Friday, March 30, 2012

Giving and receiving

Happy Friday!

I started out this morning with an easy seven miles and some strides, and now I am looking forward to a calm and restful Friday. Josh is gone until late tonight at a track meet (along with our two oldest kids), Friday is the one day a week that Noah doesn't have any therapists come to work with him, and we have nothing to do once the rest of the kids get home from school but spend time together, have dinner, and watch a movie. Yay for Friday!

I have been thinking a lot this week about all that running has given me. A lot of people only see all that I give to running - the time, the miles, the effort, the work, the missed sleep. And yes, with running over 300 miles a month lately, I am definitely giving a lot of time, miles, effort, work, and sleep to running.

But what a lot of people don't see is all that I GET from running. The weight loss is easy to see, but running has given me much, much more than a fit and healthy body. 

Running has given me confidence. Running has given me an inner fire. Running has given me strength - physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Running has given me a chance to play and do something for myself that I love on a daily basis. Running has given me many amazing opportunities. Running has given me new friends. Running has given me a release for my stress, a boost in my patience, and a way to better my body, mind, and soul every day. 

Running helped me find and unlock a part of myself that I did not know existed. Running helped me find the "Erin" that is athletic, strong, tough, fast, brave, driven, determined, confident, and able.

In a life happily dedicated to loving and caring for others, running has given me dreams and goals all for myself. 

So yes, I give a lot to running. But running gives me back so much more. It is much like being a mother and a wife - you do your very best and give all that you have to give, and get back more than you could hope for.


As I have been thinking a lot about Boston coming up and of my long term goal of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, I have had a lot of thoughts of all that I will have to give to achieve my dreams and goals. And yet I look forward to the journey, and to all the "giving", because I know that I am going to get back more than I can imagine. I know that no matter what happens, I will never be sorry for chasing a dream, and giving my all to do my best at something I love.

Since I love quotes, here are a few I wanted to share this morning.


"You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through." -Rosalynn Carter 

"You have a masterpiece inside you, you know. One unlike any that has ever been created, or ever will be. If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you." -Gordon MacKenzie  

"Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It's our goal in life to find it and to keep it lit." -Mary Lou Retton  
 
"Spread joy. Chase your wildest dreams." -Patch Adams
 

"There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream."  -Author Unknown 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Strength

I had an awesome run this morning. My workout was nine miles with 5x800m repeats. I drove myself to the (very dark!) high school track at 5:30am and ran a five mile warm-up. I shed a layer (it was only 26 degrees so I started out bundled up) and then hit the intervals.

Almost two weeks ago I did a very similar workout on the treadmill and it about killed me (and shook my confidence a little because it was so tough).  Today, IT ROCKED. I never felt like I was running all out, I never felt like I wanted to quit, I never felt like I was going to throw up or pass out or die, I never felt like I couldn't finish, and I definitely could have knocked out more of these repeats.

And my times? 2:55, 2:56, 2:57, 2:57, 2:54 (which means all five 800's were under a 5:59 pace). When I saw my times, despite the track being windy and despite not giving it an all out effort, it was a huge confidence booster.

At first, running alone on a cold, dark track was a little creepy. (And I can't help but think how fun it would be to do a workout like this with other runners and a coach there!) But after a while it felt pretty awesome. I felt tough. I felt strong.

Speaking of strong -

I do not usually buy myself things that I don't "need", but for my birthday I gave in and finally got an Endorphin Warrior Bracelet.  I have wanted one for quite a while.

It came on Monday, and it is awesome. I love it.

They have a lot of great bracelets, but here is the one I chose.


I went back and forth on which one to get, and even ordered a different bracelet and then called and changed my order.

"Strength" is the word I chose.

Running has helped me find my strength in many ways. Running has made my physically stronger, but it has also made me stronger as a person, inside and out. For a long time I struggled with feeling insecure, and being a runner has helped me so much with that.

When I look at my wrist, whether I am running, racing, working, playing with the kids, doing laundry, or whatever, this is the perfect reminder.

It reminds me that I have strength. It reminds me to be strong - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

It reminds me to think of all the places I get my strength from - Josh, the kids, my parents, family, friends, my faith, God, and of course - from deep inside myself.

