Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 ~ My Jekkyl and Hyde running year

Last day of 2011 - time does fly.  Looking back at this year from a running perspective is bittersweet.  I've done my best running to date in 2011, but also have had a nagging injury which has pretty much taken me out of competition for the last 4 months. 

It's fun to re-live the glory days though, so here's a recap of my 2011 year in running:

January - March 2011

Michelle (my running buddy and neighbor) and I ran throughout the winter.  Despite her having some knee issues we came into the new year in great shape for training.  We started training for a marathon in late February using a plan adapted from Runners World Smart Coach. 

In March we ran our first race - the Shamrock run 15k.

This is an awesome race - always super crowded because it kind of kicks off the racing season here in Portland.  Michelle and I have run it together for the last 3 years.  It's a tough course (see elevation profile below), going up and over the Terwilliger hills before finishing downtown on the waterfront.  I ran it this year in 1:22:08 (PR on this course for me) which is a 8:49 pace. 

Shamrock run elevation profile

April - May 2011

We continued on with marathon training.  Meeting some new friends to run with, and checking out some great new places to run.  We did a beautiful point to point 22 mile training run on the Banks to Vernonia trail with our friends and Clark the water carrying wonder dog. 

May brought the Hippie Chick half marathon and my current half marathon PR - 1:48:58!  Race report here (also my first post ever on this blog!).  This was a fun race with some great ladies.

June was the marathon  - the inagural Vancouver USA Marathon (recap here) . We had a great training cycle and everything went so well - coming together perfectly for the race.  My goal had been to break 4 hours and I killed it - running a 3:54 and another PR.  I ran the race exactly as I had planned, and I was really proud of myself.

July - August 2011

Unfortunately, immediately after this race is when I got Plantar Fasciitis.  I had planned to run the LaCamas Lake half marathon in July, but had a DNS instead.  I started pool running and rehabbing my foot - managing to get it under control enough to run Hood to Coast (my most favoritest of all races) with my team.

We did a little running:
We did a little celebrating:

We had a great time!

September - present:

Immediately after H2C I started training for another half marathon, but PF reared its ugly head again, and this unfortunately ended up being another DNS.  And that was it for my racing year - I've spent the end of this year rehabbing my foot.  

I've never had an injury like PF.   When I first started rehabbing I was very optimistic about it, thinking I'd just "get it taken care of" and then I'd be back to running again.  But, this hasn't turned out to be the case, and in the last month my rehab motivation has waned and a little depression set in.

But new year/new outlook right?  As I said in this post, I'm going find my inner athlete again.  For 2012 I'm looking forward to cross training and I am determined that I will be running again as well!

I hope everyone has a Happy Happy New Year!  Looking forward to 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday five

Friday five and another stay at home Friday because of the holiday - woo hoo!

1)  My sloth-like behavior of the last week has been extended because I'm sick.  Cold, cough, yuck.  But at least now I'm not feeling as guilty about not working out.

2) Santa was ridiculously good to me this Christmas.  My sister got me the Bondi Band ponytail hat I have been coveting!

photography by my 7 year old son...
And my running buddy got me this awesome shirt from Lucy - I just love it.

love new running clothes!
And my sweet hubby surprised me with these in my stocking.

My hands get so cold in the winter - I'm excited to to use these to keep them toasty.

3)  As I detailed in this post, I have been doctor ordered to look into some cross training.  As I don't have a bike (that works) or a swimming pool, this means finding a gym.  In the past I've hated the gym, but that's because I mostly used the dreadmill and some weights machines = BORING.  Now I'm trying to look at this as an opportunity to try some new things - namely spin classes and the pool for lap swimming.  I've run in the pool, but I've never really done any lap swimming, so this should be interesting.  Hopefully I can look forward to some improvement if I stick with it.  I'm leaning towards 24 Hour Fitness. Mostly because they have all the amenities I need, and as the name suggests, they are open 24/7 which would give me more flexibility for my preferred early morning workouts.

A side rant here:  I've been calling around to gyms looking into pricing and membership options, and frankly I'm so sick of being treated like I don't take my fitness seriously if I don't want to pay their monthly fees.  Gyms are not cheap, and obviously I'm trying to get the best deal I can.  I am already a person who leads a fit lifestyle and prioritizes fitness more than most.  So if you work at a gym don't automatically assume that you understand the person on the other end's motivation.  End rant.

