Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day at the Races

It was a near perfect day at the races, track races that is. It would have been perfect had my son been running, but he is nursing an injury. As I sat there, I realized how difficult it is for all of us, especially young men, to gauge when they should sit out and rest and when they should try their luck. I'm glad he chose the conservative route. I think it was a good day for the rest of our kids that ran, although I'm sure they would always be happier with faster times. This was probably the most relaxing meet I've been to since all I had to do was watch other people's kids racing and take pictures, which are posted on my gallery. We couldn't have asked for better weather.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I wonder how long it takes to really recover from having the stomach flu. I just know that my legs just felt really spent, especially on that last hill. I'm sure those of you who run are familiar with that feeling when you feel as if there is no more fuel left in your muscles. Patty and I ran from Cheese Park down to Heritage Park and back at a pace that really surprised me considering how I felt. On our first two miles to Heritage we average 9.09 and I knew we were running fast because at one point I asked Patty why we were running so fast. She said she was just trying to keep up with me and all along, I was just trying to keep up with her. Overall, we averaged a 9.22 pace for our 4 mile run today. I'm very happy with that since my legs just felt like jello the whole way.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Up and Running

Well after a weekend at home with the swine (I mean stomach) flu, Marathon Mom felt well enough to join C and I for a run this afternoon. Our wacky weather kept the temps downright cold for most of the day, and of course by late afternoon the winds had kicked up quite nicely. We started from Heritage Park, because we have gotten into a rut at our beloved Cheesepark. The plan was to run toward Bridgeport and hook up with the Lowe's trail for an out and back of around 3 miles. When we reached Bridgeport Park, we stopped for a breath and decided to run around the Bridgeport Lake. Luckily the gnats were not out at the time we ran and it was a nice change of scenery. We managed to stay together for the entire run and get in some good conversation while doing it. The pace was slow, but it counts as a "recovery" run, and it is just nice to have everyone feeling good again. I just know the "hills" and the "speed work" are in our future. Are hives a symptom of the "swine" flu? I am just curious.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Two Steps Forward, One Back

I really liked the quote for today when I read it because it's something I can definitely relate to right now. I think my running friends and I have all been there when we're feeling good about our running then something sets us back, whether it be a rock in the trail, an aching IT band, problems with our kids or husbands, or just a common cold or flu. I really feel like our running for the most part is two steps forward and one step back. I suppose the important thing is that if we just keep going forward, then we will eventually end up further from where we started.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Pleasant Surprise!

We were leaderless this morning as Marathon Mom is home with a nasty virus. I met M and C for a run and after a short discussion we decided to run the "train bridge" loop starting from Valencia High. This was the run I had in mind before we met, so I was glad that everyone was up for it. Our friend M who suffers with arthritis in her hips and just about everywhere else, seemed especially perky this morning which never ceases to amaze me. We finished our run and other than the wind on the way back, it was very pleasant. We all agreed that starting at Valencia was much easier (mentally) than starting at Peet's. I don't have a clue about our pace, but I am going to say we did 5 miles (although my internal GPS thinks we may have cut a bit off with our route). I am happy that we got our run in, and that I have the rest of the day free. Get well Marathon Mom, we are ready for another run!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Track Day

I'm not sure which is more exhausting, watching people run at a track meet or actually running yourself. Today was a perfect day for a track meet. No complaints for once. The weather was cool, but not too cold and the the wind gods were taking a break in SCV for the day. As usual, I took some pictures of the meet, but none of my own son actually running in a race. Last time when I posted some pictures of the meet, so many people asked me why I didn't have any pictures of my son, but I'm sure most of you with kids can understand that it's actually easier to take pictures of other people's kids than your own at a sporting event. You get so wrapped up in what's happening in your child's race. We also carry the weight of the pressure these kids are under on our shoulders too. When they have a good day, we have a good day and when they don't have such a good day, we feel their disappointments just as much, if not more.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Leaping Lizards!

