Monday, May 30, 2011

Smelly clothes no more!

I'm sure most of you have devised ways to remove the reeking smell from your workout clothes during your laundry routine, but just in case you still need ideas, I thought I'd share my technique with you.

First off, this assumes that you have more than one set of workout clothes if you workout daily (like I do). Over the past year I have collected enough tech shirts that I am never in need of one. After all, isn't the shirt the reason most of us enter organized races?!? : )

So, in a traditional style washing machine you can do this directly in the machine. If you have a new-fangled high-efficiency machine, you'll need to do this in a bucket or soak tub or the like.
  1. In a tub of warm (not hot, since it's hard on your tech fabrics) water add a full scoop of OxyClean AND enough laundry detergent to equal about a small/medium size load of laundry.
  2. Let the OxyClean and the detergent dissolve in the water completely and then add your recently worn, smelly workout clothes. Since my clothes are not new and no longer bleed color, I throw everything (shirt, shorts, bra, socks) in the same tub... saves time, water, & detergent.
  3. Agitate all the clothes lightly, so they are all well soaked in the cleaning solution.
  4. Now, here's the most important part... allow the smelly clothes to soak several hours. In fact, I usually let mine soak overnight... hence the need for a rotation of workout clothes.
  5. In the morning, just put the soapy clothes into the washer and run them through a complete wash cycle. This eliminates the smell well enough that I usually don't have any qualms about adding a few regular clothes to the load to wash.
  6. Once the cycle is done, go ahead and dry as you normally would (air-dry is best, but I don't always take the time for this).
So far, this has worked pretty well for all of my clothes and even my workout gear... my fuel belt, arm band, head band, etc. all go in this soak and come out fresh smelling and although I really don't have a "control" group of clothes to measure this against, I don't believe I've seen any more rapid deterioration of the tech fabrics for the overnight soak. In fact, it's probably bettter for the clothes to get the salty sweat and bacteria as completely out of the fabric as possible...

Keep up the good work everyone and don't let your family's disgust at your stinky clothes dissuade you from getting out there and exercising!

Yesterday's Run
7.0 Miles
5.2 mph

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Someday this WILL get easier

Today was my first long run since the Hippie Chick Half. It turns out that I may be running another half marathon that I hadn't originally planned on in just a few weeks, so slacking off for a while before starting to train for the half in the fall is no longer an option - even though I wasn't really planning on slacking off anyway - I didn't really want to go through the torture of building the miles back up starting in a few weeks. But let me tell you folks, today wasn't pretty... is it really possible for training to fall that far off in just a couple of weeks? I got through 10 miles today which puts me just a little short ( < 1 mile) of my 25-26 running miles per week goal (that goal is over the course of 3 days, plus an additional 3 days of cross-training). But as you can see from the time listed below, it wasn't a great pace and now that the stiff muscles are starting to set in, I might need a little anti-inflammatory action before the day is through.

Not sure if I'll try to make up that last mile+ or not. Hmm...

Today's Run
10.0 Miles
4.8 mph

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Biggest Loser Soapbox

For those of you who either don't have a TV or who live under a rock, last night was the finale of Biggest Loser and although I am happy with the results, that's not the aspect of the show that I wanted to talk about today. There has been quite a bit of talk about the blatantly missing Biggest Loser Marathon from last week's episode, where the final 4 contestants go home for a while and train and then come back to compete in one final challenge by running a complete marathon.
I must say that I am mixed as to whether or not I missed the omission from this season. Although I do think it is inspirational to see these folks who at one time had all been morbidly obese go on to complete a marathon, I really do have some misgivings about the way in which this whole thing is accomplished. Yes, a marathon is an incredible goal and very worthy for those who feel compelled to complete one, but I am of the opinion that much more time and consideration should be put into training for one, both mentally and physically, than what these contestants are given.

I thing the show sends some false messages about what it means to commit to training for a marathon. Even though the contestants spend most of every day for several months in the gym, realistically it takes time to build up the strength to run a marathon... especially when you consider that many of these folks have never even set foot inside a gym or on a treadmill before going on the show. I think that so many people who go to run their first mile or two and are winded and gasping for air by the end of that first mile think that running 26.2 miles is primarily about overcoming the cardio-vascular contstraints of your body. Well, as any of us who run on a regular basis know, after a little while the cardio-vascular is the easy part of endurance running. What actually takes the serious time to build up are bones and soft tissues so that you don't end up running a marathon and causing serious long-term injuries that could limit your ability to run... at all.

