Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A confession and some yummy shrooms

  Yesterday I did an interval workout with 6X 800s and then 4x 400s with a mile warm up and cooldown.  It felt pretty good although by the end I was pretty tired.  I never really understand why I struggle so much to pull off the prescribed pace in training but then when I get to a race I can really pull out the stops.  I am guessing it has to do with race day adrenaline and the extra motivation of all the other runners.  I always train by myself so there really isn't anyone to push me harder.

  Mostly I am not going to question it too much whatever I am doing seems to be working all right for me. Anyone else feel like this?  I see some people posting about their great tempo runs and am so jealous.  I do tempo runs but never as fast as I am supposed to, but then I go race and pull off a time I shouldn't have according to my training.  Not like out of this world fast but faster than the pace I have been training for. Most weeks I really don't even do a real tempo run.

There I said it.  I confess, most weeks I skip my tempo runs.  I go out meaning to do them, but then I never quite manage to maintain the pace so I scale back.  I get the pace I am supposed to run from the pace calculators on Runners World. so it isn't like I am aiming too big.   Maybe it is all the hills I have to deal with.  Maybe it is all mental, but I really hate tempo runs. 

Nothing much exciting to post today. I did make some out of this world stuffed mushrooms and zucchini boats this week.  I was pretty impressed with myself.  I HATE cooking and so does my husband so it just falls to me to cook. I usually keep it pretty basic.  Don't worry this will not be turning into a food blog and I would share the recipe but not really sure what I did with it.  I found it on  What an awesome resource.  Plug in some ingredients and it spits out some recipe ideas.  All kinds of suggestions about ways to make it better.  Anyone else love this site?

Funny the mushrooms don't look as good here as they did in real life.  They were a little too good really.   There were none left.

I just noticed that I passed the 100 post mark.   Yay

Do you like cooking or is it just another chore for you like it is for me?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hamstring Help

You might remember that I whine about how my hamstrings are always tight and from time to time they get really sore.  Right now they aren't too bad and I really want to keep it that way. I have been working the foam roller at least once a day, okay some days I forget, but I am really trying.  I found some yoga moves recommended by Runner's World online for strengthening and stretching the hammies to help them heal up and help prevent future injury. Here are the two yoga moves recommended to help hamstrings:
 The Cure: Supine Leg Stretch
How to: Lie on your back and place a strap (or belt) around the arch of your right foot. Holding each end of the strap, draw your knee to your chest (move the hands up and down the strap as needed to release slack). On an exhale, straighten your leg upward as far as you can to comfortably stretch your hamstring. You should hold for at least 30 seconds to release the muscle, but no longer than a minute. Repeat for the left leg. “This supine stretch is better than a Standing Forward Bend because your body is fully supported. With no tension in the back, your hamstrings will relax more easily,” says DeAvilla.

The Cure: Locust
How to: Start lying on your belly. Place your feet three to four inches apart and point your toes. Extend your arms in front of you, shoulder width apart. Squeeze your buttocks and press your pubic bone down into the floor. Inhale and stretch your arms forward and your legs backward as you lift your body off the floor. Keep your pelvis on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. “With locust you can go slowly and have control over your legs as your hamstrings contract,” says DeAvilla. “It’s a safe strengthener because it’s hard for to overdo.”
The locust was harder than it looked.  I thought oh piece of cake, but holding it for 30 seconds x3 was pretty hard.  I do feel like I should be wearing a superman cape while I am doing it and my kids keep wanting to hop on my back.

I found another article that favored the hamstring pushup.  Never heard of it?  Me either at least not by that name here is a description of how to do it borrowed from Runner's World HERE

Hamstring Push-up
Lie on the floor with your feet
on a chair or Swiss ball that's against a wall. Lift your butt off the floor, then lift one leg off the ball. Slowly lower your body to the floor, using the hamstring of the supporting leg.
Reps: One set of 8 on each leg; work up to 3 sets of 12
Strengthens: Hamstrings
 Other websites said you could use a chair or something similar, I used the coffee table.  Seemed to work pretty good.

 Hamstring curls with a ball are another great body weight exercise that is great for the hamstrings. 
 It is so much harder doing with one leg instead on using both, but I think this way one is not compensating or working more for the other. 

I don't belong to a gym so I have to stick with body weight type exercises that can be done at home.  Hopefully I will remember to do these a couple times a week and strengthen my hamstrings and loosen them up a little.

What is your problem spot?

Any other hamstring advice?

Two more days left to enter my giveaway for Tommie Copper Compression Calf Sleeves

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Hand That Feeds Us

Yesterday I did a two mile easy run, one semi hard mile and then a cool down mile. It was 6:30 in the morning so you would think the air would feel nice and cool, but no I felt muggy and warm already. 
 It was all supposed to be an easy run, but sometimes it is so hard not to throw in a little bit of speed., it just feels so good.   Anyone else have trouble with this?

I also did a workout that left me a sweaty mess on the floor.   I do confess that I have  been really lax lately with  my cross training so I am going to try to get back to three BodyRock workouts a week again.  I think  part of it is that they are traveling right now and not posting new workouts daily.  Lame excuse considering the hundreds of old ones I could go back and do I know.  I think the other part has just been the heat and a little bit of laziness. 

I saw an article in the Western Ag Reporter (bonus points to anyone who has heard of it or read it) and thought it interesting enough to share.

