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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Lean-Mean-Turkey Machine

(Image from DailyMile)

While gaining weight during Thanksgiving could be considered a national pastime, here's a few tips to help curb the calories.
  • Don't go to Thanksgiving starving - I'm SO at fault for this. It's like I'm saving up for game time so when the dinner bell is rung I can be the greatest face stuffer in the land. EAT a wholesome breakfast/lunch like an egg with whole wheat toast or bowl of oatmeal to avoid over eating when the turkey is served.

  • Eat Slow - Another BAD habit of mine. When you eat fast you tend to eat more than you need. Take your time. Enjoy some conversation without a mouth full of food. You're fellow grub eaters will thank well as your waistline.

  • Go white and skinless - It's an easy way to cut the calories. Stick with white meat with out any skin and you'll save your calorie intake for pie.

  • PUMPKIN - Speaking of pie, your best bet for lowest fat/calories is pumpkin. Just skip dousing it with whipped cream (if it's humanly possible).

  • Small portions on the high fat foods - these foods can include stuffing, mashed potatoes (when made with butter and cream)and gravy, green bean casserole, and candied yams. I'm not saying to deprive yourself of these tasty items (cause I plan on having one of each), just plop down a small portion instead.

  • Drink water - Before you start the meal drink a glass of water. Then drink another one after your FIRST plate. Hopefully it'll save you from going for a SECOND. Hey, leftovers are always better the NEXT day right?

  • Don't be TOO hard on yourself - If you've indulged during dinner, don't kick yourself for the rest of the day!!! This is a time to celebrate and have gratitude for family, friends, and FOOD! Maybe round up the family for a "friendly" game of flag football, go on a walk to promote re-buttoning the pants, or heave your full bellied self on the couch to watch some pro ball but make sure to hit your workout routine hard for the following week!


Would you like to participate in a official Turkey Trot but can't find one close? Dailymile is hosting a virtual 5k on Thanksgiving day. You can run, walk, or bike the 5k and a few lucky winners will be chosen for some prizes. Choose to donate $1, $5, or $10 and ALL proceeds go to St. Jude's, a VERY worthy cause.



I'm thankful for...
4 wheel drive

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Actually Ate Them!

I've been a brussel hater for...well...ever. I can't remember the last time I ate one and wanted another bite. They're just a little too bitter for my buds! So when a whole bag arrive with my last Bountiful Basket (*see below for details) I wasn't very excited.

After a week of sitting in my fridge I decided to give the lonely brussels one more chance before declaring a permanent disdain for them. BUT something drastic had to be done during preparation because the ole' steaming just wasn't cutting it. I did a little sprout searching on the web and found a few ideas, then created my own using what I already had in my pantry.

My Ingredients...
About 5 medium brussel sprouts - halved
2 swigs olive oil
handful of pine nuts
handful of Parmesan cheese

Add one swig of the olive oil to a fry pan and turn up to medium heat. Throw in the sprouts and pine nuts then add the other swig of oil. Stir to coat, sprinke with salt, and then let them cook until they start to caramelize. I like them to get nice and toasted on the flat side. After 8-10 minutes test one by taking a bite or piercing with a fork. When tender slide them onto a serving dish and dust with the Parmesan cheese. There ya go! I actually ENJOYED eating them. In fact, I enjoyed them so much I made another batch for my hubby later for dinner but with a different twist.
Here's what I did for him...

Same ingredients except I substituted sliced almonds for the pine nuts and I added bacon. Not quite as healthy but he ATE THEM! A little bacon and cheese usually gets him to eat anything. :)

If you have a great way to cook up your sprouts I wanna hear it!

*Explanation - Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op I use to order my fruits and veggies. For $15.00 I get a huge laundry basket full of healthy grub. It's great because it forces me to eat better since I'm a sucker for carb's. If you'd like to find out more info you can check out their website.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Have a Little Blog Fun

During the holiday's I welcome any challenge or groupie that can help me get through the season without gaining 5-10 lbs. Here's a couple I have joined.

Amanda @ RuntotheFinish is holding her 3rd annual Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge.

The HBBC runs from Nov 20th - Jan 7th with the goal "to provide a little additional motivation to stay active and make good choices throughout the holiday season."

The Rules...
  • 1 Point per mile (run/walk/snowshoe)
  • 1 Point per 3 miles biked
  • 1 Point per 20 minutes of weight lifting, Pilates, yoga, stretching or abs
  • 1 Point per 15 minutes of another form of cardio (i.e. kick boxing, aerobics elliptical)
  • 1 Per day where you reach a minimum of 7 servings of fruits and veggies
The Prizes...

Besides being able to get through these next few months without starting 2011 with jiggly thighs, Amanda has some GREAT prizes.

Two ways to win.
#1 - Overall points winner
#2 - Random winners drawn just for participating!

Check out her blog for details about signing up and tracking points. It's EASY and you don't have to be a fellow blogger or an exercise extremist to do it. It's just for FUN!

Are you a Runnerd?

Definition - a person who does not conform, often highly intelligent, but socially rejected because of their obsession with running. A runnerd will run in any condition and is either running, constantly thinking about running, or talking about running.

Candice @ IHaveRun has recently coined this term and has started a Runnerd groupie on Facebook where confessions of runaholics can be shared. Join the conversation!

Friday, November 12, 2010


It's finally time to announce the lucky winner of the reflective armbands. I used to pick the winner and comment #33 was chosen. CONGRATS to Sara from over at Email me your address (imafitnessjunky@ and I'll get these babies sent to you. If I don't hear back within a week another winner will be chosen next Friday.

Thanks to all of you that took a gander at my blog and entered this contest. Hopefully we'll be able to get to know each other more from some cyber conversation. Here's to a GREAT (and safe) weekend!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Operation "Pop a Squat"

The runbbatical's going great! I'm getting pretty good with my push-ups, pull-ups, and planks and my knee isn't screaming at me. Hmmm, until now.

