Tuesday, August 31, 2010

20 minute dash in the rain

The sound of rain tapping on the window (and a baby crying) woke me up this morning. JOY! It's been so dry, I figured my entire yard was rejoicing. I love running in the rain (except when it's EVERY run in the rain) so I packed my running clothes to take to work with me today and drove in (no bike).

I never have time to run during or after the work day but today I made an exception for the rain. I was out the door AT 5 pm and gave myself 20 minutes to run out & back along Seattle's waterfront so that I could get home in time to relieve the nanny. I figured 20 minutes is better than nothing, right?

Yeah, it's blurry - but look at the delightful puddles!!

My body was really jerky - discombobulated - during the run since it was my first time in over a week. The gears needed a long slow warmup but I didn't have time. My goal was 2 miles and I made it 2.13 miles in 18 minutes. Not bad. 

Tomorrow I have a track workout on the books. I hope it's NOT raining for that so I can avoid slippery turns. Can't wait! 

In the meantime, finally downloaded a few more photos from my phone that I took in VT during the MCM Mama Goes Masters Virtual 4.0 Mile race that took place the day after a big wind storm. Look closely...that's a TREE going through that roof.

And, the post-race festivities included some local beverages (of all the VT beers we had, I liked the Wolaver's the best) and...


dairy treats made in a 100+ year old cheese shop. 

Spoils of Vermont! 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home sweet home

Just made it home this afternoon after 10 long days on the road. Vermont was gorgeous and Michigan was quite relaxing. Baby F just loved his farm experience. It was sad to tear him away from all the cousins, animals, swimming pond, tractor, golf cart, and fresh raspberries/tomatoes/beans/peppers/other garden delights, even if he did have to work for his supper...


I was hoping it would take me at least an hour to fill in my running log tonight with all the runs I completed while on vacation and I'm sad to say that in all those 10 days, the only run I got in was the MCM Mama Virtual 4.0 Mile Run.


The last two weeks were a total wash. Between being sick (still fighting congestion) and all the traveling and family business and staying up too late, I just didn't get any other runs in. I guess I am well-rested now?

So this week it's time to get back on track. Mr. F stayed behind in MI to do some work but should be home mid-week (yes, I just flew home with a toddler by myself!) so I may have to rely on the Jillian Michaels videos until he returns. That's ok though, I just gotta get movin'!

This coming weekend we're taking off again for a trip to the ocean so I'm really looking forward to getting some runs in the nice salty air. Ahhh!

Now to get caught up on laundry and reading everyone's blogs...

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'll take that with a cherry on top!

Last Friday while I was flying from Seattle to Hartford (via Dallas), with a sick, crabby toddler, Adam at "I Am Boring" tagged me with the Cherry On Top Award. Very nice!

Apparently, Adam feels my pain when it comes to Babies R Us. Honestly, I thnk that place is hell. The first time I went there, I left in tears because it was so overwhelming (and I may have been a bit hormonal). The next time, I took along support (a.k.a. mom) but still had a panic attack. The few other times I've HAD to go there, I've broken out into a cold sweat and got in/out as fast as possible. I much prefer to do any baby-related shopping online (diapers.com has free overnight delivery; etsy.com; amazon.com).

The deal with this award is you gotta do these three things:
  1. Answer this question: If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?
  2. Pick 6 people and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have gotten this award.
  3. The third and final thing is, thank the person who gave you the award.

Mis respuestas:

1. If I could change one significant thing that would affect me today, it would be that I wish I would have spent more time studying Spanish in Mexico. In college, I went south of the border for one quarter to work on my Spanish and it was great but I should have stayed for at least 6 months to become more fluent. I speak well and have used my language skills for work but I would be so much better off if I'd stayed down there. At the time, I was concerned about getting too far behind in my science track courses for my major. Bah!

2. I would like to pass this award on to...

P @ Adventures of an Average Athlete - Because she gets up super early to get her workouts in and still has a fantastic sense of humor.

Mel @ Tall Mom On the Run - Because she's been having a rough time lately and could use some sweets.

