Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Mental Is Running? + Hippie Festival Pics

Oh Heeeyyyyy.  Sorry to my five six readers for not posting for four days.  
The lovely BF was in town, and somehow I feel like writing posts when he traveled 800 miles to see me would just come off as rude...

I want to post pics of my weekend but let's start with the running portion first.  

Do you feel like you haven't run to the best of your ability because of something going on in your head?  

I didn't used to think so.  But this morning, I started to be a believer.  

I've been doing treadmill tempo workouts lately because since the marathon, I haven't been capable of running decently on the track.  Last time I went to the track, I ran a 7:02 mile, got frustrated, and ran home.  I don't own a Garmin, so the 'mill is my only good alternative.  

This morning, I did my little treadmill "game o death" (as detailed a couple posts ago) and stayed on for 6 miles at .5 incline.  Mile 1 was 7:24 and Mile 6 was 6:58.  The middle miles were gradually faster.  I was pretty happy with this.  It was pretty darn close to my 10k PR with only the feeling of 85% effort.  In fact, my treadmill performance has been so different from my track performance lately, it led me to question whether my usual treadmill was just wrong.  Fortunately, I hopped to treadmill #3 at the gym and it felt the same.  Phew. 

So what gives?  

Is the treadmill easier?  Sure, .5 incline should be simulating a pretty easy race course, but the difference shouldn't be so drastic.  

I came to the conclusion that I'm crazy.  Or that there's something mentally going on.  This led me to this awesome article Why I Sucked In College earlier posted by WashingtonRanHere

While the whole article is amazing great advice, the points that most spoke to me were to Run By Feel and To Believe in Yourself.  

"A lot of people work hard, put in the work, but feel like they are not ready to reach the next level or are not sure they can reach it. Well racing is a hugely mental thing. And if there is any doubt in your mind as to how you're going to do, when it starts to hurt, you'll start questioning yourself and that will be it."

Is it belief in myself that I'm lacking?  Or just the lack of drive to push myself when an apparatus isn't forcing me to do so on penalty of falling off the moving belt? 
 I'm honestly not sure...maybe both treadmills in the gym are broken/slow (god I hope not) but I'd love to hear about any similar issues with motivation or confidence you've had.    


This weekend, I went to a hippie electronica festival, Lightning In A Bottle..no no...I'm not the hippie you are 

thinking, but my boyfriend is one in a consultant's body so he wanted to go get down like Woodstock.

Lightning In A Bottle Stage
Here are the rules:  

Trunk being searched.

#2...Make the experience educational.
 #1) No smuggling extra hippies in your trunk...

Hippies Expanding Their Knowledge...

#3)  Dress the Part

I was so cold, I bought my own festival pants...you can't see them too well in the pic, but they are blue and purple horizontally striped.  Don't be jealous of my style.  

The next day, we spent some time at the Newport Beach Pier...

It was a pretty freaking beautiful Memorial Day...

It was windy...I am still wearing the Boston Jacket.  

Why spend money on new clothes when you can wear the exact same thing every day?  

I thought you'd agree. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ma 2 cents on blogging popularity

I was going to write about sport wash and getting clothes not smelly today, but since everyone likes a little drama, I thought I'd give my thoughts on the weird social dynamics in Blog-topia.  

This was spurred by Rose Runner's post regarding the blog summit speakers and the general costs of the Blog Conference.

Really quickly, I'd like to address the cost of this event:  $110....it sounds like a lot, but I'm guessing Squires Group isn't trying to screw the blogging community over.  Just venue rental, breakfast, lunch, and a happy hour (which is what's included in the package) probably runs somewhere around that cost.

But I'm likely not going to the conference...if there's things I don't really enjoy doing, they are gambling, indoor stuff, staying up late, and crappy weather.
In a word:  Vegas.  For me, just location and the amount of travel I already have to do trumps the amount that I really do want to meet everyone!

I also don't think Squires Group is trying to rip us off, although they might be barking up the wrong tree by charging $110...even if it is just covering costs.  From what I guess, us running blogging girls are not super wealthy and unfortunately, this cost may price some out of the market.  Our community seems to be majority teachers, stay at home moms, students, etc who share the passions of GIRL POWER FRIENDSHIP, TAKING RANDOM PICTURES OF THEMSELVES, and RUNNING!

