RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Sunday, May 31, 2009

STS Week 13 in Review

This was the heaviest week of the entire STS Rotation. I lifted 90% of my 1 Rep Max and it felt almost easy. This week was 4 sets of only 6 reps and next week I go back to 85% of my 1 Rep Max, but I do 8 reps.

The plyo legs are still really difficult, but I'm liking them because they make me feel like I'm working the hardest that I possibly can in a workout. Oof, just really difficult.

I screwed up this week and didn't get up early and do the second upper body video on Friday morning like I wanted to. I couldn't work out Friday night because we had plans. So, after my 7 mile run on Saturday morning, I came home and did the workout.

Also Saturday, Todd and I finally made it to the pool. I started Lesson #1 of Total Immersion and found it to be harder than expected. I felt like I was flopping around a lot, but I am excited to give Lesson 1 another try and also to start Lesson 2. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be swimming like a pro.

Today was the Maryland Half Marathon. I didn't run but Todd and quite a few people that we know ran. I volunteered at a couple of water stops and then ran some at the end (just a couple miles). Hooray for everyone who ran! It was a nice day, but it was hot and it looked like the course was tough.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kim VS. The Slugs

After my wonderful planting that I did last weekend, yesterday after my run I did a walk around my yard to see how my plants are doing.  That's when I saw that my Zinnias have holes all in the leaves, some of them are almost destroyed.  I was furious!  

I inspected them and found the culprit: slugs.  They had slugs all over them.  I was angry, I was really really pissed!  I took one and tried to feed it to the annoying mockingbird who has taken up residence in our yard.  The mockingbird would have none of it.  The mockingbird is a different story, but he's become a big part of our daily lives because he is so irritating.

I stormed into the shed and found some insecticide.  Slugs were not listed among the things that it killed, but I went anyway and sprayed all of the zinnias with it.  I don't know if I did anything other than annoy the slugs.

So, today I did some research and came across this site that talks about using coffee grounds to keep slugs away.  Ok.  Worth a try.  I am not a coffee drinker, so I went into the break room in the office and stole the coffee grounds out of the pot.  One of our company board members was in there talking to someone and gave me a weird look, but I did not explain.  I will put the coffee grounds around the zinnias tonight.

Death to slugs!

Private: The Mystery On Our Street

The Mystery On Our Street

Note: This is a private post on my other (private) blog.  To access it, you will have to have permission from me.  Go ahead and ask me if you can have access and I just might grant it to you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Recipe: Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

I really loved this one. It uses chicken thighs (boneless and skinless), which are a little fattier than a breast, but a LOT tastier. It was a little spicy, a little sweet and a little salty, and quite delicious.

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Flowers Update

So, we spent some time in the yard today and I think things are coming along nicely.

Earlier in the year, here is what our corner garden looked like, with the pansies and tulips.
From Random Photos 2009

Same place, today, where I took out the pansies and replaced them with zinnias. I think they'll look nice once they start getting bigger.
From Random Photos 2009

I had wanted to put lemongrass in this container, since it sits between our deck furniture and lemongrass supposedly repels mosquitoes. However, I wasn't able to acquire any and got very tired of staring at a container of dead things, so I broke down and bought some things to put in it. This is a zinnia, a pentas (new to me), and a sweet potato vine. It's a little different from containers I've put together in the past, so we'll see how it goes.
From Random Photos 2009

These are my cascadia petunias, and the photo was taken the day I planted them. You can see why I didn't post it here, as it looks particularly unimpressive.
From Random Photos 2009

The same container, several weeks later. I'm happy with how these are growing and I'm hoping they'll start really cascading soon.
From Random Photos 2009

The other container of cascadia petunias, which has started to cascade.
From Random Photos 2009

When I made the new container, I initially thought I'd put two zinnias in there, but then I got them home and realized that two were too many. So, I have this extra zinnia and no container. This is a pitcher left over from my Tastefully Simple days and I was thinking of planting it in there. Is this pitcher too small? I need to get Todd to drill a hole in the pitcher.
From Random Photos 2009

The back beds. I am going to put in a shepherd's hook with some hanging baskets that I got off of eBay.
From Random Photos 2009

These trees have gotten SO BIG the past couple of years, I should have had Todd stand up there for reference.
From Random Photos 2009

A new little butterfly garden that I just put in this week. There is a butterfly bush, obedient plants and gaura. We'll see how it goes and if I actually see any butterflies.
From Random Photos 2009

After planting the zinnias in the front under the tree, I had a ton of extra (I just bought two lots of them and didn't worry about how many there were). So, I scattered the extras around the new azaleas that we planted in the fall. Since we planted the azaleas just before winter, they haven't really grown very big yet. We're hoping to see some serious growth over the course of the summer.
From Random Photos 2009

In front of the mailbox, I planted these pansies in the fall. They came back in the spring and have been looking better than any other time I've planted pansies and had them return. How nice!
From Random Photos 2009

This is one of our front pots, taken the day I planted it. This year, we decided to plant boxwoods because they're evergreen and therefore we wouldn't have to look at dead plants all winter. We thought we'd like some color and so added wave petunias, which I now think is probably not the best choice with the boxwoods. Oh well, live and learn.
From Random Photos 2009

This is the same container today, the petunias have seriously taken over. You can see why I don't really think petunias were the best choice. I think I might actually have to prune them back.
From Random Photos 2009

And finally, the first bloom from our clematis for the season.
From Random Photos 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

STS Week 12 In Review

12 weeks... a full 3 months!

