Monday, September 30, 2013

I made it through another September

September is such a crazy month for us. School, preschool (which was crazier than normal, but that's for another blog post), soccer, swimming, allergies, back to school colds, SkyWalker's birthday (he's 9 now! What the hell? 9?). I think in years past I've often taken some time off from running in September until we get established in our routines. I didn't last September but that's because I was just returning to running so I wasn't doing all that much. This September I couldn't even think about a break.

On top of it all, Vader and I have been doing a Plank challenge for the month. We started on September 1st with a 20 second plank and we will finish today with a 4 minute one. It was a good idea in the beginning of the month. Not so much now.

The half-marathon is in 2 weeks. Today is supposed to be my first day of Week 15 of my training, but the Princess is sick and I'm not going to get it in. But that's okay since I'm tapering and I can make it up on Friday. Next week is Week 16, the final week, the culmination of everything I have been thinking about for months.

This September I ran my highest mileage EVER. Since I started running in March of 2010.


  • Mileage: 84
  • Runs: 15
I probably won't be seeing mileage like that again any time soon. I'm taking two weeks off after the half and then I'm slowly building up my base again. I've got to rest my foot and my kidneys so no more 10 mile long runs! But that's okay. Because for one month I was able to do it all--all the crazy family & school stuff and run a lot. Well, not all. I'll never get that damn dusting done.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sometimes you need to go it alone

11 solo miles, my longest ever alone. Time of day is irrelevant.

It's been a tough couple of weeks around here...  Very busy with some good and some not so good stuff. It has all caught up to me and when my alarm went off this morning for my long run with friends, it just wasn't happening. My head hurt, my throat felt weird, my cheeks and teeth hurt and I'm pretty sure I skipped the cold part and went straight into a sinus infection. I decided to just sleep--which actually meant listening to sick LightRunner cry and the rest of the children be way too loud. I sacrificed my long run with friends for that! I got up and thought how much doing 11 miles alone was going to suck. Luckily I quickly realized it would indeed suck if I thought of it like that. So I flipped around and reframed it as an opportunity, an opportunity to test my mental strength and to do things you just can't do in a group--like play with my pace. I decided to do the first half slow and speed up the second half, which is the goal all the time but doesn't necessarily happen.

I started out with the first mile really slow as a warmup. Usually I go too fast in the beginning but I made a conscious effort to really slow down. Then the next couple of miles I went slightly faster but still on the conservative side. When I hit 4.5 miles I sped up a lot and ran a mile as fast as I could. I had really wanted to do the 11 miles in 2 hours and when I saw that if I sped up just a bit I could reach the halfway point in an hour, I decided to go for it. I made it there in time and was really happy that I had been able to speed up after already running 4.5. I freely admit that when I reached 5.5 I stopped the clock, ate my chews, drank more water, and blew my nose again. I started up again rather slow, slower than I intended but not too crazy. When I thought I wouldn't make it in 2 hours I dug deep and sped up, determined to have my second half faster. I repeated "I will do this" over and over and it worked. I started running much quicker and feeling like I could do what I wanted if I just didn't give up. I kept reminding myself that if I could run 5 miles pushing a stroller and keep up an 11 min pace, then I could run 5 miles without the stroller much faster (I left out the part about already running 5 miles). When I got to 8.5 I was getting tired, but I really wanted to do this. So I just kept the mantra going, kept my legs moving, and then I was at 9, and then 10. When I reached 10 miles I had 11 minutes until the 2 hour mark. I sped up and truly pushed myself and didn't accept any excuses (nope, sorry little bladder, not stopping this time!). The watch hit 11 miles at 1:59 and I couldn't have been happier (that's a lie. I can always be happier, but it was pretty good.)

