Saturday, June 24, 2017

Use your gifts




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Let's Talk About Bloat Baby, Let's Talk About You And Me...

All the good things and the bad things that may be, let's talk about BLOAT!

Please, tell me it isn't just me, I keep hearing that repeat in my head to the tune of Salt N Peppas' 'Let's Talk About Sex'.


Just as in the beginning of the song where they say, 'Yo, I don't think we should talk about this. People might misunderstand what we're trying to say', discussions about bloat, intestinal issues and bowel movements land in that same zone.

Now, I'm not talking about those excess rolls of skin and fat cells that you can grab handfuls of, but the real hard, makes it difficult to breathe, I only had a couple bites, appears out of nowhere, extra 5-10 inches around your waistline that is not natural or normal for you.

Where did all this extra ME come from?!


A couple decades and some change ago, I began to notice this was a problem for me and I was very slender, so a five inch instant increase in my waistline was very noticeable visibly, as well as internally noticeable to me.

One day at work, a couple of girlfriends and I decided to go out to eat for lunch. I had been trying to explain what kept happening to my stomach, but they weren't really getting it. I told them at lunch to watch and feel my stomach before and after I ate. I had part of a small salad and a diet cola. Instantly, my stomach began to harden and I felt full and miserable. They noticed it visibly and came unhinged when they felt how hard my stomach became. They thought for sure I was doing it on purpose, it was so large and hard. I wouldn't even begin to know how to do that. They truly did believe me and were as stumped as I had been.

But I'm Not Pregnant...Compliment at the drive through

That same year, I was at a drive through window ordering some fast food and hadn't even eaten yet. When I drove around after ordering my lunch, there was a tall young man at the window with a big smile on  his face. He was looking at me and chatting kindly and socially, then after taking my money and before getting my meal, he said, "Congratulations!" I looked at him and was dumbfounded. He apparently didn't think I had heard him as he repeated himself, "Congratulations!" he smiled. He grabbed my bag of goodies and handed them to me and I asked, "For what?" He looked at me, "On your baby", then did a circular motion around his midsection area. He was so kind, had such a big grin on his face and was so excited, I didn't have the heart to tell him I wasn't  pregnant, I was just bloated. Instead I mustered up all the enthusiasm I could, considering the circumstances and popped off a semi-cheery 'Thank you' with a forced smile.

Umm...Thank you?


Fast forward to now and I am still having the same problems, but am now over 200 pounds. It is hard enough supporting that kind of gravity let alone dealing with an expanding stomach while you are simply sitting and reading. I have since given up carbonated drinks and caffeinated sodas. I do still have the morning cup (or half cup) of coffee, eat small meals, stay physically active, but continue to have the hard bloating.

There are any number of illnesses for which bloating might be a symptom. Some of them quite serious, others simply a nuisance. I didn't appear to fall under any of the medical diagnoses over the years, so I began doing my own research on the subject. Having been vegan for several years, I didn't believe the fiber would be an issue, but perhaps it was? I drink loads of water which should have made up for it. What else? I do have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), maybe look into the irritable bowel issues. I consume plenty of probiotics, I thought?

A clinician had  suggested digestive enzymes to me when I first started noticing the problem years ago and I had long since gotten away from them. I decided to look into them again and found a vegan option for the chewable papaya digestive enzymes. Then I decided to fill my fridge with pre- and probiotic loaded vegan yogurts and drinks (Kombucha), as well as ordering a vegan probiotic supplement.

While I waited for my supplements to arrive, I ate and drank my probiotic enriched foods, but the thing that I had found even  prior to this that gave me almost instantaneous relief was an inexpensive and simple fix. Apple Cider Vinegar. After researching at length, I found this simple recipe to ease bloating: 1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in the bottom of the glass, top off with ice cold filtered water (12-16 ounces). That's it. The first time I drank it, my hard stomach  appeared to disappear right before my eyes. Not only that, but I have also found that drinking it with my meals instead of after, it dissipates attacks of GERD as they are starting to happen.

Continuing my research, I found particular foods were more notorious for causing bloat than others and I also found recommendations for foods that had natural enzymes that would be better to eat. I have been slowly transitioning some food items in and others out of my vegan meal plan.
And my day now routinely includes the following regimen and I feel so much better:
  • 2 Vegan Probiotic Capsules in the morning
  • 3 Chewable Vegan Digestive Enzyme Tablets after each meal (these are like a little treat)
  • 16 ounces of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with every meal or after
This is by no means a cure all for everyone. It is what I have found so far that works best for me and for my specific issues. Please, make sure if you are having problems with bloating that you get to your Physician first for a complete check-up and be sure to tell them what you are seeing and when you notice it most.

Visit your Doctor to rule out anything serious


Monday, June 19, 2017

It Can't Be All Play, A Little Prep Goes A Long Way



I’ve recently signed up for a quarter marathon trail race. This will be my first race since my half marathon in early November 2016. This is a rugged course that would be a challenge to run even one mile. A few years ago, I ran a 5k race on part of this course and lost out on my first Age Grouper medal because as I was flying down a hillside, I stopped to help a panic stricken, screaming runner that had landed in the ravine and managed to get barbwire fencing gouged into her leg.

Today’s training run for the quarter marathon was a four-mile run in the trails. I’m not going for the big training hills yet, but plan to incorporate a few of those into the training schedule in July. Today I included gradual inclines, normally a push for me as I just bumped up my miles two days ago.  But with the regular training and now the added boxing with my personal trainer, my legs are much stronger and I’m finding it less of a challenge to push in areas that I would normally struggle.

