Tuesday, February 8, 2011

track workout or bust, a little gardening & a preschool prodigy

 Today's workout: 4 miles on the gym treadmill 36:32 (9:08) followed by a quick 15 minutes on the precor (I couldn't stay away from it!)

Tonight I am gearing up for my 1st track workout.  Our local running store that provides free support for Saturday morning long runs (4 water/Gatorade stations) also provides a free Tuesday evening track workout year round at a local high school.  So many of you have told me to begin some speed work, so I thought this would be ideal.  My only other experience with track workouts were in San Francisco when I was training for wildflower 1/2 Ironman....I loved the experience and I am very excited to find some speed in my legs and meet some new running peeps.  I will let you know how it goes...

Yesterday I had a parent teacher conference for my 4 year old.  And what do you know, he can cut a straight line with scissors so he is being moved into the gifted program.  I am totally kidding.  I actually think that whole things is quite ludicrous with regards to preschools, prekindergarten and kindergarten these days.  What a child learned as a 5 or 6 year old a few years ago in Kindergarten they are now expected to know as a 4 year old in preschool.  All in all he did quite well.  From being at the park for hours on end everyday his motor skills are quite good...he scales the fence instead of simply walking through the gate....BUT the teacher pointed out that he would not and could not identify numbers.  I had to laugh because he definitely can and when we got home from school he informed me that he just wasn't in the mood to show "Ms. Sue" that day in school.  Thata BOY!

And the garden.  I have been pleasantly surprised how well it is doing after I nearly killed it back in the beginning of December.

What's left of the cauliflower...

My cauliflower plants got ripped up yesterday as all 6 heads grew and unlike broccoli they don't generate any shoots for "baby" cauliflowers.  Also, I love seeing new things that I did not know would happen or exist when it comes to the garden...did you know that left to grow a cauliflower would end up like this?  growing green sprouts...turning purple?  Luckily Oz trimmed my 3 remaining heads up for some soup

Did you know that broccoli turns into this?  I feel like I must have grown up in a cave or something because I had no idea that if a head of broccoli was left to sit and grow and grow all of the "green" that we eat that is the head becomes amazing yellow flowers.  I ought to cut them, but they have brought so many bees to the garden and so I keep cutting the smaller broccolini from the base to eat and have left these flowers alone.  Pretty cool!

The eggplant that once looked like it was in the final stages of life is sporting about 15 or so flowers = 15 or so yummy eggplant!

The frail green beans are also growing...so excited for so many yummy things! 

Bought a hanging strawberry plant

The onions (all the long stalk looking things) are getting big.  I have no idea how to tell if there is an actual onion under there though...I may have to have a peak soon!

How's your day? Whatcha running today?
Do you have a garden?
Have you taken part in a group track workout?  thoughts?

A wonderful bloggy "friend" and someone who I consider a running mentor could use some prayers for her family...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday morning rambles...a GYM Story

I have begun 2 other posts and am not feeling the flow today.  SO many little things that I will just have bloggy ADD and go for it, sharing whatever spews out.

Friday at the gym (my 1st day back since the race) I set myself on my recumbent bike, opened up my Catching Fire book (have you begun the Hunger Games trilogy yet???  what are you waiting for...go grab the 1st book!!  NOW!) and began a nice, leisurely spin on the bike when I overheard a conversation between the receptionist and gym member.  The member was making sure her auto pay for unlimited classes would stop b/c the "other" gym has free classes.  I was confused and wanted to know more....I swear I am not an eavesdropper!

So, after my time reading..I mean exercising on the bike I walked over to the receptionist and began to pick her brain.  I asked stupid questions about the different classes and then asked for a new class schedule...with that she looked at me and told me that the gym was closing the next day.  Um say what?  My gym that I have paid for my membership in full is closing?  She informed me that the place went bankrupt and so on Saturday..as in 2 days ago, as in the day after this inquiry my gym would not be there to help tame my exercise addiction.   LUCKILY there was another gym in town that would "have" us.

SO, me being me got home and called this other gym.  I explained who I was and said I was just curious about the stipulations and such and the lady from the new gym was SHOCKED I knew about the closure.  She began asking me 20 questions about how I knew, who else knew and other bizzar-o stuff.  I am not sure if it was just me, but in my opinion the fact that nobody had the nerve to tell anyone yet about this gym closing was a bit off.  Needless to say she said I was welcome to begin using this other gym and so that was that.

Fast forward to today and my 1st trip to said gym.  I love it, I feel at home.  I am happy as a clam.  Wanna know why?  because they have Precors...you heard it right, my favoritest elliptical EVER.  My past gym had Cybex somethin' or other and we never "gelled" like the Precor.  I mean Little Miss Precor and I go back..I mean way back to 1997 when we were first introduced.  I heart her!  I really do.  If there was an Olympic sport for the Precor I would WIN!  HANDS DOWN.  I can stay on that puppy for hours.  Time flies...I sweat, I relax...I feel golden!  So, my new gym and I are HAPPY!

Wanna know what else makes me happy about it?  They keep it warm in there.  Yours truly likes a sweat fest.  If I ain't sweeten' I ain't working' hard enough.  20 minutes on Ms. Precor, followed by a quick 20 on a very nice treadmill (much nicer than the scuffed up ones of my old gym) and 20 minutes on my lounger..I mean recumbent bike reading and I was SOAKED.  Ring out the shirt soaked!