A few days ago I just needed to run. A good run. A run that got my feet flying. A run that made me sweat, burned my lungs, worked my quads, and got my heart pumping. So when the hubby was home and I didn't have to "squeeze" in time for a run I flew out the door ready to take on my 6.6 mile course. FREEDOM!!!


1 mile into the course it dons on me. I forgot to visit the Toilet Inn and I AM NOT going to juggle this full bladder around and let it ruin my solitude. So I start picturing secluded places in town and in desperation I switch my original route and make a detour. My new route goes passed a ditch set back and secluded by trees. Perfect! After double-checking for bystanders then poppin' a squat I was ready to go. Hey you gotta do whatcha gotta do! The uninhibited pavement pounding is what I had craved and despite the route re-do I still got in my 6.61 miles at a 7:38 pace. So glad I didn't settle for less.

Ever had to do doing something out of desperation?

One more day to enter the Armband Giveaway.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Did you catch the ING New York Marathon? Holy Cow! Shalane Flanagan is my new idol. She has now join the ranks with Deena Kastor and Kara Goucher of women who inspire me. There has not been a second place finish of an American women for the last 20 years and this was her marathon DEBUT! She finished with a time of 2:28:40, just 20 seconds behind the winner Edna Kiplagat who finished in 2:28:20. Wow, I'm seriously impressed.

Even better this marathon served as the USA Marathon Championship so her amazing debut earned her the title of 2010 National Champion. How's that for being a 26.2 rookie!

Of course this isn't her first time out of the blocks. Here's a brief bio of this leading lady.

  • Height - 5'5''
  • Weight 113
  • Age - 29
  • PRs: 1,500m - 4:05.86 (2007); 3,000m - 8:33.25AR (2007); 5,000m - 14:44.80AR (2007); 10,000m 30:22.22AR (2008)
  • Career Highlights: 2008 Olympic Games 10,000m bronze medalist; 2008 Olympic Trials 10,000m champion and 3rd in 5,000m; 2007 Visa Indoor champion; 2007 USA Indoor 3,000m champion; Two-time USA Outdoor 5,000m champion ('05, '07); Two-time USA XC 4km champion ('04, '05); Two-time NCAA XC champion ('02, '03); 2003 NCAA Indoor 3,000m champion; 15-time NCAA All-American

I'm anxiously awaiting the day when Deena, Kara, and Shalane go head to head. Won't that be a race to watch! It's hard to decide who to cheer for but I'd probably have to go for Kara. After all she was the first professional runner that I have idolized and now that she's delivered her first baby I want her to kick some Mama butt! However, I would do a celebration jig if any American came in the top three.

Who would you cheer for?
Who inspires you to run?

Don't forget to enter my contest here for your chances to win some Brooks NightLife Armbands. Giveaway ends Thursday, Nov 11th.

I'm thankful for...
Indoor plumbing
Hot chocolate


Friday, November 5, 2010

Got Hope?

Ever had a day like this?

6:30 a.m. - Had HOPE that I could get in a run before the munchkins woke up but for some reason the alarm doesn't go off and when I do wake up at 7:30, I'm disappointed. But there's no time to go for a run now cuz I gotta get all the kiddo's ready for school. I start to form a new plan to squeeze in a run after the kids are off. Okay, I feel better. HOPE restored.

9:00 a.m. - Drop child #1 off to school. Decide to forgo a shower because I'm going to get in my run!

9:30 a.m. - Drop child #2 off to preschool then pick up my cute nephew that I'm watching which decreases my chances for a run but so far I'm still HOPEFUL.

10:30 a.m. - Temperatures are still pretty cold to have child #3 and nephew (2 and 3 years) play outside while I run on the treadmill in the garage with the door up, so I opt to shoot for lunchtime. They can have a picnic outside while I run right? That would be fun!

11:30 a.m. - Pick up 4 yr. old from preschool and rush home to start lunch so I can hit the treadmill while they eat.

12:00 p.m. - Kiddos are insisting on staying inside for some reason and to avoid 3 toddler meltdowns I obliged. My new HOPE is that I can run during nap time.

2:00 p.m. - Nephew has gone home and it's nap time. Hooray! Once the babe is asleep I'm home free. But I have to wait until he's asleep because if he hears the treadmill he won't fall asleep.

3:30 p.m. - Child #3 has refused to go to sleep. This of course never happens but only on this day that I've been waiting for my running fix. I should have just hopped on the tread but kept thinking he would fall asleep any minute. After 1 1/2 hours of letting him play/cry in his crib I just get him out and we head to pick up Child #1 from school.

4:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m. - I teach piano. I'm not as anxious as I could be because I have HOPE that while dinner is cooking I can pound out a quick 4 miles. So I sit satisfied to teach...but a little smelly since I skipped out on previous shower time.

5:30 p.m. - Dinner is started. I'm getting excited. It's almost time! But then the phone starts to ring and everyone I know starts to call me. It's okay, I'm okay, cuz I'll just run while the family eats. This should work, at least I HOPE it works.

6:30 p.m. - Dinner time. I've missed my hubby. Once they're all sitting around the table I can't resist but join my family. Plus I realize I'm STARVING so I sit down to eat and almost give up on today.

7:30 p.m. - But wait...maybe there's still HOPE. We actually got done eating pretty quick. If we hurry through homework and baths I might still make it.

8:30 p.m. - BLISS! Finally! I'm running...and running hard. I'm just happy to get my "ME" time in even if it's only for 30 minutes. I feel great and have HOPE I can fit in another run in the next couple of days.

9:00 p.m. - Put the little people to bed and take a hot shower. Ahhh, I'm at peace.