Thank you, Mother Nature, the weather was perfect today! Low 70 temps, plenty of humidity, but a nice breeze to distract from it AND on top of that, I was back in the trails with plenty of shade overhead!  Today’s run was a pleasant experience and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Safety First


As I was out running this morning, I realized all the pitfalls and unforeseen circumstances that I took for granted after years of running this route. I knew what risks were going to be present and when they would be there, what time of year to watch for what. Even still, the occasional injury or misstep can occur and it is important to always be aware of your surroundings and your immediate foot placement.
Prepping
Preparing for your race or training run is worth the extra time and thought you put into it and will pay you back ten times over if you plan accordingly. For my run this morning, I took/used the following:

·         Bug Spray (Pre-run)

·         Water-Juice Mix (Pre-run)

·         iPod

·         Garmin

·         Pouch

·         Keys

·         Paper towels

·         Gels

I wore a headband to keep the perspiration from my eyes. I did not want to deal with the bug spray mixing with the sweat and getting into my eyes either.

I had my towel and ice, but took it back to the car as I didn’t feel I would need the coolant for the temps today and would use the paper towels to dry myself off.

While prep is a large part of safety, i.e. hydrating well before, during (when/if needed) and after your run, preventing bug stings, fuel so you don’t overdo it, etc., there is an equally important and sinister assailant lurking around every corner and waiting for the perfect opportunity to trip you up, quite literally.

Look at some of the seemingly harmless photos below and see if you can find the items you’ll need to be prepared to avoid.





There are several ways in which you can be caught off guard and injure yourself, so it is important to always be aware of foot placement:
·   Tripping on roots or stumps.
·   Rolling an ankle on walnuts, beechnuts, pinecones, rocks, et al.
·   Hitting a patch of slippery mud and losing your footing. This could be hiding beneath leaves and look completely harmless. It happens quite a bit in Fall here in the Midwest.
·   Animals. As a vegan, you may try to avoid stepping on the smaller ones i.e. snakes, and can lose your footing trying to miss them last minute, or if you don’t try to avoid them, could lose your footing if you do step on them, (or freak out!). There are larger animals to be aware of as well and you will need to avoid a run-in with them to prevent them from attack, (rare, but it can happen, better to circumnavigate).
·   Other people. Always know where you are and if need be, your best escape route. Be aware if someone has been following you for a while and get out into an open area with more people so you’re not a target. They may simply be on the same route as you, but be aware and when necessary, use prevention.

You want to always be aware of everything around you, beneath you, and even overhead, (watch for low hanging or falling branches!). It is a lot to remember, but important for your safety and it will all eventually become second nature.

Another thing you can do for yourself is sign up for a self-defense course. It would be good to get a plan of action ingrained into your memory so you don’t need to think. If you ever need it, you will simply react. Another benefit of this is the added strength training you will receive.

None of this is meant to scare or deter you, but simply to make you aware. Running is a truly rewarding sport and will give you so much in return, but even more so if you aren’t laid up with an injury.

Now, lace up and go for a run!



HAPPY RUNNING!!!




Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hello old friend, it's been a long time

My 10k race is in two weeks, so the goal for today's long slow run was going to be five miles.  I hadn't run five miles straight in a very long time.  So long in fact, that I couldn't tell you when the last time even was.

Having spent most of the day taking care of things around the house and running errands, it was evening before I headed over to the park for my run.  As I pulled in, I saw one of my friends just wrapping things up for the day and winding down.  Taking this opportunity to get caught up before my run, I spent a few moments chatting with him and another runner.

He had had a pretty productive day, running one mile under an eight minute pace and the remaining miles at around an eight minute pace.  I was really happy for him, he has worked hard and is very committed to his training.  On those icy cold days when the rest of us refused to venture outside, he was right there hammering out the miles, even after a long and full day of physical work 'at the office'.  He is an inspiration in another important way as well.  At one point in his life, he had gotten very heavy and without any help, decided he'd had enough and took off 100 pounds and never looked back.



As we said our goodbyes for the evening, I headed out for my run.  I assessed myself head to toe as I began running, and realized I was feeling heavy, and had a faint feeling of negativity niggling at the back of my mind.  What was going on?  This felt terrible.  I was on the main road, the weather was beautiful and there were quite a few people out today.  Normally, the people weren't an issue, but apparently I needed something different today.  I turned off onto a less traveled route where I was the only one around.  I felt myself relaxing immediately and realized without even thinking about it, I had inadvertently compared my current progress to my friend's.

With his eight minute pace, I had made a non-committal mental note that I would be thrilled with double that pace today.  My current pace ranges from 10's - 18's, that's some range.  It depends on whether I'm climbing uphill, flying downhill, working on speed intervals or a long slow run.  But, without being aware, I had made a mental comparison in the back of my mind, a negative one.  This is not something anyone needs to be doing, nor is it something I make a habit of doing.  Once I zeroed in on my problem, I was able to move past it and be proud of where I was on my journey.

I mentally mapped out my route for the five miles and felt good about it.  Ticking off each mile, I felt the big smile inside of me rising up.  I was doing it, it had been so long since I had run five miles!  I'm really going to do it.....TODAY!