In addition I saw many of my peeps there...trainers, fellow gym goers and all.   It felt a little like high school....the new kids in a huddle and the old kids just glaring at us....infringing on their territory.  All was good though and "TONY" one of the trainers form my old gym even came up to me and said the following..."Don't worry Heather, everything is going to be alright here..."  It made me laugh...I mean we are just talking about a gym after all!

DO you have a favorite gym??  What makes a gym more appealing to you from one to another?
my favorite gym ever was the one back in NY where I grew up...the Penfield Raquet and Fitness Club.  I LOVED that place.  I still say I would move back just for that gym.  I felt comfortable there and loved the family feel of it.

my least favorite was a huge, 2 story LA Fitness in Murrieta CA.  This huge boxy thing with big time men all jacked up and lots of grunting....no bueno!

I was going to share more ramblings, but this is quite enough.

ONE more thing....my numbers jumped to 23 this weekend and I am so excited to have more followers.  It makes me so happy that my nonsense is enjoyed by others....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The UGLY- ING Miami Marathon Style!

As I shared yesterday, my first Marathon, 1 week ago on my 21st...I mean 31st Birthday went well.  I was a bit disappointed, but in the scope of the larger picture I think I did very well for training on my own, missing a lot of the filler runs and fueling properly.  BUT there were some Good things, some BAD things and 1 or 2 quite UGLY things that went with this race.  (the good outweighs the others by a TONS! )

The Good!
- My husband and I had our first night away with no kids in 1,493 days...yeah that's right just over 4 years...since our 4 year old was born.  AND it was quite possibly the most relaxing night.  I mean we were in bed at 8pm and up at 3:15am...slept in separate full sized beds and were not woken up once by a child.  (it was the most un-romantic night EVER! )

- We arrived on Friday night and our hotel was right on the water, directly behind Versace's house...great location.  We did a quick jog Saturday to get used to Miami weather and loosen up right on the beach.

-For the first time in a very long time I felt NO post run injury pain....which meant NO post run ice.  It was really the first time in months I did not ice my knees, feet, Achilles or anything.  Great feeling (even though my body was full of post race aches and soreness)

-Whatever I did Friday and Saturday worked because following 3 port-o-potty stops between 5am and 6:15am I did not stop once during the race to visit a port-o-jon!  I didn't eat crazy, but just pretty normal.  The best thing ever was the Starbucks VIA I got to make a quick cup of coffee in my hotel room (no coffee makers!)

-It was a great experience running a race on my Birthday.  I wish I had put something like "BD Girl" or something on my bib instead of "Heather."  It would have been great to be wished Happy Birthday by 1000's of people.

- I got to spend a fun filled 48 hours with friends and my husband...it was great to get away knowing that my mom had the boys.  The girls and I stayed in bed Saturday morning until 11am watching E! and then just relaxed the rest of the day until the husbands arrived.  We ate great food and had great conversation.

- I ran a marathon in 4:20 which was a sub 10 minute pace.  I know I am capable of so much more and I will find ways to drop that time considerably!

-I treated myself to some amazing hot pink Zensah recovery socks Monday morning...granted we will be eating Ramen noodles for weeks because of the price, but my lower legs loved it and I think they are heavenly...and pretty cute too!

-My husband (Oz) and Jens husband got along great and wore their backpack chairs...they watched the sun rise in the median of the road at the race start.  Quite a cute two-some!
The Bad
-Unfortunately the race t shirt was a bit less than stellar.  The shirt looks great...navy blue with one of the sleeves striped orange and white, but the cut is NOT for a female.  The seams come right across my chest...and the sleeves come down past my elbows...LOVELY!

- Sunday after the race I felt OK.  Monday morning I felt OK.  Monday afternoon I hit a wall straight on.  My legs killed...I was side shuffling around my house.  I also felt nauseous due because I was dehydrated. I don't think I drank nearly enough fluids after the race...and my skin was covered with salt when I finished.

-I am a light sleeper and the first night I shared a room with my 2 friends...needless to say they snored and I ended up sleeping in the bathtub.  It was a little small, but nice a quiet!

-Yes our hotel was in a fabulous location, but it seemed more like the hostel I stayed in while backpacking through Ireland.  The rooms looked like "sheek" dorms and there were people coming and going all night long.  It was a loud couple of nights...

The Ugly
-Ahhhh my toe. I never felt any pain when I was running, but when I got back to the hotel I noticed blood all over the top of my sneaker.  When I removed my shoe my sock was completely red and under the sock my foot was all bloody.  (I did take a picture but I will spare you from that visual...)

Hope your weekend is going great.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Post Marathon Funk?

I cannot believe that my race was almost 1 week ago and I am just now sharing my experience. This past week has been a little odd...I am experiencing some serious Post Marathon Funk.  I can only compare the feeling to that of taking down the Christmas decorations or something along those lines.  I think I am just in that period of limbo...asking myself "What Now?"

But I need to move forward, begin training and find a way to make these feelings go far far away...I have way to much to focus on to muster these bizarre feelings.  So moving forward.

I will probably take a few posts sharing my experience of January 30th...But to start off I will share that I did finish the marathon in 4:20:21.  With that said I am very happy I finished but in the same breath I put a ton of pressure on myself and so I was really hoping to finish in a time right around 4 hours.

