Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekly Run-Down
Monday 2/22
Scheduled rest day

Tuesday 2/23
Distance: 4.01
Time: 35:07
Average Pace: 8:45

Wednesday 2/24
Distance: 8.14
Time: 1:12:00
Average Pace: 8:50

Thursday 2/25

Friday 2/26

Saturday 2/27
Distance: 16.52
Time: 2:30:03
Average Pace: 9:04

Sunday 2/28
60:00 on trainer

I planned to run 4 miles on Thursday, but I woke up with an awful sinus headache. I've been dancing with a sinus infection for about a week, and Thursday and Friday brought the worst of it. I think it is gone for good now. I had a bad headache and just felt pretty "blah" on Thursday and Friday, so I used them both as rest days in order to be in good shape for Saturday 's long run.

Friday was a long day for both of us, so Chad and I decided to stay home, order pizza, and watch "Waiting for Guffman" which was in from Netflix. "Waiting for Guffman" is so funny, and is the 2nd (counting "Spinal Tap" as the first) of Christopher Guest's mock-umentary style movies. If you haven't seen it (or "A Mighty Wind" or "Best in Show") I highly recommend them!

I wasn't sure how my 16 mile run would go. Most of my running group was at a retreat, so I knew I would be alone for all of the run. But I was kind of looking forward to running alone, because I knew it would be great mental training for this week's 18 mile run. I am going out of town on Saturday with friends to visit the Raborns (yes!! I am so excited!!) so I am going to do my 18 mile run on Friday morning.

I headed out the door at 7:30 am to falling snow, which had blanketed streets and sidewalks. I immediately started thinking thoughts like "maybe this isn't safe, maybe I should only do 4 today and then do 16 tomorrow when its clear, my feet are going to get soaking wet, this is going to be miserable" and etc. I decided that I would do 4 miles, and then figure out what I was going to do. As I got going, I realized that it wasn't bad at all! The snow stopped after about thirty minutes, and the fresh snow on the sidewalks actually provided a nice soft layer that wasn't slick at all. I pushed aside thoughts of quitting and postponing the run, and I settled in for a two and a half hour run through the streets of Nicholasville.

I had a good idea of what an 8 mile loop would be, so I did that first and it ended up being 8.66 miles. For my second loop, I cut out one part of the first loop to try to get closer to 8 miles even, but then I realized I would be short on my second loop. I didn't want to get to my house and then have to keep running, so I added in a loop around Lake Mingo, a local park. This brought me to 7.86 miles for second loop, and a total of 16.52 miles for the run.

This run was great preparation for my 18 miler on Friday. I plan to do the 8.66 mile loop twice, and then add in a little at the end to bring me to 18 total. Mentally, it wasn't a challenging run at all. For the first 2 hours I listened to podcasts (Zen and the Art of Triathlon and the SimplyStu Triathlon Podcast) and then for the last 30 minutes I listened to my running playlist. I was also captivated by how beautiful it was outside. My first loop was really nice, because there wasn't much traffic out and the snow was fresh and clean. On my second loop, cars were spraying salt and dirty snow from the road up onto the sidewalks, so that wasn't quite as pretty.

One thing that was really funny was that I was able to see all kinds of different tracks in the snow. I saw bird tracks, raccoon tracks, cat and dog tracks, and even a shopping cart track. There is a man who walks up and down Main St. pushing a shopping cart, and he had paved the way before me. The funniest part was that he must have had an open bag of cheese popcorn in his cart, because there was a trail of cheese popcorn in between the shopping cart tracks for about a mile. I started thinking of Hansel and Gretel, but with Cheester Cheetah playing the part of Hansel.
The other interesting thing about doing two loops in the snow is that on my second loop I could see my footprints from my first loop. I tried to replicate my stride and land in my tracks, but I just couldn't do it. I could really tell that my legs were looser on the second loop and that my stride was longer. It was pretty interesting!

