Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Square Peg Running- SF marathon!

Can you successfully complete a half marathon if you've missed some of your
training? That is the question I asked myself over and over the last few
weeks. I've heard your body develops a certain level of fitness and that
as long as you maintain it at a certain level you can accomplish more than
you realize. Fortunately, for me that was this case in this weekend's San
Francisco marathon (first half).

Although I was looking forward to a weekend in San Francisco and all the
things a big race has to offer, (the Expo, carbo loading, free goodies) I
was very anxious about the actual race. I've successfully completed six
half marathons in the last two years but have always felt well prepared
going into the race. This time, I did not! I've struggled with a minor
hip injury the last month or so and between that and the heat did not get
in the mileage that I wanted to or needed to prepare for the big day. I
came up with about 82 different contingency plans if I didn't or couldn't
finish. Fortunately for me, the race gods were watching over me!

We started Saturday off with a trip to "The Expo." Although the Expo was
crowded the swag was great!! Perhaps the highlight was being about three
feet away from Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man, as he gave away samples of
his joint juice. A close second was getting samples from "The Erin" of
Erin Baker's breakfast cookies. The race shirts have a great design and
are a beautiful turquoise blue. This year, they also gave away fabric
drawstring drop bags that can be re-used instead of the usual plastic bags
that get tossed! The finishers medals are equally nice with the half
marathon medal doubling as a key chain and the full marathon medal as a
coaster. I think I ate my way through the Expo again. Who doesn't love
free samples of Lara Bars and Bare Naked granola! We all finished the day
with a great carbo loading dinner in North Beach!

The weather for Sunday's race was perfect. It was cool and overcast...
ideal running/walking weather. In fact, I wore my jacket to mile 10 and
only took it off because between the mist and sweat it was actually making
me cold. The race started in front of the San Francisco ferry building
with a view of the Bay and the Bay Bridge. The course went several miles
along the wharf and the famous Pier 39 with the first big hill at Ft.
Mason. I've learned from hiking that the key to those big hills is do not
stop. After crossing the Fort Mason hill, the course continued along the
water front through Crissy Field. The view at Crissy field is beautiful
but unfortunately it allowed us to be able to see the steep climb up to the
Golden Gate bridge from at least a mile away. I could see these tiny
little people running, walking or in some cases crawling (maybe a little
exaggerated) up the hills! But, once you got to the top the view from the
bridge and accomplishing the climb made it all worth while. While almost
25,000 people ran and walked across the bridge it was amazing how personal
and individual the experience was. After the bridge, we faced one more
climb before a nice one mile downhill jaunt on the highway/cliff
overlooking Baker Beach and the ocean. You could actually hear the waves
despite the distance and the volume of people. A quick dart by the Sea
Cliffe (amazing neighborhood) and two more miles to the first half finish
at Golden Gate Park. At least for those continuing on to pursue, the
marathon the second half of the course was hill free "relatively speaking." I finished the first half with a time of about four minutes longer than the Parkway half, which to me was success, considering all the hills and that when I woke up that morning I wasn't even sure I could finish. After the finish it was off to the post race festivities with more food sampling and swag. You gotta love a sport where "nutrition" includes
chocolate milk after your workout!

As I look ahead to the next few months, I will treasure what an amazing
race this was. I've never felt better mentally or physically during or
after a race, which is amazing considering my pre-race state of mind. I
think it is because for the first time I truly ran my own race and enjoyed
every moment whatever the outcome. Although I already have the SF
marathon on my calendar for next year, I look forward to taking the rest of
the summer and really enjoying my workouts without stressing over how fast
and how far!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Square Peg Running is back!

I am sorry it has been so long, but again "real life" just sometimes gets in the way. We have been back to SacFit for about a month, and it is a great group this year. I agreed to serve as an "emergency/backup" pace coach to help out when I can. I've been able to take out two great groups out so far this season and I have to admit although it is fun it is a bit stressful. I want to make sure everyone learns all they can and has a great time but I don't want to be overpowering or annoying!

I can't believe we are only two weeks out from the SF marathon. I have never been this undertrained for a half marathon before. Six weeks ago, the eight week "boot camp training" program I was putting myself on sounded great in theory but in reality is a completely different thing. I've been able to get a few mid-week workouts in here and there and an occasional Zumba class but in my attempt to run some intervals to make sure I made it to the Golden Gate bridge in time, I think I've injured my hip. I've only been able to get in up to 8 painful miles so far... not sure how many I will get in next Saturday. My hope is I've built up a certain fitness level where I can get through the race.... and then go to the doctor if needed. I guess I really am meant to be a walker!

It seems like there must be lots of big news to share along with a few square peg running moments... but my brain is full! I need to trust in my training, enjoy the race, and then look forward to a summer of just enjoying my training without "that big race" to train for. I love training for those big half marathons and getting another one under my belt but I long to return to the simplicity of walking for the mere fun of it. That is my goal for the rest of the summer and then truly I will be running my own race!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Square Peg Running goes to San Francisco

I am sorry it has been so long between postings. That craziness called work has been keeping me busy. I am looking forward to the new season of Sacfit starting this weekend, which will get me back on a more regular workout schedule. Despite the craziness, Square Peg Running has had a few adventures over the last few weeks.....

