A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Three Wishes Tuesday

I’m loving today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic: Three wishes for the running genie. 🙂 Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting!

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I’m going to be totally honest – wish #1 is that I get to keep running. In reading about cervical herniation and how to prevent recurrences, I see a lot of references to avoiding high impact activities. My thudding running stride probably counts. Sigh. I’m going to discuss it with the physical therapist, but definitely not going to run until I do get clearance from her. I’ll do whatever I have to do to keep my nerves happy (hate not having normal hand function!) but I’m definitely wishing that I get to keep some running in my life, even if it is short runs from now on. I’m very glad I ran a marathon this year, just in case that was my last hurrah with running.
Did it!!

Okay, let’s assume I get wish #1 (because genies – duh!), wish #2 would be a single, perfect for every weather jacket. No more wondering how many layers I need or over/underdressing for my crazy Nebraska weather – just one perfect piece to put on that would create the perfect climate bubble. Bonus points if that bubble somehow extended to include my head and my hands so no more crazy layering was needed there!
Quite the winter look

Wish #3? Hermione Granger’s Time Turner! I’d love to be able to get in my runs easier amidst busy working mom life. A time turner, so I could literally get more hours in my day and be in more than one place at the same time, would be just dreamy.

What would your three wishes be?

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Happy Valentine’s Day to Running

Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is all about our love of running. As I’m working toward getting back to running, it’s good to remind myself WHY I haul myself out of bed on dark winter mornings. Thanks as always to Patty, Marcia and Erika for hosting our link up!

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My dear running, I love what you do for my legs and my heart and my lupus. Every time I notice my leg muscles as they walk up hills or stairs or run through mile after mile, I’m grateful for running because I know that’s where those workhorses were developed. Every morning I don’t take blood pressure medication, I’m grateful for running, which I suspect had as much to do with normalizing my blood pressure as weight loss did. The last few weeks, with my lupus flaring, I remind myself that my best lupus days are the days I run for an hour or more. It really makes a huge difference in my symptoms (once I get them settled down enough that I can get out to run!).

I love that you reward my efforts with shiny new medals, which make me smile every time I see them.
Did it!!
I love that you’ve given me an excuse for spending hours alone, which this introvert adores.

I love that you’ve given me a way to play with my son that’s fun and healthy for both of us.

These are possibly my favorite race photos ever!

These are possibly my favorite race photos ever!

I love that you’ve given me a whole new view of myself. The fact that Oliver said his mom was Supermom while I was running my marathon meant everything to me. Running, you’ve taught me that I can do anything.

I love that you’ve added days to my life and quality to those days. I know I’m a healthier, happier person because of you.

Thanks running. I’ll leave your card and chocolates on the doorstep. 🙂

Why do you love running (or tennis or Crossfit or whatever your workout of choice might be)?

 

 

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Tuesdays on the Run: Rating January

For Tuesdays on the Run this week, we’re rating our month. I love this idea in general, but am a little tickled by it in terms of this particular month as I’ve had weeks at a time when I didn’t run.

Wins in January:

  • Kept running through the last bit of my taper, just like the plan outlined!
  • Marathon!! (Duh!)

Supermom!

Castaway Cay challenge

  • Cut off my running break to start moving again and start training for the Flying Pig Three Way Challenge

Demerits in January (flashback to high school drill team days!):

  • Took recovery a little too far and didn’t work out at all for two-plus weeks

I didn’t intend to stop exercising all together for those two weeks post-vacation. It turns out that I have a hard time making myself exercise if I’m not training. Oops. However, it means I got lots of rest and recovery after the marathon so that’s a good thing, right?

All in all, I can’t give the month that included my first marathon anything less than an A. However, next month I’m stepping it up in mileage and speed work and will have a much steeper grading curve for myself.

How did your January go?

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Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting our link up!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Back in the saddle (finally!)

 

Can I say I’m back in the saddle when I’ve really only run once in the last few weeks? Sure I can – it’s Monday, so let’s aim for an optimistic note! Seriously, I took a nice LOOONNNGGG rest from the marathon and now it’s time to move again. It turns out that I sleep in and find excuses not to exercise if I’m not actively training for something. That alone makes race registrations worth it, right? Thankfully, this week starts a new training plan so I’m ready to go again.

