Sunday, January 27, 2013

Essential 14 + Another RunBandz winner

Ok, first thing first: The winner of the RunBandz giveaway hasn't contacted me in the last week so I drew another name. Well, first the random number generator picked the exact same commenter so I clicked again and our new winner is:

KATRINA (wakeboarding mama)

Please email me:

My favorite part of "training" is my weekly long run. I love thinking about where to run, getting all my junk prepared (water, energy, bus pass-for-just-in-case, etc), and just heading out for 2+ hours. Heaven. I love these long runs solo so I can let my mind wander, listen to my breathing, and go at my own pace. 

However, I also love taking these long runs with friends. This week was one of these such runs. Sally (also registered for Eugene) & I managed to get our first long run together of the season and braved the rains. This was a true Seattle winter day with a solid drizzle for an entire 14 miles. (With some great luck, Megan opted out of our run to get some extra sleep then managed to get all of her 10 miles in without rain!)

Partly because of the rain, I didn't pull my camera out to take photos so you'll have to take my word that we covered some interesting and pretty ground on our Essential 14. Why Essential, you ask? Well, it was the Essential 14 mile run because it started and finished at the Essential Baking Company.

Courtesy of USATF.ORG
When I'm left to plan a long route that does not start/finish at my house, I almost always figure out a way to finish at a bakery, cafe, or equivalent. That's just how I roll, baby. So after covering this lovely wet course, I enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa & an orange cinnamon sticky bun and brought home some fresh baked challah for french toast on Sunday. Nom nom!

Otherwise, training this week was "average"with no brilliant breakthroughs or revelations but there is still plenty of time for that later:

  • Monday 3 mi run or XT = Core workout and 35 min bike commute.
  • Tuesday 7 mi negative split run (3 mi, 3 mi, 1 mi) = Yes! This was a LOT of fun. Ran to the lake & back, VERY foggy.
  • Wednesday Rest or XT = Bike commute ~35 min biking total, no yoga or zumba as hoped. 
  • Thursday 6 mi =  Grabbed my gym bag, headed to work, braked for runch only to find that I had forgotten my shoes! I had my Altras in my desk drawer so I ended up going only 3 miles, pushing my max distance in these shoes. I was afraid going a full 6 mi would be too much, too soon in these zero-drop shoes. My calves were sore for 2 days but it actually felt REALLY good. My right foot plantar fascia was really acting up but once it warmed up, felt great and has bothered me less since this run. Coincidence?
  • Friday Rest or XT = None. Hoped to do strength but with a 4:15 a.m. wake-up by the little man and only a 1-hr nap on his part, my hopes of a workout were dashed.
  • Saturday 14 mi long = 13.5 miles, calling it close enough. 
  • Sunday Rest = Snowy play day in the mountains! 

This coming week should be pretty similar with mid-week 6 mi and 7 mi runs, only the 6 miler is a hill workout (YES, I actually like these). Long run should be 15 mi and I'm thinking of a finish at Bakery Nouveau, the best. bakery. ever.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bridge to Nowhere

Seattle has been engulfed in fog for a couple weeks now. Tuesday's run to Lake Washington provided no lake views, just fog, as evidenced here with a view of the I-90 floating bridge.

This portion between Seattle and Mercer Island is a little over a mile long but you would never know from this picture!
And now finally, the fog has lifted. It's a little hard to tell here but the sun is actually on it's way out this morning!
View looking south from my downtown office.
I couldn't wake up in time to get my run in (why did I stay up late to work after watching Top Chef Seattle?) so I'm hoping to squeeze it in this afternoon. Wish me luck...

Monday, January 21, 2013

RunBandz winner & marathon training update

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the RunBandz giveaway this past week and to new readers, thanks for stopping by!

There were 20 entries in the giveaway and let me just say, the MICHIGANDERS were really representing! Who knew there were so many people from the mitten-shaped state running & blogging? Seeing as how I'm married to a Michigander and our giveaway is sponsored by a Michigander, I have to admit I was pulling for y'all. selected comment #16...lucky OKIE GYM GIRL! Morganne of Oklahoma, message me at for the details.

Everyone else, check out Amber's Etsy shop and treat yourself to a new headband. She has new patterns up as of this weekend and you can own one for the bargain price of $5 (less, if you use the code: AVERAGEWOMAN).