My first mile was 11:21 and my last was 10:03. My last was much faster than all the rest and I was super stoked that I managed to do it on tired legs. The first half, 5.5 miles was 1:00 and the second was 59:26. While not by much, I did what I set out to do. I ran the second half faster, I ran faster on tired legs, and I ran the last mile the fastest. And I did it all alone on country roads with rolling hills and no houses let alone people to cheer for you. If I can do that, I am sure I can do this half marathon.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ENERGYBits giveaway winner

Thanks to everyone who entered my ENERGYBits giveaway. I wish I had won some myself, I could have used them during my terribly inconsistent intervals today. But, I digress.

Using, the winner is comment #4. FunRunner! Email me your info (name & address) and I'll pass it along to the good people at ENERGYBits.

Edited September 30, 2013

I haven't heard back from FunRunner at all, so I've used the Random Number Generator to pick another winner. Comment #5, Sara King, you've now won the ENERGYBits! Get me your info and I'll pass it on.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Twelve glorious miles

Me, Tracy and Sara right after finishing our first 12 miles.
My friend Jen is not in the pic because she was too fast
and was already in the shower!
After my painfully slow Clove Run, the next long run I did was just as bad. It was hot and humid and I could not keep up. Our group split up and Sara stuck with me to finish our 10 miles. While I knew I could finish the half marathon I began to seriously doubt whether or not I would do it with my friends by my side. I didn't want to slow them down.

And then last weekend we all got up early and ran at 6 am on a Saturday. The air was brisk and dry, there was no humidity, no glaring sun, nothing to dehydrate me even more.

It was glorious.

There were times when I slowed down a bit and I even walked when I ate my Clif Shot Bloks. But I was able to catch back up each time. I was able to put on some speed during the middle and end of the run. When I reached the 10 mile mark it was a full 10 minutes faster than I had done the Clove Run. I was ecstatic. We continued and I hit 12 miles at 2:05. I finally felt like I did before I hurt my feet, before I started having kidney stone problems. I desperately needed this run.

The weather definitely helped. I ate a banana before I left and I haven't been eating anything so that could have helped too. I also did something shocking... I wore my old Mizuno shoes. My minimalist soul died a little, but I figured that while I'm battling this tendinitis (because really, it's not going to go away until after the half when I stop stressing my feet out so much) my feet could use a little extra support. I apologized to my Dash Gloves, laced up the Mizunos, and hoped I wouldn't immediately fall into heel striking the entire time. I think that the shoes worked for me. It gave me that extra stability that my feet need right now. I wore my Dash Gloves for a 4 mile run yesterday and was absolutely fine too. So I think I'll be able to keep them for shorter runs and just use the Mizunos for the long ones until I get this half done.

I am supposed to do another long run this weekend but I will be going away with the Princess and her Girl Scout troop. So instead I will have to get up wicked early Friday morning and run before school and then do a stroller run during preschool. I won't be able to get 12, but between the two maybe I can get 8-10 and hopefully that'll be enough. After that is just one more double digit run and then I start the taper!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

ENERGYbits review and giveaway

I'm pretty active in the running communities on twitter and I had heard a lot about ENERGYbits, little algae tabs that were a good alternative to the high-sugar gels that runners use to fuel a long run/race. I've been searching for something that I can use that will have me running for the finish line and not running for the toilet, so when ENERGYbits asked if anyone was interested in trying out a sample I raised my virtual hand.

The first time I tried the bits was for a midday run when I knew I didn't have enough time for lunch but I didn't want to run empty. The serving size is 30 tabs. I dutifully started swallowing tabs and quickly realized that there was no way I could do all 30. I cut it off at 20 hoping that would be enough (I'm smaller than most people anyway). I did my run expecting some crazy burst of energy but there was nothing. Nothing unusual in either a good or bad way.

I decided I'd try another run before I made my mind up about the ENERGYbits. I made plans to run at 5:15 in the morning on Monday and I thought it would be a perfect time for my second test. When I woke up at 4:30 I was starving. Full on tummy rumbling hungry. I didn't eat anything other than 20 bits. I kind of lost count of how many I swallowed, but there are 20 left so I am guessing I managed to do another 20. I met my friends and we set out on our run. I immediately noticed I was running a lot faster. It was pretty cool cold out and I figured the lack of humidity and the brisk air was just putting an extra oompf in my step. We ran 4 miles and I ran them quicker than I have in months. I never once felt any hunger or nausea or ickiness that I sometimes feel with gels. There was no hyperactive energy burst  or slowing down running through molasses feeling, but rather a consistent steady pace. I think the ENERGYbits definitely affected my run that day.

