Monday, November 28, 2011

November re-cap & December races

Man, I started this month out RIGHT! My running was on track and I even got my first full week of speed work in with NO pain. I thought I was "back." Then, the green virus hit = Sinus pressure so strong I feel like my teeth are going to pop out of my gums. Ug. I'm recovering now but the training is off-track again. So it goes.

Next month is another chance to pick it up again. Somehow, despite being in recovery mode and having trouble with consistent training, I managed to get myself hooked into TWO half marathons and ONE 5k next month! LOCA!

Let's break November down...
  • November mileage = 54 though still two days left (up from 37 in Oct., 47 in Sept.).
  • One week out sick. Blech.
  • Dropped out of Amanda's Holiday Booty Buster Challenge. Lame, I know. I had fun with it last year, but it was stressing me out to have to track everything.
  • 10 running days total (so far), 6 cycling days, 4 strength training days, 1 elliptical day (that almost finished me off).
  • First successful interval (4 x 1,000m) & tempo (4-mile) workouts since June. This included mapping the perfect 2-mile loop on which to run tempos, just <0.5 mile from my house. Includes flats & moderate hills for a great mix (see photo below). 
  • Two long runs with Megan, beautiful fall scenery along Lake Washington (photo 1, photo 2).
  • Received two pairs of Brooks shoes [free] to wear test (sweet!).
  • Enjoyed my CSA produce more than ever with summer gone, the photo of which seemed to be of interest to some folks. I think I will have to post on the crazy veggies later.  
  • Did NOT participate in Black Friday (again) and overcame the urge to buy a Thomas the Train track for the little one to put under the tree (though I caved on a puzzle). Still on track to not overindulge. But I might go back for that Thomas toy.
  • Succumbed to CyberMonday deals and purchased blinds for the new basement bath & bedroom.
  • Panic about what's coming in December with minimal training under my belt: 
    • Las Vegas Rock & Roll Half Marathon (mostly a walk) THIS WEEKEND, at the end of a bachelorette weekend. Assuming we finish, this will be RNR event #3 this year! 
    • Santa Runs Tacoma 5k on December 18 with Team Will Run for Ice Cream, dressed as candy canes.
    • Yukon Do It Half Marathon on December 31 in Port Orchard. I only signed up for the race because of the photo they have on their home page. It's beautiful. Or it has the potential to be beautiful, anyway. It could also be 33 degrees and raining this year when I do it. Fingers crossed for clear skies.
Sweeeet 2-mile loop for running tempos
In addition to the hubs being in Puerto Rico for work for a week and all the other holiday work & family parties, it's going to be a busy month. So glad I have these races carved out, even if I end up having to go easy due to lack of training. It's going to feel so good to get out and run with a bunch of festive people (it's been since June, can you believe?).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving & Vinny quote (TBL)

I'm taking some time off from running for a few days due to a virus that overtook me, but want to wish everyone a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year, including a loving & supportive family, great job, incredible friends, and the ability to get out and enjoy running (when I'm not sick, that is).

This is totally random but last night during The Biggest Loser, Vinny (my favorite contestant) made a statement that resonated with me. When Bob asked him what he would see looking into Vinny's window at Thanksgiving, Vinny said that they would see the happiest kid who would have everything he needs and would work hard for everything he wants. 

Things just don't have much value when they come easy. Nothing wrong with a good work ethic and nothing worse than someone who thinks they're entitled to everything!

Good luck to the Seattle Marathon/Half Marathoners out there and everyone doing a turkey trot, gobble, waddle, and more.

Just a little more than a week out from Las Vegas RNR Half! WOOT!

Now to make some sense out of this week's produce delivery...persimmons, arugula, kale, beets, baby bok choy, and more - oh my!


Monday, November 21, 2011

NCAA Division I XC Update

NEWS FLASH!

The University of Washington's Husky women placed 2nd today at the NCAA Division 1 national cross country championship meet in Terra Haute, IN!

UW's score (170) was oh so close to the 1st place team Georgetown U (162). Villanova followed UW in 3rd place (181).

It was a close race for the top finishers, with a Villanova runner taking first in the 6 km course in 19:41.2. Fellow Pac-12 conference runner, Jordan Hasay of University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), took a close second in 19:41.8. These ladies are amazing, no?

UW's lead runner, sophomore Katie Flood (she won the Pac-12 meet, yo!), placed 7th at nationals with a finish time of 19:47.9.


