My Plans and Goals for Blogfest and IDEAWorld

Well, it’s finally here. Almost anyway. Blogfest and IDEA World Fitness Convention start next Thursday and I can’t wait! I signed up about six months ago, but I’ve really been waiting for this week since last year! I have my sessions selected, my hotel reservation, my travel plans all ready to go. I’ve done everything but pack (and I have a plan for that too!). I thought that I would share my plans and goals for Blogfest and IDEAWorld with you.

My plans and goals for blogfest and IDEAWorld

Wednesday

I’m driving in early from the desert. I’ll be picking up Tiffany at the airport, then we expect to arrive in Los Angeles by about 11:00. Even though we both signed up to take a Zumba instructors’ licensing course, the timing meant that we’d miss most of the first half of class, so we pretty much have decided to skip it. That leaves our day open for…well, anything!

FriendsMy roomy Tiffany, with Melissa, Ragnar teammate Jill, and Pamela in the background (from 2014)

Tiffany is also one of my roommates (along with Jill and Jessica), so one option is a quick trip to Whole Foods to stock up on a few items for our hotel room. I think Jill will probably want to go along, so we may wait until she arrives around noon. Then we’ll check into the hotel and the convention. Then, who knows? Since most of the events don’t start until Thursday, there won’t be a lot to do at the convention center. I’ll just see what the girls want to go and go from there.

Friends 23Jill and me at Blogfest 2014

Wednesday evening I’ll be having dinner with Susie and Amy, the founder of Brick Betty. As a new ambassador I’m excited to learn more about the program. The clothing is beautiful, colorful, and made in America, which makes me extra happy to be a part of it.

Goal for the day: Have fun, enjoy the cool weather (compared to the desert), see old blogging friends and meet new ones as people arrive in town.

Thursday

Thursday is the first day of Blogfest! Before anything even starts though, I’ll be meeting up with Tiffany and a lot of other bloggers/runners for a run! It’s a great way to get a fitness convention underway!

Although the IDEA Convention takes place Thursday through Sunday, the first two days I will be at Blogfest. Then I get to participate in the weekend sessions at IDEA. I’ll also get to go to the IDEA Opening Ceremonies and Welcome Party on Thursday.

So here’s what’s up the first day of Blogfest:

Friends 18Katy and me at the IDEA World Expo last year.

The first two hours are dedicated to learning how to build your blog. Katy Widrick will lead “How to Increase Your Readership and Market Your Message to the Masses,” followed by “Mind Blowing Blog Tips” from Alyse Mason and Jamie King, the founders of Fit Approach. After a Tweet Break, we’ll all head over to the opening ceremonies. The Keynote Speaker is best selling author Brendon Burchard.

Friends 11The Sweat Pink Team: Jamie, Alyse, and Becky, at Blogfest 2014

After that I’ll have a couple hours to eat lunch, wander around the expo (more about the expo below), and probably meet and socialize with more bloggers (seriously, my favorite part of Blogfest).

After lunch, my Ragnar teammate and registered dietician Melissa Burton will bust the top 5 nutrition myths. Then we’ll spend a couple hours learning how to build a following on Instagram (from Kasey Arena) and Pinterest (from Natalie Jill). That’s followed by the Lightening Round where eight bloggers will have 5 minutes each to teach us something with their slide presentation. It was a ton of fun last year and I expect this year will be no different. I’m really looking forward to it. Then we’ll have a couple hours to go back to the expo, have some free time, and get ourselves ready for the PARTY!

The opening party is always fun. Several thousand fitness professionals from all over the world will be eating and socializing for a couple hours. Add a couple hundred bloggers to the mix and you have a super duper event!

Goals for Thursday: I’m always trying to build my readership, so I’m really looking forward to Katy’s lecture. The same goes for increasing my reach on Instagram and (especially) Pinterest. And every keynote speech I’ve ever heard at the IDEA Convention has been inspiring, so I’m really looking forward to hearing Brandon Burchard.

