Monday, July 19, 2010

Running Blog Change

I have separated and moving the "running" focused portion of my blog to http://racingitoff.blogspot.com I just posted a review of yesterday's race, check it out.

I'll probably stick to personal and maybe jewelry at this blog. I wanted a very focused blog so I could continue to log my progress in running.

Lesley

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Paige's Bday Party

Paige's birthday isn't until this Saturday, the 24th, but I will be away at Art on the Square in Southlake with my artisan jewelry business. Monday was just the best night to have family and a few extra special friends over to celebrate Paige's 2nd birthday. It was all about Paige's favorites - DORA, pizza, carrots and ranch, broccoli, apples, and chocolate cake (cause frankly, if it's not chocolate, Paige doesn't think its cake). It was a thrill to let such a sweet little spirit indulge in all her favorite things. Happy Birthday baby girl!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Half-Marathon Learning Curve

This past Sunday, I ran the Big D Half Marathon. It was night and day from my first half marathon back in December (the White Rock). So for any of you peeps that are considering maybe running and conquering a half-marathon, I thought I'd go through what I think made the difference...


- Do not skip a long run! - When I was training for White Rock, there were days of low motivation. Ok, who am I kidding, there were entire weeks where I didn't even get out to run due to lack of motivation. I missed 2 or 3 of my long runs in a 10 week training program, which is a lot. This time I hadn't missed a single long run (although I hadn't tapered down like you should because I was still ramping up for my May 2nd half marathon). I had also started a running streak... and was on day 18 on the day of the half. The consistency of my running schedule carried me far. I wasn't nervous before starting... and it honestly all felt like just another training run (except for the unavoidable cattle herding at the beginning of the race). At White Rock, I was tired by mile 6 and half-dead by mile 9. The large majority of that run felt like pure torture... this run felt like a nice healthy run. It was shocking how different it was.


- 10 mile warm-up, 5K race (thank you Libby for this point-of-view) - At White Rock, I tried to run with a pace team. They were a little fast, but I managed to keep up, though at times it was a struggle. By mile 8, it was agony to stay with them. By mile 9, I decided that finishing was more important than possibly collapsing from trying to stay up with them. The last 4 miles were pure torture at White Rock. I was barely moving. I didn't "walk" but was being passed by walkers. I was in a sad sad state. This time, I held back. I started out slow. I found Libby (an inspirational runner who I had just met after following her blog for awhile on a friend's recommendation) at about mile 1 and asked if I could run with her. We kept a slow, easy pace for mile 1-7. Libby opted for a walk break at mile 7, and I decided to push on. Since I had been holding back, I felt great, so I sped up a little bit, not a lot, between miles 7-10. When I hit 10, I looked at the time on my Garmin and realized I needed to push to come in sub-2:30 (White Rock time was 2:35). I was feeling great, so I sped up some more... and then I hit mile 11.5 and saw my watch, and sped up even more... pushing through to finish at 2:28. I even sprinted the end. I felt like I still had some in the tank and maybe could've pushed harder, but I'm very happy with what I did, and it's not like I'm super-speedy anyway, so what's another minute or two?


-Try the GU - Sure, I had heard about it before White Rock, but hadn't tried it and didn't want to start then in case it upset my stomach. GU is an energy gel, some with caffeine (both the flavors I used - chocolate and vanilla - did have caffeine). At White Rock I noticed a big energy drop at mile 6 and then a complete plummet at mile 9. I had taken GU on a couple of my long runs since White Rock just to try it out and wasn't absolutely convinced yet. During Big D, I took a GU at mile 5 and mile 10. I never noticed a plummet (or spike) in energy. My energy stayed relatively constant throughout the race. It was awesome. I'm convinced! I still don't and won't use GU on runs less than 7 or 8 miles.


- Support systems are important - At White Rock, I found the pace group which kept me going the first 8 miles. Plus I saw my dad at miles 6 and 10, and my brother, sister-in-law, and 2 nephews were waiting for me at the finish line. At Big D, I went with a group of awesome ladies, I ran from mile 1-7 with Libby, and some of the ladies I came with were at the finish waiting for me. These things seem minor, but as a slower runner, a half-marathon is a 2 1/2 hour mental mindgame, and every little bit of motivation you can find is needed, and every bit of encouragement you receive fuels you.


This race was so different from the last one, and I'm actually looking forward to my next half in just 3 weeks on May 2.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Keep On Truckin'

I've had an eventful running week. In the last 14 days, I have managed 67 miles. I have not missed a day in 2 weeks. I'm praying that this doesn't lead to injury since my typical running week is only 4 or 5 times a week. I have been limiting myself to a maximum of 2 miles of running on my typical off days, and I really like the way this streak feels. Each run gets a little easier.