This week, the upper body workouts were much the same as last week.  I feel as though I've gained some serious strength and the weights didn't seem heavy enough.  Still, Cathe keeps saying not to change my weights, so I'm trying not to.  I will be happy to be done with this mesocycle purely from the fact that the upper body workouts are so long and the lower body workouts are so tough.

Yep, I did plyo legs again.  And I hate to say it, but this week's plyo legs was harder than last week's.  Do you believe that?  There was a lot more jumping on and off of the step and that sort of thing and I really thought about just falling over and dying several times.  Todd came down and watched me for part of it and seemed uninterested in doing any part of the workout with me.  That being said, it feels so good when I'm done with the workout and I do feel like I'm getting stronger.

This week, our pool membership starts, so I'll be able to start getting into the pool.  I haven't finished Total Immersion, but hopefully I can be a little closer to doing the drills by the time I actually get into the pool. 

As far as running goes, I did have some pain on Tuesday morning during my short run, in my left hip same as always.  The interesting part was that the night before we'd fallen asleep on the sofa and I'd woken up with hip pain before we went upstairs to get in bed.  I think perhaps my hip pain is directly related to sleeping on the sofa and other such nonsense.  My leg pillow came, but I have yet to take it out of the box (it has been a fairly busy week!!!!).  Last night, I did a hill workout outside and didn't have any pain at all.  At least now, I'm making notes about the hip pain in my logyourrun log so I can keep track of when I have it and when I don't.  Regardless, it remains mild enough to not affect my form, speed or happiness during a run.  It's just annoying.

Two more weeks I'll have completed my STS training!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


This week's theme is ... Runners version of Eat This Not That. Pass along some of your tips of food you have found helps your running. Tell us about what foods you have cut out or reduced because they don't help your running. And even better, tell us what "good" foods you substitute for the "bad" ones.

You know, it's strange because the way I eat and the way I think about food changed quite a bit when I joined Weight Watchers in 1998, but honestly the biggest (and I think the best) changes have happened since I started running. Granted, a lot of these changes are also due to Todd and the lifestyle that we lead together, but running plays a key factor.

Basically, there's nothing that I don't eat. There is nothing that is off limits. The difference between me now and the me that existed before running is that I judge food not on taste, like I might have before Weight Watchers, and not on calories or points, like I would have when I was on Weight Watchers. I judge food now by how it makes me feel.

Case in point: Arby's. I love Arby's. I used to eat at Arby's regularly, even when I was on Weight Watchers. It wasn't like Burger King, which I gave up and where I have only eaten since in a state of duress... No, I used to save WW Points for Arby's. Well, I realized a little while ago that I don't eat at Arby's anymore. Given the choice, I'd rather eat many other things than eat there. And it's not because of calories, because trust me, after a 15 mile run, I can eat what I want. It's about how Arby's makes me feel, and all of that grease and fat makes me feel like crap. If I go to my favorite fast food restaurant - Salsarita's - I eat healthy chicken and black beans, maybe some avocado. I feel energized and satisfied and not heavy and horrible.

I think you really need to be active to understand this, though. When I was on WW, I was still fairly sedentary. If I'd had more energy from eating this over that, I don't know that I would have even noticed. But, I notice now. I notice when I skip meals. I notice when I eat out for lunch instead of eating something healthy. I notice when we order a pizza instead of cooking something. Once you get used to choosing foods like this, the other stuff, the bad stuff, isn't even good anymore.

So, here's a little list of what I eat and don't eat (or at least try not to eat), because of how it makes me feel:
  • I don't eat overly sugary or fatty breakfasts. Donuts, pastries, danishes... They don't keep me full anymore and make me feel terrible. As much as I used to love Krispy Kreme, I haven't had one in ages.
  • I do eat protein and some sugar. Before running, I eat half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. On a normal breakfast day, I'll eat oatmeal with peanut butter or a high fiber cereal and milk. I love eggs, so an ideal breakfast is 2 eggs (fried in Pam), whole wheat toast, and Smart Balance Spread. A treat is an Egg McMuffin, which is a surprisingly good for you breakfast as long as you don't get hash browns.
  • I don't eat heavy, greasy meals. We recently tried Five Guys and it was too much for me. A burger and fries is over the top, although I will eat a burger with no fries. Or, Todd and I will split an order of fries sometimes.
  • I do eat at restaurants that offer plenty of choices for lean protein and vegetables.
  • I don't eat out that much at all, and if I do, I make it worth it. I can't stand chain restaurants anymore. I think TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesdays, and the like are disgusting. I'd much rather have quality sushi, or a nice grilled salmon and veggies.
  • I do eat at home a lot. I love cooking a nutritious meal for us.
  • I don't waste my time on foods that I don't like.
  • I do eat foods that I love, regardless of calorie count.
  • I don't eat a lot of foods marketed as "Light" or "Healthy" or "Diet" - Snackwells, 100 Calorie Packs, Baked potato chips, light butter and bread... All of those things are processed and leave you feeling unsatisfied.
  • I do eat real foods that I love - real butter, real cookies (homemade, processed grocery store cookies suck), etc.
  • I avoid Trans Fats, preservatives and High Fructose Corn Syrup, although I'm not perfect in this regard.
  • I don't worry so much about sodium.
There you have it. I eat healthy all the time, or at least I try to, so there isn't a lot that I can say about what I eat with regards to running. I can definitely say that I still eat a plate of spaghetti the night before a long run, because that's what I enjoy. I know there have been some studies out there that say carb loading is a myth, but I don't care. Carbs are why I run.