4)  While I don't usually count calories or limit myself, I have to admit this holiday season I have over indulged more than normal and I'm consciously cutting back now.  It's so crazy how quickly your body adjusts to expect the treats.  I completely have sugar cravings throughout the day - looking for a little nibble here and there, craving the sweetness.  I know these cravings will pass soon enough, but it always surprises me.

5)  A Christmas tradition my sisters and I have is to exchange books on Christmas eve.  These are totally easy reading books - usually a silly romance with something that might relate to our lives in some way, or something we just think is funny.  As a pre-teen kid I was totally into the Sweet Valley High series - completely loved them and read them all.   Anyway, check out the book my sister gave me this year:

It's the SVH gang 10 years later!  I love it!  I read the whole thing in two nights - so definitely easy reading.  I have to say this book was so bad it was kind of hilarious - but it was a fun read in a nostalgic kind of way.  Good reading for Christmas day after all the present hupla died down.

I'm working on a year in review post which I'll hopefully get up before the new year starts (ummmm, yeah clock is ticking on that one...).

Head on over to the blog hop at Fitness Health and Happiness!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

present extravaganza
 Whew - the whirlwind of Christmas is over!  I have to say I'm a bit relieved.  It was a busy one this year, but as always wonderfully fun when everyone gets together.  The picture above is our tree at home - the presents under are mostly furnished from my mother-in-law (with two from us and a few from Santa) who is Christmas-crazy.  She seriously only works so that she can "do Christmas" for her kids/grandkids, etc.  It's super generous, and I'm very thankful.  My kids are thankful too, because I think they know there would be no way this would happen if it was just up to me and their dad! 

For my immediate family, I got all crafty this year...I made my sisters/mom/niece some ruffle scarfs that I think turned out really cute...

They have these little flowers on the bottom...

These were really easy to make - trust me I'm not an experienced sewer, so if I can make them, anyone can.  I made them from a tutorial I found here, and then just made a few changes to make them how I wanted the finished product.

I got some square gift boxes and I filled the bottom of them with food goodies that I had made earlier and saved...

Banana bread, green tomato salsa and pesto
I added the scarf on top...

And then, of course, the final presentation is the most important, right?

Old sweater cut up and put to use as Christmas wrapping

And here they are all ready for delivery...

And the kids got in the crafty spirit of it too by making their cousins these cute cards from paper scraps and jewel stickers we had on hand:


So that was our crafty holiday - very fun, but also a little exhausting!  Next year I'll start earlier (yes, I do I say that every year...)

In running news - oh wait I have no running news...I have NO fitness news at all for that matter.  I've been a bit sloth-like through the holidays eating a lot and not sweating that much. But that's what New Years is for, right?  Resolutions here I come!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Aha moments with the foot doc....

Yay, it's Friday!  Even bigger YAY that I don't have to go to work today!   I usually do a "Friday Five" post, but this week has been a whirlwind  - so busy with Christmas stuff, kids being out of school, etc.  I couldn't even come up with 5 things to write about - mostly because a lot of what I've been doing can't be written about on here yet at the risk of giving away Christmas surprises to family members. Top Secret stuff I'm working on!

But, I do have this to share - I had an "aha" moment at the foot doc yesterday.  Since last week when I said my foot was sore I have run twice.  Both times it was very sore afterwards and I've been feeling pretty blue about it.  Yesterday, I went to the podiatrist to see what he had to say.  First some background on him: he's a 25 time marathoner, Boston qualifier many times over, but got a little bored with just running and now he's an Ironman working  to qualify for Worlds (Kona).  So yeah, I'm sure he was super impressed with my 4 marathons and 3:54 PR. 

He listened to the saga of my foot and we talked about treatment options - one of which was to start cross training with the goal of  doing a triathalon.  Me, skepitcal (cuz I'm a runner, right?), says "yeah, but I'm a poor swimmer".  Him: "Well, then train."  Me still obviously skeptical.   He got up to leave and then turned and said "I just think it's important for you to start feeling like an athlete again". 

He left.

I started crying. 

I guess he gets it. 

I'm not always the best at expressing my own feelings and reactions, but when he said that it verbalized exactly what I've been feeling for the last 6 months - like I'm losing that "athlete" identity I had worked so hard for.  I kind of need to feel like a badass again.  And what he said makes sense in that I need a new goal for now to get that feeling back.  Fix the head and the foot.  So, a triathalon?  I'm still not ready to commit, but I am going to look into more cross training (baby steps, right?).

I leave you now to go do my favorite Christmas morning ritual...

 Having a cup of coffee before the kids get up with the Christmas lights on - so peaceful and pretty.

