Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Just a quote for today:

"You are better than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can."

-- Ken Chlouber, race director of the Leadville Trail 100
Whether you are a runner or not, this quote applies to you.

~ Felice

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The week and month ahead.

This is my last week of training for my 5K PR. That's right, folks. At long last, the race that I've been going on (and on and on) about for the past six weeks is almost here. On Saturday we'll know whether I'm really a strong muthah runnah, or whether I've just been playing one here on the Internets.

Cross your fingers for the former!

Here's my schedule for this week:

Mon: rest
Tues: easy 4m
Wed: warm-up, 30 min tempo @ 8min pace, cool-down (about 5 or so)
Thurs: easy 2m
Fri: rest
Sat: RUNNING A 5K PR!!!!
Sun: recovery 4m

Total: about 20

And that's all I can do. I'll make this week count and hope that my hard work pays off on Saturday.

Then, I'll look ahead, which I've actually already been doing. I am planning to run a 15K on November 8th and I may run another 5K on October 25th. I haven't done a 15K in a few years so it will be fun to finally run another one. I don't think the distance will be too much of a problem for me because my Sunday "long" runs have been 6-7 miles so adding on a few after the 5K should be easy enough.

My best 15K time is 1:15:16, a bit over 8min/mile, and I'd like to get that down to under 1:15 -- preferably 1:14:30 or better. So once I'm done with Saturday's 5K, I'll put together a plan for the 15K. I'm already getting excited for that race!

~ Felice

PS: RunToTheFinish is having a salsa giveaway. Check it out here!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Running away from the sickies.

I am very happy to report that the illness that settled in with Owen and Conal did not visit me. And for that, my friends, I credit the run above all else.

Take a look at this article from the NIH that explains the positive relationship between exercise and immunity. It's pretty interesting and something that I've felt for a long time. I remember reading something (either his book or an article) by Benjamin Cheever where he stated that he believes that running keeps him healthy because it "boils the blood."

It sounds weird but it's similar to one of the theories from the NIH study on why exercise helps you ward of simple bacterial and viral infections. The NIH researchers theorize that "the temporary rise in body temperature may inhibit bacterial growth, allowing the body to fight the infection more effectively. (This is similar to what happens when the body has a fever.)" The other theories for how exercise boosts your immunity include (all taken from the NIH site):

  • Physical activity may help by flushing bacteria out from the lungs (thus decreasing the chance of a cold, flu, or other airborne illness) and may flush out cancer-causing cells (carcinogens) by increasing output of wastes, such as urine and sweat.
  • Exercise sends antibodies and white blood cells (the body's defense cells) through the body at a quicker rate. As these antibodies or white blood cells circulate more rapidly, they could detect illnesses earlier than they might normally. The increased rate of circulating blood may also trigger the release of hormones that "warn" immune cells of intruding bacteria or viruses. . .
  • Exercise slows down the release of stress-related hormones. Stress increases the chance of illness, so physical activity could reverse this factor.
I'm a believer!

Whether it's the rise in body temperature, the flushing out of the lungs, the increased antibodies and white blood cells or the reduction in stress-related hormones, running does the trick.

Here's my proof. Owen's been sidelined by an injury recently so he hasn't been able to work out much. He was hit hardest by the illness. Conal, on the other hand, is a pretty active little guy. But, being a toddler, he's germy. So, while he caught whatever Owen had it only lasted a day and it seems that his fever burned it away. Boiled the blood.

I, on the other hand (and knock on wood . . . ) didn't get sick. I'm a runner. I'm not an over-the-top runner, though, just a regular ol', regular ol' runner. And that it what I believe has protected me: Running. Surrounded by Owen's and Conal's germs, I escaped via the run.

Thank you, running. Thank you very much! Now, please, can you keep me healthy for the rest of the year? Great!

Please don't think I'm a nut job -- like I said in my last post, I'm taking in lots of vitamin C and D, and washing my hands, too. Both of those things may have a little to do with not getting sick, I know. But, really, can you blame me for wanting to credit running? And would I be wrong? I doubt it!

As a result of not getting sick, I had two great runs this weekend. On Saturday I went for a 5-mile fartlek run. On Sunday, after a night of mojitos and laughs with friends, I went for a 7-miler. It was hilly but I felt so strong! It was really a great way to end the week.

Happy Monday, everyone!

~ Felice

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stay away, sickness. And a POMx Tea review.