I don’t have much to wrap up from last week, in terms of work outs but other goals are going well. I tore myself away from the news enough to run on Sunday. I cooked new foods including a keeper of a Greek chicken salad and that sushi salad I showed you a pic of earlier this week. I tracked my food all week and finished up a book on my shelf (Kitchens of the Great Midwest – interesting collection of intertwined stories). I also meditated every weekday, although weekends are still a struggle in that regard. Still, lots of wins for my goals for 2017 which is good amidst all of the chaos in our little world.

I’m traveling this week to DC for work. Work travel has been a bigger disrupter of my food and fitness plans over the last year than it has been in the past, so I’m outlining a clear set of goals for myself to help me stay on track.

– I have two workouts scheduled while I’m gone: a 3 mile easy run (Tuesday, after I arrive) and a speed workout (Thursday morning). Both can be done on the treadmill fairly readily and are thankfully short, so I have no excuse for missing them. It’s always fun to pack as much workout gear as work gear when I travel for business.

– I’ll be at a Marriott and while my meeting includes a continental breakfast, I will make the choice to get oatmeal and fruit as a healthier option from room service before I head down to the meeting. I don’t have to give in to pastries. I can take advantages of other options.

– I can still meditate in the morning and may even have the time to try out some longer meditations without my usual home duties.

Like I’ve done with travel in the past, I’m going to take advantage of real time accountability and post my food on Instagram. I used to be great about staying on track when I traveled, but for the last year have fallen into the well of french fries and pastries far too often! This will be especially important as I expect travel to be a little more chaotic than usual in and out of DC this week. Stress eating won’t fix anything.

This week marks the first week of my training plan for the Flying Pig weekend in May. I’m running the 5K and 10K at Flying Pig on Saturday, followed by the half marathon on Sunday. My primary goal is to support the amazing Meg through the hills of the first half of her marathon (as the courses overlap at the beginning). I’m going to use essentially the same training plan as I did for my back to back half marathons in the fall, with the addition of speed or hill work for one of the weekday workouts as I’ve really noticed the lack of that kind of workout in my running. I’ll definitely want to be ready for the hills that occur along that half marathon course!

Not much of a wrap up this week, but I promise next week will include actual running! I don’t even have any fun fitness or food related pics this week so I’ll leave you with this instead:

Goof

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link-up!

weekly wrap up

Have you run Flying Pig? Leave me links to your recaps or advice on the course below! Also, Skyline Chili: Love or hate? I’ve never tried it but think that’s probably going to be part of the visit.

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Racecations verus Local Weekend Warrior?

I’m really entertained at the timing of this week’s Tuesday’s on the Run topic as I am on a racecation as this posts. Clearly I’m a fan of “racecations”!

Thanks as always to Patty, Marcia and Erika for hosting our link-up!

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As someone who enjoys Disney races and doesn’t live in Florida or California, racecations are a necessary part of my running life. I tend to do a couple of travel races a year, including my annual drive over to Des Moines and the occasional flight to other races. Even though I have the luxury of being able to afford these trips, costs add up and so I avoid going too often. Between flights, hotels, food and race registration, things get expensive fast! However, the occasional racecation is worth the investment for me for a couple of reasons:

⁃       Making the race a big event can be very motivating! Honestly, I don’t know if I’d be able to mentally motivate myself to run for 6 hours around Omaha. The appeal of making it an event and of running from park to park was so helpful! It also helped that I was coming back to the site of success with my first half marathon (Princess Half Marathon at Disney in 2014).

I didn't get in line for the official photo in front of the castle, but there were photographers catching us in movement too (and videos!)

I didn’t get in line for the official photo in front of the castle, but there were photographers catching us in movement too (and videos!)

⁃       Getting away from day to day responsibilities can make it easier to rest mentally and physically before the race. At home, I’d be running errands, doing chores and working up to the last moment.

There are disadvantages too, beyond the cost.