It reminds me not to quit, not to give up, not to doubt myself, not to get overwhelmed, not to give in, and not to let go of my dreams, no matter what life throws at me. It inspires me to push myself, to hold on to and believe in the strength within me, and to have the strength to work for what I want to accomplish.

With Boston less than three weeks away and a challenging last few weeks personally, a dose of strength, and a reminder of my own strength, is just what I needed.

When I ran my first marathon I had "Courage. Faith. Strength." on my pace band, and I still use that as a mantra (and variations of it) often when the going gets tough on a run in or in a race.

Do you have a power word? What one word would you put on your wrist?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fun things

Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

The mailman brought some exciting things yesterday and today -

First - Advanced copies of the May edition of Runner's World! Pages 19-20 are me. It's crazy and surreal to look at it! I have been feeling a little nervous and embarrassed about this whole thing and the attention it has brought/will bring (because center of attention is really not a place I love to be). I just hope that somehow sharing my story can help someone else - that it will inspire someone to get healthy, or inspire someone to adopt, or inspire someone else to believe in themselves and to chase after their dreams. The magazine should be showing up in mailboxes in the next week or so. Ikes!

Second - Boston Marathon papers! All kinds of fun information, bib pickup card, etc. Just a big old envelope of excitement. :)

If you can believe it, yesterday marked THREE WEEKS until the Boston Marathon. Three weeks!  When I qualified in September it seemed like it was so far away and would never get here.

I did my last 20 miler yesterday morning. I left my house alone (and holy smokes has it been dark this week) at 5:30 am and finished at an 8:10 average pace for the run. I was really happy with this because the pace felt really nice and easy the whole time and I felt good, happy, and strong the whole run (and my fastest miles were the last couple).  I ran without music or company - just me, my thoughts, and the road.

Here is the route that I did. I think it was decent Boston training since it has downhill miles and uphill miles. I felt good on the uphill miles which was a confidence booster. There is something so exciting every time about finishing that last 20 miler before taper.


Now there is less than three weeks until race day. My taper still includes a decent amount of miles and speed work, but I will be cutting back on cross training, getting extra sleep, and letting these legs get fresh and ready to run fast on April 16.

More soon!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Birthday review

My birthday started off with leaving the house at 6:15am to be on the high school track by 6:30am. This was the first time since September that I had been able to do speedwork on the track, and it was GREAT. For one, I LOVE the track, and for two, the paces come much, much easier for me on the track than they do on the treadmill.

I wanted a bit of speedwork but not too much (since I have a 20 miler tomorrow and had that killer 16-miler on Wednesday), so I did a warm up, 3x1200 with 400m rest intervals, and then a half mile cool down. My goal pace range for the 1200s was 6:08-6:26, and I did them in 6:00-6:18 (times of 4:40, 4:36, 4:30). It was hard to check my Garmin in the dark, so I ran a lot by feel. I was pleasantly surprised to see my times since these didn't feel too hard, although there were only three of them.

After the short track session I joined my running club for an easy-paced six mile run. There was a small turnout today so Josh and I ran together and it was a really wonderful run. We visited at the end of the run a little bit with friends and then headed home to the kids and for breakfast.

Back at home, after the run

Smiles
After lunch we headed into town where Josh participated in the Jackalope Jump (a polar plunge) as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. He was super lucky that we have been having VERY warm weather for us, but the water was COLD (48F!) and dirty! He jumped twice - once a front flip and once a belly flop. He raised almost $400 for Special Olympics and the group all together raised over $6000! We all went and cheered on Josh and the other "jumpers".

Contemplating....
He was just about to say, 'That's cold!"

After we got everyone back home, I went back in to town with a couple of kids to get some groceries, and then we had dinner, cake and presents. I don't usually get presents from Josh and the kids but they surprised me this year with an Eli Manning jersey and a NY Giants hoodie. Go Giants!


With my dairy allergy I couldn't eat this cake, but Josh and the kids sure did enjoy it!

I always make the kids try things on and model so they returned the favor....
Of course I got a fun variety of homemade cards, notes, and creations, and piles of hugs and kisses (my favorites). I got phone calls from Dad and Pam and from my brother, and a gift certificate for some (much needed) clothes that fit from Josh's parents.

My sweet Des (14) "gave" me a song that she found on Youtube. How sweet is that? You can see it here. Love it!