Marathon Training Week 4 Update:

Last week was pretty busy with work and volunteer activities. In fact, I need to drop something because I just don't have time. I've been participating in a community group that is trying to get a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T from the airlines / FAA but I think I need to focus my precious spare time instead on our local Headstart program. I'm on the Policy Council (like PTA for preschool) and as of last week I am now on the Board of Directors. That's a lot of meetings, letter writing, phone calls, and fundraising y'all! Phew. If anyone wants to know how preschool can save the world, listen to THIS brief yet amazing podcast.

Anyway, this was the deal last week from the Another Mother Runner Finish It plan:
  • "Fun workout" - This was my Jillian Michaels core workout that I do every Monday. I hope it still counts?
  • 6 mi run - Nice cruise around the hood DONE!
  • Rest/XT day - ZUMBA baby, yeah! 
  • Interval run workout - 1 mi each warm-up/cool-down, 2 x 1.5 mile intervals with 0.5 mi rest interval, on the YMCA treadmill, got 'er done! 
  • 3 mi run or strength - FAIL. This was on my non-work day but the little man did NOT nap, giving me no time to get this one done (plus we had 2 doc appointments to get him to, long line at pharmacy, etc). Blech.
  • 13 mi long run - FAIL. I traveled 3 hrs east, over the Cascade Mountains, this weekend to officiate my uncle's wedding then back the next day. I had good intentions of getting up Sunday morning before we drove back to run & photo document this cold but sweet town and instead I slept. I was freaking exhausted after a long work/volunteer week and a wedding. In this case, I really do think that sleep was better for me than pushing out that long run.
So it goes. An "ok" week.

This week, I have more extra-curricular meetings on my big run days (Tuesday & Thursday) but am hoping to find a way to make it happen and still get my minimum "ideal" of 7 hrs sleep at night. Also, after thinking of taking January off from bike commuting I changed my mind. I miss my green beauty!

I haven't posted any photos in a while. Kinda lame, I'll try to work on that.

Big running goal this week: Get out for my long run (14 mi) with some of the local running ladies who are training for spring marathons! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Yesterday I finished off week 3 of marathon training with a beautiful sunny, cold (36 degree), strong, hilly midday 11-mile run...

The first 30 minutes were a bit touch & go as I warmed up but once I got to the lake, I found my groove. Some areas were icy yet but for the most part it was quite fresh & beautiful.

Along Lake Washington, Mt. Baker in distance but you probably can't see it here.
A coot convention? I-90 floating bridge in background.
Exiting the Chief Sealth Trail (which runs under the big powerlines), I noticed this bicycle angel sculpture for the first time. How many times have I run past this and not noticed? When was it put here?
Once home, I chugged my glass of Recoverite (it's magic, for reals) then made my favorite post-medium long run meal*: egg over easy on an English muffin with proscuitto and fruit on the side. YUM. After a shower, I headed to the women's spa to celebrate a couple gf birthdays. I was good, and plunged into the cold pool a couple times to ice my legs. Ah!

(*post-long long run meal is a hamburger with sweet potato fries with milkshake and/or beer. I have to log at least 15 or 16 miles to be able to stomach this one.)


Down to GIVEAWAY business...(my second give-away ever)
AMBER @ RUNBANDZ (Etsy Shop) would like to give a headband away to a lucky runner!

This lovely Michigander decided to make RunBandz after being frustrated with her ear buds popping out and bangs hanging in her face while running. Rather than fork out lots of cheddah to buy commercially made headbands that never stayed put, she took up making her own.

I think this glitter one is my favorite & could be used with many a Sparkle Skirt!
A little background...
Despite growing up in a family of runners and avid gym-goers, the mere thought of working out or running any distance more than a few yards was more than Amber thought she could handle.

At the tail end of an unhealthy relationship, she had lost her self worth and gained about 50 lbs. She had isolated herself from virtually all friends and family and found solace in large quantities of junk food. One day after weighing herself, and seeing the number "192," she knew her 5'2" frame needed a change right then and there.

Amber started working out 5x a week at the local gym and running a few times a week in her neighborhood. She says something I think many people can relate to: 

"Running is something I literally never dreamed I could do. I had short legs and was big busted (a tragic combination for a runner). Determined, little by little, my running improved. My posture, speed, distance and breathing started to resemble that of an actual runner!"

Since 2010, she's done a handful of 5ks, 8ks, 10ks, and one very hilly and grueling 15k! This year, she looks forward to training for her first 10 mile (The Crim) in August. (GO AMBER!)