⁃       You’ve got to have everything with you because there’s no running back home for something at the last minute.
⁃       You lose the chance to practice on the course itself, which can be really helpful so that you know what to expect.
⁃       You have to resist the urge to play tourist and tire yourself out before the race. That’s a particular risk with Disney races!

A nice hybrid option I use a lot is to look for races anywhere I’m traveling (like the Jazz Half Marathon this fall). If I’m going somewhere for work or family, might as well take the chance to try a new race while I’m out there anyway. Google your location and dates or check out the running club in the town you’re visiting to find options.
Post race
Local races on the weekend have their own charms, beyond being cheaper and more convenient. I’ve found new running trails and met other people in the Omaha running community. A mix of both local and travel races works best for me right now, but who knows what the future will bring. Maybe I’ll be a little old lady with a RV and a full racecation schedule in my retirement. 🙂

Which do you prefer: racecations or running local weekend races?

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Weekly Wrap Up: ONE WEEK to go!

If all goes according to plan, by this time next week I’ll have a shiny new marathon medal. Who knows – I may still be wearing it. 🙂 I’m fairly certain I can do this, but it will be awfully nice to be done with it and KNOW that I can do it, know what I mean? Thankfully, this week of taper went a little better than last week. It’s good to be finishing this training cycle on a good note. This is definitely the best I’ve ever done in terms of sticking to the taper workouts. Good sign, right?

Workouts

Monday Swimming with Oliver and Darrell, which was more of a workout than I expected! In addition to lots of playing, we had Oliver “teach” us the things he was learning in swim lessons so he could get some practice in. He’s progressing to things like backstroke and breast stroke that I don’t actually know so I’m going to have to look into some adult lessons – or at least YouTube! I did a few laps, which felt good and hard. In 2017, I’d like to get into the pool more regularly to swim some laps. I’m still working on my concrete goals for 2017, so I’ll pin down exactly what that looks like after the marathon.

Tuesday 4 miles, including finally getting to see these particular lights turned on:
Last holiday lightsI’ve seen those lights in the trees all season, but never managed to see them on. They were lovely!

Wednesday 6 miles on the schedule – pushed to Thursday because of work.

Thursday 6 miles, with a mix of treadmill and road miles (because I seriously underestimated the chill in the wind and couldn’t stay out long!), plus an hour plus of a yoga class at the gym with a focus on hamstrings. I felt sore in a different way after yoga, but looser too. I wish I’d been better about going to yoga all through training!

Friday Walking, no run, but lots of self-care time including a facial and lunch alone at a new place.

Saturday I’d planned on 8 miles, but made a really bad lunch choice and ended up with a seriously unhappy stomach all afternoon. 😦

Sunday I decided to tack on miles after my 5K to get my 8 miles and it ended up being a great run! My very first 5K was my gym’s Commitment Day 5K on New Year’s Day in 2013 and I’ve run it almost every year since that time. There’s something reassuring about starting each New Year with a bunch of other people crazy enough to head out to run in January in Omaha. 🙂
Commitment day 2017

It really feels more like a group run than a 5K, despite the fact that we get (boring) t-shirts and bibs. The course isn’t closed, there aren’t any water stops or any fanfare of any kind, but because it was my first, it always feels meaningful for me. There are always kids and families out there too, which makes me smile. I walked for a while next to a 6 year old boy who had been left behind by his family (they circled back), chatting about how cool it was that he was out running 3 miles. Oliver wants to run a 5K next year, so maybe next time I do this race he’ll be with me! There were also Christmas decorations in some of the trees out on the trail, which were a lovely little surprise:
Holiday surprises

After the 5K (during which I was running a good 90 seconds/mile faster than I have been in months with no real effort to do so!), I headed back out for the rest of my 8 miles. Other than scaring Darrell because my phone died in the cold and he couldn’t reach me, it was a great run to end my training with!

This week, I have a few easy runs to shake things out and a big focus on eating and drinking well for the marathon, like I talked about on Friday. Thanks to my anxiety about the race and about leaving Oliver, I’m definitely feeling a little lupusy with mouth sores and sore fingers (yuck) but at least my legs feel okay.  I’ve still got a sort of unhappy stomach, but I think it is nerves at this point, not any residual stomach bug. If I stick to healthier foods, it feels better, so I definitely need to resist the urge to dive into french fries and pizza to soothe my nerves!