Friday

Day two of Blogfest starts off with a workout: Kaia Konditioning and Kore with Nikki Warren. Then we’ll get into a little more serious stuff, learning about the legal aspects of blogging from Elizabeth Bain. Then we have the Blogfest keynote speaker, Gabrielle Reece. Not only will she present the keynote speech, she’s then going to lead us in her workout, HighX! Then, right before lunch we’ll discuss the future of blogging with Jessica Matthews.

After lunch and expo time, we learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips and tricks from Sara Downey Robinson. That’s followed by three of my favorite bloggers, Katy Widrick, Laura Peifer, and Katie McFarland teaching us how to make a career out of our blogs. Following a tweet break we’ll learn how to build up our Twitter following from Amanda Vogel. Then we get to do a workout led by the founder of Zumba, Beto Perez! Then, sadly, Blogfest will wrap up with a closing networking party.

Goals for Friday: Whew! With three challenging workouts I hope I have the energy to take in what I need! I am really interested in learning more about SEO. Getting found by search engines is so important to building your following. The legal aspects of blogging are really important too. There is a lot to know about contracts, taxes, copyrights, that can cause you problems if you’re not aware. And while making a career out of my blog might be a dream, I certainly wouldn’t mind making a little more money.

Saturday and Sunday

One of the exciting things about the IDEA Convention is that there are so many classes to try. They go on throughout the day, every day of the event. From group cycling, Pilates, and yoga, to special guest presenters such as Jillian Michaels, Todd Durkin, Jeanette Jenkins, and Leslie Sansone, there truly is something for everyone. And I believe that some fitness pros go to the convention simply for the workouts.

But after saying all of that, I don’t usually go to any of the classes. Occasionally there will be a workshop that combines a lecture with a workout that I will try. But I generally go to IDEA to learn and to get CEUs that I can use to renew my certifications. And they don’t give you CEUs for exercising, darn it.

Instead, I will start off my Saturday with a run, then head to my first sessions which is Functional Fascia for Group Exercise. As I’ve mentioned, I’m taking a Fascial Stretch Therapy certification this summer, so I want to soak of all the information about fascia and its relationship with our fitness as possible. In fact, I’m taking a second session, Fascia Gone Wild, an Integrated Approach to Corrective Exercise, later on Saturday afternoon.

My second session on Saturday morning is I’ve Fallen, Now What? Since I mostly train older adults, balance and preventing falling is very important.

Friends 27Coach Jason and me at IDEA World 2014

My final session on Saturday is the Running Clinic, taught by my friend Jason Karp, PhD. He’s very knowledgeable about running (he was IDEA’s Personal Trainer of the Year in 2011, among many awards) and a personable and funny speaker. He even offers his own running certification course, Run Fit Specialist., which is available online and now in a few live workshops around the country. I’m also going to Jason’s Plyometrics Palooza on Sunday.

My final class on Sunday is Bare Essentials–Group Strength Training. I don’t teach many group classes anymore, but these tips can come in handy for all kinds of training.

My goals for the weekend: I’ve chosen sessions that will enhance my knowledge about fascia, which I am studying right now. I will earn CEUs for all of these courses, so that will come in handy when I renew my certifications in the fall.

The Expo

Friends7Jill, yet another Ragnar teammate Carrie, and me at the IDEA World Expo last year

Ah, the expo. Just imagine a huge exhibit hall filled with exercise equipment, fitness clothing, accessories, and any kind of fitness toy you can think of. Hundred of booths, offering deals, samples, and free food. It’s a shopper’s trainer’s dream come true!

My goal for the Expo: Aside from scoring a few deals, I want to make some connections with the brands that I love. The expo is an opportunity to meet the people (or at least get their contact information) that work with bloggers.

