Monday, February 28, 2011

Detroit Runner Virtual 5k

Jeff @ Detroit Runner is looking for people to represent some missing states in his virtual 5k coming up March 5 (also running the week before/after).

The details can be found HERE.

Anyone from AK, UT, NH, or VT out there want to participate??  He almost has full coverage of the U.S.

Jeff has some nice give-aways planned for this run, which is likely to be snowy in many locales including here in Seattle.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cabin weekend

Away in the snow with friends this weekend and missed my long run.

Had a good time but disappointed I didn't get my 10 miles in.

Next week, will try to hit more of my scheduled workouts...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Treadmill tempo

Hats off to everyone who does the majority of their running on treadmills!

I did my second speed workout for the week on a treadmill today because I woke up to snow and ice on the sidewalks. Yipes! I think I'm just not acclimated to the heat of running indoors? This morning's workout was much better than the 800m intervals on Tuesday, but I definitely struggled to keep pace.

The goal was 3 miles @ 7:57 pace and ultimately I came close with 8:03 pacing, but I was very uneven, which is not ideal. I was able to do the first 1.0 mile at 8:00 pace but it felt rough. Then, I slowed down to 8:30 to catch my breath a bit and bounced up & around there for a good half mile before going down to 8:13 pace for the next half mile. For the third mile, I wanted to cut back down again so I ran the first half mile at 8:07ish then for the next quarter mile, cut down to 7:30, then down to 7:03ish for the last quarter.

I think it was something like that anyway.

Next week, praying that it warms up at least into the upper 30's and that I can return to the outdoors for running. I'm perfectly happy to save the gym for my bike/swim cross-training.

Once again, kudos to everyone out there who can tough it out on a treadmill like it's nothin'!

Final stats for tempo run (1% incline):

  • 2 mile warm-up: 20:
  • 3 mile tempo: 24:09
  • 1 mile cool-down: 9:30 

Quick question:
What % incline do y'all use for your various treadmill workouts? 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Intervals killed the treadmill star (or is it, Treadmill killed the interval star?)

Sr. Treadmill, NO te quiero a ti. 

On deck today: 6 x 800m in 3:33 with a 90 second rest interval. It was cold and snowy(!) here in Seattle today so I opted to run the intervals on the Y treadmill after work. I tend to do better with my tough workouts in the morning on a completely empty stomach but I was up early working, instead.

Before heading to the gym, I tried some FRS energy for the first time. The taste was ok, no worse than other strange energy sources we runners intentionally ingest. I don't know if they contributed to my stomach issues later during my workout (probably not) but I would be willing to try again to test them under better conditions.

So what happened to the treadmill intervals? I felt like hell. I was overheated and my stomach was cranky but whatever. Excuses. I felt rough but apparently the treadmill felt worse.
  • 1.5 mile warm-up @ about 10:00 pace (including 3 min barefoot running)
  • 800 m intervals:
    • 3:31 (1:39 RI) Tough but do-able. Jogged the RI.
    • 3:37 (1:32 RI) Hmm. Not getting into a groove like normal. Jogged the RI.
    • 3:43 (1:57 RI) This one was tough, I was clearly struggling. Talking to myself about how I was half-way through, I could finish it. Walked the RI.
    • 3:40 (1:44 RI) Suck. This. Hopped off the treadmill and paced the room during the RI, talking myself down. It's only two laps around the track. I CAN do two more, dammit.
    • 3:35 (2:34 RI) OMG that sucked but at least my time was better. My HRM is beeping, hit a max HR of 195 (91% of max). Holy sheet! I'm talking to myself out loud at this point, just one more interval. What are you looking at? 
    • 3:12! Fast? No. The treadmill DIED on me. Black screen. No motion. Nada. I had 0.1 mi to go, to completely finish the workout and I was shut down. Pity on the part of the machine? 
  • I jumped over the treadmill next to me and finished with a mile cool-down at about 10:15 pace.
  • Stumbled down the stairs to the locker room for a cold shower.
This workout kicked my ass. I made target pace only once and my rest intervals just got longer as the workout progressed.

