Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Watch out 2010!

Thanks to those of you starting to read our blog! We hope you will become followers as we work to improve the look and content of our blog in 2010. I am looking to start a Sunday week in review post to share any crazy new experiences or products we discovered in the previous week. We also look forward to any feedback you have on the blog or podcast, so feel free to comment or send us an email at squarepegrunning@gmail.com with your feedback. If you have any tips or experiences you would like to share let us know and we can look at featuring them in the podcast or blog.

There are still two good running/walking days left in 2009, so anything is possible! Whether you are a runner or walker or thinking about getting started, we hope this is your best year ever!

Thank you again. We look forward to connecting with you in 2010!

-Lisa (and I am sure Lara agrees with me!)

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I can't believe it is almost 2010! One of my goals for this year is to be a more active blogger as well as take an active role in promoting our blog and podcast.

As I am getting ready to plan my race calendar for the first half of the year, I am reflecting on this past year. The last big event I participated in was the CIM (California International Marathon) in early December, and boy was it exciting! Lara and I were fortunate enough to find two people I work with who were looking for two people to complete their all girl relay team. I didn't know what to expect from the event, but it definitely exceeded all my expectations.

For those of you not familiar with the CIM, it is an annual marathon in Sacramento that occurs the first Sunday of each December. It is a fairly flat, fast route from Folsom (near the prison) to the State Capitol in Sacramento. Of course this year, we had record low temperatures. I need to check but I am pretty sure it was in the 20's (which is COLD for us here) when Lara showed up at my house at 6AM in the morning for me to drive her to the starting line as she was doing the first leg. After dropping her off, I met the rest of our relay team at a local (and fortunately warm) Starbucks so we could drive to the relay point where our second runner would take over the timing chip from Lara. It actually was a blast piling in and out of the car and having out own race to each relay point to trade off runners. By the time it was my turn (as the walker I went last) my legs were numb and I never had been so excited to see Claudia our third leg runner. As the anchor, I felt the responsibility of getting us a good finish time. It took several miles for my legs to warm up but I couldn't help but get the adrenaline going with all of the spectators cheering us on and all the loud, crazy music blasting along the course.

In the excitement of the race, I forgot to start my watch exactly when I started and forgot to stop it when I jetted across the finish line, so I have no idea what my actual pace was. We finished with an overall time of 5:11, which we were pleased with since we were all different speed, ability, and experience levels! Maybe next year we can do it 4:59! Although that would be nice the race really was all about the experience of being part of such an amazing event. I admit I felt guilty that I was just starting my 6 miles while many runners were struggling to complete their last 6 miles of 26. I couldn't help but wonder what their stories were. Was this their first marathon? Their hundredth? Were they walking for a purpose? A person? A charity? Maybe someday I can capture some of those stories. While our stories may be different they are all interesting and important!

As I look ahead to 2010, I am excited at the prospect of participating in new races while also walking in a few annual favorites. I look forward to increasing both my pace and even my enjoyment level as I continue my quest to be the healthiest, happiest me I can be. I know that sounds cliche but it is true. Without happiness and good health what do we really have?? I wish you the best of luck whatever your 2010 goals may be. Most importantly, we are out there running our own races and creating our own stories whatever they may be.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What next?

When we started this blog, I decided I wouldn't write every day so that my friends and family didn't feel obligated to read posts on a regular basis but by doing that I've accomplished just the opposite by not blogging much at all!  I vow to change that!

Since my last post, Lara and I both completed another half marathon.  The event was fun but the race itself seemed harder than any of my previous half marathons.  I actually asked myself if I would finish and for the first time had doubts that I could.  I kept thinking what Dean Karnazes reminded all the runners and walkers the previous day that no matter how much pain we were in we should keep going one step at a time.  I asked myself why was I willingly putting myself through this misery.  Long story short, I completed the race one step at a time just about 3 minutes slower than the SF marathon half a few months before.  A few hours after completing the race, I came down with the flu.  Lara also checked her Garmin and realized we had gained nearly 1000 feet of elevation over the course of 13.1 miles more than even in San Francisco.  I breathed a sigh of relief that between getting sick and not knowing it and the extra elevation gain that I was working harder than ever.  I felt an extra sense of accomplishment.  If half marathons were always easy, I would probably get bored pretty quickly!

