Monday, January 31, 2011

January Totals

First month of the year is off to a good start. 41.5 miles run, and I am really getting back into my long run  and training. This is the equivalent of running from my home in Napa to Berkeley. Last year I attempted to track my run across the country, but that fizzled (just way too far). So, this year I am going to try a more reasonable goal, running from my house in Northern California to my parent's house in Southern California, which is 493 miles away. Let's see if I can get there before Christmas!

41.5 miles down, 451.5 to go. I think I am going to destroy this goal and keep running right on down to Mexico!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The best/worst run of the new year

Today's run was terrible. Someone from work saw me stretching with my geek-gear: Garmin, Hydration belt, iPod. Now they know how truly uncool I am. Calves were unbearably tight after mile 1. Stopped to stretch them out. My energy level was incredibly low. At mile 2.5 I broke down and took a gel. At mile 2.65 I stopped and gave myself a pep-talk. I was considering walking home because I felt so tired. Decided to run to the next stop sign and then take a slow jog back. This took a lot of convincing. Entire foot painfully numb at mile 3... like, I could not feel anything below that weird ankle bone. Loosened the laces on the left shoe. Still have no feeling, kept running until mile 4. Stopped, walked/stretched, and the feeling came back in my foot, started running again. Mile 5: foot almost entirely numb again. Took off show to investigate. Adjusted sock, numbness might be attributed to placement of padding. Started running, most feeling is back but a little numb. Mile 5.75: I FINALLY get into a nice groove, right when I am almost home. This is where it changes from worst run ever to best run ever.

Decided to just go a quarter of a mile and see how I feel. The I just kept going, down the street and back up the creek path. Miles 6 and 7 had great splits. I finally felt like a runner. I logged a total of 9 miles today, the longest run of the year. I am not sure why it was such a temper-mental run. I stretched before I ran. I drank water. I took Gu. I have been pacing my training better. Perhaps it is because I graded tests for 5 hours before I ran, and that is just mentally exhausting. But overcoming such a crappy start and making that triumphant finish happen is what this sport is all about. A sport made for the stubborn who won't take "crappy run" for an answer.

Except for the first week of the year when we were in Washington DC, I have run or cross-trained at least 3 days a week. I am so proud of myself. I am starting to plateau in weight loss, so now I started rethinking my hamburger and truffle diet (major bummer). I hope February is equally as motivating. That would be impressive considering I will be finishing up my Masters (scary) and teaching some of the hardest materials to the kids that they will encounter all year. The type of stuff that separates who will go on with math and who will be forever remedial (super scary). If all else fails, hopefully I will have my training to look forward to!

How do you deal with your worst runs? Does your foot ever go numb? Does any of this keep you from running?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dreadmill, I am taking you down

Time is slipping away in a black hole today, I tell ya. Late night at work so another round on the treadmill that went amazingly well, despite the initial nausea from eating truffles as I walked over to the gym. I decided to do my speed intervals on the treadmill since it was dark outside, and it made the time fly! I did 3 miles and then some upper body weights, and broke the intervals down like so (1 lap=quarter mile):
Lap 1: Walk warm-up
Lap 2: Jog (5 mph)
Lap 3: Faster Jog (6 mph) (Wanting to barf up Truffles)
Lap 4: Jog (5 mph) (Still wanting to up chuck expensive chocolate)
Lap 5: Run (6.5 mph) )Ok...stomache pains are passing)
Lap 6: Jog (5 mph)
Lap 7: Run (6.5 mph) (I was scared of getting tired. What a baby I am)
Lap 8: Jog (5 mph)
Lap 9: Run (7 mph) (Less scared)
Lap 10: Jog (5 mph)
Lap 11: Run (7 mph) (Realized it wasn't scary at all)
Lap 12: Jog (5 mph)
Lap 13: Run (8 mph) (Getting ballsy!)
Lap 14: Jog/Cool Down (exhausted)

Pretty much the best treadmill workout. Ever. Although, I am starting to question the brilliance of eating chocolates on the way to the gym for energy. What is a girl to do when Godiva doesn't make energy bars? Don't say chocolate Clif-shots or other gels. NASTY!!!!!!! It simply isn't the same. Perhaps I have a sugar dependancy? (Godiva, are you reading this? Make me an energy bar! Stop sending my boyfriend crates of chocolates! I can only run so far!)

