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:

Penny

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!

Fit Friday: For the Core

I’m excited to bring back one of my favorite series, Fit Friday. Recently I have felt that I’ve moved away from fitness posts by focusing more on running. I want to get back to my roots though, so, while there still may be a running workout on Fridays from time to time, you will generally find some type of strength workout. I introduce you to Fit Friday #1: For the Core.

Fit Friday

Here’s a quick core workout that will get your weekend started right.

For the Core

With all core exercises it is important that you focus on tightening and bracing your abdominal muscles for the most effective workout. Pull up your belly, brace like you’re preparing to be punched, and make sure you continue to breathe. There, now you’re ready.

Note: While the instructions say to perform each exercise for one minute, you should only do it as long as you can keep good form. So, if that is only 30 seconds at first or even less, that’s great. Work at it, get stronger, and before you know it you’ll be sailing along for a minute.

1. Plank with Alternating Knee to Elbow: Start in a high plank position, making sure that your shoulders are directly over your wrists and that your spine and hips are aligned. Inhale, then exhale as you bring your left knee to touch your left elbow. Hold for 2 seconds. Return to starting position then repeat with the right knee. Continue alternating knees for one minute. Modification: Put your knees down in your plank position.

Plank Altnernating Knee

2. One Leg Deadlift: Stand with your weight on your right leg. Start to bend forward at the hip, keeping your right leg straight and your spine neutral. Extend your left leg behind you with the knee straight. It should stay in alignment with your body throughout the movement. Lower until you’re about parallel with the ground. Slowly return to your starting position. Do all the repetitions on your right leg for a minute, then repeat on the left side. To increase the challenge: Hold a kettlebell in one or both hands.

One Leg Deadlift

3. Side Plank with Hip Dip: Assume a forearm side plank position. Make sure that your shoulder is above your elbow, your hips and legs are stacked. Hold the opposite arm in the air. Without losing form, lower hip to the mat. Return to your starting position. Repeat for one minute, then switch sides. Modification: Keep lower leg on the floor.

Side Plank

4. Supine Toe Taps: Lie on your back with your legs in a tabletop position (hips and knees bent at 90 degrees). Tilt your pelvis slightly and push your back into the mat. Slowly lower one leg and tap the toe on the mat. Return to starting position then lower the other leg. Alternate legs for one minute, keeping your back pressed down for the whole set.

Supine Toe Taps

5. Bicycles: The old fashioned bicycle crunch is still a great exercise if it’s done correctly. Lie on your back with your hands lightly supporting your head. Bring your right knee to your left elbow, then your left knee to your right elbow. Take it slow and don’t pull your head to reach higher.

Bicycles

6. Russian Twist: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Keep your back straight and lean back slightly until you feel your abs engage. Hold your hand out in front of you. Twist to the right and touch your hands to the ground (if you can without rounding your back. If not, just go as far as you can). Then twist to the left. Alternate for one minute. To Advance: Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands as your perform the exercise.

Russian Twist

7. Sliding Pike: This exercise should be done on a wooden or laminate floor (see below for variations). Start in a high plank position with your feet on a blanket or large towel. Using your abdominal muscles, draw your legs in, keeping your knees and spine straight as you move into a “Pike” position (inverted V). Return to your starting position. Repeat for one minute. Modification: Allow your knees to bend as you draw your legs in. Variation: This exercise can be done with your feet on a stability ball or sliders.

Sliding Plank

8. Leg Lowers: Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air. As you engage your abdominal muscles, press your back into the mat. Lower your legs only as far as you can without losing form or lifting your back. This is important. Hold for two seconds then return to the starting position. Repeat for one minute. Modification: Keep your knees slightly bent and use a smaller range of motion when you lower your legs. Don’t do this exercise if it causes back discomfort or pain.

Leg Lowers

This workout should take about 10 minutes. You can complete one set or, if you have more time, repeat the workout for a killer core workout. Enjoy.

I’m linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

FitnessFridayRev3

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.

What is your favorite core exercise?

My Top 5 Running Moments

I stole this idea from Angela, who got it from Amanda.

When I first saw Angela’s top five post and decided to steal copy borrow it, I thought it would be pretty easy. I mean, there are definitely “great” runs in every runner’s history, whether is a first time event, a PR, or just an exceptional experience. Then I realized that, after running for over 25 years, I have a heck of a lot more than five great runs. The challenge was how to whittle them down.

My Top 5 Running Moments

After much deep thought (and many mind changes), here are the runs that I decided were my top 5 running moments.

Ragnarian

Capering for 20 miles

This run, which already stands out simply because it was awesome, is on my mind lately because of the challenges I’ve been having with my long runs and asthma. It was Saturday, September 12, 1998, I was training for the Honolulu Marathon, and running 20 miles. I didn’t set out to run fast, but as I ran along, I just felt better and better, which resulted in running faster and faster. Alan and I finished that run in 2:40, an eight minute per mile pace, and I distinctly remember saying to Alan at about mile 15, “I feel like I’m capering!”

