Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coffee At Last!

This was the picture message I sent to Patty to try to entice her to come and join us for coffee.  Unfortunately it didn't work, but it did make her jealous because I was also having one of her favorite pastries.  C and I met at Peet's for our long run today and boy was it cold!  We ran 7 miles at about 9.4 min/mi. pace and we were really glad when it was over.  We did feel like it is getting easier on these long runs, but we were also feeling the effects of our hilly run on Wednesday. 

At Peet's they had forgotten to make C's coffee so she had to wait an extra long time for her's but the wait was worth it because the coffee is so good there and they gave her a gift card for the inconvenience.  The good news is that the doctor told Patty that she can start running whenever she is feeling up to it, which means she will probably be back out running with us this coming week.  I'm sure this picture I sent to her will be even more encouragement to get back out there with us soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Crazy Week!

It has been a crazy week!  It started out with Patty undergoing an unexpected appendectomy.  A doctor had asked one of my friends if she was under a lot of stress, which is really a silly questions to ask a mom don't you think?  Stress is our middle name and when things are not so hectic in our lives for a brief second, we wonder what we're forgetting to do or we feel guilty like we SHOULD be doing something. 

C and I ran without Patty for obvious reasons today from Bridgeport into the hills behind Helmers.  It was really tough because of the strong headwind, but I didn't want to whine too much since I was glad I was running at all.  C had a really bad day at work and we talked about the task of reinventing ourselves with new careers later in our lives when our children are all grown.  When I first gave up my career to stay home with my children, I remember hearing of how difficult it was to go back into the workforce and thinking that won't be me.  However, that is where I am now and so are many of my friends.  I don't regret giving up my career for my children since it led me to a new career which I enjoy much more, but it is really difficult to get back out there and have the confidence to compete in the modern workplace with people that are younger or who have never left the workforce. I guess we have to take our own advice that we give our children and say "try your best" and "you can do anything if you set your mind to it".

As for Patty, we are really going to miss running with her for a couple of weeks, but hopefully she will still join us for coffee.  I also hope she takes this opportunity to relax and have others take care of her. Don't worry Patty, C and I are going to take it easy for the next couple of weeks so that you don't have too much catching up to do.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who Motivates You?

I am sure I was supposed to post something yesterday, after our run, but whenever I had the time, I could not get on the computer, so here it is. The three of us met at Lowe's yesterday, for our first run since the rainstorms started. The plan was to run our weekend 10 miler and that is what we did. I was hoping that the week off of running would leave my legs feeling rested and fresh the whole way, but that was not the case. By the time we got to the South Fork Trail, I was ready for that water break, and an excuse to stop and stretch for a minute. I have to say that the rest of the run was only bearable because I had my friends to talk to, in fact by the time we were back on the Bridgeport Trail, my legs were so tight and sore all the way down the back, that I thought surely I was going to cramp up. C was the only one who didn't complain about her legs (she is also the only one who ran on the treadmill this week), I guess we paid the price for staying home in front of the fire. It was such a great feeling to be able to stop running, and just sit on a chair in Starbucks! Hopefully if it rains this week we will find a chance to get out and run, or break down and hit the gym.

After our run, Marathon Mom asked C and I why we don't run 10 miles when she is not with us. Of course we told her that it just isn't the same when she is not around, and that is true. I think we motivate each other to run, farther, faster, in bad weather, in bad moods and consistently. I know that without my friends, I would still run, but I would not challenge myself, the way that they do, and I would not enjoy it nearly as much. Thanks for the motivation!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Well I guess the title pretty much sums up what my friends and I have been doing as far as running this week.  I think we have broken a new record for the least amount of miles run in a single week, which at this point is zero.  We really have no excuse since C was gracious enough to offer the use of her gym to run on a treadmill, but there's something about a dreary, cold, wet day that just makes you want to sit at home by the fire and do absolutely nothing.  The weird part is that I feel absolutely no remorse for doing nothing.  In fact, I'm not normally a middle of the day napper, but I actually took a nap yesterday.  If this weather keeps up, who knows what else I will start doing instead of running.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Not a Perfect Ten