I'm thankful for...
baby powder (to soak up greasy hair)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A MoNth Of ThanKsGiviNg

Running gives me a time of reflection. I need this time to let my thoughts wonder where I want them to, not on who needs a PBJ or a diaper change. Most of my thoughts are about life in general like "How can I be a better Mom/wife/friend?", or "What needs to get accomplished today?". But recently I've been reflecting upon the blessings in my life. Very fitting for this time of year and since I have a friend over at Natural Bliss who has decided to make this her month of gratitude I thought I'd join her and list things I'm grateful for at the end of my posts during November. Hopefully I'll come out the month with a deeper appreciation for what I do have and a whole positive outlook on life. Heaven knows I'm gonna need it to get through Christmas. ;)

I am thankful for...
House shoes
Warm water

Monday, November 1, 2010


The days are getting shorter now and for many of us brave soles that means running in the dark. It also means wearing gear that will make us seen by motorists, who BTW are totally amazed by our dedication...or stupidity? Either way we are getting our fix and can start or end our days with satisfaction.

One way to increase your visibility is by wearing reflective arm bands and since I care for your welfare I'm giving away a pair of Brooks Night Life Bands. These babies are great because...

  • They are super reflective with 3M Scotchlight retro reflective film

  • You can wear them on your wrist, arms, or legs.

  • The hook and loop closure makes them easily adjustable.

  • They will fit over any thing you are wearing, (i.e. long sleeve, jacket, coat, snowbibs if you live in the Rockies, etc...)

Required Entry - leave a comment

Become a junky yourself by following my blog. Just click the button on the sidebar to do so or let me know if you already are.

Extra Entries - leave a comment for each one

Spread the link love on your blog telling about my contest.

Click here to become a follower of @imafitnessjunky on Twitter.

Tweet Tweet- @imafitnessjunky is giving away Brooks Night Life Armbands. Check out for details.

Give a shout out to your friends on Facebook about the giveaway.

Repeat "I will wear safety gear" three times while hopping on one leg and rubbing both your stomach and your head.

Give away will close on Thursday, Nov. 11th with the results posted Friday. Good Luck!

Friday, October 29, 2010


That's what I was Wednesday at a first attempt at my circuit training. I hadn't really thought much about what I wanted to do on the circuit but I found 30 minutes in the middle of the day and just got to work before I lost them. It was such a random workout but I was breathing heavy and my legs were tired so I musta done something good. Each time I jumped on the treadmill I thought of what I was going to do next while I ran. Here's what my VERY RANDOM circuit looked like with no rest between stations.

1 mile warm-up @ 8:30 pace

20 jumping squats
20 bicept curls
20 tricept curls
20 straight arm raises
*Do rotation three times*

1/2 mile @ 7:30 pace

1 min. plank
30 ski jumps
20 shoulder press
*Do rotation three times*

1/2 mile @ 7:30 pace

It was a little too spastic for me and since then I've sat down and brainstormed of all applicable exercises I know of and scribbled them down on some paper. Then I googled "plyometrics" and "crossfit" for more ideas. Now I can create a plan and make the most of the next 30 minutes!

  • Need a chuckle? Amanda @ RuntotheFinish shares some really helpful advice on "How to Guaratee an Injury." Good for a laugh and if you're not satisfied by her post then check out all the comments.

  • A snack that's at the top of my list right now. CORN NUTS! You'de think it would be candy corn or something with pumpkin in it but corn nuts are what I want. At least their basically sugar free so I can justify eating a whole bag right?

  • But if you ARE cravin' some pumpkin then check out a cookie recipe by Laura @ MyReasontoRun . It's so simple even I got it right and my family devoured them!

  • Jog Tunes is a site I'm diggin' at the moment. I especially like that you can search for songs by bpm.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Takin' a Runbbatical

Lately I've been feeling down and out because I haven't been getting my mileage and when this running Ma doesn't get her miles logged there's a little more anxiety and contention in the home. I need my fix! There's a few main mean...reason's for the lack of running.

  • 1 - It's dark and FREEZING during my usual running hours...and I'm a sissy.
  • 2 - My treadmill is in my garage since I'm living in a small "special" rental house until our new one is finished being built and in order to get to my garage I have to go through my sleeping kids room.
  • 3 - I have a hard time doing anything over 5 miles on the tread, and even that's a stretch.
  • 4 - My left knee hasn't liked me lately. Self diagnosed "Jumper's knee."

    So when I saw Marcia's post about her Runbbatical Challenge I quickly jumped on her train! Don't get me wrong, I LUV pounding out the miles but it's not happening lately and it just makes me cranky. As a part of the Runbbatical I've changed my normal training into one that doesn't have as much running. Instead I'm going to pull out the circuit training and have a rotation that includes some plyometrics, weights, and speed work on the treadmill. I was inspired to do the circuit training after attending a CrossFit session with a friend last Saturday and I'm only finally able to walk without a limp today. I think I did more squats that day than I have in the past year. It kicked my can!

    I'm looking forward to this new routine. Now that I'm not training for anything big (just a couple 5k/10k's) it'll be nice to take a break so I don't get burned out from hitting the pavement and I'll be more excited for the next running season come spring. I've got to be creative and see what kind of stations I can create in my garage for my circuit and I'm excited to see what I can do with it. I'll let you know what I come up with!

    P.S. If you're feelin' the same way as Marcia and I then join her challenge by visiting her blog at
    Running Off At the Mouth. May we be guilt free together heaven forbid another day goes by without a run!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yogurt Cube Smoothie

Here's just something I came up with a couple days ago. It might not be original and I may be way behind the band wagon (not the first time) but it tasted good going down so I thought I'd share.

First I grabbed some low fat vanilla yogurt. I used Western Family (because I'm cheap) and it worked out great but go with whatever you like. Then I filled up a couple ice cube trays with the yogurt and let it freeze over night.