Okay, you know it's officially Spring when you see a ton of lizards all over the place. "C" missed our run today and also missed an opportunity to see me and Patty scream like little girls at the same time. As Patty and I started our run, two or three lizards zigzagged and ran right under our feet. The poor lizards were scrambling not knowing where to go and Patty and I were hopping and leaping trying to avoid them. Unfortunately, we were still in the park area and I'm sure enough people heard us screaming too. . . how embarrassing. I can't imagine what it would be like to actually step on one. Yuk! Well we were more alert to what was in front of us from there on. We ran a 4 mile loop to the west side of the river trail, down to Decoro, back up the east side, and up the dirt power line trail. It was very humid out, but it wasn't as hot as it has been the last couple of days and there was a nice breeze the whole way. Oh, and I'm happy to report that there were no more lizard encounters, which I'm sure the lizards are happy about too.

Friends = Long Life

I figured there was some other motive as to why my friends keep putting up with me and as it turns out it's probably because studies show that friends add years to your life. I knew there was an ulterior motive! I know when I've had a bad day, I can't wait to run with my friends. Not because the running itself relieves stress, but because I can unload all my worries on them. The article below talks about studies done on friendships and it's possible increase in longevity:

As I recently told a friend of mine who was having trouble with a family member, "You can't choose your family, but you can always choose your friends".

Monday, April 20, 2009

Yes, We Are Hot!

I know what you are thinking, but it is not the matching pink shorts, or the matching neon water belts that I am referring to, but unfortunately the over 90 degree weather that kept us sweating today! We even postponed our run untill 6pm to give the temps a chance to go down a bit, but I still think it was over 90 when we started our run. We left from Cheesepark and entered the Heritage Trail from the dirt hill off of McBean (we didn't have the energy even at the start to go all the way to Copperhill). The good thing about running toward Heritage Park was the breeze that was blowing, not too strong, but it helped. We made it to the Heritage Park, and then back to Cheesepark via the dirt, hill trail, and managed to put in 4 miles at just under 10 min. pace. It was a hot, very low energy day, and we didn't try to push the pace at all, I think that was for the best. It was not the best run we have had, but it wasn't the worst either, and we got a chance to catch up on what has happened over the weekend. It has only been two days off running, but we never seem to run out of things to talk about! I do feel badly about complaining about the heat since all of our children were at track practice at 2pm in 100 plus heat. The weather man says it is supposed to start cooling down by Wed. and I am going to hold him to that!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Did You Eat Your Iron Today?

The bottoms of my feet have been sore since we ran our higher mileage yesterday and it got me thinking about a study I once read regarding the loss of iron through the bottom of our feet. One of our running friends has been feeling a little sluggish and I wonder if iron could be the culprit. As runners, we tend to be more at-risk for low iron, just enough to make us feel less than our best, but not necessarily anemic. It turns out not only do we need more iron by virtue of our physical activity, but the activity itself destroys the very nutrient we need by the condition called footstrike hemolysis. Footstrike hemolysis is defined as:

Repeated foot strike associated with running causes red blood cells to break down. Red cells circulating in capillaries through the bottom of the feet are crushed by the foot strike. The faster red blood cells break down from foot-strike hemolysis, the more difficult it is for athletes to maintain a normal concentration of red blood cells (their bodies can't make the red blood cells fast enough), which may result in anemia.

There's a link to an article stressing the importance of iron, especially for women runners. It's a bit scientific, but if you can get through it, there is some good info in there. So remember what your mom always told you, "Eat your spinach".

Friday, April 17, 2009

Double Trouble!

Today Marathon Mom and I both had the day off, so it was someone's idea that since we weren't going to be able to fit in a long run this weekend, we should run twice today. We planned on running about 5 miles this morning, and then joining our other M.O.R.E. friends for a shorter 3 mile run in the afternoon. We started our run from Peet's and took the South Fork trail out and back. Marathon Mom mentioned that we were getting close to the three mile mark going out, so we both decided to run the last little bit. That last little bit seemed to go on forever, and I felt like I may have been tricked into going three miles (it has happened before). We finished our run and kept a pretty decent pace of around 9:40 ish so we were happy with that for a 6 mile run. The weather was just beautiful so we sat outside and had coffee before we started the rest of our day. At 4pm we met our friends C, M and Picture Lady at Central Park for the rest of our run. Since the weather had warmed up considerably and we were at Central Park (ugh!) we all agreed that a 3 mile loop would be just fine. Luckily there was a bit of a breeze blowing, so the heat was not too bad, but I was very glad to finish our running for the day, and actually for the weekend, as I will be watching my #5 son play in a basketball tournament. Marathon Mom claimed her legs felt better during our second run, and I have to admit that mine felt pretty good too, kind of loosened up. We ran our 3 miles at a respectable 9:21 pace, and spent some time laughing with the girls afterward. I can't say that I would like to do double runs on a regular basis, in fact a familiar children's song kept going through my head on my last mile of the day while I thought about my aches and pains. See if you know it,
Hips, and Quads, Knees, and Toes, Knees and Toes, Oh come on you can sing along if you like. Alright I am done for the day, obviously a bit loopy, but I just want to send a special shout out to the "Silver Fox" on Rio Pecos, I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