Week before last, we went to check out the first half of the San Francisco marathon course. Last year, we did the second half which was a fairly flat course overall for San Francisco. This year we (and a few other friends) are taking on the first half of the marathon course. The course is actually beautiful because it goes along the water and includes a run on the Golden Gate bridge which will be closed for the event. It's not too often you get to actually run on the main part of the bridge. So, for our "trial" endeavor along the course we set out from the ferry building to walk the course. It was beautiful along the water and perfect weather. We tackled the Ft. Mason hill which 2 years ago nearly beat us down but it seemed pretty simple this time around which was a good testament to how far we each have come in our individual training. We thought we had successfully completed the most difficult part of the course but boy were we wrong. I guess we both had a square peg running moment (or even a blond moment for me) and didn't stop to think that if we were running at sea level and somehow needed to get up to the bridge that there wasn't an elevator to get us there. Boy, that is a pretty steep climb. It's not bad if you are hiking but when you have a time limit (since they can't keep the bridge closed forever) it is a challenge. I guess it will be hill repeats over and over for me for the next 7 weeks. The course finishes in Golden Gate Park. I am looking forward to the challenge but hope we all didn't bite off more than we can chew.

This past weekend, Square Peg Running (and many other Sac Fitters) attended the Nike Women's Fitness Festival. I guess it technically is supposed to make up for those of us who can't seem to catch a break and get into the Nike women's marathon. I have to admit the swag/grab bags and post race breakfast were fantastic, especially for a 5K. I set a PR despite the fact that it was about 10 degrees warmer than it had been, and Lara and my good friend Heather did great as well! All in all it was fun event and a great kick start back into training...... which boy do I need. As we all know 7 weeks goes by fast and I am not even ready to start thinking about another 13.1 miles. It will be fun though!!

Wish me luck in my training journey over the next 7 weeks. Lara and I will both need it as we get in some serious hill and speed workouts in. I send you the same good luck wishes in whatever you are training for!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Week in review- The Wild Way!

I have to admit I have been on a little bit of a walking hiatus since the half marathon three weeks ago, but with the SF marathon just around the bend the hiatus must end this week! Square Peg Running did compete in a unique race last weekend. It was a new event added to a local 5K and 10k race. It was appropriately called the Wild Way. It was a 2 mile course consisting of running (or walking) and all kinds of military like obstacles. We crawled under ropes and ran over logs. We did pushups and jumped hurdles and ran through the trails. We climbed the fences of the local rodeo and ended our journey running through the zoo. It was definitely a unique event!

I ran a portion of the course and did pretty well. I have to admit I felt I was either on an episode of The Biggest Loser or in boot camp! Lara did better than I did on the hurdles and running through the tires. I thought I had mastered running over the logs and the mud but the tip of my right shoe splashed into the mud as I plotted my strategy to run up the hill at the end of the log obstacle. Good thing I wore those old running shoes!

The event had a few challenges but for a first year portion (added to a 27 year old event) they did a good job! The course was well marked (once we got started) and the volunteers along the way were enthusiastic. I have to think the high-school boys manning the push ups station enjoyed telling us to all drop and give them 10. Despite a few near injuries, I think we will both end up doing the race again next year!

Our next Square Peg running event is the Nike fitness festival and then it will be back to Sac Fit! We hope to squeeze a "dry run" of part of the SF Marathon course before we start to Sac Fit so we know how to appropriately train for the hills. I also hope to get in a few good workout this week. Hopefully the crazy weather behaves this week so I don't have to brave the treadmill at the gym!

As always, have a great week. Don't forget to run your own race!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Parkway half marathon

It's hard to believe after all the months of training that last Saturday, May 1st was the Parkway half marathon. It actually didn't even feel like race day because of the longer 12.5 workout we accomplished two weeks before. This was a good thing! The weather was beautiful, not rainy like last year, and not too hot! I was able to shed my thin running jacket before the race started, which was a luxury since I didn't have to worry about maneuvering it around my waist later on. Overall, the race went well although I discovered a glitch around mile 9. Somehow, I had dropped my last two shot blocks earlier in the course so I was "nutritionless" for the last few miles. I had an emergency bag of energy beans in the back of my pack but I was too fearful of time to try to locate them. Big mistake!! Because I didn't eat for the last four miles and it was warming up a little I got very nauseous! The last two miles were a struggle but I made it through. Moral of the story... Bring back up nutrition that is easy to access or take the time to pull it out of your pack!

Although I missed my "dream time" by two minutes, I did PR which was exciting. I also got 5th out of 55 in my age group, which was also great! Next year, I just need to move up two more places to get that award medal/pin. It gives me something to work towards!! Most of all I had fun! Lara was in the process of moving during race weekend, so she took the race for what it was worth and enjoyed the success of completing it!! Sometimes it isn't always about the PR!

I've been taking a short break from training to get caught up on things at work. I went for a 2 mile walk with my parents on Sunday and will be participating in a local 2 mile obstacle course race this weekend. Then it's off to the Nike Women's fitness festival before Sac Fit ramps back up in early June. Then it's the SF marathon here we come!!

I have to admit I discovered finding a product of the week every week (with 52 weeks in a year) can be a challenge! I still have a few good products up my sleeve and am always on the quest for more, so I will report on them when the mood strikes. Any suggestions, let me know!

