Tag Archives: training

And it begins…

image credit: http://imgkid.com/

Once, several years ago, I took a personality test.  It was in one of those corporate training sessions intended to help me learn about my personal style and how to work better with others.  I don’t remember much else from that course, but I do remember learning one seemingly important thing about myself.

I get more enjoyment/reward out of starting new things, than I do by completing them.

Ever since that day in training, I have over and over again seen this fact demonstrated.

Case in point: I have three knitting projects in process at the moment.  Scratch that.  Two.  I guess I did finish one last week.  Anyway, I keep finding myself looking at new projects I could start and wanting so badly to cast on a new one.  All while this blanket sits in a basket, taunting me with it’s semi-not-even-half-finished state.  I look at it and I just feel guilty for not wanting to work on it, although I do want it to be done.  It just seems like a never ending project – I know that I am not even halfway yet and already I am looking for something new to do.

Case in point #2: I just spent a half hour or more putting together a training plan for the Quad Cities Distance Classic in May.  I had no idea it was 12 weeks away exactly from today.  I have the plan all lined up, and will start tomorrow.  Right now I am excited about it and can’t wait to start.  I am definitely over-optimistic, and I know I probably have put together a much too aggressive plan.  I predict no more than 2 weeks before I miss a training day and start to feel burdened by the thought of following the plan for a full 12 weeks.  I completely wimped out this morning and didn’t go run with my friends.  On one hand I was feeling really guilty for not going (in my defense the windchills were -14 at 7 am this morning), on the other, now that I see this 12 week expanse of training I feel a bit justified in taking one more day off.  I see a lot of treadmill running in my future…and I dread treadmill running (Betty and I are not friends at the moment).  But I don’t know how else to do 400 m repeats in the dead of winter.  Almost all my favorite running spots are covered in snow or ice.  See?  I’m already questioning the sanity of the plan and I’ve only had it for an hour!

Oh, and let’s not go anywhere near the sanity of my goal to run 750 miles this year.  Let’s just not.  Perhaps in a few months I will be able to say I am on track.  Right now, not so much. And it’s only mid-February, there’s still time to correct, right?

How do you stay motivated to complete a long training plan or project?



I have not run every day this week.  Not even close.

Okay, now that’s out of the way.

It’s been a heck of a week here in the world.  Here in my neck of the woods we’ve had torrential rains, record flooding, and snow.  Beyond this area we had the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas.  Ricin sent to the president.  And Boston.  I’m not going to get into what happened in Boston, or how I feel about it, because it’s all been said so eloquently by others already, and I don’t feel I can add much to the discussion.  I can say that I am beyond glad that law enforcement identified and captured the suspects within a week.  It just goes to show how much we can accomplish when we put our collective effort towards a common goal and purpose.

This weekend I had 11 miles scheduled.  Originally my two older boys were supposed to have soccer games this morning, so I planned on getting up early and running alone.   Then, when the soccer games were cancelled, I took the opportunity to sign up for a race, the Project Renewal Run for Renewal 5k.  This was one of my favorite races last year, and I had really wanted to run it.  But due to soccer (because, well, my kids have to come first…), I had thought I wouldn’t be able to run it.

I also needed to get in those 11 miles.  So I kept the original plan to wake up early, head out and run alone.  I got up at 5:40, got dressed, and headed out to run 8 miles in the early morning sun.  It was beautiful, but cold.  My legs felt like lead, and I didn’t have a lot of energy.  I didn’t eat anything before heading out, and that was probably part of the problem.  But I got through it, and stopped home around 7:30.

Waiting for me was a chocolate chip pancake.  yum.

As I was eating it, I realized that the Project Renewal race was about a 40 minute drive away, and packet pickup ended at 8:30.  It was 7:45.  I rushed out the door with a cup of coffee, and headed out to the race.  I arrived at packet pickup to find a long line of people waiting to pick up their race numbers.

LiveUncommon did a great thing this week.  They decided that to honor the runners in Boston, and to show solidarity, that they would cover the cost for anyone to run the Project Renewal race (and a later 5k race that I wasn’t able to attend due to a family event).  So, rather than the almost-200 runners from last year, this year’s race drew over 500 runners.  It was amazing to see all these runners out this morning, all out to rUN UNdaunted.  It was a great morning for a race.   I ended up running with Josiah, and enjoyed the entire run, even the massive hills.  It was such a blast.  I’m so excited that I was able to do it, and I am feeling refreshed and energized.

It was a great way to honor Boston, by getting together and doing what we do.  And what is that?


mayonaise (CD#7)

I’m pretty sure I’ve never run seven days in a row before.