I'm not saying that there are those people who can't get up and run a marathon at the end of a prescribed training regimen of so many weeks, I'm just suggesting that for most of us mere mortals who don't have lots of strength and cardio training already under our belts, the slow, steady approach to long distance running is the much better option... maybe even thinking in terms of years of training before running a full marathon... and the Biggest Loser contestants really don't have the benefit of time on their sides when they are preparing. So many people look up to the constestants who enter this competition as their guides, it would seem unwise on the part of the show's producers to suggest that a person who was originally obese, or even morbidly obese, is ready to run a marathon after a course of only five or six months of training, especially when most folks who watch the show and look up to these contestants as role models don't have the benefit of constant access to professional personal trainers.

In poking around the internet to see what was up with the BL and why there was no marathon this year, I did find out one other thing... apparently in the winter of 2009 season, one of the contestants was actually picked up in a car and got to ride for around 3+ of the miles of the marathon so that the producers could get a shot of this contestant crossing the finish line. I didn't read up on all the particulars, but it had something to do with trying to get the contestant completing the marathon within a certain time frame. I honestly don't know if this had any impact on the show's ultimate decision to drop the marathon, but my guess is it certainly couldn't have been a positive influence on their decision making process.

As anyone who reads my blog regularly probably already knows, I am a fan of the Biggest Loser, but I do think that they should make a little more concerted effort to let the viewers of this show know that these contestants are not living in a real life environment like most of us... they are completely set up for success while on the ranch as that's what makes the show a success in the ratings. For most of us, safe weight loss, increased physical activity and improved overall health are things that require a very long and difficult journey, not the quick fix of just a few months time... so to see the marathon dropped from the show for whatever reasons to my mind isn't necessarily a bad thing.

And don't even get me started on Anna Kournikova...

Yesterday's Run
7.0 Miles
4.9 mph

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The missing runs

Okay, yes, I really have run since my last blog entry... I just kind of got swept up in the nice weather this weekend. Ended up working in the yard for about six hours on Saturday. Didn't even realize what time it was until DH came out to see what we were planning for dinner.

Anyway, here they are. The missing runs:

Sunday 5/22
4.0 Miles
48:20 Minutes
5.0 mph

Friday 5/20
7.2 Miles
5.1 mph

Thursday 5/19 (make up miles)
4.3 Miles
5.2 mph

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dress My Running Shoes!

I stumbled on this silly little game the other day when I was looking for some running shoe clip art. I got totally sidetracked in designing my own running shoes! You can change different elements such as colors, shoe style, sole style, lace style, socks, and even add a tattoo if you want! Here are mine that I did...

If you're looking for a mindless way to kill some time where you should be doing something much more important, you can find the game here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Some day we'll be on the same page

Last time Heather & I got together to run a long run was for the Hippie Chick Half... and we all know now how that turned out... Today we were planning to do our normal 12 mile run + 2 mile walk for the first time in several weeks. Alas, it was just not meant to be. It seems that my sister-in-law and I just can't coordinate our "feelin' really good, could run forever" days.

Heather's foot (tendon in her ankle) has been really bothering her for a few days, but she was hoping that a run today would loosen it up and it would start feeling better once we were out, running, and warmed up. Well, we might have been okay except for the fact that about mile 6 our trail came to an abrupt and unexpected end. It was completely flooded out... so much so that you couldn't see how far into the grass the water went or how deep it was out on the actual trail. By the time we stopped and planned a re-route of our run, Heather's foot, which hadn't been feeling great had started to stiffen up and cause her more problems. So at that point we made the decision to just call it a day. We ran to our normal stopping point... McDonald's... and called that good. It ended up being just around 7½ miles when all was said and done.
Heather took this pic of our trail where we got cut off today. We were both surprised at how flooded it was when it hasn't really rained significantly since the weekend and none of the trail we had been on to this point (about 1½+ miles worth) wasn't even damp. It was the strangest thing. Maybe it was God's way of sending a message to Heather that she wasn't supposed to run a long run today... who knows?

