Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekly Review 4/28

Miles Run: 13.57, 
Time Run: 2 hrs, 19 mins, 54 secs
Calories burned: 1560

It was a doozy of a week....

Training wasn't too bad. Monday, Hubs and I took Jake-Dog to the doggy park and he was having a grand ole time even when he and his friend Grover ran straight into my leg from behind so I didn't have enough time to bend my knees.  Luckily, we don't think anything is torn since I obviously ran this week and the minimal pain has gotten better over the week, but seriously... scared. me. to. death.  Ran on Tuesday and Wednesday and my knee was hurting enough that I took Thursday off and would see how I felt on Friday.  I was jumping out of my skin by then so I went for a short jog just to put in the mileage.

My long run was 5.65 miles.  I wasn't feeling nearly as motivated as I was last week, in fact the whole morning started off weird.  I was running late to the Striders meet-up and my tummy was not in the best of moods with me, must have been the 5 hours I slept and my alarm going off in the middle of a bad dream.  Anyways, I got to the meet-up place and they were just leaving so I raced to get my stuff all together to at least keep them in eyesight.  I wasn't trying to break any speed or distance barriers, I kinda just wanted this run to be over.  And soon enough it was.  I was able to get home and take a shower before a short nap and then onto the beach with two of my favorite kids and their mommy.

I look funny because I squatted down. I really should have just knelt.

I'm not one for broadcasting my job all over the internet, but this week was my last week.  Not by my mis-doing or the choice of either myself or employer, just something that had to happen.  It sucked. I cried, I laughed, I got frustrated, I played, I solved problems, I made memories....

I guess it didn't really suck. Just the ending part.

These kids have taught me more over the past 10 months than I ever could have imagined and being embraced by their family has been awesome.  A few of my favorite "lessons" have been:

1. Get mad, throw a fit, then forget about it 5 minutes later with a hug and an "I'm sorry."  This needs no explanation.

2. Playing catch is always going to be more fun than watching TV, even if it's Scooby Doo.

3. Swinging on swings is a great way to talk. So is dancing to no music at all. 

4. Kids are more resilient and perceptive than anyone gives them credit for. I wonder when that changes... cause most adults I know, myself included are not as resilient or perceptive as these two are.

Needless to say, I have loved my year with them and I will see them in a couple weeks for 2 days, but after seeing them basically every day for the past 10 months, it's a little shocking to think about.  I figure I'll get up to date with my wifely duties of cleaning, decorating, and cooking.  That'll be fun for about 3 days. 

Today was really nice, we took Jake to the park again and he played until he could play no more.  No really, him and Leo were on their backs trying to still play because they had nothing left.
Leo's in front, Jake's in back, Random dog is standing

We then caught up on TV and decided to go to the gym because I was again bouncing off the walls and figured this week was as good as any to start weight training.  I ran on the treadmill for 10 minutes which was torturous.  I felt like I had run 2 hours by the end of it. I don't know what it is about treadmills, I just can't stand them.  Then Hubs introduced me to the wide world of weight training without the Cybex machines (which apparently aren't as effective as one would think).  We had a good time and spent dinner and some time after just sitting on our couch talking about life and not being distracted by the tv, music, computers or cell phones.  It was pretty awesome.  I think we might make that a Sunday tradition.  

I'm going into this week with a positive attitude.  I read a quote from the Bible earlier from the Book of Romans 5:3-4.  It has to do with both life and running in my opinion, and I kind of love it now.

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;"

And because I love my dog like he's my child, a picture of him grazing at the park.  He doesn't eat grass to puke, 'cause he never has no matter how much he eats.  I think he just eats it cause it tastes good to him.  Weird dog.  He fits in well here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


There's a reason for every decision. Simple decisions are made with your brain. French fries or a banana for an afternoon snack? That's pretty simple. French fries are awesome but a banana is healthier and will mostly likely not cause you to crash in the middle of work.  French fries all the way. Brain and banana win. The crazy decisions though, generally have a more emotional reason behind them.
Want to run a marathon?


I've heard lots of different reasons:

"I want to test my mental and physical stamina."
"I want to brag about it."
"If Oprah can do it, why can't I?" (She did the Marine Corps Marathon in 4 hours, 29 minutes)
"Eating whatever I want sounds awesome."
"Why not?"