I did go out rather fast for myself and felt very very good.  I ran the first 13.1 in 2:02.  I would never have gone out that fast if I knew that at about mile 16 my legs were going to completely fail me.  BUT during those frost 14 miles or so I really felt strong and not at all like I was pushing too hard.  The 1/2 marathon was BEAUTIFUL and I would suggest that everyone run it is you have the opportunity.  It is very flat aside from a bridge right at the get go...but besides that it is a very fun, entertaining and friendly course.  Lots of music, people and fun things to look at...along with just the right amount of runners  19,000 I think.  There were also 22 aid stations all with water and Gatorade...many with Gu's, bananas, and pretzels.  So, like I said the 1/2 was awesome and I would do it again in a heartbeat....definitely a race for a PR!

The 2nd half of the race was H-A-R-D.  (in addition to frustrating!)  I kept asking myself "what the Heck is going on?  You have run 21 miles and didn't feel this bad!"  My legs literally killed.  My quads felt like they were ripping off my body.  Each step I took, my legs felt tighter and tighter and nothing was helping.  I did stop a few times beginning at mile 21ish and would stretch, but in my mind I was not sure if the stopping was actually making me more sore from my body stiffening up.  Luckily the 2nd half of the race was pretty much all shaded.  The temperatures quickly jumped from a dark start at 6:40am of 60 degrees to about 80 with sun and no wind at about 10am.  It was a beautiful 2nd half run, winding through the BEAUTIFUL neighborhoods of Coconut Grove and finishing up with a loop close to University of Miami and then the water way out to Key Biscayne.  Right past mile 23.5 I was passed by the 4:15 pacer and I tried so hard to stay with her, but I did not have it in me.  (I did stick with the 4 hour pacer when she passed me from mile 7 until about 13.5 when my legs started to bother me.)

So, the finish was amazing.  Tons of people and somehow I managed to get that last burst of energy for the last .5 or so.  I was even stopped by the lady I had been playing leap frog with the whole time and was told how great I finished.

So, that is the race....a very very outlined version.  I want to write more and I will probably go back all week and share more and fill in some gaps but with that said I am ready to move forward.  I have a goal for San Diego of a 4 hour marathon and I believe I can do it.  I have A LOT to work on and A LOT to learn before then...but I do have exactly 17 weeks from tomorrow until race day.

In the meantime I am going to
--work on building my base
--try and incorporate speed work (there is a free track workout every Tuesday night right down the road)
--TRY TRY TRY to watch what I eat and hopefully loose 15-20lbs...it will be hard
--drop my 5k time to the 21's and my 10k time to sub 50min.

So, that is it.  I have been reading others blogs and I am finally after writing this feeling better and ready to move forward with a positive attitude about the experience and continue to learn from all the wonderful blogs I read.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Off & Running

First and foremost...I am completely humbled by the fact that 18 people are following my blog.  I believe the number jumped up yesterday and I am shocked each and every time I check my blog and see new followers and comments from new bloggy friends.  

Moving along....the car is packed and I am ready to go.  Driving to Miami today with my friend Jenn and picking up Randi (Iron Strand 2010) from the Miami Airport.  Our 4 other friends will arrive over the next 24 hours.  I am excited to say that my husband who tends to be a work-a-holic somehow got the weekend off so he will be arriving tomorrow and be there to watch me on Sunday, race day and my Birthday.

Everything happens for a reason and today I am feeling great.  Ready to run, ready to take that next step as a runner.  My body feels great, my mind feels great and whatever happens on Sunday I will be proud that I trained for months to do something many people would not even attempt.

While packing up my car I looked up and saw the simply most amazing cloud striations in the sky.  Both my mom and I grabbed our cameras since neither of us have ever scene anything like it before.

Truly amazing if you ask me.  

So..Off I go to Miami for what is sure to be an amazing weekend with friends.  I can't wit to share my experience with everyone when I arrive home.  Send good thoughts my way Sunday morning... and I can say with all honesty that the support I have felt and the feedback I have received these past 3 weeks from all of you has re energized me and made this whole experience so much more exciting.  I feel like I have a team behind me!  

Have a wonderful weekend full of running, relaxing and cherishing the time with family and loved ones.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Everyone else is doing it, so I am jumping on the bandwagon.

1.  This morning I caught a glimpse of the weather forecast for this Sunday and needless to say I am THRILLED!
Seriously could not be any better....and like I tell all of you that live in chilly, snowy areas around the US...come for a visit to Florida~  (even though truth be told I am completely jealous of everyone with snow!  I miss the change of the seasons the most.  I ran the first 2/3 of my life in a snowy cold climate and before Florida ran in Green Bay, WI for 2 winter!)

2.  Shorts or 3/4 capris?  I am always going back an forth when the temperatures are in the 50's and low 60's which way to go.  I love my 3/4 pants, but don't want to be hot once the sun is shining down.  Thoughts?  I think shorts will win out.