Tada! A bowl full of frozen goodness. I just slipped these into a freezer bag and stuck them into my freezer to wait until I felt like cranking up my smoothie machine. a.k.a. My kids aren't paying attention so I can be selfish and drink it all up myself. Hey, they get plenty of's the Mama's turn!

So today I grabbed 5 cubes, added 1 cup skim milk and about 1/3 cup blueberries, then cranked away. I did throw in a few ice cubes to keep it slushy. Out came this delicious concoction. Blueberry bliss! My husband would've added some sugar but I thought it was pretty good. If you like it a little sweeter then add whatever sweetener you use.

If you stick with a no-fat yogurt, skim milk, and some frozen fruit, you've got a pretty healthy smoothie to slide down the pipes. ENJOY!

(I've yet to experiment with other flavored yogurt so if you have, let me know what you did!)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Playlist Overhaul

I overhauled my running playlist yesterday and I'm excited to hit the tread today and try out my new songs. Ideally the tunes I run too have a bpm (beats per minute) of 170+ and it's like striking GOLD when I find one that's right on pace. I'm hoping to get lucky with this list. I'll tell you how it goes in a couple days.
  • Florida - Club Can't Handle Me
  • Florence + the Machine - Dog Days are Over
  • Pitbull - Hey Baby
  • Train - If It's Love
  • Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are
  • The Kills - No Wow
  • Plain White T's - Rhythm of Love
  • Glee Cast - River Deep, Mountain High
  • Sugarland - Stuck Like Glue
  • The Bangles - Walk Like an Egyptain

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spreading the Subway Love

Subway is giving away gift cards in honor of their "mascot" Jared training and competing in the 2010 New York City Marathon. Just click on the pic above to be directed to their link if you want it. I did. Hopefully I'll get a few free lunches thrown my way.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Running Diva Mom's Virtual Race

I've never seen so many virtual races going on at one time as I have over 10/10/10. It was great! I've come across many who have signed up for multiple races so here's a big KUDOS to you! I know I've said it before but I think virtual races are SO nice for when you need a little dose of motivation. It was just what I needed to get my head back in the game after some time off. With that said, here's my second race report of the week to document my time for Running Diva Mom's virtual 10k.

There are a few categories for prizes including one for most creative bib. I do much of my running in the dark now since it's easier to get my miles done in the morning before hubby leaves for work so I thought this was pretty fitting.

Plus it goes well with the Halloween holiday too! I think some one should create a night race around Halloween where we all run around with glow sticks and glow in the dark race bibs. Hmmm, ideas are forming for next year! Not only a cool bib but it is practical too as it adds to my visibility in the dark. ;) Although I couldn't figure out a great way to attach it and the scotch tape I had all over my shirt wasn't my favorite.

As for the run. It was another mental race for me as I am still struggling to get my mojo back. This time both my lungs and my legs were burnin' but I was determined to beat my previous virtual 10k time so I pushed through. There were a few moments I felt like I just wanted to slow down to a snails pace for a couple blocks but some times having a hard head pays off and I resisted the temptation.

I ended up covering the 6.2 miles in 44:59. Wahoo! I wish I could say I loved this run as much as I loved my time but it was a painful one. After I ran to get the 6.2 miles I had to walk back to my house about 2 blocks. It really was all I could do to finish. I'm looking forward to my next couple of runs as I'm going to lose Mr. G and run purely for the pleasure and put all training aside. I already know I'm a little behind where I was before my 3 week lay-off and I don't really feel like having Mr. G confirm it so I'm going to allow myself some time to get back with it. When I have Mr. G on my arm I have a hard time resisting looking and comparing my pace and then I end up pushing myself harder than I should and not liking the run. So it's just me and the tunes for the next couple of weeks.

Thanks for putting this race together you Running DIVA!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jog 4 Joubert Fun Run

I survived! After 3 weeks of non-running due to a bumb knee, a chest cold, some sort of stomach crampiness, and MOVING (which could easily be confused as a week long visit from the devil himself), I finally got out the door to participate in the Jog 4 Joubert Virtual Fun Run. I chose to do the 10k distance in honor of 10/10/10 and it just about did me in! My lungs actually felt better than I anticipated but my leg muscles were so wimpy! It's sad how fast you can lose whatever progress that has taken MONTHS to gain. Now I'm even more determined to fit in some strength training when I'm not able to get out the door and pound some pavement . At least some lunges, squats, wall sits, and a few core exercises.

On with the race report.

Here I am sportin' the bib Laura created us to wear. I get a kick out of running around the neighborhood and having people wonder where the rest of the runners are. What's a race without a bib though?

And the results...

I ended up covering the 6.2 miles in 45:07 minutes. I started WAY too fast and really had to push it just to keep under a 7:30 pace at the end but overall it wasn't as bad as I thought (other than the pukey feeling once I stopped). I wasn't about to go farther than I had too either so I ended up running up and down our street just to get the 6.2 miles since I was a little short of the distance when I reached home the first time. I've really got to get back into my training groove. We are beginning a HUGE new phase in our lives...building a house! I have a feeling that my thoughts will be preoccupied but hopefully I can keep the stress levels at bay. I really did a number on myself during the move and ended up feeling like crap from not eating or sleeping. I had a bunch of people ask me if I was doing okay so I must have looked like crap too. All is well now though so I've just got to get my head in the game again. I won a $15 Itunes giftcard from BusyRunningMama (great BIG thanks!) so maybe a little playlist update will do me some good!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Took my Wet Test

Ever taken a wet test? No this doesn't involve a pregnancy test. It involves your feet and some water. I'm going on a running gear shopping extravaganza this weekend in Park City and I don't really NEED knew shoes but just in case I decide to splurge I took my wet test. I do this before I get a new pair of running shoes just to keep tabs on my arch and make sure I get the best shoe for me.

