Sunday, August 31, 2008

Weekend hills.

The longish run was not so long (5.6miles), but it was extra hilly. Ever since my big "Aha!" with the arms, I've been pumping them hard up the hills and the difference it has made to my runs has been significant. I've always enjoyed my hills and now the enjoyment is kinda outta hand. Good thing I live smack-dab in the middle of Hillville*.

I came home, stretched, showered, did some work and then headed outside to weed. What I really felt like doing, however, was a little of this:

Or even a little of this:
But I was productive instead.

Unlike Chili.

*Not, like, for real. It's just v. hilly here. That's all.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pushing on.

This is big: I'm moving on to Week 5 in the 100 push up challenge.

It's been a long time coming, since I've been stuck on Week 4 for about 4 weeks. After finishing another go-round of Week 4 yesterday, I decided that I would try the exhaustion test today and move on if I was able to do the required 31 push ups. Lucky me. I did 38.


Yeah, I did. So, that means I am moving on. Week 5 -- here I come!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The new look.

The blue just wasn't doing it for me anymore. So, as you can see, I've gone light with the white. It's more my style. The blue was too . . . blue.

Yeah. What fun you can have on the Internet!

Right. I have a longish run on tap for Sunday, but not much else on the agenda. I hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rest up!

Today's theme for Take it and Run Thursday is Run. Rest and Recover. Repeat.

They want to know our magic formulas for resting. And recovering.

Well. I have no magic formula. I rest. That's it.

Honestly. My rest days are rest days. I have no problem taking days off -- especially after a race or a hard run. My goal is to run for as many years as possible and so I figure a little rest now will allow me to do that.

When I run, I really run. I have no problem running hard. But when I need to rest, I'll put my feet up. I'll steer clear of high heels. I'll treat easy runs like easy runs (something, I know, is tough to do but you learn your lessons as you age . . . ), or I'll go for a walk instead of a run. The resting makes the running better.

Now, even with all that resting, there are times when I need to recover. So, I do have a few tips for you. They are simple, but they work for me. I hope that maybe they will work for you, too:

  1. The Stick. I swear by The Stick. I use it before runs to warm up and after tough workouts to roll out the achy spots, and those areas prone to injury. I really do believe that The Stick helps me recover.
  2. Vitamin C. I make a beeline for the orange slices after races. Day in and day out, I eat a ton of dried cranberries. I loooooove dried cranberries!
  3. Protein. After races or hard workouts, I tend to eat a little more protein than usual. But I don't go crazy.
  4. Feet up. I've said it before, I'll say it again: I'm not afraid to put my feet up when the situation calls for it! Resting my dogs completely helps me recover more quickly.
Hmm . . . I guess that's it. Not too many tips today, but that's probably because the key to recovery for me is rest. And the key to resting is actually doing it -- not sneaking in some fartleks when you're supposed to be out on an easy jog, not heading out for a run when you need to take the day completely off.

Yup, that's it. Rest up, my friends!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

OK, Jackie, you've won me over.

I haven't been cross-training much. As in, other than the push-up challenge and some walks, I'm not cross training at all.

Until tonight.

I turned on Exercise TV on-demand to do a non-running workout. I flicked through the offerings and settled on Jackie Warner's One-on-One Lower Body workout. It was awesome! So awesome that I followed it up with her Upper Body workout. Again, awesome. The workouts are from her DVD: One-On-One Training with Jackie, which I have decided I really need. The workouts were quick and tough. There were several moves that I had never done before and as soon as they were over, I was really feeling it. Right now? As I'm typing? My arms are TIIIIIIRED. But good tired.

Ah, yes. Cross-training will now be a priority. Second to running, of course :-)


The ITB and ham are still feeling good! I took them out for another run last night and they ran strong. This morning, we're still good. Talk about relief!

But, I think I learned something yesterday. It's called pumping your arms when you run. Did I somehow miss the lesson on really using your arms when you run up a hill? Has this always been the thing I should have been doing?

Seems like it.

I was heading up a big hill yesterday when I just started to pump my arms -- really work them, not like how I normally run. As soon as I did, everything changed. I was running faster with what seemed like less effort. Of course, the effort was still there but it had shifted from my legs to my arms. So, by engaging my arms more, my legs had less work to do.

Wow. I couldn't believe what a difference it made in my run. What's more, I couldn't believe I had been letting my arms get off so easy, for so long. Well, no longer. These arms having been pushing me up for a good 8 weeks now, so they should have the strength to contribute to a run. I'm going to use that strength from now on!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Is this totally geeky?

So, I mentioned that I was out of town for a few days. This meant that with all the family action, I missed the last days of the Olympics (Thurs -- Sun). I knew this was going to happen before we left, so I made sure to DVR the coverage from Friday and Saturday evenings.

I've been watching it since I got home.

Sunday night, it was the men's marathon and the men's and women's 4x400 relays. Last night, the men's 800 and 5000. Tonight? Not sure -- I think there are a few events from Friday's coverage that I still have to watch.