I haven't let on much here, but it has been a difficult few weeks for me lately and this week has brought the beginning of a new year and a new chapter for me. It has amazed me the last few days how when you unburden yourself of things that have been weighing you down emotionally and face them and work through them with people that love you and are truly there for you always, that you feel so much lighter physically.

I am grateful for my very many blessings and this truly wonderful life I am living. I am grateful for Josh, our kids, my parents, my brother, our families, and our friends. I am grateful for my faith. I am grateful for a renewed sense of love, security, and happiness. I am grateful for my running.

I am grateful for a new year (for me!)

There are good and exciting things ahead.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Watch out

Just a "head's up" to the women's 35-40 year age group - as of today you have got some new competition, and I mean business. :)

Two birthday quotes for myself -

"This is my commitment: to live up to the spirit within me." -- Unknown

“In our old age my beloved companion said to me quietly one evening, "You have always given me wings to fly, and I have loved you for it.” - Gordon B. Hinckley

I found the second quote this week and Josh has since started telling me that he wants me "to fly". His love, support, encouragement, companionship, and our marriage and family mean the world to me.

Life is good.

We have a full day planned, starting with a little bit of track work (on a real track!!) and then a group run with my running club, so we are headed out the door. Have a great weekend! More soon. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fire

Yesterday was THE run.

It was THE run I had been equally looking forward to and dreading for weeks. It was the run that (at least in my mind) would tell me that either I was on track with my training or I was not. It was "put up or shut up".

Going into this run, my confidence was not 100%. I was nervous. Several people had hinted/said that with all of the training I had done on the treadmill that I would struggle to hit my paces outside. I know that has not been true for me and I usually find it easier to hit my paces outside than on a treadmill, but still, that doubt nagged. I worried I wasn't as fast as I thought I was, or as fast as other people, or as fast as some people think I am, or as fast as I want to be.

The goal was 16 miles at 7:15. All 16 miles at goal marathon pace. Outside. (Which is the equivalent of running my half marathon PR from January, plus three miles, at altitude with hills instead of on a flat, sea level course).

When I left my house at 5:30am it was DARK. It was cold (about 20 degrees and snowing lightly). I was nervous. I was anxious. But I knew I had to just start moving forward - start running - give it my all - and hope it was enough.

It did not come easy. There were miles that felt really good, and miles that felt like there was no way I would finish. There were a lot of hills, but I kept telling myself that Boston has a lot of hills and that I had to stay strong. There were moments I felt strong and confident, and there were moments that I doubted. There were moments it felt like I had too far left to go and wouldn't finish.

But I didn't quit. I didn't give up. I didn't give in.

I finished. I did it. I reached my goal. I WAS fast enough. I WAS strong enough. I WAS tough enough. I did it.

It took all of my physical and emotional energy and concentration. I had my IPOD for distraction/motivation and when I got home I realized that I had barely heard any of the music, as I was concentrating so much (which is why I don't race with music).

It was tough. There was pain. There was burning. There was exhaustion. And yet on the other side of it, I am stronger (physically and mentally). My faith is stronger. I am more confident. I am better.

I have been thinking about how yesterday's run was a lot like going through the fires of life. They are so very challenging - emotionally, mentally, and physically. We struggle. We are challenged. We have pain. We burn. We get exhausted. We wonder if we have too far left to go. But if we believe in ourselves, stay strong, keep the faith, never give up, give it our all,  and keep moving forward, we can come out on the other side better. We can make it through the fire and be stronger, more confident, happier, more refined, more believing, more pure, and more ready to take on whatever comes our way.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Gift

 I have said it before, and I will say it again. I write this blog because I enjoy writing, I process my thoughts and feelings best through writing, and I enjoy sharing that with others. The best things that have come to me from this blog are the people I have met, the support I receive, and true friendships that I have made.

An incredibly sweet, generous, kind, and thoughtful friend (that I have made through this blog) sent me a PRESENT! And not just any present, but THE Boston Marathon jacket!!

I am not the kind of person that puts a lot of value in "stuff", but I sure do put a ton of value into thoughtfulness, and this was an incredibly thoughtful (and SUPER COOL) gift. Super cool. My Grandma Claire always told us that you couldn't love "things", you could only love people. When I would say I loved my teddy bear, she would say, "You can really, really like that teddy bear, but you can't love it. You can only love people." I bet Grandma Claire would have let me love this jacket. :)

 I hope it's not bad luck to wear the Boston jacket before the race, but I had to try it on and wear it for a couple of "thank you" pics.



