Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I did a nice easy 7 miler yesterday, today is a rest day. That's good because it's raining today and will continue to rain through the day. We desperately need the rain here; our fire season was terrible. And I only have 75 miles to go to reach my goal of 1000 miles for the year-woohoo!

Thanks, Dustie, for the virtual run Sunday-I won the women's division! That's definitely the only race I'll ever win.

Today I am baking pies for Thanksgiving. I have a crust recipe that never fails and is amazingly good. My kitchen looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy exploded by the time I'm done but the results are wonderful, much better than anything you would get from a restaurant.

So everyone have a great holiday; eat lots of turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and pie, and be thankful for the good things in your life!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Virtual race

I ran a "virtual" race yesterday, thanks to Dustie-a 5 miler. I decided since it was a race I would watch my pace and see just how fast I could go for 5 miles. I surprised myself-I finished in 48:10 which gives me a blazing pace of 9:37 with decent negative splits throughout the run. The run gave me confidence that next spring I might even manage a 10k under one hour. I came home completely spent and very happy, and told Hubby I ran so fast and hard I thought I was going to throw up at the end. He commented that no one but a committed runner would consider that a good thing! I'm wondering if I can use my 5 mile run as a pace run, watch my pace carefully and keep it on the fast end rather than slow, and stretch the distance slowly until I'm running 6 miles at a faster pace.

The nephews came over yesterday and we had a blast. My front yard has a high embankment; so Hubby got big pieces of cardboard for them and they road the cardboard down the embankment, sled style. My older nephew even managed to stand up and "surf" down, and I even road down a couple of times! No batteries required; just a piece of cardboard and a hill and we all had a really great time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Walk breaks, pt3

I ran an easy 10 miler today with walk breaks. It was kind of weird, though. I started the run with the intention of taking walk breaks at every mile. That worked really well; then at mile 5 I felt really good so I skipped the break. I didn't take another break until mile 8 when I was coming up to the dreaded hill; walked through that, then ran the rest of the 10 miles and ran it pretty strong to the end. My pace was dead on for me for a long run. It was weird because breaks or no breaks, I'm usually done in by mile 10 and this time I finished pretty strong. I'm definitely going to experiment with walking breaks and the best time to utilize them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rules for weight loss

You are all, by now, familiar with my picture of me with Pugsley, who is now healthy and on the road again. I have another picture of me with the same car soon after I bought him. I'm standing behind him, he's blue instead of yellow, and I'm considerably heavier than in the current picture. I keep the older, fatter picture on my dresser so I have to look at it every day. It reminds me of one of the reasons I run.

I approached weight loss from the perspective that I wanted to be slender for the rest of my life; I didn't want to lose weight and then gain it back. So I decided that a diet wouldn't work for me. Instead, I had a set of rules that I started following, and that I follow to this day:

No food is off limits. If I decide I'm not going to eat bread or cheese or cookies, then those foods just become the things I would crave. So if I want a cookie, I eat a cookie. The thing is, I only eat a couple of cookies-not the whole bag. This is the hardest rule to follow, but the most important, and it's all about discipline.

I stopped eating fast food lunches, except as a once a month treat. The rest of the month, I brown bagged it for lunch. But you should have seen my brown bag lunches-they were truly works of art! There was tons of stuff in there-beautiful salads brimming with tomatoes, gourmet lettuce, mushrooms-every luscious veggie I could stuff in to it, then topped off with low fat dressing. I had fruit for snacking, any low-cal sweet stuff I found at the store; honestly, I actually had more stuff to eat at work than when I had fast food lunches. And once a month I had a cheeseburger. Refer to rule one! Now that I'm retired, this rule is easy to follow, and I now longer have a cheeseburger once a month.

I never set a weight loss date. I never said "I want to lose 20 pounds for my class reunion next month". If being a normal weight was truly going to be a lifetime thing, than it didn't matter if I lost the weight tomorrow or next month or next year, so long as I lost it. So I went to Hubby's class reunion heavier than I wanted to be, but I was ok with that. I'm thin now, years later, and there will be more class reunions in the future.

I realized that the discipline necessary to lose weight was more important at the supermarket than at home. If I didn't buy the 5 pound bag of chips at Costco, it wouldn't be calling to me, a siren song of calories and salt, until I devoured the whole thing and licked the inside of the bag. Seriously. Chips have always been my downfall, so I just never buy them.