Yes. I am keeping these Olympics going.

In other (non) news, I was back to running yesterday and feeling really good. I've been hampered by my right hamstring and left ITB, as well as all the family events we've had going on. But yesterday I was back! No soreness at all with the hammie or ITB. What a good start to the week!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Something has been missing.

While I haven't been running much in the past few days, it is with good reason. I have been chasing after my toddler almost (it seems to me) non-stop. I'm just plain beat.

We've been out of town since Thursday: We had my brother-in-law's wedding, to which kids were invited to the rehearsal dinner, the wedding ceremony and the reception. So, what does that mean to a mom of a toddler who looooooves to run around? Ah, yes. Chasing.

And chase I did. The Little Jobber is all action, especially when over-tired, over-sugared and over-stimulated.

Today, though, he is catching up on his rest and I will be catching up on my running. I've missed it!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Middle Miles Syndrome

The middle miles get very little respect.

The don't have the glory of the end miles, when you might be inclined to speed up and finish strong. Or when you can finally say to yourself, "I rock. I just ran 3 (or 5, 8, 10, 26.2 . . . ) miles!"

Nor do the middle miles have the freshness of the first miles, when you are so happy to be out there running and you feel proud of yourself for getting out the door.

Nope, the middle miles are neither your beginning nor your end. They are the miles you might slog through, the miles that might make you want to stop.

But they can also be the miles that make you a better, stronger, happier runner.

Today, the Runners' Lounge Take it and Run Thursday theme is how to handle the middle miles. My suggestion is to give those miles the respect they deserve. Don't ignore them in favor of the first or last miles. The middle miles are where it happens! Respect them and they will respect you back.

So, what to do?

Plan a route that takes you past great scenery at the middle of your run. Hide a cold drink at the half-way mark of your long run and actually pause to enjoy that treat when you get there. Think of the middle miles as carrying you from point A to point B, with many twists, turns and hills along the way.

If you find yourself trudging along in the middle miles, wanting to cut your run short, slow down. Take some of those middle miles as rest miles. Walk -- it's not going to kill you if you don't run every inch of every mile. Or, conversely, speed up! Sometimes you simply need to shake up your pace, to do something different.

Most important, in my mind, is to understand that the middle miles are the miles that get you where you need to go. Whether where you need to go is out for an easy 3-miler, or through a months-long training for a marathon. You run the middle miles to increase your distance, your strength, your endurance.

So, respect those miles. Treat them well. Love them for what they are!

Monday, August 18, 2008

You're only as old as you think you are.

It's old news, I know, but can we just talk about the women's marathon for a minute?

As disappointed as I was for Deena Kastor (who broke her foot and dropped out a few miles in to the race), I was all kinds of impressed by Constantina Tomescu-Dita. I could really relate to her. After all, she's a 38 year old mom. So, basically, we're like the same person. Except that she's Romanian. And a world-class runner capable of cranking out 26.2 miles in less than 2-1/2 hours.

Right, so we're not all that similar.

But, she proved that a 38 year old mom can triumph, can be the Olympic champion. And I think that is awesome. You don't have to stop competing just because you get to be a certain age. Constantina, Dara Torres and Oksana Chusovitina have all shown that. I'm sure there are others, those are just the three I've watched and rooted for.

I've heard it said that you're only as old as you think you are. It is so true. When I'm out there running, I don't feel old. I feel like a kid. Sure, a kid with occasionally sore hamstrings and ITBs, but a kid nevertheless. OK, a young adult.

But, you get the point.

For me, running and being active keeps me feeling young. The "older" Olympic champions show me that, as Dara Torres said after the 4x100 free relay, "You don't have to put an age limit on your dreams."

Hear, hear.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I feel like Yogi Berra.

I've been repeating Week 4 of the push up challenge. For the third time. It's deja vu all over again!

I swear, though, I am getting better at these push ups -- I just can't seem to get good enough to move on the Week 5. Someday . . .

In the meantime, I will be cheering ever so hard for Deena Kastor tomorrow night as she goes for her second Olympics medal in the women's marathon. And right now? I'm setting up to watch the women's 10,000 meters finals at 10:45 this morning. It's all track and field for the next few days and I'm v. excited!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Feet, feet, feet!

This week at the Runners' Lounge Take it and Run Thursday, it's all about feet.

Oh, how I can talk about feet . . .

Being a runner means that I have some less than attractive feet. I mean, they're fine. It's not like people have to avert their eyes quickly after catching a glimpse of them. But, they just aren't the prettiest feet going. I have a bunion on my right foot, which has been a nagging problem for about 15 years, but has never been bad enough to do anything serious about. And I have toenails that are often black, in the process of falling off or just starting to grow back after having fallen off. So, really, not the most attractive feet.

Yesterday, one of my left toenails fell off. Don't worry, it didn't hurt. And it doesn't freak me out anymore. I'm used to it.

On Tuesday, I ran into some hamstring trouble, which I now believe was the result of a bunion flare-up. The bunion was causing some pain, so I'm sure I altered my stride and now I'm paying the price in the form of a sore hammie (both the ham and the bunion are feeling significantly better today, though).