The streets and sidewalks were a little slushier on my second loop, and there were several times where one or both of my feet would be totally submerged in an icy puddle. My socks, Thorlo Experias, were absolutely amazing, and dried almost instantly. I thought that cold wet feet would be a major issue on this run, but these socks defied the odds and kept my feet warm and dry. They were totally worth the $13 I paid for them at Run Wild in Alexandria.

My knees bothered me a tiny bit during the run, but they were very sore afterwards. I need to start icing them after runs, which will hopefully help with some of the soreness. I felt great after finishing - I was tired, but I felt like I could easily run another 4 or 6 miles. I think having access to my trainer during this training season has really helped with my aerobic fitness, which has helped to improve my endurance. In March I am going to get back into the pool, so I think that will help as well. After the run, I drank a PB&J (1 tbsp. peanut butter, 1 frozen banana, strawberry yogurt, few ounces of 1% milk) recovery smoothie and ate an apple.

This morning my knees were still pretty sore, so I put in an hour of fairly easy spinning on the trainer. This really helped to alleviate some of the soreness. We've had a pretty quiet day - church this morning, then a trip to Goodwill to drop off a ton of donations (I've already got spring cleaning fever!) and now we are watching the Olympics and are going to make some potato soup later. A nice end to a quiet weekend!

On a non-training note, I would really appreciate your prayers for my grandmother. She is having some stomach/kidney issues, and is going to be getting a second opinion on her diagnosis tomorrow. Her name is Nell, but we all call her Mimi. She is my dad's mom, and one of the funniest people that I know. We all love her so much and I hate that she is in pain. If you are the praying type, I hope that you will send up an extra one today for Mimi.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow Pictures

Not too much going on this week! I think Chad and I are starting to find the rhythm of the new semester. It is kind of nice to have a quiet week, as March, April and May will be pretty busy months.

I went back to the dentist on Tuesday for my two fillings, so I'm glad that is out of the way! I always expect the worst at the dentist, but even the fillings were not that bad. I might have to go back, as I think one of the fillings may need to be filed down a little because it is affecting my bite. Or are you just supposed to get used to it? I'm not sure!

Here are some snowy pictures from the past few weeks, plus a few from the Super Bowl!

This was from one of our first "big" snows at the beginning of February

Emma loves playing outside, even in the snow!
Her green sweater has gotten a lot of use this month!

Emma, checking out the neighbor's yard.
And that big black streak on the tree? It was struck by lightning last spring!

My Saints brownies for the Super Bowl.
The squiggly things on the corners are supposed to be football laces,
but they looks more like hash marks!

Football inspired seven-layer dip, as suggested by my mom!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nine Weeks to Go!

This past Thursday, the LIVESTRONG blog featured a few runners who completed the Austin Marathon last weekend as part of Team LIVESTRONG. Here are a few of their comments:

Brother and sister Will and Molly Blake tackled the race together, it being Will’s first (and Molly’s fifth!). Will says, “I decided to run with Team LIVESTRONG and raise funds for them to make the experience that much more meaningful and personal. I have personally been affected by cancer, losing a friend and having a survivor as a friend. It’s a great feeling knowing that you contributed in some way to making the world a better and safer place.”

Sandy George, also completing her first marathon, had this to say: “There were a few 5 a.m. mornings when I woke up and thought, ‘Why am I forcing myself to run 20 miles in the freezing cold rain?’ I have to remember that I am truly lucky to be healthy enough to get up and run. I have been reminded that, ‘I am capable of running this race in honor of those who can’t right now.’”
-excerpt from 2/18/10 post on

That's what this is all about - running a race for something more than a PR. I am blessed with the ability to be able to go out and run 26.2 miles...for fun! I think of my little friend Athan, who does not suffer from cancer, but does struggle with physical limitations. A lot of times when I run, I think of him and how he is so much more determined and strong than I will ever be. I can't wait to do fundraising for the organizations here in Kentucky that have helped the Strebeck family, but I am saving that for when I do something in the next few years that is much bigger and better than a marathon!