I don't know if I'll be able to get on here in the next few days, but wanted to wish everyone a very HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Hop on over to blog hop at Fitness Health and Happiness to meet up with other fitness minded bloggers!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jingle Bell Hell Virtual Race recap

This last weekend, XLMIC hosted the Jingle Bell Hell 1/3 marathon.  Unfortunately due to the lack of a plane ticket, and the lack of training (Stupid PF...did you know I had PF?  Probably not, because I NEVER whine about mention it...I'm stoic like that) it was impossible for me to join her in real life for the fun.  Luckily, there was a virtual option AND she even said it could be as short as a 5k - so I was in baby!

The rules for the race:
  • Must be at least 5K in total maximum.

  • Must be done on a challenging course (and if you hate treadmills, that means it could be on a treadmill) because the idea is "Hell" ... that is the important part.

  • Must be done the weekend of Dec. 17-18, 2011... any time of day or night.

  • You must laugh at least once... can be an evil laugh, a laugh of futility, any kind of laugh but laughter is a MUST.

  • So - with my PF (again, YES I have PF...) I am limited in distance as well as terrain.  I couldn't be all badass and run a 5k straight up hill because I've been PT ordered to to lay off the hills.  I had to find a short and flat course, but somehow needed to incorporate in the hell factor.  I am one of those freaks who LIKES running hills because they break up the course a bit - so flat is not my favorite.   In my neighborhood there is a flat loop that circles the park.  Check out the elevation:

    Brutal, huh?  Yeah, flat as a pancake.  Not very interesting.  In order to up the "hellishness" aspect, the loop is only a half mile long - to get a 5k in I have to repeat it 6 times.  I hate passing the end point of a run and not being able to stop.  Ok.  Hell course accomplished.

    Leading up to the race I made sure I properly hydrated

    and fueled:

    And then it was race morning:

    I got up at the crack of dawn:
    I'm trying to make this sound really "hellish", but in reality this is
    about an hour later than my normal weekly runs.

    I met Michelle and Barbara and we ran the loop...6 times.  Here's some highlights of the run:

    Not monotonous at all.  We actually tacked on another mile for good measure, making it four total in 37 minutes for 9:15 average pace.   I guess we're gluttons for punishment!

    So, the Jingle Bell Hell came and went.  There was laughter and it was a good morning run because of the awesome company.  If anyone thinks that I just took my normal morning route and played on your sympathy to turn it into a hell-worthy race report you might be right on. 

    Thanks for hosting the race XLMIC!  It was fun and I will definitely join in next year - HOPEFULLY for the 1/3 marathon option and a truly difficult course!

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Five for Friday!

    Ah - Friday again!  Here's my Friday five...

     1) Hood to Coast is offering a 20% off coupon for the Hood to Coast movie - but today (16th) is the last day to use it!  Enter code HTC-20 at checkout for the discount. 

    The movie is AWESOME - it really does a great job of capturing the race.  This would be a great gift for anyone!

    2)  In running news, the saga of my foot continues.  I ran 15 miles total last week, which is the longest distance I have gone in 2 months - but my foot was really sore at the beginning of this week.  I ran Monday morning, but took the last 3 days off just to give it a break.  My PT sessions are over with, but I discussed it with my doctor and I'm going to see a podiatrist on Thursday to discuss further options.  My doctor and I both feel that it's healing, but want to see if there is anything else that might expedite the process. 

    3)  I've mentioned on here before that my family are I are huge Blazer fans - HUGE.  Rip City baby.  So it was a particularly sad day last Friday when Brandon Roy announced his retirement from the game because his knees wouldn't allow him to play anymore. 

    For those who don't follow basketball and/or the Blazers, Bradon Roy is 3 time All Star who has been the face of the Blazers for the last 4 years.  He was a great player, active in the community and a leader.  As a fan he provided so many amazing moments, it made you feel good just to root for him.  Having his career cut short is so sad - he's only 27 years old and should be in his prime.

    I know that he was paid millions of dollars just to play a game, so his career ending isn't tragic in that sense - but when you have to give up what you love prematurely due to a situation you can't control, it's sad no matter what. There's a great article about his decision to walk away here by Jason Quick from the Oregonian.  The last quote from Roy got me a little misty eyed:  "You can walk away from someone who doesn't love you. And you can walk away from someone you don't love. But when the love is mutual, the hardest thing is to walk away."   Thanks for the memories B-Roy, you will be missed.