Thank you sweet Jennifer, for all of your support, encouragement, kindness, generosity, and friendship!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Training update

How the heck are there only four weeks until the Boston Marathon??? Yikes it is coming fast!!

On Friday they assigned bib numbers, waves and corrals which makes it all seem REALLY real (and exciting). My bib # is 11697, and I will be in Wave 2, Corral 3.

I know I have put in a ton of work for this race, but I am finding myself hoping it has been enough, and that I will "be enough" to race the race I want to run in Boston. I really want to do well in this marathon.

It has been another good training week. This morning wrapped up another 85 mile week, and I am really happy that my body has been holding up so well to the mileage. In fact, I was reading back through my training journal and I have felt better throughout this training cycle than any other, even with the increased mileage.

This week, instead of a long run and shorter runs, Coach Ray split up the 85 miles so that it was even every day (so I have run 12 miles every day this week, with one day of 13 miles). The paces and workouts have varied, but the mileage has been even.  Friday's workout was the toughest one for me of this entire training plan. It was 12 miles, with 5x800m at a 5:49 pace (2:53 time) at the end of the run. And the kicker is that I only got 1 minute recovery between intervals. If you want to see how fast a minute can actually go by, try this workout. FASTEST MINUTES OF MY LIFE.

I warmed up for 8 miles and then hit the 800's. I was stuck on the treadmill because it was super early and our track was not yet clear of snow/ice/muck.

When I first got to the 5:49 pace I thought, "Oh wow - this doesn't feel nearly as bad as I thought it would. I totally got this." And then by about 400m in (halfway) I thought, "Oh crap. This is fast. This hurts. Maybe I don't got this." I kept telling myself that I was brave, I was strong, I was fast and I could do it. I threw in a bunch of "I don't quit" and "how bad do you want it".

At the beginning of each interval I told myself that it was less than three minutes and that I could do anything for three minutes. My quads were on fire. My chest hurt. My head hurt. I think my hair even hurt. Usually with one repeat left I am thrilled and kick up the pace to finish strong, but I was just barely hanging on for this last interval.

I am not a quitter at anything, and the thought rarely even enters my mind. But good heck did I want to just step off of that treadmill and end the pain. I have never wanted to quit a run or work out so bad EVER. I have never doubted myself during a run like that, or pushed myself so hard in a run.

But I did it. I didn't quit. I hit every 800m in 2:53.

I was a little disappointed, because when I started the workout I had hopes of running the first 2-3 intervals in 2:53 and then running the last two faster, but it just wasn't happening.  Maybe if I had been out on a track with other runners to push and be pushed by I could have been faster (and it CERTAINLY would have been more fun and easier mentally). I was happy that I didn't quit and that I finished the challenging workout, I just wish I had had a bit more to give.

Yesterday for St. Patty's Day I organized a group run with our running club. I got up and did five easy miles on the treadmill and then went out and did 7 miles with the running club (we had a 3 mile option too). I ran with a girl (K) who is a sophomore in college and is on the cross country team and runs 800m on the track team. It was SO MUCH FUN to have someone to run with. We chatted and paced each other really well (we were both going for an easy pace).

I am planning another group run for next Saturday (my birthday) and while K will be back at school, I am looking forward to running with someone again. I have done A LOT of solo miles since September and a little company is super nice.

This week I have a 16 mile run at 7:15 pace, which will be a quality work out for sure. I am excited for it. The rest of the week should be a semi-recovery week, then another "bigger" week, and then a two week taper.

Four weeks (tomorrow) until Boston!!!

How is your running going? What are you training for?























Saturday, March 17, 2012

A little more...

I have to say that nothing has made me smile more today than hearing my Ethiopia-born son yell at his Korea-born sister to "go put some green on because WE ARE IRISH!" Amen buddy. :)

Here is a picture I found yesterday. This was me in my senior year of high school (1995) when I went on a backpacking trip in Ireland. I love Ireland. Love it! Since Erin means "Ireland" in Ireland, my name was on everything - buses, phones, stores, etc. I was cold and wet the entire trip and had just gotten off of crutches (cracked my hip and had a bunch of internal injuries in a horse accident). I really, really wanted this bear, but financial and practical matters prohibited it. Bummer!