They Get It From Us?

I'd like to think our kids get their natural running ability from us, but I'm sure the other half would disagree. I know they get their enthusiasm for running from their moms, but you would never know it with all the whining and complaining we've been doing lately on this blog. Today was another track meet for our kids and it wouldn't be a VHS track meet without the gusty winds. Patty and I were really optimistic this morning when the skies were still and winds were calm, but by the time we got off of work, the winds were howling again. I am so sick of the wind! Here we think up various routes and trails that we can run in order to avoid the wind as much as possible and these poor kids have to run circles in it lap after lap. There's only so much you can tuck behind the person in front of you to avoid the wind, but when mostly everyone you're running against is a stick figure, there isn't much room for cover. These kids have guts.
A few more photos from the meet are on my photo gallery site.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Whining!

Ok I accidentally erased my post, so I will start again (sigh!). Two days made quite a difference running wise for me. Monday, although my friends were dragging a bit, I felt pretty good, my legs even had a bit of a spring in them, and I felt like I could have kept on going. Today however, was a whole different story! I spent the whole second half of our run with what felt like side stitches in three different places, and my breathing was so labored that "marathon mom" was afraid I was having a heart attack. I remember making some gasping, squeaky noise at one point and was shocked that my friends did not seem to notice. Well just a short time later our leader did stop for a second, apparantly to let me catch my breath. It never did come together for me on our run today, buy I am hoping for a better day on Friday for all three of us. I am starting to think there is some unwritten running rule that everyone can't have a good run on the same day. We managed to run our 4.25 paseo (wind run) at a surprising 9.4ish pace. I am really looking forward to wind free running in the near future!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What a Pain!

Lately I've been experiencing pain in my calves, particularly in my right calf for a few months. According to an article in Runner's World, it probably has to do with the hills we've been running. I also noticed the correlation with the amount of hill running we do and the amount of pain I'm in afterwards. The solution: stretch 10 times a day and wear running shoes with chunkier heels. Well, I'll stretch more, but I'm not giving up my Newtons. While I was researching what could be causing my calf pain, I came upon this article about toe nails and why they sometimes turn black and fall off. I heard of this happening to marathoners quite frequently, but I've never had that problem myself. However, my two regular running partners seem to suffer from this condition quite often. We've talked about why they seem to have this problem and I never do even though we pretty much run the same amount of miles. As it turns out, it's not so much mileage, but their shoes. I've been telling them that their shoes are too tight all along. Perhaps this article will convince them before they buy their next pair of shoes!,7120,s6-241-285--13054-0,00.html

Monday, April 13, 2009

Too Much Easter

It was the three of us today and while Patty felt great, "C" and I felt awful. "C" was feeling a little under the weather, but we figured we would just do an easy out and back so that if she needed to turn back, she could do so anytime. Half way through our run, I was hoping she would want to turn back so I can turn back with her. I think I did a little too much over the spring break and my calves were really bothering me. In an earlier post, I mentioned that we hiked to the top of Catalina, but I really don't think it was the hike that did it. I think it was the 16 mile bike ride we did the day after. Cycling obviously involves different muscle groups than running, which I am now painfully aware of. I was seriously contemplating walking up the dirt trail. While I enjoy cycling on the beach, I do not like the aftermath and how it makes me too sore afterwards to run. I know. . . I sound like a wimp, but I felt like one too today. We all agreed not to post what our pace was today. I think I could have walked faster.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Wishes