It's a mishmash this Friday!

First, my Friday review. Janny at POM Wonderful recently sent me a selection of POMx Teas to review. After reviewing the regular POM pomegranate juice a while back, I was looking forward to trying out the teas. I was sent four bottles to try:

Pomegranate Blackberry Tea
Pomegranate Lychee Green Tea
Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea
Pomegranate Wildberry White Light Tea

I must admit that I am not the biggest bottled tea drinker. I've had my fair share of Snapple in my day but it's just not what I normally go for. I like brewed and unsweetened iced tea but if a tea tastes fake-ish, I don't like it. Often, bottled teas taste either too fake-ish or too sweet.

Anyway . . . the POMx teas didn't have that problem. The Peach Passion White Tea was my fave. The Blackberry . . . not so much. I didn't love it. But, they all tasted real and not too sweet. Pomegranate is a bit of a strong flavor (which I like a lot) and that came through in the teas. The regular teas are 140-160 calories per bottle and the light teas are 70 calories per bottle (don't be fooled by the "only 35 calories per serving" starburst on the front -- there are two servings per bottle, doubling the calories).

You can read more about the POMx Teas here.

* * *

Now for the sick part of my post. Ha!

I mentioned earlier this week that Owen caught a pretty bad cold and he ended up having to miss two days of work. He slept most of the time that he was home, and he was really in rough shape -- coughing, sneezing, feeling generally awful. Well, when one person in a family gets sick, it is only a matter of time before the others do.

Yup, Conal caught "it" yesterday. He had a fever of 102 (yikes!) and was sluggish and just completely not himself. I felt so bad for him! Luckily, he woke up this morning without a fever and was back to his regular, active toddler self! Oh, yes, that is my little guy jumping off the back of the sofa . . .

As for me . . . well, I am loading up on the vitamins C and D, washing my hands a lot and hoping, hoping, hoping that I can continue to outrun (ha, ha) whatever bug is going around. I've got two big runs on the schedule for this weekend, along with a dinner party tomorrow night. So, yeah, I'm not down with the sickness. Not one bit!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Muthah. Runnah.

Now that was more like it.

After a few days of doubts, I was determined to have a great speed workout today. On the schedule? 5 x 1K. You can be sure that I called upon my inner muthah runnah for this one.

I've never done a 5 x 1K workout before but Matt Fitzgerald (he of the many, many articles and books on running) recommends them (in this Runner's World article) to train your brain in preparation for a 5K. The idea is to run them at 5K pace so you can be confident on race day that you can, indeed, run the distance at your desired pace.

Simple enough.

And yet, hard.

Well, I did it. I set out in my HILLY neighborhood to do my thing (Owen was home sick -- unfortunately for him but fortunately for me -- so he stayed in with Conal). I warmed up for a little over a mile then set my Garmin to beep at 1 kilometer. I planned to recover from each repeat for about 3 minutes. Here's how my repeats worked out:

1 - 4:11 (oops, too fast!)
2 - 4:31 (nice!)
3 - 4:39 (a little too slow)
4 - 4:26 (really nice!)
5 - 4:31 (yay!)

Then I cooled down for about a mile, running 6.1 miles total.

My goal was to run the repeats at 4:35, which is equivalent to about a 7:23 pace and would get me a 22:55 5K. As you can see, for all but one of the repeats I was able to beat that goal. Take that doubting brain!

I'm glad I was able to get outside to do this workout because I covered a lot of hills in each kilometer, just as I'll have to do on race day. That gives me much more confidence than grinding out miles on the 'mill. And confidence is what it's all about.

Several of you left comments wishing me luck with today's speed work and I just want to give you a big thanks. I called upon those wishes when I was feeling like I needed to slow down so thanks for helping me make it through!

Happy Wednesday!

~ Felice

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Relish the run.

You know the saying, "Change your attitude, change your world" or something like that?

I need to keep it in mind. I don't know what the heck is up with me sometimes but that last post? The one about the doubts? Well, I think that just writing that I was having doubts gave them life. It's like I empowered them by expressing them. I spent so much of yesterday thinking that I'm past my running prime and blah, blah, blah . . . doubt, doubt, doubt.

Huh? That's not me!

So, no more. I'm done.

