September 7, 2016: HR Training Check-in

Reporting in on day 10 of the AMR Heart Rate Training Excellent Half Marathon Plan.
Today I covered more ground in 60 minutes at 140bpm (actually 136 bmp) than ever before on this plan. I’m pretty stoked. And I did this in spite of feeling a little under the weather – I actually went home sick yesterday and was in bed by 5pm. Hmm; perhaps tons of rest does help.

Some Strava stats – and a sweet alliteration!

I’m sure the 73 degree tempurature helped tremendously. On the run this morning I felt a tiny bit feverish but still, my HR stayed low, my effort stayed easy. I was a chatterbox with my husband who forgot his earphone and was thus trapped into conversing with me. Every mile I picked up the pace for 20 seconds. And can I say, thanks to this particular workout, I’ve come to discover that 20 seconds is a magical length of time? I feel like I’m barely getting out of 1st gear when the 20 seconds is already done, and it’s time to bring the HR back down. In fact, I feel like I could endure anything for 20 seconds.
The only downside I’m experiencing lately is a noticeable lack of energy, not just during my workouts, but for much of the day. I am still following a LeanGains-type fasting window (I only eat between 11am and 7pm) so I’m thinking that once I get to a weight that I’m happy with (I’m trying to get down to around 125lb – fasting is working but the weight loss is very, very, very slow), and I start fueling more evenly throughout the day, my legs won’t feel like lead weights during my workouts. I still think its a good habit for me NOT to eat past 7pm. But before I started fasting, I’d wake up and sip on a sports drink just before and during my early morning runs, and that little bit of sugar really made a difference. But I haven’t been doing that lately.

Hope you are making progress with your training!

November 20, 2015: Run Selfies

I see some awesome running selfies on Instagram, my preferred social-media platform. And I always wonder how they happen. When I try to do something creative it starts to feel so staged, and then I’m all “well that’s not very authentic to what actually happened on my run” and so I don’t bother going much further than the standard, post-run “head-shot from above the shoulders.”

Right? Pretty dull. And even then, I’m always looking around to make sure there aren’t any runners (or walkers, or humans) around that might see what I’m doing and judge me. Which makes no sense at all since I then promptly upload the selfie for anyone to see. I guess I feel justified because there are typically numbers under the selfie that indicate some kind of mileage accomplishment. Like that makes stopping mid-run to pose for a picture NOT a snark-worthy, eye-roll worthy behavior.

Well whatever. I’m not gonna stop. Keeps me accountable. If it helps anyone else (other people’s running selfies do, in fact, give me a lift at times, and at other times simply remind me that I need to get my ass out there). I love the run-selfie community!

November 15, 2015: Thoughts and prayers


Its not my photo; but the message is on point

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks last Friday, it’s difficult to feel ok about writing about my relatively mundane existence. I’m ok. The kids are ok. The husband is ok. The job, house, dogs, all ok. I feel ok regarding the things I have some degree of control or influence over. 

What I don’t feel ok about is the feeling that there is nothing “I” can do about what is happening in the world at large. Whining about not making it into the Boston Marathon seems so ridiculous when, if I’m totally honest with myself, I know that the answer to that problem is that I just need to work harder. 

But watching the world be attacked by crazed, violent, heartless, broken human beings in the name of whatever utter bullshit they are acting under, and feeling like there isn’t a damned thing I can do? That is frustrating. If I read the phrase “thoughts and prayers” in response to horrific tragedies one more time…it’s such a fucking stupid response. When I read that, what I really hear is “I’m going focus on making myself feel better about the horrible thing that just happened to you, ok?”

Can’t we, human beings, intelligent, resourceful, determined, compassionate, caring human beings construct a better, more effective response to violence than to quietly go off in our individual corners and pacify ourselves with self-talk?

August 7, 2015: Running Easy

I’ve been listening to some running podcasts and I keep hearing, over and over, this idea that my training intensity should be split into two categories: really easy, and really challenging. In fact, they recommend that 80% of mileage be run at an easy pace (super easy to carry on a conversation) and 20% of mileage should be at maximum intensity (in the form of intervals, hill repeats, and tempo runs). Above all, my training runs should avoid “The Black Hole” at all costs. They describe the black hole as “…an enjoyable, moderately taxing workout intensity that falls somewhere between a piece-of-cake recovery pace and a hellishly intense interval session. It’s vigorous but not aerobically painful—which is why so many athletes are sucked into its vortex.”

This describes probably 90% of my training mileage.