After our Marathon, we loosely agreed that our weekend runs would be 10 milers. We figured since we had been training for the Marathon, we had pushed our mileage up to 20 at time, and 10 would be simple to accomplish on a weekly basis. Well, that did not happen today for C and I. I don't feel bad, we still managed 6.6 this morning, but we purposely avoided the SCR's "Ben's Ten" which was scheduled for this morning. Marathon Mom is out of town, and she was truly the only one of us who wanted to run ten miles with someone timing us, and then possibly posting our times somewhere to haunt us at a later time. I had run two days in a row, and was doubtful that I had a "good" ten miler left in my legs today. I convinced (it wasn't hard) C to meet a half hour later at Peet's and run in the opposite direction as the SCR's, so we wouldn't get caught up in their fun. I did feel a bit guilty when I was driving to Peet's and saw alot of SCR's running across the bridge on McBean. C and I ran along the Heritage Trail to Copperhill and back, a total of a bit over 6.6 miles. I purposely did not look at my Garmin while we were running, because I did not want to focus on our pace, but just get in as many miles as we could. It was a tough run today, very cold, and the slight uphill to Copper always seems like slow torture (I know, I know, I've mentioned this many times). We did however see many bikers out today, and a couple of our friends too, all trying to get a bit of exercise before the big rainstorm hits. As soon as we stopped running, the clouds cleared away, and it got warm and sunny, really beautiful (good thing since my #4 son went to the beach today with his friends). We joked that we should have waited an hour, and we would have really had perfect weather for our run. It was really nice to sit and talk over our lattes, and we both agreed that we would have run the 10 miler with Marathon Mom, but without her it just wouldn't be the same. I guess we will hear about it when she gets back. We are hoping for a break in the rain on Monday, so we can get our run in, hope you all enjoy the holiday weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Working It Out

Thankfully, I was able to make it to the run this afternoon. I was a little surprised that Marathon Mom, and C were up for a run after their "hill workout" yesterday. They didn't seem to be suffering from the hills, and that makes me a bit suspicious-we always joke about just going out for coffee, maybe that is what they did? We started at Cheesepark and ran to the Heritage Trail, taking it toward Decoro, we then crossed over to the other side of the trail and took that side back up to Copperhill. It was hot to start with but we were going downhill and with the wind, so it seemed like it went by pretty fast. I have to say, that for whatever reason, I like the other side of the trail better when we are running back "up" to Copperhill, today it was cooler (a bit of a headwind) and it is definitely flatter, so it seems faster to me, even though I know it is farther. My legs felt good today, and I knew we were keeping a pretty good pace. We discussed the fast -vs- slow theories and I don't think we have settled the question of which one is better. I think for us, that mixing it up is going to be the way to go with our running for now. We aren't training for any particular run, and I personally would like to jump start my metabolism and lose those few holiday pounds that are still with me. If I remember right we ran 4.3 miles, at a nice 9.29 (?) pace, which felt good but cut down a bit on the talking. Marathon Mom is off to the snow, so C and I will see what kind of long run we are up for this weekend. I am so looking forward to the long weekend, which starts for me tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pessimism is Good

The thing about being pessimistic is that when you don’t have really high expectations, you increase your odds of being pleasantly surprised. That’s what happened today when C and I met to do our first hill workout in a very long time. I was really dreading the run and thinking we were going to suffer through it. We ran from Bridgeport and immediately headed uphill on the paseos toward Helmers. It was not easy running into a strong headwind as we were reaching the top of the first hill climb, but we managed on. Then we got a slight break until we got to the switch backs behind Helmers. We ran to the top of the switch backs until it leveled off and then turned back at 1.5 miles. The way back was mostly downhill except for a short steep incline on Fairview back to the paseos. Yeah it was hard, but it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. Don’t get me wrong, I was breathing pretty hard at the top of the switch backs, but my legs felt pretty good. I was really surprised that it wasn’t as hard as I imagined it to be and we even ran the entire 3 miles at 9.4 pace! I can definitely see us running this on a weekly basis and increasing the distance to 4 miles or more into Northpark. It was a good run and the view was really pretty from the top. It will also be a great training run for the C.O.C. series. It was too bad Patty couldn’t join us, but hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. I think she would have liked this run.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Slow vs. Fast

Tomorrow we will attempt to run hills, provided the weather cooperates. We want to mix up our workouts to increase our aerobic capacity since so much of our running lately has been focused on long, slow runs. For those of us needing to shed some extra holiday pounds, it seems that the short, quicker runs will get us there quicker (no pun intended). I’m not sure if I’m so worried about burning a higher percentage of fat calories (long, slow runs) as opposed to just losing the weight and body fat. I have copied a couple of the paragraphs from Runner’s World on the topic below:

“Running long and slow burns a higher percentage of fat calories, and teaches your body to become more efficient at fat-burning, which gives you more endurance for long runs and marathons. Running shorter and faster burns more total calories per minute or mile, which helps you lose weight, including body fat. Faster running also increases your "afterburn" the calories your body continues burning after your run stops. We believe it is a good idea to mix longer runs and faster runs in your workout program.”

