Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ocean sunrise run in vff

This view makes getting up at 5:30 a.m. totally worth it! I travelled from home to Wrightsville Beach, NC, yesterday for a business trip. I checked Weather last night for the sunrise time (6:02 a.m), and set my alarm clock to maximize sleep, yet allow enough time to get dressed and drive to the beach before 6 a.m. I was worried when I left the hotel at 5:50 and the sky was already partially lit. Thankfully, the hotel that I'm staying in (Hilton Garden Inn) is only a few minutes from the beach. When I walked onto the beach, the sun hadn't peeked through the clouds yet.  So I walked a few minutes until it did and then snapped many photos with my phone. This is my favorite. What a gorgeous view!

Then I began my run on the beach, facing the sunrise. I had debated about running barefoot or in my in my Vibram Five Finger Sprints. I decided to go with the VFF's and am glad I did. I don't think my tender feet would have handled these shells very well. I mostly ran on the hard packed sand from the low tide. I alternated between the dry land and splashing in the ocean for the cool, fresh experience. It was 80 degrees before sun rise.

I totally enjoyed watching the birds swooping in and out of the sea. It was also amazing to see the sun rising over the ocean, while at the same time the moon was still very visible in the opposite direction. And I was in awe of this scene... It looked like an artist's rendition of a tree with many branches drawn intricately into the sand. WOW!  I love nature!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A fresh start

Because 27 is my lucky number, I picked today to be the day to get serious about improving my health. So a few days ago, I re-loaded Daily Burn to my iPhone to primarily track my nutrition and weight loss, but I discovered today that I can also use it to track sleep, exercise, and body measurements. Today, I began tracking...

I had a migraine yesterday, which extended to this morning. It started around 11 a.m. yesterday and nothing phased it.  Tylenol, advil, prayer... had absolutely no effect. When the dogs woke me at 5:45 a.m. this morning, the migraine was still there. So I decided to go back to bed and sleep as long as my body would let me in hopes of healing, rather than get up early for a run or to go to church. I knew I've been sleep deprived for at least a week, if not longer. I felt so much better when I finally crawled out of bed at 1:45 p.m.!

I've read that most recovery and healing occurs while we're asleep so it's very important to get enough rest. Not only did my migraine improve, but my foot (plantar fasciitis) feels better today too. So this evening, I decided to run on the treadmill for two reasons.  It was still over 90 degrees at 7 p.m., plus I thought the treadmill would be a more forgiving surface for my body. I started slow and slowly increased the speed until the end.  9 miles in 1:45:36. Felt good!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I enjoyed running with Mark (a.k.a. bamarunner) this morning at Stone Mountain until my plantar fasciitis pain increased. I was low on energy as well. Goal was 10 miles, but I let him finish without me. I stopped running at about 4 miles and sent him on ahead. This just wasn't my morning and I didn't want to make my foot any worse than it already is. I switched from the road to the trail when I decided to end my run. I walked back to the parking lot along the trail. I was amazed at the huge tree that had fallen and was cut. Wow, it was massive!  A "K" was carved into the cut end. When I looked at it, I saw "OK" with the "O" being the tree ring. I knew then that I had made the right decision to halt the run and walk through the trail. My foot will eventually be OK.

Back at the parking lot, I didn't have ice, but decided the next best thing would be to buy a cold coke from a vending machine. I sat and rolled my foot on it until Mark finished. It didn't stay cold for long, but I'm guessing it was better than nothing. And better yet, it sparked random conversations with people walking past.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Splish splash

Sooo.....  Does sprinting 50 yards from the grocery store to the car in hard driving rain count as speed work?  Either way, I had fun, while other people were huddled near the store doorway, not interested in getting wet. I didn't care... I LOVE RUNNING IN THE RAIN!!!  It was pouring hard, with wind blowing, as I ran through the parking lot pushing the mini-cart. I opened my trunk and loaded the four bags of groceries. I took this photo when I got home. In the 1-2 minutes that it took me to plop the four bags into the trunk, the rain soaked the interior, blowing in 3-5 feet to cover the back seat with rain droplets.

