 3+ hours away. So if the tube gets pulled out or gets worn out and leaky or stops working for whatever reason, we have to go right to the hospital because we can't feed Noah without the tube. We usually get 3-5 months in between changes and I try to schedule them before we are in an emergency situation. The tube he had in was getting more and more leaky and less trustworthy by the minute, and with our trip to NY less than three weeks away now I knew we had to get this tube changed soon. They were able to fit us in yesterday so we got it done.

The bad - 7 hours in the car. A lot of waiting around the hospital. One icky procedure for Noah. No run for me.

The good - Josh came (and did all the driving) and we had lots of time together. We did the tube change without anesthesia (actual procedure only took about 15 minutes, no needles) and Noah did AWESOME. We got to eat at Cafe Rio. I am stil full. :)

Here is a happier Noah picture!

Earlier in the week I had my annual check up. So not fun. But, all my labwork looked great and the only things "abnormal" were that my blood pressure and body fat were lower than normal. I'll take it!

This morning I ran a 10 miler with a one mile warm up, eight miles at marathon goal pace and one mile cool down. It was a GREAT run. I was able to maintain my pace even on a hilly route and I felt really good. I have an easy paced eight miler tomorrow and then a 23 miler on Sunday and then it is TAPER for NYC marathon. Woo hoo!!

I have been putting a lot of time and thought into my hopes, dreams, and goals for the NYC Marathon and they really came together in my head and heart in the last 24 hours or so. I will write a post all about it in the next couple of days. I have had a couple of people ask me about what I eat in a typical day, so I have a post about that coming too (please note I am not a "foodie" so don't get your hopes up about beautiful plates of food or inspiring recipes).

And for fun, here is my awesome oldest son, Nate, with his Auntie and Gramma. He had a football game down close to where they live yesterday. His team won 44-0 and Nate had five unassisted tackles, including one forced fumble. Woo hoo!

We have more football tonight, a Lion King DVD watching party, a few extra kids coming over and more fun stuff planned for the weekend. Happy Friday everybody! More soon. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Different kind of race

I had an awesome but killer run this morning... my plan called for the evil ever-challenging Yasso Repeat workout. This workout is 10x800m repeats, with 400m rest intervals. With warm up and cool down I did a total of 10 miles and my interval times were all just about at a 6:31 pace with times of 3:14, 3:14, 3:15, 3:14, 3:13, 3:14, 3:16, 3:14, 3:12, 3:11. WHEW!

For something fun, here is a video of a totally different kind of race. Here is what the Henderson's do on a rainy weekend when Gramma and Auntie Shanon come up for a visit. (A couple of the big kids were gone). Auntie gets the credit for this idea and the video footage. :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I love running

We are having an awesome weekend. Josh's mom and sister came up yesterday for the day and we had a great day with them, and we are having a wonderful family Sunday today. I love my family and am so grateful for Josh, our amazing kids, and our extended families. I am feeling very blessed!

This morning I went on a 16 mile run and wrapped up a 65 mile week. That's my highest weekly running mileage yet, and I feel SO GOOD. This morning's run was a breeze and was FUN.While I was warming up and getting my stuff together before my run I watched a few minutes of the Chicago Marathon online and it was awesome. Watching the elite runners was just super cool. I love running, and I love racing and I love the marathon. Love it!!! Watching a little of the Chicago Marathon got me even more excited for the NYC Marathon (in just four weeks!!!) I can't wait to be a part of that race. :) I peeled myself away from the computer to go on my run and was excited to get out there.

There was a thick fog outside, so much so that I could barely see much more than 10-20 feet around me in any direction for most of the run. I was super careful about cars, but luckily there isn't much traffic here on Sunday mornings. The fog was so thick that I was as wet as if it was raining lightly, and the fog kept collecting on my eyelashes. The fog was pretty cool though! The miles just zipped on by and I was surprised when I realized I was almost done.

I finished the book on tape I was listening too (Lethal by Sandra Brown) and then switched on some music on my IPOD. I don't often run with music but I really enjoyed it today. I pumped up my all-time favorite running song, "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers (click here to listen/watch the video. It rocks!) and just RAN. It felt so good and I was even smiling as I went. It was one of those runs that I just enjoyed every single minute of and was so grateful to be out there running and so happy to be a runner. I finished the 16 miles with an average pace of 8:19 and a big smile. I came home to my amazing family and had an ice bath, hot shower and oatmeal and now am going to enjoy the rest of the day snuggled up with them and relaxing.

Hope your runs were great today! Congrats to anyone who raced (I know there were LOTS of races today!) Tell me about your running this weekend! :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three things Thursday

A quick three things for this Thursday morning

- It's snowing. Right now. Outside. At my house. On October 6th. CRAZY. Haven't decided yet if my 10 mile marathon pace run this morning will be outside or on the treadmill.