As the weather starts to warm up, remember to stay hydrated! Start those long workouts earlier and don't give up!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week in review- Sunday, April 25th

Another week done and only 5 more days until the Parkway half marathon. This week will be a light week with short workouts Monday-Wednesday and rest days on Thursday and Friday. Who can't help but love a week with two back to back rest days and an excuse to eat a big pasta dinner! We tapered down to 5 miles in Saturday's workout. When you put it into perspective looking back two years ago, I never would have thought I would have been excited about having to do only 5 miles. It shows how with some dedication and work anybody can be come "an athlete."

As I sit here happy and excited about the upcoming race, I am also a little bit disappointed because Square Peg Running and friends did not get into the Nike Women's Marathon for a second year in a row. Maybe the third year will be the charm. I was upset about it at first but then several of us decided it is a good excuse to go to Tiffany and just buy ourselves something fun. We deserve it even though it won't be handed to us by a cute fireman!

I was watching something on TV the other day (one of the many things I record but never have time to watch)... wish I could remember which show but it had a good message about running your own race. It went back to the old adage that it isn't about the destination but the journey and that we just have to basically continuously run our own race. It was a good message to just remember to enjoy the path we're taking and to never give up on exercise or bettering ourselves. It's great to set goals but we shouldn't forget to enjoy the process as well!

I have been trying to economize lately, so I haven't been out there buying fun new products to review. I still have a few old favorites up my sleeve but will save them for later.

Some final thoughts for the upcoming half marathon. I just have to remind myself the first goal is to finish the race. The second goal is to PR. The third goal would be to reach my goal of walking a half marathon in under three hours (current PR is 3:11). Most of all, I need to remember to have fun!

Have a great week!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Week in review, Monday, April 19th

I can't believe it's Monday again. The weekend always seems to fly by. The official two week countdown to our next half marathon started on Saturday, and I can't wait! We did our last long training walk/run on Saturday and will taper down to five miles this weekend. My group did 12.5 miles and Lara's group did 14 miles. The weather was beautiful but I have to admit the last few miles were a struggle, although we did manage to pick up the pace. If one of the people in my group hadn't kept mentioning yummy breakfast food to me, I may not have made it! I felt great after finishing the distance, though. No matter what, you can't help but feel better than before you started (even if it's just a mental thing)! Although I did stretch and drink my chocolate milk recovery drink, my hamstrings are still a little sore today. It seems like anything over 11 miles still causes pain the next day or two! I look forward to getting in a nice, easy walk tomorrow to maintain the fitness level I need to complete the race.

I am also sitting here waiting to see if my group won a spot in the Nike Women's marathon. For those of you not familiar with the process, the race is so popular they have to do a random online lottery. They take 20,000 people. We didn't get in last year, so I am crossing my fingers that the second time is the charm. It will be hard to resist checking my credit card every day this week to see if they charged me for the race entrance fee, a sure sign we got in. The race course itself sounds great and I know it will be a wonderful experience but I wouldn't be telling the truth if I didn't admit the prospect of receiving a Tiffany necklace at the finish line from a cute firefighter doesn't appeal to me as well!

I know lots of people are doing the Big Sur race this weekend and I wish you well. It sounds like a great event and definitely one I want to fit in sometime. For those of you doing a bunch of races this month and next, I send you good running thoughts!

I managed to solve the mystery of my sudden burst of energy last week from the Clif shot blocks and thus it will be this week's product of the week. Apparently, the tropical punch flavor has 1/2 shot of caffeine while the flavors I previously used didn't have caffeine. I guess there is a flavor or two with a full shot as well. I normally stay away from caffeine because of migraines but for a 10 mile distance or half marathon that extra boost really seemed to help when normally I don't notice a difference. The important thing is to find an energy product that works for you (whether blocks or beans or gel) that you can take 45 minutes into a workout and every 30-45 minutes thereafter. I made the mistake of not eating in my first half marathon, and boy was that a mistake!

On that note, it's time to go get a great night's sleep, another important part of training!

Have a great week!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Week in review, Monday, April 12th

Happy Monday! At the rate I am going lately, my weekly blog may need to move to Monday nights! This weekend was definitely a square peg running filled weekend starting with our Sac Fit workout on Saturday morning. My group was scheduled to do 11 miles but I ended up doing 10. Several of us were volunteering later in the day at the American River 50 endurance run and I was anxious to get back. I walked with my group to the five mile point and then turned around. For the first time in a long time, the second half of the workout seemed easier than the first half. Maybe it was the new tropical punch Clif shot blocks I ate before the turnaround or maybe it was the wonderful walking weather, a little cool... almost jacket weather. Maybe it was the solitude of listening to my iPod and appreciating my surroundings or maybe it was even the fact that I got all three mid week workouts in! Whatever it was, I wish I could re-create it. I couldn't believe that for the last three miles I was walking about a 12:45 pace and feeling like I could go on forever. I can only hope for the same burst energy in the half marathon. We have 0nly two Saturday training sessions left before the big race. Our group is scheduled to do 12.5 miles this weekend and then we pull back to 4 for the Saturday before the race. I am going to replicate my food and clothing from last Saturday and see if I got lucky with my super negative split or if it was the magic combination. Stay tuned!