Fingers crossed, so far the weather looks perfect for travel and for the race. Let’s hope it stays that way!

Any last minute marathon prep advice for me?

weekly wrap up

Thanks as always to Tricia and Holly for hosting our wrap up!

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2016: Year in Running

This has been a roller coaster of a year. Today, the little girl is me is a more than a little heartbroken about Carrie Fisher’s death. As a girl, she amazed me as a totally different kind of princess. Princess Leia was tough and smart and brave – so different from your average Disney Princess. I appreciated that role and her performance in that role more and more as I grew up. As an adult, I respected her advocacy for the role of women in society (I LOVE her response to a dad complaining about the bikini scene here!) and for support of mental health services. Hers was a voice I enjoyed and that will be missed.

Personally, 2016 has been a year of big professional successes, lots of new stresses in the world, continuing on the lupus learning curve and of course, lots of running miles. Those miles have come with their own ups and downs.

– I’ve learned that I can do a lot if I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I can run 20 miles in marathon training. I can run back to back half marathons in the I-35 challenge. I can keep running in a race when I know I’m nowhere near my target times.
Success!

– I met a few of my running and fitness goals for 2016, by running the I-35 challenge, hiking Pulpit Rock (definitely a highlight of my year!) and generally keeping running. It still amazes me that I’m still “a runner,” now four years into this adventure. I also met one of my 2015 goals by volunteering at a local race.

Obligatory selfie

– I’ve embraced races as training runs. I used several half marathons in my marathon training and really liked the camaraderie, the distractions, the prepping of the course and water stops and of course, the bling at the end! Of course, I’m worried that the fact that I was taking these races “easy” because they were training runs has dulled my “racing edge” (whatever that is for a back of the packer) and I won’t feel that jolt of adrenaline I need to finish 26.2 miles in 12 days. (12 days!!)
Waiting for medals!Ready for a marathon medal!

– I missed some goals too. I never trained for that faster 10K. I definitely didn’t PR the Papillion Half Marathon. This year, I’ve gotten slower than I’ve ever been. Speed hasn’t really been my focus. I think, like Patty discussed, that having so much on my plate professionally and with the focus on so much distance between the back-to-back half marathons and the marathon have both distracted me from pushing my pace. I also fell off the strength training wagon yet again. It’s a miracle (knock on wood!) that I’ve stayed injury-free so far in marathon training given that! Like all “failures,” these are definitely a trigger for some self-examination and learning as I look to next year and post-marathon life.

Ultimately, all of these ups and downs are things to learn from and to build upon. I’ll be spending the next few days contemplating my goals for next year, especially as I’ll be looking at post-marathon life. I suspect next year is going to focus on things a little shorter and a little speedier after surviving the marathon.

Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting our link up!
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How was your year in running? Anybody else feeling ready to be done with 2016 and on to 2017?

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2016 Bling!

This is always one of my favorite Tuesdays on the Run topics: Race bling! As I looked back, it turns out I got some fun bling there year.

This guy is already in use in my kitchen as a beer opener (from the Good Life Halfsy):
New medal

This one from the Jazz Half Marathon in New Orleans is adorable (and came with beer – which might be swaying my opinion of its cuteness!):
Jazz half marathon

Of course, this set was my favorite:
Success!

Finishing back to back half marathons was harder than I expected and yet finishing it did huge things for my confidence in my ability to run a marathon in January. Speaking of the marathon . . . I already know what my favorite medal for 2017 is likely to be. 🙂

What’s your favorite medal for 2016?

Thanks as always to Erika, Patty and Marcia for hosting our link-up!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Three Weeks to Go!