Which brings me to my next point - Why do you blog?  

For me, it really is that ability to connect with girls (and guys) across the country on their running triumphs and tragedies.  To see the sweet photos of their runs and learn about their workouts.  It's a camaraderie in the running community that I haven't felt since my high school cross country days.  And of course, just like high school, there are the popular kids...the blogs with tons of followers and traffic.   And that's just a natural occurrence in life.   

I think blogging and why we do it is different for every blogger.  For some of us, it's the desire to document our workouts, to feel accountable for them.  For others it's to network and connect people and form a community around our content.   Maybe some of us just want to talk about our day and have someone listen who understands.

I also think people's blogging identities change.  For people like SkinnyRunner, I believe she has evolved from having a blog where she is holding herself accountable for her workouts to being so widely read she is her own brand.
Skinny Runner: A girl who kicks butt at running, looks good doing it, will link you if you ask, and likes fun stuff like celebrities.  
*(Let me be clear...and this is an edit from my original post...I mean this "branding" term in the most positive way.  I want our successful running bloggers to get even bigger and go and compete with the Rumi Neely's and Cupcakes and Cashmere's of the world).

Do I feel a little jealous of these super successful bloggers?  Sure...who wouldn't....they get all sorts of free stuff in the mail and the attention of so many people.  

I want to be a pretty, fast, clever, entertaining writer too!  And maybe someday I will be.

But for right now, all I can do is send myself stuff in the mail to review, write about my workouts and read about yours, and get super geeked up whenever I see a comment on my blog or a new follower.

I really hope I am providing entertaining content for someone out there.    

Let me know if you're ever in Orange County.  I'd like to think we'd all get along swimmingly in real life.  =).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Treadmill Speed Game o' Death + Mariachis

I've been told that I have eccentric running habits.  

Stuff like avoiding runs over 7 miles, never following a training plan, wearing rabbit ears to the Boston marathon...ya know...the usual....

To keep the eccentricity going, here's a game I'd like to introduce to the blogging world...


Ok fine...it's more like a tempo run...here are the rules:

After a mile warmup, you start your treadmill at goal half marathon pace.  Each mile, you increase speed .1 MPH.  The goal is to stay on the treadmill as long as possible (until you're 90% spent...I'm not trying to recommend overtraining here!).

So for example, if your GHMP is 8:30 it would be:
Uncombed hair o' death
Mile 1:  7.0--> Mile 2 --->7.1....etc etc. etc. 

I made it to 5.15 miles today starting at GHMP of 7:24 (8.1 mph) for mile 1.  And because I stupidly drank chocolate milk before the run, I was cramped up until mile 4.
Chocolate milk is so delicious though I'm pretty sure it was still worth it!

One thing...if you play the TSGOD, be prepared for bad hair.....or maybe that's just me...?

So after that informative training segment, I gotta tell you about the second half of my day.  

I work for REVOLVEClothing.com, a fashion retailer, and it was my brother's birthday today.  He's a co-owner of the company. This led to my intern asking me if it was true that people as old as me just stopped counting birthdays...(if you're reading this, Lyn, sorry ...I had to blog this...). 

For birthdays at work, we generally pass around a card and get cake.
But my brother is the much loved El Jefe so he got subdued celebration...you know...just a few things....a...

Cheering Crowds.....


....And the most beautiful part of all.
All in all, I think he had a pretty fun day....=)

What did you do last birthday?  Did you have a Mariachi Band?
I did very little last birthday...just went to eat with family...this year's going to be EPIC though!!

Does anyone want to try the treadmill speed workout o' death with me????
You know you want to....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Roasted Healthier Chile Rellenos (Recipe!)

Did anyone just watch the Bachelorette and see the guy with the mask and they played Phantom of the Opera Music?  I don't know what to think about this guy!  

This is purely a recipe post...I haven't done one of these in a while!
Last night I decided to attempt Chile Rellenos...
I freaking love these delicious peppers stuffed with cheese, and I wanted to make them mine.  I also wanted to make them a more healthy, because if I'm cooking, I may as well try to not give myself a heart attack!  

