Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So This is Love... Mmmhmmm Mmhmmmmm

 I like to go for my run a bit later on Tuesdays since it's Jeff's day off & I'm not in a hurry. My alarm began its Armageddon-blaring alert at 6 this morning, to which I responded by hitting the snooze button. Immediately, my brain began to involuntarily protest.

You stayed up to late; you're too tired to run. Ugh, you can't run while you're on your period. This bed is too comfy. Let's turn off the alarm instead of pressing snooze for the third time. You don't need to go today, you can do it some other time. I finally made myself get out of bed. But it didn't stop there.

Your knee already hurts; you don't want to overdo it. Do you have a bellyache? Let's stay home. Oh, you can work on your crochet or knitting projects. Or we can go back to bed! Let's go back to bed! My brain sure has been programmed to be lazy, sheesh. Each time one of those things popped into my head, I pushed it out, replacing it with something positive. The reason for my mental protests? Week 5 Day 2 of Couch to 5k is a bit of a doozy: eight minutes of running, five minutes of walking, then another eight minutes of running, all sandwiched in between a 5-minute warm up and cool down.

The interesting thing is that it wasn't too difficult to push those thoughts away. Because... well... here's the truth: I love running. You heard that right. I love it. I love the way my lungs feel when they're wide open, sucking in the cool morning air. I love the feel of my bones and muscles working together in anatomical magic to push me forward. I love watching the sunrise against the farming landscape and mountain backdrop. I love the smells: wood burning fires, clean laundry, sticky sweet doughnuts baking, dewy grass, puffs of exhaust (oh wait, that one doesn't go on the list of pleasant smells). I love the way my music keeps me going, or my chats with my sister-in-law help the time pass. I. LOVE. RUNNING. I wanted to learn to love it, and it didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would.

So programmed excuses begone. You're no match for the way I feel about running. I've changed my brain.

How did I feel from today's run? Well... let me tell you. Once I saw the house with the crazy sprinkler (the one about a mile from home that shoots me in the face with excessive PSI), I knew I was golden. I actually had wished there wasn't a 5-minute walking session between the jogging intervals. When I finished the first interval, I couldn't help but smile like a fool. I was damn proud of myself. When the second running interval began, I felt a little slow and stiff at first. I had wished I had kept going, which is exactly what I do on Thursday's run. 20 minutes of non-stop running. I'm going to leave that crazy sprinkler in the dust... along with those ridiculous excuses.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Strong Heart, Big Feet

I'm a lucky girl. Among a few things, Jeff got me this heart rate monitor for our anniversary. I totally love it! He wanted to get me something running-related and had noticed that I had been eying this heart rate monitor. It's wireless, easy to use, keeps a continuous reading (no double buttons for a single reading), and best of all - you don't have to send it to the manufacturer for battery replacement (like quite a few other brands). Oh - and it's not so bulky that I wouldn't want to wear it like a regular watch if I wanted to. It's great to keep track of my heart rate so I can work towards staying in the "weight loss" zone... though I can't seem to keep my heart from beating like crazy. Even if I can't get it as low as I'd like, it will help me keep from getting too crazy-high.

In other news, I finally wizened up and measured my feet for size. I always knew that I had wide feet, but was so used to a bad fit, that I just bought too-big shoes so the width would be tolerable. Let's not even get into what happens to your feet after pregnancy. Now that wide width shoes are more readily available, it's all I've been buying. But there's nothing that gets you thinking about the fit of your shoes than a new running or walking program. After much thinking on the subject, I couldn't help but think that I could get an even BETTER fit. So I measured my feet. Turns out, I don't just have wide feet, but I have extra wide feet. The last few pairs of shoes I've bought were size 9 D. Turns out I'm more like an 8.5 2E. In truth, I could probably go a little wider. Good think I don't need to fit into Cinderella's shoes; I already have my own Prince Charming.

So I'll wait for my current pair of running shoes to wear out, then will buy what I think will be a proper fit. People rave about the difference that a proper shoe makes in not just their workouts, but their overall health. But I've learned it's NOT just about size. This guide was immensely helpful; everyone should identify the proper shoe for them. Turns out that I'm a supinator/overpronator with high arches AND wide feet. So not only do I need an 8.5 2E, but I need structured cushioning shoes with a performance last. This will definitely change the way I buy shoes. You better believe I'll be posting about my next pair after my current pair wears out. Who would have thought that shoes could be so complicated?

Three Years!

Three years ago yesterday, Jeff and I had our perfect day at the beach in Manchester, CA.

And of course... there was the food. A vegetarian feast loved even by the most voracious meat eaters.