No more "post dinner dinners". That was a huge weakness of mine-I would get up late at night and literally eat a "snack" that was as big (maybe bigger) as the dinner I had eaten just a few hours earlier. If I was really hungry late at night, I would drink water. If that didn't satisfy me, I had to make do with carrots or fruit, since that's pretty much the only snack food I keep in the house.

Exercise. Every day. A little, a lot, as much as I could handle. I discovered that I could not lose weight without exercise. So I got an elliptical machine and started using it every day. When I started, I could barely do 5 minutes-I was mortified by how out of shape I was. But I did it, and gradually I went from 5 minutes to 10 to 30.

So here I am, years later, slim and trim. My rules seem to have worked and they've become habit. I thought about posting the old picture of me and Pugsley; perhaps if you, faithful readers, really want to see it I'll put it on my next post. Trust me, it's bad!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pugsley is back

I did a pretty decent 5 miler today, but I had to get out the door at 6 friggin 30 am to do it. It's been really hot, really early in the day. This isn't good right now, with the fire situation here. Hopefully the weatherman is correct and it's going to cool down .

We (meaning Hubby) pulled the rear end on Pugsley this weekend. Turns out, it wasn't the axle as we thought, but a busted spider gear. While this is not good, at least it isn't as expensive as a transmission; we got a new rear end for just a tick over $100 and performed a rear-endectomy and transplant. I'm trying to think of an analogy with the human body and I'm coming up blank. Maybe at a later date I'll think of something amusing for all of you, my faithful readers (Hi Mom!).

I took some really good pictures of the rear end, the busted gear, some pretty cool stuff. I downloaded it to the computer. I was going to add the pictures to my post. Only now, they're floating around somewhere in my computer and I can't find them. So of course, I tried downloading them 10 more times or so. So now there's probably 10 copies floating around inside my computer. If I ever manage to find them again, I'll show you what broke. Stupid computer!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Deadmill day

I had to do the deadmill thing today. I know, most of us call it the dreadmill, for me it's the deadmill because it just kills me to use it. Having said that, I'm glad I have one for days like this when I'm too busy to get out in the morning for a run and it's too hot and windy in the afternoon to run outside when I finally have the time. I did use a new feature on my deadmill-I can use a pre-set program that changes the speed and incline at varied intervals for a somewhat more interesting workout. It seemed to help, especially since I only have 3 TV channels and there's nothing to watch at 2:30 except Judge Judy. Seriously-if you saw my bedroom you would laugh; it looks like a cheap gym. I have my deadmill and my elliptical both in my bedroom. Lucky for me, when we built our house years ago before I was the diva of running hubby and I both wanted a really big bedroom. We have our bed, 3 dressers and the workout stuff all in the bedroom and there's still lots of room. One of the advantages of building a home-you get EXACTLY what you ask for!

When we built the house, we went to a very good friend who is an excellent contractor. I've heard lots of horror stories about builders who did shoddy work or went over budget; our experience was totally different. Everything I really, truly love about my house is due to suggestions by our builder/friend. Hubby and I occasionally joke that if we don't like our house, we have no one to blame but ourselves since we pretty much designed the house!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back in business

I ran yesterday and today, and not even a twinge of back pain-yay for painless movement!

I think I have a marathon plan that will get me to the finish line in Las Vegas about a year from now. I know, I know-it's awfully early to be looking at plans but that's just the way I am. It's Hal Higdon's novice 2 plan, only slightly more advanced than his novice 1 plan, but looks very attainable. I will add a couple of weeks to stretch out the mileage buildup-there's a couple of points in there when the long run jumps by 2 miles and I would prefer smaller increases in distance. So for now I will maintain my 30 mpw base and play with the calendar to figure out when I need to start training. I have to keep in mind that I want to do the Disneyland half marathon in late August, so I figure that will just be a long run rather than an actual race in keeping with my marathon training. And my goal for the marathon? Honestly, all I want to do is reach the finish line before they close the course!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Go for it

Running a marathon was on my mind all day yesterday. I thought about Lisa's question that I didn't ask-the answer is yes, I do want to run a marathon. I thought about Bob's comment and I realized that's a key reason why I want to run one-I don't want to have years of regret wondering "what if I had at least tried a marathon?". At least if I make the attempt I will have the answer to the question of whether I can do it or not. And Bruce, it would greatly please me to meet you in person. You were the first person in our forum to welcome me to the running world. You've given me excellent advice and have been extremely generous with your knowledge and support. So after some conversations with Hubby (he thinks I'm crazy, but I have his whole hearted support) I decided to run the Las Vegas Marathon in 2009. Thanks, guys for your comments and support. I'm going to need more of it in the future!