It reminded me of a time several years ago, when Kyra and I got caught in the rain leaving the grocery store. We skipped/splashed through the parking lot to the car as the rain pounded down on us. What a fun memory!!!  Run for fun too!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

giddy up

I was supposed to run a mile warm-up, 6 repeats of 3 minutes at 10 minutes/mile with 2 minutes recovery jog between, then a mile cool down. My tummy felt woozie before bed last night, and also this morning, but I decided to try to run anyway. I made it through the 5th interval and then had to do a massive sprint to the bathroom. Decided to call it quits, shower, and get ready to leave. My sister's 40th birthday is on Friday and she asked us to go visit her today (her day off work) to celebrate and go horse riding. My niece has never ridden a horse other than at a birthday party, and she wanted her first experience to be with us... so sweet! Since the kids haven't seen each other in six months, I agreed to take a vacation day for a visit. Pictured are Katie (my niece, on horse in front), Laura (my sister on horse) and Kyra (my daughter, standing).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

mister grinch or the monsters

I planned to go for an easy 3 mile run this morning. I want to get in the habit of early morning runs and from what I've read, if you repeat the desired behavior for three weeks it will become a habit. So I thought I would start today...  The dogs woke me up, I changed clothes, drank chocolate milk, and left the house at 6:40 a.m. Kyra's alarm clock was set for 7 a.m. and I left her a note by the clock saying that I was running in the neighborhood and had my phone.

It started out great! I felt awesome! I passed Kimberly going in the opposite direction and waved, and thought shortly afterwards that I should have turned around and run with her, but the thought came too late... I continued on my planned path... Then I heard the familiar ring-tone interrupting the song that was playing on my iPhone. It was Kyra and she was very scared... She said the dogs were barking in the dining room and then came running into the bedroom, shaking, waking her up.  She was afraid that an intruder was in the house. I reassured her that they were probably barking at someone walking in the neighborhood or the cat, but she was terrified so I told her I was turning my run around and heading straight home. I let her know that it was me that was about to open the garage door. I entered the house to find it exactly as I had left it. No one had come inside. I found her locked in my bedroom; she unlocked the bedroom door for me and still had her cell phone in her had. Then I continued walking through the house, looking in all the closets and under the furniture to reassure her.

Many years ago I made the mistake of taking her to see the movie "Grinch" when she was, in hindsight, too young. Every night since then, she asks me at bed time "Are Mr. Grinch or the monsters coming?"  To which my response is always "no".

Oh well...  Some run is better than none, right?

Monday, June 21, 2010

chasing ducks

It was a long day... Today was supposed to be a "rest day". When I picked up my daughter from day care, it was evident that she needed focused attention. Which means... instead of her going to swim team practice, we went out to dinner and chatted. And on the way home from dinner, she said she wanted to take the dogs for a walk...

We loaded up the pups and went to the park. We parked our car near the pond and I wondered why so many people were at the fence at the pond. We leashed the dogs and quickly discovered why... A dog was in the pond swimming after the ducks. I was worried because I knew there are ducklings. I hoped the dog hadn't harmed the babies. A woman occassionally called "Dottie", without much enthusiasm or command, so the dog swam on. We watched for a few minutes then started our walk.

We started out walking and then Kyra said, "I'll race you to that tree!"  And I couldn't resist an opportunity to run with her; she hates to "run". Hmmm.... so is sprint-racing the key?  She had Tasha on the leash and won; I had Riley on leash who is slower (and so am I, at sprinting).  We walked a little bit and then she wanted to race again to the sign; on your mark, get set, go! Yes... she won again. Then we started skipping. That was fun until I stabbed my foot with a stick; how did I do that? We laughed; we walked; we raced; we covered about 2 miles total; we watched the dog swim after the ducks; and stopped again to watch the dog continue to swim after the ducks; we were relieved to see a set of ducks acting as decoys for the dog to chase while another pair guarded the ducklings in a corner; we were even happier to see the dog tire out and walk out of the pond just as "animal control" arrived. Life is grand!!! RUN FOR FUN TOO!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