As of this morning, I’m officially in taper for my first (and likely only!) marathon. Less than 3 weeks until race day! Even better, despite the brutal winter conditions, this last peak week of training was one of the best weeks I’ve had this training cycle. Great note to end on! Now, I just need to stay injury free until race day. 🙂

Workouts

This week called for two 5 mile runs and a 10 mile run during the week. Like I said last week, there’s just no way I can do ten miles on a weekday with my schedule and my pace, so I set 8 miles as my target instead.  We had temps in the 5-10 degree range every day this week, with wind chills below that, but thankfully no ice so I was able to head out anyway. With lots of layers, I can handle super cold for less than an hour but longer than that gets into unsafe territory.
Quite the winter look

Wouldn’t those frosty eyelashes be a cool holiday party look? I’m super proud of how successful I was with my weekday runs despite the cold! Per the plan, I got in 5 miles Tuesday and 8 miles Wednesday. I was supposed to get 5 miles in Friday, but could only get in 3.5 miles before the ice showed up. I did at least get the last 1.5 miles as walking indoors since I couldn’t run outdoors. I think this was my best run of weekday runs all training cycle!

All week, I was nervous about the looming 20 mile run. This would be furthest I’ve ever run at one time and naturally, it would come up during the worst winter weather we’ve had all season.
Brrrr!

This was what I was facing Sunday morning. Even for all of my layers, that was more than I could safely do outside for 5 hours, not to mention the ice. Know what that means? That means the gym and the treadmill. For 20 miles. Know what else? I did it! I got bored, but my legs could definitely do it and I finished confident that I could go another 6.2. It’s amazing what putting one foot in front of the other can do!
Frustrating but done

The worst part was that the treadmill kept stopping at random points. It is far less satisfying to finish 20 miles with 0.12 miles on the wrap up instead of the badass 20 miles I know I’d run. Fortunately, I was prepared for this possibility and snapped pics of every stop screen so I could keep track of the miles.

One perk of the treadmill was that it gave me an opportunity to test out my race clothes. I can pretty much guarantee that the temperatures in Florida are not going to be the single digits I’ve been running in here lately. Happily, other than occasionally tugging the legs down of my Wonder Woman Sparkle Skirt, I had no chafing and everything else worked well. I also ran with just water and my salted caramels gels, as I don’t want to carry my usual Nuun and know I won’t be drinking the Powerade on the course (stomach doesn’t like it). Everything worked like it should, with no significant aches or pains and today, I’m moving pretty normally. I think I might be ready!

Aside from great runs this week, I also feel like I’ve gotten enough major work/school related things done to really take a breath and enjoy the holidays. This lovely invitation played a large role in the holiday feeling:
Lovely!

Isn’t that awesome? Our gingerbread house was definitely less fancy than some of the others, but we had a great time together. After the gingerbread party, we went to see Santa and for the first time O wasn’t afraid. He left excited and awed! I also got my Christmas cards mailed, all of my packages mailed and all of my shopping done. I’m ready to relax and enjoy the holidays with my boys now!

My goals for this week are to keep up with my training runs and to eat for my marathon rather than falling too far down the cookie-hole. I have a bad habit of stopping running all together when I enter taper time and I have a hunch that would be a bad idea this time. This week, I’m supposed to run 5-8-4 and then 12 on the weekend. It’s going to warm up a bit into the 20-30s, so things should melt enough to do these safely outside. I’m also done with holiday parties (thankfully) and home for dinner every day this week, which should make it easier to make healthy choices to get things in better shape before the marathon.

I got my corral assignment this week (corral I), so I did the math and based on the usual corral release times, I’m going to have 7.5 hours to complete this. While I have zero time goal for this race (FINISHING=WINNING), my training runs have me completing 26.2 miles well within that time. I find that very reassuring. 🙂

This is feeling very real! After a good last week of training, I feel ready for this. The fact that the 20 mile run went well, just like the 16 and 18 before it, was reassurance that I really have trained for this. I really do have fitness beyond anything I’ve ever had before, even if lupus and weight gain have me slower than I’ve ever been before. I need to hold onto to this feeling of optimism as I’m sure I’ll be swamped with worries and doubts again over the next few weeks!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our weekly wrap-up!

weekly wrap up

What’s the furthest you’ve ever run on the treadmill? I feel like I should get some kind of badge of honor for this one. 🙂

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Weekly Wrap-Up: FOUR weeks to go

