Sunday, January 31, 2010


Today I found out my HRM/GPS is a LIAR.  I changed up some settings so I could see the speed easier to find out why my speed doesn't seem to be improving.  ((Yes, I know I've said I don't care about speed, but apparently I was wrong, I do!))  Anyway, during a walking interval I was booking the very least 4mph..and all of the sudden it registered 2.8 for several seconds.  I had been noticing the elevation seemed to be way off-saying I had a variance of about 100 ft, when there's no way there's more than maybe 20 where I usually go.  My guess is the satellite reception is hindered from the mountains we have around here-I live in a valley. 

I went out father than I intended so my over all time and distance was increased.  According to my liying GPS I went 41 minutes and 3 miles at an average speed of 4.4.  But, if it was lying about the speed (and I know it was), then how can I trust it on the distance??  ...The thing I'm going to hold onto is that I went out and did my run and I can tell by the way my body feels that I'm getting better.  I ran several 60 second intervals, and cut my recovery intervals down some more.  I ran a total of 10.25 minutes (6 of those in 1 minute intervals, three thirty second, and the rest 45 second)...and walked a total of 7.25 minutes (other than warm up and cool down).

I think I'm going to go to halhigdon's 30/30 plan.  I'm actually missing running on the days I don't go.  I wanted to start out very slow, but I don't think 30 minutes (well, 15 of actual running---and that's interval running) would be bad.  If my body throws too much of a fit, then I'll go back to every other day.  Somehow I don't think it will!!

Thanks for stopping by, come again soon!

Friday, January 29, 2010


I've been reading another runner's training blog.  His profile name is "reachdown".  Interesting, because about a year and a half ago he started training for the Rocket City Marathon.  He says that he used to hate to run, but recently completed the Mountain Mist 50K.  Yes, 50K, that's 31 miles--on mountain trails, in January.  Obviously he doesn't hate running anymore!  That is something I can completely understand (the not hating running anymore, NOT the running a 50K race on mountain trails in January!).

I'm sure I'll say it too much, but I'm loving running.  I keep saying it because it still surprises me.  However, there are times I wonder if I'll really be able to do it....get up and run tomorrow, train all year, finish a 26+ mile race with a six hour time limit (that's an average of 4 miles per hour).

I read something on reachdown's blog the other day (pertaining to this state of questioning) that I really loved ... 
You don't decide daily to workout. The decision must already be made before the alarm chimes at dark:30 AM. You make the decision once and then just behave according to the decision you've made.
Last night, as I was getting ready for today's run, I was thinking I felt a little sore and the questioning internal dialogue started up again...and I remembered that quote.  So, this morning I didn't give it a second thought, I got up at dark:30 and went out even though said it was 35 ("feels like 27")...and had the best RULK ( word for more run than walk--not including my warm up and cool down).  I ran 8.5 and walked 6.5 of that middle 15 minutes.  YEA ME!!!

Let me just tell you, it felt GREAT!!  My recovery times are getting shorter and shorter, and I'm able to run longer and, I'm saying all that knowing it won't sound like much to "real" runners...but I'm committed to staying on my turtle pace program so I can "go the distance".

My average speed stayed the same (4.4), which I don't quite understand...if I'm running more with shorter recovery times, shouldn't my average speed increase (thereby increasing my distance)?  I'm going to have to do some hard data analysis to figure out what's going on there...but, for now, I'm just THRILLED to have made the progress that I have.

I'm behaving in accordance to the decision I've already made with my running...just like I've done in my marriage.  THAT story is a topic for my 100 Words blog, for another day.

Thanks for stopping by, come back soon!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I had a great "walun" (more walk than run) today!!  I averaged 4.4mph, which is good considering I only have 15 minutes of interval running.   My fastest pace was 7.8mph!!!  I had six 30-second recoveries and six 45-second recoveries....eleven 30-second runs and two 45-second runs.  It might not seem like great results for some, but it's FANTASTIC for me and I'm completely STOKED!!

I learned something today.  Even when says it's 45 degrees outside...45, pre-dawn, feels completely different than 45 on a sunny day when the wind isn't blowing.  Since it was 25 when I woke up, I decided to clean my house before going out, to let it warm up a 45.  But, let me tell you, it got down right WARM wearing the "recommended" 45-degree running clothes (running tights, tech long sleeved top, gloves and ear warmer).