A few noteable events:

On Monday, my friend Karen and I decided to do a 10 mile long run together - the last long run to prepare us for the Big D Half-marathon that we'll be running this Sunday, April 11th. She didn't want to head down to the lake, so I suggested Greenbelt Trail in Garland. Now, I've run the Greenbelt Trail before, but only the front side that runs alongside Duck Creek Dr from Centerville down to I-30. I wasn't even really aware that there was a back portion of the loop. So at about mile 8.5, we headed toward the back part of the loop thinking it would be the easiest way back to where we parked, and... we got lost! Not just a little lost... we finally found our cars as my Garmin clicked over to 12.5 miles (yes, we walked that last 2.5miles). I was so late getting home to my kiddos, that I didn't even have time to stretch... so I had to run another 1/2 mile later that day to warm my muscles back up and then stretch. I think Karen has forgiven me, but we'll see on Sunday!!!

On Tuesday morning I got a text from my running partner, Amie, who has been dealing with a number of injuries. She had decided she was ready to start running again (she had been cleared to walk a few weeks ago, but not run). So of course I got up to the gym to meet her for a run. It was great to have her back in action.

On another note, I have been a complete clutz this week. I removed a chunk of skin from my knee on the side of the bleachers during the kids' tennis practice, then removed a chunk of skin from my pinky while cleaning the stove (really???), and then today removed a chunk of skin from my wrist doing an ever-so-graceful fall at the playground and catching the concrete on my wrist. Let's just hope I can make it through these next two half-marathons with my remaining skin in-tact.

Lastly, I've been thinking about doing a lot more half-marathons this year. It's so much easier to just stay ready than it is to have to keep ramping back up. My original plan was just to do the Heels and Hills on May 2 and then White Rock on Dec 12. But I've officially added this weekend's Big D, and I'm considering The Hottest Half on Aug 15, DRC Half on Nov. 7, and/or Rock N Roll San Antonio Half on Nov. 14. I was sad to miss the Rock N Roll Dallas Half on March 14th, but I was afraid with my winter motivational issues that I wouldn't be ready... and I was right!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Running Streak!

I'm on a streak. I normally only run 4 days a week, but I have run the last 7 days straight, and I'm feeling great... actually feeling better than ever, and more comfortable than ever on the runs. I'm thinking about adding an extra half marathon next weekend (The Big D on April 11) even though its just 3 weeks before my already planned half marathon (Heels N Hills on May 2). I have no plans for this streak... no hard set goals, but I'm interested to see how much further I'll take this. (Thanks Libby for the running streak inspiration!)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Running Skirts

Yesterday I tried out a running skirt. Some of you may think that sounds crazy, but they are actually quite popular now. Most running sites carry them. The particular one I have is from http://www.skirtsports.com/ . It looks like this:
Now, let's do some math. I'm guessing this skirt is 3-4" long, which, if you think about most running shorts, isn't out of the ordinary. This one has a built-in nylon panty that is cut like a boy short (thank goodness!). Anyhow... I put this on, and I have to admit, despite my couple extra rolls, it looked pretty cute. Then I started running (on my treadmill, indoors, alone!)... let's do the math. 3-4" skirt... my rear-end has lowered about an inch for every kid I've had, which drops it about 3"... so that leaves me an inch of leeway, max. I'm under no delusions that anyone wants to see the back end of a woman who has had 3 kids and few too many cheeseburgers in her lifetime. It only took about a minute before the skirt was riding up my hips and I could feel a cool breeze on my bottom. I've seen people look cute in these things, but my conclusion, unless I move to LA and get plastic surgery and also have my legs shortened (I'm 5'11" with a 34" inseam), is that this skirt will only be worn in the privacy of my own home on the treadmill... and not even in front of my husband, who might have nightmares about it for years afterwards. Thank goodness I bought this skirt on a huge clearance sale they had right before Christmas.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just like Big Brother

Just like Big Brother... and Mommy and Daddy...
Need I say more? Probably the cutest engineer I've ever seen!
(And, yes, she put all the blocks on the desk and decided to work there... I had them on the floor.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Artscape at Dallas Arboretum

It was a beautiful 75 degrees on Friday... then on Saturday, March 20th - the first day of spring - the temperature plummeted. I only made it through about half the day before I made the decision to leave my show, which I do not take lightly. Show organizers spend thousands to promote these shows, and they are rain or shine, and are not rescheduled. But today takes the cake... the temp dropped even lower and it snowed last night. Seriously? What state do I live in? Gotta love the Dallas Blooms festival in the spring. When I arrived at the show at 7:30am this morning, temps were below 30 degrees, winds were gusting up to 25mph, and there was 3+ inches of snow on the ground. This is a first, so I had to document it in photos.
The arboretum:
The lovely row of booths:
The edge of my booth:
And my nice warm home as I arrived back after packing up:




Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Crazy Girls!

