9/29/14

A relaxing week of recovery, College football, a health scare and new handbag

Hello all! It's the start of a fresh week and I'm planning to get some miles back on these legs. After the Air Force Half, I actually took a full week off to recover. I normally don't take a full week after a half marathon, but after you've had one ugly injury, you start taking healing and rebuilding more seriously. I decided since I had a lot on my plate for the week anyway, might as well take a full week off. I had a fairly relaxing week of recovery, but by day 5, I started getting itchy to run again :)

College Football


We went to my alma mater's college Homecoming Big 10 football game and had fantastic weather. I try to get up to my school with my daughter at least once a year. No, we didn't win. We're not doing well lately with our Football program *sigh*  We did, however, spend time with the Veterinary school's roving Smithsonian Animal Connections exhibit that was managed by the Veterinary students. My daughter really enjoyed it! Veterinarian is still one of her "top jobs" ... we'll see what the future holds.

College Homecoming time

Enjoying the Veterinary exhibit at Purdue


A health scare and a new handbag


I had a breast cancer scare earlier this month. I haven't blogged about it and quite frankly, I'm emotionally drained from the experience to want to talk about it right now. I will later. Long story short, I had a call-back on a routine mammogram because there was a "change". I got released as "ok" now. I have quite a lot of psychological scarring left over from the ordeal and questions for the future, but for right now, I am OK. The clinic and my mom told me to get myself a treat. So I did.  :)   Ladies, treat yourself sometimes. It does the soul good.

The Coach Legacy Duffle in "Marine" color. It's a navy/dark blue with a hint of purple, depends on the lighting. This seems to be how the color usually looks in normal daylight. I thought this would be a perfect Winter handbag.

Coach Duffle in Marine color



Happy running everyone!



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Christina

I'm also found here:

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9/25/14

Accepting you are a Masters Runner

Aging is hard for most of us to accept, especially those of us who enjoy working on fitness and health. We still feel young, yet our body's physiology is changing even if we can't easily see the signs. I've been appreciating the articles Running Times and Runner's World have been publishing regarding Masters Running. Two particular ones caught my attention yesterday and I thought it was another good moment to discuss something many of us have a hard time embracing: accepting you are a Masters Runner.

I was faster a couple years ago. I was also in a different running age division a couple years ago. I'm pretty sure I can run those paces again if I want to train for them - I don't feel the past couple of years have drastically aged me enough to where a PR is out of reach. I still have fresh legs since I'm a runner who came into this sport later in life.

When I spent last Spring with a pretty serious injury, my first truly serious injury, I looked back at what caused it and tried to understand the bigger picture. Nothing was apparent in training that could have caused it. Sometimes we think a shoe can make a difference, sometimes we know if we did too much too soon, yet none of that was evident. I decided to embrace the concept that I was getting older and that my body may need more time to repair and rebuild after each run. Once I accepted it and changed how I run to adapt more with the wisdom from the Masters Running community, I began having wonderful runs and a strong and healthy body again!

I ran the Air Force Half this past weekend a little slower than I had two years ago, yet it wasn't drastically off in time. That tells me the Masters-style of training worked just fine. Had I focused a little more on pace strategies, I could have come in even closer to my previous faster time. The race also had a few crowding issues on the course that slowed us all down, so I factored in a loss of a minute or two from that as well. All in all, however, the Masters-style of training worked.

Air Force Half 2014 complete


I ran less days a week for the past couple months, allowing my body more time to repair and heal between each run. I made each run more useful. The shorter runs were still longer than what used to be short runs, yet each short run had tempo work built into them. The long runs were always run carefully and with a purpose of just putting easy miles on the legs.

I truly believe this concept from the Runner's World article on Masters Running holds true. We must set goals that are relevant to our age division and listen to our bodies. Deena Kastor's records from the past weekend were records in the Masters community, not her own lifetime PRs.

"As you get older, it’s important to refresh your goal times. This is especially true for seasoned runners who have been at it for years. Setting new goals every year–or at the very least every decade–can be motivating and uplifting. This is why races distribute age group awards that recognize the best performances at all ages. Rather than targeting times relative to when you were running your fastest, aim for ones that are competitive and challenging for you now."


What am I trying to convey? That we all have many more years of running ahead of us - and how we run will change over the years and that is normal!


Happy running everyone!



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Christina

I'm also found here:

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9/22/14

I ran the Air Force Half Marathon again

Hello! I've taken some time since my last post to reflect upon my thoughts and feelings with regard to how I want to continue running. I had the Air Force Half on the schedule for this past weekend and while I was feeling a bit non-interested in hardcore training, I knew I wanted to complete this race. I was committed to being there with friends and I like to participate in military-sponsored events like this since we are a military family. I ran the race and for the most part, came away happy. It wasn't my fastest Half, nor my slowest, but it was my first real race post-injury (Spring injury) and it went smoothly.

Air Force Half Marathon 2014 complete


My take-away thoughts ...