This recipe is similar to Rachel Ray's on Food Network, with a few twists.   These Chile Rellenos are roasted, not fried, and have a lot more veggies and less cheese.  They are vegetarian as well.  

You'll Need
4 large Poblano peppers
2 cups corn kernels (if they are fire roasted, even better)
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (fire roasted is better!)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Fresh Ground Pepper  
Minced Garlic and Chopped Cilantro / Spinach to Taste (optional)
1 chopped and seeded jalapeño
Cooking oil for sauteeing 
Juice of 1 Lime
2 Cups of Monterey Jack Cheese (or other Mexican Cheese Combo of Choice)

1) Preheat oven broiler on high. 
2) Cut tops off poblano peppers and seed them.  
Put peppers in a roasting pan.  Wait until the top is slightly charred and then turn peppers over.  Remove when Peppers are charred on both sides (allow a few minutes on each side).  

3) Heat Frying Pan on high with oil in the pan.  When the oil starts to move, add corn, jalapeno, and any other veggies and saute until veggies get a "pan fried" look that is a little browned.  

4) Add spices and most of the can of diced tomatoes (leave a little bit) and cook on medium for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.  

5) Remove from heat and add lime juice  (add more if you want a very tart taste).  Pour out any extra juice from the mixture and add 1 cup of your cheese mixture.  

6) When peppers are done, remove them from the oven and stuff in the veggie / cheese mixture.  Add the rest of the tomatoes and cheese on top of each pepper.  

7) Put stuffed peppers back in the oven and cook for about 3-5 minutes until the cheese browns on the peppers.  

Take out of oven and ENJOY!  

Sweet Running Mixes @ Yoga, Learning to "swim"?

Things really have changed for me over the years.  I woke up on Sunday morning at 6:30 AM to drive up to LA to do a swim clinic and yoga.  I've never been a complete night owl, but there is NO WAY I would have ever woken up that early on a weekend when I was younger.

I wanted to tell y'all a little about the yoga place I "go".  It's not traditional yoga by a long stretch, but it is super fun, and active, which is definitely up my ally.  Go is in quotes because my participation rate is about once every 3 months these days since it's about an hour drive and $19 for a group class.  

A fun fact about Yoga Hop is that Reese Witherspoon likes to go!  I've always liked Reese, she seems cool.  Maybe sometime I'll run into her there, I'll invite her to coffee, and we can be best friends!

I digress.
Wanna hang out?

One thing that's really cool about Yoga Hop is the fun music that they play during the routines.   Matthew Reyes, the instructor yesterday played some really cool mixes that combine two pop songs.  For example, here's Jump (Van Halen) Vs. California Girls (Katy Perry).   Pretty fun workout stuff!  It's all available for free download on BootieLA's website (I think it's the site of a bunch of DJs?).  Check out the video below, and if you like ridiculously hyper workout music, go get some more at the website!

After yoga, I hopped on other to the TriFit in Santa Monica to do a Luna Chix clinic with my friend Madeline.  Madeline is one of the leaders in the local chapter...I'm not exactly sure what it entails besides organizing training stuff like runs  / bikes / swims and getting a lot of free Luna Bars, but it sounds pretty fun!

Anyways, the clinic was fun...if  you enjoy swimming.  Me...I'm not so sure...too much water up my nose to love it =).    I also felt bad, bc my skills in swimming in a straight line are not so good, which resulted in my kicking several people as they came back in the lane.  Oops. 

It was a humbling experience and the girls who organized it were great!  Trying to learn how to bike and swim lately has certainly reminded me how UNCOORDINATED I really can be!  

Here's what was super awesome though....FREE LUNA BARS at the end!!

Look at this swag.

One of the girls may or may not have made me a 'take home bag' containing at least 10 bars.

So for the Q and A....

Do you eat Luna Bars?  If so, what flavor?  

What's your single FAVORITE song to work out to?  
Oh jeez this is a  hard question.  When I was young, I'd play Matchbox20's Push before every track race.  I don't do that anymore though =). 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Shoe Discount Hunting, Treadmill Tempos!