The next big running meet (non-collegiate), the USA Track & Field National Cross Country Championship, is coming to us here in Seattle on December 10. As with last year's Pac-10 conference meet, the USATF national meet will be run less than a mile from my house, at the Jefferson Park Golf Course.

Let me know if you are in the area and want to spectate with me. Details about the meet can be found HERE. Otherwise, the schedule is here:

December 10, 2011
9:00 a.m. Community Races 2 km & 4 km
9:45 Disabled Club Champs. 2 km & 4 km
10:45 Masters Women's 6 km
11:45 Masters Men's 10 km
1:00 p.m. Open Women's 6 km
1:45 Open Men's 10 km

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It took 5 months

I haven't been able to complete Furman FIRST speed workouts since JUNE, before the big blow-out. But it looks like I'm on my way back. After 5 long months. 

Key workout #1: 1 mi warm-up, 4x1000m in 4:44, 1 mi cool-down. DONE!
Key workout #2: 1 mi warm-up, 4 mi tempo @ 7:34 pace, 0.5 mi cool-down. DONE!
Key workout #3: 10 mi long run. (To be completed this weekend)

Ok, so this is a bit premature as there still is one workout left, but it's the speedwork that has been the greatest hurdle in my rehab. I'm pretty damn excited to have gotten through the intense workouts unscathed. No calf explosions. Not even a tumble off the treadmill (though it was close on those 1,000's).

And in other unfinished business...
finally finished knitting this hat that I started last winter. Had to rip it out and size up. DONE!

Other positive happenings this week: 
Two pairs of mystery shoes from Brooks arrived on my porch to wear test (and another Brooks running skirt of my doing): 

Very nice!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Splits59 raffle entry to LA Marathon

Yesterday, I was contacted by Splits59 about an incredible opportunity:

Activewear company Splits59 is sponsoring two female runners in the 2012 Honda Los Angeles Marathon. 

How do you get a chance to be sponsored? Click on this link HERE and enter a random drawing to enter the contest.

Who is Splits59? They are a California-based company founded by triathletes and ultra runners who make fashionable clothing for active women.

When does this all go down? The drawing takes place on December 1, 2011 and the LA Marathon that you can gain entry to takes place on March 18, 2012.

What exactly can you win? Two ladies will win paid registration into the 2012 Honda LA Marathon and a Splits59 Endurance Pack, which consists of clothing, a water bottle, and more. (Package valued at $400; does not include travel.)

Splits59 says: "this challenge is for the passionate runner who’s either never run a marathon or just needs a little extra push to run their next one. We want you to come run Los Angeles!" 


Check out the official rules on their contest entry page. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bizzaro Furman 10k training & other updates

Thank you JESS for the great Pearl Izumi arm warmers and for hosting the Cupcake Classic!
I don't know how to make a proper fist/biceps pose. Instructions anyone? 
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I'm still not getting all of my Furman workouts in but last week was an improvement (how did manage the marathon training program earlier this year? Did I dream that?). Life is just too busy sometimes. I did manage to get 2 of 3 key workouts in and was able to run every other day:

Key workout #1: Short ladder intervals. Instead of 200m, 400m, 600m, 800m, 800m, 600m, 400m, 200m with 400m RI on the track, I did it all on the elliptical. I used the Furman target paces and just went all out for those interval durations rather than trying to hit those distances on the elliptical. Sounds strange but it was a great workout and left my legs sore for a couple days.

Key workout #2: Mixed pace tempo. Didn't happen. Too sore from key workout #1!

Key workout #3: Long run. This is always my favorite part of the week. As with last week, I met up with Megan (The Daily Sweat) for a beautiful run in fall color along Lake Washington. We ran a 9 mile out & back route between Seward Park and Leschi. Felt great. We saw 49 other runners while we were out!
Megan in action
I only made it to the gym for strength training once (hubs was traveling again = limited "free" time). Bike commuting went reasonably well though.

This next week my goal is to hit all three target workouts, only I think I'll do the Key Workout #1 or #2 on the bike instead of elliptical because that crazy machine too hard on my calf when I try to pick up the speed/intensity. I THINK my calf is healthy enough for slightly longer speed work - maybe that 4 x 1000m workout coming up this week? 