1) I did not trigger any injury again from what I can tell and I'm super happy about that. My main concern going into this Half was that my achilles area injury from the Spring would flare up again. It has been staying quiet for several months now, but there is still a whisper in that area as if it has known it has been injured and may not be fully healed. It stayed quiet and for that I was grateful.

2) I did not train for a Half these past couple months since I had a Full on the schedule. My pace strategies have been with a Full in mind so I knew going into this Half, I wasn't up to my peak Half fitness level. I was ok with that, this wasn't ever meant to be a PR-attempt race. It was only on the books for a fun Half in the middle of Full training anyway.

3) I came in at 2:19. When I ran this race two years ago, I came in at 2:12. This time it felt harder, but I'm assuming it is because of not being Half trained. I also forgot my Garmin at the hotel so I ran this "naked". I tried using pacers for a while to make up for that and it didn't fully work for me.

4) I enjoy this particular race. It doesn't have so much of the glamour and silliness of other more high-profile races. Plus, Americans usually WIN this race series. Don't take that as a negative thought against the international/cultural community; I only mean that it is nice to see Americans win sometimes ... too.

5) This Half reminded me that I have always LIKED the Half distance and I miss training specifically for it.


I seem to still be mentally ok with training after all. Just that I miss training for Halfs. I'm just not enjoying Full training. Full training is so much more intense and I don't find joy with it lately. A Half is not so overwhelming, all things considered, and I can still fit it into my regular life without feeling stressed and drained. So, all in all, the Air Force Half this past weekend was good for me. It reminded me that I do like to challenge myself now and then, I do want to run a couple races now and then, but I need to find my happy place within that framework.

I enjoy a good Half. I miss that the running community focuses so much on Fulls ... I wish we all would embrace other distances more. I'm also enjoying Deena Kastor's Half Marathon records from this past weekend as well ... it is a nice way to bring back the joy of the Half distance.

My Half PR is 2:06 and I still want to beat it some day. Maybe I need to get back to that focus. I've been on/off in the Full Marathon training world for the past year and a half since I ran the Carmel Marathon and can't seem to find my groove, yet the Half is starting to call me again.



Happy running everyone!



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Christina

I'm also found here:

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8/31/14

I want to quit running races

Hellooooooo! I haven't written a post in a while ... I'm honestly so busy lately with the back to school frenzy and all things child-related. I'm still running on my plan, but have been doing quite a bit of thinking lately about the "bigger picture" in terms of my runs. I think I'm ready to discuss it ...

I want to quit running races. Now, let me clarify, I am by no means a seriously fast runner who BQs every year, etc. I've never been that runner. There are many other runners with more abilities than I have in that regard. But, I am that runner that many of us have become, the runner who has a typical Spring and Fall race season, time goals, etc.

It is no longer making me happy. The idea that I have to be on "a plan" every Spring and Fall is sucking all of the joy out of running for me - now. Believe me, training plans are a great thing and necessary, especially for beginning runners. Without them and a coach/running support network, a beginning runner can easily fall off the wagon and not make it. Without proper guidance, easily avoided injuries can strike. Training plans are great! I'm, however, now bored to tears with them.

I've done them enough. I've run every major race distance now from 5k to full marathon. I have more than enough medals. When I run on the training plans now, a little voice keeps telling me "what for now, you already have the medals".

Races cost a lot of money. The logistics, the crowds, all of it - a huge ordeal. I used to thrive on the excitement of it and as a runner in the early stages, I needed that mojo to get through it. The crowds and excitement truly help carry you through it! I'm no longer needing it, however.

In a nutshell, I know that I am mostly done with the need for all of this. Quite frankly, it's all turned into a circus of extremes that no longer interest me. From Boston making their entry goals even stricter to the latest reports from Competitor that they think a sub-2 hour marathon may be had soon ... it's become extreme. Ultra runners surgically removing their toenails, come on now.

I feel no joy from the race environment anymore. It's true, I could seek out smaller race series to avoid some of the frenetic craze the other higher profile races have become. But even those races are slowly getting more intense each year. We all really know, it's about money. The bigger, the more money raked in from us. We need more gear, a new thing came on the market to help you magically not get ITB syndrome, this new fuel now will truly help because the old ones are no good, now one brand is no longer cool and this new one is so now you need to buy all new tees to support the new brand, etc. It's all about $$$. I'm guilty myself of having become caught up in it all, I admit it.

I just simply enjoy running. It's the race events and marketing to us runners I no longer enjoy. I thought if I registered again for another Fall full marathon attempt I'd find myself in the zone again, but it's just not happening. I've been getting my miles run on the plan, but I'm honestly not jazzed. The joy is just not there and I don't think that is coming back.

I miss the early days where everyone was simply running, doing a race or two, and then back to just pleasure running. Now everyone is frantically trying to shave off more time, trying to get on the cover of magazines, promoting whatever brand gives them the time of day, and running for every cause on the planet. There just isn't any running for pleasure and healthy fitness.

I want to be THAT runner. The one who runs every other day for fitness and enjoyment and then goes on with living a normal life. I want to talk about that. Yet no one seems to be doing so anymore. Or, I'm sure folks are doing that, they just aren't considered interesting anymore. And that to me, is sad.