3.  I have been seeing mentions of Green Smoothies and I wanted to chime in.  I DO NOT make green smoothies, but I would if I had a Vita Mix or some amazing commercial grade blender.  In my opinion the blender makes the shake.  Many of my friends drink green smoothies daily and a great friend of mine shared her recipe with me (she uses a Vita Mix)
Green Smoothie Recipe!
1 Cup Vanilla Rice Milk
2 Stems Green Kale
1 Cup baby spinach
1 banana (she freeze them)
1/4 Cup frozen mango's
1/4 Cup frozen strawberries
1-2 Tablespoons hemp protein

I kid you not this thing is AMAZING!  The texture is really creamy and you taste NO green veggies and I would make them daily IF I had the right tools.  

I am off for my last run before taking off for Miami.  Super Excited.  Really Gittery.  Ready to GO!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Butterflies..I may pee my pants!

I have not even broken down to check the weather for this Sunday...does that make me weird?  I know as soon as I look it will make all of "this" real.  I am nervous...anxious and ready to run...NOW!

After 4 or so days off due to my body becoming a crumbling mess of Taper "injuries" I headed out yesterday for a run in some very very windy conditions.  My logic is always off so I ran out my door as if I was being chased by a mad man.  I looked at my watch a few times and say numbers like 7:23, 7:42 & 7:15.  Ummmmm just a little fast for this lady.  I think it was good though because I could test my knees that were bothering me and see how they would handle some speed.  I believe that mile ended up around a 7:45 pace or something.  Mile #2 I slowed it down a tad and managed to run that in about 8:07 and then from there I decided to just relax and jog into the wind to finish up.  Just a short run....feels weird to only run 3.5 miles after not dipping below 5 for some time.

Today I stopped into Target and Costco to grab some essentials and the local running store to stock up on my Cliff Shots...love some mocha and espresso running through my veins.  Now I just get to wait.

Tomorrow I will finally decide on what to wear and pack up and Friday I am out the door.

With all this said I am trying to figure out mile splits and pace times for a 4 hour marathon.  I found this, but I was hoping for something that had me starting out slower and finishing up faster....If you have any ideas where i can obtain this knowledge via the Internet let me know.

Avg Pace
Total Time
Chip Time

Off to check Miami's forecast for Sunday at 6am!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goals...Attainable or unrealistic

When I signed up for my first Marathon in October I had these goals of a BQ...  NOW I am just praying to Finish!  

I am completely psyching myself out!  I am aware of it and trying to figure out just what my game plan for this Sunday is.  I know what I am capable of, but in the past, my 1/2's end up with me crashing and burning and the races I excel at are 5ks...only because I can go out like a bat out of hell and know I will be done in a mile or 2 when I feel like dying.  1/2's usually find me going out a bit too fast and then by mile 10 or so I am kicking myself for not being conservative and starting out at an easy pace to be able to pick it up at the end.  For the Palm Beach 1/2 in December I started out at an 8:20-8:30 pace and finished up a minute slower.

My game plan for Miami is not even close to being finalized.  I have run all my long runs the way they should be done...start out slow, finish hard, but I am still unsure of my strength at this point.  Mr. McMillian has me clocked out at a 4:02 marathon if all goes as planned...my legs feel like they are flying, the wind is always at my back...and my stomach is settled and therefore I get to blow kisses to the port-o-potties as I whizz by.

I am just beginning to doubt myself and what I am capable of.  That 4:02 time has me running a very low 9 min pace.  I ran 21miles, 2 weeks ago in 3:25 and it was not a race and I was definitely feeling like crap...awful run.  With that said, I believe I could run that last 5 miles at a fairly low 8 min pace if my legs hold up and I feel great.  BUT I am a chicken!  You heard it from me...I AM A CHICKEN.  This marathon is on my mind 24-7 and one second I think that I should just go balls-to-the-wall and shoot for that 9:17 pace and go from there while part of me thinks I should be very conservative and run about a 10 min pace for a while even though I don't ever run a 10 min pace...just so I will feel like doing back flips across the finish line.

I am torn!  I know all will be figured out by 6am Sunday, but until then I am going to be going mad with doubt and excitement and nerves....

What was your plan for your 1st Marathon?
Did you stick to it?

I just don't want to be disappointed and I tend to set very high standards and goals for myself...
I am debating staying with the 4 min pace group?  
Have you ever run with the pace group?

Monday, January 24, 2011

We've Got CRABS....and some broccoli soup too!

We do have crabs and I hope people (my 11 readers) don't think I am a sick-o for my title.  (more to come..read on!)  I feel like it has been ages since I posted anything and I know this is bound to be a jumbled mess...

I am currently in recovery mode from the most amazing 2 1/2 childless days in over a year.  AHHHHHHHHHH!  I could say it over and over again.  I am trying to adjust back into my mommy role and shake off the freedom I felt for about 55 hours.  I am a firm believe that moms need their time and it makes us much much better at what we do when we get some time to our self.  (hence we all run!)

I unfortunately I took virtually no pictures as I forgot my camera but the memories are quite vivid.   I saw some friends that I have not seen in ages, but have known since I was very young.  It is great when you see those people that no matter how long it has been since you saw them, it seems like it was just yesterday.
Ali and Oscar during a quick visit to our house.

We Spent the weekend in Fort Lauderdale at my friends house and just relaxed and laughed all weekend.  I am proud to say that we went "out" on Friday night and I had to laugh at the experience as a whole (lots of people watching!) and just the fact that we rolled in the door at 2am Saturday morning which is actually 5 hours after my normal Friday night bedtime and about 2 1/2 hours before my normal long run wake up call.  

