Half Marathon Training Has Officially Started!

January 7, 2012 2 comments

That’s right.  This was week 1 of official half marathon training.  I had to say that to myself a few times before I started to really believe it!

This all comes after a BIG change of plans.  I’ve had my sights set on the San Francisco Half Marathon as being my very first on July 29 2012.  I’m excited.  Sometimes I even catch myself daydreaming about running over the Gold Gate Bridge.  How amazing does that sound?  It is going to be an experience I’ll never forget.  In a way it doesn’t feel real.  I plugged the date into a ticker and realized it was a whopping 210 days away.  That’s 30 weeks!   I knew I didn’t need 30 weeks to only add another 6 miles onto my long runs.  With the help of my running friends on Twitter, I decided to train for the Oakland Half Marathon on March 25, 2012.  11 weeks away.  Enough time to train up, but not so far away that it doesn’t feel unreal.  Great!

I wont lie. At first I wasn’t too sold on the thought of running in Oakland.  But after reading a blog post sent to me on Twitter, written by a Bay Area runner, (@PavementRunner) and after watching a slideshow on their website (http://www.oaklandmarathon.com) I was sold!  I am so excited to be a part of this event this year, and to experience the community who comes out in overwhelming support (and I saw something about live bands playing along the route), oh and excited for the 13.1 medal because free stuff rocks!

So that’s it.  March 25th is the new BIG day.  And despite the beginning of this year being flogged with junk miles that left my confidence in the gutter, today, being Saturday and my long run day, I gained all that confidence back by sticking to my training and completing my longest distance yet: 8 strong miles.  It felt amazing.  I kept telling myself that I was out there doing something I didn’t think I could do just last week.  It didn’t hurt that it was beautiful out this morning and I took advantage of it, running outside around a big park.  There was lots going on, multiple soccer games, hoards of parents there to watch, people rollerblading (which I thought was a dead sport ha)!, dog walkers, and other runners!  I felt comfortable until about 6.5 miles when I realized I hadn’t brought enough water.  This stressed me out a little (water fountains weren’t working either) so I started rationing it better and was happy that I had some Gatorade in the car waiting for me when I was done.  Since I didn’t have much water left, I was afraid to take a Gu because I thought it would upset my stomach.  Luckily I felt pretty good til the end and didn’t really need it!  And I know that’s a part of what these longer runs are for.  To work out all the kinks so nothing like this happens on race day.  I am still learning how to prepare, perform, and recover.

So I have decided to compose a list of my upcoming events (although it is a work in progress for now).

Jan 21 Twitter Road Race Virtual 5k

Jan 28 Coyote Hills 10k Fremont, CA  http://www.brazenracing.com/coyotehills.html

March 25 Oakland Half Marathon, Oakland, CA  http://www.oaklandmarathon.com/

July 29 San Francisco Half Marathon, San Francisco, CA  http://www.thesfmarathon.com/

Sept 4 Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, Dayton, OR  http://www.run4oregonwine.com/

I will throw in some 10k’s here and there between March the halfs marys, but I’m already getting excited about my list! I hope you stick with me through my training so you can read about my accomplishments!


New Year, New You?

January 1, 2012 1 comment

Ah, New Years Resolutions.  It’s that time again. It’s the start of a brand new year.  A clean slate. A fresh start.  A do-over, maybe.  We’re all shouting resolutions from our rooftops!  We’re going to be more aware of our spending, eat less, go to bed earlier, actually start using that darn gym membership, and lose weight!

But what is a resolution, really, and why do we wait to make them until Jan 1? And why do we fail year after year after year?

Well, because it’s a resolution.  All that means is you’ve determined something about something. And why wait til Jan 1 to think about your finances, your diet, and your health?

What we should all really be doing is thinking ahead, and making a plan!  Making goals. It’s not enough to just determine you should go to the gym.  You have to actually go!  Never put it off.  Not til the new year, not til tomorrow.

Goals are different than resolutions.  It’s the difference between a thought and an action.  And that’s a big difference; most likely between failing and succeeding.

