Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mid-week Run With Another New Buddy

I am starting to really like this new set up I have created. On Sunday Iris joined me for 8.5 miles, her on her bike, me running. On Tuesday Eloise joined me for 5 miles, she on her BRAND SPANKIN' NEW (to her) bike and me running. 

Side note: I gotta say, I love craigslist when it actually comes through for you. Sometimes CL is the biggest headache in the world, but when you score a deal, it's all worth it. We bought her this bike below, and I contacted the seller 15 minutes after he posted his ad. The bike is a 2012 Specialized and it retails for about $250 and we got it for under $100. Yay! Her big sister got the 24" model of this bike last fall (from a bike store, luckily it's value will come from being handed down), and they are practically twins. In fact, when Eloise saw the bike in the car, she thought it was her sister's!

Silly me got zero pictures of Eloise actually ON the bike. Soon. Here we are pre-ride, though!

Ready to go!

I was a little nervous, as Eloise just got her new 20" bike the previous afternoon -- before this she had been riding a much to small for her 16"-- and had never in her life ridden 5 miles. We gave it a shot, though, and it went really well! She obeyed the rule of staying to the right on Alki Trail and after riding what was quite a ways in front of me, would stop and wait for me to catch up. Iris didn't ever get as far away as Eloise did, but that sums up their personalities pretty well. 

A beautiful night to be down on Alki.

At the halfway point of the ride/run we stopped so Eloise could throw rocks in the water and thoroughly soak her feet and rain boots. Ah, kids. A funny side note about her helmet: on  the night she got her bike she was so excited that she didn't take her helmet off the whole night. She wore it to Trader Joe's and even fell asleep with it on! Oh, and the helmet wasn't new, only the bike. 

Chasing after a kid on a bike is basically a great tempo run. Well, except for all of the stops. We stopped several times, but all of the running in between was pretty darn speedy. 

I am a self-professed bike hater, but I think I might grow to love this new arrangement of the bike/run! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total miles run: 13.5

Monday: Rest + PT + 1.5 mile walk/run

I have started loving going to my PT. She always has good reports for me lately. Instead of the usual report of my pelvis being out of alignment and my right hamstring being so immobile she's surprised I can even walk, things are starting to improve . . . . and improve even while increasing my mileage, which is amazing! I mostly love her, however, for believing in me, and not dismissing me as being unable to run and therefor not worth helping.

Tuesday: Walk about 1 mile or so

I missed my run on this day, but it was totally worth it, because I got to hang with a friend and walk through a beautiful old-growth forest that I didn't even know existed right in my own neighborhood!

Wednesday: Strength training w/ trainer

I wasn't a huge fan of this workout. Most things were pretty hard for me, never quite felt like I "killed it" when I struggled so much.

*3 sets of 16 squats w/ 35# plate. I don't know what these were called, but I had to squat down, touch the plate to the floor, then as I stood up swing the plate up to touch one shoulder, then repeat.
*1 set of 7 25# dumbbell snatches (I had been practicing these outside of training, so we moved on to something new)
*3 sets of 8 thrusters w/ a 15# dumbbell in each hand. SO much harder than thrusters with a barbell!
*3 sets of 8 jumping lunges, 1 set no weight, 2nd two sets with a 10# dumbbell in each hand. To do these, drop in to a lunge, then as you "explode" up, switch the position of your feet and drop in to a lunge again. There wasn't a whole lot of "exploding" when I did these. I have zero balance and zero grace when it comes to lunges.
*4 sets of 5 tricep dips on the roman chair (see video below). I needed assistance with these, I couldn't get back up after my dip. Humbling.
*3 sets of 8 straight leg raises on the roman chair superset w/ 3 sets of 6 knee raises on the roman chair (for the knee raises I was in the same position as the tricep dips)

These are the tricep dips I did. Watching this video made me nauseous remembering how hard they were and how I couldn't even do ONE unassisted. If you try these, bring a friend to boost your legs for you! 