On another note, a major thing I'm doing this year is using chocolate milk as a recovery after my long runs. How awesome is that? A chocolate milk! Yum!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Private: Another Photo...

Another Photo...

Note: This is a private post on my private blog and you'll need to let me know if you want access to it. Then, I'll send you an invite.

The Trip to the Bank

Last week, Todd told me that we needed to go to the bank in Harford County to do some banking for his parents (who are in Florida).  He said that the bank only had evening hours on Tuesday and that we had to go Tuesday night.  This annoyed me because I really didn't want to go to the bank, and because Tuesday is my running night and I really wanted to run with Natalie.  Todd offered to pick me up from work in the Little Car (convertible), because I always love to ride in the little car.  I finally agreed, but I was still really irritated, especially when I had to email Natalie to cancel our running date.

So, Tuesday came.  Todd called me at work and asked to pick me up at 4:00.  I said NO.  I was already not interested in going to the bank, and I certainly wasn't going to be leaving work early to do so.  Why couldn't we just go on a weekend?  Why couldn't Todd go by himself?  Irritating.  I agreed to 4:30, and he came and picked me up right on time.

He started acting suspicious right away.  I mean, first, I put my work bag in the trunk and there was a bunch of clothes and stuff in there.  This was confusing, but I decided that it wasn't a huge deal.  Then, he started questioning my shoes - what shoes am I wearing?  WTF difference does it make?  We're going to the bank!  But, it was a beautiful day and we were riding in a convertible with the top down, and once I was actually out of work it was super nice to be outside, so I was happy.

We drove to who knows where, as I'm not familiar with Harford County, and then he pulled into a park & ride.  He told me we were waiting for someone.  Ohhh kayyy....  And that is when, in the little car, he pulled out a box with a ring in it and told me all kinds of nice things and asked me if I wanted to get married.  I had been adamant that if he ever proposed, I did not want an audience, and I wanted it to be just the two of us - NO ONE else, plus the little car rocks, so that is why he proposed there.

But I was confused.  We were at a park & ride.  Hm.  Then, guess what pulled in?  A van with a trailer with a hot air balloon basket on it!!  He was taking me up in a hot air balloon!!!!

I was super-excited, and very happy that we weren't going to the bank.*

We went down the road to Rocks State Park, where we got to know the other couple who were in the balloon, too.  They were grad students at the University of Delaware and they got engaged too!  At the park, we watched the balloon guys set up the balloon and get it ready.  Then, we hopped in and were off!

It was awesome.  We traveled from Rocks State Park north, over farm land, houses, a golf course (Geneva Farms), and more.  We saw deer and horses and dogs (the dogs were FREAKING out).  We stayed at 1000-1500 feet at first, and then dropped down some.  At one point, we touched down for just a second in a corn field and then went back up.  We pulled some leaves off of the top of a tree.  We saw our reflection in a pond.  At our highest point, we could see the Chesapeake Bay, Towson, and the mountains in Pennsylvania.  We could even see smoke stack or steam rising out of a power plant that was in New Jersey.  It was a gorgeous day for a ride in a balloon!!

It was interesting to watch the reaction to the people on the ground.  When the burners weren't on, it was very quiet, so you could basically hear everything down below.  Dogs were going nuts, horses were a little spooked and little kids were excited to wave at us.  People came out on their decks to see us fly by.  It was really cool. 

We touched down in a field next to a farm house just over the PA line.  We crashed a little into some bushes, but we were fine and it wasn't bad.  The folks who owned the property came out and we shared a champagne toast at sunset.  Apparently, the tradition of a champagne toast and ballooning started in the 1700s in France, where ballooning started.  In order to keep farmers from being upset that a flying "demon" had landed on their property, the balloon operators (ballooners?  balloonists?) would bring champagne on board and offer it to the property owners.  This was very very cool.  Unfortunately, it was getting to be about 8:30pm and I hadn't eaten since lunch and I'd drank 2 glasses of champagne.  So, I was pretty tipsy pretty fast.

We went back to our car and headed home.  I was so tired!  We ended up sharing carryout pasta from Genova's for dinner at home at almost 10pm, which was absolutely perfect.  

What a wonderful evening!  Todd really got me, I had no idea what he'd had planned.  And yes, it's real this time, not an April Fools prank.  The only bad thing is that the ring has to be sent back and resized down, since when I was asked what my ring size was, I apparently got it wrong.  By a lot.  Hooray for skinny fingers, but sad because I have to say goodbye to my beautiful ring for as long as two weeks (the jeweler is in Houston).  Totally my fault.