When I was running an average 12 minute pace and training for half marathons, I always felt my best entering my fifth mile.  I had warmed up, gotten into a nice rhythm and was running strong.  I was eager to see if mile five was still my strongest.  I was feeling stronger the longer I ran and with each mile, my legs were building their endurance.  Here it came, mile five!  And yes, absolutely YES, it felt awesome!  I was tired, I did ache, but I kept checking my Garmin, and my pace was consistently higher for the entire mile.  I didn't know if it was because I knew I was almost done and wasn't concerned about using up the last of my energy, or if it was because mile five has always been my strongest, but for whatever reason, it was again and it felt great!

This coming week will be dedicated to continue working on my fast twitch muscles.   To put it simply, fast twitch muscles are where you draw your speed, slow twitch muscles are your endurance.  That may be oversimplifying it a little, but those are the major take-aways.  I had been primarily working on my endurance, but was unable to increase my pace.  I've added speed intervals to my weekdays to help with this.  One run is dedicated to alternating three minute short jogs with two minute short speed runs.  Another day I mix it up, including all training variations of hills, speed intervals, long race pace.  And a third day through the week doing whatever I'm in the mood to do at the time.  Next weekend, the goal is for a long slow six mile run and I'll take a day or two the following week before the race to do some interval training.

Today was a wonderful day, beautiful and productive with lessons learned and hopefully lessons shared.  It is important to never compare yourself to anyone else and if you catch yourself doing so, put it in check immediately!  You're wonderful just the way you are and you're right where you need to be to take the next step in your journey!  Now get out there and be YOUR best!

Post-run treats!


HAPPY RUNNING!!!!!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chia Pudding Fun

I had a taste for some Chia pudding today.  I love the way chia seeds swell while absorbing so much moisture, adding a tapioca like texture to anything you add them to. They plump, they thicken and they add protein!  Each tablespoon contains approximately three grams of protein.

I assigned my Saturday this week to doing whatever I wanted to do and today I wanted to play in the kitchen.  So, that's what I did.  I started with a Chia Peach Pudding and then decided I wanted to try one with some crunchy and chewy ingredients mixed.  This became my Chia Pecan and Fruit Pudding.  Below is the result of both.  I couldn't decide which I liked better, so I had them both!  And why not?  They are healthy, low in calories if that is what you like to watch, and they tasted great!





I hope you'll give them a try, the recipe links are highlighted above and may also be found under the 'Recipes' link on this web page.  Have some fun with them, mix it up to satisfy your preferences and bump up (or down) the ingredients quantities to suit your tastes and needs!  ENJOY!!

HAPPY RUNNING!!  (AND EATING!!) 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

10K Training is in full swing!

After taking a few weeks off from a regimented training program, I decided it was time to get back to it.  Last week I hopped on my treadmill and started out with Day 1 of the 10K101 program.  This picks up right where the 5K101 training leaves off.  Warm up and cool down walks with run/walk intervals in between.  Day 1 started with eight minute tempo (these are faster) running interval reps.  I wasn't ready for it, bad day, out of condition already or what, I don't know, but I didn't complete it.  I hadn't planned to start until the end of the month anyway, this was just to feel things out.  I knew if I picked up here, I would sacrifice speed from the very start.  This was not how I wanted to train for my 10K.

Last week a friend began her 10K training and mentioned using a phone app.  I looked into them and found a free 10K training app that starts from the very beginning, as if you weren't able to already run a 5K distance.  The first week begins with a five minute warm up walk and ends with a five minute cool down walk with around ten reps of 60 second runs and 90 second walk intervals in between.  It is a 14 week program (42 days), and I am able to incorporate my own music into the program.  Not bad for a free app.  The program fits in nicely for speed work training as well.

Let the training begin!!


I plugged in the treadmill and turned on the app and had officially begun my 10K training!  Whoo-Hoo!!  I can do these short intervals way faster!  Easy peasy!!  I will nail these tiny little intervals!  Wait?  What? You want me to do that again?  And Again? More?!  Hold on a sec, why am I so drained?  Come on now, this should be cake!

Well, it wasn't cake.  It is not a good idea to start off too fast or you won't have anything left for the rest of the training.  I reduced the pace as I went, back to my average running pace and decided, I would work on building speed a little more gradually than I first started out.  The original pace I selected was most certainly doable for me, but not repeatedly.  Not yet, but it will be!  And it won't take long!  I finished Day 1 of my 10K training yesterday.  It was a little tougher than my cocky self thought it was going to be, but I got it done.

As the day went on and I started thinking about my shorter long term goals, I started getting an itch to run a full marathon.  I wanted to skip right over the half marathon thing and go for the real deal!  But, I had a plan, I was going to do a full marathon in 2016.

However, this idea kept popping into my head throughout the day until finally I couldn't ignore it any longer.  I made up my mind I would go right from 10K training into half and then full marathon training and would plan to do my first full marathon in 2015.

Once I committed to the decision, I became so excited about the idea, I had to proclaim it on Facebook, you know, because that's what we do ;)  It was wonderful to put into words and make it real and I am blessed to have so many supportive people in my life.

So, here begins my long journey from 10K to marathon.  I hope you'll join me with your adventures in running and share your challenges, goals and successes!

Here's a little something to motivate you (and me!)
I love watching the Kona Ironman running and participant stories.  Enjoy.


HAPPY RUNNING TO YOU ALL!!!







Saturday, November 8, 2014

be YOU!