Thursday: 5 miles run

Trying out my new cw-x running capris. My legs felt great while running but really sore when I took them off!

Friday: Rest and Massage

Saturday: Walk and Strength

*45 min walk 
*3 sets of 10 wall balls w/ 12# ball
*1 set of 8 snatches w/ 20# dumbbell and 2 sets of 8 snatches w/ 25# dumbbell
*3 sets of 8 hanging knee raises superset w/ 3 sets of 10 cable rows at 100# 
*3 stability ball planks at 1 min each

Sunday: 8.5 miles run

Pushed some of these miles to what I hope will be my half marathon pace come June 22nd! I wore my new cw-x stabilyx capris again and I think I officially love them. They feel really good and I have very little leg fatigue when I have them on. Curious to see if they end up helping with some of my injuries and pain, I have high hopes! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Long Run Sunday, with a Special Guest!

This morning I had one of the best long runs ever because I was accompanied by my 8 (almost 9!) year old, Iris! We had so much fun together!

Getting ready to head out.

Watching the geese on our way.

Last night before we went to bed I looked at the forecast and Iris and I made a plan to get up and do 9 miles together, her on her bike, me running. When I got up this morning it was raining! I was sure it would wreck our plans, since Iris can gets pretty grumpy when she is tired/wet/cold. I told her she didn't have to go, and she was upset, but she ended up saying she wanted to go anyways, so we bundled up and headed out.

Luckily, the rain was barely a drizzle when we left the house and it stopped shortly in to our trip. We stripped off our gloves and a layer of clothes 2 miles in.

Me and my girl at the turn-around point on Alki.

Saying hi to some kittens.

We followed the Alki trail, which gave us great views, to our turn-around point and then headed back. The plan was to stop for brunch at the end. We tried out a new cafe that we hadn't been to before and it didn't disappoint! An egg, sausage and cheese sandwich for me, eggs, bacon and pancakes for Iris (okay, I ate a bunch of her pancakes, too). It was so, so, so good. I am always DYING for a big meal after my long runs, so this one was just perfect. If you're ever in West Seattle and want a good, traditional breakfast, check out Chelan Cafe! 

Drinking a much-deserved strawberry lemonade 
after her longest bike ride ever! 

Happy to have brunch on the way! 

Iris said biking with me wasn't the most fun she's ever had, but I am hoping she wants to do it again with me some time soon. I think she at least had enough fun to try again! It was a long bike ride for her, so we definitely need to do more practicing. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Three Things Thursday

Here are a few of my random thoughts:

1. Why am I always so much hungrier on a non-workout day? It's annoying! 

2. Is nuun making my tummy hurt? Without going in to gory details, I've got a bit of a touchy tummy. Things have mostly been just fine for a while but then my tummy started giving me troubles again, to the point it was happening every night. One day I was telling my friend how much I liked nuun and she asked what it was sweetened with and I told her it was xylitol. She said she can't consume xylitol, it gives her tummy troubles! A light bulb went off in my head and I immediately decided to cut out the nuun cold-turkey to see if it would help. By golly, I think it has. Isn't that the saddest thing ever? I am playing with seeing if it's a matter of how much I consume, instead of if I consume any at all. So far, I think that is helpful. 

3. I have tall girl issues in the gym. It seems like almost every workout my trainer tells me, well, you're tall, so this will be harder for you. Push-ups? check. Pull-ups? check. The row machine? check. I suspect almost every exercise that requires you to extend your arms out is more difficult the taller you are. My trainer says "it's the longer levers!" I started joking and saying I was going to blame all of my short-comings on my height (so punny!). "Sorry I was late, it's 'cause I'm tall!" "Oh, you didn't like the work I did on that project? It's my height. Always a problem."