But right now, I am proud to be raising funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and navigating the racing/fundraising waters for the first time. With a check that I received this week, I am now almost half way to my goal of raising $500 by April 24th.

I would love to see more $10, $15, or $20 gifts come in. To me, this is not about a few people making big donations, but rather it's about several people coming together with small donations to make one big impact together. And plus, everyone who donates will get a free LIVESTRONG bracelet. = )

If you are interested in donating, please visit

Training is going well and I am pumped up for the Country Music Marathon. I've been having a blast with my training, especially my Saturday morning group runs in Wilmore. We were hit by two snow storms earlier this week on Monday and Tuesday, but the rest of the week wasn't too bad. The weather warmed up this weekend and today was a sunny, beautiful 60 degree day. It is supposed to get cold and snowy again this week, but I am grateful for the little glimpse of spring that we got today.

The marathon is in 9 weeks, and I've got a few key training moments coming up in March and early April. On the 5th of March, I'll do 18 miles. I'll have a step-back week on the 14th, and then on the 20th, my long run training will peak at 22 miles. I'll do a half-marathon at marathon pace on the 28th, and then I will do my final 20 miler on April 3rd followed by a three week taper. March will be a busy month!

Here is my training wrap-up for the week:

Mon 2/15
Scheduled rest day

Tues 2/16
45:00 on trainer

Wed 2/17
40:00 on trainer

Thurs 2/18
Distance: 4.61
Time: 41:46
Average Pace: 9:03
Notes: evening run

Fri 2/19
Distance: 5.33
Time: 48:16
Average Pace: 9:03

Sat 2/20
Distance: 12.01
Time: 1:57:00
Average Pace: 9:44
Notes: Last 5 miles were super hilly! Great for boosting mental strength. (Thanks for pushing me, Kelly!)

Sun 2/21
Distance: 5.03
Time: 45:35
Average Pace: 9:03*
Notes: Beautiful and warm (45 degrees!) mid-morning recovery run

Weekly mileage total: 26.98 miles
*It looks like 9:03 is my sweet spot! I would love to be able to sustain a 9:30 pace throughout the marathon, so a consistent 9:03 on my shorter runs is encouraging!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunday Post (on Tuesday)

Well, I wrote most of this post on Sunday, but never hit "publish post." So, here it is on Tuesday!

This weekend was pretty nice and relaxing. Saturday morning started out with a very cold long run in 20 degree temps. I had 15 miles scheduled, but do to my lack of mileage during the week, I decided to stop at 10. Saturday afternoon I ventured out to the mall and to Target to get Chad's Valentine's Day present (...nothing like waiting till the last minute!)

We don't do much for Valentine's day, so I was trying to find something that would be small yet meaningful for Chad. I thought that a new fitted Saints hat would be perfect - a simple black hat with a gold fleur di leis from Lids. As you can imagine, Saints hat really isn't that prevalent up here, but I figured that with their recent Super Bowl win it would be reasonably easy to find a hat. Let me tell you there is not a stitch of Saints gear to be found in the Lexington area. I checked every possible store in the mall, including two Lids, and called other sporting goods places. Nothing! Oh well - it was on to plan B, a Williams-Sonoma gift card. He loves that place! Whenever we are looking for something to do, he asks if we want to go to the mall just to walk around Williams-Sonoma. But I am still thinking about ordering a Saints hat for him from Lids! We need to represent up here.

Chad took me to lunch and got me some beautiful flowers and a very sweet card, and Emma got me Twizzlers! It was a very nice and relaxing Valentine's Day.

Here is a wrap-up of my workouts for the week:

Monday 2/8/10
Scheduled rest day

Tuesday 2/9/10
45:00 on the trainer
Notes: big snowstorm

Wednesday 2/10/10
Notes: in a funk from another big snowstorm, couldn't run on the roads and didn't feel like riding (...right after I said there can be no excuses with the trainer in my last post!)