So far she has lost 50 lbs (right on, sole sister!). Her boyfriend's wonderful cooking and her love for food makes for a daily struggle, but with moderation and 45 minutes of running or working out (including Insanity), she reports that she goes to bed feeling confident and genuinely happy with herself, which is more important than anything.

Back to the RunBandz...
As her running developed, she had two problems: her earbuds NEVER stayed in her ears and her hair would ALWAYS fly in her face. She looked for headbands at the store, but they were never tight enough around her head (note the gorgeous thick hair). After seeing $18 headbands online, she thought to herself,
"I could make these myself much cheaper and more importantly, much cuter!"
She ordered the material, got out her sewing machine, and went to work. She makes headbands snug enough to without a doubt stay in place while running, and wide enough to put over your ears while running so the earbuds, without fail, stay in place.

There you have it. So go to her ETSY shop and buy a cute RunBandz for a bargain using the 10% off code: AVERAGEWOMAN and while you are there, give this gal a virtual high five for her accomplishments.

ALSO, enter a giveaway to win a RunBandz by:
  • Leaving a comment here saying you want in
  • Tweeting about the giveaway (@almamcf) then leaving me a comment to let me know you did so 

Friday, January 11, 2013

A decision & marathon training week 3 update

I can't do it. 

As much as I want to go run the Georgia Half Marathon on March 18th with Kim & Elizabeth and see Kia, I can't miss my friend's 40th birthday. No go.

Even though it would have been a blast and super low cost with a free plane ticket, my bff only turns 40 once and I won't get to be with her on my 40th next month, so we'll celebrate together in March.

Today is cold (for us, 35 degrees F), clear, and sunny - stunning. The snow-capped Olympic Mountains are out in full force and I wish I could show them to everyone out there but my camera just won't do them justice.

It rained miserably most of this week, which made this wimp hit the treadmill for training runs. I really struggle with the treadmill because I get bored and hot. That said, it is nice to play games with paces and times as I run.

Marathon training Week 3 is nearly complete with just some strength work and my 11 mile long run to go:

  • Monday - Ran 2 miles with 15 minutes of barefoot and did some core strength work.
  • Tuesday - 5 mi run with middle 3 miles as harder effort. 
  • Wednesday - Rest/XT day so I tried ZUMBA for the first time. IT WAS AWESOME. I'm definitely going to be trying to fit this Wednesday lunchtime class in whenever my work schedule will allow. I think it will help my core a bit, lift my mid-week spirits, and improve my coordination! Plus, I think it was good to get my body moving in different planes/dimensions than it's used to.
  • Thursday - 6 miles with negative splits every two miles. This one was fun, run using a random hill treadmill program. My 2-mile splits were 19:27, 17:50, and 17:18. I had hoped to get down to 16:00 for the last 2 miles but I was overheating too much as it was.
My 11 mile long run will be along Lake Washington so I can enjoy the views and redeem myself:
This was my Week 1 hilly long run route that kicked my butt. This time, I'm ready for those hills at the end, bitches!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013 is a peach

Kim is my loca friend who is cruising around the states running half marathons. This past October, I accompanied her & LJ on a double-header weekend to DE & NJ. It was fantastic. Prior to this, I had never even considered traveling for the sole purpose of running a race.

Lately, she's been tempting me to join her again this coming October for another east coast double-header. However, I don't think October is likely to pan out for me. Instead, I'm thinking of crashing her upcoming March trip to the land where peaches reign: a trip to run the GEORGIA HALF MARATHON.

The idea of getting to see bloggy friend Elizabeth (and maybe Kia or even possibly some co-workers I've been dying to meet?) may be too much to pass up. The timing is perfect with Kim heading out there.

It's crazy and
I feel guilty even thinking of it because...
in February we're taking a big family vacation.
I'm already going to be absent many Saturday mornings between now & April 28th for marathon training long runs.
my husband and I just don't travel separately except for work. Not typically. Just not our thing.
it's the same weekend as a close friend's 40th birthday.

I have enough points for a RT airline ticket.
I would be gone for just a weekend.
it would be SO MUCH FUN!!

Need to think on this...