We also had an amazing experience volunteering for a second year at an American River 50 endurance run aid station. Our station is closer to the end of the race and at the top of a hill. You could say for some it is the make or break it point. It never ceases to amaze me that the people you see running that race don't all fit the stereotypical ultramarathoner look. It really shows that anybody can do it if you put the right training in and prepare for it mentally. We had a great time filling up people's water bottles and just providing overall encouragement. I really have to commend everyone who participated in that race whether they finished quickly or slowly or not at all. It is quite an accomplishment to even try to undertake!

Unfortunately, my "real job" calls so there won't be a product of the week this week but stay tuned and I will do my best to suggest something great next week!

Whether you are training for an upcoming race or thinking about doing one or just out there walking or running for fun, enjoy it and remember to run your own race!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Week in review- Monday, April 5th

My Internet router went dead from all that blogging but I picked up a new router tonight, so I am back on line! I can't believe there are only four weeks of training left until the Parkway half marathon. This means the workouts are more important than ever. I had to get a little creative today and take my workout clothes to work and sneak a walk in between meetings late this afternoon. I definitely feel better that I didn't let an unexpected schedule change derail my training efforts.

This week's Sac Fit training went well. My group had a stepback week but we are back to 11 miles this weekend. I can also tell you I am now a firm believer in the chocolate milk recovery drink. With my longer workouts, if I stretch properly right after the workout and then drink that chocolate milk right after, I find that I am not sore the next day. Who would think chocolate milk could be considered good for you. I like it!

With Spring here, it's not only time for Spring cleaning and sorting through all my running/walking gear, but time to get caught up on my reading so I can make some recommendations. I know I've said it before but if you haven't read Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes you have to check it out. It will not only motivate you but amaze you at what the human body can accomplish. In terms of running/health related magazines, my favorite reads right now are Women's Health and of course Runner's World. Both provide great basic information on a number of exercise and health related topics and also motivate you to take action!

Some upcoming events are the American River 50 Endurance Run this weekend in the Sacramento Area as well as the San Francisco Marathon in July. Both are great events to check out as a participant or volunteer. Also, signups for the Nike Women's Marathon lottery are open now, so wish Lara and I luck as our team tries for a second year in a row to gain entry!

Lara just posted episode 12 of the Podcast so check it out! Also, if you have had a "square peg" running moment let us know! We look forward to hearing about it.

Product of the week: "The Lara Bar" I have to admit the first time I tried these I wasn't a fan, but I think I was expecting something else. Now, I am addicted! The Lara bar comes in a number of flavors. Most flavors only contain dates, nuts, and unsweetened fruit. Some of the more exotic flavors contain other natural flavors but no preservatives and nothing bad for you! I eat a Lara bar as my sweet treat for the day or as a pre or post workout snack. The nuts and fruit make a great snack and I love that there are no other crazy ingredients I can't pronounce! Lara bars make a great alternative snack (instead of your usual granola bar) for those trying to eat clean. I have now tried all of the flavors and my favorite are cherry pie and peanut butter and jelly. Whole Foods has the best assortment of flavors and definitely the best price!

Have a great week!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Week in review- Monday, March 29th

Happy Monday! Sorry I am a day late with this week's post. I am sitting here debating whether I should brave the elements and try to do my workout outside (which I prefer) before a storm hits or venture off to the gym!

I had a good workout this week at Sac Fit. I did 9.5 miles. For the first half, I was discouraged again and then I got distracted talking to somebody and was able to get back into the walk mentally. Our coach had us run up the hills and run it in at the end. It actually felt good to change the muscles up a bit here and there. Believe it or not, it seems easier to run up the hills sometimes then walk them! I did stay off on the left side of the path on the decomposed granite/dirt, which eliminates some of the jarring. I also discovered that wearing longer running pants with crew socks keeps the rocks out of my shoes where capris and short socks do not. I think it's that time of year to pull out the shoe covers/gators and get serious!

Late last night, (while trying to catch up on laundry) I was watching an episode of Ruby that I previously recorded earlier that evening. Weight loss and exercise reality shows fascinate me. For those of you not familiar with it, Ruby is a reality show on TLC that documents Ruby's experience as she works to lose a significant amount of weight. On last night's show, Ruby was struggling to avoid those dreaded weight loss plateaus and speed up her weight loss again. Her doctor suggested she make five changes and see if that made a difference. It sounded like an interesting experiment to me, so below is my list. Whether you need to lose weight or have a different goal altogether, this may be something to try. What is your list??

1. No eating after 7:30PM (Sometimes work dinners and other special occasions make this out of the question but this will be a good general rule! Instead, I will make sure to have a well balanced filling dinner, with whole grains and veggies)!

2. No double dessert days (This is the hard one! That includes those darn Lara bars I am addicted to! This means adding one "dessert" to my little food bag for the day and when it is gone it is gone)!

3. Eliminate after dinner snacks (If, before 7:30, I really need a snack it's only fruit or plain popcorn for me)!

4. Use the stairs at work all the time (For those of you who work with me, you know those narrow slippery stairs can be a challenge)!

5. Attend all three mid-week workouts! (Whether it is late or not or after another event, these must be the priority)!

Wish me luck as I try to include these changes in my day to day routine!