Wow, has it really been 10 days? And I was doing so well...

Not many words today, as its my anniversary, but while the house is quiet (Patrick and Peter are napping downstairs, and Lily and Paige are napping upstairs)... I thought I'd share a couple of photos from yesterday. I kept my friend's kids for just a little bit while she took care of some duties with her grandfather. Our kids act like siblings most the time, so its quite a fun dynamic... anyhow, Lily is just in love with her oldest son, Jack. So she cozied up to him on the couch, but Paige was plagued with jealousy and had to join in!!!

While this was going on Patrick and Greyer decided to try out Lego Rock Band on the Wii, and then Paige couldn't miss out on that action... so she got off Jack's lap, created a stage with her shopping cart, and got her groove on...It's simple moments like these that make me smile. Glad I thought to grab my camera!!!





Saturday, March 06, 2010

FAIL!

Today was a FAIL as far as running was concerned.

I woke up bright and early (with all my kiddoodles at my father's house) and went to meet my partner for our shopping trip to the Farmer's Market for our veggie co-op. Before I get to the fail, let me just say that Margie and I completely scored on our farmer's market finds. Today we got spinach, green leaf lettuce, zucchini, broccoli crowns, potatoes, jalapenos, mangos, plums, apples, bananas, pears, and oranges. Everything looked delicious, which is not always the case this time of year. I just made myself a fabulous salad with the spinach, lettuce, and mango. Added carrot, tomato, craisons, chicken, and raspberry vinagrette. Sounds like a strange, "clean the fridge" style combo, but it was unbelievably good.

Now on to the fail... Since I was dressed in running pants and a t-shirt for the co-op shopping, I decided perhaps I could get in a few miles before I had to pick up the kids (I was already 15 minutes east of home and needed to head another 15 east, so I was not going to head home). So I get the bright idea to just stop at the Rockwall bridge on the way to get the kids. The bridge is 2 miles each way with a nice protecting running area. I was hoping I could get in 6 miles (up and down once, then 1/2 way up and back). As I pull in, I notice that my last drip of water has already been swigged, and of course I don't have my Forerunner, though since I know the length of the bridge I figure I'll manage. I am starving because I hadn't eaten anything but a granola bar at 6am and it was now 10am. So no water, hungry, and let's add to that no sunglasses (something I desperately need but don't have any suited to running anyhow) and I have on a long sleeve shirt in 63 deg weather (thank you God for the breeze that made that bearable).

But the ultimate fail was my shoes... I never wear my running shoes unless I specifically intend to run. So I wasn't wearing my lovely Asics that are like walking on clouds... I was wearing 13 year old Nike Airs that I'm pretty sure no longer should be allowed to have the word "air" on them. I could feel my right shin splint flarring up within the first mile, by mile 2 I was completely parched, by mile 3 I had to stop to attempt to adjust my sock to keep my shoes from rubbing a massive blister on my left foot, shortly after I could feel the same thing happening on my right heel. By mile 3 1/2, my stomach started seriously cramping, and at this point I decided to just make back to the end of the bridge where my car was parked. So by the end of mile 4, I was done. I decided to cut my losses and not torture my poor feet and shins for another 2 miles. Not to mention I was thirsty and hungry. By time I stopped, both heels were bloody and when I took off my shoes, I saw some blood on my right toes (where my poor nails can't ever seem to heal). Fun times.

I'm finally home with my babies, and I will be icing my shin, medicating my blisters, and shopping online for a new pair of cross-trainers so that if I'm ever again not in my running shoes, I still have shoes that will at least show a little care to my feet. I mean, really, I should know better than to keep shoes for 13 years (you'd be surprised to see how good they look after so long).