I have a running/training update post coming tomorrow.  Preview - yesterday's work out kicked my butt!

Erin Go Bragh!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I have always loved this, and it works pretty well for runners! :)

If we still lived in New York I would be eating green bagels, going to the parade in New York City, and partying it up with people who love St. Patrick's Day as much as I do.

Unfortunately, in Wyoming St. Patty's Day isn't a very big deal. But I put on a group run with my running club this morning and made everyone wear green, we will be having corned beef, potatoes, and cabbage for dinner (I love it!), I will be baking up some Irish soda bread, I have lots of Irish music playing (love me Flogging Molly and the Young Dubliners), and I have myself and all of my kids decked out in lots o' GREEN.

I hope it is a fun day for you, whether you are Irish or not. More soon!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bleck

Yesterday was one of those days and it has continued on into this morning so far. As I was finishing up my run yesterday, I came up on our neighbor and friends' two year old black lab, hit and dead on the side of the road. To make it worse, as soon as I saw the dog, I saw that the school bus was just about to go past filled with the kids, including the little boy whose dog it was. So I made a show of running past the bus, waving at the kids and hopefully distracting them all, because the last thing I wanted was a bunch of kids getting heartbroken on the way to school. (It worked - none of them noticed the dog, thank goodness).

As soon as the bus was gone I went to my neighbor/friend's, thinking it was her dog (who we have taken on many a run with us and I love dearly). I was all teary-eyed  when I knocked on her door, and then a minute later her big old goofy fat Lab came out and jumped on me. I had never been so happy to see her!

I was still heartbroken to see the dog that had been hit though and even more so when we realized that it belonged to a family we love up the road (with three little boys).

On top of that (in random order) -

- One of my favorite friends and running buddies (who was supposed to be on my ultra Ragnar team in June) tore her Plantar Fascia in her foot yesterday, and is now stuck in a boot and on crutches for six weeks.

- Our basement is leaking with melting snow, and there is at least $1000 worth of damage and carpeting that needs to be replaced.

- Noah got stuck on something this morning and tore apart his feeding pump tubing, which made a totally different kind of flood and mess.

- Our checking account got screwed up and I have been on the phone trying to get a double charge taken off. Money stress is high this time of year anyway.

- a school called this morning to say one of the kids is being lazy and has poor grades in a couple of classes (not the kid you think!)

- My job = stress

All I can say is THANK GOODNESS FOR RUNNING. What do people DO who don't have that as a stress reliever????

To end on a positive note - 

An awesome friend, who didn't know I was having a bad day, sent me this this morning.  Very cool. Love you J!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Breather

Coming up for a breather from kids, work, cleaning, running, and life to get a blog post written finally. I have sat down to do this several times in the last few days and it just hasn't happened.

Since my happy, happy post about running outside, I have logged another 34 marvelous miles outside, and did a tough 12 mile work out on the treadmill (4 miles easy, 4 miles at 7:13, 1 mile at 7:03, 1 at 6:58, 1 at 6:53, 1/2 mile at 6:49, last 1/2 mile - faster).

The roads are clear and temps are staying up in the 40's during the day. There is snow and rain in the forecast for the next week and the high school track isn't clear yet, but as long as the temps stay up I should be able to get a lot of my runs done outside now. It is still quite dark at 5:00am (thank you daylight savings) but I was warm enough today that I ditched my jacket and gloves by mile 3.

Today's run (outside) was a 12 mile fartlek run. I am used to structured workouts (from Coach Ray, and because that is how I did things on my own) so at first I wasn't quite sure how to tackle it. I wanted it to be a challenging workout physically, but still fun. I ran with my IPOD and used the music to help me change up the pace. Sometimes I ran hard for a full song, sometimes I ran really hard for just a chorus, sometimes I picked out a sign or a building up ahead and sprinted to that, sometimes I sprinted down a hill, and sometimes I sprinted up the hills.  I played with pace and effort and it turned out to be a tough but really good (and fun) run.

This will be my second 85-mile week in a row and knock on wood, all is going well.

And just like that my free time is over again.