Thanks to everyone who already sent Facebook congratulations!  :)

* In fact, his parents have been asking us to go to the bank for like 8 months, so the worst part of this story is that we STILL haven't gone to the bank.

At the Park & Ride:
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

At Rocks State Park:
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

Setting up the balloon:
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

Firing it up!
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

All set up!
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

Above Geneva Farms Golf Club
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

Us on the Balloon!
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

Grapes from Fiore Winery
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

Our reflection in a pond
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

After landing
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

That's me and my fiance...
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

There's the ring, because I know people want to see it. The leaves I'm holding are ones that we pulled off of the top of a tree. The ring is on my middle finger for now since it's too big and it would suck to lose it.
From 2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

2009 Hot Air Balloon Best Of

And if you've read this far, I've got an awesome link for you that is only kinda sorta related to the topic of this post.  

Private: Neato!


Note: This is a private post on my private blog.  I have to give you access in order for you to see this post.  Please feel free to email me if you do not have access to my private blog and want it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

STS Week 11 in Review

Eleven weeks!  That's some crazy stuff.

This week, I started Mesocycle 3.  The focus of this month is strength, which is awesome because I could use some.  For upper body, the workouts were grouped with chest and back together and biceps, triceps and shoulders together.  We're using very heavy weights - 80%+ of 1 Rep max - so, there were big breaks between sets.  This worked for me because I started using a combination of wrist weights and weighted gloves in order to get EXACTLY the weight I need for each exercise.  This also meant it took forever to switch my weights between sets, so I was never sitting still.  

For lower body, there was a choice between "Squat Rack Legs" and "Plyo Legs."  I chose plyo legs.  The biggest reason for this is that I don't have a squat rack, so obviously I'll pick the plyo option.  However, the plyo legs option was also designed to increase speed and power - specifically to help runners to run faster.  And, well, that sounds right up my alley, now doesn't it?

Plyo legs was TOUGH.  It seemed a lot more like a cardio workout than a weights workout.  It alternated between a weights exercise (lunges, squats, and the like), and a plyometric exercise such as jumping on the step, airborne jacks, lateral jumps...  and on and on.  These are basically the same "blast" exercises that I either do half-assed or fast forward through during videos like Boot Camp and IMAX2.  I really did them this time, though, and they kicked my ass pretty hard.

Check out the video.  The turning jump things at about 4:15 are the ones that really got me.  Everything on that whole video looks easier than it is in real life.  Anyway, here's hoping that it helps me run faster and better!  As an added bonus, I ran the Fleet Feet Baltimore course (3.78 miles) on Saturday in 51 minutes with my group (not as fast as I could have gone, I was going long run pace) and then ran the same course again on Tuesday night with friend Natalie (who is faster than me) and completed it in 45 minutes.  I was near death and couldn't speak for a lot of the run, but I was totally psyched at my pace.  Here's to running faster in order to run faster!

I've still been contemplating what to do after this mesocycle is through, and I decided to start STS over again in July, only doing legs as long as I feel that it's not impacting my running.  By September, I'll be up to 17 miles and will probably need to back off of legs and move into a more "maintenance mode" to keep up my strength gains in the lower body, without pushing too hard.  I really don't want to overtrain my lower body.  Between the end of mesocycle 3 (which ends mid-June) and when I'll start mesocycle 1 again in mid-July, I'll be working on a lot of cardio (running and swimming, specifically, I don't see myself doing too much step aerobics at the moment).  I'm going to do some weight training, but it will be circuit workouts and also getting my 1 Rep Max together for my next round of STS.  I'm excited to see how much I've improved over the last 3 months.  I know one thing - I am lifting heavier weights than I'd ever imagined lifting.

My book that I ordered for swimming finally arrived.  It's called "Total Immersion" and contains a lot of drills that should help me become a better swimmer.  I plan to read the whole thing in order to fully grasp the concepts, then take the information out to the pool next weekend when our membership starts.  Here's hoping for good weather!  There is a DVD also, which was available via Netflix (yay!).  I started watching it Wednesday night, and while it's really boring and the author could have done better by using a model to demonstrate the moves rather than doing them himself, I think it has a lot of great informatin that will help me to become a better swimmer.

A final note:  Earlier in the week, I wrote about my phantom pain.  Well, thus far this week,  between running (two short runs) and plyo legs, no pain.  Perhaps it actually went away during my rest period, but then I thought it had returned after doing so much step aerobics?  Let's hope.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

TIART: Summer Running

This week's theme is ... Gearing Up For Summer.   With the really warm summer temperatures around the corner, it is time to dust off our warm weather gear, tips and know how in order to transition and run well into summer.   Share your best tips for how you transition from cooler to warmer temperatures as well as stay cool during those hot weather runs.

Oh, but I hate running in the heat.  I am definitely happier in the winter, and that is my only reason why I am hesitant to move to Florida.  Of course, maybe I'd just become a swimmer if I moved to Florida.  Who knows.