Happy Easter to all of our followers! Like many of you, I will be having my family over for Easter brunch, which means I will be busy cooking and eating. I am hoping that I will wake up feeling ambitious and try to go out for a run in the morning before I have to start getting everything ready. That way I can enjoy all the goodies and not feel as guilty.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friendly Little Run

This morning with Marathon Mom out of town, C and I were joined by my teacher friend from work, and picture lady. We started at Lowe's and ran the 4 mile loop that takes us behind the Hart baseball fields and the car dealerships on Valencia Blvd. My friend from work has been telling me since we met, that she admires us ladies for running regularly and would like to join us at some point. She worried however that she would not be able to keep up with us, and might embarrass herself. Well knowing that she is 15 yrs. younger than I am, and as far as I could tell in good phyical shape, I thought she would at least be able to finish the 4 miles. Well, she forgot to mention to me, (I am sure she forgot!) that she ran track and cross-country in high school, and has continued to run on her own since then! Needless to say, she had no problem keeping up and I am not even sure she broke a sweat. It was really nice to have her out there with us, and the coffee and conversation afterward were the perfect start to our day. It is nice to have new faces to run with, and I hope that it will work out so that we can do it again. My friend and I were discussing a couple of people from work that are runners that could join us, let's see how that goes! Catalina sounds great, we didn't get any rain yet.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Weighty Issue

Patty and I discuss this topic quite often, how to eat enough to still be able to run well and yet be able to lose those few extra pounds from the holidays. I came upon this article from another runner's blog, which I found helpful and interesting. One of the key points is to eat a larger breakfast, something I have been trying to do lately even when I'm not hungry. I'm usually a coffee only gal in the morning. I hope you find the article interesting.

Hill Repeats

This morning I dragged myself out of bed and was sorely disappointed to see that the weather was nice enough for a run with my friends. Although I had missed running so far this week because of my trip "north", I was exhausted, and hoping to just go back to sleep for a little bit longer. The mention of "hill repeats" was lurking somewhere in my mind as I slowly got ready for the inevitable. We started out a Cheesepark and ran our hilly route, through the paseos that lead to the back of Helmer's Elementary School. I was surprised that my legs felt so fresh, I guess all that walking around the universities helped, but didn't wear them out like I was afraid. Standing at the bottom of the "water tower" hill, Marathon Mom told us we would be running uphill, as fast as we could for 10 seconds. We did this over and over for a total of 12 times, and I have to say, that 10 seconds of hill running is totally doable. We even discussed if we were working hard enough at one point. I have read articles in "Runners World" about how this exact type of workout can help you build speed, I can't remember how many repeats were needed, but I think what we did today was a good start. I am sure we will be feeling it in the legs tomorrow, but I was very happy to finish another somewhat challenging workout, especially since I was doing a dance and praying for rain just last night! With Marathon Mom out of town, we will have to come up with something creative on our own for Friday's run 8am @ Lowe's.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Morning or Afternoon Run?

Wednesday is our only window of opportunity for "C", Patty, and I to run together this entire week. To complicate matters, there is the issue of rain. Will it be raining in the morning? If so, can we run in the afternoon? I'm hoping that if it is raining when I wake up, we can still get together and run later in the day. It is supposed to clear up later, but who really knows. One of these days, we'll just have to learn to run in the rain. I know "serious" runners do it all the time, but we're not that serious. Although I've never really done it, I think it would be easier to run in the snow, except for the slippery factor. There has to be some sort of art form to running in all kinds of weather.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Recovery Run

This morning, it was just me and "C" doing an easy recovery run after our race on Saturday. "C" had a good point that we probably should have done some sort of a cool down after our race to flush some of the lactic acid out of our legs immediately. The lactic acid made my calves feel like a couple of lead bricks on Sunday. I really didn't think I'd be that sore and it's funny how different people feel it in different areas. "C" felt it more in her quads. I'm happy to report that we felt pretty good today. It's runs like today that make me realize why I enjoy running so much. The weather was great, we were running and chatting, not worrying about the pace, and there wasn't a feeling like we had to rush off to anywhere in particular. I needed today's run to bolster me up for Wednesday's upcoming hill repeats.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Women's 5K Today