at peace with 12's

Last night I couldn't sleep... I was so stressed out... My running coach had 12 miles on the calendar for my long run and I knew I just wasn't ready for that distance yet; especially because of this plantar fasciitis reoccurance. But what should I run instead? I didn't want to wake my coach in the middle of the night or too early this morning, so I picked up my Hal Higdon book Marathon, the Ultimate Training Guide. I looked through his schedules. Hal's "novice" schedule would have me at 6 or 8 miles (novice 1 or novice 2), Intermediate would be 8 or 10 miles, and Advanced would be 10 miles {if I combined weeks 16-17 to cut it down from a 3-week to a 2-week taper, which I prefer}. The Intermediate 1 plan looked like the best fit for me, so I decided on 8 miles.

And it was AWESOME, even at 82 degrees!!! My plantar fasciitis was hurting when I woke up, but it calmed down before I ran. I got up with the dogs at 6:45 a.m. (Tasha is pictured here in a blur.) Had a glass of chocolate milk, piece of cheese toast, and later a coke. Filled a bottle with a can of coconut water, whatever amount of tart cherry juice that was left in the jar (about 8 oz), and topped it off with water. Set my "virtual partner" on my Garmin 405 for a 12:45 minutes/mile pace and went for an easy long run. I set it for this pace because last night I was reading Hal Higdon's training advice and he said long runs should be 45 - 90 seconds slower than your planned marathon pace. I'd like to run the Chicago marathon in less than 5 hours, which would be a sub 11:27 pace, so this long run should be between a 12:13 and 12:57 average pace. Yay; I can run in the 12's and not feel guilty! I ran the 2-mile neighborhood route four times. I started easy, walked up the steep hills, and didn't stress over the lap or instantaneous pace. I kept my eye on the overall average pace. Then on the last two miles I set a target of 12:27 average pace, which I slightly exceeded. My fastest mile was the last one, which I NEVER am able to do on long runs. I felt AWESOME! Letting go of the "must run under 12 minute pace" goal and actually telling myself that I needed to run that slow, did wonders for how I felt about this long run. I'd rather finish strong and happy than deflated and having to walk more towards the end because I set an unrealistic goal to start out with.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

poor fly baby; PF; will run for fresh vegies

Poor fly baby:  Thursday night my daughter hurt her shoulder at her swim meet. She was crying hysterically after finishing the 50 yard butterfly event, which is her favorite and best stroke. She said at about the half-way point she felt a burning pain. Thankfully swim parents have a variety of professions! She got prompt attention from a nurse, doctor and physical therapist. They suspected rotator cuff injury, gave her ibuprofen and started ice immediately. She still couldn't move it without pain Friday morning so I took her into my sports medicine doctor. He's on vacation but his highly trained physician's assistant who is an athletic trainer and specializes in sports injuries was there. X-rays were good. She seemed to be feeling a little better than last night too. He checked her out and diagnosed as rotator cuff strain. Instructions were ice, ibuprofen, theraband exercises and can try swim practice on Monday, but should take it easy and go by how she feels. Make sure she warms up good before swim meet events.

Plantar Fasciitis (PF) update:  So while we were at the doctor's office yesterday, I asked if I could get another cortisone shot in my heel. I told him that my last one was in mid-March. The last shot worked wonders until recently. I started having mild PF pain just before the Blue Ridge Parkway marathon at end of April, but it was mild and bearable. It really started hurting bad again last week after an interval run. It's to the point of making me limp, even while walking. He grabbed my calf and said it was very tight. He told me to do active release stretches before getting out of bed (or before standing after sitting for a while), do static stretches after warm-up and running, and ice several times a day, especially immediately after a run. He said I should continue wearing the "blue dot" heel inserts in my shoes as well, which I do most days. Guess our puppy has superhero hearing skills or is psychic. He decided to chew the heels off my shoe liners to make more room for the heel inserts... Thought it was funny (after I got over being angry).

Run yields fruit:  I stretched before getting out of bed, got dressed and went out for an easy run this morning. 76 degrees, sunny, 87% humidity. My heel is still tender from the shot I got yesterday so it forced the forefoot landing. I ran one mile with the husky, one mile with the golden retriever, and one mile alone.

