Friday, September 30, 2011

yeah - we're different

Blast from the past Friday.  These are Adidas running ads that ran in 1999/2000.  I remember when they came out - at the time I thought they were funny but I definitely appreciate them in a different way now as a runner.

 The stretching guy and (unfortunately) the tree squatting is all too familiar to me.  These ads just perfectly capture what runners consider "normal". 

And here's a current ad, got it from the Nike Women's FB page - referring to the stupid ruling that will take Paula Radcliffe's world record away from her because she ran the race with men.  Love this.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And then reality came crashing in....

Well, my plantar fasciitis seems to have returned.  I was feeling so good and on a high after Hood To Coast that I went a little crazy with optimism....signed up for an October half marathon, committed to a training plan and 30 days of strength training. thinks I jumped the gun.

My heel had been feeling a bit irritated, but Sunday during my nine miler it began to ache with about 3 miles left, and later that day it was SORE.   I skipped the strength workout that day and took the day off of everything on Monday.  I iced my heel, rolled it on a golf ball and taped it up.  Yesterday's run felt pretty good, and I modified my strength workout so I was doing everything low impact.   I ran this morning, and my heel is sore again.  I am going to have to come up with a new plan.

I think I'm going to have to face some realities.  I'm not going to be able to just jump back into things as if my foot hasn't been/isn't injured. 

Right now my schedule calls for running 4 times a week with daily strength training.  Going forward, I'm going to try this:  switch out my Monday (road) running with a session of pool running.  I'm sure the water aerobics ladies have missed me.  Switch to doing strength workouts 2-3 times a week and not on the days I run.  And do yoga once a week.  I've totally gotten away from yoga and I've been feeling really tight lately, which could also be contributing to my heel hurting.  So...we'll see how that goes. 

Obviously, my big committment to doing the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 workout that I talked about here is going to go by the wayside.  I hate not completing something that I've started, but I'm pretty sure if I tried to do these workouts every day along with running I would end up even more injured and not be able to do anything at all.

Anyway, enough about my stupid foot...

The kids were bored yesterday, so we got out some paint and some rocks from the back yard and did a little Halloween inspired art.  Here's some of what we came up with...

My son said his pumpkin is "grumpy" (on left). 
Oh, and that middle eye on the pumpkin on the right is the "stem", per my daughter.
Owen's skeleton rock:

Do you see the skeleton there?
 He took a skeleton sticker, slapped paint on it and pressed it on the rock.

And Reese's Ghost rock:

My neighbor and running buddy M is the biggest Halloweenee (hee!) I have ever met.  She just started a Halloween blog called Happy Haunts - check it out, she's got some great Halloween ideas!

And here's just some sweetness to end this post - Owen read Reese a bedtime story before bed tonight (usually I read to them).  He read a "Wolverine" comic book to her, not the book she would normally ask for, but she was thrilled that her big brother was reading to her.

AWWWW...if only they were always this sweet - I'll take these moments when I can get them! 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Amanda over at Runninghood is running an art contest that ends tomorrow.  Here is my contribution - clearly I've got some talent...don't be jealous...

It was fun to avoid work doodle a bit on this rainy Monday.  Here's a link to the contest - she SAID specifically to "keep it simple" and I think my doodle has got that down for sure...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekend happenings

Kind of busy weekend...On Friday, my son Owen's school held a fundraiser BBQ and campout to raise money for an elementary school in our district whose playground was burned down by assholes arsonists.  I gotta admit - on Friday after work I DID not want to go!  I was just tired and wanted to relax at home.  But, I knew Owen was super excited, so we got our sleeping bags and gear together and headed over.  It actually turned out to be really fun, and there was a great turn out.

They had a BBQ with hamburgers/hotdogs, a "dance party" in the gym, a night hike around the school grounds, some cartoons in the gym and then it was time for bed - camping out in the field by the school.  All in all it was a good time - Owen had a blast and I'm glad we went.

