Friday, April 29, 2011

Big race weekend - GOOD LUCK!

So many big spring races this weekend, wishing everyone

Big Sur, CA
Elizabeth (Running for Bling)
A (Diary of an Average Runner)
Aron (Runner's Rambles)

Eugene Marathon, OR
Kim ((Just) Trying is for Little Girls)
Michelle (Michelle Goes Running)
Stacie (Impossible is Nothing)
Julie (Adventure is Out There)

Lilac Bloomsday Run, WA
Carla (Running is Mama's Midlife Crisis)
Kristin (Running with Runner Girl)

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, OK
Adam (I Am Boring)
Amanda (5 Miles to Empty)

Other races:
Jess (Run with Jess) - Illinois Marathon, IL
C&T Devxxxxxxxxx - Avenue of the Giants, CA
Girafy (365 Days of Awesome) - PCRF Cinco de Mayo Half, CA
Cross Country Squared (X-Country2) - Lincoln Half Marathon, NE
The Cynnematographer & K (aesthetician extraordinaire) - Vancouver BMO, BC

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NYC Marathon - DENIED!

Phew! What a relief! I'm already registered for two marathons this year (and I have not run even one yet!). My plan is to get denied for the next two years (during which time I'll have a little brother for Baby F) then I'll get the "gimme" entry in 2014.

Unless, of course, the Gods come down and make me really freaking fast and I qualify with a 3:23 full or 1:37 half. Yeah, not likely.

I found out today, along with ElizabethTMB, Becca, Endorphin Dude, Carla, The Studly Runner, The Running Mama, others that I didn't get a lottery ticket into the NYC Marathon. But part of my plan DIDN'T work.


My friend, KC, applied with the same idea that we'd get denied, denied, denied for three years then we'd run it together in 2014 (we ran the NYC Half in 2007 together). But of all the luck,


If the stars align, I'd love to go out and cheer her on.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Running (and other) podcasts

Last week I blogged about a few running and other podcasts that I've been listening to. A number of people left comments about podcasts they enjoy, so I am sharing that list with all y'all. Some are funny, some are strictly informative, some are specific to running, some include info about a variety of sports.

For folks who are into podcasts, check these out:
  • Endurance Planet (informative, geared toward endurance sports)
  • Ben Greenfield Fitness (informative, focused on nutrition & endurance sports)
  • Get Fit Guy (informative, wide variety of topics)
  • Marathon Training Academy (informative, geared toward new runners)
  • The Marathon Show (humor)
  • Marathon Talk (informative)
  • Competitor Radio (wide variety of sports)
  • Iron Brandon (triathlons)
  • Running With the Pack (informative, geared toward running & tri's) 
  • Two Gomers Run a Marathon (humor)
  • Kelownagurl Tri's (tri's and running) 
  • This Running Life
  • Vegan Running Mom (not just for vegans)
  • Geeks in Running Shoes
  • Phaedippidations (running) 
  • Leigh Peele (nutrition) 
  • The Extra Mile (running) 
I didn't add links for these but you should be able to find them online or on iTunes. I'm going to try to make my way through this list.

Thanks everyone for your recommendations & have a good week! 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My longest run EVER!

My previous distance record was 17.2 miles. Today, I made it to the big 20! I feel so PROUD! Well, I feel achy and throbby but aside from that, I feel very, very proud. It's not very often I have a "first" these days and this was a good one. It was quite challenging, I definitely struggled in a few areas, but I kept plugging along until I got to the end. 

The end was a dive mini-mart by the International District light rail station where I bought my chocolate milk and gushed to the cashier what I had just done. He seemed genuinely impressed. I drank the milk outside the store, soaking up the sun on our first day of the year over 60 degrees. Then, I hobbled across the street to catch the light rail home. Ahhhhh!