 

Can’t get enough of Blogfest? Here are my other posts:

How to Pack for Blogfest
Meet My Blogfest Buddies!
The Scoop: Blogfest and IDEAWorld, Gabby, Jillian, Beto and More!
5 Reasons You Need to Go to Blogfest 2015
Blogfest: It Starts with the People
(From 2014) 6 Women (and 1 Man) I Can’t Wait to Meet at Blogfest

I’m linking up with Debbie in Shape for Tip Tuesday, Nanna’s Wisdom for Wednesday Wisdom, xoxo Rebecca for That Friday Blog Hop, and with Kathleen for the Blog Booster Party.

Will I see you at Blogfest and IDEA World? What classes will you be taking (or would like to take)? If you could meet any blogger that you read regularly, who would it be. Aside from me, of course :-)

10 Ways to Cause a Running Injury

Most running injuries don’t just happen. Yes, runners will occasional get an acute injury like a pulled muscle or torn ligament, but as a general rule, most running injuries are chronic, achieved, if you’d like to call it that, by doing certain avoidable things. And since most of us would rather not have a running injury, the following are examples of things you probably don’t want to do.

If you want to stay healthy as a runner, here are 10 things NOT to do. Injury prevention tips that will keep you running.

Don’t Take Time to Rest and Recover

Face it. We are not machines. Our bodies need to have appropriate rest in order to accomplish everything that we have planned for them. Remember, that it is not your actual training bouts in which you become stronger. It is during your period of rest and recovery that the small muscle tears you cause through your hard training repair themselves and adapt to a higher load. That is why more isn’t always better.

Solution: Avoid doing two hard workouts in a row. Give yourself an easier day in between. After a race, let your body recover before training hard again. Depending on the race distance, this can be from several days to several weeks.

Run in the wrong (or too old) shoe

We are all biomechanically different. What works for one runner may not work for the next. If you’re wearing a shoe that doesn’t feel good or leaves you with aches and pains, chances are it’s not the right one for you.

Solution: Get an assessment from a running shoe professional. They should take a look at your old shoes, ask you questions about your running, and give you a chance to run a little in a few shoes. Remember, though, they are not foolproof. It may take a little experimenting, but finding a shoe that fits right and feels comfortable can help reduce your chance of injury. And remember, shoes don’t last forever. After about 300-500 miles, or if you start to feel a little achy in the knees or feet, it’s time to replace them. Another good shoe idea is to have at least two pairs and alternate, using different shoes for different types of runs. A sturdier, cushioned shoe for longer runs, a lighter shoe for speedwork or racing, are examples of what to think about when purchasing new shoes.

Assume that small injuries will just get better

This may be the number one cause of an injury that will force you to stop running altogether for a while. Don’t ignore small pains, especially in your hips, back, or knees. If you choose to run through that little twinge, you may just develop a full-blown chronic injury that will takes weeks if not months from which to recover.

Solution: Take an extra day or two off if you are feeling pain or even discomfort when you run. If a week goes by and you don’t see improvement, it may be time to see a sports medicine doctor.

Don’t strength train

Strength training corrects the muscle imbalances caused by running and strengthens your core to improve your posture. Think of it as pre-hab.

Solution: At least twice a week complete a strength training program that will work the muscles in your entire body. You can use weights, do yoga, Pilates, or some other type of program, but it should strengthen all your major muscle groups and include core and flexibility training.

Don’t get enough sleep

It cannot be emphasized enough how important getting enough sleep is. Sleep is when our muscles regenerate and repair all the damage that is done, coming back stronger than before. Not to mention the other benefits of sleep, including curbing inflammation, keeping your brain clear and creative, sharpening your attention and memory, lowering stress, and improving mood. And yes, naps count as sleep, though most of us need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep to allow us to get into our phases of deep and REM sleep that are so important.

Solution: It’s easy to say just go to bed earlier, but that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Start the relaxation process earlier in the evening, eat early enough to digest most your food before bedtime, and head to bed ready to sleep.

Skip the stretching

Running tightens up your muscles and joints, particularly through your hips, hamstrings, and calves. Not addressing these issues can potentially lead to injury.