Thursday 2/11/10
40:00 on the trainer

Friday 2/12/10
Distance: 4.02 miles
Time: 36:41
Average Pace: 9:07

Saturday 2/13/10
Distance: 10.16 miles
Time: 1:39:00
Average Pace: 9:44

Sunday 2/14/10
Distance: 5.1 miles
Time: 45:23
Average Pace: 8:53

We have had snow for the past two days, and more snow is predicted this week. This feels like the longest winter! But, I know in just a few weeks, well maybe 6-8 weeks, it will start to feel like spring. I am ready for Old Man Winter to get his crazy old ass outta here!

Since today is Fat Tuesday, Chad and I are going to Taco Bell at 9:30pm with some friends. This is pretty wild and crazy for me, as I am normally snoozing by 9:30! I haven't eaten dinner yet in anticipation of Taco Bell, but I did have some cereal for a snack around 6:00 so that I'm not eating a ton of food at 9:30! That's what Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is all about - indulging in rich, fatty foods before the season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It should be interesting to see how my six mile run goes in the morning!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dental Report

Well, the dentist wasn't all that bad. I went in thinking I had 5-6 cavities, and would probably have to have a root canal for my horrible toothache. Turns out I only have two small cavities, and neither cavity is in the tooth that was hurting so bad! The dentist and hygienist both think the tooth pain I experienced in my upper left tooth was actually sinus pain. Whatever it was, I am glad it doesn't hurt anymore and that I don't have to pay to get it fixed!

The hygienist said that for not having my teeth professionally cleaned for five years, they really weren't all that bad. That makes me feel good about my oral hygiene. The cleaning was going so well and was relatively painless, until the hygienist began digging plaque rocks out of my gum line with a high powered WaterPik. That was pretty awful. I didn't even know that could happen! But apparantley, plaque build up can turn into calculus (...anyone remember MTV's "2Gether"?) which is a rock like substance. I will go back in about two weeks to get the cavities filled.

Tips for not accumulating rocks in your gums:
1. Floss at least once a day
2. Visit the dentist every 6 months for cleanings!

This past weekend my sister Megan competed in the CrossFit FX Texas Games Unleashed competition in Allen, TX (near Dallas). She did awesome in this absolutely insane physical competition - she came in 3rd overall female!

Visit her blog at to read all about the competition. I did a few CrossFit workouts with her when I was home for Christmas and they absolutely kicked my butt. I can't even imagine the physical strength it takes to do a day long competition! Megan is hoping to do well in the CrossFit Games qualifiers this year, so these local competitions really help with her training and preparation. Go Meggie!

My trainer rides seem down right wimpy compared to the workouts Megan is doing, but I've really grown to love the trainer for three main reasons:

1. Allows you to work on your form.
When you are riding on the road, there are all kinds of things that you have to pay attention to. You need to be looking forward paying attention to what the road ahead of you holds (traffic, turns, cliffs, hills, etc.)and watching the road below you to make sure that you don't get into any loose gravel or broken glass or other hazardous materials.

And there are probably a hundred other things that cyclists subconsciously are aware of when they are riding on the road. When you are on a trainer, you don't have to worry about any of it! You don't have to worry about traffic or road surfaces, or upcoming turns, hills, descents, etc. This allows you to work on your form - back straight and not hunched over, feet flat, hips to the back of the saddle, etc. - more so than you might be able to do out on the road.

2. Forces you to stay in constant motion.
As the Fat Cyclist pointed out in a recent post, it is easy to coast on a bike. You can coast as you are coming down a hill and you can coast on a flat section of road. One thing that "Coach" Cody told me last summer was "never stop pedaling." He said that he took all of the hills of Kentucky for granted and got used to coasting, but then he went cycling in Indiana (which is pretty flat) and found that he was exhausted from pedaling all of the time since there wasn't really any time to coast. That made sense to me, so I try to pedal all the time when I am on the roads, even if it means spinning out of even my biggest gears. The trainer really forces you to pedal constantly. If you're not pedaling, you're not doing anything. If you want to ride, you have to pedal!