Two years ago, I was training for the exact same marathon that I am now. I was 25 pounds heavier and had all of these reasons and more in my head.  I ended up getting injured and not being able to finish my training.  I did the MCM 10K and after that, ran all over DC even more to cheer on my dad while he finished what we both started. It was exciting and disheartening.  I felt like I had failed the both of us, but I was/am SO proud of my dad.
Dazed marathon runner... with banana

Fast forward 2 years. I've done many 10Ks, a half marathon and I have become that girl that has become kinda crazy about running.  I'm reading and following multiple blogs, I have my own blog, I have a running diary, I've read books on running form, I want compression socks.  I'd annoy myself if I wasn't myself.

I figured though, after my dad had signed us both up for the MCM this year that I didn't want to do this for me.  I mean, in the end, my body and mind will reap the benefits.  Pretty sure Hubs doesn't mind it either.  But there's more to running 26.2 miles. I can't just do something that crazy with no reason. I'm more of a Phidippides, not someone who just happens to really enjoy running long distances. I need a message to deliver. (I am hoping though, that my training and diet will prevent me from Phidippides unfortunate end.)

I've been pretty lucky in my life to not have encountered many chronic diseases or disorders in my life or in the lives of those closest to me.  The last two years however, I have come face to face with a disorder that I only knew from one week of my one special education class I took in my Masters program.

I could tell you facts. Like how the CDC just came out with new numbers that say 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed on the spectrum. Or how early intervention is KEY.  Even that it is more prevalent than Down Syndrome, Childhood Diabetes, or Childhood cancer combined.  (This is not to discount any of these diagnoses, I know people who have been affected by all three of these things.)  But facts don't get to the heart of the matter.

Two children in particular have gotten me to the point I'm at today, an advocate and champion of early intervention and diagnosis for autism.  Eli and Olivia came into my life at very different times for very different reasons, but they've both profoundly affected my heart in very similar ways.  I have my story with both of them here. This month is especially important because it is Autism Awareness Month.  I know I'm kinda late to the April party, but like I said earlier: This is a jumble of emotions.

So what's the point of all this soul baring?  The point is, I made a commitment, shortly after my dad signed us up for the MCM to raise money for the Organization for Autism Research.  It was not a decision I took lightly.  Just ask Hubs about how much I mulled over the decision.  Not because I wasn't sure, but because I didn't want to let anyone down.  

Like I said earlier, I've tried this marathon thing before with a less than desirable outcome.  

So I'm asking you, my friends, family and blogends (blog friends) to support me in this journey I'm taking.  I think it's super fun to make the amounts donated to be related to either running or autism.  5, 10, 13.1, 26.2, 88, anything would work. My goal is $1,000 dollars and I really hope to surpass that. So, if you can, please click on the link above or the widget that is always in the top right corner of this blog and donate!  

If you've made it to the end of this blog entry, congrats! I'll talk more about my runs this week later, but I had to get this out because really, this is why I'm running 26.2 miles in October.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekly Review, 4/21

Miles Run: 12.42
Time Run: 2:03:45
Calories Burned: 1431

Overall, my first real training week was a success.  My runs went the exact way they were supposed to and other than some hammy pain for a few hours after my run, I'm feeling great.  Since Hubs is an athletic trainer, we're looking into what we can do to make the hamstring pain subside...  I think I pulled it a few months ago when we went to Hilton Head with Jake and I sprinted a little too hard with the pup and just haven't properly rehabed it back to health.  Annoying, but at least we'll figure something out.

My long run yesterday was alright.  I woke up in a funk and tried to look on the bright side of being up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning.  Couldn't think of anything but I went to Lake Mayer anyways.  My run buddy, Lisa, from two weeks ago was running the Susan G. Komen race so I knew I'd most likely run by myself.  Everyone else has about a 7-8 minute/mile pace. I think if I just ran one mile that fast, I'd be pretty satisfied but alas, I do not.  So I knew I'd be pretty lonely but that's ok, running alone is nothing new to me.

Along the run, I just focused on my form and how good that chocolate milk was going to taste afterwards.  I had a couple encounters with people who said things that I'm sure meant no harm, but I just took it the wrong way because I was being a crab.  I tried to take a picture of the sunrise over the bluff and somehow it didn't save in my phone. Figures.  It was beautiful, but you'll just have to take my word for it. The loop is about 5.8 miles and I really wanted to see what my 10k time would be so when I got back to Lake Mayer, I kept running til I got to 6.2 miles. I'm about 4 minutes from breaking a one hour 10k.  It was hot and muggy so I'm thinking I could do better in prime conditions.  I'm doing the Crimestoppers Azalea Run in two weeks.  Maybe I'll get even closer, or break it.  That would be pretty cool.  Anyways, the striders go out to breakfast after the long run and I just was not going to be good company to keep so I said goodbye and headed on home.  I did manage to take a picture of myself (and save it) in my racing singlet for the MCM.