I'm a strong runner, I know this. What's more -- I love to run. In my quest to increase my speed, I really do not want to lose sight of that. Yes, yes, yes, I want to be faster. I fully admit to wanting -- very much -- to run faster and set a PR in two weeks. But I do not want that to compromise my enjoyment. I don't want a running plan to ruin my runs. And, of course, I know that it wouldn't be the plan ruining my running. It would be me -- and my attitude about my runs --that would ruin my running. Does that make sense?

I'm glad that I have a purely easy run on the schedule today. I'm going to run through my neighborhood and enjoy my hills. I've got speedy speed on the schedule for tomorrow so I'll relish the easy run while I can!

~ Felice

PS: Mel -- Tall Mom on the Run has a Thorlo giveaway going on. Check it out here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Doubt. No doubt.

My confidence was buoyed last week by my relatively successful speed session. My run after the speed work was an easy recovery one and it felt good. Then Saturday came around and knocked me on my butt.

I awoke with a horrible, debilitating migraine. Ugh. I couldn't move. The worst part of it was that Owen had left early in the morning for a round of golf so I had to get up. I had a toddler to take care of.

I made breakfast for Conal and then -- gasp! -- let him watch a half-dozen episodes of Kipper while I attempted to feel better. He had been invited to a birthday party that morning so I needed get going. Then I needed to get home, go for a run (5m fartleks), and get ready for a fundraiser that night.

Guess what was moved off the to-do list? Yeah, the run. After I rallied to take Conal to the party, I came home and had two options: Run or crash. I chose crash. It was probably the right thing to do because after the nap I did feel better and was able to make it to the event that night. Had I not napped, I may have been a no-show. And I had fun getting out!

Here I am with some of my girlfriends who made it to our Imagination Library fundraiser (more info here -- it's a great program!):

Andrea, Bridget, Kelly, me.

Anyway . . . no run on Saturday meant some guilt. And lots of doubts about my abilities. I don't like those doubts! Grr . . . they just kept creeping into my head on Saturday and then Sunday morning.

So what did I do? I tried to chased them away with a great 6.5 mile run Sunday afternoon. I ran a new, very hilly route at a 9:05 pace for the 6.5 miles. These were country roads that don't get a lot of traffic (unless you count geese and horses) so I was just out there enjoying the scenery, running away from the doubts.

Did I succeed? Did I outrun my doubts? Um, not really. I mean, I felt a lot better after the run but I still had some doubts and I still wished I hadn't missed Saturday. There's nothing I can do about that now, so I just need to focus on what's next and what's next is this week's plan. Which is:

Mon: rest
Tues: 4m
Wed: 1m warm-up; 2 x 400 @ 2:00 w/400 rest; 5 x 1000 @ 4:35 w/400 rest; 1m cool-down (total: 7.25)
Thurs: recovery 4m
Fri: rest
Sat: 5m fartlek
Sun: 7m

Total: 27.25

I hope you all had a great weekend! Even with my doubts and the headache, my weekend was a good one (it was Owen's birthday yesterday and I made a yummy, if messy, cake!), so no real complaints here.

~ Felice

Thursday, September 17, 2009

That. Was. No. Joke.

Wow. 10 x 200 -- done. With moderate success.

But first, let me back up to earlier in the day. I had a follow-up appointment with my podiatrist who checked out my foot again and told me that, yes, I should have surgery. He doesn't like the fact that my toe has only about 10% of the mobility that it should have. Yeah, I don't like that too much, either. So, he recommends surgery. But, he's scheduling surgeries for December and January right now, which means that if I want to have the surgery this winter, I have to get on it.


I have to give this a lot of thought. Right now, I'm leaning toward sucking it up for another year or so and considering the surgery for next winter. My orthotics are working well, keeping my legs and joints in line. They should slow the progression of my bunion so it might not get all that much worse over the next year. But, what if it does? I'd kick myself if I don't get the surgery this year and then end up hobbling around next spring/summer. Argh . . . such decisions!

OK, so that was the morning.

For my afternoon, I called upon my inner muthah runnah and ran the speediest speed I think I've ever run!

It was, as I wrote in my title, no joke. No joke!

I started with a nice warm-up and then sped up for a half mile. I recovered then sped up again for two 400s. They were all run slower than my target for the 200s and I think the gradual build up worked well for me.

After the two 400s, I broke it down and ran with focus, determination and -- most of all! -- speed. The first five weren't too bad. But, number six? Um, hmm . . . that one threw me off. I had to slow down at the end and I finished it in about :50 (rather than my target of :45). I was really bummed and my mind started to go into silly brain mode and think about how I was going to have to quit and that this was going to be yet another failure.