This might not have a lot to do with running except that we all love to eat and need to refuel our bodies.  The average age of the full-time American farmer is 58, the oldest at any time in the history of our country.  If they all retire at the average retirement age of 65 think of the problems we could have.  Why aren't young people returning to the farm?  The allure of the big city draws them in, they can work less and make more and have a lot less stress.  Farming/ranching has high input costs and just like the price of fuel they are going up exponentially.  For a young person trying to get a farming or ranching operation off the ground the costs are almost too overwhelming too overcome.

  There are currently about 210,000 full time farmers and ranchers in America. That is how many people walk through Walmarts doors every 21 minutes.   The population of America is over 300 million people.  It seems like there is always something on the news about the farmers receiving these big government subsidies.  The farm policies in this country actually only account for less than one quarter of 1% of the federal budget.

The whole point of this is when the topic comes up, we should be supporting the less than 1% of Americans that help feed the other 99% and help make it easier for young people to enter the farming and ranching business. Every time the politicians look at cutting the federal budget the old Farm Bill gets the ax taken to it. We should be supporting policies that help them and help hold the thin green line. 
Compared to other major agricultural producers around the globe, the U.S. ranks near the bottom of the subsidization and tariff scale.
  • The most profitable side of the food business is in processing and marketing, not the farmer’s share. In fact, for every dollar that consumers spend on food, farmers receive just 20 cents.
  • Of the $4.39 retail price of a box of cereal, farmers receive just 8 cents.
  • Of the $3.99 retail price of a bag of potato chips, farmers receive less than 10 cents.
I can't help but be passionate about these things since my Dad is a farmer and rancher and my husband wants nothing more than to have his own cow herd.  I try to keep politics out of my blog because it mostly bores me, so hopefully this did not bore you!

How close or how removed are you from the food chain?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thinking Way Too Deep

Do you ever wonder if all of these things we use as runners make us stronger runners or weaker runners or some combination in between to where it all cancels out?  Think about it.  Does using energy gels help or hurt in the long run?  Just when you are feeling tired  you gulp a gel or some chews and continue on your way, pretty soon your energy levels pick up and you keep running with renewed energy and focus. 

What if you skipped the gels though and just trudged on.  Would our bodies learn to utilize what we have stored in our bodies better?

  Or does it really matter? 

Do our bodies get dependent on us giving it a blast of energy to keep going and how much of that could be mental? Like for example if on a long run you always eat your gel at miles 5 and 10.  You are at mile 4.5, you know in your mind pretty soon you are going to get that gel in your system and you will feel energized and able to keep running for another 5 miles. 

Are you tired because you are tired or could you really make it another couple of miles before you really do  need a gel.  Or are you tired because you think you should be getting low on energy and need a boost.

What got me thinking about this is that I usually refuel at about miles 5 and 10 on my long runs.  But say I am just doing an interval workout.  2 mile warmup, 8x800 and 1.5 mile cool down with   2 minute slow jogging in between the 800s, total mileage can be between 7 and 8 miles.  I never refuel when I hit mile 5, in fact I don't typically use any form of energy gels, chews etc on any other day except long runs and races. 

I am probably over thinking this as EVERYTHING  I have seen about it on the internet talks about how great energy gels are and how they help give you the endurance to keep going.  They are probably right and I do  love my gels, chomps, stingers, bloks, etc. 

The other things I use for running that I think have helped me become a stronger runner are: 

  •  Garmin I think has been one of the strongest motivators to up my training and keep it going so most definitely a help. 
  • iPod- keeps me from getting bored, and keeps me motivated when I need a pick me up song. Though sometimes I wonder if I didn't run with it, if I would stay more focused on form or pace.
  • Head/sweat bands keep the sweat and hair out of my face so, another helper here.
  • Compression socks/ calf sleeves feel too good to even contemplate getting rid of.
  • Styrofoam roller is my new best friend.  I don't know how my hammies survived before. I was never good at stretching, but this seems like less work and faster results.
  • Handful sports bra keeps me looking good when I run.
I didn't have any of these things except the iPod five years ago, and now I run way more competitively than I did than.  So I am not sure if they spoil me and make me a "softer" runner, but I do know they make running so much more fun! 

How has the gear you used changed in the last 5 years?
Do you think it makes you a tougher or a softer runner or do you just think I am over thinking on a Sunday? :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Long Run Done and a better experience with RunningSkirts

I didn't know if I was going to get my long run in today or tomorrow, it just all depended on who I could find to watch the kids.  I was hoping for today but it didn't look good.  My husband had to leave the house at 7 am for work, I got up early with the intention of getting some miles in before he left, unfortunalty the kids got up early too and wanted some attention so that by the time I got out the door I only had 45 minutes to run which is clearly not enough for a 14 mile run.  I decided maybe when I came back I could find someone to watch the kids and then continue on with only a slight interruption.  When i got back to the house my kids were getting ready to go to work with their Dad...YAY!  So I helped them get out the door and I got myself back out the door and finished my long run.  4.2 miles with a 30 minute break and then 10 more miles.