1 mile with Tasha (husky) = bag of poop & several pee stops & stop to talk to someone driving past that has a husky and she just couldn't resist stopping to say hello to my cute girl. (Pace = 13:04)

1 mile with Riley (golden retriever) = bag of poop, which is rare (Pace = 12:09). I had taken a bag and a dollar with me to buy vegies from neighbor's garden, but used the bag for poop and carried the vegies in my hand.

1 mile alone = jar of lime pickles and a tomato (Pace = 10:30). Neighbor was outside when I ran past his house this time so I stopped to thank him for selling vegies on honor system and tell him cucumbers from last week were awesome! So he gave me a jar of fresh made lime pickles and a tomato that he had just picked. SCORE! He also told me about a local farmers market that is held every Friday night through August from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in our tiny town square. A year ago I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), but the farm/pick-up location was a 45 minute drive from my house. I've been looking for something closer, so now I'm thrilled!!!  Fresh + local produce is the BEST. And what does this have to do with running? Fresh fruits and vegies does a body good.

Well, my heel is sufficiently frozen from this frozen water bottle, and the girls just woke up, so time to go make breakfast. Happy Saturday!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

sun-kissed clouds

My plantar fasciitis (left foot) started hurting more and more last week and has increasingly become more painful this week, so I took a few days off of running. Bought new shoes on Tuesday night. Taped it on Wednesday morning, which seemed to help during the day. Did an easy jog/walk in the neighborhood this morning to get back into the groove of running with the hopes of not hurting it worse. This photo doesn't do the true beauty justice. As I was coming up a hill, I saw beautiful orange/pink/silver clouds ahead as the sun was rising. I wanted to capture the beauty of the clouds, but my phone camera had a mind of it's own and the light of the sun blurred the clouds. Oh well... at least I can remember the gorgeous sun-kissed clouds of this lovely morning.

Friday, June 11, 2010

early run yields yummy veggie

I overslept; my Garmin 405 battery was dead; I couldn't find my Timex... Totally bummed. I was supposed to run 5 miles today, but I don't have enough time, plus, I can't keep track of time... So I ran two easy miles with the pups. One mile with Tasha (Siberian Husky that stopped to pee/poo a zillion times), then one mile with Riley (golden retriever). On the first mile loop, I noticed fresh vegetables for sale on the honor system from a homeowner's garden in my neighborhood. So when I dropped Tasha off to pick up Riley, I grabbed four quarters and on the second loop I exchanged $ for fresh cucumbers. Made my day happier!

I ate one for lunch and was totally amazed at the flavor! Fresh picked from the garden vegetables are SO MUCH more flavorful than store-bought. WOW!!! I hope he sells more vegies in the future. What a great incentive to get up early for a run.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sope Creek

Spurgeon posts frequent runs on Daily Mile of running at Sope Creek. I went there once, in August 2009, and enjoyed it. I must have liked it a lot because I saved the location in my car's GPS/map memory. So after seeing another of his Sope Creek posts, and also seeing tweets that this weekend there is free parking at national parks, I decided that this would be where I would do my easy 3 miles scheduled for Saturday.

I stayed up way too late last night watching the movie Seven and playing scrabble aka Words with Friends (or strangers) on iPhone. I haven't gotten nearly enough sleep this week so I didn't bother setting my alarm clock. Riley (golden retriever) woke me at 6 a.m. I was dead tired, so I fed the pets, sent them outside, and climbed back in bed. Next thing I know, the phone is ringing at 11:30 a.m. Yikes! By the time I got dressed, ate, and drove to the park, it was 2:15 p.m. I knew it was hot, but also knew the shaded trails would be much better than running on the street. After dousing myself with the lovely fragrance of my summer perfume (insect repellant), I started down the main trail. Lake Sibley is near the parking lot entrance.

I ran down what Spurgeon refers to as Main Street (wide trail) for a little while and then decided to venture off on one of the side trails. I was loving this running adventure! And then I came to a road block... What to do... climb through/over the downed tree or turn around? There was dense brush on either side of it so going around it wasn't going to be an easy option. My leg is still pretty scraped up from my fall on my run on Monday, so I decided to turn around and pick a different path.