I know that I run better on my long runs when I’ve run during the week.  But I never really expected this.  Today I was shooting for around 10 minute/mile pace, because I wanted to take it easy and not push it.  So I turned off the pace readout on my watch and just ran by feel.  I ran at what felt comfortable.  Turns out it was quite a bit faster than 10 minute/mile pace.  My average pace was 09:19, and I finished in 1:33!

I listened to Pandora during my run, and once again realized that sometimes, Pandora knows me better than I know myself.  It’s scary, really.  Right when I was starting to feel tired (and right before I usually get a second wind), around 4 miles, this song came on.

I love this song.

There’s just something about a great song, especially one that you loved at a specific time in your life.  A song can transport you to another time and place.  A song can lift your mood.  A song can make everything better.  This is one of those songs.  Immediately memories came flooding in, some bittersweet.  For a few minutes I mourned the loss of some very special relationships.  I cried thinking of a window in time that will never come again.

I love music.  I was a music major in college before switching fully to engineering.  For me, music has accompanied every important moment in my life.  And so, almost every song has meaning to me.  Today’s run, Pandora hit just about every one.  Of course, I was listening to Pearl Jam Radio – so in a way, I set myself up, but still.

Alice in Chains – Heaven Beside You
Pearl Jam – Oceans
Smashing Pumpkins – Mayonaise
Pearl Jam – Immortality (another one I could listen to on endless repeat)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Alice In Chains – I Stay Away
Radiohead – High and Dry
Candlebox – Far Behind

I’m on a runner’s high, but more so today I’m on a music lover’s high.

Cold, Concrete & Betty

Everyone has at least one.

The friends that, when you get out with them, you lose all track of time, and possibly part of your rational mind.

Apparently that happens to me when I head out for a run with friends.

I know a few guys that have been running insanely long distances to train for Leadville.  They are already running 30+ miles on a Saturday, to train for a 100 mile race that isn’t until August.  Well, at least Jay is running that much.  I’m not sure why Josiah is running so far, except that he can.

Today, I met up with them for what I thought would be a 6 mile easy run, for about an hour.  It turned into almost 10 miles (9.8 to be exact).  I find that when I’m running with a group, it’s so much easier for me.  If I had been out in this 13 degree weather alone, I bet I would have stopped at 5.  I mean, that’s what the half marathon training plan calls for this weekend.

But when I get out with these guys, something happens, and I instinctively run farther and longer.  The last two weeks I have run with them, I get in the car afterwards, heady with a runner’s high, and drive home dreaming of marathons.  This can’t be good, right?  Or can it?

I definitely want to keep this up.  I feel so much better when I get up and run with them.  I know this, yet in the dark Saturday morning, that 5 am alarm clock still hurts.

Oh, and since I mentioned the word “hurt,” I took a nice spill on the bike path today.  Somehow I tripped over a quarter inch edge of concrete and, although I almost caught myself over the next few steps, ended up crashing hard on my left side.  I’ll be fine, all the winter gear provided plenty of padding and the only visible injury is a nice skinned knee.  I think my hip may be bruised but, there’s plenty of padding there too (come on, I’m a mother of three!) so it may not amount to much.  It all happened somewhere around mile 2, so I just ran it off.  It was cold enough my legs were numb for most of the run anyway.

So, in honor of my spectacular fall, here’s a picture (not mine) of “What I Saw On My Run Today”

Concrete. Up close and personal.


In other news, the treadmill has a name.  Betty is my new training partner.


Did I mention it was cold today?  Brrrr.


Last night while lying in bed I realized I have a race in less than 100 days.

I guess I need to get back on the bus and start training regularly. Hopefully I can use this blog again to keep me honest.

I’ve been trying to think about what I want this blog to be, and I have decided that it doesn’t have to be all running. That’s a lot of who I am, but it’s not all of me. So I am going to try to do a better job of posting more often (famous last words!).

Maybe if I get some time today I can work on a training plan and post something about that. I think that would be a good idea.

Reverse addiction

Some say running is like an addiction.  Once you start running, you can’t stop.  People get sucked into running and find they must run – every. single. day.  They go through withdrawal when they can’t run, a day or more out of their running shoes and they are going crazy.  They have to run.

It’s kind of true, I suppose.  But I’ve never been one that’s compelled to run every day.  Sure, I’d like to.  But I tend to run more at the opposite end of the spectrum.

You see, not running, for me, is the trigger.   It starts with skipping a run.  Then another.  Then maybe another.  By the time I’ve hit three days of not running, I’m not going crazy with withdrawal symptoms.  I’ve lapsed back into “I don’t wanna” syndrome.

I know this all too well.  Why?  Because it happened to me again this week.  You would think that less than two weeks from a half marathon, I would be trying as hard as humanly possible to hit all my training runs.  But apparently that is not quite how my brain works.  Let’s roll back in time to last weekend.

