Where did the year go?

I can’t believe today is the last day of 2012!  It feels like each year goes faster than the last.  And now for saying that I am officially old.

Thinking about it, for going fast, this was a big year.  Lots happened all around!

– Running is back in my life! I discovered the wonderful world of blogging and discovered how many inspiring people there are out there.  It made me realize that I can’t give up so easily and that I’m made of more than I think.  I started documenting my miles in September.  Since then, I’ve run 214 miles.  My last 3 of those was this morning 🙂 This is quite exciting and will be a big player in my goals for 2013.  Stay tuned for more on that.

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– Heading back to school! 2012 was the year of school.  Jeff made the decision to go back in March to get his degree in Psychology and has been doing great, all As!  I also made the decision to go back and will be starting classes in just a few weeks.  Moral of the story is there’s no better time than now 🙂

– My first nephew was born – My sister had her 3rd baby in June, giving my two nieces their first brother.  I was able to finally meet him last week to celebrate Christmas!  To the surprise of no one, he’s absolutely adorable.

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See what I mean?  2012.  Big year.  I have a feeling that 2013 will be even better.  I’ll be putting goals on the line, something I really haven’t done.  I’ve never been much of a revolutioner, even though I am always one for making up words like that one.  Setting goals though seems so much more exciting, so much less setting yourself up for failure.  So more on that.  In the new year…

How was your 2012?

Do you set resolutions at the beginning of the year?

 

Longest Run Experiments

Happy Sunday!

Yesterday was a big day for training.  It was my first run in a week due to the holidays and it was also my longest run of my training – 9 miles!  I know for some that is nothing but for me it was a big deal.  And it wasn’t easy.  It was humid and I did a lot of experiments on this run.  I was a regular ol’ scientist.

I know that you’re supposed to get comfortable with gear, fueling, etc before a race so as I’m getting into the longer runs now was the time I chose.  Here are all the things I did that were new to me:

– Breakfast – normally I just wake up and go, especially on the weekdays when all of my runs begin before 6am and before the sun comes up.  Even for long runs I like to sleep in and just roll out of bed and run.  So yesterday I had a cup of coffee and a waffle with almond butter about an hour before I headed out.  It didn’t cause any problems, I’m not sure if I noticed any difference at all.

– Drink during the run – I carried a water bottle on this run and am so thankful that I did.  Jeff got me an Amphipod for Christmas which was great because it kept the water cold and I was able to put my keys, ID, and some cash in the little compartment in case I needed to stop or had an emergency.  Because it was so hot and I started out too fast for the distance, I would not have made it without anything.

– New route – My normal route is comfortable for 7 and 8 miles, but instead of just doing a random loop for the additional mile, I changed up the route and headed down to the beach.  It is about 4 miles from my house so it was nice to be near the beach for the mile I spent there, but there were too many people and I spent most of the time dodging pedestrians and it wasn’t quite as enjoyable as I had thought it would be.  I think if I were to try this again I’d drive down to the beach so I would be able to get on a path there that didn’t have as many people.  Overall though I think it is good to switch up the route so that you don’t get too comfortable doing the same thing all of the time as well as for safety purposes.  I run only in safe areas but who knows what kind of creepers are out there counting on runners to be on their ‘normal route’.  It’s sad to have to think that way but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

A big highlight of the run was seeing this guy:

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I think he was pondering the meaning of his iguana life and wondering why so many people actually believed that the Mayans had a clue when the world was going to end.

With all of these changes yesterday, here’s how the run looked in terms of splits:

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I lost my negative splits 🙁  But I figured that I would after I saw the first 2 miles.  I was just going too fast with as many more miles as I had to complete.  Lesson learned.  It was also clear from looking at the heart rates.  According to the genius Garmin gurus, they classified my average training zone as 5.  In terms of a training effect, or what this particular exercise is doing to improve my aerobic fitness, a training zone of 5 is “overreaching”  or in other words, you’re pushing way too hard dumbo, ease up!

Overall the run was a success, I now know that I need to start out slower and have a better planned route.