How do you all manage these treadmill speed workouts? I think they're MORE difficult than running outside. I had thought that running the intervals on the treadmill would make it easier because I wouldn't have to listen to my body as much to FEEL the pace, I would just have to push a button to get my pace on track.  

I was so very wrong. It was still difficult because this pace was KILLER. Plus, it takes a lot more math and coordination to hit my watch split button, speed and stop button, and watch the miles and time on the machine to figure out when to start/stop the interval and RI...ack! It was actually kind of stressful coordinating all that stuff.

I'm hoping I can complete next week's track workout feeling empowered and accomplished at the end, instead of sick like tonight. I will definitely prefer to run the next interval workout on the track.
I want my love for intervals returns or else this Furman FIRST program is going to be torture.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Anyone who read my RNR Mardi Gras Half Marathon unrace re-cap can understand that I was totally wiped out this past week. I was not in shape to have so much fun and REALLY not in shape to be running 13 miles at the beginning of my half marathon training program.

This week, I paid the price for fun. I was supposed to get to do a track ladder workout (YES!) and a tempo run (Bah!), and a long run, supplemented by two cross-training days. Well, I needed to recover so I could walk upright again I got a very short pool workout in, a relaxed 5-mile treadmill run completed, and no track workout, tempo run, or additional cross-training.

The nice thing is this morning I was able to do my long run (9 miles) with an old college roommate ('R') who I rarely see these days. She has taken the last two years off from running and is ready for a come-back (did I not say that 2011 was the year for kicking ass?). We started out by buying new shoes at Super Jock & Jill (R) and Road Runner Sports (me - I had $25-off coupon). After years of being led astray, I have returned to the comfort and glory of...

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11
I was this close to using that coupon to justify buying a pair of Newtons ($175, really?) but reason won out. Phew!

We got two laps in around Greenlake (outside loop) then I completed one more lap on my own after saying goodbye. It was clear, sunny, and cold - - a great Seattle running day for February. Total time for 9.8 miles = 1:26. As per usual, saw someone I recognized (from college but R & I couldn't remember if he was from the dorms or track team or what). I can't go to Greenlake without seeing someone I recognize or know. It's just THAT popular and Seattle is really a small town.

Now my job is to hound R and make sure we get together again and not lose track of each other. R's target race is the Nordstrom Beat the Bridge in May. This was actually the first fun run I've ever done...back in 1991...and I haven't run it since, so I'm looking forward to a re-match with this course. Can I beat my 18 year old self, who ran this 8k course in 37:17 (7:30 pace)?

So this week is about getting back on track with the Run Less, Run Faster / Furman First program. Week 3 includes:

  • 6 x 800m @ 3:34 (w/ 90 sec RI)
  • 3 mile tempo @ 7:57 pace w/ 3 miles easy 
  • 10 mile long run @ 9:32 pace
  • 2 days of cross training
Plus, I really should get back to bike commuting again. I've been two weeks sin bicicleta. It's a crazy work week and we're heading out of town on Friday (Leavenworth cabin!) so it will be a challenge to fit everything in. The following week, my goal is to get serious about doing a core workout 2 nights/week and get back with my PT exercises because I can feel my hips, IT, and plantar fascia tightening up.


(thank goodness for the foam roller)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tox Tip #3: Toxic euphorbia

You might end up in the ER with your 20-month old son if...

Leafy Spurge
...your yard is filled with the beautiful but invasive (and toxic) euphorbia bush. 

We planted one Euphorbia esula about 8 years ago and every few years we have to go around our yard and pull out all the volunteer bushes that pop up. They're great for filling in empty bed spaces but they are invasive. Also, their sticky, milky, white sap can be difficult to get off your skin and may cause some itching after going a few rounds with them in the yard.