Product of the week: This product may sound a little girlie but anyone can use it! Even if you have good socks and shoes, some people are prone to those nasty and unattractive calluses. Although I love a good pedicure, I am not willing to risk having any issues in the weeks before a big race! As a "semi-product junkie" I have tried a number of things and the only solution to soften and eliminate those calluses is the lavender & eucalyptus foot creme by Lather. They have a few stores (one in Pasadena, CA) so most of you will have to order this off the Lather web site. It really is worth it. There is a scrub available too but the creme alone does the trick if you use it every night! I used it after my 9.5 miles on Saturday and it really made my feet feel better even after just one use!

Have a great week/workout!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week in review- Sunday, March 21st

Spring is officially here, which hopefully brings great running and walking weather. This weekend was sure perfect weather to be outside. Lara and I each completed our Sac Fit workout on Saturday. I struggled a bit to complete my 8 miles. My overall pace was good but I felt a bit sluggish and slow. I know that happens sometimes, so I am not discouraged. Next Saturday, I am going to go back to trying the intervals of slower and faster walking to see if that makes a difference. I did incorporate a little running up the hills, which gave my walking muscles a break! Lara had a great 10 mile run!

Today, Lara and I had a great time volunteering at the first (and hopefully annual) Modesto marathon. We worked the early 6:30AM shift and helped block traffic at the half mile point. All of the runners and walkers were so appreciative and friendly that it made us feel great to give back. Of course, at a half mile you hope people are still happy! The race was well-organized especially for an inaugural event. After our shift we were able to get over to the finish line and see most of the half marathoners finish as well as the first place marathoners. It was very inspiring to be out there supporting the runners and walkers but I have to admit I felt a little bad I wasn't out there myself! We definitely recommend volunteering for a race when you can. It feels good to give back in the spirit of the people who support us on the races we run/walk.

I also had a fun surprise this week. I went to meet a friend at her house for dinner and a walk and her dad was down from Oregon training for his next iron man competition. I had the pleasure of speaking to her dad for a quite a while and tried to absorb everything he was telling me. Not only is he an iron man winner/competitor, he has completed multiple ultramaratons including the infamous Western States 100 and American River 50 to name a few. What makes his story particularly inspiring is he didn't start running until shortly after his 40th birthday and 34 years later he is literally running strong! I can only hope to accomplish half of what he has done. Talking with him also gave me hope that the possibilities for what I can achieve in running and walking may be even further than I can imagine right now. I wish him well in his next Iron Man as he hopes to compete again in the Kona Iron Man Championships in the Fall!

Product of the week: This week's product of the week is pretty simple and may seem quite obvious. Get fit with the right shoes! I know a number of people who train with whatever they picked up off the rack or liked. As somebody who at times suffers from shin splints and plantar fasciitis, I know that having the right shoes can make the difference between even doing your workout letting alone achieving a goal. The right shoes may not be the prettiest color but the fit is truly what counts! It is worth every penny to go get fit by a professional at your local Fleet Feet or specialty running store especially if you don't know if you pronate, supinate or can just wear a neutral shoe. You can get by without all of the other fancy gear but please make good shoes a priority. As somebody with a long, narrow feet that pronate I have found several Asics stability shoes to work well. They seem to have a wider toe box but fit my heel. That is just what works best for me, though!

Only 6 weeks until our next half marathon. Whatever your goal, happy training!!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week in review- Sunday, March 14th

Happy Sunday! I hope those of you who did the Shamrock half marathon or relay today had a great race! It sure was a perfect day for walking or running. I was so pleased to get in all my workouts this week. Ironically, all of them were either different distances or locations than originally planned but the important thing is I got them all in! Monday, I worked out at the gym. Wednesday and Thursday I was able to walk outside. Unfortunately, I had to cut Thursday's walk short due to a sore shin. I stretched it out and was fine to have my long walk again on Saturday. I actually walked with my parents on Saturday and had a great time! I am still getting used to all the bells and whistles on my Garmin but so far it is a great training tool and motivator!

Soon we will be sharing our new Square Peg Running logo with you. My friend who is a designer has been working on some different options. We will be excited to share the select one with you. Who knows, you may even see it on t-shirt somewhere out and about. Interestingly enough, my friend said talking to Lara and I about the logo and our running/walking experiences has inspired her to start running again. She recently joined a local running program; and I wish her all the best with it!

Next weekend, Lara and I are going to volunteer at the first (hopefully annual) marathon in a neighboring city. We definitely appreciate the volunteers who cheer us on and staff the aid stations in the races we've done, so we want to give back. Plus, it is so inspiring to watch other people achieve their goals or dreams whether it's their first marathon or they achieve a PR. Of course, we have to get our own workout in first!

It is less than two months until our next half marathon, so I am sure we will have lots to share as we start completing our longer distances. Lara's group has done a few longer runs already but there are more to come!

Product of the Week: With the sun out and Spring arriving soon it is essential to have a good sunscreen. I have extremely sensitive skin and burn very easily, so I was very happy to find a new product last year that worked for me. It is the Neutrogena Ultimate Sport sunblock location with helioplex. It is both ultra sweatproof and waterproof. I use sport face (70+ SPF) on my face and neck and Ultimate Sport (also 70+ SPF) on my arms and legs. It keeps me well protected and doesn't irritate my skin. The bonus is it is under $10 and available anywhere that sells sunscreen including Target and Wal-Mart. I highly recommend it!

