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Monday, May 31, 2010

MBE: Lessons Learned

Monday Brain Exchange is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning.

Topic: Lessons Learned

Question: It goes without saying that anytime you challenge yourself, you learn something. What are some of the things you have learned on your own personal journey through fitness, whether it be from triathlon, running or just simply training?

I don't have a lot of time this week, so I'm just going to list some bullet points rather than babbling on and on...

  • In the end, the scale doesn't really matter all that much.  In my life, I've gone up and down, up and down, and you just have to do what you can when you can and deal with it.
  • Eating right cannot be achieved by purchasing diet products of any type - even food.  Eating right boils down to calories in/calories out, but to be satisfied, you really have to eliminate the processed stuff.  And the stuff that a lot of diet companies sell are processed.
  • Racing too much leads to injury.  Pushing too hard leads to injury.  I don't improve as quickly as others, but I also don't get injured as much. [knock on wood]
  • The best thing about running is friends.
  • If you get up at 3am, you absolutely must complete your run or else you're just going to be in a bad mood all day.
  • Anger makes me run faster.
  • With every single hill that you run, you become a better runner for the next hill.
  • Listen to your body!
  • Cotton is rotten.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Linky-Loos

I think I'm going to start a new post each week where I share a bunch of links to a bunch of interesting things that I find, on various topics.  This is week one, let's see how it goes.

Fitness, Running and Dieting

Other Stuff

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quarry Weekend, Day Two

Here is Day Two of my Divecon Certification weekend! Go back and read the first post if you're interested in hearing about Day One.

There's Todd, getting his equipment together to get ready to head into the quarry for Sunday's DiveCon certification dives.

On Sunday, we were heading up to the quarry again, this time both of would be doing dives required for our Dive Control Specialist Certification.  It was rainy, but that really didn't matter, since we'd be getting wet anyway.  Todd set up with the other DiveCon Candidates, while I continued working with my open water students, who were on day two of their certification.  The Divecons all went into the quarry to do their required skills, which I had been doing with my open water instructor during the Open Water dives.  Prior to getting in the water, we practiced navigation on land with our compasses.

I headed into the water with my five open water students, and we went to the training platform at 15 feet to finish up the skills we hadn't done.  Like Saturday, my time was spent swimming around the platform to make sure that no one fell off.  Then, once their skills were complete, I took the students, two at a time, around the two training platforms that were there right next to each other.  Then, everyone did a practice emergency swimming ascent.

The instructor waited in the water for the second group of open water divers, and I took my five divers back to the lagoon part of the quarry to do a bit of navigation with the compass.  They were to take a compass heading, swim out to it, and then return to where they started.  As we got to the lagoon, all of the DiveCons were sitting and waiting for something to do, so my instructor (Michael) suggested that each divecon take one of my students on their navigation swim.

So, I introduced one of my fellow students to each of my open water students.  And chaos ensued.  Everybody was everywhere.  My classroom management skills??  Poor.  I was in charge, but it was easier said than done.  Two people didn't have enough weight, one person got separated from her divecon.  One divecon/student pair decided to stop at the checkerboard and play a game of checkers, not surfacing for several minutes.  Anyway, it worked out and hopefully they learned something about using a compass... which certainly helps in low visibility diving like the quarry.

At this point, the Open Water divers were done, they just needed to do one more dive, and the DiveCons needed to take some divers on a fun dive as part of the course.  So, two divecons were set up with two open water divers to take on a tour.  We ran out of divecons, so I was paired with the DiveCon instructor (Michael) and two open water students.

This was a challenge!  We ended up going out for 10 minutes only because both divers were low on air.  One of the divers was constantly on the surface, the other crawled along the bottom, kicking up silt the whole way, until we were in nearly zero visibility.  It's a whole different world diving with newly certified divers.

Next, it was lunchtime, and I said goodbye to my Open Water students, who now had their very own certifications, and who are each heading somewhere interesting, like Bonaire, Roatan, and the like.