At any rate, I will probably try to make up my few missing miles over the next couple of days. I don't usually run two days in a row, but I might this week... it supposed to be really nice for the next few days and I might take advantage of that fact to shun my treadmill and get some miles in the wonderful sunshine. Let's hope I remember the sunscreen!

Today's Run
7.5 Miles
92 Minutes
4.9 mph

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Event notices

I got a couple of event notices this past week that I thought I would pass along.

1. The Girlfriends' Half Marathon (Vancouver, WA) registration is close to selling out... like the Hippie Chick Half, they cap registration at 3,000 every year and also like HCH they sell out every year. So if you're interested, go to this link and sign up soon! Proceeds go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® fund... A great way for women to help other women. Look forward to seeing you out there!

2. Pints to Pasta 10K (Portland, OR) registration opened up this week. This is one of my favorite runs from the past year. It's a fun event and the course is almost entirely downhill... it goes from an elevation of 200 ft to an elevation just slightly below sea level... plus it's an excellent excuse to eat carbs in the form of spaghetti and quaff an excellent Widmer Brothers' Brew all before 10am! Go to the race details page here.

And on a completely different note, here are the times/distances for my last two runs. I find it interesting that one of my worst runs and one of my best runs were back to back. I have some theories as to why today's was so good, but mostly I was just happy to get through my run today and still feel pretty good at the end.

Today's Run
6.91 Miles
80 Minutes
5.2 mph

Thursday's Run
6.4 Miles
80 Minutes
4.8 mph

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another d'uh! moment for me...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the changes that I've made that have led me to be successful in my weight loss journey to this point. Although there are a lot of things that have gone in to this, one huge mental hurdle I had to jump was my tendency to beat up on myself every time I did something wrong. I have had to learn that when I do something that is self-defeating, whether in my diet or my exercise routine, that this is OKAY. I am allowed to do this... the real trick here is not to get stuck in the behavior. We all have to allow ourselves to climb back on the proverbial wagon on a regular basis... You can crawl back up weekly, daily, hourly... whatever it takes, but the answer is to not give up just because you've "fallen off."

For me, this was a tough lesson to learn. In the past I had often thought that one cupcake, one trip to the fast food restaurant, or even consuming one whole pizza was an excuse to give up on everything altogether... thinking that I might as well give up because that one pizza was going to show up as a 5 pound weight gain on the scale and I didn't want to face up to that "failure." For some reason, this time it just clicked. I know my weight loss and running training are going incredibly slowly... probably much more slowly than what most people would want... but for me that's okay. It's the way that I know I can be successful at reaching my goals. See, every time I fall off the wagon, I know that I will climb back on it, no matter how many times it's required of me.

Sometimes I even know that I am willingly jumping off the wagon... such as at a family birthday, a vacation, or my anniversary. I refuse to deprive myself of the joys of my life... and enjoying good food shared with my favorite people is one of those joys. The key is that I know I will get back on track as soon as that event is over and continue on the path to my goal(s).Don't use falling off the goal wagon as an excuse to keep messing up. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to prove your own strength. Recognize what you are doing today and give yourself permission to not be perfect. But know that come tomorrow you WILL go back to striving for your goal in a more constructive manner.

So, if you have recently fallen off the goal wagon and need to climb back on tomorrow... by all means do it! Don't wait for next Monday. If you fall off tomorrow, don't let it get the best of you and give up altogether. Stop beating yourself up about it. Instead, get back on that wagon again. And again. And again. You are worth climbing back on board... no matter how many times it's required of you too.

Yesterday's Run
5.55 Miles
66 Minutes
5.0 mph

Monday, May 9, 2011

It was definitely a day of surprises... both the good and the not so good...

Me, wearing my new bling
Well, I did it! I finished my first half marathon. It wasn't pretty... but it's over and done now and I can say I officially completed it!

First the not so good: I ended up with severe digestive issues about halfway through the run (aka Montezuma's Revenge) and had to make a couple of pit stops at the porta-potties in order to avoid having to go behind what few bushes there were. Not only did this mess up my time, but by the 2nd lap of the route I was feeling really crummy. I didn't feel ill, just super, super depleted of energy & stamina by this point. I ended up walking a huge chunk of the 2nd lap which was disappointing since Heather and I have been training at 12 miles for weeks, so I really shouldn't have struggled like I did. My overall time was not pretty: 3:03:27. My outside goal had been under three hours, which we weren't too far off of, but really I was hoping for something closer to 2:45:00. Well, like Heather said, this can only make my time for the Oct half look that much better.