Fortunately -- or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it! -- I had to face the index card. As you may remember from last week, I just can't let an index card down. So I shook off the poor performance of the sixth repeat and got back to work.

I finished the next three repeats a bit slower than the first five, but I finished them strong, so I felt OK about it all. Then, I busted it for the last repeat and cooled down for a mile. Here's what my workout looked like:

1 mile @ 10:00
800 @ 4:00 w/400 rest
2 x 400 @ 2:00 w/400 rest
200s (w/200 rest):

  • 1-5 - :44-:46 (yay!)
  • 6 - :50 (boo!)
  • 7-9 - :48 (eh.)
  • 10 - :45 (yay!)
1 mile @ slooooooooow
Total: 6.25

Never have 6.25 miles made me feel so wiped out and yet so strong. It's true, I wanted to quit. Repeatedly. I kept thinking there was no way I could complete the workout, and yet I did it. I held on. I found a way to push through the dying feeling and get it done.

I was a foam rolling maniac last night and, today, my legs feel OK. Tired, but OK.

And now, this muthah runnah is off to be just mom. Have a great day!

~ Felice

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


In my last post, I wrote about how my legs had felt like lead during Sunday's run. I had Monday off and then, yesterday, was scheduled for an easy 4-miler. I usually go at about a 9:30 pace for easy runs. Yesterday, though, I had to kick it up a notch.

When I headed out, my legs were leaden. Again! I didn't want anything to do with leaden legs so I told myself to shake it up, which, in this case, meant speeding up a bit. I ran hard up the big hill in my loop and then kept on going. I didn't speed up too much, just to an 8:45 pace. It helped. I felt so much better! The leaden legs were replaced with smoothly moving striders. It was just what I needed!

Today, though, I have speed on the schedule. I'm hoping that my slightly faster run yesterday will have prepped my legs a bit for today -- I need them to really work!

* * *

So, if you're interested, the toddler gymnastics class was a big hit. Conal loved it. He used the trampoline, the balance beams, high bar, parallel bars, everything! It was just great.

And . . . Marlene is having a Halo giveaway on her blog here. Check it out!

Have a good day!

~ Felice

Monday, September 14, 2009

Get the lead out.

First, thanks to everyone who gave me gift suggestions for my mom. I ended up giving her a framed photo of her favorite grandson. OK, her only grandson. But she thinks he's a sweetheart so she liked the photo! And we're going to go out to a nice dinner so the main gift will be an evening out. She enjoys going out to dinner (who doesn't?) so that will be a treat.

As for the rest of the weekend, well, I think I started to feel my age.

My schedule called for rest on Friday, fartleks on Saturday and 5 easy miles on Sunday. Who was I kidding? I had no problem with the rest. That went well. Fartleks? Not so much. Saturday's 4-mile fartleks turned into an easy 4-miler. I couldn't get my legs to speed up. So, I let up on myself, thinking that I worked hard on Monday and Thursday and my legs needed a break. I decided I could stretch out Sunday's run to make up for it.

Yeah, that didn't happen. I pushed and pushed and pushed and couldn't even make it through 5 miles. I stopped at 4.91 and my legs felt like big, honking stumps of lead the entire way. I don't know what was up, other than maybe I just need more time to recover after hard workouts. Maybe my age is catching up with me? Who knows. It was a bit of a drag, though, that's for sure.

No time to dwell. I've got to move on to week 4 of my plan. Here's my schedule:

Mon: Rest (I'll take it!)
Tues: easy 4m
Wed: Warm-up: 1 m easy, 800 @ 4:00, 2 x 400 @ 2:00 (w/400 rest); 10 x 200 @ :45 (w/200 rest); 1 mile cool-down (total: 6)
Thurs: easy 4m
Fri: rest
Sat: 5m fartlek
Sun: easy 7m

Total miles: 26

* * *

Today's a big day here in Happy Runner-ville. My little guy starts gymnastics today and he is beyond excited. He's been doing somersaults all over the house and tons of flips on my bed. I hope the class lives up to his expectations!

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Happy Monday!

~ Felice

Friday, September 11, 2009

Running on auto-pilot.

I'm not going to lie: My intervals session yesterday was hard. Really hard.