Here are a few tips that I've learned to stay cool in the summer:
  • Recognize the symptoms of dehydration, heat stroke and hyponatremia.  You want to realize when it's a good idea to stop.
  • Nuun is your friend.  I love this stuff.  I can't stand the sweet taste of Gatorade, especially when downing Gus or sport beans.  I hate that "sugar mouth" feeling that you get from drinking too much Gatorade.  I find Nuun to be refreshing, but more helpful than water (since it contains electrolytes).
  • I use an Amphipod water belt, but lots of people like other ones.  I chose it because I can remove the clips and control how much stuff I have hanging off of me for any given run.  I'm thinking of switching to a different model, though. (isn't that one cool?  Does anyone have it?)
  • Run in the morning!  It's so much cooler to run in the morning, if you want to escape the heat, hit the road early.  I know that my running group complains all summer about how early we get up to run, but they might bite their tongue if they ever tried a 15 mile run in 90 degree weather starting at 9am.
  • Run on the treadmill!  I've found that sometimes people will run on the treadmill all winter, but then run outside all summer.  Don't be afraid of hitting the treadmill if it's too hot out.  I, personally, tend to run on the treadmill if the temperature is above 85 degrees.  Not always, but a lot of the time.
  • Dress for the weather!  I see a lot of folks who wear pants far too long into the summer.  No one cares if your thighs jiggle when you're on the trail.  I, for one, would rather see the people in my group comfortable in shorts and a singlet.
  • Don't wear cotton!  Cotton is horrible.  It's so hot and heavy.  I so prefer a nice, light singlet in technical material than a cotton t-shirt.
  • Run in the rain!  I know this surprises people, but it can be so nice to run outside in a summer rain shower.  How refreshing!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Phantom Pain

I started having some phantom leg pain on February 28, when I did an 8 mile long run in Columbia with friends.  When it first happened, I assumed it was from pushing myself pretty hard that day, and I figured it would go away, and didn't think much of it.  The pain was in my left quad, but it was a vague pain and I had trouble figuring out exactly where it was hurting.  It also felt like it was in my hip flexor.  So, the pain was really in my upper quad, and was rather dull.

After that initial run, the pain was gone and I forgot about it.  I ran 2 weekday runs during the week on the treadmill, at a fast pace, but not killing myself pace.  No pain.  I also started STS that week after the first pain, so it's clear that STS isn't a reason for the pain occurring the first time.  My log run the next Saturday was 7 miles in Manchester and about 2 miles in, I felt the pain again.  Same place.  It wasn't horrible, just a dull pain that didn't affect my form or speed or make me stop running.

I started feeling the pain occasionally on weekday runs, and it started to be par for the course that I would get the pain in the same place, in the same way, during my weekend runs.  Never was it serious enough for me to worry about, and never did I feel it for more than an hour or so after a run.  Sometimes I was feeling it on a weekday run, sometimes not.

I started feeling more concerned about it during the Frederick Half Marathon.  I was feeling like the pain was getting worse, but I had started to also blame my old running shoes for the problem, and I had switched out my shoes for newer ones just before the half marathon.  Plus, I was coming up on a week of rest, so I figured that I would heal.  Clearly, I wasn't worried about it enough to mention it on my blog, twitter or even in my running log (which makes it harder to track down exactly when it was hurting and when it wasn't).

It didn't heal, though, it's gotten worse.  In the last 5 days or so I've gone from being mildly concerned about it to being very worried.  I ran the Frederick half on May 3, took May 4 and 5 off, and then did 30-60 minutes of step aerobics on May 6, 7 and 8.  I ran again on May 9 - only 3.8 miles on a course that is hilly but familiar, and I did so at a comfortable pace.  I haven't run or done any lower body exercises since.  I didn't have pain during the step aerobics, and if I had pain during Saturday's run, I didn't dwell on it too much in my head, since I've gotten used to it.

So, why am I so worried?  Saturday afternoon is when it REALLY started to hurt, and not just in my left leg, but in my right leg as well.  Since then, it has continued to hurt and feel like a dull pain in both quads.  My hamstrings have felt super-tight.  I mean, they're always tight, but they feel REALLY tight now.  My calves feel tired and somewhat sore.  Even my glutes are sore.  Basically, despite having only run 3.8 miles over 8 days, my legs feel as though I've run a race.  I cannot figure this out -- it is perhaps the weirdest injury I've ever had.

I've got some theories, though:
  1. I did 3 straight days of step aerobics, after not having touched a step aerobics video since February.  What I'm feeling might be DOMS from the step aerobics, and I'm just not recognizing it as such.  Perhaps the fact that I've had the dull (and mild) quad pain since the end of February only compounded my worry and is actually coincidence.  The pain might just go away this week as I return to my regular workout schedule of STS and running.  While I saw the step as "easy," maybe my legs don't agree.  In fact, my worst day of pain was Saturday, which was 2 days after the hardest of the videos that I did (IMAX2) and the same day of my first day back to running.  Perfect timing for DOMS.

  2. Tight hamstrings?   I've always had really tight hamstrings, and maybe it's just catching up with me.  I've thought about getting back into doing some yoga / extended sports stretches, but I also don't want to be a jackass and injure myself.  I have one more sports massage to use, so I might go and get one of those.

