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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

50k training: week 4

It's been over 2 weeks since I've had a successful run. I'm not even going to depress myself by calculating the mileage I've missed. 

The knee is not better. Participating in the 50k is becoming less and less of a reality. I'm sad and frustrated. 

I've made an appointment with an Orthopedic doctor and I'm hoping he will be able to shed some light on the problem and get me back on the road.

I just want to run again. 

No Outlet

Running is my stress relief. It provides me with the opportunity to walk (or run) away from life's frustration, anxiety, sadness, and disappointment.

So what do I do when I can't run?

Wallow. Seethe. Cry. Lash out. Pout.

I don't even want to be near me.

It's like being on a taper multiplied by a 100. Or day 2 of a caffeine detox. Or when you've been visiting family for over 4 weeks, have slept in 5 different places, and haven't been able to run in over a week. Oh wait; that's exactly what's happening to me.

Not being able to run, especially in some of my favorite places, has been harder then I had imagined. It's almost painful to see other runners sweating, breathing hard, and enjoying their runs when I'm stuck in civilian clothes and only sweating because its hot. 

Life is hard and it's harder when you have no outlet. Dear knee. please hurry up and heal. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

50k Training: week 3


2 miles. That's all I ran this week. It wasn't even a full 2 miles, it was more of a ridiculous fast walk where I grimaced and clenched my teeth the whole time.

My knee is better but still not 100%. We've been on vacation so I haven't been able to go see a Doctor so I've been icing it and resting it as much as a mother of 2 on vacation can rest.

I'm not going to lie, I'm not really handling this well. It's been awhile since I've taken this much time off and to do it during training isn't sitting well. Thinking about all the miles I'm missing and the days disappearing - ugh.

I keep trying to remind myself that I went into training with a good base already established. That this is just a setback and everything will be fine. Then I imagine the giant woods on the giant mountain that I'm supposed to run in and my stomach drops. Under the best circumstances I was going to be out of my element; missing a week or more is just frightening.

All I can do is wait it out and hope it gets better soon. I'm not sure what I'm going to do if it doesn't. 

Week 4

Mon: 0    Tues: 2    Wed: 4    Thurs: 6    Fri: 0    Sat: 14    Sun: 8    Total: 34

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

knee drama

As I mentioned in my 50k training: week 2 post I did something funky to my knee.

On Saturday, I ran 10 miles and then walked around the island of Manhattan for hours. As I walked down the steps leaving the High Line, I put my left foot down and immediately felt a painful twinge in my knee. It got worse as the day progressed and by bedtime I couldn't bend my knee at all. 

It was noticeably swollen the next day and I began to wonder if I had banged it and the stress of a long run and walking was just too much. 

I have missed 2 runs, or 8 miles, because of this ridiculousness. I'm trying hard to remember that I have a good mileage base and resting now ensures I'll be healthy to run later. But it's hard to keep things in perspective when your training schedule keeps moving forward and you're standing (or sitting) still.

Today it's better but still not a 100%. I'm hanging out in a recliner, watching cartoons with my kids, only getting up to switch ice packs. It helps that we're in the middle of a heat wave so I don't feel as guilty for being lazy, oh, I mean resting.

Hoping against hope my scheduled 2 miles happens tomorrow... 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

50k Training: week 2

Week 2 and already we have a hiccup. I did something to my knee. I'm not sure what: one minute it was fine and the next it wasn't. Now it hurts to bend it - I'm walking down stairs like a robot. 

I'm making the aggravating decision to skip today's 6 miles. I normally have Mondays off so I'm hoping 2 days of rest and ice will take care of whatever this is because I refuse to be sidelined with a ridiculous, out of nowhere injury.

I've also been struggling with tight Achilles tendons. This happens from time to time but seems particularly worse this time around. Yesterday's 10 mile run was downright horrible for the first 5 miles, even after I stopped two or three times to stretch them out. I think the hilly terrain I've been running this last week or so hasn't helped the situation.  

Tues: 4 / I was scheduled to run 2 but it was overcast and there was a cool breeze so 2 turned into 4. I ended that run with a smile on my face.

Wed: 4 / We were visiting my Dad and he wanted to take the kids to the Crayola Experience so I switched Wednesday & Thursday's run and ran 4 on the trails. Another run that ended with a smile.

Thurs: 2 / This run can be summed up in one word: painful. My husband said that the grimace on my face was actually scaring him. My Achilles were burning and were so tight that I wasn't sure I'd even be able to finish the run. There was a lot of stretching going on after that run.