I decided to buy the boys a little treat and opted for some hermit crabs.  We got the most active ones in the store and so those little guys are LOUD.  I feel like PETA is going to come for me as these crabs definitely want out of their home.

I got home just in time Sunday morning to take Oscar to a Birthday party and Googles just love these Elton John sunglasses...we can't keep them off of him.
Nana is a serious card maker and Oscar loves to make cards with her.  He is a very crafty kid and eats this type of thing up....stamping, gluing, cutting, etc.

We had some very large rains last week so my garden is a bit of a rain forest right now.  I came home to so much broccoli, the picture below does not even due it any justice. All the broccoli was flowering so I decided to whip up about 2 gallons of broccoli soup with cabbage and carrots....can you say colon cleanse?  I will probably be eating this soup around the clock until Wednesday....as I ought not be eating it too close to Marathon Weekend!  Can you imagine the port-o-potty stoppage that would occur?  I am a firm believer that your time should stop when you cross the threshold of the pot-o-john...It's only fair right?

So, now it is Monday and Marathon numero- uno is less than 1 week away.  I have not run in a few days due to the weekend with friends and also because I became a bit nervous about my left knee.  My knee just feels off...almost like I hyper extended it maybe?  I don't think it is anything major, but since I did 12 last Monday and a few short runs I decided to skip this past weekends 8 miler.  I am getting really excited, really nervous and really ready for this weekend of fun! 

Sorry this is ALL over the place.  

How was your weekend?
Any great runs?
Are you crafty?  scrap booking? card making?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My roommates for race weekend... Just your Run of the Mill Ultramarathoners

Today is a BIG day....My mom arrives back into town.  She only left 2 weeks ago be she is arriving in tonight.  I love when my family is around, or when anyone visits....YOU want to come to Florida?  We have a room waiting with your name on it!  I have fun with my mom and love to have her around.  She is always up for anything and there is no "entertaining" her as she will go with the flow.  We took this picture last Spring at Costco....my mom drove this exact car years ago so she did a pose with it.  We must have looked nuts to everyone in the crowded parking lot.

Ali, Brooke and Sara, friends from NY
Ali and I in high school
I have some friends from NY coming to visit for the weekend, so mom is going to help out with the kiddies so I can get away without having to pay a babysitter since Oz will be working.  I am excited for a girls weekend!

I cannot believe that 1 week from tomorrow I will be on the road (a short 2 hour drive) to South Beach for the weekend.  Have I mentioned who I am staying with Friday night?  Just your run of the mill Ultra marathoners.  My friend Randi who I met while living in Green Bay (she now lives in Denver) and her friend Becki who lives on the West Coast of Florida are running Miami with me in addition to 3 other friends from West Palm Beach. Randi and Becki met last year while running the Crooms Run, a 50 mile trail run in Central Florida.  They met during the race and became instant friends and a support system for one another.

I met Randi via the Internet about 3 years ago while her and her husband were training for the Madrid, Spain Marathon.  Randi has run tons of Marathons and competed in her first full Ironman this fall with her husband, taking on Ironman Wisconsin.  Our first meeting came on a cold, dark January morning in Green Bay when I met her for a quick run (ended up being over 9 miles which was a LOT for me) on the icy/snowy streets.  We became instant friends and even though we have both left Wisconsin our friendship has stayed strong.

Have you ever had a friend like that?  It is so easy to stay in touch these days with the Internet and all..but with every one's crazy lives in the mix it is just as easy to lose touch with people as weeks and months fly by at a record pace.

So, I am so excited to pick these girls brains over the weekend.  They are both using Miami ING as a "warm-up" for the real race both are training for.....They are traveling to South Africa to run Commrades, a 56 mile ultra marathon and one of the most well known International races on Earth.  HARDCORE!

Did I mention I tried so hard to run a 7 +min mile pace yesterday...I had a short 3 miler and thought that after seeing so many 7min paces on every ones blogs I would go for it...SO close.  Finished the 3 miles at 24:12.  (8:04)  ahhhhhhh.  I started out a little too ambitious and so after 1 mile I had to drop back a bit.  Going to try again today with a 4 miler.

What are you running today?
Any desire to run an Ultra????

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My running life

My original idea for today's post got scrapper after reading The Hungry Runner Girl today, I too will share when I caught the running Bug.

Abby Wambach
Growing up I was always very involved in sports.  My father was a high school and college basketball coach and my mother played tennis, so I was involved in everything from softball to soccer to basketball and horseback riding.  Around middle school all other sports began to fade and I think that was when I became a "soccer player."  My life was completely consumed in all things soccer.  I played club/travel soccer, indoor soccer, high school soccer and was part of the NY West ODP Team (Olympic development program).  My days were filled being shuffled from one practice to another, one soccer camp to another.  My weekends were rarely spent in NY during my high school years and I went to my senior prom with a locked brace under my dress from having ACL reconstructive surgery.  I LOVED SOCCER, and I was lucky enough to play with amazing players in an amazing area of the country for the sport.  (in fact my ODP roommate, club soccer teammate and high school opponent is the leading lady of the National   Team these days!)

When college came around I had to red shirt my freshman yeah due to the ACL injury, so I decided to pack up my stuff and move to Florida for college.  (coming from snow ridden upstate NY, Florida sounded pretty dreamy!)  My college years were spent playing soccer down in Florida through the school year and then when I would travel back home for the summer I would play in the W-League (a semi pro soccer league for women.)