  Long run done.  When I stepped outside for part two of the run it was  deceptively cool outside due to the sun being behind the clouds.  It felt soo good, but I knew it wouldn't last long.  It last about 3/4 of a mile and then no more cloud cover  :( 

My friend BranDee had ordered a RunningSkirts skirt and when she got it decided it was too small for her, so she let me try it.  You may or may not remember my first and only other RunningSkirts run HERE which was a total fail even though a ordered the size they recommended.  I sent that skirt to  my little sister to try out.  Secretly I did not give up on RunningSkirts though, so when BranDee offered me this one which was a size up then the previous one I jumped on it.  It felt so much better than the first.  The underwear stayed but, the skirt did not ride up. It felt comfortable and I didn't feel like I was showing my backside to the world or the two people that drove by me on my run today.  BranDee had ordered the size they recommended for her too, but it was clearly too tight for her.  I know they say they are supposed to be snug, but we both agreed that it just was not flattering when the skirt was too snug.

I had the side pockets stuffed full of energy chews.  I was a little afraid that they would weight the skirt down too much and it would fall as a ran, but I had no problems with it.  Never even noticed they were there once I started running.

 And the after picture inside the house because I was hot and wanted to get out of the sun.  Love the skirt and would definely get another in this size and not the size they recommend.  Maybe I am just too bootylicious to wear the size they recommend. lol  In this picture you can also see that I have the back pocket stuffed now.  I wanted to see if it would bother me, didn't notice it either. 

  Just curious if anyone else likes the size they recommend or if you would rather wear one a size up from what they recommend like BranDee and I. 

Don't forget to check out my giveaway HERE 

Have a great weekend.  What is your favorite brand of running skirt? or if you are not a skirt person what is your favorite shorts/capris whatever to run in? and why?

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Cure for Heavy Leg Syndrome?

Last weekend I smashed my 5 mile PR by over a minute with legs that felt amazing although  certainly tired by the end of 5 miles.  I was completely surprised by how awesomely wonderful the race felt when just the week before I had run a 10k with heavy legs. I felt like I had to fight for every step and although I still did well in the 10k the whole thing felt harder than it should have. 

So what made such a difference in one week?  I wasn't really sure until I ran across an article from the Running Times about Heavy Legged Syndrome.   The cure stated by the author for heavy legged syndrome in that article was a long slow run.  The day after my 10k I had gone for a long slow run, and it was slow.  It took me over two hours and 15 minutes to get done with a thirteen mile run when normally I am done in under two hours.  They don't really give a specific or scientific reason why it works other than heavy legs seem to come from over training and the remedy is to oxygenate your body with longish runs.

  "Home is where you find comfort. It's where you go to sleep, to rest. Your long aerobic run is your home base. It's where you go to feel comfortable." 

Of course other article talked about how heavy legs are the result of over training and the only cure is rest.  I had also taken it pretty easy the rest of that week with an elliptical workout and a light interval workout.   Me being a woman I am susceptible to anemia, so really there could be multiple causes or reasons why I had heavy legs.  I found it interesting though and it seemed to have worked for me coincidence or not!  I have also read about how that time of the month can affect performance too so maybe there was some of that going on.  I don't know that I have been over training so hmm.  Things to think about I guess.

What do you do when you have heavy legs?

Linking up today with Jill over at As I See It for Fitness Friday Bloghop
Have a great Friday, who is racing this weekend?  Not me.  I don't have any races for 2 weeks, wow and I just realized my next half marathon is only three weeks away!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jumping on the Bandwagon

As in Three Things For Thursday!

1. The air is all smoky this morning, but thankfully it had thinned a bit by the time I went for my run.  I did a mile warm-up then 8x800 and a mile and a half cool down.  I  must be learning to like them a little because they seemed to go faster than they normally do or maybe it was the podcast I was listening to about ghost stories that was freaking me out a little and keeping me distracted.  It is called The Anything Ghost Show. I found it randomly and decided to try it out.  Sometimes it is kind of fun to listen to that kind of stuff and sometimes I just can't because I will freak myself out too much!  This was freaking me out!  I don't think I will listen to that one again.

2. I would like to give a shout out to the Billings Little League team that beat out California last night and is now headed to the finals Saturday.  If they win that game they will go up against the winner of the international rounds for a chance to win the World Series of Little League.  Great job to all those boys!  I don't know any them personally, but a lady I work with know some of them as they are friends with her son.  I think they are technically the Northwest Team, but they are from right here in Billings, MT and were not projected to beat the California  team.  So YAY!

3. So tired of grasshoppers.  They are devoured what was left of my garden, as I was running today I ran by this chokecherry bush.  It was nearly completely stripped of its leaves.  When I run I can feel their little bodies crunch under my feet every couple of steps.  So gross. 

Here is a picture of the bush up really close the whole thing looked like this. 

Finally don't forget about my Tommie Copper calf sleeves giveaway if you haven't already,

Do you like to scare yourself sometimes by listening to, reading or watching scary things?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No muscles were hurt in the making of this post.

I love it when we ask me "Aren't you afraid you are going to ruin your knees with all that running?"  No I really am not and I found the science to back me up!  Granted that if you already are genetically predisposed to arthritis it is going to come anyway, but there is no real link between running and arthritis.   I found this great article on  Time magazine's webpage called Running Not So Bad For Your Knees. 
It isn't the first time I have seen studies like that but I thought I would share it here anyway, basically it says that doing high impact exercises is actually good for your knees.  Researchers in Australia who did a study
"found that people who exercised vigorously had thicker and healthier knee cartilage than their sedentary peers. That suggests the exercisers may have also enjoyed a lower risk of osteoarthritis, which is caused by breakdown and loss of cartilage."
 It goes on to discuss some other injuries like stress fractures and soft tissue damage, but the main point is arthritis is caused by genetics and obesity.  Running will not ruin your knees and is actually GOOD for for it! 