Now, for the better: There was so much to be happy about despite my disappointing finish time.
  1. Of course, the main thing... I FINISHED. After all, that was the primary goal of the day, wasn't it? 
  2. Next, my dear, sweet, patient sister in law ran the entire thing with me... crummy pace and all. Heather stuck by my side and supported me and encouraged me throughout. We crossed the finish line together. 
  3. We were so happy about the weather... it had been predicted to be rainy all week and come race time, despite some pretty big ugly clouds floating around, it was actually dry throughout almost the entire race. We were sprinkled on for just a couple of minutes about mile 11, but that was it. In fact, it was so nice out that I actually got just a little bit of sunburn on my face.
  4. I had honestly been a little apprehensive about the route. I wasn't thrilled about the fact that it was a loop that we had to run... twice... but even more than that, I used to live out near the race route and wasn't sure of how much farmland vs business park we would get... and running through a bunch of business parks for the Hippie Chick run just seemed wrong. I am glad to report that I was unwarranted in my fears. The route was only a couple of miles in the business park district and then the rest of it was throughout very nice rural areas. The elevation changes were slight and gradual and the views were really nice.
  5. Mimosas! We were treated to mimosas after the race... alas, they were way too small and I think Heather & I both downed them in less than 30 seconds... we could have each drank about 5 a piece, they were so yummy... and they really hit the spot after the run. 
  6.  My family was awesome! We had been planning a cookout at my brother & Heather's place all week. Heather spent all of Thursday cooking like a crazy person (she's the cook, not me), so my DH and I provided the steaks (Gartner's flatiron - yum!) and the wine. Mom showed up with balloons for both Heather and me as well as coffee gift cards.
  7. Then, unbeknownst to me, my mom & Heather had conspired and got me this adorable necklace to commemorate the completion of my first half. It was created by "Gracie & Me" who offer their designs for sale on Etsy. I have seen their items in the past and have loved them, so I was super excited to receive one as a gift. They also, with the help of my niece, gave me flowers for the occasion. I was truly awestruck and humbled by their generosity and their genuine support of me through this whole endeavor.

Actually, maybe the worst part of the day was the fact that I was so keyed up and excited from everything that happened to me yesterday that I had a really hard time falling asleep last night!!! I think I might have had even more adrenaline coursing through my system last night than I did the night before the race.

 All in all, I'm happy to report that yesterday is a day that I will look back on with fond memories despite the less than stellar pace. For me, that was just one part of the overall experience of a really special day for me.
Me, looking tired, wearing my new bling part 2

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My First Half-Marathon Jitters

I can't believe it's tomorrow!!! We went and picked up our packets & race bibs this morning. On the surface, I don't feel nervous, but I must be because I wanted to eat everything in the house yesterday and I can't stop thinking about it, no matter how hard I try.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'll take a second helping, please!

I saw this sticker the other day and liked it. I was reminded of it this morning when I decided to do just a short (3 mile) run. I'm supposed to be tapering to rest and prepare for the half marathon on Sunday, but yesterday I tried that and just felt like I was bouncing off the walls. I ended up feeling ungrounded and even a little depressed from not exercising... I finally did get on the treadmill and walk for about an hour but by that point it was late in the day... too late to do much good for my mental well-being.

So today, I approached things a little differently. I ran a quick 3 miles and then walked for just a little bit more. Not so much exercise as to overtax my muscles (my normal runs are closer to 7 miles), but hopefully enough to make me feel a little more centered than yesterday.

Does this mean I'm addicted to exercise/running? I'm guessing that is a distinct possibility. I never dreamed that I'd be one of "those" people... but then I guess one of the mottoes I live my life by is "never say never" you just don't know when it will come back to bite you in the rear!

Today's Run
3.1 Miles (5K)
35 Minutes
5.3 mph

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Me? Happy during a run? What gives???