The next part of the DiveCon course required us to lead a dive into deep water.  Since this is the quarry, deep water meant 90 feet, and 90 feet meant darkness and cold.  None of us were looking forward to this.  Still, our instructors Dave and Michael became "Olaf" and "Jacques" respectively, and we had to act as divemasters and lead them on a dive.  We all stood together planning what we were going to do, and it was as if there were just too many cooks in that kitchen.  Finally, each of us were assigned tasks (mine was to keep an eye on "Jacques" to make sure he didn't disappear, since we knew we'd have to do a rescue at some point during the day).  Fellow DiveCon candidate Keith did the dive briefing, and then we geared up and headed out.

This was, in fact, my 200th dive, which was great  because I'm 100% certain to remember this dive for a while.  We swam on the surface out to the marker buoy, then descended to the training platform that is at 60 feet.  With that, the temperature dropped from 68 on the surface to about 50 degrees at 60 feet.  Once we all had our bearings, we dropped the remaining 30 feet to the sunken boat that was below us, and the water temperature dropped to 38 degrees.  Flashlights came on, it was dark.

The problem is, I have poor circulation.  My hands are cold most of the time anyway.  Even though I was wearing 5mm gloves, my hands were cold and hurting almost as soon as we hit 90 feet.  It was COLD.  COLD, COLD, COLD, COLD.  I was in pain, but I knew I had to grin and bear it.  So, I hovered and watched the other divers wander around the boat.  There were something like 9 of us, so it was a ton of divers to be around this little boat.

We followed the ropes back to the dozer and to the cement truck, and after a few more minutes, we ascended to the 15 foot platform to do our safety stop.  Ahhhhh, above the thermocline, so the water temperature had risen enough that I was starting to gain movement in my fingers again.  After a 3 minute safety stop, we were back on the surface, but my fingers were still hurting for another 10  minutes or so.  I had started to think that I was going to have to amputate and get a hook for a hand.

Our final dive of the day was to do a series of scenarios, where one group of divers would go below water while the other group was instructed to have something go wrong - go unconscious, have a heart attack, panic, etc.  Then, they'd go down and the other diver would have to figure out what was up and help.  This all culminated in  "Jacques" announcing that he lost his buddy Olaf, and that Olaf and he had been at 120 feet for 20 minutes and made no safety stop.  Me, Todd and another DiveCon headed down to find "Olaf" at 20 feet on the bottom.  We brought him to the surface and towed him in, while someone else towed in Jacques, who was apparently struggling.

This was our big save for the day, so we had to practice CPR and giving Oxygen, and to do a Neurological Exam.  Someone else was taking notes, and we had to pretend to call 911 and Diver's Alert Network.   Once all that was through, we wrote up accident reports.

.... and we were done!

It was all very thrilling and even though I almost froze my fingers off, the whole day was worth it.  It was crazy to meet with Michael on Monday -- he shook my hand and congratulated me and WAHOOOOOOO!  I'm a certified Dive Control Specialist.  It only took 6 months and a ton of work.

HOW ABOUT THAT?!?!  Can you see me doing my happy dance?

The best part?  This is only the beginning -- we're doing a TON of diving this summer, and I cannot wait.  How long before I reach dive #300?

Here's a photo of Todd and fellow divecons writing up accident reports after saving Olaf and Jacques...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quarry Weekend, Day One

This post is all about scuba diving.  I apologize to my runner readers, as I feel like I ramble on and you won't find it all that interesting.  However, it was a super-exciting weekend for me, so bear with me if you're not a diver and not interested.  I may at some point start a new blog for scuba diving, but for now this is what you get.  :)

This photo is me on my first day of diving ever, in December 2006.  I was certified in Key Largo rather than a cold quarry in Pennsylvania, but I definitely remember what it was like!!  If you're interested in seeing what the quarry looks like - go check out the photos from my dive shop on Facebook.  Note: I'm not in any of those photos, they were taken last year on what must have been an incredibly clear day underwater.  I do know a lot of the people in the photos, though!

This past weekend was the final weekend for my Dive Control Specialist Training.  Each class member had to observe one Open Water Diving class, and my class that I was observing was meeting for its open water checkout dives in the quarry on Saturday and Sunday.  In addition, my DiveCon class was meeting on Sunday for the quarry dives required for that training.  So, it was quite a full weekend.

Saturday, Todd and I were up early and headed up to Bainbridge, Pennsylvania to meet the class.  Todd had done his open water observation in March (in much colder water, I must add), so he was meeting a couple of guys for some "fun" diving while my class was doing their checkouts.  I met up with the class - which included 5 students that I'd been working with all along and then another 5 students that had been in a previous open water class and were checking out with us.  I would mainly be responsible for my original 5 students, since I was a student myself and we'd gotten to all know each other.