Sat: 10 / It's easy to achieve negative splits when the first half of your run BLOWS HUGE CHUNKS. Between the humidity and the lower half of my legs, I seriously considered laying down in the fetal position and never getting up again.  Thankfully, some Gu Chomps, a visit to the bathroom, and some more stretching led to a much better second half.

Week 3

Mon: 0    Tues: 2    Wed: 2    Thurs: 4    Fri: 0    Sat: 12    Sun: 8    Total: 28
Clove Lakes Park  photo source

Silver Lake Park photo source

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Product Review: Simple Hydration bottle

Simple Hydration Bottle
photo courtesy of Simple Hydration 

I asked my husband, Seth, to write a review of the Simple Hydration bottle because I'm still too pooped from my first ever back to back long runs. He kindly obliged. Enjoy! 

For her birthday, my wife received a Simple water bottle. Simple was running a special whereby if you bought one water bottle, you got a second at a discount - as a result, I ended up with one. I already have a FuelBelt and a Nathan 20oz handheld bottle, and didn't need another water bottle. Nevertheless, Simple advertises itself as being able to be shoved into your pocket or waistbelt - making it a combo handheld/belt bottle - so I decided to give it a shot.

I used the Simple for the first time on an 11-mile run over some serious hills in addition to my FuelBelt. I figured that even if it was a complete bust, I'd have fluid backup. 

The Simple worked fantastically. It fit right into the back of my running shorts, and never shifted. This, despite the fact that I removed and replaced it several times over the course of my first 6 miles. Once it was empty, it stayed right in place. For the first mile, having something down the back of my shorts took some getting used to, but after that, I hardly noticed it at all. 

When I first saw the bottle, I was worried that it would slowly shift up by back and fall out somewhere - at no point in my 11 miles did it shift at all, either when it was full of water, or empty. When I was carrying it, the ergomatic grip made it easy to hold on to. The bottle holds 13oz, which means that it wasn't too heavy to hold on to for extended periods of time. The cap is plastic - not rubber - but that didn't seem to cause any problems shooting water down my throat.

Since the bottle holds 13oz, it is useful on its own for shorter distances in the heat of summer, but - as I experienced - it can easily be used to supplement other hydration systems.

On the negative side, the water didn't remain cool at all, and was rather warm when I drank it - but it is unfair to expect anything else from a water bottle that was stored in the back of my waistband for nearly an hour in 80+ degree weather. It also did not have - like my Nathan bottle has - any storage, but - again - I plan to use this bottle on shorter runs or as a supplement when I have other storage options. In fact, using the zip-pocket on a handheld can increase the weight of the bottle, making it uncomfortable to haul any significant distance.

I plan to use this Simple bottle on all of my shorter runs (or at least those where I feel the need for mid-run hydration) and as the first option on my long runs in combination with the FuelBelt. I hope that the plastic cap holds up to repeated use - if it does, this may become my most used bottle of choice.

*There has been no compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are our own* 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Profiles of Inspirational Women: Randi Owens

I first met Randi in 2012, at her first 5k, a race we were running in to help friends raise money for an international adoption. I was immediately struck by her determination and desire to get healthy and change her life. She is the perfect example of how running can be the catalyst for monumental change. 

What is your story and why did you decide to start running?