3. No excuses allowed.
There is really no reason to skip a trainer workout. I love that I can wake up at 5:00am and be on the trainer at 5:05. It doesn't take near the preparation that running takes (at least for me, and I'm talking mostly about preparing to run in the cold) and it doesn't matter at all what the weather is like. The trainer has been especially useful this winter with all of the snow storms we have had. There have been days were it would have been impossible to run outside in the morning without breaking my neck on the ice, so I have substituted trainer rides for runs. Now I know that the two are not equal, but if I can't spend 50 minutes running, I'd rather spend 50 minutes riding on the trainer than 50 minutes sitting on the couch.

Workout info for the week:
The storms we got on Monday and Tuesday night have not been good for my running. It is Thursday night, and I have not run yet this week! I am planning on getting in 4-6 in the morning, and then doing 13 on Saturday. We'll see...

Monday 2/8/10
-Scheduled rest day

Tuesday 2/9/10
-45:00 minutes on trainer

Wednesday 2/10/10
-Rest day

Thursday 2/11/10
-45:00 minutes on trainer

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who Dat!!


I'm channeling my inner Al Roker there, if its not clear! Today is Super Bowl Sunday, and Chad and I couldn't be more excited for the Saints to play this evening. My dad has been a fan of the Saints for 40+ years - I am so happy that he gets to see them play in at least one Super Bowl! A Super Bowl win for the Saints will be so great for the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. Although Chad and I are a little afraid that New Orleans might be leveled by revelers if the Saints win tonight!

A fellow Louisianan (my cycling "coach" Cody) is hosting a crawfish boil, so Chad and I will be heading over there in a few hours. I've made some Super Bowl edition brownies and seven layer dip, and will be posting pictures once we get our card reader in the mail. They are pretty cute if I do say so myself! Chad's mom sent us Saints t-shirts this week, so we will be wearing them proudly tonight! Here in Kentucky, there are TONS of Colts fans so I think Chad, Cody and me will be in the minority tonight. It will be an interesting night!

Here's a review of my training this week:

Mon 2/1/10
Distance: 3.72
Time: 34:25
Average Pace: 9:15
Notes: 15 degrees, slow and cautious in the ice and snow

Tues 2/2/10
Distance: 4.33
Time: 40:12
Average Pace: 9:17
Notes: Evening run

Wed 2/2/10
Distance: 7.10
Time: 1:05 hrs
Average Pace: 9:09
Notes: Felt sluggish at first, but got into a nice groove

Thurs 2/3/10
Trainer: 45 minutes

Fri 2/4/10
Trainer: 30 minutes

Sat 2/5/10
Distance: 12.81
Time: 2:00 hrs
Average Pace: 9:22
Notes: Beautiful snowy morning, not too cold, did two 6 mile loops, ate 1 GU Chomp every 2.5 miles - seemed to be a fairly good nutrition plan

Sun 2/6/10
Trainer: 30 minutes

In other not so fun news, I have to go to the dentist on Tuesday! I have quite a sweet tooth , and apparently it is located next to my upper left incisor. I have had a horrible toothache for four days now, so I decided it was time to buckle down and see the old D.D.S. The bad thing is that I haven't been to the dentist in five years! So, I am actually really glad that this toothache is forcing me to go. Chad and I both need to get back in the habit of getting cleanings every 6 month. We have dental insurance, so why not? I think dentists just seem so scary. But the cleanings/fillings/x-rays are never as bad as I think they are going to be. I'm just praying that I don't have to get a root canal!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winter Gear Review

Here is a synopsis of my three runs so far this week:

Monday 2/1/10
Distance: 3.72
Time: 34:25
Average Pace: 9:15
Notes: COLD 15 degree morning! First run outside after a big snowstorm, so I had to be extra careful with my footing.