Have you had any good treadmill workouts? How do you make the great indoors work for you? Have you ever seen a Godiva energy bar?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The power of positive thinking

Today almost ended in me picking up teenagers and through them through the windows. Which would be amazing, because many of them are twice my size. I was at wit's end and seriously considering whether or not I had chosen the right profession. Thank goodness my department chair took me aside and told me my worries over their success (or lack of) are bringing bad energy into the classroom. I thought the world was going to end, that hell had opened up in the center of my classroom and all Satan's demons had come to torture me. That could be why they are so reluctant and combative, because they are sensing their potential failure, and it is scaring them. So for 6th period, my rowdiest little devils, I took every ounce of energy, started with a smile, and didn't let the lack of homework turned in, gross amount of tardies, or blatant electronic violations bother me. Like a miracle, the kids actually suited up and got some work done. Not as much as I would have liked, but way more than my other classes. The biggest difference was me, and that is why it went well.

So, I made a point to log some miles. Since I got home late, I jumped on the treadmill and tried this whole positive thinking thing. I decided that today I was going to run 4 miles on the treadmill (I have never been able to tolerate more than 3). Of course, the TV was broken and I had ipod difficulties, but I made it through. I am still shocked I was able to run indoors for that long without letting my thoughts drive me crazy. I am so proud of myself! I even did some upper body weights to make a point to myself that I am back in the swing of things!!!!! Today could have just been up there as my top 5 crappiest days of teaching, but in the end, I made it an OK day.

I am going to be in marathon shape before the summer is here. Hello Tahiti!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Week in review

Last week's total: 8.5 miles
Today's workout: 8 miles/ 1:26:12, average pace: 10:46/mi

Today was a great run with some hills here and there. I am not sure why it takes 3 miles for my body to be convinced that we are actually doing the running thing, but as soon as I hit 3 miles, my body just turned into a running machine and everything felt great. My body needs to run. I am very surprised at how quickly I am getting my fitness back. I was only going to run 7 but my legs just wanted to run that extra mile. Let's hope I don't regret that tomorrow! Looks like I need to start looking for a half to set a new PR!

The best thing about running: that deep burn in the butt/back of the legs when you are running up to the crest of a hill. Love it! Already looking forward to a little speed training this week and setting new mileage record for the new year.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Good Things are Back!

I haven't done goo things for a long time, but waking up feeling great after a crummy night, I thought I should should put these warm fuzzy feelings down before I gets the grumps again.

The first good thing is that this week I taught to the top of class, and I feel really good about it. Usually I teach to the middle/low middle because majority of my students are low achievers (this class is kinda remedial). Now realize that I have really high expectations for all my students, regardless of "achievement level", and this has earned me the reputation of being a really hard teacher. But this week, I stuck to my guns, assigned a lot of really hard problems, and had real surprises on who stepped up to plate. C students from last semester really ate up the properties of radicals, which just tickled my fancy. Higher homework attempt rate, more questions about difficult problems. Although we bomb the formative assessment on radicals miserably yesterday, I am really proud of the effort that some of my students are putting in.

The second good thing is kinda shallow, but I love my new eyeliner. It is the best eyeliner I have ever worn. Goes on beautifully, doesn't have to be sharpened, has a little smudger on the end, and wears amazingly. Thanks Dad for always giving the perfect Christmas presents (I am sure with a little help from Mom).