I walked the 0.4 mi home from the train station and remembered that I had my music with me. I sang LOUD on my walk, so happy (or high) that I had completed my run and was going to live to blog about it. Tom Petty (Won't back down) and Michael Jackson (PYT) brought me big smiles. I pretty much headed straight for the ice bath and it felt like heaven. Thanks to Elizabeth's Ice Bath 101, my privates & I managed much better this time. I'm definitely going to take another icy after the ice maker fills back up.


To prepare for the Seattle RNR, I thought I'd cover as much of the course as possible given a start from my house. I headed straight for the lake and picked up at RNR mile 9 where the course heads east over the I-90 floating bridge. This is my mock RNR course miles 9 through 26 (with some extra in there to hit 20 miles total). 

Courtesy of
Nice elevation profile, huh?

That's why I wanted to train on the course. I need strength and confidence.

I did this run alone and I didn't listen to any music until I was done. I just spent a lot of time in my head and since I was running in the city, I had to keep my ears alert so I could avoid cars and crazy people.

Throughout my run, I was agreeing with Elizabeth when she said the Seattle RNR course sucks because it's all highway. That might be a little bit harsh because while you're on the highways/busy streets you do get some pretty incredible views (if it's clear - mountain ranges, volcanoes, lots of water, boats, etc) BUT there is no mistaking that this is a very urban run. It was LOUD and a bit frantic. One upshot is that for the race, some of the areas will be closed to cars, so that will help with the noise and pollution. 

I'm glad I did this chunk of the course, because it will be the most challenging portion and now I know what to expect. I don't feel a need to do this route again until race day though. I will just plan on incorporating hills into my tempo and long runs. If I do anything else course-related, I may run the first portion, miles 1 - 9, to see what they're like.

By mile 15, my feet were screaming. I tuned them out but I did take advantage of any soft shoulder I could find. My next long run is three weeks from now (22 miles) and I'm fairly resolved to return to the Lake Sammamish trail so I can spare my feet and joints some pounding.

At mile 17, my body started to stiffen up. Makes sense since that was my previous distance limit. I really slowed the pace down and since I was on the waterfront, I enjoyed (savored, even!) my last few miles of my "longest run ever."  Plus, slowing down is good, according to Sally who is a veteran TNT marathoner and mentor. She ran most of my 17-miler with me and during our run, she said that spending TIME on your feet is good training - regardless of distance. She thinks it's good practice to be plugging along and getting your feet used to being hammered.

I didn't stop for pictures because once I stop, I have a hard time moving again. But I did snap a couple:

Looking west over Fremont Bridge, from Aurora Bridge. Olympic Mts. in distance.

Elliot Bay - Myrtle Edwards Park. Olympic Mts. in distance. I saw a seal here!

Lessons learned for next long run:
  1. Find a route with mixed hard and soft terrain. = Feet are throbbing right now. 
  2. Plan water stops ahead, need to refill bottles 2x = I went through 40 oz. today (1 refill) but could have used another 10 oz or so. Thankfully, when I was most desperate for a refill, I passed a swanky restaurant (Canlis, for you locals) that had their garden hose hooked up and hiding behind a bush. I spotted it and raced over to refill. This is where I used my half-NUUN that I had wrapped & stuck under my bra strap.
  3. Wear sunglasses! = I was squinting the whole time - a nice problem to have. 
  4. Bring more NUUN. = I took half before I started and the other half @ mile 13. I probably should have taken one earlier and then squeezed in another half-dose around mile 15. Maybe this would have helped with the stiffening I had at mile 17? 
Oh, and someone recently asked how people re-fuel after long runs. Today, I had to go to Home Depot with the hubs RIGHT after my bath. I needed to eat something, so I happily ate one McD's sausage/egg muffin AND one ham/egg muffin, en route. It's not my usual practice or preference but I was desperate. I burned 1,630 calories before 9:15 a.m. today, so I think I'm o.k.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Over the ninja look

Ok, these photos span four years. Do you notice a theme?