There's a technical way of doing this test where you pour some water into a shallow pan, get your feet wet, then step on some brown paper or cardboard so you can check out your arch and possibly trace an outline to take to a running store specialist.

What I did...
I dumped a cup of water on my sidewalk, stepped in the puddle, then stepped back onto dry sidewalk. Then I snapped a picture so I could analyze the real thing all I want.

My arch is one of three possibilities...

If you can see close to your whole foot than you have a flat arch and overpronate when you step. You need shoes that offer stability (for mild to moderate pronators) or motion control shoes (for sever pronators).

If you only see half your arch than you can opt for a stability shoe that provides a little arch support or if your a feather weight than a neutral shoe may be best for you. Normal arch runners usually can wear either one and be fine.

If you can't see any of your arch than you want to go for a neutral shoe that won't provide much arch support since your arch isn't collapsing very much.

So what do you think?

Looks pretty normal to me. Even though I'm not a very big runner (5'3'', 115 lbs) I opt for stability in my shoes so I can have a little arch support. Otherwise the inside of my left knee starts to ache a little.

Friday Fav's are gonna have to move to Monday this week cause I've gotta get packing. Have a GREAT weekend and good luck in your races!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Running at Night

Fall is in the air. In order for me to get in a long run I've got to be up before dawn and yesterday it was dark enough that I'm sure it was a health hazard to be out on the road. I'd like to keep training as long as I can before the snow starts to fall so it's time to invest in some night running gear. Good thing I've got a shopping trip planned this weekend!

With that said, I don't have enough of the green stuff to buy everything so I want to hear what you recommend. What do you wear and what is the "must have" item(s)?
  • Reflective vest (I've hated the one's I've worn in the past because they flop around so if you have one that fits tight I wanna hear about it.)
  • Head lamp (One strap/two straps)
  • Butt light (otherwise known as tail light)
  • Arm/leg reflector bands
  • Reflective Tape
  • Reflective Head Band

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Have you ever been running down a rural road in the wee morning hours and seen something dark lurking a far off? That was the case for me this morning. As I got closer and closer to this dark form it started looking just like a skunk. I've had a few encounters and a couple close calls so I started weighing my options.

I could run into the field and WAY around the skunk and hope it didn't have any family members hiding in the hay....or I could turn around and make this a out-and-back route instead of a loop...or I could just hope and pray for horse poo and keep running straight on.

I decided to go with option number three since the shape hadn't moved at all during my planning. I started repeating a new running mantra of mine "Please be poo, please be poo, please be poo, etc..." Now I was getting close enough that I was either going to have to quickly dart around the line of fire or hurdle over it. "PLEASE BE POO, PLEASE BE POO,..." Then just before I came upon it I finally could see enough to discover that it was a tumble weed smashed in the road.

WHEW! Wow, all that build up adrenaline for nothing. But ya know what, my pace for the last 3 miles was hoppin'!!! Check out my splits...

Mile 1 - 8:21
Mile 2 - 7:52
Mile 3 - 8:21
Mile 4 - 7:42
Mile 5 - 7:20 (Scene of panic)
Mile 6 - 6:56
Mile 7 - 6:42

I originally set out this morning to do my Kenyan #3 drill (see last post on hill drills) but ended up tacking on a tempo run for the last few miles thanks to the mystery lump in the road.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

STRIDE...SHMIDE - What's it to ya?

In last weeks effort to count my strides and see if I could do some tweakage (it is too a word) and increase my pace I went about it all wrong. I'm kind of embarrassed because this is the stuff I should know but it's been a while since I was in school. Which is exactly why I keep up on this hold onto some of that professional brain in the midst of Mommyland.

Here's a quick review from a couple posts back about stride rate.

"One of the most noticeable differences between recreational runners and world class competitive runners is cadence. Top level runners use a cadence of around 90 to 100 full strides per minute, compared to a rather sluggish 75 to 85 strides per minute for recreational runners. A higher stride rate encourages a shorter more efficient stride. Low stride rates are usually associated with over striding and spending too much time on the ground. Try to maintain a stride rate of at least 90 strides per minute at all running velocities. You’ll run easier and more efficiently." --Rick Morris

...and here's the information I should have remembered before I wasted my time counting strides the wrong way.
  • Stride length is the distance between successive points of initial contact of the same foot. Right and left stride lengths are normally equal.

  • Step length is the distance between the point of initial contact of one foot and the point of initial contact of the opposite foot. In normal gait, right and left step lengths are similar.

  • Cadence is calculated in step or strides per minute. (1)

My mistake - I counted step length instead of stride length. I took 180 steps per minute so divide that by 2 and I've got 90 full strides per minute. Okay, so I'm feeling much better about that number. It shows that I'm already at a "top level runner" cadence but I'm sure not running at top level speed so what else can I do to my stride? Here's what I'll be working on.

1 - Make sure I'm not over-striding. When your heel is striking the ground first this actually causes a breaking affect and slows down your pace. It's optimal to have a flat-footed landing right behind the balls of your feet. It's better to have short quick strides with a flat footed landing than long slow strides landing with a heel strike. Hey, I've still got 10 strides I could add per minute to still be "efficient" right?

2 - Get a more explosive foot strike. If I've already got the cadence down then I need to make each step more effective by having a greater push-off. Time to pull out the plyometrics (jumping drills).

3 - Try to get a higher knee lift. Hills, hills, hills. A driving knee will also help my steps to travel farther. This doesn't mean a longer stride. I'm talking about more velocity per step or covering more ground while in the air.

Here's a great article that has some great hill-drill ideas. It works for the Kenyans so why not me? I'm doing number #3 on Monday.

This quote by Phil English is something I'm going to remember while making all these improvements.

"When it comes to stride improvement, it's important to realize that no two runners are exactly alike. "I believe there is a perfect stride for every runner," said English, "but not all runners should have the same perfect stride."