  3. Sleeping.  I sleep on my side, and usually on my left side.  I've noticed that I feel some hip pain while sleeping and sometimes put a pillow between my legs.  It's really bad when I keep my legs stacked one above the other with no pillow between my legs - I sometimes wake up with horrible hip pain when that happens.  I'm wondering if I'm actually getting hip pain from sleeping and I'm just only noticing it when I run.  Yes, it started hurting on the right recently, but Todd was out of town and I definitely started sleeping on my right side almost exclusively while he was gone.  Now that he's home again, I'm back to sleeping on my left, so I'm curious to see if the right side pain goes away.  In the meantime, I've ordered one of those leg spacer pillows to put between my knees when I sleep.  I've wanted one for a while anyway.  We also have been having a bad habit of falling asleep on the sofa together at night while watching television.  I wake up with hip pain about 95% of the time when we do that, so maybe the runs where I have had the pain have actually followed a night on the sofa and I just didn't recognize the pattern.

  4. Veins.  I haven't talked about it a whole lot here, but I've been seeing a doctor since early 2008 for a varicose vein in my left leg.  It's bad enough that when I sleep, I sometimes have horrible aching pain in my calves from blood pooling in my leg.  I had considered surgery and ended up declining it for 2009, but I will probably go ahead and have the surgery in 2010.  I wear compression stockings in the meantime, but over the past couple of weeks it has gotten warmer out and I haven't worn them as much.  Actually, ever since I got home from Bonaire I haven't worn them as much.  I'm wondering if I'm just having the heavy legs/ tired / painful feelings that come with the stupid varicose vein.

Of course, it could be a combination of all of these, too.  I started using The Stick each evening on Saturday and it sure does feel good.  I've been trying to be good about wearing my stockings (although I'm not wearing them today...), and I'm investigating wearing compression socks during running (although they're super expensive and very dorky).  I'm going to try and do some more stretching and see if it helps.  I also even took Sunday off from working out and only did upper body yesterday, so there have been 2 more days of rest for my legs.  If this isn't resolved or at least back to the way it was within two weeks (or if it gets a lot worse), I'll go ahead and go to the orthopedist.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Private: Thoughts... Circa 1992

Thoughts... Circa 1992

Note: This is on my private blog, so you have to email me to get access.


Since Thursday I talked about some running moms, I wanted to spend this time to give a little love to MY mom.

Well, my mom kind of rocks, and I don't give her enough credit for it about 90% of the time.  What happened when I was a kid was that my dad became pretty much absent from the time that I was about 3 years old on.  Oh sure, he was still around now and again, to take me to Disney World and the like, but the reason why I have so much trouble picking out Father's Day Cards is that he didn't DO any of that cliche dad stuff that other dads do.  As a result, my mom and my sisters had to pick up the slack.  I always felt a little bit cheated because I came along so late - my sisters got the REAL family and I got the broken up one.

Now, I'm older though, and I've had some experiences with "real" families and I've discovered that my "broken" family is one of the closest, most awesome families out there, dad or no dad.  My mom, while she hasn't been quite the traditional mother to me in a lot of ways, has spent the last 40-some years dedicated to her family and to her kids, and she has done everything she could ever do to make our lives better.

Here's an example:  My brother, being a single parent, needed help.  My mom found his kids cheap orthodontics at the University of Maryland Dental School and drives them once a month up to Baltimore (remember that both my mom and brother live in Southern Maryland) for their appointments.  She does all kinds of stuff like that.

Mom goes above and beyond for all of us.  So, happy mother's day, mom.  You are awesome.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bravo, Red Lobster

Red Lobster has never released nutritional info, and now finally has. Here is the site. So, Red Lobster, why were you so afraid of this?? You have a TON of healthy choices, and cheddar bay biscuits are only 150 calories each?? I had them pegged at 225. Bravo, Red Lobster! Now, if you will just improve your service, I might actually go eat at your restaurant again.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Todd is having more fun than me today.

I went to Bahama Breeze, though. That is almost as good.

I guess.
Posted by Picasa

STS Week 10 In Review


Sweet week off.

I could pick anything to do this week, but it couldn't be running (as this is my post-half marathon non-running week) and it couldn't be weights (as I'm between mesocycles).

Sadly, what I wanted to do most was run.  Something about setting a new PR at a major race makes me want to run - especially when I've run 2 races so far in the 2009-2010 season and they've BOTH been PRs!

Well, I took Monday and Tuesday totally off.  I didn't have to, I wasn't feeling bad, but I thought I deserved the extra rest.  Wednesday, I did an "easy day" of 45 minutes of Cathe's Step Jump & Pump (only the Step and Jump parts).  Something feels awesome about doing these step workouts, so I did another on Thursday - IMAX2.  That's my go-to video for when I'm looking to do something fun.  It's more difficult than Step, Jump & Pump and I feel like I flop around and I'm not nearly as good at the advanced step workouts as I used to be when I did them all the time.  I was even a little sore after IMAX2...

Today is a bit weird because I don't normally workout on the day before my long run, but tomorrow's long run is only 4 miles.  This morning the major issue was that I didn't feel like doing a step workout and I really didn't feel like hopping on the treadmill.  The sun was shining and I wanted to run!!  But, no.  I inisist that I take a week off.  I think I'll probably do something light when I get home tonight.  We have a work party today (celebration after last week's long night), so I'll probably be needing to burn off some calories...  