So, I KNEW that the sap could be irritating. But I really like them - they're big and tropical looking, the green flowers are unique, and the insects love them. However, we learned today that even their flowers have enough of the "toxic white milky sap" to cause irritation because our little guy whacked himself in the face with one of the inflorescences and immediately his eye became swollen, he developed red blotches on his face, and it was painful.

I rinsed Baby F's eye and called Poison Control, who recommended a trip to the ER for a thorough eye irrigation to make sure all the sap (which is alkaline) got rinsed out and no eye damage occurred. Poor little guy. All is well but it was a long afternoon/ evening at the hospital (and I didn't get to go for a run).

So, just a warning to everyone - Hold off on having these nice bushes in your yard until your kids are old enough to stay away from them. Or even better, don't plant them at all because they are so invasive.

This is how Wikipedia describes my former bushy friend:

It displaces native vegetation in prairie habitats and fields through shading and by usurping available water and nutrients and through plant toxins that prevent the growth of other plants underneath it. It is an aggressive invader and, once present, can completely overtake large areas of open land. It is toxic as well.

Bottom line: Avoid Euphorbia bushes. They are nice to look at, but not so nice to our skin or the plant community. 

Bad plant, bad plant!

Monday, February 14, 2011

RNR New Orleans - the UN-race recap

Typically a half marathon is something I've spent months preparing for. The week leading up to the race, I'm especially careful about my alcohol intake, nutrition, hydration, and sleep. Well this time, I broke ALL my rules. This was by far, the most un-race-like race.

Little did I know, I would be sweating butter and chardonnay during the race.

The proof is provided below. Has anyone topped this? I want to know! (Keep in mind, this was the end of my first week of half marathon training.)

1. Restrict alcohol intake (note: I'm not good at abstinence so I don't even try).
Photo 1. Note warning. 

  • Arrive in NOLA Thursday and go directly to Bourbon Street, proceed to go to at least five bars, consuming a minimum of one mixed drink and/or beer at each location. 
  • Friday, have dinner at fancy restaurant beginning meal with glass of Asti, eating dinner with bottle of wine consumed by two people, finish night off with two Sazerac cocktails in hotel bar. 
  • Saturday (pre-race day) have cocktails in afternoon with cousins, drink heavenly glass of red wine before dinner then share another bottle of wine with dinner. After dinner, drink beer at blues bar. This is the night BEFORE the race!! 
  • Evidence provided in photo 1. 

2. Rest, don't expend muscle glycogen before race.

Photo 2. Walk around looking at architecture.

  • Thursday after arriving in NOLA, bar hop all around Bourbon Street and ride a mechanical bull, making every muscle in legs completely sore while trying to hang on for dear life. 
  • Friday, walk ALL around the French Quarter on sore mechanical bull-riding legs, including a two-hour visit to the Rock & Roll expo (oh - and a gait analysis). Note: I showed great self-restraint and did NOT purchase compression socks, a Garmin, or Newton shoes though I think all three are in my future. 
  • Saturday, walk ALL around the French Quarter again and another trip down Bourbon Street.
  • Sunday pre-race, walk 1+ miles to start of race from hotel. 
  • See Photo 2. 
3. Get at least 8 hrs of sleep.
  • As described above, stay up late every night for three nights before the race, partying. 
  • Night before race, go to bed late, sleep fitfully due to full stomach and wine, wake up at 5:30 AM from marching band passing by hotel (random). 
  • Refer to Photo 1. 
4. Eat low fat, quality foods.
Photo 3. Seafood etouffe @ Emeril's.  