I'm not going to do anything that doesn't feel natural to my body because it's my opinion that not 1 thing works for everyone. But I'll give anything a shot.

Friday Fav's

My Mom loves me. She surprised my with some new Nike running gloves. Yes even 30 year olds get to be spoiled by their Mom every once in a while.

Now I don't have to wear my daughter's fuzzy bright blue gloves from the dollar store. Not that they didn't keep my hands fact...they were outright sweaty. Yuck. This morning was the first time I wished it was chilly enough so I could test ride the new gloves, but it wasn't. I'll have my review when the time comes. Pretty snazzy though. There's even a pocket in each palm for a key (or lube, chap stick, runner I.D.). The rest of my clothes (minus the shoes) might be from Walmart, thrift store, or a pick from 1 of many race shirts. But my gloves...yeah they rock!

Hmm, not my best picture. It's pretty comparable to the smile I've usually given the camera right after giving birth to each of my kids. Just not normally accompanied with the "rock on" sign but I may have to with the next one just because of this post.

Oh and how will I know when it's cold enough to dawn the gloves? Because I bought myself this really fancy thermometer from said Wally World for a whole buckaroo. Works like a charm. Today I figured out that 50 degrees means a long sleeve shirt and capri length shorts.

See ya on the road...err I mean HILLS!


(1) -

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


In Yesterday's 5k I ran faster than I ever have before. Usually I only get to measure my 5k PR's in seconds vs. minutes because there's just not a lot of time to work with. You've got to be fast right out of the blocks since it's hard to make up for lost time when you're only covering 3.1 miles. Well yesterday I got to measure my PR by minutes. I beat my old PR by 1 minute and 9 seconds!!! I was able to cover the 5k in 20:50 minutes (6:43 pace) and FINALLY conquered my goal of getting sub 21. I couldn't be more excited!!! Except...

My hubby BEAT ME!!! Can you believe that he went from being a non-runner and in 6 weeks has been able to get to a 6:20 pace!!! He ran the race in 19:38 and even had to stop and tie his shoe!!! Obviously I picked the wrong person to challenge. With a virgin race time like that He really should stick with running. Looks like Mr. Maytag or the crew from Energy Star will not be making a delivery to my home in the near future. I think I can still get my hands on the furniture since we just plain don't have any to go in our new home but I may have to offer up some back rubs.

So even though I got pummeled by Mr. Speedy, all this motivation to train hard earned me a killer PR plus I still came in second place over the women and won me some new ear buds and $30 to Al's Sporting Goods. Not too bad. Oh, and don't forget the most important thing. I came away from the raffle with some of this stuff...

Don't ya love that the "B" forms the cyclists backside. Nice. So one day when I decide to take up biking, my rear is prepared.)

I'm not giving up on the washer and dryer though. Ideas for a "triple or nothing" are starting to form. Suggestions? I'm also looking for some new goals to push me through the fall training. What are you aiming for?

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm in TrOubLe!!! + Fri Fav's

I think I may have stuck my foot in my mouth. The big race is this Monday and after only a month to train my hubby is one quick little turd. He probably has only ran about 8 times and only 3.1 miles each time (apparently not wanted to run farther than needed) but is running at a 6:30 pace!!! CRAP! I've never ran that fast! Although on this morning's 4 mile run my last mile was at a 6:29 pace so maybe there's a glimmer of hope? Oh boy. I'm thinking of throwing this offer on the table.

If I come in first among the women I get to keep the furniture.


If he wins then I challenge him to a triple or nothing 10k. I'm pretty confident I've got him there because he's never really ran anthing over 4 miles. Hmmm.....


Should I just suck it up because I agreed to race...even though it was on his terms. ;)

Oh well. If anything I'll have a good time trying to win and I'm sure to get a PR out of this one. Also I may have gained a partner in crime. If he's this good with such little training he really should stick with it! Now I can have some company on my Saturday morning races. We'll just have to find a babysitter willing to work in the wee hours of the morning.

Here's some favorite's I came across this prepared to laugh.

Running Diva Mom - I know I said I wouldn't mention anything about a virtual race until Oct. but I at least want you to get in on this one if you'de like. -k, I'm done.

The Boring Runner - Favorite new blog that I've added to my roll. "Boring"...WHATEVER! This guy really is a crack up.

Frayed Laces - "The $150 Pit Stop Mistake." Probably one of the funniest posts I've ever read. The fact that she had to seek medical treatment made it all the more hilarious. I know that sounds mean but you'll just have to read it.

Run To The Finish - Lessons on runner's ettiquette. Gave me a chuckle as well. Check out the comments for some more reasons to smile.

P.S. I did count my cadence this morning to see if I could make some last ditch effort tweaks to my stride and get a faster pace but I'm WAY above the standard mentioned for elite runners. I'm taking about 180 steps per minute vs. the 90 steps my previous post said was optimal. Hmm, more on those thoughts Monday.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I'm always open for some great advice or helpful criticism on how to improve my pace and I came across this sweet little paragraph by Rick Morris on No need to paraphrase because it's good stuff and not too much to take in.

High Cadence

"One of the most noticeable differences between recreational runners and world class competitive runners is cadence. Top level runners use a cadence of around 90 to 100 full strides per minute, compared to a rather sluggish 75 to 85 strides per minute for recreational runners. A higher stride rate encourages a shorter more efficient stride. Low stride rates are usually associated with over striding and spending too much time on the ground. Try to maintain a stride rate of at least 90 strides per minute at all running velocities. You’ll run easier and more efficiently."

You better believe I'll be counting my steps on my next run! If all I have to do to add a little more speed is take a few more steps per minute than that sounds great to me! Tomorrow's a rest day but I'll let you know Friday how it works out. I'm actually kinda hopin' I fall short on the candence per minute so I can tweak things a little and improve my 5k pace just in time for a race on Labor Day.

