Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dueling Garmins

The cooler weather sure is a nice change from this time last week! Marathon Mom, C and I started out from Cheesepark at 6pm and the temps. were very pleasant. We decided to head to the Albertson's side of the Heritage Trail and run down to Decoro and back. I strapped on my new Garmin and with some help from Marathon Mom got it set so I wouldn't have to push stop and start if we had to wait for a light. Now I just need to remember to press start at the beginning of our run. The nice part about wearing a Garmin when we run is that when I am struggling during a run, and can't seem to catch my breath, I can look at the Garmin and realize it is because we are running faster than usual! I was really pleased to make it through our run without much knee pain, and although I felt like I was struggling, it was because we averaged close to a 9.3 pace. Now C just has to get a GPS and we will be even "cooler" with our matching belts, glasses and funny looking watches! No matter what we look like, I am thankful to be able to run with my friends, they are patient with my limitations, but they also push me to do more than I would ever do on my own. I am hoping the doctor gives me the OK to do a good part of the long run this coming weekend, we will see.

Monday, September 28, 2009

All By Myself

I took it upon myself to go for a run tonight because I am sadly behind in my miles from last week. I did my usual "by myself" route from home to the Helmers switchbacks to Northpark and back. It's been a while since I ran the hills and I sure felt them. Thankfully the weather has finally started to cool and it was actually pleasant at 5:30 p.m. While I do prefer running with my friends way more, there is some calming and reflective qualities to running by myself that I do enjoy. I like being able to "listen" to how my body is feeling and run easy at my own pace. It's also very therapeutic and clears the mind. Some of my runs are like the Nike slogan, "Just Do It" and get it over with, but usually when I run by myself, they are more like the Reebok slogan "Run Easy". I am now looking forward to running with my friends tomorrow night. I feel like it's been ages since we've been able to all run together.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Measly Five

Today the SCR's were running a 10 miler, but since I am following doctor's orders I had planned to only run 5. C and I had decided we would run a flat route, and after getting a late start decided to head out on McBean for 2 1/2 miles and then turn around. I was using the Garmin that I inherited from my brother for the first time, and took some time to get used to stopping and starting it when we hit the big traffic lights, which are definately an issue on that particular route. We easily finished our 5 miles, in a nothing to brag about 9.5 pace, but felt very guilty since we came in at the same time as alot of the SCR's that ran a full 10 miles. It isn't as bad as it sounds since we started almost 30 min. after they did, but really physically it felt like we had just gotten started. I know that I needed to stop at 5, because my knee was starting to hurt, but it is discouraging, knowing how far the others are going and not being able to do the same. I am worried about building my mileage up enough before we have to run the actual marathon, it is daunting to say the least! Oh well, I will check back in with the doctor and make a new plan for this week, that is all I can do. We missed Marathon Mom today, she is busy with soccer, but I have a new respect for her ability to moniter the Garmin and keep us on pace.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

No Excuses

Our mileage for this week has been rather pathetic, even more so for me because I don't have an injury as a valid excuse. My only excuse is that I have been doing double duty with the hubby being out of town and with two cross country meets and two soccer games since Thursday, that has left very little time for my running. However, as I dragged my youngest out of bed this morning at 5:30 a.m. I was rethinking my plans of going for a quick run before heading out to his race and instead going back to sleep for a few more minutes. He really didn't want to get up and go, but I talked him into it so how could I not go out and run without feeling like a hypocrite. I too dragged myself out of the house as soon as he left and ran from home down McBean to Newhall Ranch to Hillsborough and back. I didn't want to be gone longer than 30 minutes, which forced me to average a 9.15 pace for the 3 mile run. My son and the kids who got up at the crack of dawn, boarded a school bus, and will be running in the heat of the day have inspired me this morning to push a little harder and just do it. Now I'm off to the races!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Small Victories!