But it was also easy, in a way. I did something new this time. I wrote out my workout (which I ran on the treadmill while Conal was sleeping) on an index card, noting my prescribed speeds, distances and what my elapsed mileage would be after each interval. That way, I didn't have to think about a thing. I just looked at my little workout card and ran.

I felt very official. And since the plan was outlined in great detail, I had to complete it. How could I face the index card otherwise? So, I did it. Here's what I ran:

1 mile warm-up
400 @ 2:00 (400 rest)
4 x 400 @ 1:45 (400 rest)
4 x 200 @ :45 (200 rest)
1 mile cool-down

When I got to those speedy (for me!) 200s, I thought I would pretty much die. Or puke. Well, the first one was fine and actually made me feel like I could run fast if I wanted to. And the second one was OK, but the third one? The third one had me on the verge of puking for real. As you can imagine, the fourth one pushed me even closer to the verge. But the thing about those short repeats is that they are over in no time. I mean, 45 seconds? Even I can take the pain for 45 seconds.

Today is a much-deserved rest day. I'm feeling good about this week's running so far: The race on Monday, easy runs on Tuesday and Wednesday and then speed on Thursday. Today, I'll just kick back and let my legs recover.

But first, in an effort to do our part, Conal and I are off to donate food in honor of the day. It's a small thing, I know. But it is what we're able to do now, today.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spectating and speed.

It's been ages since I wrote a Take it and Run Thursday post. I guess I was just out of my routine with the whole summer business that was going on.

Well, today is a crisp sunny day that feels solidly like fall so if I'm ever going to get back to a routine, today would be the day to do it.

So. Take it and Run Thursday. The topic this week is spectator tips:

Now that we're heading into the fall and winter marathon seasons, and we've talked a lot about how to prepare for races, let's talk about spectators. What do you like and dislike from spectators out on a course? Are cowbells good or bad? Do you prefer to have someone waiting with food or Gatorade? What tips can you give for people who are just out to watch the race and not participate?
I haven't run a marathon since 2004 so I have to really dig back in the ol' memory box for this one! Hmm . . . what did I like? Well, I was lucky and had some great spectators, namely my husband who mapped out several places to meet me and cheer me on along the course. He also met up with some other friends and family members along the way. To me, just having people out there for me was the best. They didn't need to do anything other than smile, wave and give me a little cheer to bouy my spirit.

But if it is specifics you want, it is specifics you will get:
  • In any race (marathon or not), having people cheer you on by name rocks!
  • So does being told that you are running strong.
  • Reminders, like "relax your shoulders" and things like that can work, too. A spectator said that to the runner just ahead of me in my 5K on Monday and I immediately relaxed my shoulders and felt looser.
  • Telling runners that there is a specific distance left or something useful about the upcoming part of the race is helpful. For example, saying, "half mile to the finish" or "there's a sharp left after this hill" is good. Saying, "you're almost there!" when you still have a way to go is not.
  • Music can be fun. In a 15K that I've run a few times, there is a tough hill just past the 10K mark. Runners are fading by that point. But there is always a couple who park their car half-way up the hill and play motivational music (theme from Rocky, maybe?), dance like maniacs and cheer people on. It's terrific!
  • Cowbells? Oh, I don't know. Yes, they show that the spectator is exuberant. But they are also loud and sharp and jarring.
So, there you have it. My thoughts for spectators.

And now for the speed. I switched my workouts again. I was supposed to do the speed work yesterday but I felt sluggish and didn't want a repeat of last week. So, I ran easy instead and pushed the speed work to today. Nothing like a little mid-week procrastination . . .

I'm going into today's workout with a MUCH better attitude than I had last week. I can do it!!!

One last thing before I sign off: Mel -- Tall Mom on the Run is having a v. cool giveaway on her site. Check it out! And have a good day, everyone!

~ Felice

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A mishmash: Help! Giveaway winners! Silly brain!

Silly brain

I'm going to start with the silly brain: I have one. And it is a bit annoying. It tries to psych me out of things all the time. Like, for example, yesterday's run. I'd planned for an easy 4-miler -- just a nice recovery run after Monday's race.

Oh, but the silly brain had other plans. Your hip hurts. You need more time to digest your food. You're too busy with more important things than running.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

I almost gave in. Silly brain almost won. I don't know what exactly is was (guilt? fear of failure?) but something clicked and I went for the run. It was the best thing for me. My legs loosened up, my hip felt fine, my mood lightened -- take that silly brain!