This is me back before I started taking care of my body. I didn't realize just how far I had allowed myself to go downhill. I have struggled with my weight since my early teen years, but this was at the peak of my weight. I would see people running on the side of the road, and I would wish that I could be one of them. I just didn't know how to start... I would try to run, but after 30 seconds I would be so winded that I would have to stop. I was not really happy with where I was, but I didn't change it either. However, during one season of the Biggest Loser in 2009, my oldest sister and I, and a few friends, decided to have our own Biggest Loser challenge and the person who had the highest percentage of weight loss would win the money at the end of the 10 weeks. That's when I lost about 60 pounds! But once the challenge was over I gained about 30 back. I didn't know what I was going to do to motivate myself to lose weight again.
You're probably wondering where the running comes in, January 2012 my friend, Maggie, asked me to run a 5k that would take place March 17, 2012. I decided, why not? I've always wanted to be a runner, and I need something to motivate me to do it, so I signed up, bought a pair of running shoes, and started training. I didn't have any idea what to do really, I would just go out, run as far as I could, then walk some, then run, then walk... Over the next few weeks my running built up, but not as quickly as I would have liked. But I kept going because I could see a change in my body. I was also going to another friend's house for personal training 2 days a week. I have never regretted the decision to sign up for my first 5k, the only thing I regret is that it took me so long to become a runner!
How has running changed your life? Running has given me a new confidence in myself. I know I am not the fastest runner, I have days, weeks, months when I just don't want to lace up the shoes and hit the pavement... but my body hates me for it and craves it... I know that sounds weird, but it really does! I love the feeling of pushing myself, and setting goals and meeting them.
What obstacles have you faced? I moved to Viet Nam for 8 weeks (April 17-June 12)... I continued to run, but there were no hills and Ho Chi Minh City is at sea level, so when I got back to SC I have noticed that I am really having to work harder to keep up the pace, and to be able to run hills. I know that it will come back to me with training, but it has caused me to miss PRs in races since I've been back.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting on their running journey? NEVER GIVE UP! I know that sounds cliche and all, but it's true. I went a month without running, but during that month I kept telling myself to get back out there... I did, eventually! Running may seem like something you may never be able to do, but believe me, if I can do it, you can too! 
Practical advice: Get a good pair of running shoes!!! No joke! It's the most important part of your running wardrobe! Bad shoes can cause foot problems, knee problems, and/or make you not want to run. Go to a running store and let the people there fit you for a running shoe. Good running shoes aren't cheap, but they are worth it!!!
What are some of your goals?
This year... 
Run a sub 40 5k.
Run a 5k without any walking breaks.
Run 13 races. (I have done 6 already!)

Long term...
Run a Marathon before 27/7/2015 (to celebrate turning 30, but before I turn 31).
Run a race, marathon or half-marathon, on every continent... okay, maybe not Antarctica! 
Do a triathlon!

After Randi's first half-marathon (Jan 19, 2013)
photo courtesy of Randi Owens

Sunday, July 7, 2013

50k Training: week 1

I knew when I signed up for this race that I would have to train for it during the summer. In April, though, it's hard to remember that running in 80+ degree weather sucks. I got a reprieve for the first half of the week: while all my friends were complaining about the humidity, I was running in cooler, rainy Eastern Ohio. 

Well, now I'm not in Ohio anymore and it is HOT OUT THERE. As in I start sweating on the way to the car not to mention how much I sweat when I'm actually running. Yesterday, I was able to get the bulk of the miles in before the sun really started to cook the Earth. That was not the case for today's run. oh baby. Even the mosquitoes were grossed out by my extra sweaty self.     

Tues: 3 miles w/ Seth. I was scheduled to run 2 but I couldn't reconcile getting up early and getting dressed to only run 2 miles.  

Wed: 2 miles / I'm on vacation which means I eat way more then I should and I eat things that are not nice to my colon. Bad colon day. (I have mild ulcerative colitis that I take medication for).  

Thurs: 4 mile race / Seth paced me to a PR!  

Sat: 8 miles / this run can be summed up in three words: hills, hills, hills.

views from the trail
Sun: 6 trail miles / Seth ran before me this morning so I didn't get out until 10 or so. I planned on running a trail system by my Dad's house so that I could take advantage of the shade. Even though it was like a million degrees it was such a beautiful and peaceful place to run. A nice way to end my first week of training.  

trees blocking the path - I climbed over them

Week 2 Schedule

Mon: 0    Tue: 2    Wed: 2    Thurs: 4    Fri: 0    Sat: 10    Sun: 6    Total: 24

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Did you know I love avocados & I don't drink enough water?

In my quest to share more of myself with you, my fabulous readers, I am participating in a fitness survey link up with Sara from She Cooks, She Crafts, She Runs. Read on dear friends.

1. What did you eat for breakfast? 
Right now I'm all about the smoothies. Green, fruity, with juice, not with juice. I like them all. It's smoothie madness at my house.

2. How much water do you drink a day? 
Not nearly as much as I should. I try to finish at least 1 Nalgene, which is 32 oz, a day. On a super duper good day I'll finish 2. This does not count liquids I consume while running because I figure I lose all that through sweat

3. What is your current favorite workout? I run. Although recently I've started strength training and have been enjoying it. I am currently broken up with yoga (not it's fault but mine) and am hoping to reconcile soon.