But first - as a Brooks sponsored athlete I obviously love Brooks, but I have loved Brooks since long before they sponsored me. I have always thought that their shoes and gear were superior to everything else I tried (in performance, quality, fit, and appearance), and I LOVE their motto of RUN HAPPY!

Right now Brooks is having some AWESOME "Spring Cleaning" sales on shoes and apparel.

You can find the women's closeouts here.
and the mens' closeouts here.  Lots of great stuff and great deals.


And for those of you thinking about trying the PureProject line of shoes you can read my very detailed review of the PureFlows and my adventures in finding the perfect shoes for me here. Lots of new fun colors just came in the PureProject shoes!!

Hope everyone is having a great week. More soon!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Smiles

I ran outside!!! It was 10 miles of pure heaven.

Ok, so it was only a balmy 7 degrees when I left my house at 6am and I didn't get to soak up any sun, but there was a HUGE, almost full moon lighting up everything (I seriously almost didn't even need my Knuckle Lights), the ground was completely clear of ice and snow, and it felt so, so great and free to be running outside, that I didn't even mind the single digit temps.

I enjoyed every minute and every mile, and came home with my body and soul smiling. It was just what I needed.



Friday, March 9, 2012

Killer Friday Work-Out

Happy Friday everybody! The kids have a random day off from school today so it has been a busy day, but a good day. The temps have warmed up, the sun is shining, the roads are CLEAR and I am looking at 10 miles OUTSIDE in the morning, and another 10 miles outside on Sunday. I cannot wait. :)

This morning's workout was what Coach Ray calls a "quality" work out. Indeed! I ran my 23 miler on Monday, and then had an easy six miles on Tuesday, and two easy-paced 10-milers on Wednesday and Thursday. I felt fully recovered from Monday's hard effort and ready to RUN.

The workout for this morning was 16 miles, with four miles easy, then 4 x 1 mile repeats at 6:49 (with 90 second rest intervals), then another four miles easy, then another 4 x 1 mile repeats at 6:49. It was not an easy work out, but it was "good tough".

I felt really good, I love running fast, and I thrive on the hard/tough workouts. I had strict instructions on what pace to run the repeats at (no faster) but I did sprint out the last half mile of the last repeat. Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. :)

I watched some TV on Hulu on my laptop for the first part of the workout, but for the last four mile repeats I needed to just rock out to some music. I have a few "power" running songs that I go to often, but today I was all about the "girl power" songs.

The first one was "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone.

What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over cause you're gone"

I especially love the part "makes you a fighter -foosteps even lighter". Pretty perfect for mile repeats! :)

My other girl power song is "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera.
"'Cause it
Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
Makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter

Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter"

In my head I change the "learn a little bit faster" to "RUN a little bit faster".

Some of my other go-to "power songs" are "All These Things That Ive Done" by The Killers (I've got soul but I'm not a solider... my favorite!!!), "I Wanna" by the All-American Rejects (and a bunch of their other songs),  "Take Me Back" (Van Halen, and all sorts of Van Halen), "Burn it to the Ground" by Nickelback, "How Far We've Come" by Matchbox Twenty, "Rock That Body" by Black Eyed Peas, "Sweat" by Bow Wow, "Invincible" by MGK, (I have teenagers - it's good running music!), a bunch of Mumford & Sons (love! I am an Irish gal!),  a pile of Aerosmith and Maroon 5, and a bunch of others. It's a treat for me to run with music once and awhile since I usually don't.

Now I have two easy days of recovery-paced 10 milers for the weekend, and then another long run on Monday. (I love that a 16 miler isn't even my long run of the week).

On Sunday I will have run 85 miles this week, which will be my highest weekly mileage yet, and I couldn't be happier with how I feel. I had a bit of a cold the middle of this week but it is almost completely gone now. I have been really trying to be good about getting enough rest, eating well, etc. etc. It's not easy with my life and schedule, but I am doing the best I can and it seems to be working.

And did I mention that I am running OUTSIDE tomorrow morning? Can you feel my excitement? It will be very early so I won't be soaking up any sun, but I will be off the treadmill and outside, so I will be thrilled.

Run Happy this weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Me, in words

I have seen these "Wordles" on a few different blogs lately and thought it would be fun to make one. It takes words from your blog (or any other piece of text) and then randomly puts them together and you can play with the design, colors, etc. Pretty fun! If you want to make one just click on the link above. Here is me, in words! (You can click on it to see it bigger if you'd like).


