Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

So, I’ve been lying to you. Well, just a little. (Which begs the question, is there really such thing as a little lie?) Anyway, I haven’t told you the whole truth. Which starts with, I didn’t run the SLO Marathon yesterday.

SLO Recap

Before I get to that though, I want to congratulate Tina Muir, who ran the London Marathon on Sunday. She sweetly emailed me on Saturday to wish me luck, commenting that we have both worked so hard for this. While this is true, I have to laugh because Tina, who ran 2:41:19 (!!!!), was so kind as to think of me, who would have been about two hours behind her.

Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

Back to my story. I pretty much knew by last Wednesday that I wasn’t going to be able to run the SLO Marathon. I was in denial though. I really had worked hard for this. While I’d had a hard time getting my total mileage up where I wanted it, I had done the workouts. My long runs had gone well for the most part, at least until a couple weeks ago when I’d developed some exercise induced asthma issues. I did my tempo runs, marathon pace runs, and even hill workouts. I’m in good shape.

The asthma had given me some doubts though. After the incident two weeks ago it took me most of the day to recover! What would I do if it happened during the marathon? I’ve pushed through in the past, but do I have it in me to do it still? Do I even want to? Strike one.

Then Alan and I made the decision that I would go alone. I’ve told you before about Goldie, our handicapped dog. We really don’t want to leave her in the care of a dog sitter. We just don’t trust anyone enough to clean her, change her diaper, and to be there in case anything happens. Heck, sometimes she gets stuck in the dog door when we’re home, though we release her quickly. What if the sitter wasn’t there for a couple hours? We are both resigned to the idea that, for the rest of Goldie’s life our travel will be limited.

Anyway, that meant that I would have to drive to San Luis Obispo by myself, run a marathon, then drive home afterward. Um, that’s about five hours in each direction. Strike two.

I still didn’t want to let go of the dream though. There must be some way, right? I even would have invited Christina, my running partner and neighbor, but she was out of town at a wedding for the weekend.

Then last Wednesday I ran five miles, moderate pace, with a couple bursts of marathon pace. About halfway through my run I felt a weird pain in my mid-back that actually made me stop for a moment. It went away when I stopped but returned when I ran again. I made it home, but through the rest of the day I had twinges, now in my low back and right hip.

When I woke up on Thursday morning I knew right away that my marathon probably wasn’t going to happen. The pain was still in my low back and hip, with occasional random spasms just to keep me on my toes. I could hardly walk, let alone think about running 26.2 miles!

Strike three and I’m out.

I still held on until Friday morning to make the decision. My back was a little better, so I gave myself a little hope, but my wiser side took over. Back pain + 5 hour drive + marathon = Bad idea.

So, I stayed home, wished my follow SLO Marathon Ambassadors good luck, and didn’t run a step all weekend. I did, however, get to spend some time with this guy:


Yes! If anything could make me feel better about staying home and missing my marathon it was having Samuel and his parents visit us! I took tons of pictures, but since he’s in action all the time most of them were blurry! Here are a few when he was still for a moment.

Samuel 6I don’t think Samuel realizes how honored he should be to get Coco kisses. She usually delivers them to Alan and me in the middle of the night.

Samuel 4It’s hard to explain to a two year old about handicapped dogs, but Samuel seemed to have a connection with Goldie. We just had to make sure that he didn’t sit on her.

Samuel 2Penny is obviously a good sport. She’s not used to kids but was very patient with Samuel. He is used to Chloe, their young Australian Shepherd, who puts up with all his antics.

Samuel 3Grandpa was happy that someone finally wanted to play with the finger lights he bought at Christmas!

Samuel 5Since both his parents wear glasses, Samuel thinks they’re pretty cool (the glasses, not sure about the parents). So when he found an old pair of readers lying around he thought that he was pretty cool too.

Samuel 7Nathan and Sarah just purchased a brand new Ford Fusion. On a recent trip to Orange County my son got over 90 mph! It’s a nice looking car too.

Samuel 8We went to lunch at PF Changs. I ordered the Vegetable Lettuce Wraps and Alan wanted the Buddha’s Feast, at least until he saw all the broccoli that it came with. So we traded dishes and I got my broccoli ration for the week.

Samuel 10Grandson selfie!

Samuel 9I was sad that this picture turned out a little blurry thanks to trying to hold Samuel still with one hand and take a picture with the other. Still, they look awfully cute, don’t they? Their daughter (my granddaughter!!!) Emma Marie is due on September 2.