Anne @ Asthma and the Gift of Running - Because of her perseverance.

Tonia @ Racing with Babes - Because she is a great role model as a mom, athlete, and small business owner.

Emily @ Sweat Once a Day - Because I think this woman is made of STEEL.

Average @ Diary of an Average Runner - Because she's brave enough to start all over in a new town.

Thank you, Adam, for validating my BRUs anxiety and good luck with the rest of your baby-gear shopping!

Monday, August 23, 2010

MCM Mama Goes Masters Race Re-Cap

Well, given that Baby F was sick when we left Seattle and the Mr. and I were sick by the time we landed seven hours later in Hartford, CT, it is no surprise that my training didn't go as expected last week. So last week turned out to be my recovery week (instead of this week) and this week I'll have to do my best getting my workouts in while visiting my in-laws in Michigan. Tricky due to their location but I'll see how it goes...

But HEY! I actually got a run in today (between sniffles and falling branches) and not just any run, but I did the
4.0 miles in honor of MCM Mama's 40th birthday. Check out the course in beautiful Manchester, Vermont:

First let me say that everything we've seen in Southern Vermont so far is just cute, cute, cute, cute, and just "wicked" cute. It's so damn quaint here it doesn't really seem real. This little village is quite the gem and we really enjoyed the wedding festivities over the weekend. Our lodge is a bit outside of town so I ended up driving in to do my run. I began/ended my route at the Fly Fisherman's Museum, located near the flagship Orvis store & rod factory. Very cool!

I meant to wear my racing bib, but it was sprinkling out and the colors were running so a quick photo of the bib then it was off and I took off down the sidewalk...

Only it wasn't a sidewalk like I'm used to...no, no, no, not in wicked cute Manchester. Their sidewalks are marble and their curbs are cut out of granite. Yes, granite. If only my kitchen counters were so nice!

We had a crazy wind storm last night that took the power out from about 8:30 pm until 5:30 am and so my route was littered with downed branches and some unfortunate folks had downed trees.

 And a trip through a very old cemetary with stones dating back to the early 1800's.

I made it back to the Orivs lot in 36:04. I had hoped this could be my 8:30 pace tempo run I didn't get in last week but overall, a good pace considering my cold, the gusty winds that were blowing against me regardless of the direction I ran, and that I had to slow down to gawk at the sights now and then.

So there you go, MCM Mama! Happy 40th Birthday from a Seattle-ite who raced for you in Vermont! Tonight I celebrated with a few different local microbrews, some locally made cheese and bread, and some moose summer sausage. Mmmm!

Tomorrow we leave Vermont and head to sunny Michigan to see family. Maybe I can talk someone into doing a fun run with me?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This train has left the track...

Not the station, the track.

This is the last day of my "two-a-day" week challenge and I've seen progress. 2 lbs down! But I don't think I'll be finishing it with a bang.

This morning, I had my alarm set for 5:45 am so I could go run a 4-mile tempo and be back in time for Baby F to wake up and start the day. Well, we had a serious derailment last night.

Baby F went down for bedtime at his usual 7 pm (yes, we have a Dr. Weissbluth baby) but slept for about 30 minutes then started screaming his head off. We were checking on him and he seemed fine but he just wouldn't fall asleep. Here is how our night went:

  • 9:30 pm - Let Baby F stay up for a while so we can observe him
  • 10:30 - Put to bed again
  • 11:30 - Baby F screaming
  • Midnight - I go to bed, bring Baby F with me. Toss, turn, toss, turn. Broken sleep then full-blown screaming and runny, congested nose by 3 am. Definitely a cold. 
  • 3:00 am - Take Baby F downstairs so Mr. F could sleep
  • 4:30 - Awake again, go put Baby F in crib - he sleeps!
  • 5:45 - Alarm goes off, I turn it off immediately
  • 7:00 - Baby F wakes up at regular time, all of us very tired

All day was run-around time to get ready for our big trip to Vermont and then Michigan. Errands all over town. But at least I didn't have to work today and have a functional brain, no?

Needless to say, my 4-mile tempo run did NOT happen.