On a daily basis, I am bombarded by negative input from friends and strangers, badmouthing themselves and others.  This puts me over the top!  And fatalistic thinking, good grief, I won't even get started on that one!  I don't understand why people try so hard to be someone they aren't, or constantly compare themselves to someone else.  We are each born with our own beautiful, wonderful and unique gifts, just for us, no one else.  The particular combination of all things us, that which makes us who we are on this plane.

While I do agree, it is important to be aware of things about yourself you would like to see a change in for the better, and take steps to make those improvements, for example health, kindness, patience etc, we spend far too much time trying to please everyone else and for all the wrong reasons.



It is physically impossible on this plane of existence to be ALL things to ALL beings.  Impossible to make everyone, everywhere, happy at all times.  And why would you even want to??

Why are people so worried about impressing complete strangers, worried about a stranger's opinion of them, people they may never see again in their life??  Why are they least concerned about this with the people they see every day, like family.  Perhaps, we feel like family will love us regardless, and we take it and them for granted?

People get so worked up speaking in front of strangers, or worry about impressing someone they don't know at a party.  Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier to be your natural self and let the ones who appreciate you come to you.  If someone doesn't like you, why would you even want to be around them?  If you change your natural self to please someone else, you will be living a lie every time you are with them.  Forget about it if you marry someone under false pretenses!  That is not going to end well at all!

I am not talking about being an evil monster if someone says something you don't agree with, or anything like that, but truly being your best version of you.  The you that comes naturally.  The you that lights up when a certain type of music comes on, the you that forgets all about the icy cold temps because you want to get that one last perfect photograph, the you that perhaps loses themselves when they are singing, and so on.

Find the best version of you and the things you enjoy and build on them.  Do not build your life, your future on someone else's expectations of who you should be and what you should be doing with your life, because it is just that.  It is YOUR life.  Make it a good one.  Make it the best you can.  Every single day may not be roses and sunshine, but dust yourself off and try again.  Get out of bed the next day and go get them!  It is exciting not knowing where we will be this time next year, next month or even tomorrow.  The world is open to you and for you.  Now, go out there and make a difference in your life!!

"Shake It Off"!!



HAPPY RUNNING OR SINGING OR GARDENING OR WHATEVER IT IS YOU LOVE TO DO!!




Monday, November 3, 2014

what now?

After completion of the four races, back to back in four weeks, I wanted to set some new goals for myself.  When I went out for my long training run the following weekend, I decided to try for four miles straight through.  They didn't need to be fast, they didn't need to be pretty, they just needed to 'be'.  And they were.

I was so proud of myself, but I felt it.  Every inch of me felt it.  After a few days, I was still feeling it and by the following week, Monday, I woke up sick.  My aches and pains were feeling better, but I was dealing with some stomach issues now.  I was sick from the time I got out of bed until 6:00 that evening and spent all of Tuesday recuperating.  After which, again I ached all over from being ill so much.  Fortunately, it didn't appear to be any type of bug, bacterial or viral, but some intestinal blockage which I have never done well with.  'Call the ambulance, I'm sure I'm dying' kind of deal for me.  I am an absolute baby when this happens and my body completely betrays me.

I decided to give my body a rest and took that week and this past weekend off as well.  I will ease back into a routine by walking, which I have been doing with the pups, but plan to increase mileage on my treadmill.

I have become frustrated with the response time on the treadmill when speed training.  It doesn't increase speed quickly enough, and then when I'm ready to cough up a lung, it does not decrease quickly enough.  I have been wondering if there is still such a thing as a non-motorized treadmill.  Do they still make them?  You know the kind, the one they use in the beginning of the Jetsons?  At least it starts out that way until they get it going too fast?  (I never understood why they weren't concerned a little more about 'gravity'.)   I decided to look them up, they DO exist!  A manual treadmill is what it is called, I ordered one immediately.  I will post an update on how well (or not) it works out for me during the upcoming cold weather.



As for the 'what now' question, I will be working on hill training for my next scheduled race in March of 2015.  We are doing a 10K bridge run, this will be an increased distance and an increase in hills and endurance.  I am looking forward to the challenge.  In truth, I am looking forward to kicking the challenge in the bum!  After this, the goal is half marathon training for a race sometime in 2015 and the ultimate shorter long term goal right now is my first full marathon in the Fall of 2016 with a few awesome friends.  

I have not been 'dieting', no counting calories, depriving myself, obsessing over every morsel I put into my mouth.  I have however been making better choices.  I am vegan and prefer whole foods versus processed foods.  If I am hungry, I eat.  If I want something yummy, I try to make it myself.  There are times when it is not convenient to do so and I will make exceptions, but I do NOT beat myself up about it.  I try to move in some way every day, and I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables.  Since I'm a vegan, this works out really well for me.  I want to see a lot of color on my plate at each meal.  If there is no green, even if it's just a small amount, at every meal, it feels like something is missing.

Organic & Non-GMO tofu, scrambled with onions tri-colored organic peppers, garlic, salt, pepper.

Since my last recorded higher weight in February, I have lost 21 pounds, and since beginning my running again, I have lost 13 pounds.  The 13 pounds came off naturally in three months by keeping active and eating primarily organic whole foods.  I am letting my body heal itself and trying not to get in the way.  It is rewarding me by balancing itself and letting go of the excess gravity.  Thank you my beautiful and wondrous body, you are making the running more enjoyable with every bit of gravity you release!!