Solution: Static stretching is best done after your workout. Focus on your hips, hamstrings, calves, and back. Stretching should never hurt. Investigate other solutions that can increase mobility, including massage, foam rolling, and fascial stretch therapy.

Run with bad form

While correcting running form can be a controversial subject, there are certain things that most experts agree will help streamline your run and put less stress on your back, knees, and hips. If you hunch up or lean forward while your run, scuff your feet, or overstride, you may be more likely to suffer a running injury.

Solution:  While too complex to go into properly in this space, there are a few things that can help your running form. Run with good posture, with no arch in your back and your head directly over your shoulders. Use your arms efficiently. They should swing forward and back and preferably not cross in front. This causes rotation in the shoulders and torso and can compromise core stability. Consciously try to land more lightly, with your feet parallel, and push off from the balls of your feet. Avoid overstriding. There are drills that can help you accomplish these things. Check with a running coach for other ways to improve your form.

Do too much too soon

New runners frequently get injured because they start running too many miles too quickly. It’s natural to want quick results, so if a little is good, more must be better, right?

Solution:  Build mileage slowly. If you’re just starting to run, begin with a run/walk program, and gradually increase the run portion.

Don’t eat properly

Food is fuel. If you’re not getting enough, or if you are fueling your body with junk, you will not be able to perform at your optimal level.

Solution: Eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh, whole food, including healthy fats, lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Stay away from fast and processed food as much as possible.

Ignore your body’s signals

Your body will tell you if it needs extra rest. You just need to pay attention.  If you find that you are consistently tired, have come to a plateau in your training, or exhibit other signs of overtraining, you may need to take a little extra rest time.

Solution: An extra day off here or there is not going to hurt your training. In fact, it just may bring it to the next level.

What do you do (or avoid doing) to stay injury free?

I’m linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

FitnessFridayRev3

I’m also joining the Blog Booster Party!!!

Friday Blog Booster Party

8 Tips for Running Downhill. Plus it’s National Running Day!

Whenever a runner has a hilly race to run, the focus is on the uphill. After all, that’s the hard part, right? Running uphill makes your heart pound, your lungs burn, and your legs scream. So you prepare for such a challenging event by uphill training, getting stronger and more adept at running up those hills. And the result is a more successful race.

8 Tips

Quite often though, after finishing that hilly race, after killing those hills, you’ll find that your body aches, and may even have some slight injury, not due to the uphills, but because of all the downhill running.

Running downhill is a lot more difficult that it might seem at first glance. It’s easy right, after the physical and cardiovascular challenge of running uphill? It should be a breeze! But running downhill causes muscles to lengthen or make eccentric contractions, which can cause microscopic tears and generate more force than when running uphill or on flat surfaces. And running at top speed, which is easier on the downhills, causes your feet to hit the ground harder, which in turn causes the muscles, bones, and joints to endure more pounding.

What can a runner do to prevent or minimize these negative effects? Simple. Just add some downhill running to your training plan.

4 Benefits of Running Downhill

  1. Running downhill will train your body to…run downhill.
  2. Running downhill can improve leg turnover.
  3. Running downhill can improve speed.
  4. Running downhill will cause the microtears mentioned above in training, which will repair themselves stronger than before and prepare your body to handle the downhills during race situations.

While running downhill can be incorporated into your training at all times, it is especially important if you are planning a hilly race, or one which has extended downhill sections.

Tips for Running Downhill

  1. When you first get started, run on softer surfaces such as grass or trails. You can move to the road after a few training sessions.
  2. Don’t practice on too steep of a hill. Look for a hill that has no more than an 8% drop (and start out even less than that, about 3-4%). Anything steeper can cause excessive impact and increase the risk of injury.
  3. Focus on your form. Don’t overstride. Instead, shorten your stride and increase your cadence, focusing on your turnover.
  4. Land mid-foot. Resist the urge to either lean back or slow down. You will have a slight forward lean from the ankles, but keep your core engaged and your posture aligned.
  5. Once or twice a week is fine, but make sure to recover fully between each downhill session.
  6. You can incorporate your downhill training with your uphill running or do it as a separate workout. Make sure that you can maintain proper form for both types of training.
  7. Downhill running can be formatted as a hilly tempo run or broken into repeats. Here are three hill workouts that you can use if you choose to combine the two types of workouts (the first two would be perfect to incorporate downhill running).
  8. Reduce or eliminate your downhill training the last two to three weeks before your goal race. As with any type of intense training your body needs time to rest and recover.

