Lucky Me! And SLO Marathon Training Update (one month out!)

Winner Winner, (vegan) Chicken Dinner

Have I mentioned how lucky I’ve been lately? Oh yeah, I may have mentioned it. Since December I’ve been entering and winning a lot of giveaways. And I’ve won some really cool things. Like my Blendtec Designer 725 (from Fitfluential). I also won a $100 Lululemon gift card from Fitfluential. I won a pair of Injinji socks and Croc shoes from Katie (in two separate giveaways!), a pretty headband from Sparkly Soul, and an Unplugged t-shirt from Jenn. Not to mention that I found $20 on the street a few weeks ago!

Well, the luck continues. Last week I received a package from NuNaturals that I one from Jody (the second time I won that from her! They’re keeping me stocked up.), and I received this from Influenster (not a giveaway, but I guess I won it from among the participants in a marketing program):

Influenster2

This was a complete and very fun surprise.

NuStevia

Five Weeks Until the SLO Marathon!

Yikes! That happened fast. The SLO Marathon is just a little over a month away! I feel like I’ll be ready, even though my training has not been quite as intense as I’d planned. My weekday training suffered because I frequently have to work at 7:00, so I’m just not getting the mid-week mileage that I’d hoped for. Especially now that Daylight Savings Time has started. I’m not comfortable running in the dark (here’s why), so I usually have to cut my runs short.

I have managed to get in my long runs according to schedule, so that’s good. And I usually manage at least one speed or hill workout during the week, even if it is a bit shorter than I’d like. That being said, I finally got my total mileage up over 30 miles for the first time this training cycle. Woohoo!

Running for the week:

Tuesday: 2.5 miles easy. I had to be at work early, but Alan ran with me so I could get out early.
Wednesday: 6.5 miles with two miles at tempo/LT pace (which was around 9:15 per mile). I ran with Christina, my neighbor, so we got out early enough that we could get our run in and I could be at work by 8:00.
Saturday: 20 miles. Yes, I got it done!
Sunday: 4 miles. Recovery run. It also put me over 30 for the week (33 to be exact).

So, for the long run, I started off running with Christina. Alan’s hamstring was bothering him, so he took the day off. We took off from a park about a mile from our house. Because we were getting a late start (again!), I took off forgetting my water bottle and didn’t remember until about a half mile into the run. I’d left it on the curb at the park, wasn’t sure if Alan would see it, so Christina and I turned around to retrieve it. Before we got there though, Alan pulled up, with my bottle, so we turned back around. I also stumbled and almost fell on a sidewalk crack, but fortunately I caught my balance before I went all the way down.

Christina planned to run 10, so I ran with her to her turnaround point, then ran back about two miles. I felt that this would cut down on how far out I would have to run by myself. We live in a wonderful area that has little traffic and horse trails, but the downside is that it can get a little desolate if you run out about 10 miles or so. This way I stayed closer to home, I passed my favorite fire station (and water stop) three times, and it just generally felt safer.

WRW6

All went well on the run, though 20 miles is a freaking long way. And hard! Speaking of hard, I was almost done, only about a tenth of a mile from finishing, when I stumbled over that same crack in the sidewalk! This time I went down, flat on my face. Still, my first emotion was embarrassment, so obviously I wasn’t too badly hurt. I did manage to bang up my knee, hand, and even hit my face, but fortunately that was a light hit. The fall (or my emotion about the fall) also brought up my exercise induced asthma, but a couple quick puffs on my inhaler suppressed that. And yes, I did run that last bit (.08 mile to be exact, anal about mileage as I am).

WRW8

On Sunday Alan was announcing the Running Wild for Hope 5k in Palm Springs. I had no intention of actually racing, but I do like to go along to see running friends that I haven’t seen for a while, even if it means waking up at 3:30 on a Sunday morning (I repeat, sometimes running is hard). I ran a slow, four mile recovery run while the race was going on, including a mile with my former LA Marathon bestie, while she warmed up for the race.