Hope you're having a good weekend!

My weekends always take the same emotional roller coaster when it comes to how they feel long at the beginning of the weekend and very short at the end!  It's hard to explain exactly so I made a graphic since a picture is worth 1000 words:  

Don't get me wrong...I actually really like my job, as jobs go.  I just like my weekends eveennn betterrrrr.  =).

Today I couldn't stomach going to the track for a workout, so instead, I headed to my apartment gym for a little tempo on the treadmill.

 The good thing about the treadmill?  It's really easy to run negative splits!  You just hit that down button....
Workout: 1 Mile Warmup, 4.5 Miles , .5 incline @ 7:24, 7:19, 7:12, 7:08, 7:03 (.5 miles), mile cool down.

Another good thing?  I can watch ABC family "That's so Raven" while running my heart out and sweating up a storm.  It's actually not bad, I swear!

The real OC...public library!
According to this Runners World Article, half marathon training tempos should be more like 6-8 miles and probably a little slower than I ran, unless I'm planning for a 7:15 pace half which would be heck of an awesome PR but is probably out of the question.

I felt ok about my workout performance though...even happy perhaps?

Treadmill speed can be deceiving for me though...sometimes I feel like it's a lot easier for me to click off fast miles on the 'mill' than outside.

The rest of my day included birthday present shopping, and getting my Orange County library card!  Dorks unite!

I also purchased another pair of Mizuno Inspires.  I've had my old pair for about 10 weeks and I'd like to have new ones to phase into the rotation soon.

Instead of going to my local running store, I went where any bargain hunter would go...Ebay!
I hit the jackpot! I bought the older model, but hey, that's cool with me.  I ran in them a year ago successfully so I'm sure they will be fine now.
$65 Dollar Mizuno Inspires!
The Inspire

These days, between Zappos, Endless.com, Ebay, etc, there are a million places to get running shoes if you know exactly what you want.  And they likely have a coupon code available.  

That said, I can't help but feel a little guilty.  I want to support the little guy running shops, but if I can get the same thing for considerably less....sigh.....

::suddenly feels responsible for the possible end of small cool independent running stores..::

So two questions:  

What is harder for you physically?  Running outside or on a treadmill?  
I can usually go faster with less effort on the treadmill

Do you buy your shoes from running stores?  Or are you a discount monger like me, selling out to the lowest price!? =)

Have a great Saturday Night / Sunday, y'all!  


Thursday, May 19, 2011

A bicycle built for two (you and your dog)

First of all, I'd like to apologize if you haven't gotten any love from me on your blog lately...I haven't gotten a chance to read as many of your posts as I usually do!   Work has just been tiring me out this week - perhaps this emotional turmoil of the Ahnold saga has gotten to me as well...(kidding kidding..).

This morning, I went on another bike ride (something like 13 mi)...this time instead of heading towards the beach, I went North-east on the Santa Ana Trail....not quite the same beautiful beach scenery as before...

Actually though, this trail had it's own particular beauty.  Lots of cool wildflowers, and random old dudes on really slow bikes.  A good break from the Real (Retired) Housewives of Orange County I encounter closer on mornings in Newport!

I think I ride around 17 mph, but I got this figure from timing myself on mile markers on a straightaway, so it could easily be 13 mph too.    I'll let you know when I get a bike measurer thingy =).

I also consistently fall at least once every ride because I get all scared when a car is coming and forget to clip out and then tip like a teapot.  Embarrassing stuff. =).

I was reading up on the bike mile to running mile equivalence.  Apparently the ratio can be anywhere from 2 mi biking = 1 mi running to 5 mi biking = 1 mile running
depending on how fast a biker you are and what kind of bike you're using !  The faster you are, the more energy you expend.  Even more incentive to get faster!  

Any bikers out there that want to weigh in on this?

Later today...I saw a man who takes biking efficiency to a whole new level!

Your eyes are not deceiving you!  ------------------------------->

This man is biking with his dog on a wheeled platform being pulled behind him.  He was on pretty busy streets even.  If there's any proof in the world that dogs are ruling the world and we're just serving them, I'm pretty sure this picture is it :).