Also, I'm adding a moisture wicking ear warmer to my wish list.  From what I understand, they keep your ears warm (and eardrums protected), but don't get wet with perspiration.

My neighbor told me about a tool they have at a local sports store.  They have a tredmill with a camera that records your stride/gait so you can get the right kind of running shoes!!  I'm going to find out tomorrow if my favorite running store has the same thing....because I'd rather spend my running money there.

Have I mentioned that I joined a running group?  It kicks off February 23rd.  It's a 10 week, 10K training program.  The only two things I'm not looking forward to are 1) the runs are Tuesday NIGHTS (I usually run in the mornings), and 2) I'm nervous about having to keep up with a group.   I'm already having visions of being the last of the pack in Basic and OCS.  (More on this later...)

Thanks for stopping by...please come again!


Monday, January 25, 2010


I bought some "gear" Saturday!!

I went to a local running store, and, MAN, I was the proverbial "kid in the candy store"!!!  I think I could have spent one of my husband's paychecks in there and still not taken home all of what I wanted!!  I managed to restrain myself and bought only the three things I went in there for--a long sleeved tech top (bonus-I got a hoodie), "tights" (which really aren't tights at all, they're tech leggings), and tech GLOVES.

***Warning:  I'm about to step onto my soap box!!***

(I'll let you know when I'm stepping down.)

Having the right gear REALLY does make a difference.

I think if someone is just going to "pretend" to do something (fill in the blank with anything at all, because any hobby/sport/activity/job/etc will work here), then it doesn't matter what gear they use.  BUT, for the person who is SERIOUS about that thing, having the right equipment can make a huge difference.

For example, I "pretend" to play golf (well, I used to, I haven't even gone that far in well over a year) it doesn't matter that I have cheap, generic brand clubs.  It also doesn't matter that I play with used golf balls.  (I make a habit of fishing them out of the water hazards I "donate" to when I play.  I give 2 and try to take 4!!)  Having better clubs, or using high quality, "engineered" golf balls would NOT help my game in the slightest, and would also have no impact on the enjoyment factor.  My husband, on the other hand,  loves golf, and plays well.  So using better equipment makes a difference in his game, and therefore his overall enjoyment of it.

I'm serious about running.  In fact, I'm quickly becoming obsessed.  I've committed to the sport, at the very least until Rocket City is over in December.  But, I have a feeling after I have gone that far (no pun intended), it will be a life change for me.  My best guess is that I'll stick with it even after that.  I have no intention of trying to make a certain time on any race I enter.  Since I've never "RUN" a whole race, I don't have a "personal best" to beat.  However, I do intend on training 3-6 days a week for the full year.  Therefore, I believe having the right equipment is essential for me.

I started out with a great HRM/GPS (Garmin Forerunner 405-thanks to my darling husband who is a techy!), and good shoes. (Oh, BTW, they are Adidas Bounce, not Reabok like I think I said in an earlier post.)  I've added to that short list, good socks (with moisture wicking and arch support), good bras (with moisture wicking and, and the "candy" I bought this weekend (see above).

My favorite purchase was the gloves.  They are AMAZING....and I think they are the best example of what I'm talking about.  On my last (cold-day) runs, I wore my winter gloves.  My hands would have frozen without them, but they were dripping wet (and the gloves were wringing wet) with them.  Today, I used the tech gloves.  My hands stayed warm, but the air was still able to circulate...and when I took the gloves off--my hands were DRY!!!   :D

***Okay.....stepping off the soap box now!!***

 So, anyway, today was a GREAT training day.  I got in 2.3 miles.  I started my intervals at 10 minutes (instead of 15), and I tried to shorten my recovery phases down to a consistent 45 seconds (with a couple of 60 and a couple of 30 thrown in).

I love the feeling there's more run in me when I get home!  It's hard for me to NOT keep going, but everything I've read says to train SLOW and STEADY, so I'm sticking with the plan.

...One more thing before I "publish".  It's really an encouragement to be "seen" by other people.  I'm not talking about all the people who drive past when I'm out there (although that's encouraging, too).  I'm talking about anyone who might be reading this!!  (((LOOK-I have an actual FOLLOWER, and it's not my mother!!)))  I thought when I started, this my words would just be going out into a cyber-space black hole, never to return (or return void), but that is proving not to be the case.