Also good: the copiuos amounts of Godiva chocolate sitting on my kitchen counter. Hundreds of dollars worth. Godiva stopped by JF's winery this week and gave him a ton of treats to show their appreciation. Chocolate bars, truffles, cookies, belgian chocolates, and tons of other stuff. I have been really good to not devour it all in one day. I fact, I am still feeling great about my new workout plan and can already start to feel and see the results. Mom's advice: get the chocolate out of the house. It is only going to make me sad when it is time to go to Tahiti. Too bad I don't have a more popular blog...I could be giving this stuff away as give-a-ways!

The final good thing is seeing friends two weeks in a row. I am so tired/stressed out from Grad school, but it is so worth it to see my lady Maggie. Only 7 more weeks of Grad School. Maybe the longest 7 weeks of my life, but it is less than 2 months, which is fantastic.

Here's hoping you have a fantastic weekend. Although I am not a very religious person, I would appreciate you keep friends of mine in your thoughts and prayers. Their pup is pretty sick and we want to send him on the path of speedy recovery. What a good thing it will be to post about his recovery :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A lil' bit o speed training

Home before the sun went down, a very rare occurrence, so I headed outside for a run. And because I want to be faster, I decided to do a little out and back on the short river trail by my place. It is 1.2 miles, which I like because I can shoot for mile times and trick myself into be faster because I am running a little farther than I let myself realize ( I am really good at tricking myself). So, 11 minutes out, which wasn't bad because most of my paces have been in the high 10:00/ low 11:00. But, since it was 1.2 miles, it was actually a 9:12 minute pace. Yay! For an extra challenge, I worked on beating my time on the way back. Made it back to the start in 10:40 seconds,  setting the new pace at 8:28/mi. Needless to say, I am super stoked. I also stopped and did some upper body weights after I checked the mail. Sir Grunts-A-Lot was there. I know he knows how ridiculous he sounds because he wears headphones to tune himself out. I checked the seat of the machine to make sure he didn't push one out with ll the heaving and huffing. Nasty. At least this guy I work with was there on the bike so we can laugh about this before school tomorrow. Gotta love community gyms.

I can already feel the positive effects of the new schedule. We are eating better proprotioned meals at home more often. Clothes are already fitting better. The scale had gone down almost double digits in the past 20 days. I have more energy and feel so much better, despite the fact I am sleeping poorly due to the math nightmares I am having every night. It really messes with your head to be consumed by your students' failures in your dreams and then to have your dreams come reality the next day at work. I have to stop grading papers and preparing lesson plans right before I go to sleep, or else I am seriously going to loose my mind. If you can't escape work in your dreams, then how do you escape?

142 days until we leave for Tahiti...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Socks! Socks! Socks!

Not to be confused with shots, of course. Todays workout: 6 miles in 1:03:33, with a best pace of 7:43 and average pace of 10:36. Not too shabby for beginning of training!

Today I looked ridiculous. My running clothes don't fit because I packed a few on since the marathon, so I looked like and overstuffed sausage. Add a hydration belt (very cool) and a garmin (the big, even cooler one) and an iPod, and you bet people were lining up to be my friend/running buddy. No wonder I run alone. Not sure if getting dressed to run and discovering nothing fits motivates me to get out of discourages me because I look like a fool. Let's hope I tighten up quick before I make up my mind on this one!

So, as promised, I wanted to give a review of my new Thorlo Experia socks. My mom got me a few pairs for Christmas, and I am already in love. Before I was running in Zulu socks, which the overpriced running store peeps said would reduce my blisters at the best value. And they were right. But they didn't hold up for long, lost their elasticity, and now they do nothing for me.

These fancy pants socks are padded in all the right places (toe, heel, back of foot) have a snug fit on the arch, stay in place, and breathe really nicely. I have them in pink and blue, but they come in a ton of different colors. They are not too bulky and make your feet super happy. They are considerably more expensive than my Zulu's, but since they were a gift I am not going to think much about the fact my mom probably spent around $14.00 a pair. I hope they were on sale. I am following the instructions to wash inside out to keep the padding fluffy and use fabric softener to lubricate the fibers so they last longer (who knew?). Oh, and they are some official sock of Runner's World (or so the package says) if that means anything to you (which it probably doesn't).