I only wish I had a photo of him biking down the street with his dog-mobile.

So now I'm sitting here, blogging, and about to go to bed.  As a good night present, I'd really like to share with you the outfit I was wearing up until about 5 minutes ago.

When I got home from work today, I didn't feel like changing out of my dress, but I wanted to put on my PJs.  So I got the best of both worlds and put on the PJs under the dress!  Ahhhh comfort!!!


Does anyone else out there do this?  Yes?  Yes?  
I'm hoping I'm not the only one =).

G'night!  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Running Makeup, Headbands, Bak 2 da Trak

It was TRACK TIME this morning!  

I've been trying to go to the track on Wednesdays for an easier / shakeout type workout, and Saturdays for a longer, feel like death workout.  I did the exact same thing as I did last week since I was really unhappy with it last week:
5x800 @ 3:19, 3:20, 3:20, 3:21, 3:21.  Tacked on a 400 @ 1:39.  The rest time varied bc I got bored and was walking to random parts of the track to start...the things we do for variety, eh?  =)

I was so discouraged when I did the same thing last week, but today I felt pretty good about it.  Here's why (besides lowered standards):  Last week, I felt like I was killing myself to complete this workout.  This week, I felt like I could have done more.  Slow but sure progress I hope!

I wore one of my new, kickass non-slip headbands that I got in the mail for the workout!  They stayed put pretty well and I think they are ridiculously cute.  

Skinny Runner blogged about this a while back, but in case you are my one reader that doesn't read her blog, Bethanye is making super cute no-slip headbands in exchange for a donation to her Team In Training page!  I love her idea...and her headbands.  GO BUY SOME!

Without any further delay...here are the headbands:

 Headband 1: 
Here's #2:
 I know what you're thinking right now:

"Margs....besides the fact that you clearly took these pictures in your bathroom, you look like you sorta dressed up for these pics...different than the usual... like you didn't just step out of a dumpster."

That's correct.  I actually put on makeup and combed my hair, solely so that my poor appearance wouldn't be responsible for a huge drop in Bethanye's headband sales!  

Speaking of appearances, I've been trying to find a new tinted moisturizer.  I barely even own real foundation, so I splurge a little on this stuff instead.  What do you use?  Is it possible to wear that AND foundation?  Clue me in here =)

I looked at some online reviews and a couple brands that kept showing up at the top of the review lists were:

I totally ignored all my research and got josie maran - on the recommendation of the Sephora lady - which I freaking love so far.  What I like:  SPF 30, and more coverage.  Of course, since I wear this stuff like normal makeup as well as for workouts for sun protection, so a little heavier duty stuff works for me to cover up any lovely craters on my face!  It might not be awesome for you if you want a lighter feel.  

So here's the question of the day:
Do you wear tinted moisturizer?  If so, whatcha like?
Yes, and love this Josie Maran stuff.   

ALSO - Do you wear makeup when you run?
Nothing beyond the T.M. unless I am running with other people and I don't want them to think I'm a bum.  =).    

Monday, May 16, 2011

Strange Tragedy in Runnerville and I Always Wanted a Pony

Did you guys read about Sammy Wanjiru, the winner of last year's Chicago Marathon and the reigning Olympic Champion?  He passed away while either falling or jumping off a balcony in his hometown in Kenya.

Here's the story from the New York Times.   No disrespect intended, but this guy also had possession of an AK-47 recently?   Wow...That's a term you don't hear much in the elite running world.  The mental picture of this whole thing is just completely strange/sad!  One thing is for sure though, the running world lost a great talent =(.

Changing subject on a lighter note.....

You know when you were little and thought it would be pretty sweet to have a pony?   (Or maybe you guys all wanted to run marathons when you were younger ;-)  ) . 

Yeah.  That's my sister-in-law.  She actually owns a horsey and started competing on it!  This weekend, I went down to San Juan Capistrano and watched her kick butt!  