To start out, Nancy (a fully certified DiveCon who was helping the class) took her 5 students and I took my 5 out into the quarry with our snorkel gear only.  We taught a few tows (dragging another diver along with you if they are injured or tired) and had the students get accustomed to the water - especially the temperature of the water (68 on the surface).

Once the snorkel was done, we all geared up and headed to the water.  We were going in two groups - my 5 students followed by Nancy's 5 students.  We swam out to the training platforms to do the required skills to pass the course.  Since the students were on their very first scuba dive, we took them down two at a time, starting with those who were most likely to have ear trouble dropping to 15 feet underwater.  Once the students were on the platform, they went through their skills with the instructor one at a time, and my job was to swim around the outside of the platform to make sure that no one fell off.  I was praying no one would drop anything, because I'd be the one that would have to go after it, to 60 feet in darkness to feel around in mud and silt in water that was under 50 degrees (the deeper you go, the colder it gets, on the training platform it was about 60 degrees).

As part of my Divecon training, I also had to do the skills, so once all of the students had completed theirs, the instructor went through mine really quick - Regulator purging and regulator retrieval.  I admit, I was totally a showoff and did them off of the platform in open water rather than kneeling on the platform like the open water students did.  Once that was through, the students had to run through air sharing (meaning, what they do when they're out of air), and since there were an odd number of students, I was paired with the extra student.  That took us to the surface, so we returned back to the shore and had some lunch.

Once lunch was through, we had one more dive for the day, so we got back in the water and went back out to the training platforms.  This time, the instructor took us to a different platform that was about 10 feet deeper (22 feet or so) and below the thermocline, so colder (about 53 degrees).  There were more skills to be done (including for me) and then I took the students two at a time on a swim around the platforms.  How exciting to be out swimming with divers on their very first day of diving!!  I was so excited for them, but also worried I'd lose somebody.  They all made it back safely, and then we switched off so that a different student was "out of air" and did an ascent that way.

We were then all done for the day!  Todd had done a couple of dives, so we headed  back down to the dive shop to get our tanks filled for Sunday.  Sunday was much more exciting, so I'll talk about that tomorrow.

Monday, May 24, 2010

MBE: Summer Plans

Monday Brain Exchange is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning.

Topic: Summer Racing

Question: What are your summer race plans? Are you trying anything new this year? What race are you looking most forward to?

To be honest, I've been feeling kind of "blah."  Now that I've reached my sub-6 hour marathon goal and won't be reaching for a new goal for 26.2 for another year or so...  And now that I've reached what I consider to be a near-unbreakable PR for my half marathon at Lehigh Valley...  I'm kind of blah.  Blah.  Summer blahs.  I don't really know what to do with myself, running-wise.  But, here's what's on tap:

July:  Pikesville 5K.  This is the only race that I've run every single year since I started running in 2005.  This will be my 6th Pikesville 5K.  However, I don't intend to race it.  It's a hilly course and usually hot, and it occurs on a weekend that's not great for me to be trying to PR in such a short distance.  Am I the only one who hates 5Ks because they're too short and too fast?  However, my running group is doing it, so I'll run it at a "reasonable" pace and cheer on my peeps.

August: Annapolis Ten Miler.  I set a PR there last year, finally breaking the PR that I set with my first A-10 in 2006.  This will be my 5th year running this one, and it is one of my absolute favorite races, especially since it goes through my hometown of Annapolis.  It's hot, it's hilly, it's tough, and I wear my premiums proudly.  Of all of my upcoming races, this is the one I'm looking forward to the most.  I don't expect a new PR there, but we'll see how the weather is, because that can always change things.  Come to think of it, I better start my hill training now.

I guess those are my only two races that I'm doing this year that are truly during the summer.  I usually do a 10K in June, but this year it was moved to September.  No other plans, although I will be doing a lot of scuba this summer...  more on that later.

Monday Brain Exchange Question

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

Weight Loss Mama sent me the Versatile Blogger Award!  I've been swamped this week, so I'm just now getting to it.

The rules are to list 7 things about myself and then pass along to 15 other bloggers.