We had a great time and I was able to forget my failure missing the marathon for a while. And the good news is, my back is feeling much better. I’ll probably try a little run on Tuesday. I’d like to hold onto some of this fitness I have right now. I might convince Christina that a semi-local half marathon might be just the thing for May!

In other adventures, did you see my Instagram post the other day? The consensus was that this is a king snake. What do you think?


Anybody know what kind of snake this is? Not dangerous I hope! #snake #snakes #snakesofinstagram

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

Thank you to all of you who wished me well, supported me and had faith in my efforts. I’m sorry that I couldn’t live up to your (or my) expectations. I promise to share the links to some of the SLO Marathon recaps so we can all see what I missed. And don’t miss Tina’s recap. She was really happy and excited about her experience and I can’t wait to read all about it.

How was your weekend? Any races, events, or family adventures? Let’s hear about it!

Fit Friday: Amazing Arms and Shoulders

If you are time challenged like I am, you appreciate a workout that does it all. Because I spend a lot of my available training time running, I need a workout that can work my total body in a functional way, challenge my core, balance the strength in my legs without overdoing it, and, as the title suggests, create amazing arms and shoulders.

Fit Friday

I created this workout because I feel that sometimes when I’m doing total body workouts on a regular basis, I don’t have the time to give my arms and shoulders the special focus they need to have the definition that I like. In this workout, you will not only complete two exercises each for biceps, triceps, and shoulders, you will also do some compound functional exercises that will work your entire upper body. Throw in two types of squats, some balance, and you’ve got a workout that has it all.


Total Body Circuit Workout with Special Focus on Amazing Arms and Shoulders

For each arm exercise, choose a weight that challenges you while allowing you to complete all repetitions with good form.

Push Ups with Feet on the Stability Ball: Assume start position by placing stability ball under the front of legs. Note: the lower the position of the ball on your legs, the more challenging the exercise. With arms slightly wider than shoulder width, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor. Press up, straightening elbows, to your starting position.

Bicep Curls, Seated on Stability Ball: Sit on the ball, with special attention to your posture. Sit tall, pulling your shoulder blades together, holding the dumbbells in each hand, with your palms facing in. As you do your curl, gradually rotate your wrists so that your palm faces your shoulder at the top of the movement. Return to your starting position without moving your upper arms or swinging the weights.

Lying Triceps Extension, Bridge Position on the Ball: Roll down on the ball until your head rests level. Lift your hips so that you are in a bridge position. Contract your glutes and your abdominals throughout the set. Hold dumbbells above your head, palms facing in, arms straight. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows, lowering the weights behind your head. Return to the starting position.

Squat with Lateral Shoulder Raise: Stand with your feet hip width apart. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend your knees into a squat, keeping your abdominals contracted, your spine neutral and your chest up. As you rise, lift your arms to shoulder height, keeping your elbows straight but not locked. Return your arms to your sides as you lower into your next squat.

Crunch on Stability Ball: Sit on the ball then roll down so that the ball supports the small of our back. If you choose, you may use a medicine ball for a resistance, or use your hands to lightly support your head and neck. Contract your abdominals as you exhale lifting your shoulders several inches above the ball. Return to the starting position. Note: You will get a better workout if you stop slightly short of a “resting” position between each repetition. This will keep the tension on the abdominal muscles and make the exercise more challenging.

Bent Over Row, Standing on the Right Leg: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, shift your right into your right leg. The knee is bent slightly as you bend over at the hips, letting your left leg extend behind to counterbalance. Keep your spine neutral. Bend your elbows to lift the weights, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly straighten your elbows. Try to maintain the balance for the set. You may keep the back foot on the ground for better balance. Note: It helps if you find a focal point and keep your head still while completing this exercise.

Reverse Fly, Standing on the Left Leg: Start as above, on the left leg. This time you will keep your elbows straight but not locked as you lift the weights to shoulder height. Slowly bring them back down for each repetition.

Triceps Pushups: At a wall, hold the stability ball with your hands and arms close together. Your elbows are straight, and your arms are parallel to the ground. Walk your feet back slightly so. The farther back your feet the more challenging the exercise. Keeping your spine neutral, bend your elbows, keeping them close together as you do so. Allow your heels to come naturally off the floor as you lower your body. Straighten your elbows to the starting position.