As for me...since I have no pony, I did the next best thing....went on a BIKE RIDE this morning with the big-girl clip-in shoes for the first time in years!!!  
Shoe and Pedal Attached.  Missing:  Bike.  
 Of course I first had to take it to the bike shop first because I do ridiculous things like accidentally putting the shoe in the pedal before it's on the bike.  (Note, it is REALLY hard to get off!)  
Bike Ninja
Here is the awesome bike guy who had no idea I was snapping photos of him helping me put the pedals on!  They are at surf city cyclery if anyone in Orange County wants an awesome bike shop where they don't make fun for being a complete newbie!

It was a beautiful day for a ride:

And a beautiful day to take pictures of myself...

Yes I am still wearing my Boston Jacket....this jacket is NEVER. COMING. OFF!!!

That's all I have for you!  Have an awesome Tuesday!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Repeat Miles, Ghana Yogurt, and Vitamin Water

I wanted to post last night, but I was kind of exhausted.  I made a half attempt to go see Bridesmaids, because it is supposed to be awesome, but it was sold out, so instead I stayed home watching The Voice and shoe window shopping online.

My Saturday started with a track workout.  My expectations were lower this time, but clearly they needed to be even lower!  I did three repeat miles with about 3 and a half minutes rest.  7:00, 7:01, 7:08.  

Oh Hai Bad Haircut!
Indulge me in a pity party for a minute here.  I know these times could look either fast or slow, depending on the beholder, and I am thankful just to be able to run (and that my super sore hamstring from those two races that I never talked about bc I didn't want to jinx it is finally getting better), but this is not where I want to be. 

 I read some stuff about marathon recovery online that made me feel a little better: active recovery - marathons

Here is a post workout picture that displays my apprehension of my fitness level, as well as my un-brushed, super need a haircut hair (sorry!)

I have a haircut appointment next week, but after taking this picture, I just resorted to cutting my hair in the bathroom!  I'm not sure is an improvement or not but it made me feel better =).

After the workout, I drowned my sorrows in some yogurtland!  I may not be the fan that Janae is, but their new Key Lime Pie flavor sure is pretty amazing!!!   

Ghanaian Flag Anyone?  PS:  I am not an Africa Expert...I did some project from hell on Ghana a year back so thanks for indulging me in that nerd-scape.

$1.00 of Yogurtland
When I got to the checkout, I got this:

I can't get it to flip but YES that is a $1.00 off your next purchase.  I think it's just a California promotion (or possibly just my location), but bargain hunters, check it out!

Speaking of deals, Ralphs was running a $1.00 each promotion of Vitamin water. I've long been kind of skeptical of this stuff, but a couple weeks back, I finally tried it.  Conclusion...not bad...and not surprisingly...full of vitamins!  I've only have the Lemonade Zero thus far.  Apparently it's sweet because of Stevia Extract.

What is this stuff?  Anyone know?  Here's what wikipedia says:  Stevia

Bottom line, as long as it won't give me cancer, stomach problems, or some other unknown illness, I'm cool with it!

And on that note...I'm off for a bike ride and to watch my sister in law in a horse show!  She got four blue ribbons yesterday....talk about kicking some butt!

Have a great Sunday!

For the Q and A section:

What do you think of Vitamin Water?  
(jury is still out for me...I'm warming up to it!)

Do you ever make your Yogurtland look like other nation's flags?
(Think I'm alone in this one...)

Friday, May 13, 2011

The 12 Hours of No Blogger (Sung to the 12 Days of Christmas)

Hi !
As I was writing this post about blogger going down, I realized that this post will not be entertaining to people who don't use blogger (ok ok....probably only entertaining to 20% of people who DO use blogger).  Don't worry, I'll post fun stuff the rest of the weekend!

Until blogger went down, I had no idea how addicted I've become to posting and reading everyone else's posts.  I didn't know what to do with myself when I couldn't stalk everyone and read about their runs!  So to celebrate having blogger back...

12 Hours of No Blogger (More like 20 hours but..sung to the 12 days of Christmas)

On the 12th hour of no Blogger, broken Blogger gave to me...

Twelve (billion) times checking http://status.blogger.com/ :

Eleven Comments Missing  

Ten times I checked your blogs for new posts

Nine Hours Workin'   

Eight scoops of ice cream (exaggeration)

Seven hours slept, dreaming about new posts

Six times I thought "where did I get so much free time!"

