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!

Friday Favorites

Did you see my guest post on Amanda’s blog? It’s all about how you can keep running until you’re 90. Check it out!

Popping in today to share some Friday Favorites! The folks at Asics have an amazing sweepstakes that you won’t want to miss, plus a little fitness motivation and something for your sweet tooth. Finally, an invitation (and discount code) to Blogfest. Check them out!

Asics Gear for the Year Sweepstakes

Asics has an amazing sweepstakes going on right now. You can win 10 months worth of Asics gear! How’s that for a prize? That’s $300 per month for 10 months = $3,000! Wow! Enter here. You can enter once a day until April 30!

Asics

What would you buy with with $3,000 to spend? First, I would stock up on Asics shoes, including these babies, the Gel-Electro 33. I love them for racing and speedwork.

Asics 9Click here to read my review of the Asics Gel Electro 33

Asics Gel SanaClick here to read my review of the Asics Gel-Fit Sana

 

Motivation from Skulpt

skulpt 2

I mentioned the Skulpt Aim a few weeks ago. It 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.

I wasn’t really happy with my original measurements, and that was enough to send me back to weight training. I’ve been doing some yoga and Pilates, but my main focus has been on training for the SLO Marathon.  I’m still not as consistent as I’d like, but once marathon training is done I will be ready to hit the gym on a regular basis. I want to see that body fat percentage go down!

NuNaturals

Nustevia

I told you before that I was lucky. Well, one of the things I have won (twice) is a sample package from NuNaturals. Thanks Jody! I say samples, but these are full size products of some of their best stevia products. I admit that I have a sweet tooth, and I need a little sweetener in my coffee. I love both the simple syrup and the cocoa syrup! And I’ve finally weaned Alan off sucralose, and he uses the NuStevia powder. They also have many great products for baking, which I don’t really do, but kind of wish that I did, because I’d love to use some of the great flavors of NuStevia like Cherry Vanilla, Orange, Lemon, and many others.

Blogfest

20140814 IDEA Anaheim Copyright 2014 Len  Spoden Photography.

If you are a blogger, and have any kind of interest in health and fitness, then Blogfest should be the one blogging conference that you attend. Not only do you get two days of great blogging information, workouts, and networking, you will also be able to attend the last two days of the IDEA World Fitness Convention! Gabby Reece will be the Keynote Speaker for Blogfest, and you’ll have a chance to see Beto Perez and Jillian Michaels (and many more fitness pros and celebrities) at IDEA World. You can read more about it here, but what are you waiting for? Register and save $100 with the code BLOG100. And we’ll see you in Los Angeles July 16-19!

So, did you enter the giveaway yet? Will I see you at Blogfest?

About Time. Thinking Out Loud

I’ve been thinking about time lately. How it flies. How it seems relative. How it is of the essence. How we think we have all the time in the world, then suddenly, it’s gone. How one day I was a young mother and suddenly I’m a grandmother (but still young at heart!). How when you’re 20, 50 seems so old, and 80 is ancient. Then when, in the blink of an eye (relatively), you’re 50, and 80 doesn’t seem so old anymore.

Today marks 19 years since my first date with my husband. While in many ways it seems like we’ve been together forever, I am still shocked to realize how long it’s been since we met. How fast the time has gone.

Time quote

When my oldest son turned 30, I was shocked. How could he be 30? I was just barely that age myself! I just blinked my eyes and the time had passed.

My Dalmatian and number one running partner Penny will turn 14 in two weeks. While she is happy and healthy, she no longer runs, has a hard time getting up on the bed, and loses her balance occasionally. This puppy, who we rescued when she was nine months, is getting old.

A few weeks ago, Lisa wrote about her son turning 10, and how quickly it happened, and how bittersweet it is to know that her son is taking his first step to becoming a man (she was much more eloquent about it). You want to hold on, slow things down, stop this train! But time keeps rolling on.

We need to savor every second that life has to offer, good and bad. Live intensely, love tremendously, hold on to what is dear. Time will keep moving on, but if we appreciate every moment our lives will be fuller and happier. When rough times inevitably fall upon us, we know that they will pass too, and help us appreciate what we have. That light at the end of the tunnel is there. When times are bad, keep your focus ahead, and reach for the light.

If not now

Life is short. Reach for your goals. Don’t waste another moment thinking, oh, I have time.

I’m joining up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud.

Thinking-Out-Loud2

Do you ever want to reach out and stop time?

Learn about LBL and #RecycleYourPeriodPad

LBL is the new whispered “condition” for women. We’re slightly embarrassed, don’t want to admit that, yes, I have LBL! It stands for Light Bladder Leakage, and it is so common that almost a third of all women will have incidents of LBL at one time or another.  Weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to LBL (remember those Kegels ladies!), and it can be triggered by coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising.

What Causes LBL?

Women are different, so there is no one cause of light bladder leakage. Some things that may contribute to LBL are changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, hysterectomy, menopause, or weight gain. Other causes may be from complications of surgery or chronic conditions such as diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), or Parkinson’s Disease, as well as bladder or urinary tract infections.

Managing LBL

The first step is to find, if possible, the cause of LBL. Consult with your doctor to find the root of the problem.  If your light bladder leakage is caused by weak pelvic floor muscles, which is common, adding some Kegel exercises can help. If your LBL is sporadic, keep a record to see if you can find the trigger. It may be something you eat or drink: spicy food, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners can all cause irritation or spasms.

Poise4

When LBL occurs, many women tend to use their period pads for protection. Poise wants you to know that there is a better solution. Poise Thin-Shape Pads feature super absorbent material and  thin flex design for extraordinary protection that is 3x drier than period pads so that you can feel confident in your protection. Because Poise pads are made specifically for LBL, you will feel fresher and dryer, whether you leak a little when your laugh or have a sudden urge to go. One less thing to worry about.

You can try out the new Poise Thin-Shape Pads for free! Simply click on this link to download a coupon for free samples!

#Recycleyourperiodpad

Now it’s time to show you how I will #recycleyourperiodpad. I’ll tell you right off, it’s been a long time since I’ve used a period pad. But, Poise has a fun concept, and it’s true that you should use the right pad for the job, so I’m playing along. It’s also true that I’m not crafty, so I admit I checked out a few other blogs to get some ideas. I finally settled on something more utilitarian than crafty.

Poise Recycle

I’ve spoken before about Goldie, my handicapped dog. She has a compressed disk from an accident when she was young. We were once told she’d never walk again, but Alan spent hours doing physical therapy and she is a determined dog, so she has had an almost normal life.

Poise Goldie

She’s getting older now, has a harder time getting up and walking, and is occasionally incontinent. We frequently use a diaper to prevent accidents, but the pads are expensive. This seemed like a great way to recycle my period pads.

Poise Goldie2

I will keep these on hand for emergencies, like when we run out of diapers and don’t want to run out to buy a new box.

Okay you creative whizzes out there! How would you #RecycleYourPeriodPad?

And don’t forget to download your coupon for a free sample!