It was a perfect wedding, and completely envy-worthy. It was our day, and I would never dream of changing a thing about it. I also wouldn't change a moment with you, my sweet. Thank you for a wonderful three years. Here's to many more. <3

Couch to 5k: Week 4

It's official: I've passed the half-way point in the Couch to 5k program, and it feels fantastic. I didn't intend for it to take over the blog, but it seems to have. I guess it's become a big part of me, so it's only natural.

It was a great week. I'd like to figure out how the heck to get my heart rate down so I can get into the 60-50% range. Slowing my pace doesn't really seem to do it, as I spend most of my running intervals around 80%, or even higher towards the end of the run. Does anyone have advice?

Next week is a significant one. Check out the week 5 intervals (not including the 5 minute warm-ups and cool-downs):

Day 1:

Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes

Day 2:
Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)

Day 3:
Jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking

I'm feeling surprisingly optimistic about the jump, and am actually quite excited to tackle it. I felt good this week, and can't wait for next week too!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Couch to 5k: Week 3

I was so nervous about this week, but it wasn't so bad. While I still don't consider myself to be athletic by any stretch of the imagination, I am beginning to feel more like a runner. And the craziest part is that I like it. I'm not quite in love with running yet. But I'm learning to love it. So I'd say that running and I have made it to first base, and we're getting close to second. Ooh la la!

Below is what week four's intervals look like:
Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Week three gave me a little boost of confidence, so I'm not as wary. Besides - the loom of winter snow has become my motivation to finish the program in the planned 9 weeks... so I can, will, and am doing it. I know I can get to the finish line so I'm going to keep pushing forward!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Sometimes it's not so bad to be counterproductive. I ran my first solo run this morning. I was quite proud of myself, since I've leaned on the company of others to get my sleepy butt out of bed. This time I decided that I didn't want to let myself down. So where does the counterproductivity come in?

Well, this is what I had for breakfast. I know... for shame.

I surprised Jeff with a homemade pumpkin cheesecake accompanied by homemade whipped cream & a sprinkling of pecans. The only unfortunate thing about any proper home made cheesecake (besides the gluttonous aspect of its consumption), is that it had to set overnight. So of course we couldn't wait until dinner. It made a lovely breakfast. The texture is light, and the amount of spice is just perfect. The extra steps of the springform pan, bain marie (water bath), and cooling/setting process are so worth it. I dare say it beats the Cheesecake Factory's seasonal pumpkin cheesecake.

Our third wedding anniversary is next week, so thought this would be a fun early indulgence for us. Besides, what better than a delectable pumpkin treat to put us in the mood for Autumn's approach (as if we needed any additional help with that)?

By the way - beware of the 2010 pumpkin shortage. You may want to call around and stock up for the season once you find it. I tried four stores before success at a WinCo that is ten miles away. I purchased six cans. Yes, I know I could have used fresh butternut, acorn, or another fall/winter squash. What can I say? I'm a pumpkin loyalist.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gargantuan Cranium

I'm sure none of you will be surprised to learn that I was in marching band in school. Yep, I was in band from 4th - 10th grade (I quit before my junior year because of terrible experiences with the new band instructor). And yes - I played the flute. Go ahead, I'll pause while you play the band camp joke in your head...

...Now that we've gotten that out of the way, back to the story. My high school band's uniform was made up of a stiff blue and gold polyester getup, completed with giant white q-tip hat. (No, I will not supply you with a picture. You already have enough fuel to tease me for quite some time now. I attended Benicia High School. If you feel so inclined, Google it. ) Just before the start of marching season, we would all have to get down to our skivvies for uniform fittings. The worst part of this for me was always the q-tip fitting. The "band moms" were always shocked at my enormous hat size. It was so big that they barely were able to find a hat big enough to fit me. Even then, the only one they could find was always far too tight. So embarrassing. I almost forget why I'm telling you all this.

Anyway, I have a big head. 24". That is an XL for those of you paying attention. So what will disguise a big head? An even bigger hat, of course!

Using Knit Picks Swish yarn in Coal, I knit up this enormous slouchy hat. Sure, I cast on a few too many stitches so it's super loose, but I like it anyway. After all, slouchy hats are supposed to be pretty dang big. It will fit all my hair inside, even when I have it pulled up or back. Best of all, it covers my gray spots!

I just loved turning this...

Into this...

Yes... yuck: I posted a picture of myself when I don't normally. I'll get over it so long as I don't think about it long enough to delete it. Really its to show off my knitting (just look at those little stitches!), which according to Jeff, I need to do more often.

Couch to 5k: Week 2 & Running Goodies

Week two of Couch to 5k is now just a notch on my running shoes. I began the third week today, and am now in the company of my awesome sister-in-law Emily. She's much more athletic than I am, so was able to jump right into my routine without starting from week one. I'm so grateful for her company.