Now, I didn’t just remember the date. I pulled out my old date books, where I religiously tracked my mileage and other workouts. As I thumbed through those old records, my main thought was, “man, we were animals!” With long runs up to 27 miles before a marathon, weekly mileage up to 60-70 miles, and lots of racing, we were running strong. The same week that I ran that 2:40 on Saturday? I had also run 21.5 the Monday before! Those were the days, my friends. (No recommendations here, it just was what it was.)

Finishing with my son

When my son moved back to California about 10 years ago, he was recovering from a marriage to an abusive woman, and quite depressed. He was smoking, overweight, and unhappy. Fortunately, he moved in with new roommates from work. They just happened to be runners. My son started running, lost weight, gained confidence and eventually started competing in races. I talked him into running the La Jolla Half Marathon with me, but we never found each other at the start line. I caught up with him at mile 10, where he was walking and having terrible blister problems. He started running again and we stayed together until the finish. One of my proudest “Mom Moments.”

La JollaThere’s more to the story!

My First Marathon

Even though I had thought about running a marathon, it wasn’t until I met Alan in 1996 that it became a reality. At the time, he was a big fund raiser for the Leukemia Society, so much so that he was able to get an extra ticket and entry for the 1996 Honolulu Marathon for me. It was an amazing experience, from the hotel on the beach, the early morning walk to the start line, the 5 am start and the fireworks, all the way to the finish at Kapiolani Park. In spite of being so sore I could hardly walk the next day, the Honolulu Marathon was the start of my long love of the marathon distance. We went back another five times (and we’re registered to run the 2015 race!).

Honolulu-Marathon

There’s more to the story!

We’ll always have Paris

I’ve been fortunate enough to run the Paris Marathon twice. What can you say? It’s a 26.2 mile tour around the center of the city. Manifique! Alan and I celebrated both times by running together and carrying disposable cameras with us (It was 1998 and 2001, no mobile phones to record the experience for posterity).

ParisMarathon

There’s more to the story!

And the PR race

I ran my personal best race in 1999 at the St. George Marathon, a race that has a net elevation loss, so many runners, including Olympic trial hopefuls come there to give themselves an extra chance. Before the race, runners are bussed up to the start line, which is at about 5,200 feet. The race then runs down to the town of St. George, Utah, which is at about 2,500 feet. It’s not all downhill though. There are a lot of rolling hills, especially in the first half, and the main downhill comes the last six miles as you are running back into town. In spite of some nutrition mistakes, and two bathroom stops, I had a great race. Okay, I’ll tell you. I was 41 years old and I finished the race in 3:16:24. And because it was an Olympic trial year, that time only got me 17th in my division!

St.-George

Surprise! Here’s Number 6!

After finishing this post, I was happy with my choices. Then I realized that I skipped what was probably my favorite run of all time: Ragnar So Cal! While I never planned to run a Ragnar Relay, when Melissa asked me to fill in for her last year I said that I’d do it, even though I was only vaguely aware of what a Ragnar was (does it stand for something?). It’s hard to put into one short paragraph what an awesome experience this was. A great team, first of all. Each and everyone of those women were amazing. Even though I’d only met two of them before the event, I walked away with 11 new friends.

Finish1

There’s more to the story!

What is your favorite run? What made it so special?

April Health Dares from UnitedHealthcare

This post is sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.

April Dares

It’s time for the United Healthcare We Dare You To program for April! In case you forgot, each month United Healthcare has three health dares that are easy and have some great prizes.

April Dares 2The April Dares are:

  • Take the stress management quiz for a chance to win a HomCom Deluxe Heated Vibrating Leather massage recliner chair.
  • Watch the “3 Ways to Relieve Stress Naturally” video and offer your opinion for a chance to win a $400 Visa gift card.
  • Share a photo of yourself and/or your loved ones using #LaughOutLoudWDY for a chance to win a GoPro Hero 3.

Plus you have a chance to win one of the weekly prizes of a $25 gift card for each dare that you take. What are you waiting for?

As I looked for a picture to share for the dares, I realized that I have many pictures of smiling people, but not many laughing. We all smile for the camera, right? I think that is something to work on. More laughter, on and off camera.

laughoutloudwdy2I did finally find this though. About mile 16 (I think) of the Rock and Roll Marathon. Still laughing. Or grimacing, I can’t be sure.

In any case, look through those old photos, or take a new one, and enter now! We’re talking about a GoPro! Good luck!

What would you do with a GoPro? Or a reclining massage chair?

It’s Taper Time! The Week of Training and other good stuff

It’s Taper Time!

We’re almost there! With less than two weeks to go until the SLO Marathon I can honestly say that I’ve done the best training that I could for this race. I know I’ve complained a bit, and I’ve had challenges to my training schedule, but all in all, I’m happy and feel ready for this race.