I was supposed to work yesterday but ended up getting overstaffed...oh darn.  So I went for a run instead.  Yay  
I did a few hills then threw in some 800 and 400 intervals. Did a total of 6 miles.  I was mostly just testing out my legs after the race Saturday and testing out running in my Tommie Copper sleeves.  This is how I feel about them and getting to run yesterday.  It was little hot out and smoky.  There are some fires on the Crow Reservation, which I live close to.
Yup they feel pretty good! Although as you can see by the end of the run I had rolled down the knee sleeves.  Here is the before picture, that was the after.  Sorry, sometimes I just do things backwards!
I got bored while using my self timer to take pictures of me in my sleeves and decided to see if a) could still do a toe touch and b) was able to actually able to get a picture of it.  After 37 tries I got this.   Not bad for an inflexible thirty-something mother of two.  Disclaimer:  No muscles were hurt in the taking of this picture.  I stretched before and after.  Yes I was a cheerleader in high school.
Don't forget to enter my Tommie Copper Giveaway HERE

SO don't worry about your knee joints as you run today you are actually making them healthier! In case you cannnot see it, I am sticking my tongue out at all the running naysayers!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tommie Copper Review and giveaway

 Tommie Copper was awesome and sent me some really great calf sleeves, knee sleeves, and a compression shirt to review.   I have worn the calf sleeves everyday since I got them on Friday, they are my new best friend. 

First impressions: 
  •  lightweight
  • soft, silky  material
  • love the logo placement
  • wondered if they were really going to give a good amount of compression they seemed too thin
  • overall good

I think my favorite out of the three are the calf sleeves, but they are all super comfy and as they were designed with everyday wear in mind they aren't super tight.

We all know why compression is beneficial to us runners and athletes.  In case you are curious,  here is a little of the science behind the copper in Tommie Copper as taken from their website

How is copper used in medicine?
Copper has been used in medicine for thousands of years, one of the world's oldest medical texts, the Ebers Papyrus states, "Treat inflammation with pulverized copper". Copper also stimulates the immune system to fight infections, to repair injured tissues, and to promote healing. Copper has been shown to neutralize "free-radicals" which can cause severe damage to cells. Symptoms of copper deficiency include osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

How does the body use copper?
Copper is necessary for the growth, development, and maintenance of bone, connective tissue, brain, heart, and many other body organs. It is involved in the formation of red blood cells, the absorption and utilization of iron, and the synthesis and release of life-sustaining proteins and enzymes. These enzymes in turn produce cellular energy and regulate nerve transmission, blood clotting, and oxygen transport.

The calf sleeves are designed to help reduce inflammation, stimulate circulation and help relieve shin and calf pain.  They are truly comfortable enough to wear all day.  I wore them to work and my legs felt great at the end of the day.  I wore them for recovery after my 5 mile race last Saturday and today I did a 6 mile run in them.  They feel really good.  I had no problems with them falling down, being itchy, or feeling too tight.  

 I love the shirt as well,  I have slept in it a couple of times and today I took it on my run with me.  The material is soft and comfy, once again it isn't over tight.  I have noticed that if I sit on my computer typing too long I get a pain down the left side of my neck and shoulder (probably due in part to poor ergonomics at my table with my laptop). I was a little skeptical about it at first, but wearing the shirt does help.  I have not noticed the usual pain once yesterday or today while wearing it. They also make the shirt in a nude color so that it blends under work clothes.  
 I haven't worn the knee sleeves quite as much, but I did put them on with the calf sleeves as an experiment today to see how they felt together when running.  I would have to say they felt great.  No slipping, not too tight and after the first half mile or so I even forgot I was wearing them.  I didn't feel like they were too hot either, despite it being 75 degrees out.

Here I am rocking all my Tommie Copper compression gear.   
Final Impressions
  • Super comfy for all day wear, recovery, or running in.  I am in love with mine.
  • Calf and Knee sleeves are a great deal at $24.50 each.  
  • Now I am just wishing they would make some compression shorts to help my hams and quads.

Here is the fun part.  YOU can win your very own calf sleeves from Tommie Copper.

You of course have to be a follower of my blog to enter.  Here is how you gain entries.  Leave a seperate comment for each that you do.  A winner will be drawn via on Sept 1, 2011. 

1. Follow Tommie Copper on twitter HERE
2. Like Tommie Copper on facebook HERE, tell them I sent you.

Bonus Entries
3. Follow me on twitter HERE
4. Check out the Tommie Copper website and tell me what you like
5. Blog, tweet, or Facebook about this giveaway leave a comment for each you do.
6. Follow me on FB HERE

Disclaimer:  Tommie Copper provided me with these products free of charge, but the opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Race pic, rodeo, tears, and desperation

 Here is the one picture I have from the race Saturday.  I don't think they had a race photographer, but a friend of mine sent me this one.  I love how I am so focused on the garmin.  We had to navigate thru walkers from the 2 mile race during the last stretch up to the finish line.  A little annoying to have to weave around, thankfully there was not too many of them.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Quality of Life 5 Mile Race and a PR SMASHER!