HAPPY RUNNING TO ALL!!!!!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

So...you think you want to quit?

On my way 41 degrees

Entering park - beautiful!
Last Saturday was my third race.  It was dark, it was cold, my pets were snuggling and the bed was cozy.  I checked the outside temperature, 41 degrees....'you don't have to do this you know', 'you can crawl right back under the covers and relax'.  'But I feel so great after a run', 'I feel so proud', 'I feel strong, confident and accomplished'.  'Besides, you never have to do it, you GET to do it, and you are one lucky gal to have that privilege!'  'Now, get off your ass and go have some fun!  Besides, next week is downtown and if you are going to skip a race, save it for that one!'

Water's edge pre-race - Brrrrrrr
Okay, I went.  I was so happy I did.  It was bitterly cold on the water's edge where we all met before the race, but once we moved from there to the start, it was fine.  Once moving even better.  I had done this route so many times before, I could do it in my sleep.  I knew when the inclines were coming and when to take advantage of the downhills.

It was a nice race.  I had a great time and felt wonderful throughout most of the run.  And the fact that it was for a good cause was gravy.  This was my best time yet!  Was I ever glad I made myself get to go ;)
Post race - It was a beautiful day!

I was happy to have the added warmth of this shirt!
Fast forward to yesterday morning.  Again, it was cold, 43 degrees, and this race was downtown.  I have never liked messing with downtown races, parking and traffic.  I knew I had banked a 'skip this race', (whatever that meant), so stayed in bed for a while thinking.  I hadn't even set the alarm I was that certain I was going to 'skip this race'.

The morning's mental conversation went a little something like this:
I am so wide awake.  I don't want to go.  Why not?  I hate messing with downtown traffic and parking.  But you know this part of downtown like the back of your hand.  Check the website.  Easy park, free park, close walk, what's the problem?  I don't know.  Don't wanna. Why not?  It's cold. You're not even a tiny bit tired.  You are going to be so grumpy and antsy if you stay in bed.  It is a nice flat route.  It would be nice to run a level race. Wouldn't it?  And maybe you could beat your last run.  This was the first race you ever did a few years back, you ran it for your 'Poppy' since he had recently passed away.  Aren't you lucky you're able to do this?  A couple hours from now, you are going to feel like crap when you know you would have been done and speculate on what might have been.  You still need to run later today and it might not get any warmer.  Get up, go to the bathroom, get moving.  Okay, here's the deal, I'll get on the scale and if it is in the 2-teens, I'll go to the race.  I got up, got on the scale.  It was in the 2-teens.  A deal is a deal.

Pulling up the new running pants I had purchased the day before in anticipation of the cooler running weather, I smiled to myself thinking, yep, a deal is a deal.  I couldn't believe that actually worked. Laced up the shoes, took care of the furballs, gathered my last minute items and headed out the door.

What a gorgeous day!
I knew exactly where I was going, although it had been some time since I had used this route.  After several detours, u-turns, and finally resorting to my navigator, I arrived.  I was so excited. Everything was set up and there was a great turnout.  As I neared the canal where all the excitement was, I could hear the music and started getting pretty amped.  I did feel really well.  I felt strong and there seemed to be a bounce in my step.  I headed to packet pick-up and donned my bib and timer, but wanted to take the t-shirt back to the car, I also wanted to grab the cell and take some photos before the run.  I decided it was too much to try and carry it through the run, so headed back to the car again to put away the phone.  My steps felt so light and springy.  Yay!  There were two minutes left before the race started.  I headed over and ran into a couple of girls that had run a race with me two weeks ago.  We chatted for a moment before I headed toward the back of the group.


A nice turn out pre-race

Our great DJ
I had forgotten this was a walk/run 5K, so spent the better part of the first quarter mile weaving in and out of the walkers, but once I had maneuvered into a good spot, I settled into a nice and comfortable pace.  This felt so much better than the first time I had run it.  I wasn't nervous, I was having fun, I felt strong and confident and was whooting and giving high fives as we passed the volunteers.  We circled a block or so before heading into the downhill to the canal.  I hadn't remembered there was a downhill here, I was psyched!  I was running much faster than normal anyway, but when I hit the hill, I was able to open my stride wider than usual, and I increased my pace as well.  Leaning into it, I hit that nirvana running moment, how perfect.  It makes me smile now to remember that feeling.  You feel you can fly, feet light, body light, fast, free, forever.  It was a wonderful way to start a race I almost quit before I started.

North end of canal - The finish wraps up to the left of and behind the tree in the left middle of the photograph


Pre-race
Things went well that first mile, then something changed.  I don't know if we were on a slight incline or not, my body usually feels it before my eyes see it, but something was different.  I knew I wasn't going downhill right now, so being accustomed to adjusting my pace, I slowed a little, and tightened the stride again until finding my regular pace.  I had moments where I felt fine and steady, but from that second mile and to the finish, most every step was hard fought for.  There were times when I thought my body was going to stop on me, but I didn't want to have to try to run again after a walk, that was much harder, better to keep running than stop.  I might not be able to start again at all.  I don't want to walk.  Keep going!  I kept going.  I plodded along miserably with a few steady moments sprinkled throughout, but they were very few and far between.  Finally, I saw the turn heading into the finish.  Normally at every race, with one other exception, I sprint into the finish, but this time, my feet felt so heavy, I was concerned I might drag them over the blue rugs and get tangled in the cords and fall flat on my face!  I barely heard or saw anyone as I came across that finish, barely able to lift my feet, I struggled across the first, then the second, third and fourth mats.  I MADE IT!  Wow!  Am I whipped!  I MADE IT!  Catching my breath, I went to the volunteer table and picked up some water, the volunteers were being very supportive, I weakly chirped out my thank you for volunteering before wandering off to find a place to sit and recover.  I came to the breakfast setup before finding a seat, so fixed a plate of cut fresh fruit and wandered over to sit down.  Once I recovered, I was smiling both inside and out and enjoying visiting with the people next to me.