4. How many calories do you eat a day? oh goodness. I have no idea. Too many probably.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks? anything with hummus. I love avocados and will use any excuse to eat one. I adore fruit. I use graze, which is a home delivery company, to keep me on track. 

6. What do you usually eat for lunch? It depends on what I have in the house and how motivated I am to make something. I do tuna w/ avocado regularly and egg sandwiches with spinach and cheese. Pinterest is great for healthy, easy lunch options.

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train? Arms. Running takes care of my legs.

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train? Arms. It's a love/hate kind of thing.

9. What are your “bad” food cravings? Cookies. Ice Cream. Chocolate. Sugary coffee specialty drinks. French fries.

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements? Yes. I take a daily vitamin, vitamin C in the winter, and glucosamine when I can remember. 

11. How often do you eat out? During the school year not very often - once a week maybe? During the summer, we tend to eat out for lunch more often.

12. Do you eat fast food? Yes *hides face in shame* Not as much as some but more then I'd like. I'm working on it.

13. Who is your biggest supporter? My husband. The poor man has sat on more sidelines and driven me to more races then I can count. He is a keeper.

14. Do you have a gym membership? Yes.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? 5-6 maybe? Stinking Netflix sucks me and I can't get off the couch.

16. Do you have a “cheat” day? If I've been good during the week I'll usually let go a little on Saturdays after my long runs.

17. Do you drink alcohol? No.

18. Do you have a workout buddy? I try to meet a friend at the gym once or twice a week and I run with another friend once a week.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle? I can fit into my clothes :)

20. What was the last healthy thing you did? Went out for a run. 

21. What are your favorite shoes to work out in? Right now I'm wearing Altra Zero Drops for running and a retired pair of Asics for the gym.

22.  Photo of your favorite workout outfit. Nike hat, BCG tank, Nike compression shorts, Puma socks, and Altra Zero Drop sneakers.

A BIG thanks to Sara for the opportunity to share a little bit more about myself. Check out what Sara and others had to share about themselves at She cooks, She crafts, She Runs Fitness Survey Linkup!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


This morning I went for a short run with my husband. The alarm went off at 6:46. We got up at 6:52. We didn't leave until 7:24.

It was another laser eye beam situation.

It takes me approximately 10 minutes to get ready for a run. I roll out of bed. I go to the bathroom and get dressed. Sports bra. Top. Shorts. Socks. Hat. I head down the hallway to where my sneakers are waiting by the door. I put my Garmin on the porch to find a signal, put on my shoes, attach my iPod, and I'm out the door. 

10 minutes. 12 minutes if I'm feeling lazy.

There is no dilly dallying.

This morning, as I was waiting for him to finish stretching, I realized that running with others, like most things in life, requires patience. If I'm going to accept an offer to run with someone I need to be prepared to deal with everything that entails, even if it drives me batty.

Thank you, running, for making me a better wife. Goodness knows I need the help.

Does your significant other or running partner have a pre-run ritual that is different from yours? Does it drives you nuts?

Monday, July 1, 2013

birthdays and ultramarathons

we started eating birthday cake last night - don't judge.
It has arrived.


The month of my nativity and the start of 50k training!

I'm turning 32 this month and I couldn't be more excited. I'm in the best shape of my life, posting faster times, and generally pleased with where I am in my life. I'm looking forward to another year of great running and experiencing everything God has in store for me.

As you know, I am scheduled to run my first 50k on Sept, 28th. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. I'm definitely nervous but also excited about this new challenge. I love the start of training, for any race, and this time is no exception. I officially start tomorrow but I thought I would share my schedule for the week. I'm hoping to make it a priority to do weekly updates; to let you know how I'm doing and for you to share any wisdom and advice you might have.

The training schedule I'm using was given to me by an experienced ultramarathoner friend. I decided to use it because it focuses on mileage, no speed work on a track. I'm not a huge fan of track workouts and with two young kids its hard to find the time. I would rather go out for a quick few miles then run around a track. Also, this race is a trail race so I have NO finish time in mind. I just want to finish - plain and simple. I expect my times through the checkpoints to be slower then they normally would and I'm thinking about not even bringing my watch.

So here's the schedule for the week of July 1st. After coming off a 36 mile week, this week seems like a piece of cake. I have to remind myself that in a few weeks I'll be wishing for a week like this.

Wk of      M     T     W    Th     F     S    Su      Total
Jul 1 0 2 2 2 0     8     6   20

Are you training for a fall race? Is it a distance you haven't tackled before? Tell me all about it!