Race Pictures 001

Linda and I managed to finish the 2000 LA Marathon in 3:33 in spite of pouring rain and 40 degree temps. We wore our trash bags for the whole race!

WWRI took a quick nap (Alan gets to the race early!), then, after a mile with Linda, ran another three on my own. Slowly. My PRO Compression sleeves are my friends. I usually wear them for about two days after a tough run or race.

WRW3

WRW2You can see the wound (which sounds too dramatic, but “owie” doesn’t look right) on my knee (the bandage didn’t last long there). It felt okay though.

As I mentioned, there are only five weeks left until the SLO Marathon on April 26. That means three weeks of training really, then a two week taper. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can still save $10 with my code: WOODAMB.  It will be beautiful in San Luis Obispo, something I’m looking forward to since it’s already getting hot in the desert.

Skulpt Aim

As I mentioned last week, I’ve had an opportunity to try out the Skult Aim. I wasn’t very happy about my initial readings, so that has encouraged be to get back to a little weight training. I’ve been practicing yoga a couple times a week, Pilates maybe once, so I hope to add some traditional strength training twice a week or so. Gotta bring those numbers down!

skulpt 2Yes, I’m showing my best reading in the picture above. That is my quadriceps measurement. My biceps, triceps and abs need a little work. So I did get in two upper body strength workouts last week. It’s actually pretty easy, since I work in a gym, and there is always a little time to get in a quick workout. I’ll be tracking my results over the next few weeks and we’ll see how those reading change.

So, that’s my week. How is your training going? Any events, races, or competitions?

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program: Race Week

Run a 5k 8

Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Race Week

Race week. It has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? Maybe you never thought that you would use the term, but here you are, a runner, in your last week of training before your race.

We’re not making a lot of changes to the schedule, but you will notice a little less intensity toward the end of the week. The goal is to feel refreshed and rested on race day. If you have been doing the optional speed work, it is still included this week, but with a little less volume. Remember to start each workout with an 8-10 minute walk, and to stretch when you’re done.

Day One: After your warm up, run for 25 minutes. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Two: Active Recovery. Warm up, then run for 20 minutes. Cool down, etc. Optional Speedwork: (Do this instead of the Active Recovery.) Warm up, then run for two minutes at your normal pace. For the next two minutes pick up the pace (think effort level of about 8-9 on a scale of 10). Slow down to your normal pace for two minutes. Repeat three more times (a total of four fast intervals). Cool down and stretch.

Run_a_5K_Program.JPGDay Three: Rest

Day Four: After your warm up, run for 20 minutes. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Five: After your warm up, run for 15 minutes. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Six: Rest. Eat normally and try to get some good sleep.

Day Seven: Race Day things to remember:

1. You can do this!
2. Depending on the time of your race, eat very lightly, nothing that you’re not used to. Drink a little water, so that you’ll be hydrated, but don’t overdo it.
3. Get to the race venue early enough so that you can park, pick up your race number, etc. without having to rush.
4. Pin your race number to the front of your shirt.
5. Double tie your shoelaces.
6. Warm up a little by a brisk walk or a slow jog for about 5 minutes.
7. Race etiquette is to line up according to your race pace or expected finishing time.
8. Take a breath, you’ll be fine.
9. When the race starts, consciously make yourself slow down. Everybody starts too fast at first.
10. Enjoy yourself.
11. Take a few sips of water at each water station. Thank the volunteers, they appreciate it.
12. Congratulate yourself at the finish line. You did it!
13. In all the excitement, don’t forget to take a little time to cool down and stretch. Enjoy some of the post race refreshments.
14. After a day of recovery, plan your next race. Next time, you might want to follow the “Getting Faster” program that is on the bottom of each Fit 2012 post starting with week two!

If you have any pictures or a race recap you’d like to share, send them to me! I’d love to post them on the blog. Check the Contact page for all the contacting options.