My friends and I were going to run last night, but surprisingly they were still feeling the effects of the 18 miles they had run on Sunday (go figure!) and decided they were not up for running two days in a row. I have been resting my knee, and was anxious to get another run in before the weekend, so I convinced the hubby to go out this morning for a short run. I really wanted to make it 4 miles this time, since I got through the 3 miler relatively well. The doctor keeps telling me that I should be able to make it through anything up to 5 miles and I really wanted to test it out. We ran the Heritage Trail to Copperhill and back which is an even 4 miles. I am very excited that I made it through the run with no knee pain!!!! I did feel the telltale tightening in my knee at about the half way point, but it never turned into actual pain. The pain I felt was in my stomach, due to the yogurt that I foolishly ate for breakfast this morning (I know we have discussed the never have yogurt before a run rule) Also the heat was brutal, even at 8:45 in the morning, which I will try and remember next time I complain about getting up early to run. The next hurdle will be 5 miles on Sunday, hopefully I will get through that one also, the progress seems pretty slow, considering a 20 miler is looming, but I will just have to take the victories as they come, even if they are small!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Can Run!

I got the OK from my doctor to try out my knee this week, so I met the girls last night for my first run in a week. We tried to meet at Central Park, but the parking was non-existent, so we headed over to Heritage Park instead. I was afraid that my at-home training regimen of eating and watching TV, would mean that I would struggle to keep up with the girls. We decided to head toward Bridgeport Park in the hope that we would have enough light to make our way back. I have to say that it felt really good to be out running again, and although I was breathing pretty hard, I have to say that I felt fine. My knee didn't start to complain until the 2 1/2 mile mark, and the pain was not as bad as it has been in the past. I will go to the doctor today to check in and let him know how it went, and try to come up with a plan for our longer run this weekend. I am nervous about committing to 10 miles quite yet. I know that my friends are not even counting the 10 as a long run, after their 18 miler this past weekend., Even with all their complaining about the aches and pains, they seemed very pleased with how much better it was than the previous 18 miler. I am just hoping that with a little patience I will be able to stick with them on those long runs!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Naked Shake

I bet that title got your attention. No, C and I were not running down Soledad naked during our long run today. After our almost 18 mile run, we decided to get a Naked protein shake at Starbucks. It was actullay quite good and refreshing. I am going to try to buy these ahead of time and keep them in my cooler when we go on these long runs.

We ran basically the same course as the last time we ran 18 miles, except we started off left on McBean and ran up to Rockwell and down to Valencia from there to connect to Soledad. Once we hit Whites Cyn, we turned up Whites and reconnected with the bike trail until we hit 9 miles. I knew we weren't going to get exactly 18 because we weren't finishing exactly the same way we came, but we didn't care. It started out quite cold this morning and got brutally hot by the time we were on Soledad just past the Saugus Speedway. When we got to the last water stop, the jugs were almost empty and I felt sorry for the people behind us. In fact, one of the veteran runners in our group became so dehydrated that she started seeing stars and had to walk from the Saugus Speedway all the way back. I have to say I was really dreading the pain I always feel after these long runs, but the pain never came. Usually my calves lock up and my feet hurt really badly, but today they felt pretty good. I guess that's why we do these training runs, so our bodies can get used to these long miles and not kill ourselves on race day. The only complaint was that C and I both didn't eat very well and was a little low on energy. The GU seemed to help again.

We missed Patty today. I know she really wants to be out there running with us, but I think she is doing the right thing by listening to Dr. B if she wants to be better in time for the marathon.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is That All?

C and I met tonight for what we hoped would at least be a 4 mile run, but it turned out to be 3.15. We ran from Cheese Park to Copperhill down the bike trail to Decoro, to McBean and ran up McBean back to the park. We decided to run up McBean instead of running up the dirt trail because we didn't feel like running any hills, but that was a mistake. I now remember why we stopped running up McBean back to the park. While there aren't necessarily two steep hills to climb like the dirt trail, the climb back up to the park on the street is never ending and the hills on the dirt trail are short. We couldn't remember how far exactly this route was, but we thought we would get around 4 miles. We were sorely disappointed when our mileage came up only to just over 3 miles. Our pace was decent at 9.4 min/mi. overall though. We were running in the high 8 min/mi range on the way down, but I think we slowed down quite a bit running back up McBean. We missed Patty tonight. She is being good and listening to Dr.'s orders.