I’m linking up with Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday!

Wild Workout WednesdayToday is National Running Day!

Makes me happy

I’m also linking up with Kristen at Jonesin’ for a Run for this National Running Day interview!

Interview

1. Why do you run?

Oddly enough, I wrote a whole post answering just this question. In a nutshell though, I run because it makes me a happier and therefore, better person.

For joy

2. How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day?

By running, of course! And by writing about running. I’ll be heading out about 5:30 in the morning and running six to eight miles.

3. How many miles have you run so far this year?

As of Tuesday I’ve run 428.7 miles in 2015.

So I can think

4. What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year?

My goal race for the second half of the year is the Honolulu Marathon in December. This will be the seventh time I’ve run it, though it’s been 13 years since the last time. It was my first marathon back in 1996.

Honolulu-Marathon

We were babies!

I’m also thinking about America’s Finest City Half Marathon, the Malibu Half Marathon, and Ragnar Trail Vail Lake.

5. Before I leave for a run I must have…

A banana. Plus sunglasses, my phone, headphones, water if it’s a long and/or hot run, extra fuel for a long run. But mostly a banana.

Faster than walking

6. Do you have one favorite running app to track your runs?

I don’t use an app while I’m running (I use my Garmin instead). I do track my mileage though, with Log My Run Pro (for Android).

7. Who is your favorite running partner?

My husband Alan. We’ve been training together for almost 20 years! In second place is my Dalmatian Penny, though at 14 she’s not doing much running anymore.

Because I Can

8. What races have you run so far this year?

Sadly, my race plans have kind of gone up in smoke so far this year. My goal race last April was the SLO Marathon, but I injured my back the week before and I chose to skip it.

9. If you had to give someone one piece of advice about running what would it be?

Ha! I give a whole lot of advice around here! You can pick your favorite! But, if it was a new runner I was advising, I’d say start slow. Don’t expect to run three miles straight your first time out. You’ll end up getting hurt, stop running, then when someone asks you’ll say, “I hate running!”

Instead, start by running a little combined with walking a little. Gradually increase the running, decrease the walking. Before you know it, you’ll be able to skip the walking altogether!

Because I am a runner

10. Describe your relationship with running in one word.

Complicated.

Jeez, I can’t describe anything with just one word! It’s complicated because, as I get older, deal with my old knee injury, running is not always the pure joy that it was when I was younger. I used to be fast, now I’m slow. I used to be light on my feet, now I feel like I plod along. I still love it. I still define myself as a runner. But, it’s complicated.

Are you celebrating National Running Day? How would you fill in the blank?

National Running Day

Click below and join in the fun (plus you can check out some other fab runners and their answers)!

10 Benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy

Stretching has become a much debated topic in recent times. For years it was touted as the key to restoring flexibility, improving athletic performance, and reducing injuries. Then stretching, particularly passive stretching, fell out of popularity in favor of more dynamic moves that were designed to prepare the body for sport. Passive stretching is reserved for after the workout, and even then its value is controversial.

FST 2

What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?

Enter Fascial Stretch Therapy (or FST), a type of stretching that targets not only the muscles, but the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, and joints. FST also targets the entire joint and joint capsule, using traction to remove restrictions from movement and to stimulate lubrication. A therapist will gently pull and move the arms, legs, spine, and neck in a smooth motion through varying planes of movement. There is no pain, not even discomfort. Instead, the gentle movement is stimulating and relaxing at the same time.