So how do you stop this cycle of failing year after year, and start succeeding?  You need a plan.  If you’ve decided you’re going to start going to the gym, determine when you’re going to go.  Maybe early in the morning before you have to get your kids up, or on your lunch break or at night after your kids are in bed.  Choose whatever is the most convenient and the easiest to keep doing.  So what are you going to do while you’re at the gym?  If you’re anything like me, the gym can be very intimidating!  I had a membership at several different gyms for years before I decided I was going to learn how to actually use the facility.  Lack of knowledge can really hold you back, so I would absolutely suggest you take advantage of any free personal training sessions your gym offers.  Most do.  Have them help you create a plan.

After you’ve created a detailed plan, stick to it.  It’s easy to get bored, or too tired or too busy.  But when it comes down to it, you make time for what is important.  Your health is important, by the way.

Don’t focus on having everything right away.  Have patience.  The point is to keep doing.  Keep being active.  Keep getting to the gym.  Progress is just as important as that goal you’re working towards.  Be positive and know you can do it.  And you are worth it, too.

The best tools for my success that I discovered in 2011 were:

1. TWITTER!  There is a world of people out there that want you to succeed!  Thousands of people willing to share their stories of struggles and success with you.  There are people just like you, or people who were just like you, just starting out, who now have ran marathons, ultra marathons even.  People who have worked hard and lost 70+lbs for all different reasons.  These people are positive and you can learn from them.  Twitter has been extremely helpful for me! (You can follow me: @Critizzle)

2. COACHES/TRAINERS.  It’s all about the teachers.  They don’t have to be actual coaches or personal trainers (but it’s a plus if they are).  They can be your friends or husband, or running buddy.  Anyone who can show you how to get stronger, anyone you can learn from or that motivates you.  Group training personally helped me.  Twice a week I ran with other runners.  I also did a spin class.  Anything that makes you feel a part of something great is a fantastic way to stay on track.

3. BLOGS.  Again, it’s another way to learn.  All three of these tools have allowed me to immerse myself in fitness.  Blogs are good because it’s a closer look into people’s journeys.  It can be personal and inspiring.  I’ve found that most of the people I love on Twitter also have blogs.  I can’t even count the number of blogs I have read and loved.

A couple I suggest, are: Seemomrunfar.blogspot.com and http://nycrunningmama.com and http://runlikeacoyote.blogspot.com/

Check them out if you want to be inspired and motivated!  So good luck everyone, on your goals for this year.  You can do it!

My Last Miles of 2011.

January 1, 2012 1 comment

We woke up early on the very last day of 2011 for one final 5k in San Francisco. The fact that it was at Golden Gate Park made it that much more exciting… not to mention that it was a beautiful sunny day!

The first part of the 5k took me by a gorgeous waterfall (that I wish I could have taken a picture of), and the rest of the run was super pretty.

It was fun running through the park, past a big pond. Those paddle boats were looking pretty tempting this morning!

This was my 7th 5k for the year and it was my strongest. I ran it in about 34 minutes (it wasn’t timed) and even though my fastest is 33, I actually noticed a huge improvement in my endurance this morning. I’m proud of myself. About 10 minutes in all I could think in my mind was “HOLY HILLS!” It was hilly, nearly the whole time. I wanted to walk and rest so bad at first, but I pushed myself further and unlike in any of those other races, I ran this ENTIRE thing. Hills and all. Woo hoo!

I felt great when I was done and am so happy I didn’t let being sick for 3 weeks this month, and the holiday-goodies that have been everywhere I look completely sabotage my plan. I really did finish 2011 STRONG.

Water first… then….

Mimosas!!!  lol  Happy New Years everyone!  Can’t wait to get fitter in 2012!


Christmas for Runners

December 27, 2011 2 comments


I am very excited about all the fun (and some necessary) items I got this year for Christmas.  It’s almost been exactly 1 year since I decided I was going to start running. (Jan 5th is my Runniversary)!!!  I had run before, but not like I do now.  I didn’t run with purpose.  I had shoes that weren’t right for my feet (which led to a battle with shin splints), and clothes that weren’t for sweating in. (ew).

Thanks to my running coach, I found shoes that provided support for my arch that I need SO badly, and corrected my form.  (I had no idea that I had no idea how to run)!  I can say that correcting my form, and running in the right shoes has made a WORLD of difference.  My shin splints went away, and I no longer have to stop running because I can’t catch my breath.