If you are looking for new socks and take your socks very seriously, I would highly recommend these! (Maybe they will send me a free pair, lol).

I want to be fast

Reading other blogs is motivating. You read other people's accomplishments, their awesome PR's and hear about all the struggles it took to get there. Marathons become human feats, not just milestones reserved for the super elite. I am pretty sure I wouldn't be the runner I am today if I never stumbled upon other runner's blogs. The virtual running community keeps me going.

This blog in particular makes me want to be fast. New PR and sub 8:00 miles, I am so impressed. Can I be this some day? I sure hope so. I know I need to get out more and make work less of a priority, but as long as school is in session, I find it hard to tear myself away. But today is MLK day, a school holiday, so I gotta get out and log some miles!

One big mileage logger is going to be a goal I forgot to post: run to the top of Atlas Peak. 23.2 miles round trip, 2200 ft elevation gain. Last summer I made it half way up to about 1,000 ft for a 14 mile run. Going back to read that post, the endorphin rush I got from pushing myself that far was an out of this world experience. I had never been so proud of myself. It is my biggest non-race accomplishment as a runner. It was so difficult and took so much discipline to keep myself going, but everything felt right. I realized that ever since I let running take a back seat, I've had less and less of these moments of clarity and balance when everything in life just feels right. I'm loving the map feature on Map my Run, which shows elevation gain and percent incline per half mile. It really puts this beast into perspective. It is going to make my next marathon super fast. I am going to be super fast. Yay!

Off to put in 6 miles and conjure up a gear review of my new marathoner socks.

Don't stop running!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Workouts: Cross-training hike: 8 miles/1000 ft elevation gain. 3:11 with breaks. Lots of trail runners out there, bless them!

Today I am craving this:
and this:

Probably because they both remind me of our recent DC trip when I ate oysters and drank Irish coffees, and had the most amazing time with JF. Having neither at home, I decided on a hot chocolate with Baileys to go with my chocolate fro-yo dinner. Yes, I plan of logging 6 miles tomorrow if my legs don't hurt in the AM from the hike. Hopefully the Bailey's will help me loosen up from stretching.

Is there any advice out there about stretching under the influence? Do you stretch better after a drink or two? Or is it a recipe for disaster. All you MD's who follow my blog can weigh in any time ;)

I'll leave you with this image, brought to you because the lovely Maggie brought it to me for our post hike feast of tuna melts, grapes, and the finest cheese in northern California, and maybe the world. Humboldt Fog, my absolute favorite and a must buy if you are a lover of cheese:
What are you craving?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

This weeks workouts: 
Sunday: Treadmill 3 miles/30 min (10/mi), Elliptical 30 min, Upper Body Weights
Monday: Treadmill 2 miles/25 min (12:30/mi), Upper body Weights
Saturday: Treadmill 4 miles/43 min (10:45/mi), Upper Body Weights
 Total Mileage for the new year: 9 miles.

The first week back is crazy: parents mad about report card grades, gearing up for spring testing madness (exit exams, CST, district benchmarks). I am dreaming about properties of exponents. Although the fitness kinda fell apart in the middle of the week because of headaches and JF's company banquet (I won a case of wine!), I feel it is a good start. With the three day weekend, I should get some good runs in, maybe even my first long run since the injury.

Every time I go to the little gym, I never know what I am going to get. Today there was a guy who was spewing sweat... like puddles, over all the equipment. There was a huge wet spot on the carpet in front of each weight machine, like someone had peed. Even though he had a towel, he was still soaking the place. And, of course, the hand sanitizer and towel dispenser were both empty. So gross. I turned my music way up so I didn't have to hear him grunt. That might have just sent me over the edge.

Being from California, I am entitled to complain when the temperature drops below 60. Which means this week I complained ALOT. Monday morning it was 35 degrees in my classroom. Seriously. The cold is keeping me inside on the treadmill because I am too big of baby to run in the cold. I just don't know how people in the rest of the country do it. it has me wondering if I am really cut out for Northern California. I hear it is really nice in San Diego right now....