So, have you ever been more hungry on non-workout days? 
Have any issues with xylitol, and therefor nuun? 
Anything that is setting you back in the gym that you can't do a darned thing about except work harder to overcome it?  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total Miles Run: 18  miles

Monday: Strength Training

I worked out with my trainer at the gym and had After the warm-up we started with learning to kick up in to a handstand against a wall. I had never done that before and wasn't quite able to kick all the way up to the wall without help, but I *think* it was my nerves. It's scary to kick up in to a handstand! But after I got up I was able to hold it for a few seconds. I am looking forward to trying these a few more times.

After that we did pike push-ups (feet up on a plyo box, butt in the air, push-ups with upper body basically vertical). Those were hard.

Then it was time to move in to the weight room to learn how to do deadlifts. I practiced with an unweighted 45# bar and then I moved on to adding 50#, so 95# total. I did 4 sets of 8 deadlifts, each superset w/ 8 pull-ups. I used a band for the pull-ups (and still needed a boost from my trainer after the 4th pull-up), but I did it! It was very, very, very hard. One of those workouts where I am not quite sure if my trainer is insane or not. She seems to know exactly what my limit is. 

I'm going to buy a pull-up band to use on my own at the gym. I want to get strong enough to do a pull-up on my own, dammit! 

How to use a band for an assisted pull-up.

Tuesday: 4.5 miles run

This was a good run, if not a little warm!

Wednesday: Strength Training

I didn't have a lot of time on this morning, so I decided to pack in a few harder moves in a short workout. Started out with warm-up, then:
*3 sets of 8 inverted rows superset w/ 3 sets of 8 push-ups
*1 set of 8 2-handed pistol squats
*2 sets of 4 1-handed pistol squats
*4 sets of 8 back squats, each set w/ 45#, 55#, 65# and then 75# barbell. By FAR a back squat PR!
*3 sets of 6 hanging knee raises

Thursday: 4.5 miles run

I find that on a lot of my runs I feel good for the first half, then really exhausted the third quarter, then by the last quarter I have just enough steam to finish up. This was exactly the case for this run. It probably didn't help that the sun started blazing at about my half way point, after staying nice and hidden behind the clouds for the first half.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Strength Training

I find it really hard to pre-plan workouts at the gym if I know they will involve using the squat rack. It is often what I want to use, but is also the thing in the weight room that is most often occupied! Doesn't help there is only one. So, this was yet another workout on the fly. I tried to pay special attention to not over use my legs, as long run day is Sunday.

Warm-up, then:
*3 sets of 8 inverted rows superset w/ push-ups (on the ground! I usually use the bar to do these a little higher which makes them easier.)
*8 back squats w/ 45# bar
*8 back squats w/ 65# bar
*2 sets of 5 back squats w/ 95# bar
*4 sets of 8 bent-over rows w/ 45# bar
*1 set of 8 snatches w/ 15# dumbbell
*2 sets of 8 snatches w/ 25# dumbbell
*3 sets of 8 torso twists at 22.5# on cable machine
*3 sets of 10 roll-out planks

This video teaches how to do a dumbbell snatch squat, which is a little different 
from what I did (I did this move w/o the squat). I want to try it this way next time!

Sunday: 8.7 miles

I ran with Michael for this run, it was fantastic! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Long Run and Kids Yoga

On Sunday morning I did the longest run I have done since last July. In July I think the run was about 12 miles and the last half were with pretty excruciating knee pain. I didn't know at the time it was my IT band that was causing me so much knee pain, but I soon figured it out.

This morning the plan was to do 7.5-8 miles with my friend Michael. I was tired of the spectacular Puget Sound views from my own 'hood (I know, I know, a lame thing to complain about!) so I met Michael up in his 'hood and he took me on a very hilly route. We ended up going a bit long, finishing with 8.7 miles. 

There were many awesome things about this run, but two highlights are: 

*no knee pain at all
*only a little bit a of a tight hamstring

I also dominated the hills, they honestly didn't even affect me. The only thing I think I can attribute this to is all of my strength training, especially those back squats! It makes me think I might be more ready than I thought for the Seattle Rock-n-Roll hills, even though I haven't been training on hills at all. 

Elevation profile of our run. Usually my runs vary, literally, about 10 feet. If that. 