Getting Faster

Getting_Faster.JPGWell, it’s race week! The plan for the week is to gradually taper down through the week, so that by race day you feel fit and refreshed and ready to go. If you’ve been following the plan you are certainly ready to go out a set a personal record (PR) for yourself.

The Workouts:

The Long Run: This week, in order to be rested for your race, cut your long run back by about 30%. If you were running eight, this week run five to six. If six was your long run, cut back to four. Make sure to leave at least two days between your long run and your race.

The Interval Workout: For your interval workout, head to the track. This will be a brief workout, to help you feel your pace and build your confidence. After your warm up, run 800m at your goal race pace. Walk or jog for 400m, then repeat. Cool down and stretch. This workout should be done at the beginning of the week.

Getting_Faster.JPGThe Lactate Threshold Workout: No threshold run this week.

The other running days should be light, easy workouts. The day before your race you can take a complete rest day, or take a short, easy jog of about a mile.

Race Day

You’ve done this before, but you can still take a glance at the tips for the new racers, just to remind yourself. The number one thing is “don’t go out too fast.” With your training, you know how your race pace should feel, but sometimes in the excitement of the moment you will forget and just go out running as fast as you can.

Instead, try this: The first mile, run a little slower that your goal race pace (maybe 10-15 seconds a mile slower). When you hit the first mile marker, pick it up to your race pace. At mile two you can pick it up again, just a little faster than race pace. Then, when you hit mile three (if they have it marked) or when you are close to the finish line, give it your all! Sprint that .1 mile and stride across that finish line with a smile on your face.

Congratulations! Follow the tips above for recovery. You’re not just a runner now, you’re a racer.

Again, I would love to post any pictures or race recaps that you’d like to share. Contact info is here.

Sometimes Running is Hard

Sometimes, running is hard.

That may sound like blasphemy coming from me. Yes, I’m the gung-ho coach who has run 36 marathons. The one who tells my team to get out there and run faster. The woman who will argue the case for running against any opponent. The writer who wrote this post about why I run. But I have to say,

Sometimes running is hard.

It is hard to get up at 3:30 in the morning on a Saturday because you have a long run on the schedule and things to do in the afternoon. But you do it.

Running is hard

It is hard to run 20 (or more) miles by yourself, with nothing but your thoughts (and maybe an audiobook) to keep you company. But you do it.

It is hard to run in single digit cold or triple digit heat. Or the rain, sleet, or snow. But you do it. Okay, well sometimes you run on the treadmill or early in the morning to beat that heat, but the heart says, “I can do it.”

Running is hard 3

It is hard to overcome those aches and pains and get out there and run.

It is even harder to pull in the reins because you realize those aches and pains need a rest. But you do it.

Running is hard 2

You do it because running makes you happy. You do it because running makes you strong. And honestly, you may do it because running allows you to have an extra slice of pizza or two on occasion.

Running makes you a better, smarter, better looking person .(Okay, I just threw that one in to see if you’re paying attention.) It clears your mind, calms your thoughts.

You do it because not doing it is unimaginable.

You do it because you are a runner. And running, even when it is hard, especially when it is hard, is what makes it all worthwhile.

Running is hard 5Do you embrace the hard part of running?  What is your hard?

Quick Training Update, the Weekend in Pictures & Skulpt Aim

Quick Training Update

So it’s 8:20 on Sunday night and I’m a little behind on writing this post. So, lucky you, it will be a mostly pictures training and weekend recap.

I took Monday off after my half marathon last week, so my first training day was Wednesday. I ran six miles. I started with a one mile warm up, then ran one mile at lactate threshold pace, with a quarter mile recovery. Repeating that two more times. My intervals were right about 9:09.

On Saturday I ran 17.5 miles. I started off with my husband, who was running 12, then continued on my own when he turned around at seven. It was getting hot as I was finishing up, so when I saw Alan’s car at the 17.5 mark (he was checking on me), I happily crawled jumped into his car. I was supposed to run 18, but it was almost 80 degrees, I was getting too much into walking mode anyway, so I took the out.