The next path that I picked wasn't well traveled. And I learned pretty quickly why. The path was narrow; my body was constantly being brushed by the flora (hopefully not poison ivy). It was a fairly steep downhill and I enjoyed that part, but realized that what goes down must also go up. When I got to the end of this trail segment, I was greeted by the relaxing sight and sound of a small trickling creek. I was also surprised by this giant mushroom.

During the second mile I became very thirsty and overheated. I walked up the steep hills. I was still happy, though.  But the third mile was horrible.  Yet again, I made the mistake of not carrying water with me. I was only going to be running for 3-4 miles, afterall, so I thought I could certainly go that distance without water. WRONG. I was SO THIRSTY, and slowing to a snails pace.

At least I was smart enough to have an insulated water bottle in the car. My parched throat, red face, insane thirst drew me back to the car after 3 miles. I drank the cool water quickly and it barely made a difference in how I felt. I cranked the air conditioning in the car and then drove to the nearest store. I bought and quickly consumed a bottle of gatorade. I don't think I've ever drank an entire bottle of gatorade in one gulp-after-gulp-after-gulp, like I did today.

So this leads me to lessons learned... (1) Go to bed early so you can get up early and run when it's cooler, and (2) when it's hot, carry water or electrolyte drink with you no matter how few miles you plan to run.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I left the office just after the thunderstorm ended. I was greeted by a magnificent rainbow on the drive home. I tried to snap a photo with my phone (while stopped at a traffic signal, of course), but the photo pales in comparison to the real beauty.

The lesson that I learned on my run today was... DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST and then expect to perform a stellar run! I slept late this morning and rushed around all day and simply didn't take in enough fuel. I was hungry before my run this evening, but didn't want to eat too much and risk an upset tummy, so I grabbed a handful of nuts and drank a cup of juice on my way to the park. I started the run feeling great, but then in the 3rd mile I felt my blood sugar level plummet. My original plan was 5 miles, but I just couldn't do it. I stopped at 4.05 miles feeling shaky and weak. I was so frustrated! Why didn't I bring some calories with me to have on the run? Because I ran 6 miles on Wednesday without a need for water or fuel so I thought I could certainly run 5 miles without in-run replenishment. One less thing to carry. I should have gone with my first instinct. Oh well...  lesson learned...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rain Run Refresh

Today is the 2nd annual National Running Day. So in hopes of recruiting a few friends to run, I posted on Facebook that I would be running at Mountain Park Park at 8 p.m. and hoped to see them there. Little did I know that thunderstorms would be brewing... I was also completely exhausted from getting too little sleep the past few nights. I came home from work in a brain fog and took a 30 minute nap. When the alarm clock sounded I was tempted to turn it off and sleep until morning. But... since I had posted on Facebook that I would be at the park at 8 p.m., I didn't want to let anyone down.

I got up, got dressed, ate a handful of nuts, drank some juice and headed to the park. Thunder and lightning were in full force. My leg was still sore from my fall on Monday. It had rained earlier (during my nap), but wasn't raining when I arrived. I was scheduled to run 6 miles at an 11:30 minutes/mile pace. During the first mile, I struggled to go that slow. But the second mile was hard to go that fast. The third mile was easier and by the fourth I was in a groove and sailed along. There were only a few people at the park (and none were friends of mine). In mile 5 it started to rain lightly. I noticed that the temperature seemed a little cooler too. I picked up the pace a little. I was elated running in the cool rain and picked up my pace even more in the last mile, finishing strong. 6 miles in 1 hour, 7 minutes, 46 seconds (11:18 average pace). I was so happy!

I LOVE running in the rain! Years ago I used rain as an excuse to not run. Then about a year or two ago, after the drought ended and it rained more days than not, I realized that I needed to get out and run rain or shine. And then I discovered that I actually ENJOY running in the rain. It cools my body and refreshes my soul. And now, each time I run in the rain, an amazing memory pops into my brain of the time that I ran a 20 mile training run during the flood of the century for where I live (September 2009). If I can run 20 miles in flooding rains, I can do anything.

Hope you enjoyed your run today!