My favorite moment of the run was charging up that hill at mile 6 and passing a yard with a little boy, maybe 2-3 years old, and his dad. When the boy saw us he started shouting "Look at my digger! Look at my digger!" and jumping around. He had a remote controlled digger, which, if I know young boys at all, might just be the coolest toy a little boy could ever have. 

When I came home it was time shove every food  I could find in my mouth, appease my 6 year old with a game of Fibber (hate that game!) and then lay down on the couch while she did yoga. She didn't want to do the only yoga DVD we have, so I looked on YouTube for her and found a cool yoga series called Cosmic Kids Yoga. They aren't fancy, but the woman who does the yoga takes kids on an adventure through the 11 or so minute episode. The first one Eloise did they went under the sea and met mermaids and opened a treasure chest. 

This is the second one Eloise did, about Enzo the bee:

These would be fun videos for kids as young as 3, I think. 

Have you discovered any fun yoga videos for kids online? 

I might need more videos to keep my kids occupied as my runs get longer, ha! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Few Little Things

Last weekend my husband, the girls and I ran walked in The Color Run. It was fun, and better organized than last year. It's so darn expensive, but it's a fun active family activity, especially for Mother's Day (it's been held on Mother's Day the past two years in Seattle). We followed it up with a trip to Top Pot Donuts, which I may or may not have looked forward to doing just as much as the run. Maple frosted old-fashioned. Mmmm.

My girls all colorific.

Iris rinsing off in the fountain.

Some new highlights, courtesy of The Color Run.

Have I talked much about my new haircut? I have been going back and forth on it, but I think I finally decided that I like it. It looks the best the day after I've washed it. I am seriously in to the "bed head" look, so anything that isn't too done up is a-okay with me. I like how it looks in this picture, though. Orange streak and all! Maybe I should bring this photo to my stylist and have her re-create it? Ha ha.

I hung up this picture last weekend. It's a charcoal/watercolor picture my oldest daughter did in kindergarten. She's finishing third grade now. As you can probably tell, I am extremely prompt. To my credit, I also hung a pastel drawing my younger daughter did just last year. This is a funny photo, though. I chose this instagram filter because it kept the colors of the artwork relatively true, but in the process it completely changed our wall color. The wall is a sort of sage-y green. It does look nice with the art, I think. I also hung two photographs from our Hawaii trip two years ago. 

Oh! Speaking of hair, Eloise asked me to straighten her hair with the flat iron a couple of weeks ago. She loved it, but it looked pretty crazy. The back was a mess, since her hair is so dang curly, it is cut to show off the curls (well, I am the one who cuts it, and I do my best). When it was straightened it looked like I cut her hair blind-folded with pruning shears. 

I don't think hair necessarily makes the person, but when it comes to my girls, their hair is an integral part of who they are. My redhead has a personality to match, and my crazy curly haired girl definitely has the personality to match! 

My hair has been pretty darn straight my whole life, but recently it's started to get curly around the nape of my neck. It's really strange! 

How about you? Does your hair give much insight in to who you are? 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total Miles Run: 15.5

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Run 4 miles

I did this run at Seward Park, it was gorgeous out! 

Wednesday: Strength and PT

I had a training session in the morning and it was fantastic! I learned how to do a "clean and jerk" and it was so. much. fun. Seriously, I need to try crossfit, because so far, I have loved every crossfit move I have learned with my trainer. We warmed up with 35# kettle bell swings and lunges and then moved in to learning a front squat with a 45# barbell, and the separate movements in a clean and a jerk before putting it all together. It was a short, tough workout! 

Here is an example of a hang clean and a split jerk.

After my training session I headed over to my physical therapy session. The good news is that my pelvis looked better this time than they have in, well, ever?! Every time I go my PT gets this worried, puzzled look on her face when she feels my pelvis when I squat. This time it didn't go all crazy wonky. Hooray for progress! I also got some new exercises to do at home, so that's a drag, err, I mean, great. 

