12/21/14

Last long run and a Williams Sonoma Christmas treat

Hello! Today is my last "busy" day of the holidays. We're wrapping things up and should be able to enjoy next week with some much-needed down time. I ran my last "long run" of 12 miles this week and am planning to drop next week down in mileage for rest/relaxation. I'm due for a scale back and Christmas week is a perfect week to scale back on running miles! I also had a surprise Christmas treat that happened for me via Williams Sonoma ... weeeeee! Keep reading about this below!

Hubby and I had our date night at the Symphony on Friday evening. We saw Handel's Messiah performed by the Indianapolis Symphony and Symphonic Choir. The famous Halleluja score is overwhelming, powerful, and just lovely. Hubby did feel the concert was rather long (2 1/2 hours) and we also noticed a teen boy napping during the performance. It was rather comical :)

Date night at the Symphony

Happy 12 mile run on Friday with perfect running weather in the 30s. I really wish the Winter would stay like this all season, but I know it won't. Snow and ice will come. *sigh*

12 mile run before the holidays


On Saturday, my daughter and I helped at our church's Christmas food pantry and afterwards went shopping on errands. I needed a new Macbook power cord since kitty chewed up my cord ... for the 2nd time now ... and so we headed to our higher-end mall where the Apple store is located. As we were passing the Williams Sonoma store, I noticed they had a sale on Breville products at 60% off. Well, they weren't planning to include their famous Tea Maker that I just wrote about in that sale, but there was a box accidentally on the table for the sale! I believe it was a manager/supervisor who saw me coveting it and she said she would offer it to me after all at that big sale price since it was their mistake to have put it on the table. Talk about my lucky day!!! Williams Sonoma has definitely earned one very loyal customer out of me for such great outreach and customer service. Thank you Williams Sonoma ... I will be doing more business with you in the future!

Don't you just love it when a business truly does right by you or reaches out in a nice way such as this?


My Christmas tea maker splurge


For those who celebrate, I hope you are all ready to wind down soon for the holidays! I'm working on my Christmas Day meal menu and have cooking/baking still to do. I need to pick up some car wash gift certificates for my dad and a few other things for my parents and inlaws, but I am mostly done with gift shopping.



Happy running everyone!



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Christina

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12/18/14

A billion things to do, run half of mileage, Christmas sales

Hello! It's the last week of my daughter's school before they let out on break and we're trying to tackle a billion things. Gift cards for teachers, hubby frantically needs a new pair of pants to go with his wool blazer for the Symphony on Friday evening, school Choir concert, church food pantry, I need to see the Hobbit movie before school is on break and I don't have much more free time ... and much more. I've run half of my mileage for the week, but still need to do my long run. Hoping to get that done on Friday, but we'll see how my schedule shapes up.

I've been thinking about what I might want to keep my eye on during after-Christmas sales. My hubby and I are mainly gifting each other a date night this Friday to dinner and the Symphony to see Handel's Messiah. I bought him a few stocking stuffers and a funny tee (I'll share that after Christmas!), but other than that, we don't buy each other anything big or expensive. I prefer "moments", like a date night. We usually go to Disney World some time during the holiday season as our main treat, however, this year we did not go. I'm a little bummed because I am one of those weird adults who loves Disney and it's a nice break out of reality. But, with the Ebola outbreak, and the fact my daughter and I were stranded there via a blizzard last year, I decided not to book a trip this holiday season. Now I'm regretting that, but no worries ... I'm already making our plans to go some time during the next Holiday Season 2015! Harry Potter is for sure on the to-do list for the next trip.

So, are you eyeballing anything that you'll try snagging during after-Christmas sales? Here are a few items I'll be hawking to see if any good sales happen:

1) The Breville Tea Maker that is ridiculously priced. Complete splurge item, but it is something I know I would use. Only if I can find a tremendous sale on it. And then only maybe.

2) A couple new pairs of Thorlos running socks. Still my favorite socks!