Giveaway winners

The winners of the UPrinting business cards giveaway are Heather and Mel -- Tall Mom on the Run! Congratulations! I think I have both of your email addresses from your blogs but feel free to send me a note at felicehalf at yahoo dot com in case you'd like to use a different one for ordering the cards. (UPrinting will send you the details directly.)


OK, here's a very non-running thing. I need help with a gift. My mom turned 60 and we're having a little birthday celebration this weekend. I have been struggling with what to get her so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know! My mom is a "young" 60 -- she goes to concerts (Dave Matthews, Indigo Girls, etc.) and she's really into gardening. She's not a runner :-( and she's not into gift certificates.


Oh! One more thing: I see that I now have 204 followers and I find that amazing. To those 204 of you who've taken the time to follow this blog and who regularly visit and support me through comments and emails . . . THANK YOU!!! I really, really appreciate it!

~ Felice

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

No pressure: SEFCU 5K race report.

It was an early wake-up call for a Labor Day. Not crack-of-dawn early, by any means, but early for a holiday. I didn't mind. I had a race to run and I was excited!

I started off as I always do before a race; with a cup of coffee and some peanut butter on bread. I drank some water, rolled out my legs and headed to the race around 8.

The SEFCU Labor Day 5K is a small race, with about 500 people participating, but it is a solid, well-organized one (this was the 21st year) and it always raises money for a good cause. For the past few years, the race has raised funds for Gilda's Club. This year it raised $20,000. That's a lot of dough in tough economic times!

Since it is a small race, I was able to easily spot a friend and her daughter and we hung out a bit before the race. We also connected after the race, which was a nice treat. No pics, unfortunately.

Anyway, let's talk about the race. As I mentioned in my last post, I'd been debating how to run this. I put the race on my training schedule as a tune-up and just wasn't sure how to handle that. As I was driving to the race, I decided I would try to do two things: 1) run at a consistent pace about 20 seconds per mile slower than goal race pace (since I'm usually terrible at consistent pacing) and 2) work on 2:2 breathing*.

OK. Good plan. I would run 7:45 miles and get into a good rhythm with my breath.

Good plan, sure, but I didn't stick to it exactly. I started off, as usual, too fast. I ran the first mile in 7:29 and then the second in 7:35. I then petered out and ran the third mile in 8:08 and finished in 24:25 (Garmin calculated that I ran 3.26 miles, rather than the 3.1 -- does that happen to other Garmn users often?). My overall pace was 7:53 but note that none of the miles were run at the correct pace. Ugh! Something to work on . . .

My breathing, however, was excellent. After the first quarter mile or so, I fell into the 2:2 rhythm. I maintained that comfortable rhythm throughout the race and never felt like my breathing was labored, even during the third mile, which was almost all an incline.

Even though I slowed in the final mile, I felt strong when I finished. I almost felt like I was holding back too much in the third mile and then never did anything at the end with the energy I had conserved.

And that's OK. I didn't want to run too hard and have to miss any of my planned runs for this week. My legs feel great post-race so I'm ready to get back to work this afternoon! Granted, I only have an easy run on the schedule but I'm looking forward to it.

The best part of the race was just getting back to the business of participating in a race. Before yesterday, I hadn't run a race since June. I needed the energy boost that you only get from being with a large group of runners, all trying to do their best.

Speaking of trying to do my best . . . here is week 3 of my training plan:

Mon: 5K tune-up race (done! ran 4.9 total)
Tues: easy 4m
Wed: 1.5 mile warm-up; 4 x 400 @ 1:45; 4 x 200 @ :45; 1 mile cool-down (total: 5.5)
Thurs: easy 4m
Fri: rest
Sat: 4m fartlek
Sun: easy 5m

Total miles: 27.5

Looks like a good week to me. I hope it goes well.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

~ Felice

* Breathing in for two footsteps and out for two footsteps.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Two good runs and seeking my pace.

After my lousy attempt at speed work on Thursday, I had two good, easy runs this weekend. There was nothing fast about either run, but that's OK. They weren't meant to be fast. But they did make me feel a little better. My failed speed work is now behind me and I'm moving on.

Specifically, I'm moving on to tomorrow's tune-up 5K. I've been going back and forth about my pace. Part of me thinks I should run the race as a tempo run, with a mile warm-up, then run the race at an 8 min/mi pace, then follow up with a mile cool-down. But the other part of me thinks I should just go out and run it like the race that it is. My goal race isn't until October 3rd, and both are only 5Ks, so it isn't like I'd be burning myself out.