Today was the Santa Clarita Runner's "Women's 5K". Since we are women and we are runners we thought it would be a fun race to participate in. Actually our friend "C" claims that we forced her to do it, but that is really not the point. I guess in hindsight the fact that the race was being run at "Central Park" the dustbowl of Santa Clarita, should have warned us away from doing it, but we were still on a runner's high from some semi-successful hillwork, and what we thought was a couple of good "speed" workouts. We figured at any rate we would get a cool shirt, and that the entrance fees were going to a good cause. Well the "cool" shirt looks like it would fit a 12 year old, but is kinda cute, and the money did in fact go to a good cause. The outcome of this race was less than we hoped for, and I speak entirely for myself. "Marathon Mom" as always ran a very respectable 25:52 (correct me if I am wrong), I on the other hand just couldn't keep my legs moving and the plan to run each mile faster than the first, was out the window after the first one! I truly wanted to stop and walk and since there really weren't many runners out there, it seemed like I was running by myself. My time of 27:32 was fine but somehow I had envisioned being just under 27 minutes since it seems like we have really been working on running faster. Our friend "C' came in at 29:17 and I know she wasn't too happy with that time either. I am glad nevertheless that we challenged ourselves to try and that now we have a time to beat for this year. I did my best to crop this picture to flatter us the best but I still look bigger than everyone else (I am going to stop standing in the middle and turn a bit sideways, and maybe stick my hand on my hip or something) Anyway, I promised I would post, so I hope I didn't embarrass my friends by publishing our picture and our times, but I am proud of us! I am off to visit colleges for a couple of days with my 4th son, so the girls will have to run without me. I am going to miss a good hill run on Monday, let me know about the next

Race Results

Well we did it. We overcame our race phobias and ran the Women's 5k race at Central Park today. The day started out nice, but sure enough as soon as we were running uphill, a gust of wind started to pick up. I can't speak for my friends, but I felt okay throughout the race. I probably could have worked a little harder, but I really didn't feel like pushing it to the point of throwing up at the finish line. I knew too many people there. "C" finished in a time of 29.21, Patty at 27.32, and I finished in 25.51. This was my first women's only race and I have to say it was nice being in a race without all that testosterone in the air. Maybe that's why the race felt more relaxed and easy going for me today. Hhmmm? In the end, we all felt good about our race and good about the fact that we came and we did it. As I've always said, half the battle is just showing up.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Windy City?

Patty and I went for a short run this morning to shake out the legs before our race tomorrow. We are both hoping and praying it is not as windy as it has been. This morning was particularly bad because the wind was so cold. This wind is also wreaking havoc on my allergies and woke me up for the first time in my life with a terrible sinus headache at 3:00 a.m. this morning. I've been taking all kinds of allergy medicine through the mouth, eyes, and nose and it still doesn't seem to be helping.

At our kids' track meet yesterday, the wind was really bad. I'm not sure who I felt more sorry for, the kids or the parents sitting in the cold bleachers. The few pictures I took are posted on my photo gallery. I had a hard time keeping them from coming out blurry because I was shaking so much from the cold. I'm such a whimp! I really hope tomorrow is better.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's Not about How We Look!

I am going to start this post by complaining about today's run, it was really hard! Not hard in the way that we ran a hard route, or ran up some tough hills, or even ran faster than usual which is always hard. It was just "hard" all the way around! We all felt like our legs were made of lead and the 4+ miles that we ran just seemed to go on forever. It was warmer than we thought it was going to be but I can't even say that the wind which had been blowing quit hard, really was a factor. It was just a bad day to run. I am going to be honest with those who read this blog and think that we blaze along on the trails and barely break a sweat, today we stopped twice for water breaks and had a hard time getting started again. All in all we were shocked to find out that we averaged 9.35 per mile, considering we were dragging along the last mile at over 10+. The good thing is that they are not all like today, and we have been running long enough to know that more than likely the next run will be better. I am a bit afraid though because our next run is the "Women's Only" 5K this Sat. morning, I mean, what were we thinking. I just hope my legs recover by Sat. and I don't have to stop for water during the race! I came home from this run to find out that a friend of my 16 yr. old son had seen us while we were running and felt compelled to text him and let him know. I don't know if she thought we looked good or not, but she did mention our matching "neon" water belts! Coming from a kid who could care less about how my runs go, he seemed awfully eager to let me know what she said! (hmm)