Although I was hoping to get more miles in tonight, I am really glad I ran because I was really dragging all afternoon. My friends took me out to lunch for an early birthday treat and embarrassed me by making me wear a silly birthday hat while the servers sang to me. What are friends for? Lunch was so good, I think I ate too much and was sleepy all afternoon and didn't feel like running at all. However, after my run I felt like I had so much more energy. C and I were thinking that maybe we were feeling more tired this week because we haven't been running as much. Could be?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Running Safety

I was reading in today's paper that a 16 year old girl was assaulted on the same trail that C and I ran on Saturday. The assault occurred on Sunday afternoon. I usually feel safe there because there are so many people out on that trail, but perhaps on a Sunday afternoon it isn't as crowed. There are some creepy people along that trail, more so than the other trails we run on. I know several 16 year old girls that could have been running on that trail and hopefully it isn't anyone I know. As it starts to get dark earlier it will be even more important for us to get going on our run early and get back before dark. I feel okay running with someone else, but I wouldn't want to run alone for this very reason, especially on the trails because they are more isolated and not always in public view. And it isn't only people predators we need to worry about. Lately running in the early evenings, we often hear coyotes. I've known people who have been chased by packs of coyotes before so we have wild predators to worry about. I keep thinking I'll carry my pepper spray. Maybe it's time I do.

Last night, Patty, C and I ran from Heritage toward Copperhill up to the power lines and back for 3 miles. Even with Patty's sore knee, we kept a decent pace of 9.37 min/mi. I'm worried about this weekend and the long run that is scheduled. Patty will probably skip the run, and I'm just not looking forward to running out to Sierra Hwy and back again. Ugghh.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lonely 9

C and I ran nine miles this morning, just not together. We got our timing and communication all messed up this morning, but the important thing is that we both stuck to the plan and ran our miles, maybe even a little more. We ran from Lowes to the Wiley Bridge, which I'm estimating is a little over 9 miles. I'm not entirely sure because I forgot my GPS in my car. Since we have been doing our run 1 mile/walk 1 min for our marathon training, I was beginning to worry that our bodies would get too used to all the stopping and it would be difficult to run for several miles without stopping. I felt okay and C said she did too, until about the 8th mile. I wanted to try out my new shoes for a longer run today. They felt great and I think I will order another pair while I still get the 20% discount. I just began to feel a little fatigued and it was hot running into the sun. C and I finally met up again at Starbucks and had our coffee and chatted about our children. All I can say is I wish there was a way to skip the whole teen years and go from 12 to 22. We missed Patty, who has been ordered to stay off of running for a whole week by Dr. B. I don't know if she can wait that long. I would be really grouchy after a week of no running, especially if I knew my friends were running without me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


The four of us (Patty, Karen, Sea N Sun, and me) met at Heritage for what turned out to be an evening run. We pushed our start time back a half hour hoping that C could make it in time, but she was a no show. We ran up toward Copperhill hoping to get 4 miles in , but decided to stop at the Cheese Park dirt trail because it was starting to get dark and we still had to run back. It was a good thing we didn't decide to go all the way because Patty's knee flared up again on the way back. I keep thinking and hoping that it will just go away. Perhaps when she sees Dr. B, he will work some magic and she will be all better for our 9 mile run this Saturday. So far I have been lucky to not have any injuries which kept me from running, but I can just imagine the frustration especially after working so hard to get to the mileage we are at. By the time we got back to the park, it was rather dark. As the summer comes to an end, I'm starting to worry about how we're going to schedule our runs in, especially after we set our clocks back in October. As it is now, it's hard trying to get everyone together for a run, but once we lose those precious daylight hours, I think it's going to be even harder. I like having so many of my friends running with us.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I Came, I Ran, I Limped, I Iced...