3) New outdoor holiday lighting. Our deer are starting to get in rough shape and one no longer has lighting that works. Hubby strung lights on the deer as a temporary solution, but we are in desperate need of new outdoor lighting stuff.

4) A travel day backpack. Something to use in place of travel crossbody bags. I'm starting to think a little mini-backpack would be more comfortable.

5) More cat stuff. Mugs, anything cute kitty. We'll see if I find anything fun and cute! I did purchase a pair of cute kitty earrings from Claire's while shopping with my daughter last weekend :)

Cute little kitty earrings from Claires

Always in mah bizness!

Photobomber kitty



Happy running everyone!

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Christina I'm also found here:

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12/15/14

Mileage growing, shop til you drop, and visiting with kitties

It's such a busy time of year! I know the holidays are not always cheerful for everyone and I never take a good holiday season for granted. Fortunately, this year has been a good one for us so far. We do tend to get busy, but I'm really enjoying how I've been able to get my mileage growing again. I still haven't put myself officially on a training plan for the Spring, but with my growth in mileage, I'm doing a good job of being where I need to be anyway. I think I will officially start my plan after the Christmas week. We have so much going on from church activities, the church food pantry, lunches and dinners with friends, gift wrapping, and movie watching ... (I'm getting excited for the new Hobbit!).

I ran 7 miles today with Hubby. He's often off on Mondays and I'm thinking to slowly move my long run day to Mondays. It's nice to have him for company! We ran easy, chatted here and there, nothing too intense. Just companionship and miles. I talked to him a little bit about being my pacer for marathon training and I think it might work out. He did say he "could run for hours" at the pace we were doing, so I think he can easily keep me company on the long runs from time to time. It just made the miles go by a little faster with him along. Plus, he kept me clocking a steady marathon pace. We'll see how we can combine our run days once the weather gets worse. 

7 mile run with Hubby


My daughter and I did a "shop til you drop" day on Saturday. I rarely go to the mall and she and I do not shop together often. She's usually busy with school and activities so shopping is the last thing we have time for. Now that she is getting older, she has more definitive style ideas and it is nice to have her along to pick things out she is willing to wear (and that I also approve of). We managed to get the annual visit with Santa in too. Same Santa every year! I think she still believes, just a little :)

I put the new Santa pic in the frame and had to dig out the old ones to show her, yep, same Santa.

Yearly Santa visit

We had to lay out everything when we got home in the evening. She was excited to look at her "fashion choices" and went off to school today in some of her new things. Apparently we're into scarves now. The main stores - no surprise - Justice, Claire's, Macys, and Crazy 8.

Shop til you drop with the kiddo

I also squeezed in a lunch day with a friend of mine and was happy to visit with her adopted kitties! I had helped her adopt these kitties this past Spring via our Humane Society. She wanted a bonded pair and ... hello ... they were thrilled to have HER come in the door! It is usually harder to get bonded cats adopted. It's been 8 months and she and the kitties are doing well. 

Visiting with kitties I helped rescue


Happy running everyone!


-----

Christina

I'm also found here:

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12/12/14

Training your mind for running

I've had a strong running week so far and am very happy with how things are going. I've been thinking again about what I want to aim for in the Spring. It is so hard to know how I'll feel come February when the wind is howling and snow and ice are covering every part of my running paths. However, I've trained for a marathon through a Winter before! I'm really trying to train my mind for running another marathon. I know the physical part is 50% of the equation, but right now that part is back on track and I'm optimistic in those regards. It's my mental I'm needing to work on. One thing, however, that is giving me the push to go forward and register for a Spring marathon is that I have a mammogram due next Fall. I had a scary one this past Fall and while it all turned out ok in the end, I know I'll have stress next Fall as I go through it all over again. So basically, if I run a marathon next year, it needs to be in the Spring.