The summer before my 5th and final season down in Florida, I was CUT, you heard it CUT from the Rochester Ravens, the W-League team in Rochester.  I recall at the time not really being fazed by it.  I was beginning to get burnt out and wanted to enjoy my last summer of freedom before graduating after that fall soccer season.  I knew I had to do something with myself other than lifeguard at the Country Club pool, so I just started running....think Forest Gump!  Laced up my sneakers and never looked back.  Many days I would run twice.  I began signing up for every 5k, 10k and 15k I could find.  One week running 3 5ks in one week.  (Rochester has many many races during the summer...night races, afternoon races, you name a day and I could probably find you a race.)  That same summer I also jumped into the the triathlon gig, joining the local RATS group (Rochester Area Triathletes...sweet name huh?) (we are talking summer of 2003 here...just for some frame of reference.)

That summer of 2003 I just went for it.  My mind completely became that of a individual sport athlete after being on a team for so long, relying on others in addition to yourself.  I knew I could push myself and the times on the clocks at races began to drop.  I loved to run and I LOVED to run a 5k.  The adrenaline I got from literally sprinting for 3.1 miles was intoxicating.  My best time being a 22:06...I actually vividly remember many of the 5ks.  I ALWAYS wanted to get into the 21's and came so close.

So now, lets fast forward to today.  8 years later, culinary school done, husband met and married, 2 kids that are no longer "babies" (even though you and I both know our kids will ALWAYS be our babies) and feeling"settled" for the first time in who knows how long.  If you were to ask me last year if I wanted to run a marathon I would have laughed in your face, it was just something I have never had any desire to do.  5ks YES, 10ks YES, even a 1/2 marathon would not have been too bad, but something this summer changed.  I think it is just my inner athlete trying to get back out.  I tend to struggle with the idea of simply being defined as a "mother" and "wife."  I know that may sound terribly selfish, but I need more.  If I was working in the "real world" I think I would be fine to run here and there, hit up the gym and go about my days, knowing I was a "Chef."  But I want more.  I want to be defined by something else and I think it may just be that I am a "RUNNER!"  I hope in the near future to once again also be able to define myself as a "TRIATHLETE."

SO there you have it.  I need more!  I push myself a ton and want so much out of myself.  I have not even run my 1st Marathon yet, but in 12 days I will have.  My time will probably NOT qualify me for Boston (If it does you will probably hear a very large scream around 10am East coast time on the 30th) but I will run Boston...2012? 2013? Who Know?  Someday I will also hear over a loudspeaker "Heather Cruz YOU are an Ironman!" when I cross the finish line in Kona!

(sorry for the lack of pictures....we all like pictures, but I don't have any scanned from my early life.  I will jump on that task soon!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stylin' and Profilin'

Note...for some reason my posts are getting all messed up and things are being left out and I am losing my patience...hoping it works this time!

To my shock, amazement, and some "jazz hands," I accept The Stylish Blogger Award from Jenn @ Running Sane.  (If only you could see me in my too-large pj pants, long sleeved bright green turkey trot t-shirt and barefoot...and it's 4:22 in the afternoon!)

From reading many Stylish Blogger Awards the past few weeks I believe I must now share 7 things about myself and then tag someone else to do the same....( I think that rules have become a bit more lax as it is going to take a little searching to find someone who has not received this most prestigious award...)
(a little fyi, these may be a bit random as I did 31 things about me the other week and that was tough for me and I am hoping not to repeat...)

1.  Milk
I am a freak of nature.  I drink a gallon of SKIM milk every 2 days...that's about 4 gallons a week.  I LOVE MILK.  Nobody else in my family drinks "cow" milk, so I am not going to lie, I drink it straight out of the gallon.  Just me and my gallon of milk.  It quenches my thirst, goes great with everything I eat and puts a smile on my face.  If I forget to lug my gallon over to the couch (my husband and I tend to eat dinners late when he gets home from his Chef duties), all I have to do is say "Oz" and he automatically jumps up and retrieves my gallon for me.  My "relationship" with skim milk goes back many many years, to my earliest memory of childhood when our fridge would be packed with those cardboard 1/2 gallons of milk...my mom even had a Tupperware milk holder that held the 1/2 gallon.  To this day if you were to ask any of my Rochester, NY amigos from childhood they would definitely be able to tell you I was just as obsessed with it back then....(don't judge me by my milk consumption)

2. Summer Camp
When I think back to my childhood I think some of my fondest memories are of the 2 weeks I spent every summer for about 8 years at Camp Stella Maris on Conesus Lake in Upstate New York.  I went the same weeks every year (weeks C & D), the last 2 weeks of July.  From this camp I gained a love for musical artists that most kids my age would NOT have been into as I was elementary age when I started going to this camp, maybe 7 or 8 years old.  Some of my favorites were and still are  Sting, James Taylor, Indigo Girls, and They Might Be Giants.  I often wish that there was summer camp for adults as I could use a break from my life occasionally and wouldn't mind doing some arts and crafts, playing tether ball and swimming endlessly in a lake with friends.