So, to everyone reading this, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!!  Any comments on ways to improve the blog--or training tips--are welcomed and appreciated.


By the way, Mother, all you have to do to "follow" me is click on the "Follow" button!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why a Marathon??


That's the question I get almost every time I tell a non-runner I'm going to run a marathon.

The short answer to that question is, "well, because I want's something I've always wanted to do."  But, as with everything else pertaining to me, it's more complicated than that.

There are a lot of "reasons" that have nothing to do with crossing off the next item on my "bucket-list".  The main one is what running a 26 mile race will symbolize for me-going the distance.  See, the thing is, I'm kind of lazy--in certain areas anyway (areas like exercise).  I'd really rather not put forth 100% of my best effort for an extended period of time.  And, I have been somewhat of a "when-the-going-gets-tough-I-quit" kind of person.  (At least I was until my second husband left me...but, that's another blog!  In fact, I think that will be my next topic on "Using 100 Words...", but I digress!)

I have quit on just about every long term goal I've ever set for myself.  Well, let me back up on that statement...I've quit on just about every long term goal I've had.  There's a subtle difference there.  Many of my long term goals have been made because "it" was what was expected of me, or what would have made someone else happy with me.    For instance, when I was in the sixth grade, my dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I told him, "a teacher."  He laughed and said that teachers didn't make enough money; I needed to be a doctor or lawyer.  I told him that since I didn't like the sight of blood, I would be a lawyer.  That made him very happy.

Now, let me say, I love the field of law.  (No, I didn't go to law school...)  I believe I would have done well in law school, and would have made a fine attorney.  But it wasn't my true love.  I continued to want to be a teacher....and still might decide to return to that some day.  My point is, I set the goal, but not for myself.  I think that's why so many long term goals I've set have not been actualized-they weren't really for me.  The marathon goal is what I WANT to do-for me.  Will it make my family proud?  I sure hope so,  but that's not why I'm doing it.

Another reason "going the distance" is important to me is because I've been known to be more of an "on-a-whim" kind of person.  I decide quickly on things, and then usually quickly change my mind.   (This is part of the reason my first marriage didn't work out-we only knew each other three months when we tied the knot.)  The idea of something is usually much more appealing than the act of putting in the work to bring the idea to reality.  Not only that, I DO NOT like any kind of pain.  The way I see it, pain is an indicator to STOP doing whatever it is that is causing it in the first place.  I'm pretty sure there will most likely be some soreness involved before this year is over.  This is why I'm taking the snail's-pace approach and why I'm (hopefully) training slow enough to avoid injuries!!

For me, setting this goal is about pushing beyond some self-limiting behaviors I have, in the past, claimed as my own.  Behaviors I have decided no longer fit me.  It's about redefining who I am, without regard to what anyone else thinks or says is true about me.  I know, you're probably thinking--all that psycho-babble wrapped up in a decision to run a marathon??  Well, in a word, yes!!

A marathon is a goal that has to be prepared for, trained for, pushed for, and, it's a goal that will have to be held on to when I don't feel like going out for a "long run" when it's raining, cold, hot, or I just want to sleep in.  That's why it's called an endurance race.  The way I have it figured, it will take me a good year to train properly for it, with several milestones on the way (5K, 10K, 10 mile and half-marathon).  Setting a goal that will not be achieved for a whole year really involves a change in lifestyle.

In my mind, running this marathon will be an outward symbol of the me I've come to know on the inside--someone who CAN "go the distance".

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I'm really getting excited about running!!

Let me give you just a little background.  My first exposure to any kind of sport was in the fifth grade when a friend invited me to play basketball with her-on a team.  I didn't have a CLUE about basketball, and it completely showed.  I had to be taught how to bounce the ball.   I only remember being on the court during a game one time.  I remember being passed the ball, and FREEZING!!  I actually forgot to go to the last game of the season.  I'll never forget it....that night my parents took me out for pizza and I remember seeing all these teams there eating and it hit me like a ton of bricks--I had just completely forgotten about the game that day!!!  Well, it's safe to say my team didn't miss me at all!