I hope everyone has a great week this week and if are on the West coast enjoy the sun! Happy running/walking!!


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week in review- Sunday, March 7th

Happy March! With the time change coming up, we will all have that extra hour to get our workouts in outside after work. Yay! Although I struggled with a migraine and virus this week, it was a week of small successes.

Yesterday's Sac Fit workout was great! We did six miles. Our usual coach wasn't there but my coach from last year lead our workout. We followed the SacFit variable pace method, which involved periods of faster and slower walking and/or running. Although I was afraid we were starting out too slow, our overall pace was on target and I felt better than ever after my workout. I could have kept going! I guess there is something to the science behind the SVP, so I look forward to training with it again next weekend. Thanks, Coach Erin!

We also received the results from our Cooper workout two weeks ago. Our Sac Fit leader, Ken, did a great job of explaining the science behind it! What I am taking out of it is that I can train on the longer workouts at a slower pace so my body adapts to the energy/fuel process but still perform at a great race pace during a half marathon. Another tip for me to try this season!

Another big event this week was the purchase of my new Garmin 405CX fitness watch and heartrate monitor. Lara purchases her 405 a year ago but I didn't really think I needed one. Boy, was I wrong! In order to take my training to the next level while safely monitoring my heartrate and pace, the Garmin is a must have. Although I've only used it twice, I think it is just what I need to progress in my training and get re-motivated! We will see!

Product of the week: This week's product of the week may not sound so exciting but is a necessity for us women walkers/runners, the headband! I cannot workout comfortably with my hair in my face and all headbands are not created equal. There are a few other brands I may want to try... I will let you know if those work out but for now I highly recommend the Goody no slip headbands for Spring and the North Face fleece headband for winter. The Goody headbands are comfortable, they don't slip, and are available in a variety of colors at your local Target or drugstore for about $5.00 for three. For winter, the North Face fleece headband is a must have! For those of us who don't like hats, the fleece headband keeps the hair out of your eyes but also keeps your head and ears warm. It is available for about $10-15 at your local REI or Sports Authority.

Thanks to all of you who are listening to our podcast and/or following or reading the blog. We appreciate your support and ideas! Over the next month, we will be volunteering at a few big, local races and look forward to sharing our experiences with you!


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Week in review- Sunday, February 28th

It is hard to believe tomorrow is March 1st and officially two months until the Parkway Half marathon... Now is time for the serious training to begin! Unfortunately, I had to ruin my perfect Sac Fit attendance record yesterday due to a bit of a virus but Lara braved the rain and ran her 8 miles. Yay!! She actually changed her pace group and found that it may be a better match for her. I think she should get extra credit for running her whole workout in the rain. Her tip for this week is next time she does a rain run she will put Glide on her feet so that her socks don't rub. I will have to keep that in mind myself!

This week was an exciting week on the blog and Pod cast side. We had our first official blog comments. Thanks, Jessica!!! We previously received comments from people on Facebook, which we appreciate, but it was also fun to see comments on the actual blog site. We look forward to any feedback! Lara also got our first official Tweet from somebody we didn't know regarding the Pod cast. It's fun to think people who don't know us are actually reading and/or listening!

This week also continued my search for the best Lara bar flavors. Once I finish trying all of the flavors I will let you know how it goes. Lara bars are my new favorite treat since most of them literally only contain dates, nuts, and unsweetened dried fruit. I actually first tried these as samples from the SF marathon expo (not because of the name) and now I am hooked! They are a great afternoon snack to get you through your after work workout! Lara actually ordered some new products including a gel and some energy breakfast cookies, so I look forward to hearing about those too! More to follow on this one especially as I try to eat clean and get these last pounds off. I am hoping to also better fuel my body for my workouts!

Product of the week: Sticking to the theme of sweet treats, one treat I recommend is the snack sized Pay Day. Although I wouldn't normally advocate candy bars, the Pay Day is a fan favorite of local runners. It provides the perfect combination of salt and sugar and seems to digest easily when you are literally on the run. It gives you that little boost of energy you need when you want something to eat instead of a gel. It also settles that grumble you sometimes get in your stomach after eating shot blocks or beans on a long walk/run. I do my best to ration them out and only bring them on long workouts!! So far, we have only been able to find the snack size bars (about 80 calories) each at Wal-Mart!

As Spring gets closer, I hope everyone has signed up for their goal race. Whether it is a 5K or Ultramarathon, the important thing is we are out there running our own races as well as sharing the information we learn and the experiences we have along the way!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week in review- Sunday, February 21st

I am back! I am sorry that I missed last week! This week is going to be the week of focus. As Dr. Oz says, "Exercise is non-negotiable!" I need to remind myself of these words when I find it tempting to miss a workout because I am tired after work. I know I will feel better mentally and physically during and after the workout!

This week was a nice diverse week of workouts. I made it to the gym one night for my regular workout. The next night I actually walked to dinner and back with an old friend I reconnected with recently. She and her boyfriend recently became runners so we had lots of great conversation. They are both so pumped and enthusiastic about signing up for their first half marathon that I couldn't help but be "re-motivated" by their excitement. Plus, you can't feel as guilty about eating half a giant calzone when you walk to the restaurant and back!