Monday, January 11, 2010

Forcing a Run

Today, Marathon Mom, C, and I showed up to run, with a long list of aches and pains from our 10 miler last week. The tone at the beginning was definately negative, and that is why I titled this blog "forcing a run". I know if any of us would have had to get out on our own tonight, we would have just skipped it, but luckily, misery loves company, and that is what we got. We agreed to run a mile and then stop and evaluate how far we wanted to really go. It was a good thing we had agreed to stop because with the wind in our face, and Marathon Mom speeding up the pace (on the uphill, REALLY), and C's hip pain, we all welcomed a break, after a mere mile. We all agreed that 3 miles would be just fine, and trudged through another half mile, where we turned and started the preferable downhill part of our run. I say we trudged, because I honestly felt like someone had poured cement in my shoes, it was that hard to keep my legs moving. The last mile was the best, even though the pace picked up quite a bit, I finally felt like my legs were moving, and my breathing had hit a comfortable place. Surprisingly, we managed an overall pace of 9.3, and that was only because we really picked up our pace at the end. We keep talking about trying to swim after our long runs to give our legs a rest, but I fear for anybody who might have to witness three mature ladies in bathing suits, in the dead of winter. I am going to search online for a body suit, one that goes at least to my knees. Anyway, I am glad I got out, hope I burned some calories, because I am back home, in my jammies, looking for something to eat!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back to Reality

It's back to reality for the rest of our kids tomorrow.  Winter break is over and it is now officially over for us too.  It's one thing to get up in the morning and get yourself ready for work and an entirely different thing to also get someone else out of bed, have them get ready, feed them, and then get them out the door in time while trying to get ready yourself.  With the busy week ahead of us, it was so nice to get in a long run from Lowes and just sit to have coffee afterwards discussing the busy week we just had and the busy week ahead of us.  These "sessions" of coffee with my friends are almost sacred for me, a little piece of time carved out for myself so I can defuse and recharge for the next wave of chaos.  I know we were all dreading our resolution to get at least a 10 mile run in each week and it was not easy, but we did it.  The fact of the matter is, it is never easy..

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Goals

C is finally back from her trip and was able to join me and Patty at Central Park for a run. I know we shouldn't be complaining with all the horrible weather back east, but it is awfully hot for January.  C even ran in a tank top!  We were really dragging in the beginning and had to stop a couple of times, but the stops actually helped get our legs back a little.  By our last mile I think we were feeling a little better and were able to finish the last mile around an 8.3 pace, which is good because the rest of the run was rather slow.  Hey, at least it stayed under 10 min/mi for the average (9.45).  We talked about intensifying our workouts while keeping the distances shorter to get our heartrate up more.  Marathon training trains your body to endure physical pain over a long period of time, but it really doesn't do much for the heartrate so that is what we are going to be working on. We always come up with these lofty goals and then complain as we try them out, but hopefully we will follow through on some of these.  I think C almost fell over when we told her we were planning on running 10 miles this weekend.  Ideally I would like to get in 20-25 miles per week with at least one 10 mile run, a tempo run, a hill workout, and a recovery run after the long run.  Like I said, lofty goals.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tempo Running and Much Complaining!

I think I am safe in posting right now, because Marathon Mom is out celebrating her hubby's birthday (Happy Birthday to you). We met our friend Sea and Sun at Bridgeport School today and took the trail past Pavilions until the trail ended. All in all it was about 3.2 miles, and as is usually the case when our younger friend runs with us, we ran faster than our normal pace. I honestly felt like I was gasping for air the entire time and was hoping that our pace was truly blazing. As it was we ran it in a 9.18 which is not too shabby, and what I am going to consider my "tempo" run for the week. I have been feeling out of sorts all week, headache, back to work, back pain, just overall grumpiness, no special reason, just because. I felt very guilty for all the complaining when I got home and read my daughter-in-laws blog, and discovered she got out and ran in 23 degree weather today, all by herself! They are really having a deep freeze back east, and she is bound and determined to get back on the running track. Since my car said it was 80 degrees when we started our run at 4pm, I feel like I probably don't have much reason to complain, but that is what we do. We laugh, we talk, we cry sometimes, and we complain, but I enjoy it, and will do it again tomorrow!

M.O.R.E. is Better!