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

No spring here

Good morning! It is March 7 and IT JUST KEEPS SNOWING.  The weather is saying we are getting MORE snow today and tonight, but then should warm up this weekend and are supposed to be in the mid-40's (heat wave!!) so I am looking VERY forward to getting my weekend miles run outside.

But I thought it would be fun to get out this morning and get a couple of pictures to show you just how much snow I am talking about. :) (you can click on these to see them bigger)
Good morning from Wyoming!
These are me post-run, pre-shower. Not "pretty" yet for the day! :)
This is me in front of our house this morning. Yes, that snow is almost up to my shoulders!!!
In most of the yard, the snow is deeper than the dogs, and a couple of the kids. Poor Shorty!
I went out to the mailbox to snap a few pics. The mountains are beautiful as always (and I can't wait to be able to run up my canyon again soon). The roads however SUCK for running.


Still at the mailbox, here is a pic looking down my road the other way.
I do love the snow, but I am so ready for spring to get here (realistically though, I have a while!) How is the weather where you are? Is it spring yet?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Find your inner Superman

"Anyone can give up; it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength."
~ Christopher Reeves

I found this quote last night and I LOVE it.

This morning I ran 23 miles on the treadmill. Coach Ray gave me the goal of running it at an 8:15 pace (a minute per mile slower than goal marathon pace), which would be a total time of 3hrs 9 mins 45 sec for the run.  The time spent on my feet running was an important aspect of this work out. I was a really good girl (if I do say so myself) and resisted the urge to run faster until the last mile, when I cranked it up to 7:13  because I felt great and I like to finish fast and strong.  So I finished the 23 miles in 3hrs 8 mins and 35 seconds.

Even though it was on the treadmill, this was an awesome run. I just felt great the entire time. My legs never felt tired, crampy, or sore. The pace felt easy the whole time. I never hit a wall or felt like I couldn't finish. I just ran (and ran and ran) and enjoyed the running. I watched a little TV and a mediocre movie, and then just listened to some music.

I had to get started before 5am and between the early start and 3+ hours of running I am definitely tired, so I will resting and recovering as much as I can now the rest of the day. This will be an 85 mile week and I want to be ready for the rest of my workouts. :)

Six weeks until Boston! I am happy to say that I am feeling strong mentally and physically.

How do you find your strength?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Treadmill - torture or treasure?

I have gotten a lot of questions and comments about my treadmill running/mileage so here is a post on the topic.

(You can read about how I "accidentally" bought our treadmill here.)

Let me start by saying that I have a love-hate relationship with the treadmill. I hate it because it's miserable for me to run on. I would much, much rather run outside.  For me, the miles go by faster outside, the time goes by more quickly outside, and paces feel easier outside. When I am outside I feel like I am free. When I am running indoors the kids can still need me, the phone still rings, etc. etc. etc.

And yet I live in the Rocky Mountains, where we have snow and icy roads continually for months every year. I don't mind snow or rain or cold at all, but icy roads are a deal breaker for me. If I was able to run in the afternoons I would probably be able to get more runs done outside year round, but since I have to run very early in the morning, and in the winter it is very dark, very cold, and very icy in the mornings, it is just not safe. On the icy roads it is very tough, if not impossible, to get a good tempo run or any type of speed work done, and to me, the risk of slipping and injuring myself is not worth it with all the work I am putting in to training for Boston. So I love the treadmill because it allows me to get my runs in and my marathon training done during the winter time.

Yes, last month I ran 307 miles. From my calculations, all but 14 of those miles were on my treadmill. It's not ideal. It's not my first choice. But it gets the job done and is letting me train for Boston through a cold, icy winter. I am hoping to get at least my last month of marathon training before Boston fully outdoors. Once the ice is gone, I won't touch the treadmill again until next winter.