What I may do is just see how I feel in the morning and take the race as it comes. I'd like to run well, whatever I do, in order to give myself a psychological boost. But I also don't want to take away from the rest of my planned workouts for the week.

Such dilemmas!

Luckily, I have a wedding reception to go to this afternoon to take my mind off such weighty thoughts. No heels for me at this party -- I've learned my lesson with those! Instead, I'll be the one in flats, drinking water and seeking out the pasta.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!

~ Felice

Friday, September 4, 2009

Good news and bad news.

I'll get right to the good news, since it's quicker: My hip feels fine. No worse for the wear after yesterday's speed work. So, that's good.

And now the bad news.

My speed work sucked. And I have no one to blame but myself. Me. The Happy Runner. The Happy Runner who, yesterday afternoon, would have been more aptly named The Self-Defeating Runner.

The fact is, I ruined my run. All morning I was thinking about my planned speed work. Thinking, "This is going to suck. It's going to be hard. Very hard." Telling myself, "You're going to have a hard time with this one, Felice. It's not going to be easy. You're probably going to quit."

Well, that works. That kind of self-talk just really makes things go well.

Or not.

My run fulfilled my thoughts. It sucked, as I said. I finished my warm-up with some strides and then got down to business. I was supposed to run 6 x 800 @ 3:35 with 400 rest. Well. Hmm . . . my first 800 was a struggle -- complete and utter struggle -- for 3:39. OK, fine. So I struggled with the first one. Not unusual.

But then I couldn't finish the second one. Maybe I ran 400? Maybe 600? Not sure. I was so . . . off.

And then I couldn't finish the third one. I quit after one lap.

I tried to regroup and decided to run two more 400s, at 1:50. Done. No problem. Then I decided to run slow 800s, which I did. I ran 2 x 800 @ 4:00. I finished with 4 x 200 @ :50 and cooled down for 1.5 miles.

And then I wanted to cry. Is that overly dramatic? Really! I was so flippin' disappointed! I mean, I sabotaged my own workout; I have no one to blame but myself. For real. Why did I do that? Why couldn't I push through and finish what I started?

I have no idea.

I guess I can be happy with the fact that the overall distance run was as planned (8 miles), as was the speed part. It just wasn't as fast as planned nor were the repeats as long as planned. The worst part is that my legs, my lungs and -- most important of all -- my brain just didn't have it today. At all. It was, in other words, a speed-work FAIL.

Can I hear an UGH, Internet?!?

Thank you.


All right, now, lest this post become any more whiny and annoying than it already is, I will sign off but not before leaving you with some photos of my toddler, running his little heart out.

I hope everyone has a good weekend!

~ Felice

(PS: If you want some business/personal calling cards, remember to enter my giveaway here.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


If you are looking for the UPrinting giveaway that runs through the end of the day 9/8/09, please go here. Sorry for the inconvenience!

~ Felice

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Readjustments. And August wrap-up.

Nothing like a blah run and a tight hip to throw you off your plan.

That's where I am today. Today, according to my training schedule for this week, is supposed to be some speedy 800s. Yeah, that's not happening. Instead, I'm taking today off and pushing my speed work to tomorrow. Then I'll do tomorrow's run on Friday and everything else will remain the same.

See, I went for a run yesterday and just didn't feel it. It wasn't a terrible run -- the weather, after all, was perfect -- but it just wasn't a smooth run. It was a let's-just-hurry-up-and-get-this-finished run. To top it off, my hip felt really tight when I got home. I treated my hip to a little tennis ball therapy and today it feels OK but I don't want to push it. Not with speed work on the schedule. I would like to be able to approach those 800s with strong legs. So, tomorrow it is.

I'm also readjusting my giveaway post. I don't have it for you today. It will go up tomorrow or Friday.

And now, my monthly wrap-up . . .

August stats

Running (miles): 78.2
Cross-training (sessions): 2

Two cross-training sessions. What a slacker! I've got to get back to that (maybe tonight . . . ). Although, when I think about it, all of the baseball and golf that I play with my son should probably count. Right???

My running, on the other hand, has been going well. I only ran 19 miles over the first two weeks of the month because of all of my traveling but picked it back up recently. And now that I have my new plan, I'm feeling serious. Seriously!