Five miles ran

Four times I thought "I'm totally switching to WordPress"

Three Diet Cokes consumed

Two new tires on my car  (MUCH needed!)

and One big rush of joy when it came back online! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back on Track? Pun Intended. =)

I'm not a huge fan of long runs, unlike what seems to be most of the running community.  In fact outside of the three marathons races I've done, I don't think I've ever run over about 17-18 miles...try as I might to go longer, it's just beyond my patience level!

 (Please do not take training advice from me on this...this training strategy is clearly why it takes me several weeks to recover from a marathon).  

HOWEVER, I actually really love track workouts.  As painful as they are during, I always feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards and the mother of all running highs as well.

This morning, I decided I would go to the track for the first time since Pre-Boston.  I was actually excited just thinking about it and kind of nervous to see what my body would be able to do.  I was secretly hoping (as I always do) that interval times that used to be hard would be a breeze and  I would laugh and high five the other people there as I ran to do another 5 minute mile...

That's not exactly what happened.  

I got to the track and sadly the giant man who usually walks around the track every morning and shouts encouragement to himself was NOT THERE!  However, there WAS a skinny dude doing what appeared to be running form work.  He surely must be an avid reader of my blog and read my last entry (Blog Entry On Running Form ;).

So I got goin'.

I ran some 800s....five to be exact with around 2:15 rest in between.  I had wanted to do six right around 3:20 as a sort of "workout that is challenging but not horribly difficult.  Which I pretty much did (minus 1 800) at 3:18 3:18 3:18 3:21, 3:20.

I didn't feel that great about it. 

The problem wasn't the times, it was the amount of effort I put into it.  I was sprinting the last 800 just to make the 3:20 mark, felt exhausted, and am pretty sure I couldn't have done another!  It felt great to get out there, but my legs were glaring at me the whole time saying "What the heck?  We haven't run faster than 8:00 miles in the last month...no way are we going 6:36ish...today!" 

When I got back to my place, I chugged some Trop 50 Pineapple-Mango.  Have I mentioned how much I love this stuff?  50 calorie fruit juice..all natural and all fruit, heck yeah!   It's not quite as good as the real higher calorie stuff (in my opinion) but totally awesome for after workouts because it's more refreshing.

In fact Trop 50 and I took a post workout picture together....

Please laugh....=). 

Bottom line on the track workout, I am not exactly where I want to be for running a half marathon soon, speedwise, but...just gives me more room to improve, right? 

Do ya do speed stuff?  What are your favorite speed workouts? (for me...it's repeat miles for pure, gut wrenching satisfaction) 

Have you tried Trop50 ?  (I promise I don't work for them, I just like da juice after running). 

Have a great Thursday!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Running Efficiency Tips (How not to run like a T-Rex)

I finally decided on my next race!  And even though I solicited advice on what to sign up for, I wasn't aware of secret option F until a day ago. So my apologies for picking something COMPLETELY off the list :(.  

Once Upon A Lime is doing two half marathons in 6 days, and the second one she signed up for, Fontana Days is just $35 AND is supposedly incredibly fast!  I saw it on her blog and wanted in on Fontana Dayz....(Daze?)

Fontana Days Half marathon will have a ridiculously early wake up time for me (have to be there by 5 AM!), and it's in like 4 weeks but why the heck not, right?  

So now onto the subject I want to talk about....running efficiency....

This morning, I was curious what my Wildflower Relay pics looked like, (you know, the good old Personal Worst Race) and came across this lovely photo:

Contrary to what it looks like, I am not trying the latest dance move called the "Dumb T Rex" where I put my non-strength trained arms as high up as possible and flail backwards with one while slightly twisting my torso.

No no...in fact, I am trying to move forward in this picture, and being super inefficient!   

Before I write up the research, I want to qualify this by saying that I hear that Paula Radcliffe has a really inefficient looking stride and she's um....slightly fast.  However for mere mortals such as myself, I figure it's worth a try to see if I can get more efficient!

I decided to read up on some running form / efficiency tips and thought you might like to read about them too!