Seattle Half Marathon - November 2007   
Mercer Island Half Marathon - March 2008 (pain?) 
North Olympic Discovery Trail Half Marathon - June 2010 (yes, me on the right) 
Lake Sammamish Half Marathon (with Megan @ The Daily Sweat) March 2011
Yeah, I need new duds. I'm over the ninja look. Time to exercise my VIP status at RoadRunner Sports and bring some color into my running...

20 miles on the books for tomorrow morning and I'm scared shitless. Really. This will be the longest run of my life and I'm doing it alone. I will wear something colorful to help me through it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My other obsession

Don't worry, it still relates to running:


Lately I've been using my commute time, treadmill running time, and other random windows of time to listen to running-related podcasts. I love my standard podcasts (New Yorker Magazine short stories, This American Life, Ritmo Latino, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me) but the sports podcasts have been very helpful. I'm learning a lot about nutrition, fueling, hydration, etc to prepare for my first marathon.

It all started with my discovery of the Nutrition Diva @ Quick & Dirty Tips. She provides informative, balanced, and, I believe, scientifically accurate nutrition tips in nice 6- to 8-minute bites. I've been listening to her for several years now. Other great podcasts at Quick & Dirty Tips that I listen to regularly include: Girlfriend MD, Grammar Girl, House Call Doctor, Public Speaker, and...last but not least...Get Fit Guy. Get Fit Guy pretty much kicks ass. Go to the Quick & Dirty Tips website and check these out.

The Get Fit Guy is also known as Ben Greenfield. Ben is a former body builder and is now a competitive triathlete and coach. He holds several degrees in sports nutrition and physiology and provides technical, up-to-date information in a way that is practical for the Average Woman Runner and other athletes at various levels.

Through the Get Fit Guy Facebook page, I found that Ben also appears on other sites: Endurance Planet, Ben Greenfield Fitness, and then I just found the Marathon Training Academy on which Ben has been a guest speaker. All of these sites have free podcasts that you can subscribe to and they all have Facebook pages you can go to and leave comments.

For EP & MTA, if you leave a comment, they will respond on their podcast. In fact, a couple weeks ago, I left a comment on Get Fit Guy's Facebook page about using electrolyte supplements on long runs and he referred me to a recent discussion on this topic on Endurance Planet. Nice!

  • Endurance Planet is great for those folks out there who are triathletes or ultra runners. The host is Tawnee Prazak, who is a coach in SoCal, and she has her own blog, Tri*Tawn. I think some of the same stuff applies to marathoners so it's still an informative blog. A main focus for this podcast is sports nutrition and Ben seems to be a guest speaker on almost every episode. 
  • Ben Greenfield Fitness is Ben's own blog. His podcasts cover a range of topics including nutrition, dieting, proper recovery, weight training, nutrition and training fads, and more. 
  • Marathon Training Academy is hosted by Angie (runner) and Trevor (learning-to-be-a-runner) and they really work well together (good thing since they're married!). Angie has run several marathons but recently had a baby so is getting back on track with her training. It's nice to hear about what she's going through and get tips from her on re-building a base after time off. This podcast is definitely geared toward novice runners but I think the information would be good even for experienced runners as they cover basics you may take for granted but also provide newer information as the sport evolves. Recent topics for this podcast include: barefoot running, top running mistakes, building up your base, dealing with running mishaps, sweating & hydration 101, etc. 

Just this week, I subscribed to another podcast that I haven't even had a chance to listen to yet: Sports Psychology Podcast by Peak Performance Sports. I'm curious to see if this one is any good. Fix my head, please!


I also listen to a Jillian Michaels podcast and McMillan Running podcast but they are rarely updated.

Anyone recommend other useful running-related podcasts? 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Brooks Shoe Down

Or is it a run off?
Brooks Adrenaline vs Brooks Ghost
Two very different shoes indeed.

Back in February, I purchased a pair of Brooks Adrenaline because they're an awesome shoe. I've gone through so many of these shoes over the years but my last, most recent pair of Brooks was the Addiction. I did NOT like the Addiction: too heavy, clunky, and stiff for me now that I'm transitioning to a mid/fore-foot strike.