Anyway, with healthy, injury-free feet being integral for running success, I've learned a few things along the way to keep my feet feeling as good as possible:

  • Wear the right running shoes for your running style, and make sure they fit. I've made the mistake of squeezing into too-small sneaks and, believe me, it is no good.
  • Don't walk around barefoot or in slippers. I wear Birkenstocks around the house, to fully support my arch and let my toes move about freely.
  • If you have a bunion, take steps to minimize the pain as frequently as possible. I do big-toe adductors and toe extensors, two exercises I picked up from Runner's World. They work.
  • Keep your feet and calves well-stretched. And massaged. I give my feet a nice rub-down when they need it and it really helps!
Now, one thing I haven't figured out is how to change the fate of my toenails. I've tried many different things, without much success, so I've mostly written the problem off to something I'll just have to live with.

Of course, I'm very open to tips and suggestions on the toenail thing if you have them!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What the heck, Hammie?

My hamstring is acting out.

It's the right one. Always the right one.

We've been getting along fine for months and now this. I took it out for an extra hilly, slightly hard, longish run on Sunday. I treated it to a rest day yesterday. Now, though, it's all fired up. It's sore. Tender. Needs attention. So, I'll give it the love it deserves -- some massaging, lots of ice, a little ibuprofen, even a dose of peanut butter.

With any luck Hammie will calm down soon and we'll be all made up in no time.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Those dudes rock.

Especially that Lezak. What a closer.

Did you watch the men's 400-meter freestyle relay last night? I know it was on late but it was AWESOME! So awesome. It was as exciting as it gets -- total Olympics moment.

Yes. I have been glued to the TV for prime-time Olympics coverage. My DVR is getting a workout. And will continue to do so for the next two weeks. Oh, Olympics, I love you!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I admit it. I am a chicken.

For all my talk about feeling confident that I won't get a migraine after my hard, hot runs since I've been employing all the good tips people have shared with me, I'm really a chicken.

I was supposed to run a 5k today, with the goal of finishing under 24 minutes. But, I just couldn't get myself to do it. Deep down, I think I was nervous that I would run hard and finish with a debilitating headache and that would ruin the rest of the day.

So, I set out for a nice 6 mile run instead and I enjoyed it. And now, I'm looking toward a different 5k at the beginning of September. The weather should be cooler and I should be less of a chicken by then.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Only six.

It's Thursday, so it's time for the Runners' Lounge Take it and Run Thursday. This week's theme: Write your running memoir in just six words.

Running on and off. Now on.

That pretty much sums up my running since I started back in college. I played lacrosse, which meant I ran during the season but that was about it. Then I went to London and, are you kidding me? Do you think I ran there? No. I ate.

After London, I moved to NYC and was busy finding happy hour specials and proving myself as a competent publishing professional. I ran some, here and there. But not with any regularity.

Then I met Owen, we got married (nine years ago TODAY!), moved upstate and I became a runner.

I ran consistently. I became better at it. I started to train for races, rather than just deciding to run them on a whim. I set goals. I met them and set new ones. I fell in love with running.

Since becoming a runner, I've run dozens of 5ks, some 10ks and 15ks and a marathon. I've logged many, many miles and, as I have, I've developed into a better, stronger, more self-aware runner. Now, as a 38-year old mom of a v. active toddler, running keeps me fit and helps me handle stress.

My six word hope for my running future (my future memoir?) and, honestly, for all of you runners out there is this:

Keep on running. Strong and happy.

Day 1 of Week 4, Day 3. Huh?

I'm still slogging away with the push ups.

Today was Week 4, Day 3: 25/19/19/17/27, for a total of 107 push ups. Since I gave up completing a week in one try, I'll repeat today's routine on Friday and move on to Week 5 on Monday. Taking two weeks to complete one week by doing each day twice (sounds more confusing than it is), is working for me. It's less stress.

I'm all about less stress.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I am an Olympics addict.

I have been jonesing for these Olympics for, I don't know, about four years. And now it is four days away. Oooooh, I can't wait.

I love it ALL. The track and field, obviously, but also the swimming, gymnastics, rowing, diving, even the trampoline! I would watch every second of it, if I could. I really get into it.

For two weeks, this happy runner will be one happy tv-watcher. Bring it on, NBC!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Let's over-do it, shall we?

I couldn't run on Friday so I decided to take this advice and do some squats. Only I didn't have a stop watch so I decided to do two sets of 50 squats. And this, after not being much of a squatter lately.

Two days later, my butt still has not forgiven me.

I don't blame it. It was silly to do all of those squats. But, what's done is done and it's time for us all to just get over it and move on. So, move on we shall . . .

I had two really good runs this weekend: a 4.6 miler yesterday (with some speedy (for me) hill repeats at the end) and 4.1 today. And, I switched over to my new Brooks so I am now running with a little extra pep!

Yeah. Peppy legs, sore butt. Nice combination.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend --

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