I'm going to do a post that more specifically explains why and for who I am running the Marine Corps Marathon in a few days, I've been working on it, but it's emotional and raw and hard for me to put into words something I feel so passionately about.  See? My English skills suffer greatly when I try to even talk about it so I'm gonna have Hubs and a few other people proof read before I post.

So, week one is in the books.  I feel good and like I could actually maintain the pace I'm going at for a little longer than 6 miles.  My dad and I are just hoping for a 5 hour marathon which translates to about 11 and half minutes per mile.  If we do the proper training, this is definitely doable.  This next week is looking very similar to last. I'm adding a mile and a half to the total mileage for the week.  What are your workout goals for the week? Hope everyone has a good one!

Friday, April 20, 2012

User Review: Nike+GPS

I know that there are probably a ton of reviews out there about the various apps, shoes, workout clothes, etc. that I will inevitably be talking about, but these are just for fun, when I have nothing else to write about or really feel passionately about a product, good or bad.  I figure the first one should about something I use in basically every run I do.  I came upon the Nike+ system when I first started getting serious about running last year.  I went out and bought the Nike+ thingy for your iPod (I had not yet been converted to an iPhone) and realized that the 1st gen iPod I had didn't support any apps.  So I went to return my Nike+ thingy and be sad because I still had a Blackberry that was compatible with nothing.  

That was in September.  In October, we were preparing for the final weeks before marriage and were blessed to be able to get matching iPhones the weekend they came out. Well, not entirely matching, but close enough.  I downloaded pretty much every app I could find and spent way too much time on my phone, but that's another story.  I originally downloaded all the free running apps because I could justify paying a whole $1.99 on something that I could get for free.  Hubs couldn't help noticing that I'd always be looking at the Nike+GPS app and reviews with adoring eyes and eventually just bought the thing without asking me and sent it to me as an app gift.  Who says romance is dead?

I've logged close to 100 miles on this app so I feel like I can give it a thorough review.

This picture really makes me want to go out and run 1.77 miles so I can break 100. But alas, it's a rest day.

We'll start with what's not the best:

  • Like any app that uses GPS on your phone, it kills the battery on my iPhone even after a shorter run. Yesterday I logged a mile and a half and it killed my battery by 15%.  
  • It's not entirely accurate.  Again, this isn't a Nike+ problem because even Garmins have issues with accuracy.  It is however super annoying that when I do the exact same run, I can end up finishing earlier or later depending on the weather or the sun spots that day.  They do offer a way to calibrate your run, but honestly, I'm not sure exactly how long my routes are in the first place so I wouldn't want to risk screwing up the calibration.
  • The social aspect is a little confusing.  It says you can play tag with your Nike+ friends but I have yet to figure out how to add friends even though I know a few people who use the app regularly.  Any ideas?

Here are my pros:
  • I love the freedom to decide what your run is going to be.  You can go out and have no specific goal or a very specific goal and the Nike+ app can handle it.  I've used all of the different ways of running through the app: Distance Run, Time Run, and Free Run.  Each of them gives basically the same information throughout the run every mile.  The only difference is if you have a goal, it will let you know how much longer you have til you're done. 
  • It syncs with a website so you can track and adjust your settings on a bigger screen.  I love my iPhone, I really do, but looking at things on a little 4" screen can get a little tiring.  Ever since Hubs built his own computer with dual screens, I've kinda taken it over for my blog posts and running planning.  It's awesome to be able to look at your last run and blog at the same time.  
  • It gives you inspirational athletes at the end of your workout.  I've heard from Tim Tebow, Paula Radcliffe, and a whole bunch of other people I haven't really heard of at the end of my runs tell me how awesome I did.  Sometimes that's just nice to hear since I do most of my runs by myself. Everyone needs a little encouragement every once in awhile.
  • It gives you access to a whole bunch of training programs. Want to do your first 5k? Your 3rd half marathon? The online aspect of the app gives you a plethora of training programs that can be tailored to your comfort level and the date that you need to accomplish your goal by.  I have a marathon training program inputted into my app and while it isn't what I'm going to follow, it's nice to know how it compares to what I'm doing.   
  • It syncs to your music library.  This is just a convenience thing. I don't have to worry about changing screens to switch the song if something really lame comes on.  It has the controls built into the app which is awesome.
Overall, I think for the price, this app is worth it.  I try not to compare it to the others I've used which is hard, but it is my favorite one.  I think the music thing is my biggest selling point because it's really annoying to have to focus on changing my music while I'm in a zone.  Call me prissy, but that's just me.  What apps do you use while running?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mid Week Update!