So, four half marathons later and a number of smaller races later, I ask myself, "What next?"  After thinking through this carefully, I realized I don't always have to have a big race to train for to reach my goals.  The day to day process of staying healthy and exercising is accomplishment in itself.  I will be participating on a relay team in an upcoming marathon but after that I am allowing myself the pleasure of just enjoying walking and getting fit and healthy for a while.  I know I will do another half marathon in the spring as I continue on my journey but I look forward to a break from serious training to going back to the roots of my interest in walking and just enjoy the process.  It is through this realization that I truly know my commitment to walking and health is a lifelong commitment!

I wish all of you well as you continue your journeys too!  I look forward to sharing even just the little things as I keep moving forward one step at a time!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We're up and running!

We're up and running no pun intended!  Thanks to Lara our first five Podcast episodes are up on the following site where you can listen to them on the site or subscribe and download them to iTunes and your iPod.  I am going to start sending these links out to a few friends to get some feedback! http://squarepegrunning.podbean.com

I can definitely empathize with some of the things Lara mentioned in terms of motivation.  I love love walking but it can be difficult to push yourself out the door when life is busy and things get in the way.  For the last month or so, work has been very busy (which I am glad about), so I've only been getting my Saturday long workouts in.  You definitely notice that eight miles is a little more difficult when you haven't been to the gym all week.  The important thing is to just get back out there and walk or run whenever you can!

I am looking forward to the next big half marathon in less than a month and will do my best to get my workouts in.  It's been a better week this week.  The weather is great and I am making my workout a priority over everything else.  I know in the big scheme of things it doesn't matter if I PR in my next half marathon or not just that I go out there, do my best, and have fun!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Chicken & The Egg

Just finished my run. I really did not want to do it. I tried to talk myself out of it. I was looking to use any possible excuse, but realized that there really was nothing preventing me from running. So I did it -- and I feel so good. I have been suffering lately from a lack of motivation and confidence. I can't figure out if I'm not motivated because I lack confidence, or if I lack confidence because I haven't been motivated. Kind of a chicken & the egg thing. Can I expect this every time I am training for a big event? I've got to get focused for my half marathon at the end of October. Hopefully today is a step in that direction.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

SF Marathon Part Deux

I see Lisa already posted, but I have to throw my two cents in. . .

I had a truly great time. I also PR'd. Of course it was my first half as a runner, so it was a given - unless I suffered a total meltdown.

During the first 5 miles of the course, I made a strange observation. Everyone was silent. There I was running down the road surrounded by lots of other runners and it was dead silent - no conversation, no laughing, nothing. I wondered if this was typical for the start of a race.

While training, I ran all of my long runs by myself, so I found it humorous to hear all the Garmins from other Run/Walkers going off around me. I often had to hold my wrist up to my ear to check if it was my Garmin beeping. It was quite entertaining.

I was lucky enough to have an once in a lifetime experience while on the course. At one point, the course made a left turn onto a street that had metro tracks running down the middle. I saw the runners ahead of me make the turn after crossing the tracks, as you would in a car. Just as I was approaching the tracks, a race official directed me to turn before crossing the tracks. This put me on the wrong side of the road with no one in front of me. I got to feel what it is like to be in front (that is if I didn't look at the runners on the other side of the tracks). I savored the moment until I was eventually passed. I might spend the rest of my running life as a back-of-the-packer, but for about a tenth of a mile I tasted greatness.