Initially I planned to head out for a long 11-12 mile run last weekend.  But due to life in general, I ended up with an almost-7 mile run Sunday afternoon instead: “The Run That Almost Didn’t Happen.”  I was literally sitting in the recliner getting ready for an afternoon of football, when I finally convinced myself to just go out for a run, however long or short it would be.

Then soccer practices (which started up this week) hit, and Monday and Tuesday evenings one of us was out with a child at soccer while the other one stayed home: fed, bathed, and put the little one to bed.  Then on Wednesday I needed to take the two older boys out for a walk so they could get credit for their “Walk on Wednesday (WoW)” program at school.  I took them out to the canal (where I usually run).  By the time I got home and they were in bed, the last thing I wanted to do was to drive back out to the canal again.

So I hadn’t run all week when yesterday rolled around.  I wasn’t really optimistic about a great run, but I knew that I wouldn’t be running today (Friday).  One of the jogging stroller tires blew last Friday, and I don’t have it repaired yet.  So running with the littlest one was out of the question.  And it’s not like I could leave him at home, you know?

So last night I headed out for a run, and I was surprised when I felt pretty good.  I typically am not a great evening runner, I just feel better in the mornings.  But it was working for me, and I was able to get a quick 4 miles in.

But again, due to the jogging stroller issue, a run was not in the cards today.  Sure, I could have gone to the gym, paid for babysitting, and run on the treadmill, but I haven’t been to the gym in months, and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to go back yet.  As soon as the weather is too cool or too rainy, I’m sure I’ll be back, but I haven’t hit that point yet.  Combine that with a 2 year old who woke up before 5 am today, and I am enjoying a(nother) day off.

I am not sure exactly where this post is going.  I know where it started, but I’ve already rambled on long enough.  Typical.  If you’ve read this far you must really like me 🙂  I’m not going to try and salvage it, I’m just going to publish and hope that it made some sort of coherent sense.

In other notes, I’m excited to be working on another shoe review, hopefully it will be coming early next week.  And I’m headed out of town on a business trip next week, so perhaps you’ll even get to see some posts from me about that.  Nothing like hotel treadmills to spark deep thoughts.

Half marathon next weekend…



I am a social runner

So, the home computer is still not fixed.  But, problem (somewhat) solved, I finally gave up and am using my work laptop to update this blog, before anyone who has been reading it gives up in a fit of frustration.

Ha.  Frustration.  Funny I’d choose to use that word.  It’s typified most of my runs lately.  My runs have felt less like the relaxing “me time” that I remember, and more like, well, torture.

Yeah, I said it.  Torture.  I might be going through some sort of running slump.  I’m sure my dailymile pals are sick and tired of seeing me post about another “blah” run.  Yes, “blah” is an option in dailymile.  I’ve used it a lot lately.


I even bought new shoes – not entirely because my runs have felt blah, but partially.  And hey, I’ve made it 100% clear that I am a shoe lover.  So I thought new running shoes might be just what I needed.  So I took advantage of a great deal online and ordered the Brooks PureFlow shoes.  For the record, they are pretty great.  But they didn’t help my running much.

Aren’t they pretty? And purple?

In what seems to typify my running lately, I headed out for my long run on Friday morning (last week, yes I am behind).  I was planning to run 11 miles.  1.5 miles into the run, I was faced with this:

Are you kidding me?

So I did what any reasonable runner would do.  I crouched down and crawled under the tree.   But, in a way, it felt like life was trying to throw obstacles into my path:  “Ha!  See if she can make it through this!”   

This was the third or fourth week in a row that I had headed out for my long run and felt blah.  Always the engineer, always analyzing for the root cause of the problem, I started trying to remember the last time I had felt good on a run.  Struggling to think of a good run, it felt like it had been forever.

Then it hit me. 

During marathon training, I did many of my long runs with the LiveUncommon group.  I always had someone nearby to talk with, to complain to, and to distract me from the run.  Those runs were fantastic, and I looked forward to them, excited to head out for a run of 15+ miles.  But those runs that I had to do on my own?  The 19 and 20 mile runs?  I did those alone.  And they stunk.  Sure, I got through them, and I felt better when I was done, but there was definitely something different.  And that something different was company.

I’ve always enjoyed the solitary run.  I like going out and heading for a run, enjoying the time away from the kids, away from work, away from everything.  But somehow, lately, I haven’t been enjoying them quite as much.  And I miss my friends.  I miss having a group to push me to run faster or farther than I would alone.

So I guess I have to face facts and admit it.  I like running with people. Now I just need to make it happen.

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