I think that they are a good alternative to eating a meal before a run, but there is no way I would be able to swallow the bits during an actual long run. It was difficult to swallow 20 of them sitting at my table. I'm not one of those swallow a bunch of pills at a time girls so it was a long and tedious process. I couldn't do it running. Or even walking. They can also be chewed but I wasn't brave enough to try that.  I still have 20 bits left and I might add them to a smoothie and see how that works.

Overall, I was pleased with the way they worked for the second run. I would recommend them to other runners looking for meal replacements or substitutes for the high sugar gels. I like that the ENERGYbits have one ingredient--algae--and nothing hidden. I don't think that they would work for me while I was in the middle of a run and that's really what I need right now, so I probably would not buy a whole supply on my own. I am interested in trying them out before my speed work tomorrow.

If you'd like to try ENERGYbits out for yourself, you can use the code "BLOG" in the coupon box and receive a 10% discount.

You can also enter my giveaway to win a free sample! ENERGYbits are graciously offering to send one free sample to one of my lucky readers. Please note that "ENERGYbits are only available at and Jonathan (their Brand Manager) has shared with me that he'd be happy to connect anyone with a current ambassador to share a discount on a bag of bits-- you can email him at".

To enter just leave me a comment telling me why you would like to try the ENERGYbits. I will choose a winner on Monday, September 16. Please make sure you leave a valid email address so I can reach you.

If you are on twitter you should join the ENERGYbits Health and Fitness chat every Tuesday night at 8 PM (EST) by using the #poweredbybits hashtag.

EnergyBits sent me a free sample but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

August stats

Tomorrow is the first day of school. We are so not ready. We have all our supplies and have everything labeled, but *we're* not ready. The Princess got out of bed at 8:45 today. Tomorrow she will be on the bus at 7 (earlier actually). This is going to hurt.

I did everything in my power to stop it but September is here again. Which means August is over.


  • Mileage: 38.9
  • Runs: 7
  • Races: 2

I took some time off when we went to LI right before the Clove Run to try and rest my tendinitis foot. Otherwise I think my mileage would have been as high as July. I'm slightly annoyed that I keep having setbacks--aching feet, kidney stones--but I have to remember all those months I wasn't able to run at all when I was pregnant. I really need to stop comparing my numbers from before I was pregnant and start looking at it as a clean slate. It has officially been a year since I've been running again after having LightRunner. I started up again when he was a month old. Last August I managed to do a whopping 10 miles for the entire month. On Sunday I ran 10 miles in a single day. What a difference a year makes! If I forget about before and just think about this last post-baby year:

Considering I've had to take time off to battle kidney stones and tendinitis, it's not bad. And most of this time I was breastfeeding a baby! (We finished that last week.) 

I hope to get back to some cross training now that school is back in session. I also plan on adding another weekly run. My ideal schedule will be to get my butt out of bed early Monday mornings and run before school, do intervals on the treadmill on Wednesdays, run with the jogging stroller on Fridays, and long run on the weekend. I'm aiming for Saturday followed by both swimming lessons and two kids with soccer games. I'd rather get it done Saturday so I can sleep Sunday.

I think there are only 5 weeks left before the half marathon so it's crunch time! I'm supposed to do my longest run (12 miles) next week but the Princess and I will be camping with the girl scouts. I'll have to do it the week after. I am looking forward to tapering. I'm looking forward to the half being done. I'm looking forward to my long run being 6 miles and not 10. I'm looking forward to enjoying pain-free running again. I'll do the Ragnar in May and another half sometime--maybe a destination half--but I'm really looking forward to just running for the sake of running.