  1. I have never lived outside of Maryland.
  2. I'm in the middle of planning a vacation to Indonesia.  It is the farthest from home I will ever have gone (over 10,000 miles).  We will be spending 8 nights on the beautiful island of Bali, and 10 nights on a scuba diving liveaboard in the Raja Ampat area, which is supposed to have some of the best scuba diving in the world.  I just booked the airfare and the Bali accommodations this week, and I found out we will end up spending one night in Hong Kong and one night in Jakarta.  Not too excited about the Jakarta part, but Hong Kong will be fun! 
  3. I thought for a little while that I might run another marathon this fall.  I even went so far as to write up a training schedule for myself for the Richmond Marathon.  I've since decided I'm not going to after all.
  4. If I could do anything with my life, I'd go back to school and become a marine biologist.
  5. I have a fear of dark water, but I scuba dive at night all the time.
  6. When I read Runner's World and it mentions the 5,000 meter event, it usually takes me a while to remember that it means 5K.
  7. The worst meal I ever made was pesto.  At the time, I'd never cooked with fresh garlic and I didn't realize that I had a garlic bulb and not a garlic clove.  Wow, that was a lot of garlic.
Here are the folks I'm tagging!

It's not 15, but close enough.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rock Your Socks 10K

This weekend, I'm going to be doing 2 days of scuba diving.  I will pretty much be living and breathing scuba diving.  That means that there will be no time for running.  I was sad about it, since it's only week 3 of our Galloway program and this weekend my group is to be finalized.  However, I've left them in good hands with my co-leader, Sue.  So, they'll be fine without me.

Since I knew I was missing this week, when Racing with Babes announced a virtual 10K and Half Marathon this weekend, I decided to take her up on it.  I won't be doing my usual summer 10K at Race for Our Kids (since it was rescheduled for September), so I was needing a 10K race to do.  This is likely my only 10K race for 2010.

Here is the website for the race.

WHEN: Friday, May 21, Saturday May 22, or Sunday, May 23
DISTANCE: 10K or Half Marathon
COST: FREE - But I will take donations to the sock collection ...
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: On the weekend of May 21-23, pick your course, ROCK YOUR SOCKS and run your race! When you are done email me the pictures, a link to your race report and your finish time.
WHAT WILL YOU GET?: Every participant will be linked on the Rock Your Socks Half Marathon and 10K Recap. The Fastest 10k, Fastest Half Marathon and one randomly selected winner will each win one tube of Nuun and two Gu.
And one racer will be awarded with "Best Use of Socks" (at my discretion) and will win a Bondi Band.
Well, I don't have interesting socks, just regular old Bolega socks.  Oh well.  I decided to just go with the cutest outfit I could manage, so I wore my Minnie Mouse running skirt, the only running skirt that I own.  I put the whole Minnie outfit together, but I didn't go so far as to wear the ears....

Hopefully this weekend I'll get some sun on those legs.

I met my friend Misty at the NCR Trail, she wasn't going to run race pace, but she was going to be on the trail for moral support.  Here we are, ready to run, and me looking kinda goofy.

My co-worker walked by when I had that up on my screen and said "KLETCO, you look happy there!"  Yes, my co-workers call me KLETCO.

So, off I went.  I don't have a running GPS watch (a Garmin or whatever), but I have a Garmin hiking GPS that I use for Geocaching.  I learned that it works just as well as a Garmin watch for running, but with less features and it's slightly bulky.  I carried it in my Spibelt.

I can't say all that much about the run itself.  I'm used to taking it easy on the trail, so it was weird to be going at full race pace.  It was also more difficult to keep up with race pace when there were no spectators or other runners (running with me anyway).  I went until my GPS read that I'd gone 3.1 miles and turned it around.  Misty had gone to the 3 mile marker (about the 2.5 point for me) and turned around.  She was waiting for me just north of the bridge at the 1 mile marker on my way back and ran it in with me all the way until the end.

So, how did I do?  Well, I was going for a 10K PR.  The entire time I was running I was thinking that this was silly because I won't win the race (there are tons of faster people running this race this weekend), and the race stats won't be official since it's a virtual race.  However, I wanted to beat my 10K PR because it was set at Race for Our Kids in 2006, and Race for Our Kids is a hilly, hilly, hilly race, and I still can't figure out how I achieved that time.  My best guess is that I just didn't know any better, since that was my first year of training.