Saturday we just did stuff around the house all day.  Sunday I loaded the kids up and headed out to my parent's house in Aurora to run.  Brian was golfing, so they watched the kids for me while I ran.  I just love running out by their house.  Country roads, little traffic and pretty views - can't beat it!

I was running 9 miles and I didn't want to carry water with me, so I ran a few out and backs in each direction so I could pass their driveway a few times and get some water along the way.  
My mom didn't have any water bottles, so a mason jar did the trick.
Started out with great running weather - cool and overcast.

The scenery is gorgeous - farms, trees, nurseries and a winery... 


and a few friends to say hi to along the way...

What are you looking at?

My mom came out and snapped a few pics of me as I ran by their house:

It was a great run although at one point it got really windy and I thought a storm might be coming in.  It did start raining right at the end of the run, so I was happy to wrap it up. 

I'm a little bummed because my foot was sore for the last three miles of the run and now it's VERY sore.  I think I'm going to have to be much more vigilant taking care of it if I want to keep increasing my mileage.  It's SO frustrating because everything else is feeling great.  I might even have to switch out a few road runs out with....(sigh)...pool running.  But, if it will get me where I need to be, I just have to do it.

Anyway,  my sweet mom wouldn't let me leave without packing me up a bounty from the garden.  Behold, the lovely veggies...

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gotta have the java

Friday confessional:  As I said in this post, I get up early.  Usually, the number on the clock starts with a 4, occassionally a 5 and if I see a 6, then I know I've overslept!  While I think there are lots of benefits to morning running, there is one big drawback --> people, I'm just tired!

So how do I deal with that?  Naps aren't really an option, so I turn to another solution.  I'd like to introduce my best friend:

My coffeemaker.  I drink WAY TOO MUCH COFFEE and way too little water.  I set my coffeemaker to brew while I'm out running and instead of drinking water when I'm done I immediately pour myself a cup (or two) to drink while I get ready for the day.  Then I take a big "to go" cup on my commute - and occasionally I drink more at work too.  I am over-caffeinated and under-hydrated!  This is something I need to work on.  But, I love my coffee.  See?  Aren't we cute together?

Note to self: don't jam the coffee cup up on your face to create even more eye wrinkles than you already have.
So I'm calling myself out.  I hope putting it out here will motivate me to change.  Drink less coffee, or at the very least MORE water.  I could also try to go to bed earlier to alleviate the sleepiness, but then when would I watch important shows like the Biggest Loser, Celebrity Rehab, etc?  Priorities, people, priorities.


M and I went running on Saturday morning out along the Clackamas River.  It's a pretty out and back that we can do right out of our neighborhood.  Running in places like this reminds me that it definitely doesn't suck to live here in the Pac NW.

We ran 8 miles, the first "long" run of our training for the Run Like Hell half.  My foot is holding up pretty well, so I'm hopeful that will continue and I can get through this training cycle successfully.  I'm not too preoccupied with time/pace right now, I just want to get a decent distance base built back up again after taking so much time off due to my foot.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Morning Runner

I'm a morning runner.  This was the time on the clock when I came downstairs this morning dressed and ready (?) to run.   M and I left at 5, back by 6 - in time to shower and start the day.

Mostly morning running is done out of necessity.  I have to be done early for my husband to leave for work by 6am because his commute is long and he prefers to miss the traffic.  I also have to be done in time to get myself and the kids ready for one to catch the bus, the other to get dropped off at preschool and then to get to work myself by 8. 

It's not always optimal.  I often stay awake too late at night because it's my only down time, and then I am tired the next day after getting up early to run.  But, that's what work is for, right?  To catch up on sleep?  Maybe that's just me.