Feelin' the Love

As you may know I recently participated in the "Mama Goes Master" race and I'm pleased to announce that I WON the 8.25 mile portion. Hooray! I'm looking forward to the little prize package arriving in the mail soon. Thanks again for takin' on the RD position MCMmama! Click here if you're interested in the race results.

Also, Andrew at RunningManWannaBe sent me an email yesterday with questions about stretching technique and he appreciated the advice so much that he gave me a little shout out on his blog. It's nice to use my professional brain every once in a while since I'm usually preoccupied in Mommyland. I would love to help anyone with their training and I welcome any questions you may have. Thanks for the link love Andrew!

Monday, August 30, 2010

So Much for Sub 21

Saturday I ran in a small town race with a small amount of people but had a blast. My hubby is from this small town so I knew a bunch and got to run with friends AND family as my Sis-in-Law joined in the fun. Ya know, sometimes a race is just about the commodore between runners and it doesn't matter what time you get.

Oh who am I kidding...I wanted to see something under 21 minutes SO BAD! I was on perfect target pace for my first mile at 6:40 min. and then Mr. G went blank. WHAT?!?!? I just charged the sucker a couple days before and had only used it once on a short run but I'm thinking I must have left it ON. Grrrr. Lesson - charge Mr. G the night before a race no matter what.

So screen is blank but at least I had a young buck next too me that was running my same pace so I figured if I stuck by him we could make this happen. All was well until mile 3. Mile 3 has a little steep hill that lasts for about 1/4 mile at the beginning and I remembered it from previous year so I attacked it. However, I forgot that from the top of this steep hill it remains a slight uphill grade to the finish line. Ahhhh!!! Maybe should have saved a little "umph" for the blacktop that remained. Well young buck slowly pulled away and I was left counting my steps. (Something I resort to sometimes when I'm starting to hit a rough spot). Not sure what my last mile split was but obviously not fast enough to keep my time under 21. I actually didn't even get under 22 min. My time was 22:19 which is a GREAT time that I am proud of and I did come in second overall (like I said...small race). I'm just ready to kill that 5k come Labor Day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

4 Your Playlist - Friday Fav's

I've got a few favorites to share with you today.


The Kills ~ Sour Cherry (My favorite new addition)
The Kills ~ No Wow
Bruno Mars ~ Just the Way You Are
Enter the Hagis ~ One Last Drink
Radiohead ~ 15 Step
Matchbox 20 ~ How Far We've Come


Secrets of a Running Mom - Refer here for 10 ways to run like your a 4 year old. I need to be more like this.

One Run At a Time - Check out #2 on her "Three Things Thursday". It's my knew best friend...and mine's made out of marble. Oooh la la!

Early Morning Run - Great new recipe for using the beloved sweet potato.

Joe the Runner - For those of you who adore your treadmill. You may enjoy this post.


Microwave Smores - I might even sign up for a race just to justify eating 1 or two. So good! I'll try to refrain from licking the screen.

Have a wonderful weekend! I'll be celebrating mine 5k style. Going for sub 7 pace. If the course is the same as in previous years there's a little nasty hill at the end so we'll see. Race report Monday...I'll let you know how that smore worked for me!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MCMmama's Virtual Race Reports

Are ya sick of hearing about these virtual races yet? Sorry! I just wanted to throw down my race reports to prove my participation so bare with me one more time and I promise NOT to mention anything about a virtual race until Oct. when I start working on the Jog 4 Joubert 10k.

I chose to participate in 2 difference distances (4 miles and 8.25 miles) in the Momma Goes Master's Virtual race this past week and really enjoyed my first voyage into the cyber race world.

Last Friday I attempted to conquer the 4 mile race only to DNF due to Mr. G complications. See previous post. Of course I finished the run but wasn't able to record my accurate stats so I just chalked it up as a good tempo.

8.25 miles
Saturday I tried again only my target was the 8.25 mile race and was pleasantly surprised at the pace I was able to keep. Lately I've been focusing on my short races and doing a lot of speedwork and tempo runs to get my 5k/10k pace down so to be able to keep up a decent pace for 8+ made me happy. Another HUGE motivation on my run was that Mr. G beeped "Low Battery" at me around mile 4 and I was not going to repeat this race so the anxiety pushed me a little harder. I know, DUMB of me to not check on battery juice the night before but it all worked out. Whew!

Getting ready to hit the road running. I saved you from having to witness the post-race glow.I finished in 1:03:36 which was a 7:43 pace. Wahoo!

4 miles
This morning was my second attempt at the 4 mile race. After charging Mr. G last night and popping a couple Gobstoppers this morning I was ready to go. (Yeah that's my kinda fuel. A little hard candy seems to do the trick. Not very technical here.)

I would've LOVED to go sub 7 min pace but the first mile is slightly uphill and if I push it TOO hard I suck it up the rest of the way. I did try to warm up first but I think I took it too slow because it didn't seem to make much of a difference. Next time I'm going to take 1/2 mile warm up running at normal pace, have a 1 minute breather, and then pound the pavement. Why didn't I pick a flat route? Because most of the time after I've worked a little harder to get up a hill I run the subsequent miles faster.

I was able to kick out the 4 miles in 28:16 min. with a 7:04 pace. Mile splits...
Mile 1 - 7:43
Mile 2 - 6:48
Mile 3 - 6:50
Mile 4 - 6:54

See what I mean about the first mile! I would LOVE any advice on what I can do in my training to get this down. Obviously on a long distance it doesn't matter as much because you have time to get into your groove. In these short distances you have to be ready to go right off the bat.
Maybe a more effective warm-up. I!

A little after race glow. You couldn't get away with it twice. ;)

HApYp BirThDay MCMMama!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010


The fall racing season is upon us and many of you haved signed up to run in some kind of race so in the spirit of wishing I could be there to cheer you on I made you some posters...