So, my Race for Our Kids 2006 time was 1:14:10.  Today, I ran in 1:13:58.  I PR'd... Just barely, on a much easier course.  I'm still amazed by my 2006 time.

And so, a big thank you to Racing with Babes for giving me something to shoot for this weekend!  And a big thank you to Misty for going out of her way to meet me at the trail at 7am on a Friday!  Great run, and to top it off, there's a party at work today and then 2 days of scuba diving.  I think I've got a great weekend ahead.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MBE: Summer Running

Monday Brain Exchange is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning.

Question: The heat is on its way (and for some has already made its arrival) and the summer is getting close What are some of your tried and true summer running tips for staying safe and cool in the heat?

Hi, I'm Kim.  I'm the one person who wasn't complaining when it was 28 degrees at the starting line of the Walt Disney World Marathon this year.  I love running in the cold, and I much prefer cold weather to warm.  Hot weather has killed several races for me now, and severely impacts my ability to enjoy a run.  So, while I am happy that summer is coming because when I'm not running I prefer warm weather, I have to take some precautions when it comes to getting out on the trail.

(I'm late doing this and I feel like I'm saying what everyone else has said...  Oh well)

  1. Cotton is Rotten.  Don't wear cotton.  This isn't just for heat, I like to wear technical fabrics at all times. You will be so much more comfortable when you ditch those cotton shirts and shorts and get something better.  Socks, shirts, shorts, and head wear should all be technical fabrics.  Even if you buy just a few pairs or even one set and wash them between, it's better than nothing.  
  2. Take Care of Your Technical Fabrics.  I take care of my running clothes, washing them with special detergent.  I do a load of laundry of only running clothes, using the Win Detergent, and then I take care to sort them all based on their laundering recommendations on the tag (many running clothes are hang dry or dry flat, and many cannot go in the dryer at all).  If I do dry them in the dryer, I do so on delicate (they don't need much heat or time because their whole purpose is that they dry fast).  I never use dryer sheets on my running clothes, since they can keep the technical fabrics from properly wicking sweat.  If you do all of this, your clothes will keep you cool and they will last a very long time (my first singlet purchased in 2005 is still very wearable).
  3. Drink.  Bring water with you on your run if it's over 80 degrees or so and/or if you're going out longer than about 40-45 minutes.  I'm just guessing here, those are my own personal rules, so there may be doctors or trainers that make different recommendations.  Regardless, dehydration can do horrible things and make you feel terrible, so beware.
  4. Hit the treadmill.  What's interesting about Todd and me is that Todd tends to hit the treadmill in winter and run outside when it really gets warm.  I tend to run in 20-30 degree temps no problem, but I'll be on the treadmill once the thermometer starts pushing 90.  The treadmill is more comfortable, so use it when you need to.
  5. Do the salt.  I'm a big fan of the Running Doc, and he recommends taking salt packets with you when it is hot.  This prevents you from getting hyponatremia.  Basically, take one salt packet under your tongue at the beginning of the race, and then again in the last half of the race.  See more info.
  6. Seek Shade.  There's a nice park at the end of my street that has about a mile loop and some wicked hills.  However, it's completely in the sun with few trees.  I prefer the nearby NCR Trail, which is nicely shaded.  If you're gonna be outside, try to find a running route that is nicely shaded.
  7. Love the rain!!  I can understand when it's 50 degrees or less not wanting to run in the rain, but have you ever run in the rain when it's 75 degrees or hotter?  It's truly awesome and keeps you very cool.  Take advantage!
  8. Run in the morning.  I cannot seem to get the hang of doing this really regularly, but I know it to be true.  Morning running is the best time during the summer.  The temperatures haven't risen yet, and everything is so peaceful.  Plus, you're getting your run out of the way.  I do manage to struggle out of bed with my group every Saturday, and I can tell you that our "in the dark" long runs that start an hour or two before sunrise are some of my best running memories.
That's all I can think of for now.  Hopefully, this was helpful!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Magic Mile!