Race goodies
This was one of the best races of the four.  While I had achieved and thoroughly enjoyed that special runner's high during my first mile, it was not my strongest, nor my most enjoyable race, quite the opposite.  It was hard fought, it was painful, I struggled, in fact, I hadn't even wanted to go.  I wanted to quit several times during the race and I wanted to quit before I started, but I didn't.  I MADE IT!!    I conquered this beast and still came in under 45 minutes, much to my amazement!

The more difficult something is for you to accomplish, the more rewarding it is when you succeed.  I am so proud of myself for completing all four races.  Every Saturday morning for four weeks in a row, I got up early and went to my races.  I completed my races and am that much stronger for it.  

So, if you think you want to quit, think again.  You deserve this.  You are not only able to do this, you WILL do this.  You GET to do this!!

HAPPY RUNNING TO YOU ALL!!!!!

YOU DON'T HAVE QUIT IN YOU!!!!!


Sunday, September 28, 2014

2nd race on the books!




It was such a beautiful morning, a perfect morning for a race!  This one was going to be held in my park, on the roads.  I was familiar with the route they had mapped out and knew there would be plenty of inclines, so the plan was to take it nice and steady, and the goals today were simply to finish and run each step of the way.  I was pretty sure this one was going to take a bit longer.




One of the sponsors was my favorite health food store, and they had lots of free goodies.  This race was well organized and fun, and it was only the second annual event.  It was for a great cause and they really did it up right.  There were free Zumba dance classes and plenty of games for the kiddos before the race, and they offered free professional massages for the runners afterward.

The race started on an incline, so I put myself toward the back of the pack knowing I was going to start out slowly.  Just as I thought it was going to level out for a minute, we were heading back up a hill of broken down, rutted and uneven road with lots of rocks and leaves, I was forced to watch each step as opposed to looking up and around and enjoying the scenery.

There would be a lot of step watching today.  I was so happy to be back running again and I didn't want to roll an ankle on any of the rocks or walnuts that were plaguing the route today, but it was an absolutely beautiful route which I enjoyed thoroughly (even while wondering if the inclines would ever level out!)

Even while feeling the strain on my entire system, my legs were strong and I held steady throughout the entire run.  And here it was, the incline that forced a slow gradual start.  It was now a downhill sprint to the finish which I absolutely loved, smiling every step of the way!!

By holding steady and knowing what to expect at each turn, I was able to come in under my goal time and did better than I had expected.  In fact, if this race had awarded age grouper medals, I would have won my first one!

HAPPY RUNNING!!


Post run evening: A big batch of homemade lentil stew

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My first race (again)!


This morning was my first 5K since beginning and completing retraining over the last couple of months.  The weather was perfect and it was shaping up to be a magnificent day.  It was also my birthday.  I thought this was the best gift I could give myself.  I decided to treat it as another 'training run' because I always tend to get nervous before a race.  I'm not sure why, but I always feel, even if short lived, that familiar anxiety welling up in the pit of my gut.

On my way!

I got to the race location, picked up my packet, then took most of it back to the car.  I wanted to be able to photograph everything, but decided I would put the phone away until after the races were over.  This was a two race event, a 10K which started at 8:15, and then my 5K which began at 8:30.  I still had a little time before the race, so I wandered around investigating and meeting new people.

Loot!

 HANK FM was announcing a contest, so I wandered over and filled out an entry form, teasing them about it being my birthday while also advising them they didn't really need to know the year ;)  I moved on to another tent and grabbed a banana and some water.  While loading up on goodies, I heard my name being called over the loud speakers.  Again, 'Lori Poole, where are you?'  It was the HANK FM tent DJ announcing that Lori Poole, the birthday girl had won the drawing for a one hundred dollar gift card!  Wowie!  Not a bad start!  I was just sure they were teasing me, but it was the real deal!

Gift card!

A few minutes later the 10K runners were off!  Fifteen more minutes and it would be time for me to run my race.  I walked over to the start line and felt the anxiety rising.  I found some nice people and began chatting, this always helps me calm down and I believe it helps others relax as well.  That fifteen minutes went by so fast, there it was!  We were moving, crossing the start line and that was it for REAL!

I found my pace and settling in, held steady.  Hey, I feel good!  I am very glad I took the last four days off.  I'm doing fine, I'm doing really well.  I was passing people that started before me, but it didn't matter, I wasn't competing with them.  I had my own agenda, my own very specific goals.

The first mile was done and gone and I was digging into the second mile.  There was a sweet downhill run before hitting a couple of hills, so I was sure to take advantage of this.  I really enjoyed the downhill bit, but I was preferring even more the stretches of good old level road.  Here come the ups, okay let's just slow down if we need too, tighten your stride, you know what to do, you've been training on hills.  I had been training on much steeper hills!  While this was a bit of a strain, I continued right on to, and past mile two!