Photo 4. Bloggy meet-up with Elizabeth. 
Photo 5. Mmmm...deep-fried dough covered in powdered sugar.
  • Thursday after arriving in NOLA, proceed directly to Mother's for po-boys and eat two kinds of gumbo, rice & beans, and sausage. Drink heavily. 
  • Friday, have po-boy at Mother's for breakfast (after sleeping until 1:30 pm) along with porked-out turnip greens and a Coke, eat beignets & coffee for lunch (see Photo 5), then eat buttery rich food at Emeril's restaurant for dinner. (See Facebook page for pictures of delectables as well as Photo 3.) 
  • Saturday, eat heavy German breakfast followed by cocktails then beignets for lunch during bloggy meet-up with Elizabeth @ Running for Bling, chased by a buttery rich dinner (see Photo 4). 
  • Sunday, skip breakfast before race. 
5. Drink at least 2 L water per day.

  • Doesn't beer and whiskey count as water? Where do you even find water in NOLA??
  • Uh-oh. 
  • Refer to Photo 1. 
6. Don't try anything new on race day. 

Photo 6. T & Elizabeth in Mardi Gras garb.
Photo 7. Elizabeth & I pre-race. 

Photo 8. I don't know if this guy had tried running in this before, but it sure looks like something you wouldn't do twice.

  • Instead of breakfast, try Hammer Nutrition PERPETUEM drink for breakfast (actually this turned out to be great and will repeat for all long run and pre-race meals so I can maximize sleep). 
  • Wear new clothes never tested before on long run (refer to new running skirt & capris in Photo 7).
  • Ok, I'm not the only one who broke this rule. Check out Elizabeth & her friend T in Photo 6 as well as random Muscle Man in Photo 8.  
7. Stick with the plan.
Photo 9. We rocked! 

Photo 10. The bling.
  • The plan was to run 8 miles @ 8:46 pace as per training plan (with Elizabeth of Running for Bling) then walk or very slowly jog the rest of the half marathon. 
  • The plan was modified race morning to run the first 9 miles so I could at least run to the point where my hotel was and see Mr. F who would be there cheering for me.
  • The reality was...after 9 miles I kept running. Like Forest Gump. I was having too much fun running with Elizabeth in her sweet running tutu and her TNT friends. 
  • This part of the plan I DID adhere to:
  • I HAD A FANTASTIC TIME!! I loved my first rock & roll race and would definitely do another. Now I understand why these events are so popular: they are well-organized & well-attended, the crowds and runners have lots of fun, and the music is GREAT (refer to Photos 9, 10). Unfortunately, I didn't see Endorphin Dude (but Elizabeth did). 

The stats:
13.1 miles in 1:54:45 (8:45 pace). 
This means I made my target training run pace but went over on the distance. The consequences of my actions are that I'm SO incredibly sore today I can barely walk. I'm taking curcumin, stretching, and using the stick & foam roller. 

THANK YOU to Elizabeth and her friends for letting me crash their group & run with them! 

Tomorrow I have a massage scheduled to work out some of the soreness (and to celebrate my birthday. And wedding anniversary. Happy birthversary to me - only 38 & 8 yrs!). 

I can't believe I'm supposed to do a track workout tomorrow and a tempo run on Thursday. Hmmm...will it happen? 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Meet Endorphin Dude

The trip to New Orleans on Thursday via Southwest Airlines was a bit crazy. I flew from Seattle to Denver to Nashville to NOLA. Phew! It was uneventful between Seattle and Denver but upon boarding in Denver, I saw a friendly face with a Marathon Maniacs t-shirt on.

Me: "Are you running RNR New Orleans?"
Him: "Yes! I'm Endorphin Dude!"

Snapshot during layover in Nashville

Well, it wasn't quite like that but I certainly plunked myself down in the seat next to the friendly Marathon Maniacs t-shirt guy. Within minutes I found out his moniker and it was fun running- & blogging- & do-you-know-who chatting the rest of the way. 

So this super nice recreational marathoner, as he refers to himself, is embarking on a year of insane marathoning, with the goal of running 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Check his blog HERE or Facebook page HERE to read about his adventures.

If you are running a major marathon this year, there is a good chance you'll see the Endurance Dude. And if he's there, you won't miss him because he runs in a cape. Also, he will have the biggest smile on his face that you've ever seen on a marathoner. It's awesome!