- One month from right now I will be in my starting corral for the NYC MARATHON!!!!! Seriously, I am beyond excited for this. Running this race is an emotional dream come true for me. AND I get to see my parents, family members and friends. AND Josh and I get a little getaway without any kids (which hasn't happened in....hmmmmmm.... a really, really long time). It seems like so long ago that I signed up to run the NYC Marathon for Team MEB and I can't believe it is only a month away now. I will write more about my goals and thoughts about this race as we get closer, but I AM SO EXCITED. (And I am just $140 short of my fundraising goal for Team MEB. Please consider making a donation here to help kids in need in the U.S. and in Eastern Africa have access to health, education and fitness).

- The little square on my calendar today is EMPTY. Empty! That means there are no therapists for Noah today, no field trips, no appointments, no meetings, no sporting events for any of the kids or Josh...NOTHING besides the usual stuff... running, child care, cooking, laundry, etc. Josh is playing hooky from work today and we are going to go to lunch and spend some quality together (with Noah too!) 

The other day I posted this on Facebook, "For those of you that don't have kids with special needs this may not mean much, but today I asked Noah where his teeth were and he smiled and then pointed and tapped his teeth with his finger. We have been working on pointing out body parts and this is the first time he has done it without any help. yay!!!! And he is SO CLOSE to walking independently. We are seeing miracles every day." 

I was AMAZED at the response.... so many people that I never hear from or even interact with on Facebook commented or "liked" this status. It really touched my heart how much people cared and how supportive they were. And of course, my heart is happier every day because of our miracle baby.

Happy Thursday everybody!

Do you have a busy day or an "easy" day?

What is the weather like where you are? ANYONE ELSE have snow this morning?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Find your play

I was interviewed by a writer for Runner's World today. It was fun! She was really great and personable. I was worried that I would be boring and there wouldn't be much for her to write about, but it turns out that between my running, losing over 75lbs, being mom to a large family, how we came to adopt nine kids, etc. etc.... there was a lot to cover. There will be follow up interviews (she wants to talk with Josh, my parents, and a kid or two), and I guess at some point a photographer will come. How fun is that?

The plan is for the article to be the lead story in the "Human Race" section of Runner's World for the May 2012 issue (for Mother's Day). I was told that if they happen to hear about a mom of 15 that made it into the Olympics that I could get bumped, but they didn't expect that. :)

One of the things that I said is that I hope that all of my kids find their "thing"... something that challenges them, that they love and are passionate about, and something that makes them feel the way that running makes me feel.  And then later this afternoon I stumbled across this quote that fit so perfectly!

"There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be. - George Sheehan 

How awesome is that? Running is my play. Running is my self-renewing compulsion (LOVE THAT). And running definitely helps me become the person I am meant to be.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Review of Brooks PureFlow running shoes

Ok, here is my review of the much anticipated Brooks PureProject running shoes!

Let me start by saying that I bought these shoes with my own money, I was not sponsored by Brooks when I started wearing these shoes or wrote this review or the updates, and I was not given anything for this review. :) I am doing this review because I am excited about these new shoes and very impressed with them.

My running shoe history - (if you don't care, skip on down to the review part) :) Shortly after I first started running (April 2009) and I knew I was going to be sticking with this running thing long term, I went to a running shoe store and got evaluated and fitted for real running shoes. I was told that I overpronated, a stability trainer was recommended, and I was given several pairs to put on and run around in to try out. I liked the Brooks Adrenaline the best, and that was my first pair of running shoes. (I was also sold extra insoles which I ran with for awhile and then, suspecting I didn't really need them, I ditched them and never went back).

I ran in the Adrenaline's for a while, then switched to the Brooks Trance, and those are the shoes I trained for and ran my first marathon in (Vegas RnR, Dec. 2010). After Vegas I decided to give the Brooks Ravenna's a try (Brooks calls them "guidance" shoes, and they offer mild stability). They are  lighter than the Trance's and Adrenaline's which I like and since I am naturally a midfoot runner, I knew I likely didn't need a lot of support (and follow up evals at running stores confirmed I am a mid/forefoot striker and only overpronate mildly). Once and a while I tried other running shoes and I have never felt as good in any other brand as I do in my Brooks.

The Ravenna's were awesome for me! I ran the Disney marathon in them, and then when I really upped my training in miles and in intensity (adding in speedwork, etc.) for the Salt Lake City Marathon I stayed injury free... never even lost a toenail. I got the Ravenna 2's when they came out, and wore those for Ragnar, my half marathon in July, all my training this summer and both marathons I ran in September. I ran over 1,800 miles in Brooks Ravenna's this year with happy feet and legs and zero complaints.