In March I received a pair of Brooks Ghost (FREE!) to wear test. As part of the wear testing program, I started wearing the Ghost right away. I was nervous wearing a "neutral" shoe but found that I LOVE IT!

The Ghost has excellent forefoot cushioning, is responsive, and fits my foot like a sock. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was made specifically for my foot! I also find it much easier to maintain a mid/fore-foot strike in it compared to the Addiction (no surprise, it has a much lower profile).

I've been meaning to break in my Adrenlines so I can alternate shoes to keep them all in better shape over the long term. Plus, I've been thinking it would be good to have the extra support of the Adrenaline for my long runs coming up. So this morning I headed out in my brand-spanking-new Adrenalines. I wore them on the treadmill this past week but they were outdoor virgins. So pretty. So white. So crisp. So...


Noooooooo! During my long run I was attempting to be kind to my joints by running on the grass, when possible, and discovered a couple areas only had the appearance of solid ground. Some areas were actually just grass clumps floating on shallow, muddy pits. Normally I don't care about my shoes getting dirty and even wear the dirt with pride as evidence of my long, hard miles. was just too soon for them to be trashed. They just might end up in the washer tonight. Silly?

Back to the show shoe down.

I have been pleased that my feet/knees/hips did fine in the Ghosts during last weekend's 17-mile run. Today's 10 mile run in the Adrenalines was not what I expected. They fit fine and had great cushioning but...I found it a little more difficult to maintain my proper foot strike. Also, I do think they've changed them a fair amount since my last pair (2008). Anyone else experience this?

Maybe I'm just used to the Ghost and need to spend more time in my Adrenalines? I feel a bit like a traitor for liking the Ghosts better but...I can't deny my Ghost love!

Do you ever feel loyal to a particular shoe? Do you ever cheat on your shoes with other shoes? Do you always wear the same shoe?


Ok so this week I hope to get back on track with training now that this cold is mostly gone. That means speed workouts and my first ever 20-mile run on Saturday! I'm NERVOUS but hoping that watching folks run Boston on Monday will fill me with excitement and ambition. Also coming up this week is the Virtual Jelly Bean Race!


Especially our local gal, Tall Mom Mel! I'LL BE STREAMING THE RACE AT HOME STARTING AT 6:35 A.M. (GO KARA!) AND will be late to work of course. Wah-wah.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ok, seriously, I've lost it

I have not run a single marathon yet. The farthest I've EVER run is 17.2 miles and I've hit that distance twice (2008, 2011).

But, I'm determined to be marathon deflowered this year. I'm currently registered for:

Seattle Rock & Roll Marathon (June 2011)
Portland Marathon (October 2011)

And I just did this, because ok seriously, I've lost it...

I'm counting on the fact that a) I'll really like training for and running marathons, and b) I won't get lucky enough to be drawn for 2011. I'm thinking I will keep applying for the next three marathons so that I get an automatic "in" for 2014. A good friend is also applying for the lottery. Wish we could tie our registrations together so we could go out to NYC at the same time (we ran the NYC Half Marathon together in Aug2007). Hopefully we'll both get rejected for 3 years then we'll be an automatic in at the same time! 

And in other news, I've been wondering about how to keep up with Tall Mom, SUAR, and others, like heroine Kara Goucher, running Boston on Monday and found out that I can skip my morning workout and do some work-work while keeping up with the race: 

Live online streaming on
Live web coverage on


And for those interested in the proper way to do an ice bath, check out Elizabeth @ Running for Bling. She kindly posted an "Ice Bath 101" instruction. I will follow her directions next time!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ice bath S.O.S.

Thanks everyone for your great advice about conquering the mental part of training (see last post). It sounds like mantras, breaking the run up into smaller chunks, and running buddies are critical pieces of the mind game puzzle. Do you think a mantra like, "It's all in your head! Suck it up!" would work?