Debut of the mardi gras cape!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

RNR New Orleans bloggers & beignets

Thursday I'm flying out for New Orleans to meet up with Mr. F and choking back tears about leaving Baby F for four whole nights. It's breaking my heart.

Instead of thinking about how much I'm going to miss my little guy, I'm looking forward to seeing NOLA and a bloggy meet-up! I'm planning on meeting up with Elizabeth (Run for Bling) and others from her crew before the race. 

Elizabeth has planned a pre-race bloggy meet-up at Cafe du Monde for beignets on Saturday at 2:30 pm.  Anyone heading down for the race, come on down and meet up!

Elizabeth is a veteran marathoner, so I'm looking forward to chatting her up during the run (assuming I can run with her during the first 8 miles). 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tempo smack-down

Tempo Run = Smacker
Average Woman Runner = Smackee

On deck today = 3-mile tempo @ 7:57 pace and 3-mile warm-up/cool-down
Poorly planned = didn't map my route (relied on my less-than-stellar memory), had no idea what 7:57 should feel like (other than fast) 

I just ran hard until I had no go-go left and it all worked out!

Except, I overshot the distance and went under on the time. How is that possible? 

The Juice
Warm-up/cool-down = 3.4 miles in 29:08
Tempo run = 3.6 miles in 26:48 (7:26 pace)

It wasn't easy. It felt ROUGH & I'm already getting sore (I'm icing). It may be difficult to walk tomorrow but I will have a smile on my face for completing this workout.

Next up = 8-mile long run in New Orleans! 

Loving my produce box this week. Beautiful carrots to accompany broccolini & green beans. These taste like regular carrots, but look nicer on your plate.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Furman FIRST week 1 track workout - DONE!

This coming week is WEEK 1 of the Furman FIRST half marathon training:
  • 12 x 400m repeats @ 1:45 with 90-sec rest intervals (plus 20-30 minutes warm-up / cool-down) 
  • 3-mile tempo @ 7:57 pace (plus 3 miles warm-up / cool-down)
  • 8-mile long run @ 8:49 pace

Of course, I'm messing it up already. For my 8-mile long run this coming weekend, I'll actually be running the New Orleans RNR (but hope to be disciplined enough to run only the first 8 miles then walk/jog the rest).

Also, Mr. F flies out tomorrow for New Orleans for his conference, which means that I'm on my own with baby F this week and working out will be a challenge. To take advantage of Mr. F being home today, I decided to do one of the two scheduled speed workouts: track repeats!

This morning, I made a water bottle of HEED (the best sports drink ever) and took a meandering route down the hill to the local high school track.

The calm before the storm

Franklin High School is located right on two main drags in South Seattle and is frequently used on the weekends for soccer matches. Today was no different. While running my repeats, I was dodging cute little kids who were out playing on the track and watching their daddies play soccer.

Franklin HS, South Seattle

Not very sexy but it's convenient. I had a long warm-up so got right to it when I got to the track. I messed up my split for the first repeat but got the rest of the stats just fine. During my rest intervals, I mostly just walked instead of jogged which allowed me to recover much better. I wanted to be some-what easy on myself since this was my first track workout since this past summer. Next time, I'll jog the rest intervals.

The juice  - 12 x 400m, goal time 1:45
1 = no time, oops
2 = 1:51
3 = 1:46
4 = 1:42
phew! 1 mile done!
5 = 1:41
6 = 1:44
half way done already! was that my left ankle acting up? 
7 = 1:43
yup, ankle tweaking on the turns. i'll start running in the middle lanes so i have more mild turns.
8 = 1:43
9 = 1:45
i'm holding it but ankle definitely bothering me. wth? it's been 4 months since i messed it up. heal, damn you!
10 = 1:44
still feeling good everywhere except the left ankle 
11 = 1:44
woo hoo! can't believe i'm pulling this off! but the ankle - maybe it's the turns? i'll run the last one the other direction (clockwise).  
12 = 1:38
no ankle pain! why didn't i run the reverse direction when i first felt the ankle? ug.