I had a great 11 mile run today and it left me feeling upbeat. I actually thought, well only 9 more miles and I could have a 20 miler taken care of that day, haha! It's odd, but lately "only 9 miles" doesn't sound that bad. It's been almost 2 years since I trained for a Full marathon and I'm finally getting my brain wrapped around it. I wish a Full marathon would have transpired this past Fall, but I decided to give my Achilles area a little more healing and just run Halfs. Things are looking positive now and it's time to focus on new goals again.

11 mile run on a cold yet sunny day


I know we all mention this from time to time, but I don't think it gets talked about enough. Just how do endurance runners get through all of those long miles?!?! I'm not sure there is one right answer, or even the perfect answer, but I do know there is one trick: quit thinking about it. When I first began running, all I could think about was each little part of each mile. I zoned out to music, but that mental counting was still in my brain. The old saying "a watched pot never boils" holds true! If you find yourself struggling with boredom on your routes, check your brain to make sure you aren't too focused on the distance. It really goes by faster when you think about other things. I try to use my runs as time to figure things out, like a kitchen/dining remodel and the island I'm still needing to work on that I began dealing with last Summer. You know, things like "life stuff", think about those things.

Something I need to solve is fueling on my long runs. I have not been taking any gels or other fuel on these 10-11 milers lately. I just have some oatmeal an hour before the run and I'm mostly fine. I'm going to aim for a 12 mile run next week and may finally take a gel on that run. I do need to solve this for training and race day. I get starved by mile 8-10 regardless if I take a gel or not. I'm thinking of trying Laura's idea of dried fruits on the run next week. I also want to supplement my handheld water bottle with liquid fuel for race day (since I can collect water along the course). Either Heed/Perpetuem, Ucan, or Vega. Oh my ... back to thinking about all of this again!


Happy running everyone!

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Christina

I'm also found here:
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12/10/14

Year of Running 2014

Hello! I'm linking up with Miss Zippy for this post. Her idea for summarizing the year of running is fun. Join along!

1. Best Race Experience
The Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon was definitely my best race experience of the year. I didn't race much in 2014 due to having a problem Achilles area injury that took forever to heal. By the time the Monumental Half came around, I was finally feeling back to 100% again. I wasn't trained up enough for the 26.2 miles, but I was able to run a normal-for-me Half. I also ran this Half with my new "Masters running strategy" and it worked well. It was a race that left me feeling strong and happy again!

2. Best Run
I had a couple runs with Hubby over the year and I enjoy having him around for some of the mileage. We don't pace the same at all, but we can run slow together. It's nice to have him for some company and I'm thinking about planning to have him meet me on a few of my long runs in 2015. Perhaps he can make a 20 miler more pleasant!

Monumental Half 2014

3. Best New Gear
Hands down, my Saucony Cortana 3s. I can't even begin to explain how happy I am with this shoe. I don't even think about other shoes anymore. My feet and legs knew immediately that this was the right shoe for me and I have 6 pair of them now!

Early Christmas for me

4. Best Piece of Running Advice I Received
To run with a Masters approach! I've written extensively about my transformation with this approach so I won't go into all of the details here. Read about it here and here.

5. Most Inspirational Runner
Meb Meb Meb! You know, there are so many inspirational runners out there from ones who run overcoming a disability to achieving tremendous personal improvements. However, I have to go with Meb for 2014. I watched him live during Boston and his sheer determination was so evident, coupled with the fact he was considered "older" and an American finally winning our prestigious race after the prior year's bombing attack, well I just have to give this one to him!

6. If you could sum up the year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Comeback. 2014 was a year for me to regroup, retrain, develop a new strategy, and come back strong. I'm running strong again!



Happy running everyone!


