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!