I had practically no sleep, I was busy all day (did I mention that some cousins from Michigan paid us two surprise visits today? Great fun but now I'm really crunched for time.), it's 9 pm and I'm exhausted and I still have one more load of laundry to do and then finish packing. Town car comes at 4:20 am to take us to the airport.

Yes, 4:20 am. EARLY.

I'm so bummed I didn't get my run in today but the whole day was up-ended. Derailed. Maybe Friday? IF we all survive the 7.5 hour flight from Seattle to Hartford, CT via Dallas? Then a 2.5 hour car ride to Vermont. We'll see what Vermont brings...

uh-oh...Sounds like Baby F is waking up. Congested nose. Poor thing...looks like packing will have to wait a bit longer but hopefully my run won't have to wait longer than Friday.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Mama Goes Masters" virtual race

MCM Mama is turning 40 on August 25th and in honor of moving into a new age group, she's organizing a virtual race! You can read the details HERE.

In summary:

When:  August 25th (or whatever date between August 20-25 that works for you.)

Distance:  You have three options:

  • 4.0 miles in honor of turning 40
  • 8.25 miles in honor of the actual day
  • 40K if you dare.  (If you are crazy enough *coughToniacough*, do it whenever in August it works for your training, just let me know when you plan to do it.)
Cost:  Free 

On MCM Mama's actual birthday, I will be in Michigan visiting in-laws. I was planning on running while I'm there but it will be a little more challenging picking which days I get to run and how far (in advance) so instead of doing 4.0 miles ON her birthday, I'm going to shoot for a 4-miler sometime between 8/20 and 8/23 when we'll be in Vermont for a wedding. 

If I can make the race happen in Vermont, I will get to put a big check-mark on my map of the U.S. as having run a race in VT! (I ran several races while living in MI back in 1997-98 so that state is covered already.) You can see from my [lack of] progress HERE, that I can use another state under my belt!

Friday, August 13, 2010

So far so good...

SOWL frustration (i.e., pity party) lasted one day.

Today was a new day with my new challenge of doing two-a-day workouts until we leave for Vermont next week.

First up:
3.4 mile brisk walk at Alki - gorgeous morning on the water with the Olympic Mts, Puget Sound, & Seattle skyline views

Second up:
3.1 mile tempo run at 8:25 min/mile pace with 2 miles warm-up / cool-down.

Later, I did another couple mile walk with my mom. It was fairly leisurely but felt good to stretch out. I'm already feeling the tempo run because I did the first 2.5 miles at 8:27 pace then for the last 0.6 miles, stepped down to 8:05 then 7:52 then 7:47. Aiiiii! My calves are getting tight. Need to pull out the stretching band, foam roller, and roller massager. Ahhhh!

Tomorrow we have an early-ish wedding to attend so I'm going to try to do a good walk with the baby early in the morning (2-3 miles or 30-45 minutes) then will be working a swim into the schedule around noon. Sunday is long run day.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

SOWL Frustration

We're about half-way through the SOWL Challenge and I have made NO progress. I definitely feel more fit but I haven't lost any weight. I was two pounds down and now I'm back up to my starting point again. It's SO frustrating because with the exception of the one week after the Swedish SummeRun 5k, my workouts have been going really well this whole summer.

Then today after biking into work, I put on my dress that used to be my "big girl" dress and it was TIGHT through the rib cage. Then I weighed myself and confirmed what my clothes were indicating. ($*#$&@!! I'm not as concerned about the actual number on the scale as much as I want all most my pre-pregnancy clothes to fit me again.

In the last week or so I have definitely been trying to ratchet the workouts up a couple notches but it's clearly not enough or it hasn't been long enough. AND, I must not be watching my calorie intake as closely as I should. I eat a ton of veggies (we get organic produce delivered from a local farm) generally have a pretty darn good diet but I think the calorie culprits are:

  1. Beer (we have a kegerator in the basement) 
  2. Red vines (they have the Costco-sized tub at work)
  3. Mixed nuts (they have the Costco-sized tub at work)
  4. Portion sizes


I feel like my indulgences are fairly moderate, like one schooner of beer in the evening (it could be more than one!). BUT, even a little here and there obviously adds up.