Well, that's it. I hope I don't have any more readjustments to report in the near future. But, it could (and probably will) happen.

~ Felice

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fueling for the Distance: Guest post with Dr. Susan Kleiner.

Earlier this year, Dr. Susan Kleiner joined us for a guest post on hydration. Today, I'm very pleased that she's agreed to share information on proper fueling, right in time for the peak fall training season!

Fueling For The Distance

As we move into fall, most of us get very serious about training. It’s such a great time to get outside to run long distances; the temperatures are just perfect almost everywhere in the country: not too hot and not too cold. Fueling up for long distance fall sports takes some knowledge of your own body and what’s available to you.

While everyone’s body is a little different, there are some basic principles to fueling to maximize your efforts.
1. Hydration is the most important. We fatigue quickly as we dehydrate, no matter how well you’ve eaten. And you’ll never maximize your training time without enough fluids on board. While water is great throughout most of the day, it isn’t enough if you exercise more than 60 minutes.

You can also use various types of fluids not only for hydration, but for their other ingredients that may enhance hydration, fueling, and endurance. Sports drinks during exercise are obvious. They enhance hydration, keep you drinking, and add a small amount of carbohydrates to add to your fuel source. A brand new carbohydrate supplement, VitargoS2, is causing a sensation in the long-distance world of sports ( It passes into the bloodstream much more quickly than any other carb supplement without bloating. So you can double your energy pipeline for the long haul. It has great research behind it and there is nothing else like it.

Milk products before and after exercise are great sources of carbohydrates and whey protein that work together to promote fueling and refueling, hydration and re-hydration, minimize muscle damage and promote muscle recovery and growth.

Caffeine before exercise has been shown to enhance endurance by lowering our rate of perceived exertion. In other words, we don’t notice how hard we’re really working, and so we continue to pour it on long after we otherwise would have slowed our pace or intensity. While many people turn to coffee, colas and energy drinks that contain caffeine, none of those beverages contain the full range of support for multiple systems in the body as does Awaken by solixir, a unique new beverage ( The caffeine content in Awaken is very low (30 mg), but you get the same sense of energy through the natural mix of botanicals that interact with many different energy systems in the body. I have switched from coffee to Awaken Orange Maté by solixir, and so have many of my clients.

2. Eat breakfast. There just is no substitute for breaking your overnight fast. A bowl of whole grain cereal, fruit, milk and an egg is an easy combination that will make you feel great.

3. Eat regularly and enjoy it. Between meal snacks are critical to keeping your blood sugar levels, your energy and your mood even all day long. Try sticking to real food rather than engineered snacks like bars. Fruit and cheese, dried fruit and nuts, vegetables and hummus or peanut butter, a glass of milk or a latté, are all great choices.

4. Recover after exercise. Within 15-30 minutes after exercise your body is primed to recover at the fastest rate. Drinking a smoothie with whey protein and Vitargo S2, or even chocolate milk, are ideal strategies to give your body the protein and carbohydrate that it needs to refuel, recover and grow, helping you prepare for the next day’s workout. There is no substitute for this immediate nutritional boost.

Within two hours after exercise have a robust meal. This is still part of your recovery regime. I also add Restore by solixir. The refreshing pomegranate ginger beverage supports immune function and continues your recovery process.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, if you accomplish these four strategies every day, you’ll feel so much better, and you’ll notice a huge boost in your energy, your endurance, and your performance. Eating breakfast, eating regularly and following a recovery plan will keep you fueled well throughout the day, avoiding the uncontrolled appetite surges that often happen during the hard training season.

Have fun and run long!

Dr. Susan Kleiner
Great tips! I need to work on proper fueling to keep those "uncontrolled appetite surges" at bay. I don't know about you, but as I get more serious about my training, I get hungrier. And then I worry about eating too much and gaining weight right when that's the last thing I need to do. For me, though, I think the hydration principle is key. Since Dr. Kleiner's last post in May, I've worked hard to improve my hydration and I feel like it is paying off. I definitely notice when I'm not fully hydrated; aside from the usual reactions (fatigue, headaches, poor performance), I also get hungrier!

I hope these tips will help you as you move through the fall season. They will certainly help me as I seek my 5K PR in October (and I can use all the help I can get . . . ).

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Kleiner, check out her web site, Power Eating.

Have a great day, everyone!

~ Felice

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