After I finished my run, I went to meet Jeff for lunch since he was just finishing up at work for the day.  I somehow locked myself out of the house without my car keys, so I had to break into my house.  Note to self – breaking into the house was far too easy.  Not so good.  Good thing Jingo will protect us with all of her ferocity.

Today is a rest day, and I am trying to tackle our spare room which has become that closet  in Monica’s apartment from Friends – it’s a holy mess right now and is in dire need of help.

Do you do experiments with long runs?

Did you ever have to break into your own house?

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?

Holidays and being Flexible

Happy Friday!

I can’t believe how quickly the past two weeks have gone by.  I guess that’s always the case when you are on vacation.

I got back yesterday from my parents’ house up in New Jersey where I had been since Monday.  It was sad that Jeff & I were apart for Christmas, but I was able to spend time with my parents, my sister and brother in law and their 3 little ones including my nephew who this was my first visit with.  They live out in Utah but came in for the holidays.  There was a lot of this:

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and this:

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And I loved every minute of it.  I hadn’t seen my sister’s family in over a year so it was great to see them.  I also got to see some other family friends and my aunt, uncle and cousins on Christmas.  There was also snow!  It was nice to see but I’m glad I got to leave the cold and come back to warm Florida 🙂

When I got home last night, Jeff was just getting out of work so we came home and exchanged our gifts to each other, and Jingo was able to open hers too from “Grandma and Grandpa”.  I think she liked it and yes she fully believes that she has hands and not paws.  We may or may not have given this dog the impression that she is a person.  Wouldn’t have it any other way.

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One thing that there was none of on my trip was running or exercise (aside from lifting my nieces and nephew 😉 ).  I knew that the trip would be jam packed and I wasn’t about to take any time away to go to the gym.  I missed 3 runs from my training plan, but I’m not going to worry about it.  I still have over a month left until the half marathon I am running in February and know that missing these workouts is not going to be the reason if I do poorly.

It’s times like the holidays, or other things that may come up in your life that can make you see where running fits into your style.  There are those people that will stop at nothing for a workout and refuse to change a training plan.  All the power to them, but that is not me.  I am fully willing to sacrifice time and sleep to get my workouts in, but there are some times when you have to make the decision to choose other things.  Will a week or less destroy all of the work I’ve put in so far?  I don’t think so at all.

Being that this is my first time using a real training plan, I’m learning the need for flexibility.  I’m following the plan as closely as possible, but not going to fret if I have to move things around or miss a workout here or there.  This goes not only for exercising but for the nutrition it requires too.  This week was Christmas and I ate everything in sight and it was great.  But that is temporary too, and flexibility is important in all aspects of the training cycle.

This morning I was right back into things and went to spin class bright and early, in my brand new workout clothes from Gap Body, thanks to a Christmas gift from my parents.

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I think I’m going to have to do some more shopping at Gap!  The pants are capris and have a hidden pocket in the back for keys, fuel, etc and the tank has a built in bra in it and is the perfect length.  Both are wicking material and even though spin classes make me sweat like crazy, I didn’t have the usual feeling that I had just taken a shower as I left the class like I normally do.

That’s it for me, I have 9 miles on the calendar tomorrow, my longest long run yet!

How was your holiday?

Are you flexible in your training plans, or do you follow the to a T?

Anyone shop at Gap Body?

Winner winner chicken dinner!

And the winner of an invite to the Mizuno Mezamashii project and some new sneakers is…..
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Congratulations! Please email me your contact info to: maureen@morunsmarathons.com within 72 hours to claim your prize! If I do not hear from you by then I will pick a new winner at random.

Saturdaying Fun

Happy Sunday!  Only 2 days until Christmas, have you finished your shopping?  If you need a last minute gift (to yourself of course!) today is the last day to enter my giveaway for your choice of Mizuno sneakers & an invitation to the Mezamashii project!

Yesterday I had my last of easy runs for the week, and it was COLD.  Because of this, I ran way too fast to try to get warm.