I wasn't sure I was going to do the race this weekend, but in the end I decided to go for it.  Last weekend my legs just felt so heavy, I felt like I couldn't get my breathing under control, and my hamstrings were super tight after the 10k race Saturday and a 13 mile long run on Sunday.  I took it easy this week and did a light interval workout on Wednesday.  I did a mostly upper body and core workout and 30 minutes on the elliptical yesterday.  I had given up hope of having a PR on this race and distance since I felt so tired last weekend.  My 10k mile splits averaged into 7:12 minute miles.  To PR in the 5 mile I would have to be under 7 minute miles.  Didn't seem like a possibility so I accepted it and decided that if I felt tired I would give myself permission to take it easy (which it not easy for me to do, so not sure I could have done it).


The race started and I knew adrenaline would carry me through the first part.  Last week I felt tired half a mile into it.  Today I felt like a rock star on top of the world at half a mile and right then I told myself to go for a PR.
Mile 1     6:33 minutes When I saw that I thought "Crap I went out too fast and am going to crash and burn" but I was feeling pretty good, I tried to slow it down a little, but the pace was feeling fantastic.  We were running along the side of the highway here and the road slanted a little so I started to feel the slant a little.  I was running by another girl here so finally I surged a little got ahead of her and back on the shoulder of the road where it was a little flatter.

Mile 2     6:51 minutes.  I felt a little better about this but was still worried that I was going to fast.  Overall felt really good, breathing was under control, the course was lightly downhill.  I tried to keep it around a 7 min per mile pace.

Mile 3     6:16 minutes...This might have been helped a little by the big hill we ran down.  It dropped over 300 feet spread over the whole mile.  I attacked it, decided if I died in the end then I died.  I also knew there was a hill in the last mile that would be a bit of a killer.  I also lost my ActiveBand somewhere along the hill.  I scratched at an itch and pushed it back to far and it was gone.  Bummer it was one of my favorite ones.

Mile 4     6:51 minutes.  When I hit  3.1 miles (5k) I realized that at 20:09 I had a 5k PR, but I was not running a 5k race so on I pushed.  I was starting to feel a little fatigued in my legs here, but breathing still felt great.  The course here was mostly flat with a little bit of downhill.

Mile 5     7:06 minutes I knew this would be the hardest mile.  About a quarter of a mile in to it you start going up hill.  You run uphill for a quarter of a mile.  This really hurts at this point in the race both mentally and physically.  The song that came on my iPod for that part was perfect though.  It really helped get me to the top.   It was This is War, by 30 Seconds to Mars.  I knew that if I could just get to the top I had this in the bag.    There was a slight downhill after I FINALLY crested the hill then it was straight to the finish line.

Time 33:51.  My secret goal for a PR had been to make it under 35 minutes.  I did it in under 34. That wasn't even  a super secret goal.  It didn't even cross my mind that I could do a five mile race with average mile splits of 6:43.  I amaze me.  Last week I felt like I had to fight for every step (still had a great time) and this week I feel amazing.  This is why I run.  When I feel this amazing and pull out a time I didn't think I was capable of I feel re-energized and in awe of what I can do.

I got across the finish line,  saw my Garmin time and nearly started crying.  I could hardly believe what I saw.  Granted that a majority of the race is either flat or downhill, ...AWESOME.

Speaking of awesome, check out what I got in the mail yesterday.
Right now I am kickin back in my Tommy Copper calf sleeves.  There will be a review and a giveaway coming this week.  They are awesome BTW! I even wore them in Target after the race.  I got a few strange looks and one little girl told her mom to "look at those funny socks" ha!

I thought they went with my outfit pretty well.

So I won my age group and I think I was 5th woman in overall.  My prize was a glass bottle that you can use for either hot or cold liquids and it has a strainer for making loose leaf tea.  I love it!  My Aunt is always giving my loose leaf tea and I have never had a proper strainer.  I think it is a fun and totally different prize

 All in all a great day so far.  Tonight we are taking the kids to see the rodeo and to ride some rides at the fair.  A viking on a stick btw for all who asked is a meatball that is dipped in corn batter and deep fat fried.  That booth at our fair always has the longest line. A norskie is like a flat donut covered in cinnamon and sugar found at the same booth as the viking on a stick.

How do you amaze yourself?

Friday, August 19, 2011

How Fit Does the President Think You Are?

I got to thinking about the physical fitness tests we used to do growing up in school and looked it up online, what I didn't know was that there is The President's Challlenge Adult Fitness Test.  They bill it as a fitness test for healthy adults 18 and older.   Here is what the site says about fitness

There are two types of fitness:

Performance-related fitness is linked to athletic performance (for example: a 50-yard dash time or the ability to maneuver around obstacles quickly) and is linked to speed, reaction time, and coordination.
Health-related fitness is linked to fitness components that may lower risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or low back pain. Health-related physical fitness includes the following components:
  • Aerobic fitness - ability of the heart and lungs to deliver blood to muscles,
  • Muscular strength and endurance - enough to do normal activities easily and protect the low back,
  • Flexibility - ability to move your many joints through their proper range of motion, and
  • Body composition - not too much body fat, especially around the waist.