Hi there readers! (All 5 of you) I'm in withdrawal from blogging so I figured I'd give a mid-week update on training and life. I've so far kept to the training schedule which is more than I gave myself credit for.

Today was touch and go since I didn't run until the
I don't know why.  It was three miles which is cake, but I just had zero motivation.  I really need to work on that.  I love running and the feeling it gives me during and after, but getting out there is the hardest part for me.  Any suggestions on motivating things you do for yourself?

Anyways, this past weekend I went to Barnes and Noble with Hubs and wanted to look into a book that would help me with my diet while training for the marathon.  I know the basic good health tips, but I know with added mileage, there are other things you can do through food and supplements to maintain your best shape.

I came across a book called Chi Marathon and forgot all about the nutrition aspect.  I had heard about this book through various forums and blogs so I checked it out for the first few chapters.  I have pretty crazy IT band and hamstring pain in my right leg after long runs and know it's because I run a little wonky.  I just didn't know what I could do to fix that and not cause other problems.  So I read that little chapter and am going to buy it on my kindle so I can refer back to it.  There are A LOT of steps to correct running form and getting them all at once the first time you go out is not going to happen.  It won't even happen on the second time.

I've done two runs concentrating really hard on keeping my body straight and my steps within the little box that they should be and not only have I felt less pain in my right leg, but I have kicked my times out the window.  My 1.5 mile run yesterday was sub 10 min/mile and today I was right around 10 min/mile over 3 miles.  Usually I'm higher up in the 10s and lower 11s for anything over a mile so I'm really excited about that.  My lungs aren't in great shape for that kind of pace, but I think that's good because I would rather focus on better form and go slower for now than run badly and fast.

I have another 1.5 mile run tomorrow and then a long run on Saturday morning. I'll probably do about 6 miles or 8 if I'm feeling ambitious.  Also, I've been finding random bruises on my body from what I assume are from the mud run.  Huge bruises. Here's a picture of one of them and then the screen print of my last two runs.

Random ankle bruise.  There's one that's even bigger under my right knee.
3 mile run 

1.5 mile run

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"As far as that tire, I've carried purses heavier than that."

It all started with an email.  Thursday night, I got an email from Kris saying "Would you be interested in this?" with a link to the Big Nasty Mud Run to be held two days later.

Heck yeah, I'd be interested in that!

I'm usually one that waits to the last minute to sign up for 5ks and 10ks.  With the marathon coming up, I've had to be more of a planner and figure out from now until October 28th what races I will be doing and how exactly that will fit into my training schedule.  This weekend was going to be my last "non-planned" weekend before I got into the thick of training and playing it safe.  So after a few back and forth emails, we were signed up and ready to go!

I've never run an event with FCA Endurance Savannah.  Most of their events that I know of are in Pooler, which is a suburb of Savannah that we don't go out to much unless we're going to the airport.... or for packet pick-up for the mud run.  Their pick-up was at the movie theater and was easily found.  I was in and out within 3 minutes tops.  They gave me great information on what to wear and expect the next day and I was on my way.

I wasn't expecting much in my bag of goodies, it was their inaugural mud race and like I said earlier, I didn't know much about the organization.  I was pleasantly surprised!

There were quite a few things inside my bag that I'll probably end up using.  Usually I just end up throwing most of it away, or I don't get enough to even take a picture.

Saturday morning came and we met up with Kris to carpool over.  We took some before pictures and got into position for the start.  For the first time in my many races, I was nervous at the start.  I had no idea what to expect except for the huge mud pit that I knew was about 100 yards into the race.

Before the race begins!

After the first mud pit.  I'm celebrating keeping my shoes on!

 Luckily, once we got through the first pit (where I seriously almost lost my shoe, but refused to be that girl), we settled into a great pace and took each obstacle as they came.  Kris and I share the same competitive drive that got us up and over a 40ft wall, army crawling under caution tape through freezing and rocky water, and carrying a tire around a track with relative ease and tons of laughter! 