I was so pleased with my finishing time of 2:47:51. It's a great place to start. Next up . . . the Dean Karnazes Silicon Valley Marathon half in October.
I only have one complaint about the entire event. I didn't get a banana! I was hungry toward the end of the race and spent the last 2 miles imagining how much I was going to enjoy that post-race banana that I love so much. After crossing the finishing line, I declined water and had little interest in the heat sheet or even the finishing medal. I looked and looked, but no banana. I watched with disappointment as other runners eat bananas, unknowingly taunting me. I had fallen from running god to outcast in a matter of miles. Well - that's Square Peg Running for ya.


SF marathon

Lara is working on episodes two and three.  We hope to be caught up soon so we can start sharing our blog/podcast links! This past weekend was the SF marathon.  It was my first large event with over 20,000 participants across the various races.  I was short of a PR by just a few minutes due to one stop and those SF hills but I had a wonderful time, which is what counts.

We headed down to SF on Saturday to attend the expo.  It was a runner's paradise of free samples and all the products you could and couldn't imagine.  I had to restrain myself from buying things but it was a great opportunity to check out what is out there!  We were lucky enough to hear Denise Austin speak a bit on nutrition followed by a talk by Dean Karnazes.  It was great to hear his inspirational stories and to my relief I discovered I am nowhere near as "enthusiastic" as some of his fans! I will no longer worry about following some of his races and snapping a few pictures here and there.  The expo was followed by the runner's pasta dinner.  I had been looking forward to meeting other participants in the race but mostly people just ate and left.  It was though a good carbo load and part of the entire race experience.

It was hard to sleep the night before the race.  We had to catch an early bus from near the hotel to get to the starting line of the second half of the marathon.  We learned (fortunately the easy way) to make that bathroom stop as soon as you arrive because soon the line was endless!  It was cold and misty in Golden Gate Park and it was hard not to be anxious as we watched some of the marathoners cross the half-way point while we waited for our turn to start.  It was amazing to be able to walk/run through the streets of SF along side athletes of all experience levels and capabilities from first time marathoners to seasoned veterans while not having to stop for lights and traffic.  The course was also well equipped with the ever important aid stations and bathroom stops!

I struggled a little throughout the race but kept a quick and steady pace.  I remember feeling the ocean breeze with just one mile to go, excited but glad to be finishing.  I met some great people along the way but those SF hills worked some different muscles and I was ready to finish.  My mom and step-father were at the finish line waiting to take pictures to capture the big moment.

I definitely have the bug and look forward to attending even more large destination/urban races.  Events like the SF Marathon generate inspiration and excitement no matter what your experience level is.  There's nothing like the gift of having three hours to reflect, enjoy the outdoors, and share the competitive spirit all while contributing to your health and overall well being!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Western States 100

Saturday was the Western States 100.  The WS100 is an annual event where the most seasoned and adventurous ultrarunners brave a brutal course of snow, heat, streams, trails and climbs from Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA.  Those finishing sub 24 hours earn a coveted belt buckle and those who finish in the less than 30 hour course time limit are glad to finish!

Being located in the Sacramento area, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this year's event.  Although this was the event's 35th year, I had no concept of what such an event entailed.  After reading various accounts of those brave enough to complete this venture, I knew I had to see what it was all about!  I was able convince Lara to attend (wasn't too difficult).  One of my other friends was also supposed to attend but had a change of plans and couldn't make it.  Boy, did she miss out!

After completing a 9 mile training walk earlier that morning in pretty hot weather, I really just wanted a nap!  Race officials predicted the first runner would come in around 9PM, which was the 16 hour mark.  We made sure we were there by 9 and got a good seat on the bleachers which were in front of the finish line located on the Placer high school track in Auburn.  The first place runner arrived about 24 minutes later.  I can't explain the chills I felt when the audience saw him entering the other side of the track and stood up with applause.  I couldn't believe how good he looked after completing 100 challenging miles in a little more than 16 hours.  He was definitely still running faster than I could on my best day.  Watching him make his victory lap gave me a sense of inspiration and motivation I maybe have never felt.  It truly was one of those "you had to be there" moments.