Long Run 2

Funny FaceOkay, we were tired of “smiley face!”

On Sunday we took the dogs out for their run. Our neighbor Christina joined us with her dog. It was a perfect recovery day, about 3.8 miles, pretty slow and easy. And fun, because, you know, dogs.

Dog Run

Dog Run 2

Dog Run 3

DesertThe pepper trees are blooming. Aren’t they messy pretty?

I’m still a little frustrated with my total mileage during the week. More on that later this week, but it has been difficult to fit in my runs with my early work schedule, made more challenging now with the time change.

Family Time

After the run we showered then got on the road to visit his guy:

Big BrotherAs you can see by his shirt, he is soon to be a big brother! We’re so excited that our new grandchild is due in early September! It’s about  month until we find out the gender, but, with four sons between Alan and me, three grandsons, it just might be time for a little XX in the family tree. Just saying. Of course we will be thrilled with our grandchild, boy or girl.

GrandpaSamuel is getting really good at saying Grandma and Grandpa. He is finally getting to an age where he knows us as his grandparents, is happy to see us, and even though we haven’t seen him since Christmas, he remembered us and felt comfortable enough for some snuggles. Though he wouldn’t smile for our selfie.

Grandma

Vegan Lunch at Earth Bistro

We all went out to lunch at the Earth Bistro in Temecula. They have a variety of vegan options and we’ve been there before. This time wasn’t as successful. Their service has always been a little slow, and this time, when they were a little busy, it was quite bad. Alan and I enjoyed our food, but my son and daughter in law were disappointed.

Earth Bistro 3

Sarah Nathan

Earth Bistro

Earth Bistro 2

Skulpt Aim Fitness Tracker

I recently received a Skulpt Aim Fitness Tracker to review. I just barely got it out of the box, but I’m really excited about this product and I can’t wait to try it out and give you a full and honest review.

Skulpt

The Skulpt Aim is a simple fitness tracker that can measure body composition with just a touch, and continue to track it using the free Skulpt app. It uses electrical impedance myography, which uses a weak electrical current to measure body fat and to give you a Muscle Quality (MQ) score based on those measurements. The app is a great motivational tool that will help to record improvements.

How was your training week? Any races, other competitions or great training experiences to share? Would you like an easy way to measure MQ and body fat?

5k Thursday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 11

Run a 5k 8

Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 11

Admit it. That first 5k is so close now that you can almost taste it. By the end of week 11 you will run for 30 minutes straight. That will be your final long run of this training period. Next week we will ease up a bit so that you will feel fresh and ready for your race. (Missed week one? Click here to get started!)

You will again have the option of adding a little speed work (or you can choose an active recovery workout instead). Remember to warm up before each workout with an 8-10 minute walk, and to cool down and stretch at the end. Spending some time with ice, on your knees, shins (or anything else that may be aching a little) is always a good idea. On your rest days you can strength train, yoga, Pilates, etc. if you want.

Run_a_5K_Program.JPGDay One: After your warm up, run for 28 minutes. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Two: Active Recovery. Warm up, then run for 20 minutes. Cool down, etc. Optional Speedwork: (Do this instead of the Active Recovery.) Warm up, then run for two minutes at your normal pace. For the next two minutes pick up the pace (think effort level of about 8-9 on a scale of 10). Slow down to your normal pace for two minutes. Repeat five more times (a total of six fast intervals). Cool down and stretch.

Day Three: Warm up. Run for 13 minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for 13 minutes. Cool Down.

Day Four: Rest.

Day Five: After your warm up, run for 30 minutes. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Six: Rest Day or Active Recovery. Warm up, then run for 15 minutes. Walk for one minute, then run for 5 minutes. Cool Down.

Day Seven: Rest.