Yesterday, Lara and I went to our Sac Fit workout. Instead of the normal workout, it was the Cooper Workout week. Basically, the Cooper Workout involves a series or warmup and cool down exercises and a 12 minute walk/run with the goal being to get around the track as many times as possible in the 12 minutes. Apparently, there is then a formula to measure your VO2 potential. I wanted so badly to walk a 12 minute mile but I must confess I had to run part of the last lap to finish that fourth lap just as my 12 minutes were up. Lara and I then had a great walk to our local Fleet Feet and back (of course stopping for lunch) to complete our workout. Again, who can feel bad about shopping or eating when you've worked hard to get there!

I also attended a nutrition class at work this week that was a great reminder about the importance of eating live things especially those with lots of water content such as fruits and vegetables. Fresh is of course the best option followed by frozen. If we remember we are fueling ourselves for our workout and think about that when we put food into our mouths we can't go wrong!

Product of the week:
I realize this week's product of the week may not apply to all but for those that it does it is worth reading! One of the most important things a woman runner or walker needs is a good supportive sports bra. For those of you who haven't been able to find a comfortable, supportive one there is one out there for you! I will never wear another sports bra... It is THE perfect high impact sports bra. It is the Maia bra by Moving Comfort. You can purchase it online or at your local REI or Fleet Feet. It is comfortable and literally the first sports bra I have ever worn where I am 100% comfortable walking or running because, pardon the expression, everything is locked and loaded! It comes in several colors (including white and black) and I promise you won't be disappointed if full support is what you need!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Week in review- Sunday, February 7th

Hello again. I am back! Exercise should be a priority in your life but
sometimes life does take a priority over exercise! I made it back to the
gym Monday night for some desperately needed cardio. It wasn't the best
workout, but at least I was there.

We had a good workout last Saturday with Sac Fit. I was a little nervous that I wouldn't find people who wanted to walk as crazy fast as I am trying to but
there were some great people out there. My coach kept us going at a good
pace. It is still so hard for me to start slower and get that negative
split in. I am always afraid I am wasting valuable time! I really would
like to walk the Parkway Half marathon in under 3 hours, which means keeping up a
13:40 minute per mile pace. Wish me luck! I always seem to do better
when I have a goal to work towards.

Another nice thing is the days are staying lighter out slightly longer
which means soon we can get some outdoor workouts in after work and still
see the sun I definitely prefer walking outdoors over being on the
treadmill but both serve their purposes. It is much easier to get those
running shoes on and get moving when it isn't cold and rainy out! Now is a
good time to pick that spring race and start training for it!

Product of the week:
A few weeks ago I recommended a great pack. I am a firm believer you need
a good pack to tote your water in but there are times when you fly out the
door for a quick 30 minute walk or run and only want to grab your keys (and
Road ID of course) and go. A great accessory for those days is the Spibelt
The Spibelt is a very small pocket on a waist belt that expands to fit your cell phone, keys, and iPod. It is perfect for a quick run or walk outside when you need the bare essentials! The Spibelt is often sold at race expos for major marathons/half marathons. Otherwise, check out and for a few dollars extra you can even get the extra cords to hook your race bib/number to it.
Have a great week!


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week in review

It has been a crazy week with lots going on at work! I will be back tomorrow night with a belated week in review (after I go to the gym of course!)


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week in review- Sunday, January 17th

I can't believe it is already Sunday night and time to blog again. It has definitely been an odd week in terms of workouts. Monday night I went to the gym and it seemed like every bone and muscle that could possibly ache in my body did while I was on the treadmill. At first, I thought it was all in my head.. that mental game your body plays when it doesn't want to exercise but after completing 40 minutes on the treadmill and still being in pain I called it quits for the day. I was disappointed to not get my strength training in but sometimes you just have to listen to your body when the message "I can't do this today" persists.

I had a good workout on Thursday but I must confess I missed my third mid-week workout. I guess that happens sometimes! Saturday was our first official Sac Fit workout for the season. Although we were only on the trail for 36 minutes, it was great to be back training with a group again. I look forward to a longer, faster workout next week.

Stay tuned for a new Square Peg Running logo in the next few weeks or months. Lara and I met this weekend with one of my friends, a designer, who is going to help us come up with a great logo! We look forward to enhancing the look of the site and who knows what will come next... would t-shirts be going overboard?

A number of my friends and co-workers are training for the American River Parkway half marathon in May, so I wish everyone luck on your training. I definitely believe having a goal, whether a 5K race or a marathon, keeps you motivated and actually raises the fun level of your training. If you aren't registered for an upcoming race, try finding one in your area in the new few months that looks fun and grab a training buddy and sign up! Happy training!