Other than school-forced PE, I didn't have any physical activity until I joined the Army National Guard and went to basic training-Ft. McClellan, Alabama.  I got pretty good at push ups and sit ups, but that run always hurt me.  I just never felt like I could do it.  I'm still not exactly sure why.  I think I just really didn't like to breathe heavy!!  Four and a half years in the military and I never did well.  Truth be told, I honestly only passed one or two of my PT tests-and that was just barely under my time limit.  Not passing the PT test is what kept me from finishing Officer Candidate School.  That turned out to be a very good thing, but my point is that I never got into running and I was never any good at it.

Fast forward 6 years, I was going through a really hard time in my first marriage.  I started running--both literally and figuratively. I "ran" my first 5K (Race For the Cure, Little Rock, Arkansas), pushing a double stroller, in September, 1996.  (Yes, I'm aware that pushing a stroller is completely against race etiquette...but I wasn't aware of that then!)  I really didn't run the whole thing--I probably ran about a fourth of it (if that).   I really LOVED it.  Part of it was that there were tens of thousands of women runners (at the time, and I think to this day, that race is STRICTLY for women).  The energy was contagious.

My separation and eventual divorce threw me off track.

A couple of years later when I remarried, I started circuit training, with an attempt at running thrown in here and there for good measure...but I never thought I really had the time.  Circuit training was just 30 minutes every other day.  I felt like I was getting much more out of doing that than I would have trying to run that same amount of time.

During that whole marriage (which lasted 8 years...exactly 8 years longer than it should have, but that's a different blog), I walked and "ran" off and on-mostly off, and never really RUNNING.  When he left, I started going out twice a day, everyday, 2-4 miles (each time).  I mostly walked, but I did throw in some running here and there when a good beat came on my iPod.  I lost a ridiculous amount of weight, but I felt better than I think I ever had.  But, I wasn't "running" because I liked "running"...I was running from the pain.  Well, not FROM it, but because of it.  That was my time to think...well, actually, to let go of all the thoughts in my head.

Since that time I have been "walunning" (my word for walking more than running), and occasionally "rulking" (running more than walking) off and on.

I'm going to write about why I decided to run a marathon another day.  But I will say this....this is probably the first time in my life that I'm "running" (training to run) for the sake of running.  I'm excited about it.  I look forward to it.  I like the way it makes me feel.

I joined a runners' forum (a sub-group of NEWO-No Excuse Work Out), and I'm planning on joining Huntsville Track Club.  I'm also going to start training with a club in March.  I will have finished Hal Higdon's 30/60 by then.  The new "program" is geared for running a 5K in May.  That SHOULD keep me on track for the Rocket City Marathon in December!!!

Okay, so today's "run" was VERY cold.  It wasn't just the temperature-the WIND was crazy, cut-through-you-like-a-knife cold.  But, it was good.  My speed isn't great, but I can feel my recovery time getting shorter and shorter (which I think is a very good thing).

I'm going today to buy some gear-tights and gloves!!


Thursday, January 21, 2010


I had two days off, since I did two days back-to-back.  I don't like that at all!  I would almost prefer to just go to every day work outs.  I'm going to have to go back to read why it was that I did that in the first place.....Oh, yeah, I remember now, I didn't want to run on Tuesday since I have Bible study and didn't want to have to be rushed to get everything done in time to take Ashley to school.

I have discovered I really do run better in the cold!  Amazing, I never would have imagined that at all, but the warmer days have been the hardest.  I'm also amazed at how great I feel just after my walun (walk/run--more walking than running).  I have to remind myself to continue to take it slow.  I'm sure there are runners out there that would say that's not the best strategy, but I am certain that it's going to work best for me.

One thing I want to do--vary my route more.  So far, mostly, I've just stayed in my own little neighborhood.  I'm going to venture out, and maybe even drive somewhere to have different scenery.


Monday, January 18, 2010


Today was a little harder.  I think it was because I waited just a little bit before I went out...and because I didn't take the day off as it should have been.  I wanted to do my tomorrow's work out today since I have Bible study tomorrow.

I've joined a site called Training Peaks (maybe I've already mentioned it??).  My profile is here.

I decided to make this public because the truth is that ...I am what I am.  If I can help someone else have the courage to be themselves and not feel like they have to pretend to be something different, then I will boldly show myself to others!!, I'm not planning to join some naturalist camp and go around in the nude.  Also, having it public (even if no one other than  me ever looks at it), gives me a measure of accountability.  It might be silly, but that's okay too!!