Figuring my time at the two mile mark, I started doing the math.  I am always doing math on my runs, I find it not only serves a purpose, but it keeps me entertained.  If I kept this pace up, even factoring in the long gradual incline I knew was waiting for me just before the end of the route, I was definitely going to be able to come in under fifty minutes.  In fact, I decided I wanted to come in under forty-six minutes!!  How about that?!

Rounding the turn into the hospital grounds, I knew it wouldn't be much longer before the three mile marker, then only a tenth of a mile to go!  I was feeling somewhat tired as I was straining against the incline, but just ahead, I could see that wonderful three mile marker!  The adrenaline kicked in and I knew I could push myself through the last bit.  I did too, I wanted to make up for the slower pace on that last incline.  There they were!  I could see those beautiful blue rugs over the timing mechanisms under the giant FINISH banner!!  Pushing even harder, as hard as I could, I pumped my legs and headed into the finish!!  Forming peace symbols with my fingers, I kissed both and waved them high in the air shouting my WOOT-WOOTs! and AWESOMEs!!

I did it!!  I really did it!!  I hit my goals and then some!  Goal 1) Finish the race, CHECK, 2) Run every step, CHECK! and 3) The added goal of finishing under forty-six minutes, CHECK!!

Post race!  Big cheesy grin!


That's right!!  I did it!! Not only under forty-six minutes, but...

...under 45 minutes!!  (3rd from the bottom)
AND I received an age groupers medal!  Third place!

That's my bling! The ICING!!
What a wonderful and rewarding morning it had been.  One of my cupcakes I had received from a friend yesterday actually survived until post race and I treated myself when I got home. While the cake was good, just like meeting my original goals, the icing was spectacular!  And as most of as know, it really is all about the icing!  ;)

Just LOOK at that icing, will you?!  Spectacular!!




HAPPY RUNNING TO YOU!!!!!





Monday, September 15, 2014

Last training run before my 5k race

I had been feeling very strong while training and this past week, it finally caught up with me.  Feeling achy and drained.  I decided since I had been pushing it a bit, to take a few extra days off for rest.  I wanted to get out and do one more full practice 5k run before Saturday's race.

I got to the park a little later than usual, but enjoyed a slow start to the morning.  I started off on my warm up walk and realized I didn't have my Garmin with me.  I had planned on shooting for some more level training ground today, but this wasn't going to be the case.  Since there was a 5k route I could use without being dependent on my Garmin, I turned around and walked to the route start.  The route begins going up an incline, levels occasionally, has multiple uphill climbs in the middle, and is uphill at the end, with a nice downhill run at the very very last bit.

As I jogged up the starting hill I was already feeling like I was going to need to stop and I hadn't gone a quarter mile.  I set my mind and determined that was NOT going to be an option this morning.  I was so grateful when it began to level out.  I continued on feeling very sluggish and tired.  I just didn't seem to be able to shake it, but I was not going to stop.  With every passing landmark, I would recognize how far I had gone and how far I still had to go.  It didn't matter, I was going to continue.  On and on, slowly up another hill, shortening my stride, slowing my pace, getting the breathing under control, I pressed onward.

There would be three decent hills going down before some of the larger uphill stretches.  I would generally take full advantage of these to take in lungfuls of fresh, clean air.  Today, approaching the first downhill stretch, I was ready to enjoy it and take a deep breath.  Blasting past me right at the same moment was a large dump truck with all its black and smoky exhausts.  Instead of gulping in clean air, I was holding my breath and trying to catch small mouthfuls through my hand to try and filter out the stench.  Recovering, I slowly climbed up the next large hill looking forward to getting some fresh air on the next downhill stretch.

Here it comes, the second downhill stretch.  I'm going to fill my lungs with the sweet stuff now!  Rumble, boom....what the...?  Another dump truck comes barreling by.  Another downhill goal filled with black and smelly smoke.  Covering my mouth and plowing ahead, I stayed the course.  Third time's the charm.  And it was.

Without realizing it, my running had been getting stronger, the legs feeling better than when I started out today.  I was tired, but I did feel like I had hit my stride.  Heading to the third downhill stretch, I really needed to make it work.  Following, was the toughest stretch for me on this route and I knew once I got through it, I was on the homestretch.

No more dump trucks!  I took advantage of this to push the speed and breath in the fresh, clean air before heading up the hill.  Here it is, and boy is it ever tough!  You've got this!  Just a little bit more and you're flying downhill for the home stretch.  Got it!  Heading down that hill and on the homestretch, I knew this was one run I was going to be okay to have end.  I was also going to be very proud of finishing it.  The more challenging the run, the more rewarding the finish!

After completing today, I was pretty tired and thirsty, so I took some time to rest, recover and hydrate before heading back to the car.  On the way back I took time to enjoy the last of the summer wildflowers and the start of the Fall wildflowers.




I got into the car and opened the glove box to grab something and lo and behold, look what I found in there!!

Hill training is GOOD! Even if it wasn't the original plan!


HAPPY RUNNING ALL!!  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

6:39 PM Tornado Warning in this area til 7:15 PM EDT. Take shelter now....NWS



I wasn't sure I was going to make it before the storm tonight, but I headed out to the park after work anyway.  I had stayed late tonight and was already concerned about the pups being inside for so long , but I knew it was going to be a shorter run.  The plan tonight, speed training:  a one mile run, walk a couple of minutes, two half mile runs with walk breaks between, then two to four quarter mile runs to really push it, of course with recovery walks between each of these as well.