But, I have to admit, I've come to a place where I actually PREFER to run in the mornings.  Here's a few reasons why:

1) I love getting it out of the way first thing.  I don't have "fitting the run in" looming over me all day as I try to take care of a billion other things.  If I don't fit it in first thing, I am much more likely to not have the time (or at least convince myself of that) to get my run in later.
2) It's SOOO quiet in the mornings.  No traffic to deal with and the weather is cool.  Here in Oregon this can also mean you are running in the dark and usually pouring down rain for most of the fall/winter months, but I'm used to it and can deal with that.  I'll take rain any day over running in heat.
3) When people leave their lights on I can see what their houses look like.  Great for getting decorating ideas. 
4) Since it's typically dark out, I can wear "bottom of the drawer" running clothes if my nicer ones are in the wash.  M has to see me in some lovely outfits, but no one else does!
5)  You get to see pretty sunrises like this from Saturday when M and I set out on our run:

So for now and the foreseeable future, I am a morning runner.  It's just what works best for me.

What works best for you?  Are you a morning runner or do you prefer running later in the day?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hood to Coast 2011

I had said that I wasn't going to write a Hood to Coast recap, but whatever, I changed my mind. My blog, my rules, right?  Oh, and this is really long, but it's a really long race so that's just how it goes...

Here's some highlights from this year's race and these awesome folks I got to run it with.  

The weather:
Hood to Coast start
A lot of the teams with later start times experienced super warm weather for the race this year - and our van 2 definitely bore the brunt of this weather on our team.  But as I explained in this post, we started our race with a much different scenario:  5:15am - thunder, lightning and, just as our race started, hail. Crazy start.  I put the pic on again just because it's so cool. 

My Legs:

Leg 1 done!

With my plantar fasciitis, I was VERY nervous about how my foot would hold up running 3 times in 24 hours.  I managed to get an 8 miler in before Hood to Coast, but other than that my training runs hadn't been very long and I definitely wasn't feeling as prepared as I would have liked to be.  I just taped up my foot, took advil and hoped for the best.  I was really relieved with how well everything went.

Here are my stats:
Leg 6 - 6.75 miles, rated Hard. 
Leg Description: Challenging uphills and gradual downhills along Highway 26 on paved shoulder.
I averaged 7:55 pace on this leg which I was THRILLED with.  My realistic goal was to run 8:30's - and my secret hope was 8:00 flat, so to come in sub-8 AND to feel really strong, was exciting.

Leg 18 - 5.23 miles, rated Hard.
LEG DESCRIPTION: Flat and gradual uphill terrain on hwy and paved back country roads.
I averaged 8:33 pace on this leg.  Typically, my night leg is my strongest.  I love running at night and usually love this particular leg because it gets off the highway and out into the country roads.  But I was sucking wind as the majority of it was all uphill and I had done NO hill work at all to prepare.  I just couldn't get into a groove.

Leg 30 - 5.35 miles, rated Moderate.
LEG DESCRIPTION: Gradual uphill and steep downhill on winding narrow back road with
minimum shoulder.
I averaged 7:31 pace on my final leg.  SUPER psyched about this.  What I wasn't psyched about was that I had to run 1.5 miles in front of our runner to beat him to the exchange just to START my leg because traffic was so backed up.

This leg started on a pretty significant uphill, but then ended on a lot of downhill so I totally pushed it and took advantage of the decline.  My foot held up GREAT and I was super happy that I was able to pull out some pretty decent paces on my legs!

My Van-Mates:

Van 1-ers: Brian, Holly, Been, Me, Margo and Jon

Travelling for 24+ hours crammed in a mini-van with 5 other people who are physically exhausted, sleep, food and coffee deprived, might be the recipe for a uncomfortably miserable situation.  But I loved running with my van-mates!  Everyone was so supportive and the vibe was mellow and positive for the entire race.  My team is completely non-competitive.  We are simply out there for the fun of the event, and every year we have such a great time together.

My dedicated hubby:

This is Brian after he finished his first leg.  Right after this picture was taken, he hopped in his car (which we had left at the end of his leg on our way up the mtn) and drove straight to his office in Portland so he could shower there and then go to a meeting with a client.  Then he came back to the house, packed and joined back up with us for leg 2.  Such dedication - maybe his boss reads this blog and he'll get a special HTC bonus.