3. Coffee
I have a very odd relationship with coffee.  I am by NO means a coffee snob, but very particular.  Our coffee at home is Whole Foods Italian roast that I grind every morning.  To that I I add a rather large pour of Coffee Mate Vanilla Creamer.  (not sugar or fat free)  BUT that is where I become a little "odd."  I don't like to drink coffee with food and I don't gulp it down fast, so many mornings I make this nice tasty beverage to take a few sips and am done, leaving a 1/2 full cup of coffee on the counter. (If we go out to breakfast I get unsweetened iced tea)  My mom told my friends that I "like the IDEA if coffee."  I don't believe that...life is always chaotic around here and so it is not like I get to sit down with my coffee, watching the morning news and relax.  I do have some favorite coffee places and I will share my favorites...
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf- those of you living no the west coast are some lucky duckers!  I dream of an Ice Blended Vanilla Extreme DAILY! (no milk, all coffee extract)
Whole Foods-  Since we have no Coffee Beans here in Florida, Whole foods makes a mean non-fat blended espresso, hold the whip cream
& Finally Starbucks- I am always happiest when it is Pumpkin Spice latte time (also non fat)
When I get any of these tasty treats I definitely slurp the whole thing up....and I don't get them much so it is a HUGE treat!

4. My Friends
I'm the blond
I am the blond on the left with the braid
I am lucky enough to have the most amazing friends.  Since I have no family living in Florida it is important to have a great support system and for me that is my friends.  

5. Lance Armstrong Quote
I read Lance Armstrong's 2 books many years ago but one quote still sticks out in my mind daily as I kinda feel the same way...
When asked what pleasure Lance Armstrong gets from biking for so long he responded, "I don't do it for the pleasure. I do it for the pain."
I love to push myself and sweat and be sore and maybe that makes me nuts, but that is just me!

6. Vacationing
ahhhh a girl can dream right?

7. Restaurant
It is my dream for my husband and I to own and operate a breakfast/lunch cafe.  I love to work alongside him in the kitchen and think it would be the ideal situation for us.  Have you seen "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin?  The Bakery/Restaurant Meryl had is exactly what I am hoping for!  (maybe a pipe dream?)  I want a place that is cozy, comfortable and has an eclectic menu...in addition I want a pastry counter with all sorts of goodies that people can take home with them....

So, now I must tag someone else to share 7 interesting things about themselves.  I believe G @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner of 3 (Kids) may not have received this prestigious award yet.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Taper on the Mind (or rather losing my mind)

T-Minus 12 days until Miami ING and I may slowly losing it.  (this 1st step is me actually admitting it is happening)

A wonderful blogger, G sent me a link to a very funny letter she received from her coach for me to read during this difficult time (haha).  If you would like to check it out here it is...(G I hope you don't mind, but seeing you had already posted it on your blog I thought it would be OK.)  nofsahmof3

Some of my symptoms:

- A foot problem...came up last week.  Don't recall injuring myself but last week found myself on the couch telling my husband that I wasn't going to be able to run.  I could not walk or run and then POOOOOF it was gone about 3 days later???

- knee pain...possibly tripped over a shoe and twisted my left knee trying to get out the door in the dark on an early morning Starbucks run with the 2 kids in tow.  Ran on the leg today and the 1st half was NOT GOOD.  AND pain started spreading...ahhhhhhhh

- Knee pain became back of leg pain and shin splint pain?  OK, now I am just losing it.  The pain spread to the back of my leg right where my hamstring meets my calf and then spread to my shins???  (I wish I was kidding here but I am NOT!)  Luckily it subsided as I ran, but if really felt like my left leg was a cramped up mess.

NOTE~  I am definitely thinking all these leg and knee pains are because of the weather.  I am NOT a hypochondriac and with all the surgeries I have had on my knees when we have a storm front come through and there is a large pressure change my knees usually feel like crap-o-la.  (did you see Florida on the news???  the whole state was red because of the wonderful storms coming through....I heart a good storm!)

- I just had to run my 12 mile run that got cut short Saturday.  I mean it was my last double digit run of this training cycle and you and I both know if I didn't run it I would just DIE come marathon day  (Am I playing head games or what????)  even though I ran a 21miler last Saturday.  So, into my taper I ran this 12 miler that was supposed to be done Saturday or Sunday because I am looooooosin' in big time!!  

-  AM I getting sick?  Oh Sh*T!!!!!  No I can't be getting sick.  Is that plem in my throat?  (on top of it Oscar, my 4 year old, and middle of the night bed companion (yeah my 4 year old climbs in my bed every night at 2am, but someday he'll stop right?  I mean he won't be a 16 year old in my bed...at least I hope not!)  Well, any who....he came into my bed hacking up a lung and complaining of a sore throat.  Is it mean that I told him to stay waaaaaay over THERE and not to look in my direction?  AND when he woke up his nose was a clogged mess and NOW I AM JUST POSITIVE I AM GONNA BE SICK!

-  And finally yesterday I was a sleepy waste of space.  I slept in, found myself napping all day....could it be MONO?  I mean I haven't kissed anyone besides Oz in what 7 years?  (just kidding but I thought I would throw it in there!)

Am I losing it?  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dear Speed Demons...

My Dearest Bloggy Speed Demons,

Hello there, I hope I am catching you all at a GREAT time because I have a favor to ask you....just a small favor and I hope you can help me.  So, here it is...I want to be fast like you.  I want to someday get a BQ and hoping for it sooner rather than later.