After Saturday's 17-mile run, I thought I should try an ice bath. My first-ever ice bath. 

So, I filled the tub with some cold water and dumped the entire contents of our ice maker's ice into the tub. With sweatshirt on and RW magazine in hand, I gingerly stepped into the tub and lowered myself in (sorry, no pictures of my pained face). I checked my watch and told myself I'd sit there for 10 minutes and then get out.

The water came up several inches, so that my entire legs and thighs were covered.

The water was C O L D. Which if no surprise, of course, considering I'd poured about a couple pounds of ice into an already cold bath.

I lasted about 1 minute. Why? My PRIVATES couldn't deal. TMI? Too bad! What the heck, people? How do you stand freezing yourselves down there?

Ultimately, I let the water out to the point where I could sit at the shallow end of the tub and have the water come just up my thighs, but that meant the water was too shallow to cover my legs completely. Better than nothing? 

What is y'all's secret to sitting in the freezing water/ice? Am I doing this wrong?

If I could wade into the tub so that the freeze came up to my upper thigh, I think I could handle the medicine sitting. Uh-uh. Nope.

Is there a trick I'm missing? Tequila? What then?


If it's just pure pelvic regions of steel that keeps everyone in there, hats off to you, and next time, I'll just buy bags of ice and sit in the tub without water and pile the bags on top of my legs.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mind games

I did it! 17 miles down. I've had my pastry, my recovery drink, a solid meal, (very brief) first ever ice bath, icy hot gel applied to legs, water, and am resting now with legs up until baby wakes from nap. Overall, feeling pretty damn good!

But it wasn't easy.

All week long, I'd been looking forward to today's long run then yesterday evening, I started psyching myself out. Am I coming down with a bug? I feel warm. My stomach isn't right. My legs are spent - I shouldn't have walked so much at the zoo today. Last night, my sleep was light, fitful. This morning, I woke up at 5:50 a.m., made my Perpetuem energy, filled my water bottles, ate my toast with almond butter, then drove to the start of my loop (Essential Baking Company).

I started running the quiet Burke Gilman trail, heading east toward the University District, over the University Bridge, and south along the east side of Lake Union. I felt like SHIT. My stomach and bowels were not happy. My legs felt like they were made of lead. I literally wanted to cry and crawl back to my car. But how could I be feeling bad? There was no logical reason to feel the way I did.

Was I REALLY feeling bad or was this all in my head? I thought there was NO WAY I could run 17 miles. But I had to keep going because I was meeting S* at the South end of the Lake. I couldn't flake out on her after she made the effort to get up early on a Saturday. The whole 4 miles to my meeting with S, I debated about what I would tell her, why I couldn't run.

Once I saw her, I explained I was moving slow & feeling rough. We took it easy and as we started talking, my body started to feel better. We finished out the run strong and overall had a fantastic pace despite about 2 miles of long hills. THANK YOU, S!

But what gives? What was my mind doing? How did I manage to almost defeat myself like that? I would have defeated myself, I would have quit, if I hadn't met up with S. I've never had such a mental panic before. I've never made myself sick. It's so strange that it all faded away after taking my mind off of myself and felt the energy of someone else. Of course, it also helped that S has run several marathons and knew just what to say to talk me down.

This really makes me nervous because I realize that this can happen at any time, including on race day. I really felt sick and I can totally ruin my marathon experience simply by thinking myself into feeling bad. I expect that the coming long runs will help me prepare mentally for the marathon but today's experience shows me that my confidence is something I really need to focus on during training. Doing a couple long runs on the marathon course will help me have the confidence that I can run the route but also, I think I should visualize feeling good on race day.

What do you all do to prepare yourself mentally? Any quick & dirty tips to share?

While you think about that, some delectable recovery treats to make your taste buds smile:

S & Average Woman Runner @ Essential Baking Co.

Lemon-raspberry scone - yet to be consumed

Cinnamon roll for the hubs

This strawberry croissant was MINE. ALL MINE!