Kerrie's (MomVsMarathon) SOWL challenge this week is to make our own challenge and it's clearly time for me to get serious, right?

My SOWL challenge this week:

  • TWO-A-DAY workouts until we leave town for a wedding next week. I don't know that it would be practical to expect that level of activity while traveling but I will do my best to keep it up for the next week until we go. 
  • No booze. Except for the other wedding we have this weekend (I can have champagne for the toast, right?), I'm not going to drink. No Belgians, no IPA's, no ESBs, no ambers, nothing. 
As for the work-outs, two-a-days mean a run + bike, bike + circuit training DVD, run + brisk walk...basically anything that I can do get my heart going two times a day to burn some extra calories.

I have a run date at 10 AM tomorrow and will try to get to the gym or do a video later in the evening after Mr. F gets home.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

She's all about tough love - Jillian Michaels DVD review

But that's why we love her, Jillian Michaels.

As I mentioned previously, I recently purchased some Jillian Michaels products including three exercise DVDs: Yoga Meltdown, 30 Day Shred, and No More Trouble Zones. In the past week or so, I've done the Yoga Meltdown and 30 Day Shred a few times and will review those later. Tonight I did the No More Trouble Zones for the first time and I MUST report.

No More Trouble Zones is 40-minutes of circuit training that works upper and lower body simultaneously and totally rips your core apart. Sound fun? Maybe, maybe not, but definitely effective.

HOLY COW LADIES! This is THE workout. If I could do this every day for a few weeks, I'm pretty sure I would be quite toned up, indeed.

You're supposed to use [3-pound] hand weights but I haven't had time to get any yet so I used these 15-ouncers:

I was feeling kind of silly (surprised?) about my black beans until she had us doing shoulder presses for 5 minutes straight and then I was GLAD I didn't have 3-pounders. I'll stick with my 1-pounders for a week maybe, but I should try to get to Target soon for the real thing. 

The workout is broken up into 5-minute circuits, each circuit working different muscle groups from the upper and lower body like deltoids + quads, biceps + quads, core, etc. At the end, you've had a complete aerobic & full body strength workout. Light weights, high reps through the entire workout and you're constantly moving. 

What I like:
  • Flexible duration. From the menu you can select the complete 40-minute workout OR you can select individual circuits depending on how much time you have or which muscle groups you want to work. 
  • Great combination of strength and aerobic activity. Running makes my legs strong but the only workout my upper body is getting lately is lifting Baby F. (Which reminds me, I need to start getting into the pool again.) A stronger upper body will help me run faster! 
  • Lots of core work. Core work is incorporated throughout, which is great for improving my running form, overall posture, etc. 
  • Good coaching. Jillian gives the right cues at the right time but doesn't talk TOO much. I found her pep-talks to be very helpful and motivating. Really. I usually don't like that kind of stuff but I guess her style fits with me. Tough love, baby!  
  • Good price. I got all three DVDs for under $30 on Amazon. Not bad for 160 minutes of calorie-burning exercise you can do in the convenience of your home while the babes are sleeping. 

What I don't like (this comment pertains to all three Jillian Michaels DVDs): 
  • Too much smiling. She makes her assistants smile through the whole workout. A minor negative, really, but this especially bothered me in the Yoga Meltdown because if her staff are smiling then they can't possibly be breathing correctly. Small complaint but it just doesn't look right to see the strain on their faces as they're doing her kick-butt workout with a forced smile. 
  • New yoga mat sucks. I know, this doesn't have anything to do with the DVDs but it won't stay put and I've been experiencing this problem while doing all three DVDs. I opted for a "green" mat that is PVC free and I'm not too impressed. Hmmm, maybe I should talk about PVC in my next Tox Tip?