Last night, as we recovered from our cookie party, Darrell was running through our next four Sundays: “Next week, there’s nothing and then, it’s Christmas, then New Years and then the marathon.” First I corrected him that next Sunday isn’t nothing – it’s 20 mile day (yikes!) and then FOUR WEEKS hit me (double yikes!).
New favorites

Thank goodness I had these guys to soothe my nerves. LOL. This realization was a definite kick in the pants. I have been so busy that this has definitely been a less than ideal training cycle. My weekend long runs have been good for the most part (except this weekend – oops) but the weekday runs have been very hit or miss and there’s been no speed work or anything like that (intentionally with the Hal Higdon plan). I’ve learned a lot with this training cycle for sure. I cannot run 10 miles on a weekday with my pace and my work schedule. Really, running 3 work days at all is dicey for me. I need to factor that in to future training choices.

I also need to reconsider how I factor call weeks into my training plan. I always schedule my on-call weeks as “empty weeks” where any running I get done is a bonus. However, I’ve found that after the last couple of on-call weeks, it’s taken me another week to get back on track because I just get so wiped out. Darn lupus. I need to factor in a little on ramp to get moving again, but that allows for the serious fatigue I fight in these post-call weeks. It added a whole different level of stress this week to be trying to fit everything in (work, mom-ing, workouts, etc) and to be struggling with that sense of guilt that I didn’t get in 9 miles on Wednesday. I need to stop setting myself up for failure and make that first week post-call a little easier.

Every training cycle is a learning opportunity. Lets just hope the fact that most of my long runs have gone well will serve me in good stead in four weeks!

This week wasn’t ideal from a workout stand point. Of four runs, I got exactly ONE “right.” I was still too wiped from call to run on Tuesday. I ran on Wednesday, but three miles not 9. I got my five miles done on Thursday and felt vindicated that I finally got a run RIGHT. The fact that my “feels like” temp was near zero makes those 5 Thursday miles count extra, right?
Brrrr!

I looked like I was a mugger, but at least I got it done.

It was icy on Saturday, so I couldn’t run outside and Sunday, I ran out of time before our cookie party, so I ran 8 miles instead of the 14 on the plan. At least I ran some, right? I confess, I had a little more Christmas sangria than I planned so there was no heading back out to finish up after the party!
Cookie party!

We had my entire division over for a cookie decorating party Sunday afternoon. It was my first official party in my life, I do believe. Everyone seemed to have a good time, especially the many children running screaming around my house. None of this is a good excuse for shorting my long run, but we had a great time. 🙂

With four weeks to go, not only do I need to get my training back on track to finish strong, but I also need to get my food back in shape. Sunday afternoon’s cookies and booze were lots of fun, but definitely not optimal marathon fueling. I have a few weeks to finish strong!

This week, my goals are simple: Run my miles, drink more water (and less booze!) and eat fewer holiday treats. I’m going to run 5 miles Tuesday (which means going to bed at 9 pm tonight so I can wake up at 5 to run) and 5 miles Friday (5 am). My training plan calls for those runs on Tuesday and Thursday, but I have a 7 am to 7 pm day Thursday, so I know a Thursday run won’t happen. The training plan calls for 10 miles Wednesday and I’m going to be honest with myself – that isn’t happening. However, 8 miles can happen. I’ll wake up and do 3-4 miles and then run the rest in the afternoon before and during O’s swim lessons at the gym.

Twenty miles is looming for my weekend. We have plans Saturday, so I’ll be doing twenty miles on Sunday, no matter how I have to get them done. If it is icy/slippery with snow, I’ll go to the gym and run on the treadmill but I REALLY hope that doesn’t happen. I really need to get this done in one chunk for the mental aspect as much as the physical training. Thus, the whole family knows that nothing is being scheduled on twenty mile day, no temptations and no distractions. Wish me luck (and dry roads!)!

I confess I’m nervous about twenty miles. I keep reminding myself that 16 and 18 miles both went well. I can do this.

Do you have a low temperature at which you just won’t run outside? Darrell is not thrilled with the idea of me running twenty miles in single degree temps this weekend, but I’d rather do that than run on the treadmill for twenty miles!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link up!

weekly wrap up

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