Wide Leg Squat with Bicep Curls: Stand with legs wider that shoulder width, toes pointing out slightly, holding a dumbbell in each hand, at your side, palm up. As you bend your knees into a squat, bend your elbows into a bicep curl. Straight your knees and elbows back to your starting position.

Twisting Crunch on Ball: Perform the crunch as above, this time alternating twisting from side to side as you lift your shoulders. The medicine ball is optional.

You can perform this workout two or three days a week, or throw it in once a week or so for some variety to your total body workouts. If you have any questions about the exercises, please ask in the comments. I hope you enjoy it!

I’m linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!


Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

How do you fit strength training into your busy schedule?

Workout is Not a Verb and other gripes.

Grammar Gripes

I’m linking up with Amanda and thinking out loud about grammar today.

I read a lot of blogs and other online publications. Most bloggers and many internet writers were not English majors. It is not a requirement to blog, which is a good thing because I am certainly not an English major myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t love the English language though.


I am not the grammar police. I am sure that real grammar Nazis will find many mistakes in my writing. I do my best, research when necessary, and I know that I miss a lot. So if you find mistakes and need to correct them in the comments (I know I’m asking for it taking on this topic), please do it with humor and love. Thank you.

Lisa Kudrow Grammar

But I, like many who have a fair handle on the English language, am sometimes pissed off annoyed by the continual misuse of some of the basics of spelling and grammar by people who should know better. Basics, as in those we learned in third grade. As in, unless you skipped third grade. So in the interest of my peace of mind, here are a few of the ones that bother me the most common errors. Again, I’m not an English pro so I’m not going to go into depth about the usage of each word, just give a little explanation and example.

There, Their, They’re

There: It is not here, it is there.

Their: It belongs to them. It is their house.

They’re: They are. They’re learning to write.

To, Too

To: There are a lot of ways to use “to.” It is a versatile preposition. It can mean until, toward, reaching as far as, and many other things. Be nice to me. I’m going to the store. She is great at anything she puts her mind to. I’d love to go to Europe.

Too: Additionally, excessive, very, or extremely. I want to go to the store too. You are too much. That fire is too hot.

Your, You’re

Your: It belongs to you. Let’s take your car.

You’re: You are. You’re starting to get this now.

Ross Grammar

I, Me, Myself

Misusing “I” and “me” is very common and it shouldn’t be because it’s not that difficult to understand. Most people remember (from third grade), that the other person’s name comes first at the beginning of a sentence in which “I” is appropriate, “Carol and I are going to the movies.” Where it seems to get confusing is when the phrase occurs at the end of the sentence, “Mike went to the movies with Carol and me.” Many writers mistakenly use “I” instead and that is incorrect. Here’s an easy way to remember: Say the sentence without the other person’s name. You wouldn’t say, “Mike went to the movies with I” would you? It sounds wrong.

As for myself, use it only when “I” and “me” don’t sound right. I’ll keep that bit of information to myself. I went to the movies by myself. You wouldn’t say “Carol and myself are going to the movies.” It just sounds awkward.


Loose, Lose

Loose: Use this if your clothes are not tight, if the lions at the zoo escaped, or you’re gathering your change to turn in. These pants are really loose. The big cats are loose!

Lose: This means that you lost something, whether it is the game, your keys, weight, or a bet.

Workout is not a verb

I’m sure it is because I read a lot of health and fitness blogs, but this mistake is so common that I see it several times a day. I even began to doubt myself. Perhaps workout is a verb? So, of course, I Googled it. My mind was eased and I learned a lot more than I needed about how to determine if a word is a verb or not. Basically, because you can’t conjugate it, it cannot be a verb. While you can say “I workout” and “you workout,” you cannot say “he workouts.” There is also a problem with past tense. You wouldn’t say “I workouted yesterday” (that, by the way, was hard to even write). You have to say, “he works out” or “I worked out yesterday.” You’ll find a lot more detail and explanation why workout is not a verb here, but the bottom line is, workout is a noun, not a verb.

So, you may have done your workout yesterday, but today you are going to work out.

Well, I don’t know if this helped you, but I sure feel better! What grammar mistakes bother you? And, as I stated above, hit me with my mistakes. Gently, if you please.