Product of the week: It is inevitable that we won't always be out training with a friend, so it's especially important on those days we just grab our keys and run out our front door for a neighborhood run/walk that we have identification on us. This is where the Road ID comes in! It is available in various bracelet, anklet, and necklace styles in a number of colors. Road ID allows you to have your contact information and even a personal motto or medical information engraved right on it. I particularly like the pink bracelet style because it is not only functional but pretty fashionable. The Road ID is easily recognized by emergency personnel and can make a big difference in getting the proper medical attention. It is available on-line just search for the Road ID website.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week in review- Sunday, January 10th

I hope everyone is having a great year so far! Yesterday, it was back to Sac Fit running/walking club for the new training season! I am pleased that some of my co-workers and friends signed up this season. The more the merrier! Yesterday, the group met for our orientation and one mile pace run/walk. I was absolutely thrilled to walk a 12:22 mile. Now if I can only keep that up for 13.1 miles! I am setting my goal this year to hopefully walk the Parkway half marathon in under 3 hours. I am hoping with the right training and mind-set it is an achievable goal as it means cutting 11 minutes off of last year's time. We will see!

Yesterday's orientation program was great! We listened to a variety of speakers including an ultramarathon winner talk about goal setting, a PT talk about avoiding injuries and strength exercises, and a local author who completed a 153 mile race across the Sahara. Talk about inspiration and a wealth of information! It was extremely motivating and surely provided everyone in the room with a great kick start for the new year. I look forward to next week's training!

Now that my cold is better I am back to the gym tomorrow to start the weekly Sac Fit training schedule, which involves three shorter training sessions during the week and the one longer Saturday session. I want to say kudos to my co-worker and her husband (you know who you are) who are training on their own for the Parkway half. I am so proud of them and wish them and all of you the best of luck with your training. Although it is difficult sometimes to get these mid week training sessions in, our Sac Fit director reminded us yesterday what critical building blocks they are for the longer Saturday training sessions. We just do the best we can but having a set plan and a goal to achieve seem to make those training sessions much more "doable."

Product of the Week: One of the most important things is to stay hydrated when running and walking. Therefore, you need a good waist pack or fuel belt to carry your liquids. I actually seem to have a pack for everything. You name it I have tried it! From a single shot pack to a hand carry bottle (which strangely enough many ultramarathoners seem to use) I have tried them all! I finally found the perfect pack, which is versatile enough for any distance walk/run. It is lightweight and ergonomically fits your back so it is very comfortable and doesn't bounce. It comes with two 16 0z bottles so you have one for H20 and one for electrolytes and the nice thing is you can actually buy little accessory pouches as add ons in case you want to carry something extra like a cell phone or lip balm that you need easily accessible. It is easy to get the bottles in and out of the pack while still running/walking and the single pocket is large enough to fit your necessities but still keeps the pack small and light. This amazing pack is the Amphipod Profile Lite 32 which retails for about $48.50. It is available at some Fleet Feet and REI stores but you can check to find a location near you. It is literally one of the only packs I use now. It is a little pricey but worth every penny!

Have a great week! Remember to run your own race!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Week in review- Sunday, January 3rd

Happy 2010! I can't believe it is already the new year. Welcome to the first Square Peg Running "week in review" post. My goal for this year is to provide a weekly Sunday update on my/our weekly running and walking adventures as well as review a "product of the week." As a running/walking "product enthusiast" I am happy to share what I've learned as I continue on my quest for the perfect products to make my workouts easier (and sometimes more stylish)!

Unfortunately, this year did not start with a bang for me in the walking department. The walking gods always seem to know when I have a few days off, and of course I came down with a cold. Although that meant the Auburn New Year's Day resolution run was a "no go" for me it gave me plenty of time to think about my goals for the year. I've always heard it takes 3-4 weeks to create a habit, so I won't let a few little "sick days" get me down.

Fortunately, I got a few days in at the gym with my mom before I got sick as I start my quest to re-incorporate strength training into my regime. I definitely need to strengthen my core which should help with some of the lower back pain I experience occasionally when walking longer distances. I can't lie that I hope the addition of strength training to my routine kicks my metabolism into gear as I look to lose the last 35lbs this year. When I discovered my mom uses about twice the weight I do on machines I knew I needed to get to work. I will let you know how it goes!

Next week, we are back to work with Sac Fit (a local running/walking club) to train for the American River Parkway half marathon this spring. Joining a walking/running club (with or without a buddy) really keeps you motivated. Also, we've learned a tremendous amount of helpful exercise and nutrition trips from training with a group, which we can share as we go. I highly recommend joining a group if you can! I will report in next Sunday on our first session of the season.

I know those of you who know me have have all been anxiously waiting for the following:

Product of the week:
A product that is key to any pleasant and productive workout is "the sock." The wrong sock can lead to painful blisters, slippage, and pesky seams. After trying many different brands with little luck, I found the perfect sock! It keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and despite the fact it is made from wool it is not the least bit itchy! With this sock, I never get blisters and never have to interrupt my run/walk with sock issues. It is the Smart Wool Phd blister free women's ultralight running sock. Don't worry it comes in a men's/unisex style and has larger women's sizes for those of us who need it. They are available at REI for around $11.99-$13.99 depending on the style. I prefer the shorter style in summer (looks better with capris) and the crew style in winter because it keeps my feet warmer and keeps the rocks out of your shoes. I know several other people who won't wear anything but this sock either. Try it out! You won't be disappointed!

Well, that is it for this week in review. I know Lara had a great run this week that hopefully she gets a chance to share. Please feel free to submit a comment for any of our blog entries. You don't need any special kind of account. Perhaps you have a comment on something you would like to see done differently or you have information to share. We are happy to hear from you!

Have a great week!