All I am asking for is for you to let me into your "circle of trust," and share with me where you get the pill or powder or whatever it is you take because I can't imagine it takes "hard work" or "just comes naturally."  I swear I won't tell your secrets and I won't invite anyone else into the "circle."

So, that is it...all I really want is to be fast like you..A-SAP.  Comprendo?  Thanks a million.

You friend,

P.S. - I know nothing about speed work besides running sprints the length of a soccer fiend or doing suicides on a basketball court....is that bad?

Friday, January 14, 2011

FaVoRiTe ThInGs FrIdAy!!!

1st things list.....somehow, someway my foot is "better?"  No really it is, I am sooooooo NOT lying.  It does still hurt a bit when I am barefoot or wearing my rainbow sandals, but as long as I wear my running sneakers or any sneaker is seems to be fine.  Ran a quick 4 miles on the gym treadmill (8:25 pace) and felt like a million bucks.....

FAVORITE THINGS FRIDAY (Oprah can do it so why can't I???)
A fun look at the food, fun, family and fitness things that work for my family and may work for you too!  

Friendship Whipped Cottage Cheese
"It's just cottage cheese" you may say and to that I would say" "Ohhhhhh NO it isn't!"  Have you ever tried Friendship Whipped cottage cheese?  I am a HUGE cottage cheese fan.  I pair it with just about everything and anything.  The reason it is so unbelievable is because it is a "dry" cottage cheese and it is not large curds, but rather almost a pureed consistency.  It is delightful...  TRY IT!
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread Mix
 Even though I spent many years baking and making every dessert from scratch, now that I am home and not in a professional kitchen I try to find good products that are quick and easy and many times way more cost effective than purchasing all the ingredients that would go into a cake, etc.  This pumpkin mix is UNBELIEVABLE!  I don't even have a Trader Joe's in Florida, but luckily my parents grab me a few boxes whenever they are coming in for a visit.  AND you can use TJ's pumpkin butter in place of the oil to make it that much better.  (I tend to add heaping cups of chocolate chips also...

Toy Story Yahtzee

We are a big time game family and finding games that can actually be played with a 4 year old where all of the rules can be followed can be tough.  ( many games make me want to rip my hair out and seriously test my patience with Oscar. )  This game is SUPER easy and a lot of fun to play.  Quick enough that you can start and finish it too.  (games like Sorry and Trouble are great, but unless we get a freak snow storm down here in Florida and are stuck home, games that can go on and on and on for hours are a NO GO! )

Veggie Garden
I have become such an advocate for people having their own gardens, on top of producing your own food, they are so fun for the whole family.  My 2 year old LOVES LOVES LOVES to water the garden and my 4 year old enjoys searching for new blooms, picking plants, planting seeds and just about everything in between.  They are very inexpensive to start up and once you have a  structure you are golden and can just plant seeds or buy "baby" plants for under $3 for a pack of 8.  If you don't have the space you can always plant in flower pots or even get a kiddie plastic pool...punch some holes in the bottom and use that.  I think our garden is so much fun and I am by no means a person with a "green thumb."  There is not much work to a garden once it is done and eating a salad with everything you grew is a GREAT feeling.  Right now we have zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, red leaf lettuce, spinach, butter and romaine lettuce, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes.  All I need is a goat and a rice field and we would never have to leave home again!

The Hunger Games Trilogy
I LOVE to read but am always looking for books that don't require much effort as I need stimulation right off the bat else I will either close the book or fall asleep.  I have only read The Hunger Games, waiting on the 2nd book from the Library.  The book was really easy reading (Twilight level) and even though I am not a sci-fi person it really grabbed me.  


These past 10 days have been SO-MUCH-FUN!  No joke!  I am finally feeling like I have an outlet to say what I want and even if nobody reads what I write it is such an amazing form of therapy.  I have been reading many many blogs for years and having some of these ladies comment on my little posts is the greatest feeling in the world.  I am so happy with my 5 followers and hope more trickle on in.  

Tracy Anderson Dvd's

These DVD's are great.  You don't need anything besides a chair, mat and 3# weights and they kick-arse!  Tracy does have a set of cardio dance type DVD's also, but I get enough cardio by running, biking, swimming and hopping on the elliptical, and I can't really imagine bopping around my house once I put the boys to bed at night.   
I bought mine on Amazon and I think they are great!

Asics Kayano 17
No, I don't even own 'em yet because I am cheap and don't want to shell out that kind of money...but aren't they dreamy?  I have a serious sneaker problem.  
"My name is Heather and I have an Asics Kayano addiction!" 
I have owned many many pairs of Kayano's throughout the years and I sometimes wish I had kept them all.  No joke I have probably had between 35 and 40 pairs I would guess.  Right now in my home I have 6 pairs and I sent my mom home with 3 more.  Normally I just have 1 pair for running, another "older" pair for everyday errands, and a pair of old old old ones for garden/yard work.  BUT I found an incredible deal on the 16's and so now I am breaking in 2 pairs with the high hopes of alternating sneakers.  (I have heard it is a great thing to do for the life of your sneakers to allow for the cushion and support to recover after use.)  I buy all of my sneakers through Kelly's Running Warehouse.  Their prices are the cheapest and once you get on their email list they send coupons for $20 off $100 and thing like that all the time.  

Have a great Friday!!