Favorite moment:

For those familiar with Hood to Coast, you know that leg 29 is a B*!%H!  It is a 6 mile leg with 3.5 miles straight uphill and then 2.5 straight back downhill.  This is not a slight incline here - the elevation gain goes from 700ft to almost 1300ft in those 3.5 miles and then back down again.  And, as it comes as the 3rd run on already tired legs, this is particularly brutal. 

This picture is of my friend Jon who absolutely KILLED it on this leg.  Jon had called me in the weeks before Hood to Coast that his foot was hurting and he wasn't sure how everything would hold up for the race.   So for him to take on this leg and run it so well was really awesome. 

We waited at the top of the hill for him - even though we knew it would probably mean we would be stuck in traffic getting to the next leg - because c'mon, after running that hill?  You deserve some team love.  Seeing him crest the top of the hill was definitely one of my favorite moments of the race.

A few funny pictures:

 This is my friend Been (pronounced Bean).  Girl just couldn't keep her eyes open - probably because we had gotten up at 3:30am!

Is that a stick in your hand...?
I'm thinking our team needs to pony up for some better fitting reflective vests, yes?  We are so cheap.

Cutest Couple:
Love the team name:  Faster than a Speeding Mullet
Margo and her new love.  Who says you can't find romance on the road? 

Cutest Couple (for reals):

Tom and Sandy - how cute are they?  The only other couple on the team was Brian and I and I know we ain't this cute...

Our stylish finisher:

Tom was the only male in Van 2, but probably the most stylish of them all - love the shorts.  Brought it to the coast with flair...

Just cuz we're classy:
What would you do after you're done running, you've eaten breakfast, your room at the coast isn't ready yet and Van 2 hasn't come in?  If you say sit on the pavement and have a Bud Light in the parking lot, then you would fit in well with our team.  Keepin' it classy...

The Finish:

Sunshine, beer and friends - what more could you ask for?  I love the finish because you finally get a chance to relax and talk to friends in the other van.  With traffic being so bad (this year's race had 250 more teams than previous years, and boy was it noticeable!), we had even less of a chance between van exchanges to interact with each other because we were always worried about getting to the next spot on time. 

Thankful to Matt, Holly's husband for joining us on Leg 1 and experiencing the epic storm on the mountain.  So good to have you along for part of the journey.

I don't have a picture of him, but super thankful to our volunteer, Doug, who ran exchange point 4 from 12:45 to 11:15pm on Friday. Hood to Coast makes all local teams (within 100 miles) provide three volunteers to help run the race.  Doug has volunteered for us for the last 5 years or so and runs an entire exchange point which fulfills our volunteer requirement.  So grateful that he is willing to do this for us every year!

And finally, to my team.  So grateful for the experience of running with you all and another great year where everyone finished happy and healthy.  Also grateful for this:
Gift from my team for being the captain and putting up with all their requests to "get an easy set of legs this year" (I kid...I kid).  Seriously though, it was such a nice gift and I am so thankful to them for thinking of it.

Hood to Coast 2011 done!  Registration for 2012 opens (and closes because it will sell out the first day) on October 12, 2011.  Fingers crossed that the running gods smile on us again and we get a spot!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hood to Coast POW and a month with Jillian...

Did you think this was going to be a recap of Hood to Coast?  Nope. I was going to write a whole post on Hood to Coast as a public service (y'know since you really can't find any recaps about this year's race out there on the interwebs...someone really should get on that) but instead I decided that I'm just going to post a few pics here and there over the next year few weeks and tell you a little about it. 

So here is my Hood to Coast Picture of the Week:

This picture was taken by my friend Matt up at Timberline lodge by the start line. 

My team had a super early start time - 5:15 am (what? we're super fast!).  As we were driving up to the mountain at 3:45 in the bloody morning, the radio cut out and we heard:

"This is not a test.  A storm is moving towards Mt. Hood National Forest.  This storm has all the makings of a funnel cloud.  This is not a test". 