Race Day Tips for a Successful Marathon

With only four more days until the SLO Marathon it seems appropriate to talk about race day. While much of training focuses preparing to run 26.2 miles it is important to have a race day plan too. After all, you’ve just spent anywhere from four to six months in an intensive effort to run a successful marathon. You had a training plan, followed it, did all your workouts, you’ve tapered, and now you are ready to go. Having a plan for marathon day is essential too.

Whether this is your first marathon or your 37th it is a good idea to remind yourself of these simple race day tips.


Eat Breakfast

Try to eat a moderate breakfast two or three hours before the race. You need to top off your tank with easily digestible foods (that you have hopefully tried during your training) like oatmeal, bananas, cereals, yogurt, or toast. Drink water or a sports drink throughout the morning, all the way up until the race starts.

Nothing New on Race Day

Your training has been like a three or four month long dress rehearsal for your big day. Over that time, you’ve found the right combination of nutrition and hydration, as well as the right shoes, clothing, even socks. Don’t mess around with success on race day by wearing the cute top that you bought at the expo, or using the gel that is being given away on the course (unless you’ve been training with it). While new shoes are a great idea for the race, take them for a spin or two before the event, even if they are they same model as your old ones. Stick with your tried and true pre-run meal, which can be a little difficult if you traveled to an event, so make sure to plan ahead.


You do not want to be sitting in traffic trying to exit the freeway as the gun goes off. Plan ahead to get to the venue early. Check out the race website for information about parking, shuttles, clothing drops, etc. Depending upon the size of the race, there may be long lines to use the portable toilets, so it is a good idea to head there right away. Drop off your clothing bag and get to your corral at least 15 minutes early. Better to stand around waiting a little while than try to squeeze in when it is full. If the weather is cold, stay warm with a throwaway shirt that can be tossed after you warm up. If the weather is damp or rainy, a trash bag makes a great poncho to keep you dry while you’re waiting to get started.

Start Slow

No matter how many marathons you have run, this may be the hardest advice to adhere to. The excitement of the moment, being surrounded with other excited runners, sometimes even a downhill start of the course all conspire to make you start out too fast. There’s no such thing as time in the bank. Getting more miles in at a faster pace is not going to help you finish your marathon faster. In fact, it will probably backfire, you will over extend yourself, use up crucial energy and fuel, and your time may very well be slower than you planned. Start out at your goal pace or even slightly slower. This will allow you to conserve both your energy and your fuel, enabling you to keep the pace during that last 10k.

Have a nutrition plan and stick to it

I will admit it. I made a huge nutrition mistake in what turned out to be my PR marathon. The thing is, I should have run that race five or even 10 minutes faster than I actually did! I have always had issues with fueling and nausea during the marathon, and during that race I was feeling so good I didn’t want to mess it up by ingesting anything. So, beyond water and the carbohydrate drink I was carrying I didn’t eat anything. So what happened? Well, at mile 20, I was on pace for a 3:10 finish, and I bonked so hard I could barely sustain an 8-8:30 pace for the last six miles. I ended up running 3:16 in that race, a good time to be sure, but, after losing about a minute a mile over the last 10k, I learned a painful lesson.

St. George

I was carrying gels in that amphipod. I just didn’t use them.

The point is, you have been practicing your nutrition throughout your training, you have a pretty good idea what works, so, make a plan before the race and stick with it.

Don’t wear headphones

Don’t shoot me! I know that music lovers everywhere are saying “What???!!! I can’t run without my music!” Wait a moment and just listen to my reasoning.

You are about to embark on one of the most life changing excursions of your life. You will have to reach deep inside of yourself, use everything you’ve got, including all your mental strength, to stay the course, and to be successful in your endeavor. Having music playing in your ear, while it may give you a beat to run to, will distract you from all of that. While you may say that distraction is a good thing, it really is not if you want to produce your best effort.

On the other hand, if you are running to have fun and “just finish,” why cut off half of the experience by not communicating with the other athletes that are sharing this moment with you? I have met some amazing people during a marathon, something that would never happen if I cut myself off from them by wearing headphones.

The Last 6.2 Miles

I’m sure you have heard the saying, “There are two halves to the marathon: the first 20 and the last 6.2,” and that is true to a certain extent. That last 10k can really grind you into the ground. But, if you have followed the advice above, fueled correctly, and moderated your pace, you will have a much stronger finish. Some other ideas to keep you going strong: Break the distance down into smaller chunks. Think about a great two mile run that you enjoy; Think minutes instead of miles. Four or five minutes may sound better than a half mile; If you’re really feeling like you have to slow down, try instead to pick up the pace for a short distance. That little change can refresh your legs; Take one mile at a time; Positive self talk. Be your own cheerleader.