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Christina

I'm also found here:
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12/7/14

Stick with running, cookie baking, Taekwondo belt test

I tell everyone the same thing all of the time ... just stick with it. Whatever workout program or other fitness related goals they hope to achieve, stick with it. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes; success comes from hard work and patience. It doesn't happen overnight and the patience part is crucial for success. I have so many people tell me that they would like to run, or used to run, but their knee hurts, or plantar fasciitis sets in, or ... etc. And then they completely quit running or exercising. I feel so upset for them! I try to be kind and understanding, however I truly don't understand quitting. It is like throwing away any progress made for a temporary setback!  It's been 8 months since my ugly Achilles area injury from last Spring and with hard work, patience, and not doing anything too aggressive too soon, I feel I'm over the big hump of healing. But ... I never quit or gave up running. The secret ingredient is the passion and sticking with it :)

I had a strong running week with an 8 mile run, a 5 mile run with tempo work, and then a 10 mile run. I'm not on a training plan just yet so this is me trying to maintain a strong base. I'll be starting on the plan I mentioned in the last post soon, but right now I am just trying to stay steady. What I'm very pleased with is just how easy a 10 miler has become lately. I want to keep that momentum! When 10 milers become easy and not "a chore", then you know you are in a good place to think about a full marathon again. It's been a LONG time since I've been in this zone and I am just so hopeful that I can maintain this. I take nothing for granted and know all too well that an injury can set in at the worst moment, but for now, I'm enjoying this. It is important to me that I enjoy race training, otherwise I don't need to race and will only run for fun.

A dreary day brightened up by a 10 mile run


I'm looking forward to the upcoming week and hoping I'll have another strong running week. I'm planning to take some down time during the week of Christmas as a good rest week. Not a week with no running, but very low mileage and rest for holiday leisure. I always believe it is important to sprinkle in real rest weeks throughout the year.


I've been going through sweets and desserts recipes and hoping to begin some holiday baking this coming week. Here are a couple of cookies I'm planning to try baking. I've never made any of them before so it will be a bit experimental.


I tend to have the most baking success with Martha Stewart's recipes compared to others and her cookie recipe book is on my Christmas list!


Before I can think about some cookie baking, we have a busy day today. My daughter will be taking her red-black Taekwondo belt test. She's looking forward to earning some black in her belt and has been working hard at this for several years now!

Taekwondo kick practice




Happy running everyone!

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Christina

I'm also found here:

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12/4/14

Taking care of me, a new full marathon training plan, Christmas mugs

I am having one of those weeks where I'm truly taking care of me. I don't always find time to get all of the little extras done that are just for me, but somehow I've sandwiched a bunch of to-dos and splurges into one week. I started off Sunday with the fun Colts game with one of my girlfriends, then a wonderful massage and chiro adjustment yesterday. I even managed to watch Catching Fire (surprisingly I had yet to get around to it!). I'm getting my hair trimmed and highlighted today and hopefully before the week is over I'll make it into the theater to see Mockingjay part 1. I don't need Christmas presents, just weeks like this please! My runs are wonderful lately and I'm so happy that my blog posts have been so positive in these regards. It's nice to write about good runs rather than the depressing Spring season I had of bad runs and injury.

I ran an easy 8 mile run on Monday outside while the weather cooperated. I only needed 5 miles for the day, but I'm mix-matching my weekly runs based more on the weather and trying to get more miles outside while I can. I've also been looking at training plans, working the upcoming schedule, and figuring out how I want to proceed over the next 4 months.

Happy 8 mile run

Since I've been running so well using Masters style approaches with more recovery and more purposeful runs, the Run Less Run Faster approach is appealing to me. I had shied away from this book for a long time because I don't like the idea of shortcuts, but I've been researching it more and understanding the approach better. It isn't about running less mileage necessarily, but running less days of the week and working on active recovery. The method specifically discusses aging runners and the benefit this has on our bodies as we get older. Honestly - I have been running the best I've run in a long time with a similar approach! I still get all of my weekly miles in, just with less running days used. All of the magic happens in the recovery days, not the running days, and I believe this is why I'm running so much better. I'm very curious to try this training plan for a full marathon and see if it will work for me. I have very high hope!

We're slowly getting our Christmas items out and my Christmas mugs always make me happy :) The Vega Sport recovery bars go nicely with a cup of hot herbal tea!

Hot tea and Christmas mugs



Happy running everyone!


-----

Christina

I'm also found here:
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