Assuming I can lift my body out of bed tomorrow morning and Baby F is cooperative, I will be doing my long run of 7 miles. The last time I ran that far was August 12, 2008! 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Long Run Sunday + Alt X-Training

So yesterday I was headed home from the best brewery ever, Georgetown Brewing Company, where I picked up a couple growlers for dinner when I saw this crazy bicycle contraption. You can't completely see it in the photo, but there is a row of recumbent cycles in the very front, in addition to the peddlers in the middle & up top. I'm thinking this would be a great way to get to work - bike-pooling!

Which means that I'd need to find another cross-training outlet so maybe I'd try...trapeze arts? Who knew we had a trapeze center just a couple miles away?

Well, maybe not. The cycle machine was moving pretty slow and I think the trapeze would make me nauseous. You gotta love how unique Seattle is though! 

Today, I headed out to North Seattle for a run with Super C and Riley, the cutest dog ever. We ran from their place along the Burke Gilman Trail to Magnuson Park & Lake Washington. We crashed a wedding of some sort along the water. I'm not sure what type - there were a group of women in white satin-like dresses with white head scarves and a group of young men all in white. The crowd was dressed up, mostly hovering under a large tent to avoid the drizzle, and there was music playing on a loud speaker but I couldn't make out what language it was. I'm guessing Russian or some other eastern European affair? 

It was a great run to end the week. I hardly ever get to see Super C so it was nice to have a full hour to get caught up. Stats: 5.7 miles, 1:01:18, 10:34 pace.

Oh - and you have to appreciate my new cool t-shirt (you can get yours here: TMB Endurance):

I love how when I look in the mirror, the shirt is telling me to get going (you can't tell from the photo, but the print is in reverse). I usually wear a size S/M but since these run small, I ordered a L and I like the fit.

All in all, I came pretty close to my goals this past week. I fell short on my cross-training, which consisted of one 30-Day Shred Workout, 1/2 day bike commute, and one day with Yoga Meltdown. We had out-of-town friends staying with us which made it a little hard to do exercise videos in the living room. The good thing is I got all my runs in: 3 mile run, 800m intervals, and long run.

Next week will be another tempo run week, I hope to add more cross-training, and will resume bike commuting.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tox Tip #2: Toxin vs Toxicant (also Pet Peeve #1)

I haven't made it very far with my Tox Tips so I thought I'd throw out a quickie. This one will put you on your way to being a junior toxicologist and you will definitely sound smarter though it's not very helpful in terms of helping you to avoid harmful substances in your everyday life. My apologies & I will work on that for the next Tox Tip.

Tox Tip #2 is also my Pet Peeve #1 and it is the misuse of the word TOXIN.

I've seen it misused in the New York Times (an environmental writer, no less), Runner's World (an organic farming article a few months ago), all over TV news and just pick any popular magazine that has an article about chemicals and you're bound to see this error. Every time I see it, I'm usually confused because the sentence makes no sense to me and then when I realize what the author is trying to say, I just get really annoyed.

So here we go folks:

A TOXIN is a POISON produced by a plant, animal, or bacteria. A toxin is a protein that is made via metabolic processes by a living thing.

An example of a toxin is botulinum toxin, made by a bacteria, and found in improperly handled or prepared meats. These days, it's also made commercially and referred to as "botox"when used in cosmetic and medical procedures. Shellfish that accumulate a certain type of algae can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning because of a toxin found in the algae. Snake & spider venom are toxins. There are many more examples of toxins.

Environmental contaminants and other wayward man-made chemicals are NOT TOXINS. These are TOXICANTS. So PCBs and mercury in your tuna, dioxins in your milk, bisphenol A in your plastic water bottles, pesticides in your conventional foods, smog in your cities...these are all toxicants, not toxins.

There you have it! You can correct people when they misuse the word TOXIN and know that the toxicologists of the world are giving you the high-five from afar :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Treadmill intervals

I was SO tired this morning after only 6 hours of sleep last night (I'm addicted to Rescue Me and it's on way too LATE). But after missing my speed workout last week and thinking about the shame of having to post that I bailed on my workout today, I chugged a cup of coffee and headed to the gym.

As TMB@Racing with babes says...