As part of the Galloway program, we start off each season with a timed one mile, which is then use to place us in the correct pace groups.  Yesterday was a great day for it, but I wasn't feeling up to par.  I had gone out with Todd's family for dinner before going to a funeral for one of Todd's relatives.  It would have been fine, but I ate too much (crabcakes, though - yum) and the beginning of the week wasn't great food-wise either.  I've been stressed with so much going on, so I've been eating.  Anyway, Saturday morning I was still feeling stuffed and bloated, and lacking in sleep (I did the thing where I went to bed late and then couldn't sleep because I was worried about losing sleep).

We did 1 mile on the track as a warm up, then timed one half of the folks who were running with me.  A lot of people missing -- did I scare people away???  My turn was next and I went off.  I was not feeling great and not feeling confident, but I stuck with it.  I did ultra-weird and ultra-short intervals of 30 seconds running / 15 seconds fast walking.  I know, it's strange, but I do better when I still take walk breaks on any running distance.

Last year, my time was 10:03, and I was looking to get under 10 minutes.  It was tough, but I did!  I finished in 9:48, which wasn't quite as good as I think I'd be capable of on a more ideal day, but it's a new PR and I'm super-happy.

We followed up the magic miles with a 3 mile run around the college (we were running on the track at Goucher College).

Sadly, Todd came down with a cold on Friday and he has been sick all weekend.  I had the chance to go out without him, but ended up deciding I'd rather get work done around the house anyway.  The house has been a little out of control.  It certainly was nice having all of the windows open and a nice breeze blowing through.  I got a lot of stuff done, thank goodness.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Two weeks ago, I started a contest to win a signed copy of The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life by Amby Burfoot.

True Random Number Generator

That makes the winner....

Congratulations, Laura!!!!!!! Do me a favor and email me your address so that I can send you your prize!

In the meantime, go to Laura's blog and check out her information about her daughter and the disease that she is running for. It is very inspiring.

Now what? I need to have another giveaway or something!

One more thing... This one happens to be my favorite comment of all of them on the giveaway post.. :)

I am not looking to be entered into the contest but I just want to say my inspiration for running lately is you... You have been doing so well and I enjoy watching you grow as a runner.

I love you!

Your husband

I have a great guy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Review: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

First and foremost, I must say that a couple people told me that this book was boring at that it would start out slow and I wouldn't like it at first. This made me dread reading it, but as it turned out, it was truly a page turner from the first page. I loved every bit of it, and didn't find any of it boring at all. I've wondered if I'm more into sociology or travel and that is the difference? Who knows.

I first discovered Born to Run while half asleep one night. We were in bed, but the television was on and tuned to The Daily Show. I heard someone talking about running and I was suddenly listening (as is what happens when someone mentions running), and very interested. Who is this guy? What is he talking about? I must get this book!! Here's the interview with Jon Stewart:

As the author explains in the interview, the book is about the Tarahumara Tribe in Mexico. They run and run and run, all the time, just for fun. They run amazing distances. They run barefoot on trails. They are truly amazing, and it was fascinating to read about their culture, and what happened when a few crazy American Ultramarathoners decided to run a race with them.

Beyond the story of the Tarahumara, though, what I loved about this book was that it gave me permission to run. It's called "Born to Run" for a reason. How many people have told you before that you shouldn't run? How many people have told you that you'll hurt your knees? How many people have mentioned to you that running is not healthy, and that it's not natural for a human being to run 26.2 miles? Well, this book offers proof that human beings were in fact meant to be endurance runners. As it turns out, everything about us is meant to help us run. That truly was my favorite part of this book.

The book is also a testament to barefoot running. After trying barefoot myself, and giving it some thought, I know it's not for me. I don't get the types of injuries that barefoot running is meant to solve. However, if I did end up with those injuries in the future, I would consider barefoot running a viable alternative to solve them.

Long story short, read this book. If you're a runner, it will inspire you and make you feel good inside. If you're not a runner, it is still of interest and just plain fascinating, in my opinion. Give it a read!