Today was one of the best run days I've had in a long time... if I do say so myself. No, the pace wasn't particularly great, but there were so many other things the run today had going for it:
  1. I got to run with my favorite runner partner, my sis-in-law, Heather. We always chat through much of our run and it makes it go much faster.
  2. It was a gorgeous day outside. Even though the temps weren't super high when we left the house it was warm enough in the sun to feel like my long sleeved tech shirt was too much
  3. After Sunday's misery, I was sure I had hydrated before today's run
  4. We felt pretty good throughout the entire run... even to the point where we decided to add the 2nd of 2 killer hills in my neighborhood to our run today... last week we were both feeling crummy enough that hill #2 was out of the question.
  5. We stopped mid run to say hi to the husband of my Godmother, who was out weeding his strawberries in his front yard this morning. Here's hoping that those strawberries yield good fruit this summer!
  6. I think my new running shoes might actually be ready for the half marathon on Sunday... yes, ladies & gents, that is in FOUR days, I can't believe it's coming up so fast!
I'm not sure why both of our legs stiffened up so much after our run... both of us have some hill experience so even those these are brutally steep hills, they are pretty short and shouldn't have impacted us too much... but I was definitely feeling like I was moving a little slow most of the afternoon... at least until I popped an Aleve to make the pain go away! Still, despite that, I continue to maintain that today was a truly enjoyable run (at least as far as a run can actually be enjoyable... I maintain it's still not the same kind of fun as a trip to Cold Stone Creamery or the like)... and I'm hoping there will be many more of those in the near future!

Today's Run
6.81 Miles
82 Minutes
5.0 mph

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just a quick note...

I finally did it... based on all my blog entries since the first of the year, I went back and made a log for all the miles I have run (but I didn't count any of my cross-training days which included more walking miles and time on the elliptical). From January 1 to April 30, I ran a total of 360.7 miles which averages out to just a little over 90 miles a month. It was interesting to go back and see the improvements I have made in just the last few months. In January my long runs were around 7 miles and that was work for me... now my long runs are about 12 miles of running, often with another couple miles of walking thrown in! Wow... when it happens over time, you forget about where you've come from... even though it really hasn't been that long. It's kind of exciting to see and I would encourage those of you who haven't done so to this point to start keeping track of your progress. It might not be happening at the rate at which you think it should be happening, but just keep in mind that as long as you keep going, changes are happening... no matter how incremental... and what feels like tiny changes right now will add up over time to make for much larger leaps than you might have ever imagined!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ah, the wonders of hydration...

Today I was reminded - quite vividly - of why it is so important to hydrate well before your run. Yes, we all know almost instinctively the need to hydrate during a run... you sweat and lose water, you get thirsty and you feel the physical need to drink water and/or some kind of electrolyte beverage such as Gatorade. However, speaking for myself, I very often ignore the importance of the pre-run hydration.

That little piece of neglect on my part came back to bite me in the rear. Since it was such a gorgeous day out today (mid 60's as I write this), I thought I would be crazy to forgo a run. So, with very little preparation I set out on my run. I ignored the fact that I had spent the previous several hours drinking nothing but coffee and eating nothing but heavy, high-fat, high-salt breakfast foods with almost no water to speak of. I also didn't take into account the fact that it's about 10-15 degrees warmer today than the weather I am accustomed to running in of late.

I took water with me on my run, but really, by that point it was too late. I started out okay for about the first mile or two, but by the time I was about 1/3 of the way through I was feeling really wiped out. I started drinking water at this point, but I have to be really cognizant of how much I drink during my run or I start to just feel bloated and have this distinctly unpleasant sensation of being able to feel the fluids sloshing around in my tummy... Ew! Anyway, because of this, I'm not going to be able to make up for any hydration shortfalls while the run is in progress, so at this point all I can do is forge on ahead to the best of my abilities and chalk it up to a learning experience.

When all was said and done, the run wasn't too horrible, but it wasn't real great either (notice my pace is a bit slower than usual). I cut it just a little short and walked a little more of the distance than I would normally have liked, but despite these little speed bumps, it really was a gorgeous day and I'm glad I got out. Warm and sunny is so much better than cold and wet when all is said and done... besides I think I learn my lessons best when they are bludgeoned into my head with a metaphorical big stick... like today's education in the need for adequate pre-run hydration!

Today's run
5.87 Miles
72 Minutes
4.9 mph (certainly not my best!)
Friday's Run
6.86 Miles
80 Minutes
5.15 mph