I feel so good about doing my interval workout! Hooray for shaming myself into it. Feeling much more energized now. The details:

  • 1% incline to make up for the treadmill advantage (is that sufficient?)
  • 3 x 800m @ 7:30 pace
  • 400m recovery jogs @ 10:30min/mile
  • 2.75 mile warm-up/cool-down @ 10:00min/mile
  • 5 minutes barefoot running

The barefoot running feels like heaven now, it always gives my feet a nice stretch. Ahhhh!

So the 800's felt good once I finally relaxed into the pace. I was pretty tense during the first one, worrying whether I could keep up the pace, my arms swinging too high, my feet hitting the rubber too hard, my knee landing correctly over my toes, keeping my core tight, etc. Neurotic or perfectionist?

M.I.A. helped me with the tedium of the treadmill. Her music is a great pacer for speed workouts.

It doesn't help that it gets so darn HOT in the gym. I was SWEATY! Check it out (gross). The back of my shirt was entirely wet except for an outline where my sports bra was.

Thank goodness for my (super-cute) sweaty band! 

In other news:

  • Bike is in the shop until next week getting the derailer adjusted & a general tune-up so that will impact my bike commuting. I count on that as part of my cross-training so I'll have to try to make up for those lost minutes somehow. 
  • Heart rate monitor is officially dead. I've been trying different things to get it going but it appears the transmitter is dead. So, I have to decide if I want to get it fixed ($50 if only a battery problem) or put that money towards a Garmin ($150). Any thoughts?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bikey Done Gun

Bikey done gun & quit today.

This is NOT where the chain (red line) is supposed to be located in relation to the frame (green line) and chain rings (blue line):
It's a little difficult to make it out, but the chain is totally jammed, which means nothing moves. The red line is supposed to be ON TOP OF the blue line, not between the blue & green lines, no-man's-land. It happened a short while into my commute today and I spent a good 15 minutes tearing my hands up yanking it out. I rode about 3/4 mile and then it happened again. At that point, I was so late, sweaty, and frustrated, I just rode my bike in by pushing it with my feet - like a sitting scooter. Long commute. Dead bike.

That means tomorrow I'll be riding my racing bike in to work. Fun & zippy but no panniers so carrying stuff is not so convenient. 

Sounds like folks are interested in the Jillian Michaels DVDs so I'll definitely do reviews as I get through them. I had hoped to do her 30-minute yoga workout tonight but ended up doing a spontaneous happy hour with a visiting principal from our Chicago office instead. Or maybe this is all the more reason to do it - work off that beer + fried calimari + slider + onion ring?

Hmmm...yeah. I'll chug some water & be good to go. Will report on the YOGA MELTDOWN later. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Less than stellar

This was a really low energy week for some reason. Recovering from all the family festivities of last weekend?

Phase of the moon?

No near-term goals?

I got 3 days of cross-training and my long run in but no "easy" run and no tempo run. 1 of 3 runs is a less than stellar way to start out my 10k training plan.

Up this week: A fresh start.

I'm hoping to incorporate some new cross-training, too. My bike commute is an easy way to get some mellow exercise in (20 min each way) but I still need more exercise minutes in my week. I got three new videos & a book in the mail on Friday so hoping to work in some change:

I know I'm at least 3 years behind on the Jillian Michaels bandwagon but I've always been a few steps behind everyone else :) 

I did her Level 1, 20-minute 30-Day Shred workout after my long run on Friday and it seemed pretty simple at the time. It was only 20 minutes after all, with cycles of 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs work. I don't have hand weights so I did the strength segments using the same hand motions but weightless. 

And you know, my deltoids were SORE the next day!! 

Kinda pathetic but kinda cool, too. I obviously need this! I just need to figure out where/when I'm going to work these in, beginning with the 20-minute workouts. Those should be easiest to squeeze in between work/baby/chores/bed. 

I do need to get some hand weights, though, to make this really effective. I tried REI this weekend but no luck so I guess I need to find a sporting good store, which doesn't really exist in our part of urban Seattle so may be easier to just look online. 

Here's to a new month & new week!