As we got closer we started hearing thunder and then seeing lightning.  When we got to the mountain it was really crazy because you couldn't see Mt. Hood until lightning would strike and then you'd realize that a huge mountain was literally right in front of you. 

It was scary and awesome at the same time. 


So enough Hood to Coast (for now).  I've completely fallen off the stregnth training wagon.  Earlier this year, I was pretty disciplined about doing strength as well as running.  But give me a nice little injury and everything pretty much has gone out the window. 

So, starting TOMORROW, I am going to do this every day for 30 days:

I kind of hate Jillian Michaels, and I kind of love her.  We have a complex relationship.  But, I've had good results using her workouts in the past, and most importantly they fit into my pretty packed schedule.  

I'll be posting my thoughts on this workout system as I go through it. 

Do you do any other workouts besides running?  What works for you?

Morning run

~Run this morning~ 
4 easy miles with some great company

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Keep on keepin' on

See my Daily Mile race thing-a-ma-bob over there?  I just registered for a race!  The Run Like Hell Half Marathon in Portland on October 23rd.  Will I be ready to run it?  I don't know - my longest run since June has been 8 miles.  Will I PR?  Doubtful.  Will my plantar fasciitis even let me train for it?  No idea.  What I do know is this: I am going to try to run it because I CAN , because I'm lucky enough to be alive and capable of trying. 

I'm watching coverage of the events that happened in our country 10 years ago today.  The memories of that day are sad, and listening to the stories of those who lost loved ones is heartbreaking.  It serves as a reminder that I need to get the most out of living this life, because it truly could all be gone in an instant.  Every moment, every experience, every run is a gift.

So I registered for a race.  I will train and run because I'm lucky enough to be able to do that.  Monumental gesture?  Life saving/world changing?  Nope.  But, a way to honor those who lost their lives is by making sure I don't take living mine for granted.

So that's what I'll do.  Here's to a new training schedule and keeping on with keepin' on...

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Best(o) Pesto!

As is usual post Hood to Coast, I am feeling a little blue.  There is a definite depression that settles in once the race is over and the high from the experience fades.  So what to do?  EAT!  And what better food to eat than my favorite comfort food, pesto pasta.  Summer means basil and basil means PESTO!  I lovvvvvve pesto.  I rarely order it in restaurants because usually it is prepared with way too much oil for my tastes.   I figured out a recipe that I love though, and lucky you I'm-a-gonna share it with you. 

Here's what you'll need to get started:

The first, and most important, ingredient for pesto is obviously basil.  I prefer to use fresh ingredients whenver possible, so when the basil is growing I make as much of this pesto as I can and freeze it for later.  Lucky me, my parent's have a large garden and let me take as much basil and garlic as I can use (as long as I give them some of the finished product, of course!).  I also use walnuts in my pesto instead of pine nuts (and conveniently my parents have a walnut tree too, so I have tons of them to use).  Either will work, but I like the nutty flavor that walnuts add to pesto.  Here's the recipe:

adapted from Cooking Light's Sicilian Pesto

1/4 cup walnuts
4 garlic cloves
4 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese*

Here's how you put it all together:

Wash and pat the basil dry.  Chop up the walnuts and toast them in a skillet over medium heat for about 4 minutes - do not walk away from the skillet while you are toasting the walnuts!  They can burn very quickly and then they are ruined.

Put the garlic into a food processor along with the walnuts and mince together.   Then add the remaining ingredients and process until it makes a smooth paste - you might have to stop and scrape the sides a few times.  Done! 

I like the added kick the crushed red pepper gives to it, but if you don't like spicy feel free to omit it.  I also typically add more garlic than is called for as well cuz I'm crazy like that.  For dinner last night, I put the pesto on whole wheat pasta and added cajun spiced chicken to it.  So so so yummy!

Hope you enjoy!

*if you are making this to freeze, omit the parmesan and add it when you are ready to use it.