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As for the "healthy at any size" topic from last week, I appreciate all the comments. I really do wish we could put a cap & trade system on fats, sugar, and preservatives and figure out a way for everyone to have access to affordable, healthful foods, but I know it would never fly. Imagine the cries in Washington if anyone spoke of additional regulations on industry and development of new federal programs. And I do know that we have a lot of inequity in everything in this country and that we do not all have the same opportunities and that federal programs can help address these gaps. I myself have benefited from affirmative action programs and would never oppose such programs, unpopular as they often are. I still do not think it's fair to tell people that they can be healthy at any size or that they should not take responsibility for their health. It's misleading and harmful.

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And in good news, the IAAF has allowed Paula Radcliffe to keep her World Record status. The IAAF stated that the recent rule was not meant to be held to old records; although, isn't that exactly what they said when they made the ruling? Either way, it's good that Paula's record will stand and hopefully we'll see a new women's world record soon to show those at the IAAF that women can run fast, even without male pacers.

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Saving more great news for last, the UW women took their FOURTH consecutive NCAA West Regional cross country championship title this weekend. Full results for the meet can be viewed HERE. They, along with Arizona State women XC, will be continuing on to nationals in Kenosha, WI on November 21. GO DAWGS!
I know it's backwards, but you get it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Neoliberal healthist? Yes ma'am

I typically stay from politics but I can't keep clam about this one. Here's the deal:

Normally the word "neoliberalism" has negative connotations to me. Well, apparently I am guilty of being a NEOLIBERAL HEALTHIST and I'm owning it. Last week, my best friend was at the biggest conference in public health (American Public Health Association) and started texting me from a session entitled:

Introduction: The focus on obesity at the individual and health behavior level can mask the social and structural production of obesity. It has also proven to be largely ineffective, as the increasing levels of obesity in the U.S. have shown. Further, the focus on 'obesity reduction' may alienate women of larger sizes and actually result in their engaging in fewer health behaviors, such as exercise, due to issues of stigma. 

So take everything you read here with a grain of salt, I did not attend the session and this is clearly NOT my area of expertise BUT...I play a health expert in blogland.

I was so intrigued by my friend's texts (i.e., rants on the fact that health statistics show you can't be healthy at any size) that I had to do some internet searching on this new term for lack of any other route to learn more. I found masters theses, Ph.D. dissertations, blog articles, online mag articles, and articles from peer-reviewed literature on this topic. And they incensed me!

From what I can gather, neoliberal healthism is that idea that the individual is responsible for obesity and poor health and that good health can be achieved through one's own determination and actions. The neoliberal healthist believes that the individual is responsible for choosing a healthy lifestyle and even has a social obligation not to be obese, not be unhealthy, because of the high cost of disease to society (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc). According to some folks out there, including those who spoke during this session, this is BAD to put everything on the shoulders of the individual.

They believe that focusing on the individual masks the problems in society and culture that contribute to obesity. Oh, and don't use the words "obesity" and "obese" because it makes people feel bad and creates an intimidating environment.

I can see where they're coming from with using the term obesity. BUT I don't see any reason why individuals shouldn't take responsibility for their own health and when people don't take responsibility, I think it makes it MY problem, our problem. And that's not cool, yo.

I strongly feel that when they say we shouldn't focus on the individual, they are taking POWER AWAY FROM ME. They are telling me, "Sorry hon', but you're weak, you really cannot resist temptations out there, you aren't capable of taking care of yourself or making healthy lifestyle choices, you really can't change anything about your life. Just give up, we'll try to take care of this one for you by fixing all the problems with our media, marketing, food production and service, educational system..."

Sure we need to make larger changes at the societal and cultural level but in our free market system, I think we have to affect change from the bottom up. We have to make the change through our lifestyle choices, using our power as consumers. It's not happening from the top down. Unless you think the federal government can get away with a cap & trade system on sugar, fats, and preservatives in food?

This really struck a chord with me and was quite upsetting. It challenges my belief that I AM an individual, I am empowered to make smart choices. Also, I'm raising a toddler and I put a lot of effort into trying to teach him personal responsibility and consequences for his actions, so how can people say that making individuals responsible for their actions is WRONG?

What do YOU think? 

If you find this interesting, do you own searching and look into this then tell me what you find out.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Something to write home about

Ready?