    4)  Do you have a "go to" treat you pass out at the holidays?  Mine is Banana Bread which I make from this recipe.  I make little mini-loaves, wrap them up and pass them out to teachers, neighbors, etc.

    The trick is to get them all wrapped up before my hubby gets to them! 

    5)  I'm a winner!  Woo hoo!  Rachelle, from Livin the Fit Life hosted a Shaklee giveaway, and I won some Shaklee energy chews, joint cream and a Cinch peanut butter energy bar.  I'm excited to check out the products.  I LOVE winning stuff! :) Thanks Rachelle!

    Hope you all have a great weekend! 

    Head over to the blog hop at Fitness, Health and Happiness to link up with other fitness bloggers!

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    My marathoniversary!

    It's my marathoniversary!  13 years ago today I crossed the finish line at the Honolulu Marathon and became a marathoner.  
    Honolulu Marathon 1998 - finisher!
    I ran the race with Team in Training and raised money for the Leukemia Society in exchange for airfare and marathon entry into the race.  When I decided to sign up, it really was just a bucket list item that I wanted to say I accomplished.  I had always ran in shorter, local races, but had never done any distance racing.  I hadn't even run a half marathon before running this!

    Team in training provided me with a training plan and I followed it until I got an over-use injury after an 18 miler, about a month out from the race.  I seriously didn't run a single time from November 1st until December 13th when I showed up for the race.  I think at the time I was honestly naive enough to not stress about it - now I would be FREAKING out about this, but I guess sometimes ignorance is bliss.  I really had no time goal and I was just running to finish - I ended up running a 4:24.  I walked straight from the finish line and sat in the ocean!

    I can't post any pictures of the race itself because at the time I was too cheap to order them from the official race photographer - and my sister was there at the finish but she missed when I crossed the finish line because my nephew had to use the restroom!  So no race pix for me due to my frugality and my nephew's bladder!

    We flew to Kauai the day after the race and laid around on the beach for the next 6 days.

    I tell ya, if you're going to run a marathon, this was a nice way to recover!

    My first marathon was a great experience, but it didn't really give me the marathoning bug that I've picked up later in life.  In fact, I didn't run another marathon until the 2009 Portland Marathon!  It is kind of cool that my 41 year old self kicked my 28 year old self's ass in finishing time, eh?  Yeah baby!

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Five for Friday

    It's Fridayyyyy!  Here's the Friday five.

    1)  My running partner this morning, Roxy.
      Look at that grey!
    ~This pic is from summer when
    it was actually light out in the mornings~
     Roxy is my 11 year old first baby.  She used to be a great running partner for all distances, but any more I can only take her on short outings as she falls behind pretty quickly.  She's a love and awesome with the kiddos.  It's tough to see her get older, but she's doing great for her age.

    2)  All I want for Christmas is....ok, this isn't all I want for Christmas, but I'd love a Bondi Band ponytail hat
     Keeps the ears warm and your hair out of the way - win win.  Just in case anyone in my family is reading this blog....

    3)  I'm signed up for this half marathon in January -
    Vancouver Lake Half, January 22, 2012
    I'm thinking that I'm going to have to run/walk this thing in order to be smart.  As I said in my last post, I'm really trying not to push too hard too fast, because I don't want this injury prolonged any more than it has to be.  But I'll admit, the competitive side of me is a little torn about it - I've never run/walked a race before.  The last half mary I ran was the Hippie Chick half where I PR'd.  So, this will be interesting.  Luckily, my running buddy is on board to do this with me, and my friend Ed, who is also on the gimp list, will likely be in the same boat and joining us.  At least I'll have company! 

    4)  I had some leftover chicken in the fridge last night and was looking for something warm and comforting - so I made this chicken tortilla soup from the Pioneer Woman:
    So yummy!
    Seriously, so good.

    5)  If you get a chance go read this post that Christy at My Dirt Road Anthem wrote about her children/body image/and weight.  Her blog is awesome and this post is so well written.  It's so important to give our kids (and ourselves for that matter!) the message that exercise and good food choices are tools to achieving optimal health and not simply to fit into a pair of skinny jeans or live up to some arbitrary weight ideal.

    In our house the issue is a bit flipped in that my son is VERY slight AND a very picky eater.   We are extremely careful in conveying to him the importance of trying a greater variety of foods for health reasons, and not because he's so skinny.  The last thing I want is for him to develop a complex that his body is somehow not ok simply because he is a naturally thin child.  Anyway, check it out, it's a great read.

    It's Fitness Friday - head over to the Blog Hop at Fitness, Health and Happiness to connect with other fitness bloggers!
    On to the weekend!