Don't forget to
enter my giveaway to win a signed copy of Amby Burfoot's book "The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life!"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Three Things Tuesday

  1. This weekend was Todd's Incredible Birthday Weekend! We couldn't decide if we wanted to go out or stay in for his Birthday, so we ended up doing both. Friday night, we went to happy hour with some scuba diving friends and then had a lovely dinner at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion in Baltimore. It was fantastic. If you haven't been to Roy's, you must try it. Since it was Todd's birthday, they decorated the table and took a photo of us at the end of the meal. And they wrote "Happy Birthday, Todd" on his dessert plate. In other words, the perfect amount of birthday attention.
    Saturday, we had dinner in, with delicious salmon and I made a Key Lime Pie (recipe here).
  2. Scuba continues. I had my second week of class observation last week, and my students are fairing quite well. This week, I have a stress and rescue class and I'll miss my usual observation class, and then we're also doing CPR/First Aid. We have a family obligation as well, so it's a busy week.
  3. Our first week for our Galloway training group was Saturday! It was nice to meet some new faces, and several alumni joined who had been away for a while. It was so nice to see them again!! There was some confusion about what intervals and pace my group will be doing, but I am hoping that it will all be worked out after our Miracle Mile week this Saturday. We shall see.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a signed copy of Amby Burfoot's book "The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life!"

Monday, May 10, 2010

MBE: Music

Monday Brain Exchange is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning.

Topic: Music

Question: Do you listen to music when you work out? When you race? What are you top ten favorite songs to get pumped up to?

Oh, no, Jill! You gave me an opportunity to rant about iPods and music during a run.

I am anti-music during an outdoor (non-treadmill) run. Let me rephrase - I am adamantly anti-music during an outdoor run. That includes races, street runs and trail runs.

Several reasons. First off, I consider it dangerous to wear headphones in or around traffic. 100% of the time, if you are near cars, you need to be able to be aware of your surroundings. If you are wearing headphones, you might think you're safe, but you're not. Your mind is elsewhere.

What about when cars aren't around? On the trail where I run most of time time, you still have dogs, bicycles and other people that you need to be aware of. Things can happen, and you should want to hear it. I have had a runner in my group who was unaware that a cyclist was behind her and got into a collision with the cyclist. In the end, it was the cyclist's fault, but awareness is so important and frankly bikes aren't that loud. And don't get me started on the fact that it is just rude to wear headphones when you are running with someone else, or in a group.

Races? It's annoying and inconsiderate to listen to music during a race. If I'm coming up behind you and need to get around you, or I'm trying to say "excuse me," or I'm trying to let you know that there's a wheelchair runner trying to get by, or I'm trying to alert you to a race announcement and YOU CAN'T HEAR ME, I get seriously annoyed. I make exceptions for races over 15 miles, when sometimes you have to do anything you can to get through it, provided the race is not crowded and you have the volume very low. However, there has been at least one time in nearly every race that I've run where I've tried to get the attention of someone and I've been unsuccessful due to the fact that they're listening to music. Once at Lehigh Valley, I could actually hear the music myself, that's how loud it was.

My suggestion, if you must have something is to listen to a podcast or book on tape, that does not include music, only talking. I've done this, and it's not much different than running with someone who is talking to you, provided it's not too loud.

Let's be honest, though - do you really need music, really? Not all races allow it, so I think the best plan is to train without headphones, in case you cannot wear them on race day. It's not a good idea to depend on them all the time. And come on, you have to have headphones for a 5K? You can't run for 30 minutes without some sort of distraction? REALLY? I just think it's best to break that habit.

All of that being said, I do listen to music on a treadmill. I can't think of any reason not to. What I choose is Cardio Coach, which I've talked about in detail before (go look here!). What I love about Cardio Coach is that it doesn't make you "zone out" like when listening to other music. Instead, I tend to focus on my running, my body and what I'm doing even more when listening to Coach Sean. I think it's a great way to really get into your running. Even when I'm running outside without Cardio Coach, I think I'm better at being more in-tune and more aware of my running than I would be if I didn't train with him on the treadmill. I can't imagine the treadmill without it. I love Cardio Coach!

Ok, rant over. I know most folks disagree or do not feel as passionate as I do on the iPod/running issue. What you choose to do with your safety is your own decision, and if you feel safe or comfortable running with headphones and music, that is fine. I've gotten used to being on a bike or running and not being able to get the attention of headphone-wearing peeps. So, that's fine. Just please, if you're running with me, leave them at home.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a signed copy of Amby Burfoot's book "The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life!"

Friday, May 7, 2010

Recipe: Margarita Sunrise

I wish I'd taken a photo of this drink. It was so pretty.