How More Is Better

The National Runners Health Survey has shown the benefits of more—and more intense—exercise. Among its findings:
To keep ahead of middle aged weight gain, runners need to increase their mileage by about 1.4 miles a week annually.Compared with merely satisfying the guideline activity levels, running 40 miles per week may reduce the risks of stroke by 69%, coronary heart disease by 37% and diabetes by 68%.Marathon runners enjoy greater cardiovascular benefits than non-marathon runners, even when their mileage is identical.Exercise intensity is associated with greater reductions in blood pressure and other cardiac risks.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lost Twin?

As soon as I posted, I got a call from Patty asking if I read the blog.  We've done this before where she and I have posted almost at the same time, not knowing if the other one was going to post, but the posts are usually about different things.  This time it's a little bizarre.  If you read the last two posts, they are almost identical down to the details and title.  We really didn't plan this and neither one of us knew if the other was posting today.  I know that great minds think alike, but this is almost kind of creepy.  Perhaps we were conjoined twins in another lifetime?

Last Day

Today was the last day of winter break for me and Patty.  It's back to work tomorrow so it was really nice to get a run in this morning and chat over coffee one last time before the hustle and bustle of school starts again for all of us.  We both agreed though that having our kids home from school one more week still makes life a little easier since there's no breakfast and lunch to get to first thing in the morning.  We also get to sleep in a little later than usual too.  We had a nice run from Lowes to the new housing development, which totaled 4 miles at 9.5 pace.  I'm not sure about Patty, but my quads were still a little sore from our run at Vasquez Canyon.  C decided to take another trip to L.V. to visit family.  I hope she has been getting some running in too.  When we got back to Starbucks, the place was packed.  I don't know what's been happening with the local coffee spots, but lately we've been having a hard time getting a seat in them.  Perhaps as people eventually get back to their normal routines, they won't be as busy anymore but that won't help us out any either because we'll be working too!

Last Day to Sleep In!

Today was the last day of Christmas Break for Marathon Mom and myself, so we slept in one last time and headed out for a morning run. It has been so nice sleeping in (7am) and starting a bit later these past couple of weeks. We had taken the weekend off after our "Hangover Run" on Friday, and nursed our sore legs, but today it was time to get back to our routine and get a run in. It was only the two of us since C has another week of vacation, and is spending some time with her sister in Las Vegas (I am sure she is running while she is there). We started from Lowe's and crossed Bouquet, heading toward the new housing that runs along Newhall Ranch Rd. We did 2 miles out and back, and I have no idea what kind of pace kept (no records were set today, I'm sure). My legs felt good, if not for my stomach it would have been a perfect run, as it was it was not bad. The coffee afterward was really good, and it was nice to be able to ease into my work week with a little exercise and conversation with my friend. I am looking forward to a great running year, so proud of my daughter-in-law who is out there running, even when it isn't easy, and looking forward to running with my brother sometime later this year! See you at work :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I couldn't have asked for a better way to bring in the new year than to go on a long run in the beautiful Vasquez Rocks State Park.  I was a little hesitant about the run because my husband kept telling me how tough the course was.  When we got to the park this morning, the parking lot was already full of fellow runners and I was glad to see Patty and her hubby waiting for us.  I was worried that it might be too warm to wear long sleeves, but as soon as we got out, I was glad that I did.  It was quite windy there, but as we started running through the canyons we were shielded from much of the wind and the weather turned out perfect.  I wasn't expecting the trail to be as narrow with sharp drops to the sides, but it wasn't quite as bad as I envisioned it since my husband made it sound so bad.  When he ran it a few years ago it was actually another trail, which is now closed. Patty and I ran with Doris, another mom we knew through our kids' running program.  C decided to skip this run.  The trail had many rocks and there were a few that fell among the group. I didn't originally intend to run 7.5 miles because I thought the trail was only 6.5 miles long so on the the way up, we decided to turn around at mile 3.  But when we got to mile 3, we weren't quite ready to turn around so we thought we would go until 3.5 miles to make it 7 miles (I have a thing about rounding out our runs to whole numbers).  Yet when we got to 3.5 miles, we could literally see the turnaround and everyone kept saying you're almost there (where have I heard that before?).  For me, I knew I would regret it if I didn't run the whole thing when I was that close.  I could see in Patty's face that she too didn't want any regrets.  Our friend Doris was ready to go back, but she followed us swearing at my back the whole time.  Needless to say, we made it back.  I'm really glad we finished the entire run and I could tell that our marathon training really helped on this run.  Back at the parking lot Patty and I along with our husbands joined fellow runners from the running club for some shared goodies.  This was a hard run, but it was also definitely a fun run for me, one that I have been waiting for a long time to do with friends.