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It was supposed to be an average 10:23 pace.  Oops.  I need to concentrate more on sticking to the plan because the LAST thing I want to do is get hurt, but I’m ok with this run because I will most likely be skipping my faster run this coming week. I’ll be in New Jersey!  Celebrating the holidays with my family at my parents house.  I’m leaving tomorrow and coming back Thursday afternoon.

There are only EIGHT more weeks until the half marathon and I’m starting to get excited!  I still have no idea how I’m supposed to run for 13.1 miles at a faster pace than 95% of my training runs, but I’ll trust the plan and see what happens.  If nothing else I’ll have finished my 2nd half marathon and be that much closer to my first full!  Good things.  All of them.

After my run yesterday we watched Total Recall.  I thought it was pretty good and it leaves you wondering what was really happening and what the truth really is.  I’ve never seen the original so I’m not sure if it was similar or not.  Then we did some last minute shopping and had dinner at Seasons 52.  We’ve never been there before and it was really good.  They have different menus to use the freshest in season ingredients and every dish is 475 calories or less.  I don’t really care about the calories so much but everything still tasted so good and didn’t leave you feeling disgustingly full.  Which left plenty of room for the BEST gelato in the world at our favorite little bakery.  It was a fun night 🙂

Ok this has been all over the place.  Happy Christmas Eve-Eve!!

Social Media & Running

Happy Friday Everyone!  I’m glad that the world doesn’t seem to have ended quite yet, so that’s something to celebrate!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway to score some free sneakers!  Deadline to enter is this Sunday.

I read an article recently on runnersworld.com about tweeting & facebooking and how various social media outlets have impacted running.  You can check out the full article here.  The overall focus of the article is how social media helps to encourage the connectedness of the running community and how it can bring people together with a common interest of running.  There are so many different ways to connect these days through the wonderful world of the interwebs: facebook, twitter, instagram, meetup.com, garmin connect, thedailymile.com, nikeplus, pinterest, youtube, and of course blogs!

For me, I can definitely say that social media has an impact on my running.  I would love to say that I am so motivated and have a strong enough self will to always keep pushing myself but that’s not always the case.  I don’t remember what brought me to a few running blogs back toward the end of the summer, but reading them really helped to bring back the spark that reminded me how much I love to run, and brought back the desire to race and push myself.  It’s a big reason why I started my own blog.  It helps me to keep myself accountable and helps me to keep track of my progress.

Social media is also a pathway to a world of information.  I’m a huge lover of magazines and reading health and fitness books, but through twitter, and facebook you can find links to tons of free articles with the same information that you’d find in a bookstore or magazine.  Youtube has every type of exercise video you can imagine if you don’t want to commit to purchasing dvds or just want to check how the proper form of a particular exercise.

It’s important, though, not to get so caught up in the social media that you lose sight of why you run.  You need to continue to exercise or run for the right reasons.  For yourself.  Don’t get too caught up with what the other social media bunnies are doing or how fast or long they’re doing it for.  Use it to motivate you, to bring you closer to others and get a sense of community, but don’t let it discourage you or change the perception you have of yourself.  Everyone has their own path and progresses at their own pace.  Make sure you don’t get so caught up in the social media world of running and exercising that you don’t leave anytime for doing it yourself!  Then you’d miss the beauty of being outside when the sun comes up 🙂

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Do you use social media to help  motivate you?

What are your weekend plans?

Did anyone do anything special or crazy in case the world ended today?

Mizuno Review & a SNEAKER GIVEAWAY!!

Hi All,

This morning I went to the gym and did a leg & ab workout and was a total spazzy mess.  The stability ball decided to hate me and make me fall and and run away from me and my sneakers kept coming untied and it was just not a success.  I still felt the burn and will be sore though so I guess that’s the real point, right?

Ok on to the real business.  A little while ago I won an invitation to the Mizuno Mezamashii project and received a pair of Wave Creation 13s.