The problem with many standard stretching programs is, well, they are standard. An athlete will finish her workout, run through her “usual” stretches, maybe paying extra attention to tight hips, sometimes pushing through some pain to get that final stretch. Sadly, this type of stretching is not effective and may even be causing more tightness and inflexibility. When you cause pain with stretching, your muscles respond to protect themselves, tightening up in a rebound type effect.

By contrast, a Fascial Stretch Therapist will evaluate their client, looking for imbalances, as well as the source of those imbalances. Then using breath to help with movement, the therapist will first warm up the joints and muscles with undulating stretching to maximize blood flow. Then using techniques of slow undulating movement, as well as traction (gently pulling to create space in the joint) and modified PNF ( proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), synchronized with the breath, the therapist will stretch the entire body, following a logical anatomical order, to lengthen muscle, increase range of motion, and improve flexibility.

10 Benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy

  1. Increase Range of Motion
  2. Muscular Balance and Symmetry
  3. Improved Performance
  4. Reduced Pain
  5. Reduced Risk of Injury
  6. Improved Posture
  7. Improved Muscle Function
  8. Improved Circulation
  9. Decrease Compression and Impingement in the Joints.
  10. Improved Energy

The effects are cumulative. It took a while to develop the imbalances and stiffness in your body. It will take a while to reap the benefits of FST. But, that being said, you can feel immediate benefits, even after your first session.

Remember, I am not (yet) a certified Fascial Stretch Therapist. I will be studying and preparing for the class that I’m taking in August. My information comes from my experience as a client, as well as from the Stretch to Win website, and the book, Stretch to Win, which is written by Ann Frederick and Christopher Frederick, the developers of Fascial Stretch Therapy.

The above, by the way, is an affiliate link. I will make a few cents if you purchase that book through Amazon. Other than that I have received no compensation for this post. I have experienced FST first hand and I’m a believer in the benefits.

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

  
Have you heard of fascial stretch therapy? Have I piqued your interest? You can find a list of certified FST therapists on the website.

Running Wednesday: My Favorite Pure Speed Workout

So, you want to get faster?

The thing is, now matter what your fitness level, your age, your abilities, the process is the same. If you want to get faster you have to, well, run faster. Science may come up with new ways to track your training, coaches may design new killer workouts, you can add strength training, plyometrics, stretching, foam rolling, whatever. The truth is the same.

You must run faster.

My Favorite Pure Speed Workout

Favorite is a funny word. Running faster is hard. When I do speed workouts, I hate them. They make me push to my limits. But, when I’m done, I feel amazing. And when they work (and they do!), I love them.

I have several go-to workouts that I use regularly for my runners (and myself). They may change slightly depending on the goal, but over the next few weeks I’ll share my three favorites. This week is my favorite pure speed workout.

My Favorite Interval (VO2 Max) Workout: These type of workouts are generally short to moderate distance (think 400-1600 meters), frequently run on a track, designed to improve how your body uses oxygen. Interval workouts also improve stamina, threshold, strength, and mental discipline. And yes, they make you faster.

My favorite workout of this type is the Ladder Workout. After warming up for a mile, do these intervals in order, at about 95-100% of your effort level (this can be measured by heart rate or perceived exertion): 200m, 400m, 800m, 1000m, 1600m, 1000m, 800m, 400m, 200m. Take a 30-45 second break between each interval.

Ladder WorkoutWhy I love it: First of all, I like that each interval is different. While I appreciate knocking out 16 400m repeats (and they do have great value), I like the variety of the Ladder Workout. Plus, on the way back down, there is something wonderful about knowing that your next interval is going to be shorter. Any light toward the end of the tunnel.

If you can, switch directions halfway through the workout to avoid the repetitive motion that can potentially cause injury. Following your intervals, take the time to cool down for about a mile. If you incorporate this workout once a week I promise you will get faster.

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

Femme Fitale Fit Club

Do you have a favorite speed workout?

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:

Samuel

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!