Ok, this may be the FIRST weekend ever that my entire house was vacuumed ALL AT ONCE. If you're like me, you squeeze house work in as you can: while the little guy is sleeping, while hubs is out playing with little guy, while cooking, whenever. As a consequence, nothing is ever clean at once. I am just amazed that I was able to do the upstairs, main floor, and basement together. Definitely cause for celebration and pulling a pint from the fresh keg we picked up on Friday. Mmmm...Manny's! 

(By the way, I run for beer and appreciate that having a kegerator means I don't have to shamefully drag 100 empty bottles into the alley once a week for the neighbors to see on recycling pick-up day.

Another cause for celebration: I can feel I'm coming out of my slump. I'm just going to call October a FAILURE and move on. A new month, a new beginning.

The hype for the NYC marathon and the long run yesterday with lovely Megan (The Daily Sweat) combined with the amazing fall weather lately have helped to kick me in the caboose. (The new pumpkin/polka dot running skirt doesn't hurt, either. See below.) 

Route: Madison Park to Mt. Baker Park on Lake WA Blvd, out & back.
Yes, eyed closed. But check out those colors in the trees!  
Yesterday, Megan & I ran for 30 minutes in darkness along Lake Washington until the sky started to glow a brilliant PINK as the sun rose over the Cascade Mountain range. The rest of the run we enjoyed the sunrise turn the sky bright colors as well as the brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows of the leaves along the lakeside path. (Wish I had taken a camera along.) 

We did a nice 8-mile out & back route along the lake which is also miles 4 to 8-ish of the Seattle Marathon/Half coming up this Thanksgiving weekend. I think this must have been one of the last long runs before the race because this route was CLUTTERED with runners. We must have seen at least 40 runners out. 

This was Megan's first long run to kick off her marathon training so I'm hoping to catch these lower distance runs with her for a while and get my butt in gear (i.e., hoping Megan will drag my lazy butt along as she trains). Always helps to have a friend to train with and it's great that this is one I met via blogland, at the Lake Samammish Half Marathon this past March

On deck for me this week a la Furman FIRST 10k program:
  • Ladder intervals (200, 400, 600, 800 & back down)
  • Mixed-pace tempo run 
  • Long run (9 mi) 
  • Cross-training, weights, and physical therapy exercises
I think this week, I'll do all but the track work as actual runs. Still nervous about re-injuring the calf on the speed work so will try the ladder intervals on the elliptical instead. 

I hope everyone's week gets off to a good start! 



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Struggling & end of 2011 race list

Maybe it's the change in season? The darkness as late as 7 a.m.? The frost and rain? I actually had to wear full-length pants for the first time this season during my bike commute to/from work.

Brrrr. Must be November. 

I'm pretty much recovered from the big push at work but all those extra hours + hubs traveling (oh yeah, he was gone the first half of this week, too) = derailed routine. And for me, training success is ALL about routine.

So, I'm struggling to get back into the pattern of getting up to do my workouts, get to work, get home to see the little guy & fix dinner/do house chores, then sleep & repeat. It's not easy, even though it feels so good once I'm actually doing it.

We've all been in this rut before and I know the way out is to JUST DO IT. Easy, right? Someone want to come kick me in the butt tomorrow morning, about 5:50 a.m.? I NEED HELP! Somewhere between September and now, I got lazy.

I look ahead to how soon Thanksgiving will be upon us and wonder when I'm going to get with the program. TIME IS WASTING! I'd REALLY like to do some races at the end of this year, after having taken so much time off from that damn calf explosion during Seattle RNR.

If I can suck it up & get off my Halloween candied ass, I will manage a decent finish to the Master Plan 2011:

Widdle Waddle Half (11/24) = I have no business going 13 miles in 3ish weeks but I can walk-jog if needed or just go REALLY easy. It's located just a few miles from my house & follows a decent running route.

Las Vegas RNR Half (12/4) = Already registered with girls from the bachelorette party. This will definitely be a mostly-walk event for us. Plus, Cheap Trick is the headliner! (ha)

Santa Runs Tacoma 5k (12/17) = This is what should be motivating me to get out of bed each morning. I had hoped this would be a target race, a grand finale for 2011 but I'm not sure if I can pull some speed together by mid-Dec.

Yukon Do It Half (12/31) = I've never run in Port Orchard and it just looks like a pretty place to run. I had hoped I'd be in shape to semi-race this (tempo run?).

Alright y'all, I'm tired of this blah attitude. Tomorrow morning I'm DOING IT! Or else I have face this page knowing I wimped out.