After a brief downpour, the sun broke through, and I ran…

Turns out I’ve been running in the Black Hole for years because it feeds me happy endorphins. Even today, during what was supposed to be an easy 10 mile run (10:30-11:00 pace) I threw in an 8:12 mile, just because it felt so good. I do this all the time; start out easy, warm up, go fast at the end – but never so fast that I’m breathing really hard. Yet at the same time, I’ve always wondered why my pace never seems to improve much.

So I’ve decided to re-think my training after the marathon and really try to stick with this 80/20 intensity training (so in a 30 mile week, only 6 miles would be at high intensity, the other 24 would be at low intensity). I may need to go with a heart monitor until I start to understand what a low intensity pace feels like. You would think that, after the many years of running I’ve accumulated I could just instinctively “feel” the intensity and adjust accordingly.  But for me it’s been years of going for an endorphin glow (which feels great). So I suspect this will be a tough habit to break.

August 6, 2015: Who reads this?

You are reading this because you find my writing amusing and approachable. You are a runner, you are a parent, you work full time (at home or in the office). You are part of Generation X and you embrace that. You are not religious; you might be agnostic (you are an atheist but you keep it mostly to yourself because you don’t want to get into a huge debate about it). Still, you are kind and compassionate, with or without religion. You like to drink, be it beer, wine, tequila (ding, ding, ding!), or some other liquor of choice. However you know to drink in moderation. You find that your definition of moderation has become much more relaxed as you move into mid-life.

She's got moxie!
She’s got moxie!

You are a geek or have geek tendencies; as a member of GenX you grew up embracing new technologies and found yourself an enthusiastic adopter of anything new. You do not long for a simpler time when televisions had dials and telephones had cords. You are an introvert; you like people and you like to socialize occasionally, but you need that alone time to recharge your battery. Often, that’s where running fits in well.

Your kids are anywhere from their early “tweens” to college-aged. Sometimes you want them to live at home forever. Sometimes you want them to move out tomorrow. Sometimes you are afraid they are going to be your future roommates, well into their 30s. You feel the world expected way more out of you as a parent than it did out of your parents. Nobody judged your parents for letting the television set babysit you. Or for leaving you home alone at age 12 for hours at a time. Your parents didn’t hover; they didn’t walk you to the park, stand no more than 20 feet away, and stare at you with eagle eyes as you slid, ran, and swung. But you have done that to your poor children, mostly out a combination of peer pressure and as a result of hearing John Walsh tell you how likely one of America’s Most Wanted will abduct your child if your eyes aren’t glued to them at all times.

You are not working in your dream job or career. You realize you’ll need to find personal fulfillment outside of your job, and you’ll have to settle for a decent paycheck as professional fulfillment. You are creative; you dreamed of having a job where you would use your artistic talents to transform the world. Or the organization. Or your community. Or a single other person (other than your family). You could be a writer. A photographer. A painter. A performer of some type. You might express your artistry through gardening. Cooking. Anything. You have a creative spark in you. And a bit of a smart-ass in you as well.

Most importantly, you’ve got moxie. You aren’t afraid of sweat. You like to push yourself, physically. You like to set goals, and you are inspired by others who set goals and go after them with a passion and a focus, regardless of whether or not they always achieve them. You aren’t athletically gifted, but you are determined to figure out just how athletic you are. How tough. How fast. How much endurance you have. How much pain you can take.

You are a “why not” person. You are me.

August 3, 2015: Purpose

What is the purpose of this blog? I had several goals in mind when I started this blog:

  1. To connect with other people who, like me, love to run, but are not necessarily gifted athletes. Just ordinary people striving to do extraordinary things.
  2. To share my truths; my goals, my dreams, and my struggles, in the hopes that maybe I can provide some inspiration to someone else who faces similar truths. I’ve drawn so much inspiration from other runners out in the world; this is my small way to pay it forward. And building on this, to share what works (and doesn’t work) for me – maybe someone could learn from my mistakes?
  3. To write everyday. Because everyday I am a runner, but I am also a writer. The difference? I actually get out there and run on a regular basis. I cannot say the same for writing.

I’ll cover everything I’ve learned about running, including training, fueling, gear, race experiences, dealing with injuries. But I’ll also include some honesty about my life; what good is my perspective if I’m not sharing exactly what is shaping that perspective?

If I’m successful, then 365 days from today I’ll have over 300 posts. I’ll have connected with somebody; I will have improved at least one person’s running experience. I will have learned at least one valuable lesson from another runner in the world.