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Now that I’ve gotten some miles on them, I really like them.  Here is some info on the Mizuno Wave technology straight from the source:

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The thing I noticed right away was how much wider the toe section of the sneaker is than what I am used to.  I was thrown off by this at first but after running in them, it really gave my toes enough room and helped in preventing blisters I’ve become used to.  There is also a great springy feeling in the sneaker, which makes me feel faster.  They run true to size for running shoes and they feel sturdy enough to provide support and last me a LOT of miles.  Overall I would definitely recommend this shoe to any runner with a neutral stride.

Not a neutral runner?  Mizuno has a great tool on their website called Precision fit, which is the next best thing to being fitted in person.  You go through a series of questions about your body type and running style, and based on your answers they suggest a specific Mizuno shoe for you.  Easy as that!  This was great for me because I don’t always know the best shoe for me but also don’t want to be ‘sold to’ in a store sometimes.

Now for the best part.  By receiving an invitation to the Mezamashii project, I now have an invitation to give away to one of you to pick your own lovely new Mizunos!  In order to enter to win, leave a comment telling me what is most important to you when picking out running shoes.  For an extra entry, tweet about this giveaway and leave a second comment letting me know that you did!  This will be open until Sunday night at 11:59pm EST, I’ll announce the winner on Monday 🙂

Note – I wasn’t compensated by Mizuno or asked to write about their products, I received the sneakers free of charge through a giveaway similar to this one.

It’s really true!

I went to bed last night not looking forward to running this morning.  Not sure why, I was only planning on doing 5 easy miles but I was dreading it.  I woke up this morning feeling the same way.  I took my time getting dressed and tried to think of a lot of excuses and could hear the DVR calling my name but I forced myself to get outside and get started.

As soon as got about one block into the run, all of the dread went away.  The sun was strong but there was a nice breeze, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of cars on the road, and there were plenty of little lizard babies frolicking about running from what must seem like my monster steps coming to get them.  I felt good.  tumblr_m5c115WvYQ1rxj29io1_500

 

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So it really is true.  The hardest part of any run is getting those running shoes on.  Once you get started, all of the negative feelings you had about getting started are bound to slip away as you remember what you enjoy and get out of running, why you started in the first place.  I think this applies to much more than running, much more than exercise.  The anticipation of an event, a project, a day of work… is often so much worse than the actual reality of it happening or getting finished.  It also ruins the time you spend anticipating and worrying about the what ifs or complaining about it.  Just get out there and do, and stop thinking so much!  Life is much easier that way 🙂

Ok that’s it from me, I’m going to answer the calls of my DVR and do some other productive but not so fun things 🙂

Have you ever dreaded something that wound up being great?

What do you do on vacation days?

3 Before 30? Maybe??

Happy Tuesday!

Training is coming along! Here’s what last week looked like:

Monday3 miles @ 9:59 pace

Tuesdaycrazy upper body strength circuit running around the gym

Wednesday: 6 mile tempo: 1 mile warm-up, 4 miles @ 8:30 (supposed to be 8:49), 1 mile cool down

Thursday: 2 miles @ 9:33 pace

Friday: nada 🙂

Saturday: 8 miles @ 9:30ish pace I think – I lost my Garmin Ant+ stick so I won’t know the dirty details until Amazon graces me with its smiley box presence.

This week is a lighter week, 3 days, 5 slow miles each, and I needed it.  I am officially done working for the year!  It wasn’t planned like this, but I found out that I’m unable to carry over as many vacation days to next year as I thought, so I ended the year earlier than expected.  More time to be home and be productive or relax and do nothing with Jingo?  No arguments here 🙂

This week I’m trying to relax, finish up Christmas shopping, and run tons of errands.  So far I have made baked oatmeal and watched about 45 episodes of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix.  Very productive, I know.  This pretty much sums up how my vacation started:

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Next week I’m going up to my parents for a few days for Christmas and my sister & her family are flying in from Utah so I get to see them and finally meet my little nephew who was born in June!  I can’t wait.  Jeff is sticking around here though because he’s being all responsible and working 🙁 Boo.