I do think that running outside is best (especially for me) but I do also think that the treadmill is a good and effective alternative when needed. Here are some pieces of evidence to back that up from this article about training on a treadmill for a marathon.
  • Norway's Ingrid Kristiansen at one time held the world record in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, half-marathon and marathon. She won the London Marathon four times, Boston twice and New York once. A treadmill often was her best friend.
  • Colorado's Kim Jones, twice runner-up at Boston and New York City, avoided ice-caked roads by running indoors.
  • Chris Clark, the United States' lone woman at the Sydney Olympics, who set PRs at both the Trials and the Olympic Games, did half of her training on a treadmill. "I work out in the morning on the days I go to work," says Clark, 39. "There's no way I'm going out in the cold when it's 5:30 in the morning, five degrees and pitch black."
 My friend Jill asked, "So be honest...do you ever get really sick of the treadmill? Do you have your moments when you just want to stop a run early?

Ummmmm, YES. I get very, very sick of the treadmill, especially lately when I am running high mileage in the middle of a tough marathon training schedule, and have been stuck on the treadmill for several months. I have plenty of moments where I just want to be done and stop a run early. BUT, I don't. I haven't ever - not even once. I always finish what I start, and it is important to me to do my workouts and complete my training to the best of my ability. You got to do what you got to do, right?

To keep myself from going completely nuts I usually watch movies/tv on my laptop while I run, or listen to music. If I am doing a steady paced run, it sometimes helps to cover up the screen instead of watching the mileage. (On that note, I have a 23 miler coming up this week and am desperate for some good movie ideas!)

Someone else asked about incline. I always run with the treadmill at an incline of 1 for my runs, unless I am doing hill repeats or something like that.
 
Here are a couple of pics of me on my treadmill. These are from last year.

Notice the dirty ladder? Here is what I wrote over a year ago. (The ladder is still there).

"Do you like my redneck solution for watching TV while I run on the new 'mill? My old treadmill had a book stand on it that my laptop slipped right into. It was super convenient for watching DVDs while I ran. The new treadmill doesn't have anything to hold the laptop (and it is REALLY tall). I asked Josh to come up with a solution, temporary or permanent, that would let me watch the laptop on my long treadmill runs and he was zero help. In a moment of self-proclaimed brilliance, I trudged through the snow out to the garage and dragged in the ladder. Ta da! It is the perfect height, and I can even plug the laptop into the treadmill and here my shows right over the treadmill sound system. PRETTY COOL. Josh came in and looked at the ladder and said, "You know that has like, paint and bird poop on it right?" and I said, "Yeah, but isn't it the perfect temporary solution? Aren't I brilliant?" and he laughed and said, "YOU, who can't stand dirt or mess is ok with a dirty ladder in the play room?" So I shot him a look and told him to get to building a shelf. Until then, the dirty ladder stays."



Do you run on a treadmill?  If yes, do you do so by choice or by necessity? Do you love it or hate it? Ever trained for a marathon mostly indoors?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Humbled

Wow - that is all I really can say! I am totally humbled and very touched (even a little embarrassed) by all of your comments on my last post. I was really just speechless as the flow of support and kindness started flowing in shortly after the post went up. THANK YOU to all of you for your kind words, encouragement, and support. Thank you for all the smiles.  The response to that post was exactly what I meant when I said, "Becoming a member of the online running community, making so many fun connections, meeting so many great people, and finding so much support was a very unexpected bonus. So for me, putting myself "out there", and writing this blog is well worth it. And thanks so much to all of you who make it that way."

So again, thank you!

Next - Can you believe it is March 1?? March has always been one of my favorite months. It is my birthday month (and my brother and sister both have March birthdays too - growing up it was like Christmas all over again). I LOVE St. Patrick's Day (Erin Go Bragh!). I love spring (even though it rarely gets very spring-like here in the Rocky Mountains in March). And usually in March I am able to switch most of my running to OUTSIDE. I can't wait to be getting all my miles done outside again.

February was a very good month though. I hit an all-time high monthly mileage - 307 miles! That is a lot of freaking treadmill.  My training has been super consistent - I have not missed a single run/work-out, and I have been hitting all of my paces as Coach Ray has assigned (fast and slow).

Josh is gone for four days for indoor state track and my to-do list is LONG. Bills, taxes, grocery shopping, Noah paperwork, a bunch of errands, and of course all the usual stuff I do (work, laundry, cooking, cleaning, homework, Noah care, kid stuff, etc. etc. etc.) I did make a lot of progress this morning which makes me relax a little. The kids are all great too and they are all doing well in school and activities. So nothing to complain about - just busy.

Here is an awesome quote that an awesome friend sent me yesterday. :)



Time to get back to business for now. More soon.