Have Fun

This is the culmination of months of hard work. Cherish the moment. Talk to other runners. Give high fives to the kids on the sidelines. Smile for the cameras. Thank the volunteers. Enjoy the scenery. Appreciate the body, however tired and sore, that has brought you this far.

What race day tips would you like to add?

Originally posted on Live from La Quinta, May 2014.

Training Recap (6 days until SLO Marathon!)

The important stuff first. I’m happy to announce that the winner of Dinner for Two and a bottle of wine at Mitch’s on El Paseo is Denise L! Congratulations! I know you’ll enjoy it.

Also good luck to all of the runners at the Boston Marathon today! I have many blogging friends doing the race and I’ll be trying to sneak an occasional peak at the live feed this morning at work. The forecast is for rain, but as I told Angela, the gods frequently smile on the Boston Marathon and send a sunny day along. If not, it will still be the experience of a lifetime.

Well, six day left until the SLO Marathon and everything is, well, not perfect. I’m still getting my workouts in (hurray for the taper!), but suddenly my knee is bothering me a little, and the asthma/dizzy issue I spoke about last week is still a concern. I’ve not had another incident like I had during my long run last week, but I frequently feel right on the verge, like if I push or go too far I might go right over the edge. Worrisome.

Training Recap

Last Wednesday was my last speed workout. Christina and I ran five miles a little faster than my marathon pace. All went well.

Long Run 3

After my tempo run. Needed to get the frog in the picture :-)

Saturday I ran eight miles with Alan and Christina. It should have felt easy and short after all my long runs, but as I mentioned, I’ve been feeling on the edge. I got it done though.

Long Run 2On Sunday I headed out alone for five miles on the trails. I love having a running partner, but sometimes I need to get out by myself. I took it easy, stopped for pictures, and felt good throughout. Now the final countdown to the race, and maybe some big decisions.

Trail Run 3

It’s not easy to take a picture of your shadow running.

Trail Run

Trail Run 2

Coachella boys

This one was pretty weird. As I was running I heard the sound of voices. Now this was about 7:30 on a Sunday morning and the voices sounded, well, they sounded drunk. I saw these guys down below the trail, singing and yelling. I kind of assumed they were refugees from Coachella, which is just a few miles away. I guess the camping is cheaper up in the La Quinta cove. I took a little detour, not wanting to deal with drunken revelers at that point in time.

And the Other Stuff

Kind of a boring week, at least in terms of writing something you’d want to read about. There was this, in case you missed it:

Its a girlYes, we’re going to have a granddaughter! After two sons, two stepsons, and three grandsons, we’re ready for a little pink in the family! On that note, I happened to wander into Target over the weekend.

DecisionsAnd I went for…

Baby Girl 2I was also curiously drawn to these:

Baby Girl 3But resisted the urge. They are, after all, toddler sizes.

Baby Girl 4

#Cutie. Let’s get her started on social media early.

Cactus FlowersSpring in the desert means the cactus is blooming.

And just a couple #dogpics:


My 14 year old Dalmatian can still get silly.

Johnny 2

And Johnny always finds ever cuter ways to sleep.

And some vegan food.

Mandarin SaladMandarin orange “chicken” salad. Easy and delicious. Here’s the recipe.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Any races, competitions, or other awesome experiences you’d like to share? Will you (are you, did you) watch the Boston Marathon? Go Meb!

In case you missed it…

In Case You Missed It

I rarely post on Saturday, but this is such big news I just have to share right now. In case you missed it on Instagram

Its a girlYes, we’re going to have a granddaughter! Her name is Emma Marie and she is expected the first week of September.

This family needs a little sugar and spice. With two sons, two stepsons, and three grandsons, I am just a little over the top excited. I can’t wait for a little pink!

Baby Girl

(I am being a little bit silly here. She may hate pink.)

Ahh, but this one:

I love grandmaSomeone’s going to have a baby sister!

Big Brother

In Case You Missed It (#2)

I’m guest posting over on Rachel’s blog! Check it out!

Lessons from RunningBack to regularly scheduled weekend activity. Have a great one!