Oh, BTW, as of yesterday I have lost 3 pounds!  YEA me!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day Four-Things I Learned Today

One-When it's raining, wear a visor!It's not actually raining today but it's the kind of mist that makes your windshield wipers make that terrible scraping noise, but not using them is really not an option. I really do not like water in my eyes so I think a visor would provide just enough protection. I can say that I understand now why my husband likes running in the light rain-it was nice.

Two-Charge my HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) every four days. Alternatively, don't use the lap feature when it says "battery low". (See the Technical Gobity-Goop side note below if this doesn't make sense to you and you care to understand what I'm talking about.)
I wondered this morning when I got up if I might need to charge my HRM, but decided that I wasn't going to allow anything to stop my work out. When I put it on and it said "Battery Low"....I decided that surely there was plenty of juice for a 30 minute workout. There most likely would have been if I hadn't timed my "laps", because it went dead with about 8 minutes to go.

Three-The right clothing is "essential" to a good run.
I have what I think are really good running shoes (Reebok Adidas Bounce), and great summer running clothing (running shorts, tech tank, and wicking running socks with great arch support), but I "need" better winter gear. Ideally I'd like some wind-proof pants and a wind-proof jacket, and some Under Armour...and some kind of runner's gloves. The backs of my hands get so cold, but when I wear my winter gloves they get way too hot.

and Four-I really do love to run. Doing it wrong isn't fun. Being sore isn't fun. Getting ready to go out there and do it isn't fun. Getting started isn't fun. But, when I'm done I feel so great. I am really looking forward to the day when I can run for a few miles. Part of the reason I am so committed to progressing slowly is that I want this to be a life change not just a flight of fancy hobby to be dropped after I make my Rocket City goal in December. My body feel so much better when I'm in the habit of running. (There's so much more to say about this, but I'll save that for my other blog.)

I haven't ever been a serious runner. Even when I was in the military, I never really got into it. There have been times in my life when I've started up again, only to later allow life's circumstances to derail me. What I think I need to do is to keep the post-running feeling firmly in mind and work to make the drudgery of it all not quite so laborious.  

Side Note: Technical Gobity-Goop---I have a Garmin 405 HRM (heart rate monitor). It is a device that goes around my chest and connects via blue tooth to a wrist watch looking thing. It keeps track of my heart rate, my pace, my route (by GPS), elevation, calories expended, ...really everything you can think of about the run. It also has a feature that will time laps. I use it to compare my running intervals.  I start the timer when I leave...walk 15 the lap button and jog for 30 seconds and press the lap button again. I "lap" every time I run. This will give me some data about what my heart is doing, how fast I'm going and how fast I'm recovering. Hopefully all this information will help me plan and run better in the future!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Workout Day Three

I started actually running today! Like I said before, I'm following a training guide for old folks who aren't in shape!! Thirty minutes every other day...walking 15, interval running for 10 then walking the last five. The interval running right now is 30 seconds jogging, then walking to recover, then 30 more seconds jogging. The goal is to get to where I can run comfortably for that middle 10 minutes...then I'll graduate to the next training level. I did pretty good today...the longest recovery period I had was a minute.

Did I mention it was 24F outside today?? I think I do better in the cold!!

Rocket City Marathon, here I come!!


Monday, January 11, 2010


It was TWELVE DEGREES outside, and surprisingly felt GREAT to get out and walk this morning. I'm following a training plan so even though I wanted to keep going, I am keeping my long term goal in mind and following the plan. 30 minutes walking at a comfortable pace--which is considerably faster in the cold than it is in the heat! I thought my lungs would hurt, but since I was just walking it was fine. I got a great picture that I'll upload a little later****.

((Can see the ice on the pond?))

The neighbor at the end of the street was drying clothes-made the whole street smell so good!

Check out my training here.

Encouragement welcome!!!

***Added 4/26/10 (better late than never...?)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

On your mark....

I've charged up my heart rate monitor and my blue tooth ear phones and iPod, got my "running" clothes ready, and have gotten pretty much set up on a training site with a work out schedule. I'm "on my mark" so to speak, and about to get ready to go--Monday. I plan to start out very slow and work my way up. Everything I've read has said that, especially at my age, it's best not to try to do too much too fast. In the past, when I've "decided" to "get in shape" (what ever that might be at the time-running, working out, eating healthier), I have started like gangbusters and flopped. This time, I'm in for the long haul so I'm going to take it at a turtles' pace.