Tuesday 2/2/10
Distance: 4.33
Time: 40:12
Average Pace: 9:17
Notes: I ran in the evening instead of the morning, which felt very weird! I decided to give evening running a go, but just a few miles into my run I realized why I hate to run at night. I was hungry, tired, and there was so much traffic out. It is much more peaceful at 5:30 in the morning!

Wednesday 2/3/10
Distance: 7.10
Time: 1hr 5 minutes
Average Pace: 9:10
Notes: Ate two GU Chomps on the run (at mile 2 & mile 4), for a total of about 100 calories. I think I'll stick with Clif Shots or Clif ShotBlocks - they have a much better taste, and seem more filling.

Since that damn little groundhog saw his shadow, I thought it might be a good idea to do a "winter gear" review. I wear pretty much the same thing everyday for my winter runs, and everything is great. Even on 15 degree days, I am not cold. Over the past few Christmases I've accumulated some great winter gear from my family and Chad's family. This year was no exception, except that one of the products that I bought is no good at all. Without further ado, here are my top picks, from the head down, for winter running gear.

Brooks Vapor Dry 2 Racer Cap
This winter hat is black with two large neon yellow stripes - perfect for early morning runs in the dark! And, it keeps both my head and ears very warm without trapping in too much heat.

Brooks Motion Jacket
I found that this great jacket is actually too warm to run in, but it is great for walking Emma and running errands. I LOVE this jacket and have worn it everyday since we've been back in Kentucky after Christmas. It is soft, comfortable, and has a flattering fit. It's great for walking Emma because there are pockets inside where I can stash my keys and cell phone. Plus, it is "UK Blue" so I get lots of approving nods from neighbors and passing motorists.

New Balance Kaspian Jacket
Two years ago my parents bought me a New Balance Kaspian 1/2 zip jacket, and it is still probably my most used cold weather item. I just checked the New Balance website, and it looks like they no longer carry them. That's a shame, because it is a great jacket! It is pretty lightweight, but heavy enough to keep body heat in. On cold mornings I always wear a short sleeve t-shirt, then a long-sleeved technical shirt, then the New Balance jacket. I wear the jacket until we start having 45 degree mornings. Once it is 45 degrees or warmer, usually just a t-shirt and long sleeve tech shirt are enough.

Long-sleeve Technical Shirts
I have three long-sleeve shirts in my rotation: a NikePro shirt, a Hind shirt, and a Nike DriFit shirt. All three are great as mid-layers! The NikePro shirt is a little more fitted, the Hind shirt is a little looser, and the Nike DriFit shirt is more t-shirt like. I bought the Nike DriFit shirt at Academy with a gift card that my sister Megan gave me for Christmas. It is my favorite of the three - I've even found myself wearing it for casual use, as well!

Hind Gloves
I have a thin pair of Brooks gloves that I've used for the past two years, but this Christmas I decided to get a thicker pair of gloves with part of my gift certificate from Santa to Run Wild in Alexandria, Louisiana. At the store, I found some Hind gloves that seemed like they would be perfect. And luckily, they are! My fingers get so cold so easily, but these gloves are thick enough to keep heat in and to keep my blood flowing, but not too thick that my hands get too hot. That is the fine line with all winter running gear - it can't be too warm, yet it can't be too cold. That's a hard medium to find!

C9 Running Tights
Another staple is my C9 tights from Target. My mom and I found these on sale for $4, and they were worth every penny! I don't know where I would be without these running tights.

Mizuno Breath Thermo Socks
Unfortunately, this is the product that really doesn't work for me. Well...they may work too well, actually! The theory behind these fancy socks is that they convert body moisture to heat for additional warmth. Well, I tend to sweat profusely - even in frigid temps. After a few runs in these socks my feet were killing me - they were tender and blistery feeling. While the Mizuno socks were in the laundry, I wore some other socks and had no problem. After wearing the Mizuno socks again on Monday, it hit me. The socks were literally burning my feet! That's the only explanation I can think of. I've never had this problem with any other socks. Whatever the case, I'll be retiring the Mizunos and sticking with my trusted Brooks and Under Armour socks!