Thursday: Run 4.5 miles (and walk 1.5 miles)

I took my dog, Heidi, on a walk in the morning and then came home and got ready to run. My new pre-running routine is a little bit time-intensive, so I went through all of that and had a great run, actually. I took a new route that wasn't really scenic (in fact, my scenery was semis and shipping yards!) but it was interesting to have something new to look at. I know, I know, it's a little lame that I am bored of running along a stunning waterfront, but I am! I picked up the pace a little for this run and it felt pretty good (instead of really hard) and that was a boost to my ego. 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Run 7 miles

This was a decent run. I brought a Gu with me and didn't need it (better than not bringing one and needing it!). Probably because I took a Gu right before I ran, so I was fine the whole time. 

Sunday: The Color Run!

Walked this with my family for Mother's Day. It was so much fun!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Is it Time to Give Up Running? Part 2

Today I saw my orthopedic doctor again, and we went over the results of my recent MRI and chatted about my future as a runner. It was a bleak appointment, to say the least.

Let's see, where to start.

The MRI of my lower back was relatively unremarkable. Some pinched nerve action going on in L5, but nothing dramatic. As my PT pointed out, if you took an MRI of every person's back, they would probably have something at least slightly off-balance. My doctor thought that pinched nerve might be contributing to a couple of things, but not necessarily and it certainly doesn't explain everything.

Her next piece of advice was that I needed to stop running for "a few months" and take that time off running to strengthen my body where it's weak without further aggravating things by continuing to run. She also went on to say that maybe I wasn't cut out to be a runner and I might want to find some other activity that interests me. She thought it would save me a lot of time and money on doctor's visits to try and fix my body enough to keep running. And she's right, it would, but that isn't really the point, now is it?

If this sounds familiar, I have written about it before, because it was the same advice my podiatrist gave me. 

You can probably imagine how defeated it felt to hear that advice, again. I didn't go to the doctor to be told to stop running. In fact, it really surprised me that this was her advice for me upon our second meeting. Wasn't she at least going to try something? She did refer me on to to a  PT who can do a gait analysis, fit me for custom orthotics and do something called muscle activation technique. 

I came home and got in touch with my current PT and told her everything. I love my PT, but she can't do everything I need to have done in order to get better. I love a lot of things about her, but most of all, I love how supportive she is of me. She has never once told me to stop running (except when I was acutely injured).

Anyways, I am starting to kind of mentally go off in another direction with all of this. Maybe I can approach my issues from another angle. That isn't just fixing my "broken" parts. Maybe I need to look more closely at my diet, or something. I was thinking of visiting with my naturopath to see what she thinks.

I have had two PTs, a massage therapist, 2 acupuncturists, and 2 different doctors work on me with very limited results. I might need to just start broadening my horizons. 

One thing I was wondering about was an anti-inflammatory diet. Have you ever heard of this? It is funny, when I read up on it, it was basically about eliminating refined, high-fat foods and red meat and then things that you may be sensitive to, like gluten or whatever. The funny thing is that this sounds like a healthy diet for pretty much anything, not just inflammation. 

Anyways, onward and upward! 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total Miles Run: 14

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 4 miles run

This was the run that put me over the 1,000 mile mark! So fun. I actually ran a new route from my house, which was really cool. I got a great view of Mount Rainier!

Wednesday: Strength 

I wasn't feeling great for this workout, so I didn't push too hard. 

*warm-up w/ 10 mins elliptical
*3 sets of 10 squat  rows 100#/100#/110# for the 3 sets
*3 sets of 10 torso twists all at 20#
*3 sets of 10 wall balls superset w/ 3 sets of medicine ball push-ups 
*3 sets of stability ball roll-outs

How to do wall balls.

Thursday: 4 miles run (plus a walk)

I took the dog for an almost 2 mile walk in the morning then did a 4 mile run in the evening. I went a totally new route again and tackled three short-ish hills, so that felt good. My PT said no speed work, but I can do some hills. We are trying to not change too many things at once with my running so that we can keep down the number of variables that give me trouble!