In other news, I am going to focus a little more on swimming this season.  Our pool membership starts May 23, and I guarantee that we'll be there that weekend.  I've purchased a book in which I'm supposed to learn how to be a better and more efficient swimmer, at least at freestyle.  I'm pretty psyched about working on this because I still don't plan to swim competitively, so this is something that I am doing purely for fun (and somewhat for scuba diving).  It will give me something to focus on as I head into the grueling summer months of marathon training.  

And, finally, my finally finalized race schedule for this season:
  • March 15, Shamrock 5k
  • May 3, Frederick Half Marathon
  • June 7, Race for Our Kids 10k
  • July 12, Pikesville 5k
  • August 30, Annapolis 10 Mile Run
  • September 20, Philadelphia Distance Run 
  • October 24, Tower of Terror 13k
  • December 20, Celtic Solstice 5 Mile Run
  • January 10, Walt Disney World Marathon

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my favorite guy in the world!

Here he is, doing what he loves best:

From Bonaire 2009 - Kim Topside

"Here's to love lost and newfound friends,
And living out life in the boat we're in.
I can't be still, I can't be tied,
The only time I feel alive is,
When the wind fills my sail,
Riding on a lifelong swell.
Let my heart take me where it wants to go,
That's the soul of a sailor..."
--Kenny Chesney

Have a great day! :)

TIART: Three Great Running Moms

This week's theme is ... Salute to Running Moms.  With Mother's Day around the corner, we thought it would be great to have you talk about a running mom who inspires you, makes you laugh, kicks you in the butt when you need it, coaches you, runs with you, brings you water, or just simply runs.   Write up your own salute to the mom.  We will leave it to you if each line starts with a letter of R-U-N-N-I-N-G M-O-M or any other tribute you create - have fun with it.

As I sat here and thought about this one, I realized that I don't know a whole lot of moms who run.  So, I had to think on it and I want to salute three moms who run that I know and love.

Kristy is a mother of two.  She has been there with me from my very first Galloway training session in 2006.  We've run side by side, sometimes in step, for mile after mile after mile.  She's been there with me in some of my best times and some of my worst.  We know each other well, and we know all of each others secrets.  She does, of course, take time for her kids, and I know that some days she won't be able to meet up because she has a soccer game or birthday party to attend.  Kristy rocks and I'd trust her with anything.

Esmerelda is a self-proclaimed couch potato turned triathlete and it's been fun watching her turn herself into a well-oiled machine.  She is also a mom to two, but also divorced.  She is very real in her accounts of her races, and I don't quite know how she does it all.  Time after time, she keeps on keepin on, and I admire her for it.

My lovely sister, also a mom to two.  I admit, I do get disappointed when she wimps out because it's "too cold" to run in 55 degree weather, but she's a Floridian now, so I guess I can excuse her.  She started running because of me *blush* and is thinking about running some longer distance races - fingers crossed that she'll do it.  She's been my support for the past four years, always asking me about my running and my races, and I love her for it.  She was there for me for both of my Disney Marathons, and stood out in the cold with me when Todd ran Gasparilla.  She is amazing and awesome and I can't wait until I see her this summer!

So, what do all of these moms have in common?  The fact that they take time out for themselves.  They set goals and do things that don't necessarily revolve around children.  I think they're happier because they are watching out for what they want to do.  Even better, they're setting great examples for their kids.  Esmerelda's kids are looking to do a kids triathlon and Sharon's kids have both won medals in the "Flight of the Eagle" race at their school.  How great is it that they're doing that?!  I love all three of them and I hope that if I ever become a mom, I can be half as good as these three ladies.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Biggest Loser Marathon Episode

First off, for those of you who watch The Biggest Loser and haven't seen this week's episode (May 5th), don't read anymore, there are major spoilers ahead.

For those of you who don't watch The Biggest Loser, meet Ron.  Ron and his two sons, Mike and Max, are extremely obese.  Ron and Mike enter The Biggest Loser: Couples and have made it to the second to the last episode.  Ron  has lost a total of 151 pounds in 18 weeks.  Mike (age 18) has lost 174 pounds in 18 weeks.  Max isn't on the show, but has appeared in several episodes, usually upset about his own weight since now he is the big one of the family.  Max has been heartbreaking to watch.

I don't love Ron.  He has done some dirty and underhanded things, and hasn't made himself all that likeable on the show.  That being said, he started out at 420+ pounds and HAD to lose the weight.  He had a lot of work ahead of him.  Yet, he always seems to stop short of success.   On many (most?) challenges, he stops.  He doesn't follow through, he gives up.  He stopped running the half marathon a few weeks ago after only a few miles.  He has been below the yellow line (for those who don't watch, that means in danger of going home) over and over and over again, but gets saved every single time.  But, he loves his son, that much is true, and he has truly shown how important it is for Mike to lose weight.