I survived and feel really good about the effort except for the ankle business. Those turns were really torquing my left ankle.

Next time: tape before I run on the track and run clockwise laps so my right ankle takes the pressure on those inside turns. I'm icing now, just might make this a regular thing after speed workouts.

Tomorrow I need to get a cross-training workout in, then Tuesday or Wednesday should be the 3-mile tempo at sub-8:00 pace. I really struggle with tempo runs. Put me on the track any day, you at least get to rest a bit between repeats. But tempos? Sheer pain. No rest, just a hard, all out effort.

Thursday is my flight to New Orleans, baby! I have a reservation at two Emeril restaurants but will probably only keep one: lunch @ NOLA or dinner @ Emeril's New Orleans - which is better? Any opinions?

Friday, February 4, 2011

1 Year Blogiversary

I missed my blogiversary! On February 3, 2010, I started with Waiting For A Swift Kick in the Caboose and now I'm starting the Furman First (Run Less, Run Faster) Half Marathon Training Program. One year ago, this was my plan:

  • Make appointment to see a PT to complete rehab on calf (check, thank you Brian at Madison Park PT)

  • Develop cross-training plan to transition to running (check, started yoga & Jillian DVDs, biking to work, and walk/jogging until I could RUN)

  • Set race goals with friends (check, ran races with old friends/family and NEW bloggy friends)

  • Find support from other new moms who have gotten back into a routine (CHECK, thanks to this "thing" and all y'all, I've come a LONG way)

  • Through 2010 I progressed from walk/jogging to real running and had the pleasure of my first bloggy meet-up at the North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon Walk (Kerrie @ Mom Vs Marathon!) and then running with more PNW and out-of-state bloggers at the You Go Girl 10k/Half and the Santa Runs Tacoma 5k. 

    It took a year, but I'm happy to now be following my Master Plan 2011 (for kicking ASS) and getting geared up to start training for my first half marathon run since 2008. With more training advice, motivation, and other support from the virtual community and my friends/family, I'll be tackling my first ever full marathon this fall. 

    This year, I look forward to:

    • meeting more bloggers (@ New Orleans RNR next weekend, Portland Marathon in the fall, and at other races)
    • racing in at least 3 new states this year (LA, IN, IL), hopefully more
    • setting a new half marathon PR (sub 1:47) 
    • setting a new PR at the Lake Padden Triathlon (rec division; sub 1:15:27) 
    • finishing my first marathon (goal time sub 3:59:36, which was Sarah Palin's time in 2005. i know this is ambitious for a first but a girl has to dream.) 
    • staying injury free



    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Furman FIRST (Run Less, Run Faster) half marathon training program

    Evil butterflies do flips in my stomach every time I think about the fact that next Monday is DAY 1 of my half marathon training program. This is all part of my Master Plan 2011 (for kicking ass), of course, but I'm still nervous about it.

    It just looks so hard core. Thankfully others of you crazy folk are out there doing this plan, too, so I can read about how you're nailing your track workouts and shame myself into hitting mine. Right? I'm counting on you!! (No pressure, KIM!)

    So here's the deal-yo...workouts from Monday, Feb. 2 through the Indianapolis Mini Marathon on May 7th with pacing times below.  Thoughts?

    Even though next week is just the start, I'm messing it up already. I'll be sans hubby next week which means I need to be here both morning & night for baby duty. Wednesday's cross-train workout may be reduced to a Jillian video. Also, my long run will be done during the New Orleans Mardi Gras Rock & Roll Half Marathon. Yowza!  I just have to muster the discipline to STOP running at 8 miles as per the Master Plan 2011 and walk the rest with minimal jogging.

    With some luck, I'll get to meet up with Elizabeth @ Running for Bling at the RNR Half! Maybe even meet up with some other bloggers?