Friday: Active rest w/ a dog walk

Saturday: Strength

I didn't have a plan going in to this, only thinking that I mainly wanted to work upper body, since my long run is on Sunday. Now that my Sunday runs are getting to be 6+ miles, I want to protect them and go in to them as rested as possible. This whole workout took almost an hour.

*warm-up stretches
*3 sets of 10 thrusters w/ 35# barbell
*3 sets of 10 lat pulls w/ 17.5#/20#/20#
*3 sets of 10 torso twists all w/ 20#
*3 sets of 10 squat rows all w/ 100# superset w/ 3 sets of 8 hanging knee raises (I felt like these were really hard for some reason!)
*3 sets of 10 wall balls superset w/ 3 one min. planks with forearms on a stability ball
*cool-down w/ 5 mins on the elliptical

How to do a stability ball plank.

Sunday: 6 miles run

What a gorgeous morning! The sun was out, the views were incredible. It was pushing 60* when this run started, which is plenty warm for me thankyouverymuch. Now that my runs are creeping in to the hour + mark, I had to remember how I like to fuel. I decided to bring my fuel belt with only two bottles since I knew I would be hot. I didn't bring any gels, which I typically wouldn't need for a 6 mile run, but I kind of wished I had. I ate at 6:00 am and my run was at 8:00 am, so in hindsight I either should have had a gel right before I started running or a couple of miles in. I didn't ever feel really sluggish, though, so I ended up doing fine without it. Like a dummy I didn't bring a phone or cash or anything else with me. From here on out I will include fuel, a phone and money on my long runs! Just in case.

My girls ran around the neighborhood with me when I got home, and my six year old and I did 100 meter sprints against each other. I had to run HARD to keep up the first time, but smoked her the second, haha. She has the speed, but I have the endurance! Pretty soon she will just be all around faster than me. 

Friday, May 03, 2013

Instagram Updates

It has barely been getting warm enough in Seattle to pull out the kiddie pool, but when you are a Seattle kid, you take the weather when you can get it! We have been unbelievably blessed by the weather gods this spring. Who knows, maybe it's global warming? Usually spring is wet and cold, just like, uh, pretty much every other season here in the Pacific Northwest! 

Last weekend after my long run I really wanted a fancy breakfast and so I had to take matters in to my own hands! This is sauteed zucchini, red pepper, onion and spinach topped with roasted sweet potatoes, topped with two fried eggs with cheese. Not shown: sprinkled the whole thing with cilantro. YUM. Truth be told, it took me about an hour to make every part of this meal, but oh, man. It was so good! 

A local cupcake shop, Cupcake Royale, had a day this week where they handed out free ice cream! I picked the girls up from school and zoomed right over as a surprise to them and luckily we beat the lines. We were even luckier because the Cupcake Royale location we went to doesn't scoop ice cream cones, so instead they handed out ice cream bars instead! We all chose red velvet cake with vanilla (I think it was vanilla) ice cream. Ice cream AND cake, ftw! It was delicious but incredibly messy. My six year old was covered with red velvet cake, as was the table and floor. 

The big excitement for me right now is a new haircut! I have been growing my hair out for almost four years and I never wanted to cut it off . . . until I did. So off it all went! It wasn't enough to donate, but I have chopped off my long hair several times and have donated hair before, so I'm good with that. I did want it a little bit longer, but my stylist started by cutting it to my shoulders and then it shrank as she put in all of the layers I asked for. It's a fun style. Very, very similar to how I used to wear my hair last time it was this short! 

Having hair that long is fun, but it's also a pain. I wore it up about 90% of the time, and when I wore it down it always felt like it was in the way. It was never down at work, or running, or doing stuff around the house, mostly just when I wanted to look "done up" for going out. I did like having an awesome long ponytail, though, and now my hair is just barely long enough to pull back when I run! Also thinking of maybe adding some color, since I would love more change, but we shall see. 

How's the weather where you live?