Some would say then, "Why fix what isn't broken?", and I do acknowledge that changing things up when you are running 55-65 miles a week without injury may not be the wisest thing...

But, for some time I have wanted to find a lighter weight, more minimal shoe. Not necessarily because I think those shoes are right for everyone, but because I think they would be right for me. (Just as I suspected I didn't need the extra insoles, and that the Ravenna's would be better for me than the Trance's). However, since I do overpronate a little and since I run lots and lots of miles, I was afraid to try a neutral/purely minimal shoe.

A few times when we were in running stores I would try on various racing flats and other minimal shoes and was tempted, but luckily Brooks has been teasing us with their PureProject for months so I knew that these were coming, and I really thought that they would be a good fit for me. So I resisted trying anything else.

Info on PureProject- Here is the link to more info on Brooks PureProject. Brooks has left their (very popular!) core line of running shoes alone, and has added this new line for people who want lighter, more responsive running shoes. The best part to me is that they have four different shoes for all different types of runners. They have a very minimal shoe (The PureConnect), a lightweight shoe with some cushioning and guidance features (the PureFlow), a lightweight shoe for people who need more support (the PureCadence), and a lightweight trail shoe (the PureGrit).

They have this handy little chart to help you decide which PureProject shoe is right for you (based on what other Brooks shoes you have been wearing).

My review - Without trying the shoes on I wasn't sure if the PureCadence or PureFlow would be a better fit, so I preordered a pair of each to try out (knowing I could/would send one back). My shoes finally came last week on Wednesday and right away (after a little bit of squealing) I went down on the treadmill to play. I did a half mile or so in each pair, then switched back and forth a couple of times and even ran a little with one of each shoe on. Right away the PureFlow just felt better to me. Technically they are about an ounce lighter than the PureCadence and I couldn't necessarily feel that, but they just felt better on my feet and my legs felt better when I was running in the PureFlow. (I think maybe the PureCadence has more support than I need/want, but am not sure).

Walking in the PureFlow I could feel the lack of "big heel" (this shoe has a 4mm heel to toe drop) compared to the Ravenna (which has a 10mm heel to toe drop). While I did notice the difference walking around, I did not notice the difference much once I started running (probably because I am not a heel striker at all when I run).

The next morning I had a 10 mile marathon pace run planned, so I decided to take the PureFlow on a real test run. It was love at first stride!

Right away the PureFlow felt LIGHT, responsive, and fast. I loved that. Yet I also noticed right away that they felt cushioned and I felt bouncy in them (in a good way). I was worried that a lighter, more minimal shoe wouldn't feel as comfortable as my Ravenna's, but these were just as comfortable to run in if not more so. They have a very glove-like fit and yet aren't too squishy on the toes or anywhere else.

After the mile warm-up I cranked up the pace, and it felt GREAT to run fast in these shoes. That light, responsive, fast and bouncy feeling was there when I was running 7 minute miles and during the slower warm-up and cool down. And yet after 10 miles (with eight miles of hard running) my legs and feet felt great.

After that first run I was REALLY happy and really impressed.

On Friday and Saturday I had two slow and easy six milers, and I wore my Brooks PureFlows again. At the start of each run my first thoughts were again about how light, responsive, fast and bouncy the shoes felt. And then I really didn't think about them again and just cruised along on my runs.

I went back and forth about wearing the PureFlow's for my 20-miler on Sunday. I didn't want to do anything stupid that would injure me this close to the NYC Marathon, but I also really felt confident that these shoes were working for me and wanted to take them on a long run well before NYC. Also, since I was already a midfoot striker and running in the PureFlow's did not change my running style or form significantly, I thought chances were good I would be fine in these. (And, I planned a route that took me past my house half way through the run so I could change shoes if I needed to).

I have to say that it was the easiest 20 miler I have ever run. My feet and legs felt great the whole run, and while they were of course tired by the end, they were less so than after my other 20 mile runs. I felt great afterwards too... no pains or strains. I am definitely convinced that these are the perfect shoes for me.

So now (after today's run) I have run 50 miles in my Brooks PureFlow's in five days. I have done speed work, a long run, and some easy runs. I love these shoes!

Weighing in at 7.5 ounces (women's), these shoes are LIGHT. I asked Brooks if they would hold up to lots of miles and they said to expect to get 300 miles out of them (instead of 350 or so out of the Ravenna's). At $90 they are not cheap, but are on the cheaper end of running shoes. They feel great on my feet, and are the perfect combination of being light, responsive and fast, and at the same time cushioned and having just the right amount of support for me. They seem like they are going to work great for me for speed work, long runs, and everything in between. I will post again in a month or so and let you know how they are holding up and if I do indeed get 300 miles out of them.