Here are my test results, with a three year old for a photographer

The Half Sit-up test   My results 52
The Push up Test  My results  40
I would like to dedicate this picture to Amanda at Runninghood.  She has a problem with wearing her Zensah tights inside out.  I noticed when I was cropping the picture that mine here are inside out, although mine are Nike and not as cool as her Zensah tights
The Sit and Reach Test 14 inches
Aerobic Fitness Test 1.5 mile run  10:08 minutes
Note:  I did not go out and run this morning I just used a recent time from the first 1.5 miles of a race, so  I still think I could do it faster, but this will work
BMI and Waist Circumference

Then you plug it all in to this form HERE and it tell you how you did
I did pretty good except for the flexibility which I knew I was going to not be good at given that my hamstrings are wound up so  tight right now, but I did not expect the fifteenth percentile!  Wow, I need to work on my flexibility. I thought I would be able to do more pushups and situps, not that those are bad scores, but I do see me trying this again in a week to see if I improve my score.

Did you know that this Presidential test existed?
 Anyone else as not limber as I am?

On a different note, here is the race packet for the 5 mile race I have tomorrow.  T-shirt is actually better than it was last year.  4 pens and a pencil, a tote bag, some advertising and coupons to local stores, a water bottle and a bottle of water.  

Linking up today also for the Fitness Friday Blog hop  over at Life..As I See It,  check it out HERE

Happy Friday!
Who else is doing a race this weekend?  
Why did you pick the race you are doing?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Love Affair

I am hopelessly in love with running skirts. I got my first
one last summer and wore it a lot for training, but felt a little self concious about wearing it for a race.  My line of though there was what serious runner really wears a skirt for a race?  Not many people in Billings did.  I finally gave in and wore it to the last race I did last year.  Loved it.  Fast forward I now own 6 running skirts and am always looking for more! I saw a statistic that one in three women now own a running skirt.  I also saw some women hate them because they feel the skirts are a throwback to the days when women were forced to wear them for modesty.  Anyone have any strong opinions about this?

Right now I am eyeballing these two really cute ones from Lululemon.  The first one is a lot like the one I already own in two colors black and turquiose, but the back is a little different, it was a double row of ruffly pleats instead of a single row. 

The other skirt is this one.  I wasn't sure I liked it until I saw it on a friend of mine at a race last weekend, super cute in action.  Which one do you guys think is cuter?  Does anyone own either of these and have anything good or bad to say about them?  I don't live near a Lululemon store so I have to go by looks and others reviews. In the end I probably won't get either one, but I really am in love with running skirts!

Yesterday I ran a two mile warm up and threw in 4 x 400's with a two mile easy cool down.  My legs are pretty tight from last weekend still, so I have been hitting the foam roller pretty hard and hope they loosen up soon for the 5 mile race I have Saturday, which I will be wearing a skirt for. :)

How do you talk yourself out of buying something you want but don't really need?
I have to sit back and take inventory of what I already have and balance the checkbook.  The old checkbook is the biggest deciding factor.  I bet I will add more running skirts to my inventory, but just not today!

What do you like about skirts or shorts over the other?
I like that skirts are not really the norm and they feel feminine and fun. My little girl has really helped my embrace that sort of thing, before I had her I always turned up my nose at that sort of thing.  Now I can't get enough! They are also comfy and cool to wear.

Okay off to work for this girl, have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rollin, rollin, rollin

This is the first year I have ever used a foam roller.  As I was rolling out my hamstrings last night I started to wonder if I was even doing it right.  So I looked up a few articles and learned this

1. Don't roll at the joints or bony areas, rolls above and below them.  Keep your focus on the connective tissue and deep muscles massage.

2. Roll for about 20-60 seconds. The articles really differed on this some even said up to 90 seconds.  I think I will stick to about thirty seconds.

3. Yes it will hurt, but this will help you in the long run.

4. Stretching won't always help a knot in the muscle, all you do is stretch the healthy muscle tissue around the knot.  The knot ignores the stretching apparently.

5. Always stretch the area after rolling it.

6. Roll the affected area 2-3 times a day and to prevent soreness roll 2-3 times a week. It typically takes several sessions to really get a knot worked out good.  Knots tend to recur so preventative rolling can be beneficial.

7. Spend extra time over the knot or affected area. Don't do it so hard that you end with a bruise or feel worse afterwards.

8. Foam rolling is way cheaper than a masseuse and you don't have to give them a tip!

9. Rolling before a workout can help with the warmup by decreasing muscle density and after the warmup to relieve sore muscles.

My main problem spot is my hamstrings here is a recommended way to roll out hamstrings

Hamstring SMR Stretch
1. Place hamstrings on the roll with hips unsupported.
2. Feet are crossed to increase leverage.
3. Roll from knee toward posterior hip.
4. If a “tender point” is located, stop rolling, and rest on the tender point until pain decreases by 75%. 

I like to do one leg at a time, since my right is worse than my left. 

Sources  The Running Times, My Physical Therapy Coach, Strength Coach.comPerform Better

Anyone want to add anything to this?

What is your favorite muscle area to foam roll?