From a Running Times Article:

Coach and two-time olympic marathoner Pete Pfitzinger says that runners can improve their energy economy by 2-4 percent by working on running economy.
Some things that he says to watch out for:

"My observation of runners in road races is that hardly any of the elite runners overstride, but up to 20 percent of the runners slower than 40:00 for 10K overstride."  

Holding Arms Up/ Leaning Is No Bueno Either!
Leaning forward at the waist, which causes the quads to work harder to keep you from falling forward.
Holding the shoulders up or holding the arms tensely or holding the arms out to the side.

But Wait...Help is on the Way!
Ways to practice improving are to do "strides" where you practice "fast feet and low shoulders" for about 60-100 meters in the middle of a run. Focus on relaxing each part of your body and a quick efficient stride.  

Try Not To Heel Strike 
This article on Active.com suggests landing on the middle of your foot and trying to spend less time actually with your feet on the ground for better efficiency:
Active.com running efficiency

Strength and Pytometrics Train
And Runners World says that strength exercises (especially core exercises) can help you stay efficient even when your body is getting tired in a race...you can check out some of the exercises with this link...Runners World Efficiency Article

It sounds to me that stuff like Yoga / Pilates would be great for core training!

I think more than anything, I need to do some general strength training since I mainly start twisting and raising my arms at the end of a race, when my arms are more tired than my legs!  

Whatcha think?

Have you tried to improve your running form?  

Do you think trying to improve efficiency is a good way to spend time, or are we better off just putting in the miles and speed workouts?  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Seattle the Bipolar

Good news and bad news:  

Bad News:  This weekend I ran a total of about 6 miles so I don't have much to talk about in that area.  My lack of running is mainly due to the fact that I want to really give my body a break, but I also prefer cuddling to running and I had the opportunity to do so this weekend so....heck yeah!

Good news is that I have cool travel pics from Seattle AND I think this week, I might actually run a track workout.  Imagine....=).  

Here's the deal with Seattle:  I've been going up there on a regular basis for the last 9 months or so bc the BF lives up there.  And until we invent the teleporter or cloning machine (let me know if you have one I can borrow), the regular visiting and plane flights are the best way I know how to keep up a romantic relationship.  

I know what you're thinking about Seattle....rain and 40 degree weather, right?  Well....kinda....

I have found that Seattle is the picture of misery from about November to early March.  Mid 40s, rain, and about 2 hours that are not pitch black.  But here's Seattle's bipolar secret.  From about May to August, it's freaking GLOORRIOUSSSS!    

Seriously.  This weekend, it was so sunny and full of spring flowers, I could have sworn I heard angels singing and kittens purring all weekend. 

Fremont Troll
We started out with brunch at Roxy's in Fremont.  Fremont is a neighborhood close to downtown Seattle that is famous for the Fremont Troll and has plenty of restaurants and bars to hang out in.   Roxy's is a delicious New York type deli that we go to bc it's easy to walk to and has food like this:

I forget what this was actually called on the menu, but essentially, it's a baklava pancake.  Filo, Walnuts, Pistachios,  Honey....really really good.  Anthony ordered them, but of course everything he orders is fair game, so I made short work of them =).  

We then went Seattle wine tasting.  While the ridiculously cold / rainy weather of western Washington isn't exactly conducive to grape growing apparently the weather of Eastern Washington is.  So they set up places just outside Seattle so that we can booze without driving across the state!  
Don't we look classy?  

Girly Girl Wines!
I pretty much let Anthony take the lead, since I really don't know the difference between a box of Franzia and something uhhh....better....

At one of the wineries, there was some club called the "girly girl" to encourage women to come with their girlfriends.  Since I like all things pink and targeted at women, I was super excited about by this and wished I had Seattle girlfriends to join with!  

The next day we went to the Fremont farmers market and saw this...


I also saw some really cute plant Brontosauruses:


So that's the story of the weekend, Morning Glories!  

And here's the Q and A portion where I try to elicit comments and make friends!    

Are any of you in Long Distance Relationships too (or ever were in one)?  
(if so comment with "heeellll yaaaaa!").  

Can you tell the difference between good and bad wine?  (I sure can't)

Also, if you had any amazing workouts or races, LET ME KNOW - I want to hear about it =).  

Happy Monday!