In other news, marathon training week 2 went ok. I'm really grateful for the comments last week on my plan. I am definitely thinking of adding another 20-miler but still want to see how this first month of increased mileage goes. This week, I missed one "easy" run but got in:
  • 3 strength/fitness workouts
  • easy 2 mile run
  • 5 mile speedy run
  • 12 mile long run
I'm feeling pretty good, just a few twinges of the plantar fascia so I'm trying to be good about stretching my calves, icing, and rolling out my arches.

This coming week I have two easy runs (3, 5 mi), one tempo run (6 mi), one long run (11 mi) along with the strength & cross training.

And love that Jillian is BACK! Is anyone else giddy too? I'm so glad they've brought kids on the show but I'm curious to see how they handle them emotionally & physically, and how they protect them (I hope) from being completely exposed on national television.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Marathon plan

The plan: FINISH IT plan from Another Mother Runner - Train Like a Mother.

Description: 5 days/week of running, some light speed work about once a week based on level of effort rather than hitting specific times/distances, one 20-miler.

I struggled with this. After being totally addicted to the Furman Run Less, Run Faster program with its two days of hard speed work with specific intervals and paces, two days of cross-training, and brisk long runs that included five 20-milers, I struggled with the AMR program's lack of specificity and only one 20-miler. So, of course I modified the "finish it" program to include only 3 days/week of running, more cross-training, and three 20-milers.

Over the last few weeks, I subsequently regained my sense and am sticking with the one 20-miler included in the plan. But, I think I will keep the running down to 3-4 days/week and increase the cross-training.

Other Critical Training:
Strength training - 2 days/week
Yoga - 1 day/week
Physical therapy for the plantar fascia - once/month (in my dream world, this will include a massage once/month) 

Other Critical Fun Activities: 
Contemplating an 11-mile trail race in January, a "Geoduck" Gallop Half Marathon in February, a two-week celebration abroad for my birthday/10-yr wedding anniversary that will include some travel running, Mercer Island Half Marathon in March, and maybe the Mt. Si Relay in April before Eugene.

The Training:
Week 1: Completed (mostly)! This included:
  • 12/24 - 3.25 mi easy run, was supposed to be 5 miles but ran short on time due to holiday festivities.
  • 12/25 - REST
  • 12/26 - Cross training with Jillian (No More Trouble Zones & 6-Week 6-Pack)
  • 12/27 - 5.2 mi tempo run (felt great!)
  • 12/28 - Cross training (does snowboarding count? first day of my season = awesome! this was supposed to be a 4 mi run.)
  • 12/29 - 11 mi long run (very challenging post-boarding with sore butt cheeks from a couple rough chair lift dismounts) 
  • 12/20 - REST (legs are lifeless)
Week 2:  Plan calls for 3 easy runs, one interval workout, and one 12-mile run. My goal will be to complete the interval & long runs, and 1 or 2 of the easy runs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Good riddance, 2012

There were certainly some great times in 2012, beginning with the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon with KIM, meeting new friend & runner Sarah, my best friend's wedding in Whistler, double-header DE-NJ running weekend with Kim & LJ, and more.

But really, this was one of those rare years that made me appreciate how great most OTHER years are and how blessed I truly am. The last time I had a less than stellar year was...2006. Pretty fortunate, really. Aside from the fact that I DNS the Capital City Half Marathon due to plantar fasciitis and ended up taking four months off from running, I just had a lot of personal, non-running shit going on.

It doesn't make any sense, but switching over to a new calendar FEELS good. I know every day can be a fresh start but there is something cleansing about January 1st.

After having essentially no running goals in 2012 (because I thought I would be having a baby), I've decided 2013 must be different. As broadcast already, I've registered for the Eugene Marathon on April 28th. The FULL. It may not make sense as we've decided to go ahead and give baby #2 another shot (finally got the mental strength back to try again) AND because I am still battling the plantar fasciitis, but...

whatever. I need a goal.

Unlike my 2011 marathon attempt where I arrived at the start line OVER-trained and ended up injured at mile 14, my 2013 training will be much more sane. In 2011, I wanted to simultaneously finish my first marathon AND qualify for Boston. In 2013, my goal will be to FINISH. A perfectly reasonable goal.


And, if my plantar fasciitis (or a pregnancy?) forces me to downgrade to the half or bail - - - it will be o.k. because in the meantime, I will just enjoy following a training program and pushing myself.

To get me to that Eugene start line with a healthy body, I will be following the Another Mother Runner "FINISH IT" marathon plan from Train Like a Mother. More on this later...