Last night, though.  If you're not a Biggest Loser fan, I'm telling you, this was the episode to watch.  After the Dane Marathon Debacle earlier in the season, they decided to have the remaining four contestants run a marathon as the challenge this week.  They had 26 days to prepare to run 26.2 miles.  It was facinating.

Tara and Helen both did great.  Tara had a time that Todd would have been proud of, Helen beat my best time (hence, there is NO REASON why I can't get a sub-6.  Come on, people!).  Mike was forced to walk due to injury and ended up finishing in the 8-hour range.  Max joined him for part of it, and that was so nice.

The kicker though, the AMAZING AMAZING part of this episode, was Ron.  Ron, who has backed out of so many challenges  this year, decided to do this thing.  He walked from the start.  He started having problems as early as mile 5.  Todd and I didn't believe he would finish.  At mile 15 or so, he stopped at a medical tent.  He was shaking and his blood pressure was elevated.  They took his vitals, called the doctor, and told him he was going to have to go to the hospital.  But, the doctor cleared him to keep going.  And he did.  He walked.  Other biggest loser finalists from past seasons joined him along the course.  Bob and Jillian joined him.  It got dark.  At some point towards the end, Tara, Helen and Mike joined him.  As he approached the finish line, Max walked in the rest with him. 

It was amazing.

His time was 13 hours.

This guy, who we've watched stop trying over and over again, walked 26.2 miles in 13 hours.  And he made me proud to be a marathoner.  Great job, Ron.

See a slideshow of the marathon.  I'll post a video when they release it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Frederick Half Marathon 2009

Pre-race, working for me: Excellent training, increased pace on short runs, Cardio Coach, Cathe's STS System (heavy weight training), lots of hill training, weather calling for cool, overcast and possibly rain.

Pre-race, working against me: Early start time, Friday night all-nighter at work, possible over training in taper (feeling kinda tired in the legs), 6-8 pounds heavier than in 2008, felt slightly dehydrated at the start.

... but it all worked out in the end, apparently.

I spent Friday night at work. I arrived at work Friday morning at 9am, and I left work Saturday morning around 5:30am. I kept going into the break room to lay on the sofa, but never actually fell asleep (we were waiting on a hardware problem during our deploy). I did rest some, though. I spent most of the night worried, WORRIED that I was absolutely destroying my race and picturing a horrible repeat of the Baltimore Half. I stumbled home (with the assistance of Todd), and was in bed around 6am, only to wake up when the mailman rang the doorbell at about 11:15.

We spent Saturday relaxing around the house and greatly reduced our pre-race plans to only what was absolutely necessary (Todd had not slept Friday night either). I made a pot of spaghetti and packed it in Tupperware. Around 5:30, we left for Frederick, with food, race stuff and a minimal amount of overnight things.

The expo was better than last year, but we really weren't interested in any of the vendors. I think my shirt is too big, which is becoming really typical of race shirts. As we left the expo, the twilight 5k was just starting, which was kinda cool. We didn't stay to watch, though.

We headed to our hotel (the Residence Inn Frederick, it was very nice). We pretty much spent the rest of the evening eating the spaghetti that I made, watching Discovery channel, and relaxing. Bedtime around 10pm.

We were up at 4:30, and had breakfast and headed to the race. The weather was overcast but did not feel really chilly like I was expecting. Things were feeling pretty good, actually. I searched for Dannielle at the start, but couldn't find her. There was one point where I actually lost Todd and thought I wouldn't see him again before the race, but he returned and we started together (still no Dannielle).

I was doing 1:1s, which always makes me feel incredibly awesome for a race. About 5 minutes into the race, Dannielle and Ann showed up, which made me very happy!! They stuck with me, and Ann went on ahead about mile 3.

What a great race. I was watching the splits tick by - 12:15, 12:15, 11:51 (!), 12:15... I was feeling really great at the 12:15 pace, so I didn't feel a need to slow down. The 1:1s were working and the conversations with Dannielle were passing the time quickly. Around mile 7 (I think?? It was near TJ High School), the rain was really coming down. It had been spitting drizzle for most of the early part of the race, but from about mile 6 or 7 on, it was really a soaking rain. It felt good. I was cold at times, but I would SO MUCH rather have a soaking rain than a hot, sunny day like in Baltimore. My shoes started feeling sloppy and squishy by about mile 10, and that wasn't a good feeling, but it really didn't affect my running at all. I can't say I'd want the rain for a marathon, but for a half it wasn't bad.

At some point at about mile 11, I started facing that I was looking at a PR. I'd been steadfastly ignoring this fact for the majority of the race, but I finally had to really take note. I discussed with Dannielle, who determined that yes, I was probably going to PR, even if I started mostly walking. I felt good, but my legs were admittedly a bit tired. We had been chit chatting for the whole race, having a great time!

The hill in mile 13 was not as bad as it was last year. Everything was good, and we ran it in at the fairgrounds (I still just cannot run in more than about a quarter mile... that is something mental). I crossed the finish line 3 minutes ahead of my PR.

It was a great race. I'm very happy that Friday night didn't kill my time, and I think I found a new tradition of laying low and eating homemade food in the hotel room the night before.

(Todd set a new PR too... he rocks!)

Official Results
Related Posts with Thumbnails

STS Progress


This Week's Workouts