As the end of the year is getting closer, everyone is buzzing about goals for next year, and I’m starting to catch the bug.  I’m going to try to be more serious, more organized with actually setting goals for next year in a lot of different areas.  But running wise, I realized something last week.  I have a half marathon on the schedule for February, and a year and a half until I turn 30 and want to run my first full by.  BUT… looking at the timing, what if I changed that goal to running  3 full marathons in that time?

I know… sounds crazy, but it might just be crazy enough to work.  Hear me out.  Sooooo the Fort Lauderdale 1/2 is February 17th… which leaves exactly 16 weeks until this beauty:

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The Utah Valley Marathon, June 8th – would give me perfect time to train, is close to my sister, and 4 days before my nephew’s first birthday.  I think that is 3 very good reasons!  Would also set me up to also have a fall and January race, and that makes 3!  I’ve also heard that it’s a gorgeous course and a lot of fun!

Anyone setting goals for next year?

What are your plans for the holidays?

Praying for Rain and Bathtime Trauma

Happy Sunday!

Yesterday morning I started my day off bright and early at a 5K race in a park near my house.  Not to run, or even to spectate, but to hand flyers out for a race that the Junior League is holding in March.  After I was done the only way out of the park was the same route as the race, so I was stuck for a while.  Luckily you could see my house right from the route:

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Not really.  You could probably fit about 4 of my houses inside of that one.

I’m happy to report that after I got home, I finished my longest training run yesterday – 8 miles 🙂  I got out earlier than last week, I started out slower than last week, and the 8 miles felt so much better than the 7 I did last Saturday.  And kept up on my goal for the progressive training runs – barely, but each mile was faster than the last!

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It was still really hot out though, well over 80 degrees, even at 8:30 in the morning.  It was so humid that the air was sweating.  I could tell that the clouds themselves were praying to let go of all the rain they were holding but it just did not happen on my run, much to my disappointment.  Oh well.  Still a great one.

Another thing I am noticing that I keep doing unintentionally is going faster than the Smartcoach trainer is telling me to.  I was supposed to finish this run with an average of 10:23.  After reading this post, I think I might know why.  The post outlines the difference between fast twitch muscles and slow twitch muscles and how you can determine whether you’re built for speed or endurance for longer distances.  When I was setting up my training plan for this race, I used a time trial of 1 mile.  I am not a sprinter, or great at short distances.  But what I do have is endurance (who knew?).  I feel much more comfortable mid-run when I get into the groove and aside from last week’s run, I generally always feel like I could keep going or have more in me.  I highly recommend that all runners read that post by Laura and think about this during all of your training.  It’s so interesting!  Also gets me excited to add the longer runs for this training.

The rest of yesterday was spent Christmas shopping with Jeff for almost everyone on our list.  We did pretty good and the stores were not too crowded for a Saturday in December.  We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.  In New Jersey, all malls are packed all the time every Saturday, even if it’s not Christmas.  Grateful for the South Florida lack of shopping obsession.  We got dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant and called it a night.

Today is a rest day.  Our biggest accomplishment was giving Jingo a bath.  She was in desperate need of one and we bath her ourselves (it’s a two person job definitely).  When she was a puppy we brought her to a groomer but were told politely not to bring her back until she was trained to be calmer.  Five years later and she has not quite found that calmness yet, especially with strangers, so we bath her in our backyard with the hose since we only have stand up showers in the house, no bathtubs.  She doesn’t mind the bath but just cries the whole time until it’s over.  It’s like a war zone out there, and enough hair comes off of her to make about 5 more dogs out of.  There should be a locks of love program for dogs.  She would definitely be their biggest donor.  For some reason having a bath is a traumatic experience and Jingo becomes a mommy’s dog for the rest of the day.

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Yes I took a shower after giving her a bath and promptly changed back into pajamas.  That bath is going to be the one and only productive thing that is done all day.

Have you done your Christmas shopping yet?

Any other neurotic/crazy dog owners out there? (the dog, not the owner… ok or both)

Anyone still racing or training for races this weekend or is your season over?