Finding the right running shoes is a challenge for most runners. Some swear by barefoot running and some swear by their motion-control trainers. I think most of us are somewhere in the middle. If you are like me and want a lighter, more minimal shoe and yet still want/need a little bit of support and cushioning, the PureFlow (or one of the other PureProject shoes) may be just what you want. They also could be a good transition shoe for someone wanting to transition to barefoot running.

I plan on sticking with the PureFlow's long term. They definitely make me "Run Happy"! :)

Hope this review is helpful to someone.

****UPDATED on Oct. 7th - I now have 85 miles on my PureFlows. They are holding up super well and I have not worn another pair of shoes since my first run in these. Today I ran 7 miles in inches of fresh snow and the PureFlows handled the wet, snow and slush perfectly.

*****Updated on Dec. 13, 2011 - I am now on my third pair of PureFlows and I am getting about 300 miles out of each pair.  These are now the only shoes I run in and they work beautifully for me for speed work, long runs, intervals, tempo runs, races, and every kind of run I do. They have been great on the treadmill and outside. LOVE THESE SHOES.

For all of the details on the Brooks PureProject line of shoes you can check out this link.

Looking back, looking forward

Happy Monday and Happy October!

September was a big month for me. Looking back-

- I got 11 kids "back to school". Whew. (School supplies, shoes, hair, backpacks, school clothes, schedules, registration fees, piles of paperwork, back to school nights, instruments, sports, buses... it's a lot to figure out).

- I ran two marathons! I set a PR (by 25 minutes!) and qualified for Boston (by over 12 minutes) on Sept. 3 with a time of 3:32:26  in the Pocatello Marathon.

- I applied to and got into the Boston Marathon for 2012!!!

- Without much recovery or taper, I ran the Top of Utah Marathon on Sept. 17 and set a new PR of 3:28:15.

- With no injuries, pains, etc. (knock on wood!!) I have kept on running, and tallied up 226 miles in the month of September. I am very excitedly looking forward to the NYC Marathon on Nov. 6. Just 34 days away now!!

- We had incredible weather! September is often blustery, wet and cold here, and it has been sunny and beautiful for the entire month. We've had highs in the 70's and lows in the upper 30's. It's been perfect running weather and the best kind of fall weather. I am enjoying every  minute because I know it is not going to last long.

- We had a few new opportunities pop up. One of the opportunities is a business opportunity here locally. With 12 kids (one of which is going to college in less than two years and one of which has significant special needs) we aren't really in a position to take much (any?) financial risk, so we are trying still to determine if this is a good move for us or not. The second opportunity is just a remote possibility at this point on a lot of levels, but I was contacted by a producer that we know (and trust) about the idea of a "marathon mom" show... with the concept at this point loosely being my running and being the mom of a big family... hopefully showing that anyone can find the time to get in shape and change their lives, and at the same time advocating for adoption and special needs kids (and hopefully showing that not all big families are nuts). Again, at this point it is just the beginnings of an idea and who knows if anything will come of it. Our family (marriage and children) is our number one priority always and in all things, and it would have to be just the right concept, producer, channel, idea, situation, etc. for Josh and I to consider something like this seriously (and even if we did, who knows if it would move forward). So don't go getting all excited or anything. :)

- I did get contacted by Runner's World again, and along with the "What it Takes" column that I believe I will be in in the January 2012 edition, it sounds like there will be a bigger story for the May 2012 (Mother's day) edition. Pretty cool and humbling!

- I got some NEW SHOES!!! I have been a loyal Brooks fan since I have started running (I have tried other shoes and have never liked anything as much) and have been anxiously awaiting their new PureProject shoes to come out. I got my Brooks PureFlow and PureCadence shoes last week and am in LOVE with the PureFlow. I have a full review coming later today, but let me just say that I have done a 10 mile marathon pace run, three 6 mile easy runs and a 20 miler in my PureFlow's, and I don't know that I'll ever wear another running shoe again.

So yup, September was a great month. October has started off super well too! I had a 20 miler on the schedule yesterday and it was a really nice run. The weather was perfect, my body felt great, I loved my new shoes... honestly it all felt almost too easy for a 20 mile run. Along with trying out my new shoes, I tried something else new on this long run. I don't usually run with music, Josh's ITB is bugging him, and I don't have any friends who are running with me right now, so on a whim I decided to try running with an audio book on my IPOD. I got "Lethal" by Sandra Brown and I am thoroughly enjoying it!

After my long run I did the usual roll, stretch, ice bath, hot shower, oatmeal routine, then enjoyed watching our church conference with Josh and the kids and then we enjoyed a really nice Sunday home together. It was a great weekend!!

Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend and stay tuned for my review of my Brooks PureProject PureFlow shoes. :)