Kris making it through the last part of the course. She kept her hair dry and her lip gloss intact!

...I did not.

Tackling the A-Frame wall.  I made it to the top and somehow lost my footing and fell down.  Next time, A-Frame wall, next time.

The last mud pit. I was so tired by this point and kept falling every 5 steps.

Finally out of the last obstacle and ready to finish. 

We ran it in and finished strong!

The after picture. Still smiling!

Overall, this race was incredibly organized and A LOT of fun.  The one thing I could complain about was the clean up process after.  There were 6 shower stalls for over 1,000 people to rinse off.  We were in the middle of nowhere so I didn't really expect a lot, and in the scheme of things, the wait wasn't horrible.  I heard they had a huge spray nozzle in another part of the park that was using water from the mud pits to help people rinse off, but using dirty water didn't sound like my idea of clean.

The ride home was fun, the title quote was said by Kris while we were telling our tales of might to Hubs, who drove and captured our journey through picture and video (Thanks Hubs!).  

The morning after, I'm feeling pretty sore.  4.5 miles is usually no big deal but add in 17 obstacles and the fact that I used a lot of upper body muscles that I usually don't when I run... I'll have to incorporate some strengthening into my training over the next few months and my core could use some definite work.  

This week begins serious training. I have my running journal all filled out with expected workouts through October and Hubs ready to be my coach.  Any time I'm feeling like training kinda sucks though, I'm definitely going to think about this run: how much fun I had and how I pushed myself.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

I woke up this morning and my legs felt tiiiiired. So I'm taking the day off of running and back at it tomorrow!  Yesterday, Hubs and I had an island day! We stopped by Fort Pulaski with Jacob and spent a few hours reliving history.  It just so happened to be the 150 year anniversary of the attack on Fort Pulaski so that was kinda cool how that worked out.  Here are the pictures from our trip (with some captions)

Water Break!

My muddy fiasco where Jake pulled me butt first into the ground to catch some fiddler crabs

There's a creeper taking our picture

Welcome to the fort

Original canon holes

Hubs at dinner

I won B-I-N-G-O

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Savannah Bucket List

There are like a million pros and cons to living in a place that people love to vacation in.  One of the pros is that at any time, you can do a staycation and not even have to pay for a hotel (even though it's more fun to stay downtown, it's way cheaper to just pay for parking and come home to a cute puppy!)  Since we dropped the ball on going out of town and gas costs 4 bucks a gallon anyways, we decided to make a bucket list of things to do in Savannah and try and do them all with the money we wouldn't be spending on a hotel and gas.  Here's our list:

Yesterday morning, we took Jake to the dog park first thing and got him plum tuckered out since he'd be alone for more than a few hours.  He has a bff named Lucius that seems to be there when we're there most of the time and they have a ball.  Yesterday, it was a ball over a blue squeaky ball.  Jake ended up victorious...

He likes to close his eyes when I take pictures of him. It's like he knows exactly when I'm taking them. Anyways, we ventured out after that and found the best parking in Savannah.  10 hours for 3 dollars! It wasn't even far from everything! 

We decided our first stop would be the Temple Mickve Israel.  This place is in my favorite square (Monterey) and we go by it pretty much every time we go downtown.  I didn't even know they did tours til I went on TripAdvisor after a Saturday night fiasco with a "haunted tour".  We learned so much about this great place and the women there that run the tours are amazing!  I also learned a thing or two about Judaism which was cool.  Here are a few pictures:

Our second stop was to have tea at the Gryphon Tea Room.  We decided instead of doing high tea, we thought we'd just share a pot and have some dessert for a mid afternoon snack.  The hostess, who turned into our waitress, was really nice and informative on the different teas and desserts.  We had a lovely time relaxing and people watching.  
One lump, or two?

Pinkies out!

Cute way of presenting the check

Beautiful Building the Gryphon is in

After that, we hopped on a pedicab and took a 30 minute tour of the city.  Our bike driver was cool, I couldn't hear half the things he was saying because he was facing away from us and paying attention to traffic. (which is good!) But it was nice to just sit back and enjoy the perfectly awesome day we'd had.  

We ended the day with a trip to Isle of Hope where Hubs helped FIL with pressure washing the boat while Jake and I took a leisurely run through the neighborhood.  Jake was a little bit of a brat, but we had fun nonetheless.  

How can you not smile at this picture?