The funny thing about making this decision now-I haven't been running for 3 days due to a strained back muscle. It's happened before and my back just can't take the pounding of running for a few days, but I'm much better today and will probably be back on the road tomorrow!

So no regrets. After all, I've always secretly regretted not buying the Eiffel Tower from that guy in the park years ago. It was such a great deal and I've always wondered how my life would have changed if I had been the owner of the Eiffel Tower-and it would have looked great in my back yard!

Friday, November 7, 2008


I've been thinking about marathons a lot lately, thanks to my doctors visit and the kind and positive comments from fellow bloggers. The idea of running a marathon scares me-all the what ifs to worry about. So I decided to approach a marathon the same way Hubby and I have approached many other issues we've faced in the past, with the good old pro/con list:

Why I shouldn't run a marathon:
  • The training will take months of hard work, hard running and absolute discipline.
  • I could injure myself either in the training or running the race itself.
  • I might dnf
  • It will take a lot of planning and research to find the right race and the right training plan
  • I might crash and burn and end up walking most of the race-how embarrassing!

OK, those are the only cons I can think of at the moment; let's examine them. Yes, it will take lots of training for months to be properly prepared. But I'm already running on a regular basis, 30 mpw, and I've religously stuck to my training plan for half marathons, so where's the problem? Most big goals require hard work. This is no different. The accomplishment justifies the work.

Yup, I could injure myself. I could also injure myself every time I go out for a run, whether it's a 4 mile easy run or a 20 miler in preparation for a marathon. If I train properly, I can avoid injury.

Yeah, I'll have to do a lot of research. And yet, when I'm planning a vacation, I seem to have no problem spending hours on the computer finding just the right hotel, airline deal, car rental. So how is this different?

OK, the possibility of a dnf is a really stupid excuse for not trying a marathon. Yes, I might fail. I might end up walking most of the race. I might end up crawling across the finish line. I'll never know what will happen if I don't try. And I have in fact come in dead last at a race and I survived the embarrassment, so I can assume the same would be true for a marathon.

Why I should run a marathon:

  • Bragging rights. I'm all about the subtle, "last year when I did my marathon" kind of conversation.
  • I'm pretty stinkin healthy so now would be a good time to do a marathon.
  • I'm so boringly average, it would be nice to have something on my life resume that only a small portion of the population have done.
  • In the end, after all the training and work, it will be only 5 hours (probably 6) of physical and mental stress in exchange for a lifetime of knowing I faced the challenged and accomplished something really big.

The reasons to do a marathon speak for themselves and need no explanation or debate. I still don't know if I'm going to do one, but if I don't, I have no excuse.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Marathon man

I had an interesting Dr. appointment today. I went to a dermatologist, a new doctor for me, and the room I was put in had walls covered with marathon posters-Los Angeles, Portland, Long Beach, probably 10 different posters. I realized that one of the frames had 8 medals on display, and one was from the mighty Boston Marathon. so when the doctor came in, of course I had to ask him if he was the runner in the office, and he was. He's run Boston 3 times, every 10 years, and he said he already has his bib and hotel room for 2009 when he will run in honor of his 60th birthday. We spent some time talking about running and he encouraged me to try a marathon, telling me that if I can do a half, I can train for and complete a full marathon, and he even recommended the Long Beach marathon as a good first full mary.

It was an interesting conversation and he's the second doctor I've gone to that runs. I'm toying with doing a marathon in 2010, and I enjoy talking to people who are experienced marathoners and have such a positive perspective about running 26.2 miles. Somehow it makes it seem do-able, and not just a dream.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I knocked out an easy, slow 7 miler this morning. Tomorrow is a rest day and I feel like I need it. At least after I finish this week I'll do a fallback week-yay!

Today is important. Please, faithful readers, vote. It does count; it is important; and if you don't vote you're not allowed to complain about anything that happens in the next 4 years.