Today was the day of our 18 mile long run, and I felt well prepared to get through it, if not with blazing speed, at least with a slow and steady pace! Marathon Mom, C, and I took off with our packs full of new packs of GU, Luna Moons, Sport Beans, and Oyster Crackers. We even ran with another member of the SCR's who is also doing the run/walk program. We headed down McBean, took a right on Valencia, and followed that all the way past Bouquet where it becomes Soledad. We took Soledad to Sierra Hwy, turned right, and passed Costco to turn onto Via Princessa. We turned onto Whites Cyn, and ran downhill to get back onto Soledad, this is when I really started to to feel the pain in my knee. Our route would take us back down Soledad/Valencia, hook us up with the South Fork Trail, and the usual finish off Wiley, Old Orchard and back to Granery Square. When we hit the South Fork, I was having trouble with running, but walking was painful also. I had to send the girls ahead, and finish the last 3 miles, with mostly walking which just dragged out the agony that much longer. I feel like Marathon Mom and C really kept up a good pace, 10 1/2 min. miles over all, and they seemed to do really well with the run/walk strategy. I didn't want to be the one to post today, because I did not have a good experience and am worried that my knee may keep me out of running a bit. I plan on seeing Dr. B as soon as possible, to make sure it is Ok, before I attempt another run longer than today's. Maybe my friends will post something more positive so you all can hear about what they accomplished today, they both were awsome, and should be very proud of making it through 18 miles! Good work Girls!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Running Barefoot

While I don't particularly miss our CoC runs, I do miss our cool downs on the track with no shoes. Running barefoot is nothing new and many coaches advocate running barefoot part of the time to strengthen the muscles in the feet, which they believe will make you a faster runner. I just think it feels good to let the air go through them after running several miles in hot, confining shoes. However, more and more research is moving away from having tons of support in running shoes, which tend to restrict the natural movement of the foot to more lightweight flexible shoes that mimic running barefoot as much as possible. Just look at the Nike Frees and how popular they have become. Some research has even indicated that running barefoot reduces oxygen use by as much as 4% and reduce injuries. In fact, there are some companies selling these "barefoot" shoes for running, but there are others that are just too creepy looking like these on the right. Below is an article about the results of some barefoot running studies.

Yes, I can just see us wearing a pair of these. You think we get a lot of comments about our water belts. I wonder what they would say if they saw us running in matching "barefoot" shoes. Hmmm.....

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Often times when I tell non-runners about how much my friends and I run, they often look at me like I'm crazy and then say "why?". Well today during and after our run, I was asking myself the same thing. What a miserable night to run!!! My legs felt like lead, there was still smoke lingering in the air, it was hotter than hell, and the humidity was so thick that I could probably skip the shower tonight. We all were secretly questioning the wisdom of running 18 miles this Saturday if we feel this badly on a 3 mile run. I am so ready for the cooler weather, but I know we still have several months left of this heat. C was nice enough to bring some granola bars for us to try for our long marathon runs. They tasted very nutritious. I keep meaning to go buy some GU and try different flavors this weekend among the three of us so we can decide which ones are keepers. I don't think the jelly beans are going to be enough and the pretzel experiment didn't quite work the way we anticipated. As much as I dislike them, I think we're going to have to go to GU.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Running, Sort Of

I don't know what it is about running on the treadmill, that somehow is so different than running outside. For some reason, even after running 3 miles, it doesn't feel like I got a good workout. There is no satisfied feeling, like I get after a run (good or bad). C was so nice to invite us over to workout in her gym since the air quality is too bad to run outside. I have to admit, that I really wasn't excited about it, and I even showed up a bit late (sorry girls). We ran 2 miles on the treadmill, and then hopped on the elliptical for another 2 miles. I am ashamed to admit, that I only did 1 on the elliptical, and then went back to the treadmill. For some reason, I can't get comfortable on the elliptical, and it is a bit embarrassing! I finished my last mile on the treadmill, and couldn't wait to hop off and stretch. I sure hope that the cooler weather is coming, as promised, and that the air will clear up by Thurs. (our next planned run). I know I got some exercise which is good, and I feel bad for being such a complainer, but truly can't wait to get back outside! Thanks again C for having us over.