Basically, Todd and I were boozing it up all winter with bottles of wine, and then we started boozing it up with Margaritas. We have a Margaritaville Margarita Maker, and it is awesome, and we've been making margaritas with Margaritaville Mix about twice a week. Bad. So, I was thinking we had to stop. But, then it was cinco de mayo and with as many Margaritas as we've been having lately, doesn't it make sense to have just one more?

But, rather than using the mix, we made this awesome recipe. It was delicious. Totally worth the time it took to squeeze the limes and oranges. I used club soda and the smallest amount of sugar. Very good. Give it a try!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a signed copy of Amby Burfoot's book "The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life!"

Happy Birthday, Todd!

He's a little Goofy (yeah, ok, that's Donald)...

He's an Excellent Scuba Diver...

He's a wonderful Photographer...

One heck of a runner...

He's an excellent husband...

AND IT'S HIS BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a great day, sweetie! :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

STS Check in - Week 13

My last check in for STS was for Week 8 on March 15, and now I'm saying week 13. If you count that, you'll notice that it's been more than 5 weeks since my last check in. However, I had to take some time off and then start up again. I decided to not count the weeks that I was off.

The problem was my rib injury. I fell off of my bike and injured my ribs, and as it turns out, bruised ribs make it absolutely impossible to pick up something heavy without doing more damage. And, well, weight lifting and STS are all about lifting heavy things. That's kind of the point. So, I had to stop in order to not further injure myself so I could keep running.

As of last week, I'm back at it, and I'm officially halfway through mesocycle 2, which is hypertrophy. You can read more about mesocycle 2 where I talk about it last time I did the program. Besides the injury, things are going well. I was thrown off of my schedule when I went to Florida for Easter, so it was almost good that I took the time off so that I could get back where I needed to be. It's hard to commit to all of this stuff while still trying to work and have a life. I almost wish that I lived on the Biggest Loser Ranch so that I could do nothing but exercise all day.

There's not a lot of other things to say about the program. It was initially supposed to be over in mid-July, but with my extra time, I've now pushed it into the first week of August. No worries.

As far as results go, I haven't taken measurements again, but I have seen the scale move somewhat:
That's my weight loss graph since I started the STS system in January. You can see I struggled a bit in March, but I've been back on it again in April, and things have been better. Taking a rolling average weight, I've lost 3.59 pounds since I started STS, and 5.02 pounds since January 1. Taking actual scale weight, I've lost 5.2 pounds since I started STS, and 7.4 pounds since January 1. I like the rolling average better (the curvy black line in the graph above) because I think it shows a more true representation of what I actually weigh. The green & red dots show my actual weight on any given day.

Honestly, if we're just talking weight loss, I think the cycling has really helped. It has given me some extra cardio that I can do, and I'm trying to fit it in when I can. I don't know when I'll get out on the bike this week, though. It may not be until Sunday, as I am booked pretty solid.

Monday, May 3, 2010

MBE: Motivation

Monday Brain Exchange is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning.

Topic: Motivation

Question: What/Who motivates you? What do you tell yourself when you are struggling? How do you keep going when it is too cold, too windy, too hot, too humid, too early, too late, etc…?

More than anything, I am motivated by my running group. They get me out there, week after week, because I know that someone is there waiting for me every week and expecting me to show up. I honestly don't know what I would do without them.

When I'm struggling, I just try to think positive thoughts. If we're talking short-term struggling (like in a race), I'll just keep repeating to myself that I can do it and reminding myself that it will be done soon. I mean, I don't do ultras, so the maximum that I'll ever be out there will be fore 26.2 miles, and the max that's ever taken me was 6 hours and 45 minutes. Granted, I started struggling about 3 hours before the finish on that one, and 3 hours is a heck of a long time for positive self talk.

If I'm struggling long-term, for example with motivation, I will just accept my best. All I can do is my best, so if I don't feel like running, I'll tell myself to get out there and just do a mile. Usually, I'll end up doing more than that.

When it's too hot, I tell myself that I can run inside on the treadmill :) When it's too cold, I remember how much I hate it when it's too hot. I prefer cold over hot, so that isn't a difficult one for me. Just bundle up! Too early, well, again, my running group is there waiting, so I'm out there, too. Have I mentioned that I love my group? :)

Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a signed copy of Amby Burfoot's book "The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life!"
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