It’s becoming a whole different ball game now.  I can tell you I am very motivated and am willing to be dedicated to running.  But heading out the door knowing I have 7+ miles ahead of me has forced me to change the way I think about running.  I am not running “just because.”  If I were running 7 miles “just because” I would quit pretty fast.  I am running 7 miles so I can run 8, so I can run 10 and pretty soon 13.1.  There is a purpose to all this hard work.  That being the San Francisco Half Marathon on July 29, 2012.  I have chosen the first half, which requires a faster pace than the second, because I want to run over the Golden Gate Bridge.  I know pushing myself that much more will be worth the experience.

On March 18, 2011 I ran my first 5k event.  The fellowship felt amazing and it’s sparked a fire in me.  I wanted to do it again! and again and again.  I had so much fun participating in 5ks around the Bay area in 2011!  I have really consistently enjoyed being a part of something.  And have dedicated hours and miles to getting better and stronger.  I have signed up for my very first 10k event for January 28 2012.  A year ago I had no idea I’d ever participate in a 5k, and today I KNOW I can complete a 10k and more.  What a great feeling!

Like I said, I am so grateful for my family for the gifts.  And the foam roller from my brother in law.  I knew this was something I needed, and am so happy to have it….and thankful for the multitude of running books from my husband for that extra motivation and my running journal which I am already loving!  Makes me even more excited to get out the door!

I am feeling confident that 2012 is going to be amazing.  I am ready!

Categories: Fitness, Strength, Workouts Tags: ,

Ending 2011 Strong, Entering 2012 Stronger

December 20, 2011 1 comment

I ended November by logging my most weekly miles yet: 19.5.  Even with Thanksgiving and traveling…. But….

December is a slippery slope.

After returning back home from our trip to Oregon, I got sick.  And I stayed sick for 3 weeks!  On top of that, my diet suffered with all the cookies and eggnog and treats galore!  It’s hard to resist this time of year.  Between all the sweet temptations and festive commitments (which offer even more goodies), I was finding it nearly impossible to maintain balance.  The holidays (plus being sick) was taking a terrible toll on my routine.

I wanted to write December off.  It’s a wash.

Then I started thinking about 2011, with it coming to an end and all.  I thought about all the running events I participated in.  About how I couldn’t even run for 30 seconds a year ago, and how much stronger I’ve gotten today as I train for my first Half Marathon.  I can’t let myself close out this amazing year stuffing my face with cookies, putting off progress and ignoring my goals.  I want to end 2011 STRONG.  And go into 2012 even STRONGER.

So I’m back at it.  Tackled double workouts yesterday, and eased back into my miles.  I’ve registered for one last 5k on New Years Eve morning… just for fun, and to close out 2011 surrounded by thousands of other runners in San Francisco.  It doesn’t get much more motivating than that!

Consistency and a Positive Attitude

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

I personally believe that these two little BIG things are absolutely key to achieving your goals.  I also believe they’re the two things that are the hardest to habituate.

The problem is when you enter into a new exercise routine, you’re often unsure of if it’s worth it.  The hours of sweating on the floor, or the elliptical or the stair machine seem daunting. And it is HARD work.  Then, when your hard work doesn’t pay off right away on the scale, your motivation wanes.  Your thoughts spiral into negativity and hopelessness.  Sounds somewhat dramatic.  But you know it’s true.  Who hasn’t experienced that to some degree?

When you’re faced with a daunting task at work, do you tell yourself you can’t do it, then crawl under your desk with a doughnut?  Uh no, your boss would fire you.  But if you take on that task with a good attitude, taking it step by step, you will ultimately reach the next level – then the next – then the next, until you finish the task: success!  Even if you stumble along the way, being persistent will get you there.

When you are consistent in your efforts, and have a good attitude, you can overcome.  You can achieve.

This is something I have learned through over a year of pushing myself and working hard.  It’s a part of working your mind into shape, as well as your body.  Both parts are important.  Both are hard.

Consistency and a positive attitude are so important.  Without them, it is too easy to become discouraged.  Even if the scale isn’t telling you what you want all the time, and you struggle with a workout, your mind can be the muscle your body may not yet have.


A delicious salad

November 9, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s not fancy. It’s just deliciously simple. Spring mix with raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and apple pieces. I put the same stuff on my oatmeal this morning. So good.

Categories: Food, Nutrition