This week I plan to up the mileage and increase pace on the treadmill, logging at least 12 miles and running more miles at faster paces. Today I ran my last half mile at 9:00/mi pace, which felt FANTASTIC. I'll also keep up the upper body weights and add in some work on the balance ball. I think it is going to be a good week :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jello Mousse

I dedicate this post to yummy Jello mousse. While in DC, I saw tons of commercials for these tasty little things, so I promised myself I would pick up a pack to treat myself when I got back to Cali. I love chocolate. I love pudding. And now I love Jello mousse. And, they are only 60 calories, so they are my new after dinner treat to break the candy feast that occurs after dinner every night. Let's just see how well that works, because right now I am about to break into the See's candy I hid in the freezer. What can I say, I am weak. (Jello, send me an endorsement check at any time. A case of chocolate jello will call it even).

Speaking of DC, it really threw a wrench into the training schedule. We walked nearly everywhere, some days covering well over 10 miles. Some days my legs were so sore, I didn't make it up to the little hotel gym that did not have a treadmill. But, they had an elliptical and nice free weights, so one day I took advantage of that. After this trip, I really admire people who make their fitness happen when they are traveling. For me, travel + exercise = epic fail. Poor garmin... gathering dust already.

I have decided to start the week off right with 3 miles on the treadmill (30:00 min), 30 minutes on the elliptical (it told me I "ran" another 3 miles) and upper body weights. I am a baby and will not run outside when it is cold. I HATE being cold. As I pumped away on the elliptical, trying to work off some stress, I wondered what the miles you log on an elliptical are really worth. I always feel like I work harder on the elliptical, even though I log the same time and distance as the treadmill.

Oh, and I saw someone fall off a treadmill for the first time today. Even funnier in real life than it is on TV. (Don't worry, the only thing he hurt was his pride).

Things to look forward to this week: the official end of college football season, a professional development day at work to help me get back into the swing of things, and hopefully logging some modest miles and cross training. I hope to do a recap of the week to be proud of! Now the house is organized and my healthy meals/lunches are packed neatly in the fridge, I have high hopes for being good this week.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year, New Goals

Better late than never, here are the big goals for 2011. This is going to be an amazing year full of big milestones and travels. The challenge: making realistic goals that are attainable but challenging. 2010 I met 2 of my 3 goals, which I am VERY proud of. I ran my marathon and got my teaching job, both of which I thought would be the harder of the three goals. So, 3 more goals to help make me a better athlete/person in the new year:

1) Donate Blood. When I first donated, I had a terrible experience, passing out on the floor at work and making a huge scene. The Red Cross says that less than 30% of first time donors return for a future donation. I don't want to be that person, so I am going to give it another shot and donate at least one time this year. One in 3 people have my same blood type (O+) so I am sure it will go to good use :) January is National Blood Donation month, btw.

2) Improve my PR's across the board. That means a faster 5k, 10k (not sure I have a PR for this), half and full marathons. If I am a good girl and run regularly, this should be attainable. More interval/speed training is also gonna make this one a reality. Setting a time just wasn't realistic last year, and I don't think it will be this year either. So progress, no matter how small the amount, is the focus of having an injury-free year. I also thought about running a minimum of 3 times a week every week, but travel is going to make that prohibitive. I am still going to try to run at least 3 times a week, but not going to sweat the weeks where this isn't possible.

3) Run (not walk) a full marathon. No stopping and walking like Nike Women's Marathon. This means making sure I don't get injured in the race by training longer and smarter. When I go back to San Francisco in October, I am going to bring it! And, my Marathon PR should improve if I am not walking around the lake.

Writing goals down is the first step to making them a reality. Help me out and hold me accountable folks! When I am not blogging, it usually is because I am not running and ashamed to show my face in bloggyland. Here's to more miles, more posts, and more pints in 2011!