Getting Faster

Getting_Faster.JPGRefer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts:

The Long Run: At this point in your training, your long run should be at least six miles. Whatever it is right now, don’t add to it this week. Run the same distance as last week’s long run, or even cut it back a little if you were running over eight miles. The goal is to be in tip top shape and be rested and ready to go for your race.

Getting_Faster.JPGThe Interval Workout: A basic 400 meter interval workout on the track will do the trick, cutting back just slightly on the total distance (10 intervals instead of 12). The intensity will remain high. After your warmup, run 400 meters (once around the track). They should be run at about your 5K pace (about 90-95% of VO2Max). Recover by jogging or walking 200 meters. Repeat nine more times. Cool down by walking or jogging 400-800 meters. Stretch (and don’t forget to ice after your workout!)

The Lactate Threshold Workout: Again, easing up just slightly on the total distance, while the intensity stays the same. On the road for this workout. After your one mile easy warm up, run one at slightly less that your 5k pace (about 85-90% of your maximal effort). Cool down by jogging a half mile, and finish with a stretch.

Remember, in addition to these workouts, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Nice job on week 11. One week to go!

5 Reasons to Date a Runner

Still single and looking for the perfect (you choose) date, partner, spouse, SO? I highly recommend heading to your local track or a hometown 5k, and take a look at the runners crossing the finish line.

Why Should You Date a Runner?

Running takes dedication, commitment, strength, and even a sense of humor (tell me you don’t laugh at shared stories of blisters, black toenails, and “potty stops”). I don’t know what you look for in a partner, but those traits were always at the top of my list.

But wait! There is more. Here are five more reasons that dating a runner is a good idea. Note: I’m a straight female, so I’m calling my runner “him.” However, this applies to all runners.

Runners are out there, at races, club workouts, on the trails. In a world where 40% of singles are using online dating to meet people, the Runner is out there doing what he loves best. You don’t even have to ask what you have in common. It’s right there, pinned to his running shorts.

RnR41

When you date a Runner, you have a built in running partner. Having a training partner is a great way to get motivated, challenge yourself, and have fun while you’re doing it. There is also security in having a running partner, especially one who is likely to feel protective of you, which is especially reassuring if you run in the dark.

Your Runner always knows what you want for your birthday. Who needs a charm bracelet when you’d rather have a Fitbit? The list of gift possibilities is almost endless, from a new running outfit, to compression socks, to race entries. This eases the Runner’s mind too, saving him the stress of not knowing what to give you. There is a downside to this though. If you ever want a non-running gift, you’re going to have to come straight out and say it. After success with GPS systems, heart rate monitors and the like, your Runner may forget that sometimes a person really does appreciate something with a little more flash than a sparkle skirt.

Traveling to a race = Vacation. When both you and your Runner are running a race away from home, you can make a romantic vacation out of the experience. Be sure to plan so the race is at the beginning of your trip, the better to enjoy new restaurants, side tours, and trying other non-running activities, like hiking, kayaking, or cycling.

Runners “get” you. If you tell a regular date (regular = non-runner) that you can’t go out on Saturday night because you have a race in the morning and you need to get your sleep (and eat the right things the night before), he  might look at you as if you have a third eye. Not the Runner. The Runner understands the need for rest and proper nutrition before a run. He will appreciate your pile of running shoes (and probably has one of his own). He will even recognize the beauty of your home decor of framed finishers’ certificates, your medal display, and race posters.

Honolulu-Marathon

I speak from experience. I met my runner husband at a race (of course). We have trained together, traveled to races together, pushed each other when needed (and held each other back when injured or overtrained), and understood each other for 19 years. We even got married at a race!

So, take it from me, dating a Runner is a great idea. All you have to do is catch him!

Is your partner a runner? If so, did you meet him or her through running?

This was originally written last year as a guest post for the Kindrunner blog. I thought my regular readers might enjoy it, so I updated it and I’m happy to share it with you.