When Paige was asked how she felt about mommy's bright idea to run completely unprepared...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Running Clothes

You know, there's this theory that runners always dress like runners. And at first, I begged to differ from that comment... wearing running gear just for my runs, and almost immediately showering and getting into something a bit more fashionable (though I am, admittedly, not the most fashionably aware person). But the more I run, the more that statement rings true. I find myself suiting up in my running gear in the morning, even on days I know I won't be running until evening. And the pants that I'm wearing in this photo with my nephew at a race...well, they are potentially the most comfortable pants on the face of the planet. Nike Dri-Fit pants that are actually long enough for my amazon legs. If I owned more than 3 pairs, I think you might catch me wearing them around town on a daily basis. Despite my Asics shoes, I am in love with the Nike apparel. It just seems to fit right and is uber-comfortable. And now I find myself eyeballing Nike.com and looking at apparel all the time - not just stuff I'd want to run in, but stuff I'd maybe wear on comfy days... which are becoming more and more plentiful, the more I run!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Motivation

It is really hard to go get on this:
When you find this camped out on your couch:
So yeah, my run will have to wait until this evening, cause I cuddled up right next to those cuties, and I think I even closed my eyes for about 30 minutes this morning, when I should've been getting my training run in.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Needed That

My husband has been out of town, and I have been stuck on the dreadmill... mile after mile. It has really been wearing on my motivation. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your point-of-view), my husband got sick yesterday which meant for once it was ok to put the kids down for a nap and go get some fresh air. It is the first I had really ran since I had been sick, and I managed to struggle through 3 miles. Yes, just 3, and they were painful. My lungs weren't ready, my stomach wasn't ready, but it still felt amazing to run outside again... to actually travel from point A to point B.


This morning, I once again took advantage of my husband being home to go check out the Greenbelt Trail on Duck Creek in Garland. I have heard about it for quite some time, but I guess I was ignorant to how close it was and how fantastic it is for runners.

Yeah, well, it didn't look like that picture after the harsh snow of last week... just imagine everything in that picture as a lovely yellow-ish brown... but you get the idea. It was still a wonderful trail that wound along Duck Creek. It conveniently went under bridges so there was no stopping to cross at intersections. There were a couple of small muddy areas that caused me to slow down and tiptoe through them, but other than that, it was quite nice to be in a new environment and once again running outside.

I also tried GU today for the first time... I'm going to withhold my opinions until after a few more trials, but I wasn't really feeling what the difference was. We'll see if I can be convinced. (I used the Vanilla Bean flavor, and despite many reviews, it was actually quite easy to digest.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Exercise Forgiveness

UGH - right now I want to change this to BLOG forgiveness, because as I finished the last line of this post, it went batty, and all was lost... so let's try this again.


This year, I set a goal of running 1000 miles. That's a pretty hefty goal for me, and even in the first 6 weeks, I've realized I have to make some modifications. First, I need to allow those miles to include walking. Not because I intend to walk a lot, but because I am VERY goal oriented, and if I have to meet a mileage, I will tend to run through injury and run even when my body is shouting No! The second thing is I need to learn to forgive myself when I'm feeling out for a day or two and just let my body recouperate. My motivation has been lacking due to the frigid temps and the neverending dreadmill... I really need a good day on the open road to put me back in the mood.


Just a few weeks ago, I felt like this:

And today, I had a complete lack of endurance, and felt like this:

I made it 6 miles anyhow, but I had to walk 1, run 1... something I haven't done in a very long time. Usually I can crank out 5 miles without a problem, and 6 or 7, while at the edge of my comfort zone, are still usually achievable without a break. Mr Sun, Sun, Mr Golden Sun, please shine down on me! I need a good motivating run!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Running Gadgets

One of the fun things about a new passion, is all the new goodies you get to look for and try out. I've been back into running for about 18 months now... long enough to know this is now a passion... something I have to do. Not just a passing exercise fad to slim up a little (which, for what its worth, hasn't slimmed me up at all). So I figure its time to try out some new gadgets. I already have the Mac Daddy gadget - the Forerunner 405, so now are some mini-gadgets...

First is GU:

I have heard all about the GU. It looks disgusting, and I'm sure it tastes disgusting, and I've managed to avoid it up until now. However, I completely puttered out around mile 8 in the White Rock Half Marathon. And even in training runs, anything past 6 miles was an energy strain. So I purchased a very small amount to try out on some longer training runs and see how they work out.






Next is Body Glide:

I thought I could avoid this little deoderant shaped gadget. I thought. I have managed to make it without a single blister, but at some point last week, well... I noticed some scabbing. I'm sure you can guess where since my thighs aren't exactly matchsticks (although they were trying to start a fire). I think I'll keep this bad boy in my arsenal for longer distance runs.




Lastly is "The Stick":
I've been feeling a number of aches and pains lately, and I've heard rave reviews of the stick. It has several spindles on a flexible stick that you rub up and down your muscles to massage out the knots. I cannot wait to give this a try. Come on shin splints, show me what ya got!
So that's the new gadgets that have entered my "running box" (yes, I actually have a box on my dresser for all various running gadgets, samples, articles, etc).