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Trying to be smart and stuff...

    I'm really really trying to be smart with my recovery from Plantar Fasciitis.  Trying not to do too much, do my "homework" exercises religiously, not run further then I'm supposed what does my physical therapist go and do?  He tells me that I have the green light to "run as far as I want as long as it feels good".  This should be great news, but really, has he learned NOTHING about me in the last month and a half?  Not giving me a structured plan means I will go too far, too fast and end up hurt again - I've proven before that I can't be trusted!  He should know this!  I DO know this!  I told him that I needed a more specific plan to increase mileage to protect me from myself and we've agreed to increase in 1/2 mile increments and see how that goes.  Whew!  Me not making stupid running decisions crisis averted! 

    This morning I ran 3.5 - and it felt pretty good!  I'm still taping my foot and need to warm it up before I run, but I do feel like it's getting there.  Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

    In other news we got our Christmas tree this weekend! 
    Searching for the perfect tree...
    Tree lights from our front window - so pretty!

    I love this time of year!  Happy Wednesday!

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Hope Endures Virtual 5k

    This morning I ran the Hope Endures Virtual 5k hosted by Courtney at A So Called Runner in honor of her daughter Ashlyn who passed away on December 2nd, 2008.

    I had planned to run this over the weekend, but Christmas decorating and tree-getting made the days too busy and I had to get it done today. It was 28 degrees out when I got up. Yup. 28 degrees. Can you say cold? Seriously, seriously cold. At least for this Pacific Northwest wimp.

    Since I'm still dealing with PF, 3.1 miles would mark the longest consecutive running miles I had done in over a month. So I was excited to see if I could do it, but also had a little anxiety about how my foot would feel.

    I walked for a mile first to get my foot loose and warm, and then I set out on my 5k. I was happy to start running because it made me warmer than the walking did!  And the foot felt pretty good.  I didn't push the pace and just tried to take it easy.  My final time was 27:26 - 8:50 pace.  I was really happy with that.

    yes, that says 5:28am...
    I'm so glad that I took part in this!  I admire Courtney so much for sharing her story and hosting this race, and  I hope she feels comfort in the footsteps of all the runners running for her and Ashlyn.    If you want to participate tomorrow (Monday) update: I had this wrong: today TUESDAY, the 6th is the last day.  Check out Courtney's blog at A So Called Runner and let her know.

    Thanks for reading!

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Five for Friday

    Yay!  It's Friday!  Here's my Friday Five...

    1)  December is here already!  I can't believe it!  We've watched Rudolph and the kids have written their Christmas lists (which are updated daily).  A fun tradition we started last year was the countdown to Christmas with these stockings:
    Every night in December we hide one stocking with little silly gifts in it and the kids have to search to find it.  After they find it we hang the stocking on a ribbon above the doorway (see the little clothespins to hang them on the ribbon? Cute, right?).  My sister made these for me as a gift 2 years ago after she did the same thing in her house.  They are so cute and the kids get so excited!

    2) On the running front (this is supposed to be a running blog, right?) I'm making some progress with this injury (plantar fasciitis - for those new to the blog).  I've been running with walking intervals mixed in and this seems to work.  I can run pain free this way because my foot is good and warmed up if I walk 1/2 mile before I start running.  I'm still working on keeping my foot stretched out AFTER the run, but it's getting easier to do this.  I'm optimistic even though the progress has been much slower than I anticipated.

    3)  What I'm reading now:
    This is a really deep and insightful book about the triumph of the human spirit total guilty pleasure reading.  This is the 18th (!) book in the series and I've read them all.  They are silly, and at this point, pretty predictable, but I enjoy them and it's fun to turn off the brain every once in a while....

    4)  What did you do with your leftover turkey this year?  I used mine to make this chili from Jenna at Eat Live Run (great site, lots of good recipes):

    Creamy White Chicken Chili
    So good and total comfort food.  I doubled the recipe and we ate it one night and I froze another batch for later.
    I also made this pot pie recipe that I got from an episode of the Oprah show by Cristina Ferrare (sniff...I miss you Oprah!)...

    Chicken Pot Pie with Cornbread crust
    So good!

    5)  Here's a little motivation for Friday and everyone racing this weekend.  I originally saw this when XLMIC posted it on her blog, and I love it.  Great reminder that even if you fall to pick yourself up and keep pushing on.

    Happy Friday!
    Fitness Friday Blog Hop

    Head on over to the blog hop at Fitness, Health and Happiness!