I love the way I feel after a good run. While I appreciate the day off in between each session, there is something inside me feels like I should be running when I'm not. I suppose that will help my heart grow fonder for it... something that I never thought would happen (but here it is... happening).

I've always had zero problems finding nice quiet, relaxing hobbies. I'm excited that I've now found an active hobby. Running (er.. jogging) isn't easy, but it's not turning out to be difficult either. I am finding little ways to reward myself through - with what else, but - shopping. I have to remind myself that these are things that help me stick to the routine. Time to bust out with that Amazon.com credit card. Really, I have made some exciting purchases, but I'm trying not to go too crazy.

Petzl Headlamp: Most days, we're out the door around 5:30 in the morning. The stars, moon, sparse street lamps, and occasional blinding car headlights are the only sources of light at that hour. I was tired of fumbling through the darkness, and this thing really does the trick. It has a few different light settings, but the best feature is that it tilts to a few different angles so I can point it in just the perfect place to see where I'm going. I just have to be careful not to blind people with it when I look up to talk to them. The only thing I didn't care for was the mark it left on my forehead for a little while, but that was only a minor annoyance.

Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus Hand-held Bottle: I wasn't expecting to spend more than a couple bucks on a water bottle, but this is a must-have for runners, walkers, or really anyone who exercises regularly. You hardly notice that it's stuck to your hand (thanks to the handle with an adjustable elastic band), it has a zippered mesh pocket to cram in a few necessities, and a perfect little spout to make sure you get just the right amount of water to keep hydrated during your workout. Also - it doesn't leak!!  My mom had one when she was visiting, and I had to get one too. I'm so glad I did. They have a few different versions depending on what you're looking for, and this one was just right for me.

Mueller Jumper's Knee Strap: I have knee issues, but I wasn't going to let it be an excuse to not run. People have done so much more under circumstances of extreme severity, so I knew this was no big deal. I've tried Cho-Pat, McDavid, and Mueller straps, and for me, the Mueller was by far the best of the three. I'd like to see anyone try to find a better deal than at Amazon. I got my orange one (of course I'd choose orange!) for $6.49, but only after we had gotten a black one (that Jeff uses) at Walgreens for $13.99. I wish I had known sooner.

So what's next? Next I get through at least few more weeks before I buy anything crazy. Maybe after week 9 I'll splurge on some running pants/tights. Man, those things are expensive, but I've heard they're SO worth it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mama Hangover

Today my mom and I wrapped up a too-short 11-day visit with a teary airport goodbye. When Jeff, Harper, and I got home, I couldn't help but sense that she was supposed to be there with us. Now I'm left with a sad, heartsick feeling that's not unlike the heartache-y hangover of a long distance relationship. I suppose that's more or less what we have now. The absolute worst part is not knowing when our next visit will be. Sigh.

We had the best time though. We went to the zoo, cooked and devoured some incredible Filipino food (my version of comfort food), shopped, laughed so hard we cried, shared in some guilty pleasures, and enjoyed one another's company. She spent quality time with Harper (who was surprisingly comfortable with her), and even got some of those priceless toddler laughs with that edge of mania to it.

And best of all? She was my personal trainer for 11 days, helping me start my Couch to 5k program. We found a pace that works for me and she gave me quite a few tips that will stick with me while I work my way towards the 5k. It's only week 2 and I'm already covering 2 miles with a combination of walking and jogging. I'm a little nervous about my first morning without her, but I'll continue to push on, imagining her there with me - cheering me all the way.

I love my mom SO much. I've spent too many years away from my family in California. Can you believe I haven't spent a Christmas there since I was a teenager? In a few years I'll have spent more holidays away from my family than with them. Sad thought, isn't it?

I know, I'm such a downer! Well, you all should take a few moments to appreciate your mom right now with the biggest hug you have to give her. And if you can't do that right now, you should call her to tell her how great she is. And if you can't do that, just speak the words out loud so she can hear it in your heart: "I love you, mama". After all, our hearts are always connected to our mothers no matter where they are or what our circumstances may be.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Couch to 5k: Week 1

I did it. I braved the dangerous streets of Layton, UT. Extreme weather and treacherous conditions were overcome. I fought injuries and perservered. Ok - we know I'm exaggerating. But seriously, I really did complete Week One of the Couch to 5k program. I'm feeling nervous about week 2, but I'm proud of myself for tackling week one. Despite my worry, I know that I can (and will) do it.

My mom has taught me a lot about pace. I have a tendency to want to sprint at the start. She reminds me that finishing is more important than speed. I will be sad when she goes home, but I believe that she's going to be the one to thank (along with myself of course) for my getting to the 5k finish line in another 8 weeks. After all- I WILL get there in the end.
Related Posts with Thumbnails