Do you roll?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Virtual 5k results, and random other things

My baby girl and I were goofing off last night outside. She thought taking self pictures was pretty cool. Her big bro was inside sleeping so we played with the cats and just generally had a fun time.  No running for me today.  I took a much needed rest day.  My legs are sore today.  I used the foam roller for a  bit and threw in some pushups, pullups, and ab work and called it a day!  I have a 5 mile race this weekend and considering how my legs are feeling I am thinking of skipping it.  I hate to do that though, I love this race.  It is a super fast course all downhill and flat.  SO maybe I won't skip it, but I am going to baby my legs a little more than usual this week.

 Can you tell I love sunrises and sunsets, but seriously we get the most beautiful ones ever at my house, and while this technically is not a sunset it does look pretty neat in my book. I love the way the rays of the sun are coming out of the clouds.
 I did a virtual 5k as part of my long run Sunday.  It was called the "Not Over the Hill Virtual 5k"  Carrie at Family Fitness Food was hosting for her birthday.  Happy Birthday Carrie!  One of the rules was that you had to include some sort of hill. I picked on that is 3/4 of a mile long and gains over 200 feet in elevation. It is kind of a doozy in the middle of a long run, but I think it makes me stronger in the end so I do it! Miles 4 through 7.1 were my 5k miles, took me 26:32.  Not bad considering tired legs.  Of course there was also the nice uphill portion to begin with :)

Here is the bottom of the hill looking up, you can't see it all since the road goes around the corner, it can be a little deceptive.

At the top looking back!  Yeay I made it! I'm on top of the world.  Sorry no pictures of me, not sure what I was thinking, but maybe I was too pooped out to think right.
Off to work today, rest day again.  I will do more foam rolling when I get home, then tomorrow I will start in with the running again.  The mornings are starting to feel very much like fall.  I think fall is my favorite time of year.
What is your favorite time of year?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fair Food and a long run.

I went for a long run yesterday and did 13.1 miles.  The first 8 felt pretty good and after that I was really feeling the 10k race I had done the day before.  I knew it would probably be a slower than normal long run due to the race the day before, but wow it seemed to take forever!  I allowed myself walk breaks every mile and by the end I was taking them every half mile.  It left me wondering if I should have made the long run a little shorter today and cut myself some slack.
The sun was just coming up when I left for my run, and thanks to those clouds I really didn't see the sun until the end of my run.  Amazing how much more bearable clouds can make it when it is getting hot out!

I got home out on my compression socks and did some leg elevating on the wall, but then it was back to reality.  I started in on the mountain of laundry that needs putting away, but we had to make a run into town to get my car from the mechanics (finally).  We made a detour at the fair and had fair food!  We got a gyro,  a couple of norskies, and two vikings on a stick.   Mmm so good.  But I think a little bit too much fat for my belly.  I was glad I hadn't got the cheese curds or deep fat fried anything else.  Who thinks of that stuff anyway!

We let the kids go on a couple rides. I rode once on the carousel but so glad I didn't do anymore even just that was making me feel sick.  We are planning to go back to the fair next weekend and go to the rodeo so we didn't do many rides today much to the kids dissatisfaction.  My Mom was also there so she took the kids for a camel ride.  The kids also got cotton candy and sno cones. We ran through the petting zoo then headed out.  It was so hot!  The walk back to the pick-up seemed to take forever.

We came home and Rance and I crashed out, but the kids unfortunately didn't seem to think they needed a nap and kept coming in and waking me up.  there are no pictures from the fair because I let my daughter look at my camera on the way in to town and I don't know what she did. but I kept getting a black screen.  Aaack!  I just got the camera.  But later after we got home I tried it one more time and it works again so I am keeping my fingers crossed and keeping it out of her little hands!

Do you attempt a long run the day after a race or do you cut yourself some slack?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

10k Magic City Blues Soul 10k Recap

 The Magic City Blues Soul Run 10 Race Recap!  I am not sure if they had any photographers there, but here is a post race self portrait.  I forgot to bring my camera with me.  Boo..  Don't mind the grass the damn grasshoppers have eaten everything green that was left.  I wore one of my favorite Lululemon skirts and a New Balance tank that I also love, and of course my Handful sports bra because they are the BEST! :)  I picked up my packet the morning of the race and left a little early thankfully because I had not read the instructions clearly and went to the WRONG park.  I had no idea how to find South Park.  So I called my husband in a panic and he saved the day! Thankfully it wasn't very far away and I still got there in plenty of time.  This was the first year for this race so despite being pretty well advertised it was not well attended.  My only goal going into the race really was to get a new PR.  It was a gun start with a chip finish. 

The gun went off and off we went.  I tried to reign it in and the start and did pretty good the first mile was under 7 minutes, but I could tell I was going to have to fight to hold on to getting a PR.  My legs felt tired by the time I hit half a mile.  Miles 2 and 3 were both 7:08 minute miles.  I was thinking okay if I can hold this I have a PR in the books. Then we turned around and I started to lose it mentally a little.  I was a little thrown off by how tired I felt, I couldn't get my breathing to line out and I was starting to get a side ache.  Don't I sound like a whiner here?

Anyway so I tried to pull it together and just concentrate on my breathing and form for a while.  That helped but mile 4 was done in 7:21.  Mile 5 was 7:23 and at this point I knew if I could just hold on a little longer the PR was mine!  So I wish I could say I dug deep and pulled a faster split for the last mile but it was 7:28.  Hang on little legs!  The last .2 went fast and the official time when I crossed was 44:45, a PR by 25 seconds.