* This was my third run with S. The first run was the New Orleans RNR, where I met S through Elizabeth @ Running for Bling. S lives out of state but happens to be here in Seattle for a short-term internship. Isn't the blog network great?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I found my 17-miler

After finishing my 15-mile run last weekend, the first thing I thought about was this weekend's 17-mile run. Where? When? Why did I have to wait a whole week?

I know I'm only in my second week of marathon training, but I'm already relishing the long runs. Of the three scheduled runs in the Furman FIRST program, the long run is my favorite. The other two I do because they're good for me and I am glad to be done with them. But they hurt. And I can't relax and just enjoy running for the sake of running.

So I could hold back no longer...

This coming Saturday's run will hopefully take place EARLY and in dry conditions:

Complements of USA Track & Field running route database

Yes, it's got some hills. I will try to do those early on, though I hope to start at The Essential Baking Company (a good place to finish) which is by Gasworks Park on Lake Union, then run the loop counter-clockwise. Coincidentally, 17 miles was the longest long-run I did during my last attempt at a full marathon in 2008 and it was a route almost exactly like this, beginning/ending on Magnolia Hill. I'm going to conquer this beast! 

I had considered an "out and back" route because last weekend's O&B made me see the great mental advantage of breaking a long run up into two shorter runs but...I just LOVE this loop! Gotta do it. 

Anyone want to join for all or part? I'm aiming for an early Saturday start, goal pace around 9:20-9:40. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I must be nuts!

Dear Average Woman Runner,
Congratulations! You are now registered for the 2011 Dodge Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon & 1/2 Marathon - Marathon. Please check the event's website for updates.
Please note: Each participant must pick up their own race number at the Health & Fitness Expo. Go to the Expo page of the race website,, for times and location of the Expo.

Rock 'n' Roll Seattle

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Verdict: Revised Master Plan 2011 (Draft 5)

Thanks everyone for all the input. It's so helpful to have all the cumulative marathon experience to tap into. It sounds like for this first marathon, I should be o.k. with running just one 20-miler. However, I am going to try the more advanced plan that includes four 20-mile runs and if I fall short, I should still be safe.

This summer, I will have a harder time getting my long runs around all the competing summer trips & other obligations but I'll at least have the Seattle RNR training under my belt. I work Mon - Thurs (no child care or hubs on Fridays), so long runs definitely need to be done on Sat or Sun.

I can't believe I have marathon fever. The idea of waiting until the fall to run my first marathon just makes me want to crawl the walls! My training has been going so well and I'm feeling so great, I just have to go for it! 

My first marathon will NOT be Portland, OR in October. Instead, I'm going to go for the Seattle Rock & Roll in late June (though not registered yet). That gives me about 13 more weeks to train for the full. Until then, I'll be following a hybrid training plan to prepare for the Indianapolis Mini Marathon. After that, I'll be 100% focused on Seattle RNR. Then, I'll just take a few weeks off before starting Portland Marathon training in July. The revised Master Plan 2011 will certainly keep me out of trouble!

My "hybrid" plan now combines the half and full Furman FIRST programs: Key workout 1 (track workout) will still be consistent with the half marathon training program. Key workout 2 (tempo run) and Key workout 3 (long run) will follow the marathon program. Detailed workouts now through the Seattle RNR:

In line with the new plan, I ran my first LONG run this weekend: 15 miles! My friends, E & Mr. S, were out visiting from Indianapolis this weekend so Mr. S (who I will be running with behind in the Indy Mini next month) and I did the 15-miler together. We'll also be training for the Portland Marathon together this summer, once they move back to Seattle in JULY! 

Anyway, the long run was fantastic - mostly flat and completely along the Elliot Bay waterfront with views of the Olympic Mountains, Bainbridge Island, and downtown Seattle.

It has been RAINY but we got lucky with dry weather for our long run.

Average Woman Runner & Mr. S
Day after the long run, and I feel great! Looking forward to next weekend's 17-miler already!

Now, to get registered for the RNR...