Want to learn more about the Art (and some Science) of the Marathon Taper?

I say that in spite of having a really bad run on Saturday, what should have been my last longish run before the marathon. How bad? Well, I’ll tell you.

My plan for Saturday was to run 16 miles. I changed that to 15 after heading out with Christina, my new runner/neighbor, who wanted to run 14. I’d put in my first mile while waiting for her to finish getting ready, so I figured with 15 we could run the whole thing together. That sounded great after last week, when I had to run half of my 22 miler on my own.

Christina

From another week, but this is Christina.

 

We got started about 6:45, a little late, but with a shorter distance I wasn’t too worried about it getting hot before we finished. The first half of the run was fine. An easy pace, lots of chatting, my favorite horse paths to run on. At about mile nine, I had a little hint of what I consider the precursor to my exercise induced asthma: just a little lightheaded feeling that I shrugged off. I put my focus on breathing and it seemed to pass without having to stop.

Silverrock

The best rest stop ever! Clean bathrooms and they provide cold filtered water for ME!

 

At about mile 10.5, we walked for just a moment because it felt good we reached a turnaround point. As soon as I stopped, I could feel it coming back. Tunnel vision, lightheaded, dizziness, a combination of all three. I took a couple puffs on my inhaler, we walked a little more, then it seemed to pass and we started to run again.

For about a half mile. Then it came back. It continued like that for the next mile and a half. Run a little, walk a little, completely stop and hold onto something because otherwise I might just fall. I was struggling, and Christina, bless her heart, stayed with me even though I told her that I’d been through this before and I didn’t want to spoil her run. Finally, at about 12.5 miles my guardian angel Alan came riding up on his bike, returning from his 30 mile ride.

As we spoke to him I got so dizzy I had to sit down. He asked if I wanted him to come back with the car. I hesitated, but said yes, please. I’m tough, but not so tough (or dumb) to think I can overcome something like this.

When he rode on, Christina and I tried to run a little more but I just couldn’t. We ended up walking about a mile until Alan finally got back with the car. Christina continued on to run home, I thankfully got in the car.

It took me several hours to recover. I still felt lightheaded even after we got home. I ate a little, drank a little, then slept a lot. I felt better after my nap, but not normal yet.

I’m not sure why my exercise induced asthma, if that’s what it was, was so bad for this run. I’ve had a couple issues during my training, especially during my 22 mile run last week, but nothing this dramatic. Lately I have not used my inhaler before my run because I haven’t needed to. I did sleep badly the night before, but that alone doesn’t seem enough to cause such a bad reaction. I took Sunday off, but I’ll see how I feel on my next run before I get overly concerned. Remember, I’ve been dealing with this for a long, long time. Thirty six marathons worth.

So anyway. I did have a much better hill workout earlier in the week. I dragged took Christina with me for her first ever hill repeats. We managed 10 altogether, and I was proud of her for pushing through. Like the week before, we used the mile home for some downhill training. No breathing troubles at all during this workout even though it was pretty intense.

Hill WorkOther Good Stuff

First of all, Grandsons!

Our twin grandsons, along with their parents, were in town for spring break this week. I had to work much of the time, but Alan had a great time swimming, hiking, playing baseball, and skating (he was a spectator for that endeavor) with them all week.

Cash Collage

Dane CollageThey are both good athletes. We usually get to take a run with them when the visit, but we didn’t get a chance this visit. Alan took them on an eight mile hike on Thursday! Quite an accomplishment for two 10 year olds.

Dane CashVegan Food

For the basketball finals last Monday, I made my “famous” basketball food. At various times it is also called football or baseball food too. It is basically vegan junk food, but sometimes it’s fun to eat a little junk while you’re watching a game.

basketball food

From another game, but you get the idea.

I also made vegan Caprese. I use tofu instead of the buffalo mozzarella and it absorbs the flavors nicely. Caprese was always one of my favorite salads, so I am happy that I have a plant based version to enjoy. (The recipe is here, though I made it without the baguette.)

Caprese

Sunday morning I felt I needed a little protein boost after a day full of carbs, so I cooked up some Eggy tofu and seitan bacon. (The recipe for the tofu is here, on Cadry’s Kitchen). So good!

Eggy Tofu

From Last Week

In case you missed it, I guest posted on Run to the Finish last week.

Run until 90

Don’t forget about ASICS Gear for a Year Sweepstakes. They’re giving away $3,000 in ASICS gear ($300 per month for 10 months). You can enter once a day through April. Enter here.

Asics gearAnd Finally

Okay, I post a lot of pictures of Johnny. And he is usually on this chair, in this pose. But what was cute this time is that he made himself a little nest by pulling down the sweatshirts that I had piled on the back of the chair. Of course, now that he’s done it a few more times it’s not as cute (um, maybe I should just put those things away?).

Johnny

How was your weekend? Any races, events, great training moments? Any bad ones? I’d love to hear about both!