Best wishes towards surpassing your goal, finishing your distance, or crushing your PR. I wish I could be there in person to yell some encouragement and I look forward to reading your race reports. Good luck!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Going Virtual (Fri Fav)

This past week my favorite thing has been to sign up and participate in virtual races.

Ten reasons to participate in a virtual race.

1- You have a lull in your race season.
2 - You don't like race day pressure.
3 - You prefer to run on your own time.
4 - You have a favorite course.
5 - Running for a good cause makes you happy.
6 - You aren't ready to commit to a race in reality.
7 - It's fun to be in the "running" for free stuff.
8 - You don't like to pay race fees (many virtual race are FREE).
9 - You like the commodore of bloggy world.
10 - You're in a rut and need some motivation...NOW.

I mentioned in my last post that I was in on MCMMamma's virtual race this weekend and so far so good. I almost had my 4 miler completed today but I stopped Mr. G for 2 passing vehicles when I had to cross a road and it didn't get started up again for a 1/2 mile. Ahhh! Should've just relied on the automatic pause but I was reluctant and paid the price. I think the automatic pause actually kicked on too which is what got things mixed up when I thought I had started the timer again. After I finished I ended up with an average pace of 7:06...OUCH! I can at least record it as a good tempo run but to have all that effort go uncounted was rough. I'm going to complete the 8.25 mile race tomorrow and then go for the 4 miler again Tuesday. Note to self...Automatic pause is my friend.

Here's another virtual race I wanted to give a shout-out to.

She has a child with Joubert Syndrome and is trying to spread awareness. One way is by hosting an upcoming virtual race "running" from Oct.3 - Oct 10. Click on the button below for complete info then click on the above link to enter.

Oh, and if you heard it here first, would you mind letting her know I sent you. Thanks and enjoy the race!

P.S. In the future, when I come across additional virtual races I'll pass on the word so you can get in on it. Or if you do a little blog stalking yourself in the running community you may find some too so be sure to let me know!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Keepin' It Interesting + Virtual Race

Yesterday's run was GREAT! Let me tell you what I did.

I've had step up my speed game lately as my hubby has been rockin' his training for our upcoming big race. (If you've read my previous posts you may know about our "friendly" competition. For details you can click here.) Not that he's been out running a ton but for the few miles he has run he's gotten faster! I've been a nice competitor and have loaned out Mr. G so he can have an idea what's going on out there while he's pounding the road...and so I can keep tabs on his progress. His last run was a 6:52 pace! What!?!?! Time for me to switch gears into panic mode and pound some pavement!

Here's what yesterday's morning run looked like. It burned SO good!

1 mile warm-up @ 8:10 pace
1 mile fartleks with the telephone poles
(ON @ 5:33 pace/OFF @ 8:15 pace)
1/2 mile recover @ 7:45 pace
1 1/2 mile tempo @ 6:45 pace
3 min. active rest
5 x 1/2 block strides

Today is my rest day. Ahhhhhh...

Tomorrow I've got plans for a 4 mile tempo. Going for at least sub 30 min.

Friday is my long day and for 5k training I figure 6 miles is good. But this Friday I'm using it for a virtual race I've signed up for and hitting 8.25 miles. I'm competing in two distances. The first is the 8.25 miles and the next week I'm going to pound out a 4 miler. If you'd like to get in on the race click on the race bib below and leave MCM Mama a comment telling her what distance you would like to do. For info about the race her original post is here. Just be sure to leave your comment on a new post of hers so she catches your name. Good luck!

Occasionally I feel like I'm not so HARD CORE this year when I'm running these short distances and not going for a marathon but I'm having A LOT of fun with the training. Instead of focusing on my base mileage I get to throw in different speed sessions with something new each time and it keeps things fresh. After the Ragnar Relay in June and peaking for a 15k I did over the 4th of July I lost a little motivation but changing up my training has done the trick and my desire and drive is renewed! If your feeling some post-race blues...mix it up a bit. Speedwork can be a lot of fun!

Monday, August 9, 2010

I will help!

In almost every running magazine I read there's always a question about the effectiveness of stretching and let me tell you...I PROMISE it makes a difference. I've been able to increase my stride length with my running which has boosted my pace. It's how and what you stretch that has a positive/negative result.

#1 Rule - NEVER stretch a cold muscle. You're more likely to tear the muscle and do more damage than good. To warm up a muscle go for a slow jog, take a warm bath, or apply a heating pad (moist heat is best but just be cautious so you don't burn yourself). I don't ever stretch before my run. I take the first mile as a warm up so I can literally can warm-up the muscles and then I go for my run whatever my goal may be for the day. Then AFTER my run is when I hit the stretching.

#2 Rule - Don't bounce! This actually can cause the muscle to tense up and also can lead to a tear. Just hold the stretch for 30-40 seconds and as the muscle relaxes you can slowly stretch further.

Important muscles to stretch for running/walking. Click on the muscle for a link on how to stretch.

Hip Flexors

Even if your not a runner these stretches make a huge difference especially later in life. As I worked in physical therapy I spent A LOT of my time with the older generation (75+ years) many of whom I was helping to walk again after an injury or just plain regression in health. The main culprit that kept them from walking...tight (or shortened) muscles. For example, when the calve muscles are shortened it pulls the heel chord tight making it hard to get the foot flat on the floor. This results in unstable walking and leads to a higher risk of a fall which is ofter why the elderly stop trying to walk. It's a fear of falling that makes them lose a lot of independence.

By keeping these muscles lengthened through proper stretching not only will help increase your stride length, prevent a muscle injury, or help with muscle soreness, it also will help you later in life as the muscles tend to tighten as we get older. So just extend your fitness routine by a few minutes and squeeze in a couple stretches. Your muscles will thank you.

See you on the road!