I originally wanted to attend the race to watch a well known ultrarunner cross the line.  Unfortunately, due to medical issues he did not complete the race.  Although initially disappointed, it was such a blast to watch the first 20 or so racers finish, which included three amazing female athletes.  At about 2AM, as a runner from Tanzania with amazing form crossed the line, we called it a night.  Next year, we know to bring snacks (although they sold food at the snack bar to support local boys/girls activities) and to prepare for an all night event because I definitely want to attend again.  Hopefully, the runner I originally went to follow will be there and achieve his own dream of completing his 12th WS100.

I know I will never run the WS100 but I also know I can achieve my own goals and dreams by continuing to walk and train for more half marathons and some day a marathon.  It is being in the presence of great athletes that you want to make yourself the best you can be!

Training for the SF half marathon is going well, and I set a PR in a 10k a few weeks ago.  Life is good!

Monday, June 15, 2009


As Lisa already blogged, this adventure all started when she asked me to be her training buddy for a half marathon last year. At the time, I had no idea what a half marathon was, but if she was game - I was too. When I found out that it was 13.1 miles, I wasn't sure we could do it - but we did. This year, in an effort to accelerate my weight loss efforts, I decided to "kick it up a notch" and began to mix short bursts of running with walking. Before I knew it, the girl who always claimed she would never be a runner had caught the bug.

Recently, a co-worker, who is also a runner, suggested I listen to the 4 Feet Running podcast. He thought I might like it. After one episode, I was hooked. I couldn't get enough. I started listening to any running podcast I could get my hands on. The more episodes I listened to, the more I thought it would be fun to give our own podcast a try. Fortunately, Lisa agreed to take the plunge with me and Square Peg Running was born. We hope to have our first episode out very soon.

I hope you enjoy following our trials and tribulations as we train for each event. Next up... the San Francisco Half Marathon in July. It will be our first big event. I can't wait.

Until next time . . . remember, don't be afraid to run your race.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our first Podcast!

Greetings from Square Peg Running (and walking)!  Today, we recorded our first Podcast.  I can't wait to hear how it turns out!  We're hoping to share all of the crazy experiences and great information we've picked up on our walking and running journeys as well as learn from others as we move forward with our training.

People often ask me how I got started walking for exercise.  I hope I've inspired some people and secretly I think others think if I can do this anyone can! I've never been an athlete.  I've always been the girlie girl into shopping and considered a nice trip to the mall for a new pair of shoes or handbag as exercise.  I would watch Oprah and be absolutely convinced I would never be one of those people who found exercise and loved it.  Initially, my friends and family were shocked when I started preferring REI or Fleet Feet gift cards over a trip to my local mall. So, if I can do this it truly is proof anyone can!

It really all started with a co-worker mentioning she was going to walk a half marathon.  It suddenly hit me I could too.  I needed to lose weight and this was a good opportunity to train for a specific event outside my comfort zone and maybe lose a little weight along the way. It also occurred to me I could find somebody to train with and share the misery along the way, so I looked to my college roommate and dedicated friend, Lara, to share the pain!  Originally, I looked at walking as a destination... I would train for one half marathon and be done with it! But, along the way I fell in love with walking.  After completing the first half marathon, we couldn't get enough.  We signed up with a local running/walking group and learned about proper walking format, nutrition, and clothing.  You name it, we were learning about it, reading about it, or buying it!  Once I decide to do something, I definitely give it my all!

Over the course of the last year and a half, I've lost weight, developed a hobby, and improved my health significantly.  I have visual proof that this is the right thing for me to be doing!  I continue to improve my walking pace, about a 14:38 per mile race pace, and look forward to all the rest of my adventures.  I've walked to places in my own backyard that I didn't realize were even there. After walking two half marathons, Lara has "crossed over to the dark side" and started running but we're both having a great time at our own pace.  We still meet up on Saturday mornings to train to keep each other motivated and to share all of the information we've learned or products we've tried!  

We walked five miles today and will be doing a 10K tomorrow.  Lara will run it and I will walk but, hey, I have the advantage of somebody being at the finish line cheering me on!  Thanks for reading and stay tuned....