I got to the park, peeled off my work clothes which I had worn over my running clothes all day, and headed out.  Only a few of the die-hards were still left at the park by the time I arrived.  One by one, most of them were leaving as well.  They had probably gotten there earlier and were heading home for dinner.

I started with a fast walk, then shifted into my run.  I started out a bit too overzealous, but my goal tonight was to pull a twelve minute mile pace on at least one of the quarter mile runs.  I had wanted to do the mile more as a warm up and build speed with each interval.  I was feeling really heavy and strained tonight and started out too fast, so I thought I would shoot for the half miles instead now.  After I raced along for a bit, I felt the strain and bumped it down to quarter mile intervals.  I felt like I could push it more that way and might survive the strain as well.

I hit the first quarter mile, walked a bit, then decided it was looking rather dark out now and I wasn't seeing very many people.  I'll get one more quarter in, then call it quits for tonight.  Turning around, I headed back in the direction of the car.  I pushed myself for the next quarter, really wanting that twelve minute pace.  I hit another quarter, then headed to get a drink of water.

As I was walking back to the car, a nice cooling rain began.  Once I got in the car it really started pouring.  And there was plenty of thunder now too.  By the time I pulled in my drive it was coming down in torrents.  I decided I would head through the front door, grab the umbrella, then cut through the garage to get the mail and unload the car.  I got inside and let the dogs out before doing anything else.  My little guy hadn't quite made it, but that was okay, I knew he had done his very best.  The rain eased back for a few minutes while I got everything unloaded and the dogs took care of their business, then we all came inside and the storm really hit.  (Thank you for waiting until we all got inside.)

After getting everything put away and settled in, I picked up my phone and saw I had an emergency weather warning.  Tornado warning sent at 6:39PM, expired at 7:15PM, read at 7:23PM.  I was pretty relieved we were all okay and I had missed that!

Coolest part tonight, even though my original plans had been slightly altered, I did hit my 12 minute pace!  On both quarters!!






HAPPY RUNNING FOLKS!!!!!


Monday, September 8, 2014

An interesting post run hankerin'

In keeping with my plan, I went out to do several reps of twelve minute runs today.  Since all three races I have registered for involve hills, two of which are in my very near future, I decided to run one of the hillier routes that are also mostly in open sun today.

I got a slow and easy start to my day.  I was feeling a little bit achy all over from my unique sleeping patterns, so didn't jump right out of bed and hit the road running this morning.  I am long overdo for a new mattress and finally decided to go for it.  I had already picked out my dream mattress a number of years ago and began digging around for it online this morning.  Once I had found it, I was now more certain than ever I was going to make this an immediate priority!  I looked it up to research all the details and was extremely disappointed to find it contained both wool and silk.  In addition to them not being on a vegan venue, neither are on my personal choice list.  I started searching for options and found a really cool organic and vegan mattress, but I don't have any way of trying it out first.  I put that on the back burner and decided to do a live customer service chat with the store that had my original mattress.  Are there any items comparable?  Are there any that don't contain animal products?  We found a fairly nice option but again, nothing nearby where I can test it out.  The search continues and I'm sure I'll post all about it once it unfolds.  In the meanwhile, back to today!

As I said, moving slow, feeling achy and training on hot, sunny hills was planned for today.  As with my previous runs, I was feeling pretty great on the level stretches, especially when I hit a patch of shade.  I made sure to savor those rare moments, to really live in that moment.  But these breaks were few and far between today.  The level stretches good, the downhill stretches better, downhill and shade....GREAT!  But then there were the challenging hills and open sun.  I tightened my stride, I slowed my pace and on I plodded.  There were times that I knew if I hadn't experienced this before, known I could do it, that I might have given up in the past, but I did know better and I did not give up.

It is truly tough timing a run to know when you can really exert some of your best energy.  I don't like to start out with too much too soon, which I have done in the past, because this doesn't leave much for the rest of the run.  If you take it too slow and easy, you don't grow or challenge yourself as you would like.  I try to have a regular steady 'go to' pace throughout, but when I hit some easier stretches, I pull out a little more.  As I approach the more challenging sections, I tighten the stride and ease back on the pace.  Today, I had it planned out that majority of the last run interval would be on hills.  Ending a race on a hill is a tough one, especially if you use up all your good stuff early on, you simply run out of steam.  Both of the races I have this month have hills throughout and end on hills, I knew I needed to build up some endurance for that.  If I could pull this off, I knew the very last two minutes or so would be downhill and level.

That last two minutes was my dangling carrot.  It kept me going even when I was feeling spent.  And there it was, just around the next turn and I would be close to heading down that hill.  Ahhhh!  I made it, here it is!  Here's the good stuff!!  Weeeeeeee!!! And there's the water fountain!!  You're almost there....MADE IT!  I'm not sure fresh cool water ever tasted so wonderful!!

I walked back up the hill, to my car and headed home.  Boy was I hungry!!  I knew I wanted something specific, but couldn't put my finger on it.  Something peanut butter...that's it!  And here it is, my interesting post run hankerin'.  I am currently gobbling up every single bite!

A classic: Peanut butter and pickles


HAPPY RUNNING!!  AND HAPPY POST RUN GOODIES!!