10ks seem mentally hard for me.  I don't know why. Of course I have only done two of them but I like 5ks and half marathons so much better. Maybe after I get a few more under my belt I will like them more.I was trying to do a negative split, failed big time.  That doesn't bother me too bad since I got a great time.  I also know I haven't been hitting the speed work as much as I should be, so I will have to get back to work on that!

It was a pretty well organized race for the first year.  They had a band playing at the turnaround and one at the finish, so that was fun.  there were also a lot of people along the way ringing cowbells.  Okay not a lot but about 5 or 6 every mile.  But that is about enough cowbell ringing for this girl.

They had water, chocolate milk, popsicles and pizza at the finish line.  The pizza smelled good and looked good, but when I tried a little piece my stomach was not ready for it. So I had some chocolate milk and popsicles instead.  I had a great time overall and had fun catching up with everyone.  I am starting to think I love the socializing as much as I love the racing.

Then I did a run to Costco and found this great shirt by Champion.  It came in four awesome colors, three of which I want, but I just got this one. There was also black, teal green, and berry.  I want them all except berry. 
 and look it his sleeves with thumb holes.  I love thumb holes.  The sleeves are super long even on the small that I got.  Super bonus cuz I hate sleeves that are too short.  Being tall and thin  is often a problem with small shirts, the sleeves are too short.

 It has some fun stitching details and the shirt is nice and long too, covers the belly nicely
 Never mind the mess btw, I ran a race this morning instead of cleaning!  What do you think do I look fast  in this shirt?  At 16.99 it was pretty cheap and I love the material it is made out of.  Yet another reason to love Costco. 
Guess I can take the tags off now. It's mine!

Okay now that I am done blogging I will go do some laundry then start catching up on blogs. Can't wait to read everyone else's race reports. 

Have you ever had pizza after a race? 
What is the strangest food you have found at the postrace refreshment tables? 
What race is the hardest for you mentally?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

10k PR! :)

Okay so this is super short until I have time to sit down and write up the race review but to make a long story short, my time was 44:45 so a PR! I won my age group and came in 5th overall for the ladies.  YAY.  It was hot, my legs felt tired, but I pulled deep and pulled it off!  Thankfully the course was very flat, although not always well marked it was an okay out and back along quiet streets.  They had given cowbells to residents along the streets and quite a few were out ringing the bells. 

Okay off to put away my groceries quick!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Easy run, Super drawing talent, and some more Q&A answers!

 I wanted to start by giving a shout out to my friend BranDee who is doing her FIRST EVER race this weekend.  She is doing the 3k at the same race I am doing the 10k.  She has a blog called Kickin Up Dirt, check it out!  Her youngest daughter is my daughter's buddy.

 Happy Friday everyone!  This was me yesterday.  I was supposed to do an easy 4 mile run, but it felt so good to be outside I threw in an extra mile and did some sprints mixed in just for fun.  Hopefully it won't have my legs too tired for the 10k I am doing Saturday morning.  My daughter picked out my outfit here.  I think she did pretty good.   You might or might not notice I take a lot of my running pictures in this spot.  It is because there is a great spot to put my camera and set the self timer to take pictures.  Since doing the same pose over and over gets a little boring I like to throw in some of these poses. 

Creative I know, I just wish my dog would get a little more into it instead of just staring at me like I am crazy or something.  It is like he is saying.  "Hey Mom are you done already?  Can we go running now? You are so weird sometimes"  Yes I do feed my dog, a lot.  He is just a ribby dog I guess.  He has also been wormed.

I am so excited for the 10k Saturday.  It has been a month since my last race.  I have a 5 mile race next weekend so hopefully my legs will be recovered enough by then.
My car has been in the shop for 2 weeks now I should be getting it back tonight which is GOOD!  I have been driving a money sucking pickup in the meanwhile and while I love driving it around and feeling like a badass, it is sucking my wallet dry.  I don't know how people can afford to drive them all the time. 

 Makes a lot of sense then when you look at my poses and the crazy ones my kids tend to give me!

 My kids seem to think I am some sort of Van Gogh and have been making me draw them pictures to hang on the walls in their rooms.  Here is a small sampling of my work. Stick cowboys, yes that is a stick horse also.
 And stick cowgirls and princesses for my daughter.
 And finally here is some more questions!
lindsay said...
if you won the lottery today, what would you do tomorrow? I would buy a big ranch in Montana  and then go for a trip around the world with a  nanny.  How much was in this lottery anyway?  Then I would quit my job, buy new running shoes and look for some good causes to donate to if I wasn't broke by now. guilty edible pleasure? Cake guilty non-edible pleasure? Blogging, reading other blogs and writing my own. what were you like in high school? what activities did you do, you know, for college application purposes :)  National Honor Society, Class Vice President, President of the FFA  chapter, BPA, track., captain of the cheerleading squad, 3rd in my class.  Yep a little bit of a geek!  would you rather live in antarctica, where you can only go outside 15 mins a day, or afghanistan? \This is a hard one!  I don't know!  If it was somewhere safe in Afghanistan where I could run and help out locally, I guess I would go there.  Antarctica does not sound like my cup of tea either.
That is all for today!  Tell me what you are doing this weekend, any races!  What super drawing talents do you possess? 
Check out the Fitness Friday Bloghop HERE  and there is also a Moeben arm sleeves giveaway there!  5 sleeves to be given out to 5 lucky winners!