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Christina

I'm also found here:

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8/17/14

A long run in the rain

Run run run! I am slowly getting back into the mental zone I need to be in and focus on this upcoming race season. This summer was pretty busy for us and usually harder for those of us with kids out of school to schedule our "me" time in, but somehow I was able to keep my mileage up. I now need to get my brain back in gear and start concentrating on the specifics like speed work and planning my run weeks better.

A long run in the rain


Because...  I ended up with a long 12 mile run this weekend in the rain. Ooops! I didn't pay attention at all to the weather like a good runner should. Had I known it was going to be raining most of the day on Saturday, I would have done my long run on Friday instead!

12 mile run in the rain

Oh well, it honestly wasn't too bad. It was raining, but not storm-pouring. Just a constant regular rain that set in around mile 4 and didn't let up until I was pretty much done at mile 12.

Knock on wood, I've been feeling really strong and well on these runs. No hint of trouble or injury niggle. I'm really hoping to have a steady and productive race season, but taking it all one week at a time. I'm still running my new "way" with more rest days and that is making my run days so much better! The Saucony Cortana 3s have really been working out well for me. I noticed they are already being phased out for the next model ... *sigh* ... that happens too quickly in the running shoe world, in my opinion.

A new hamster


In other news, we have a new (and a 2nd) hamster now. This one is a big chunker and super friendly. Our other hamster is small, fast, and won't let anyone catch it. Our daughter had been so excited to get a hamster last Christmas time, but that one hasn't been too much fun, so we caved in and let her get another one. Lesson learned ... make sure the hamster you choose for your child lets the store clerk pick it up easily! We keep the hamsters locked up and away from the other pets ... although we've been making sure the cat and dog get a lot of supervised sniffing with them so they are used to the idea that they are "part of the pack". The dog has accepted them, for the most part, but kitty is definitely still a kitty and waiting for his opportunity to strike ;)


Our new hamster



School has started up and we're slowly back into a routine. I have a few more loose ends to wrap up, like finish registering my kiddo for the sports she's doing this Fall and get one more Chicago trip booked. That reminds me, at some point I need to start figuring out our 2015 travel plans too!


Happy runs everyone!



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Christina

I'm also found here:

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8/10/14

Returning from Washington DC, a wedding, back on the marathon training plan

Hello again from a mini-break from the blog! I'm wrapping up summer vacation, travels, back from our family wedding, and ready to get back into routines. I'm always amazed at some of the momma runners I follow who are able to keep their blogs alive while in the midst of major life moments. I kind of zonk out a bit in that department :)

Returning from Washington DC and a wedding


We traveled to Washington DC for a 5 day total trip for my brother's wedding last weekend and I knew each hour of each day there was accounted for. I didn't even bring any running shoes/gear with me because I knew it would be pointless. I just decided to enjoy time with family, relax as much as possible, and live in the moment. My daughter was the Flower Girl so my task was to make sure THAT went down smoothly - and she did a fabulous job! I wanted to wear heels, but at the last minute decided not to. I knew I'd be chasing after my Flower Girl and well, I'm training for another marathon, so no need to trigger anything wonky like Plantars, right? (I'm still petrified of injury after last marathon season's fiasco!)

All dressed up in Washington DC

My flower girl

Back on the marathon training plan


I looked at this week on my marathon training plan when we returned and was really motivated to make sure I got in all of my miles. I'd been a bit loose with my training plan for a full two week period with travels to Chicago and Washington DC and I didn't want to go into a third week off the plan. This week went well and I got in all of my mileage so I'm happy for that! I'm entering the double-digit runs again on the training plan so it's time to get serious. The Monumental Marathon date isn't that far away anymore.

Our pets have been attached at the hip since we returned. We had a great pet sitter so they were able to be in the comforts of their own home!

Kitty was glad to see us after our travels


My to-do list is still huge and I need to get back to all of my organizing projects I've been working on. School starts next week and I've got some mixed emotions, but am glad to have all of us back into routines soon again. All in all, summer vacation went well this year, but now it's time to get back into school mode. 3rd grade for my baby! They grow up way too fast ... *sigh*


Happy running everyone!


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Christina

I'm also found here:

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7/30/14

Wrapping up summer vacation, Chicago, a good shakeout run

I'm currently in a bit of a whirlwind mode, wrapping up the last parts of summer vacation! I knew last week and this week were going to be a bit hectic and I would need to let my current marathon training schedule go a little to the wayside. Sometimes life gets in the way and you just have to accept it. I was mentally prepared to allow these two weeks as freedom from following the schedule perfectly, so I'm ok with it. Travels, an important family wedding, and a few other items are on the calendar that are currently taking precedence. Coincidentally, Amanda aka Miss Zippy, has a post up today discussing the importance of allowing oneself to let the training schedule slide now and then. I definitely agree!

Chicago weekend trip


My daughter and I did a whirlwind Chicago trip this past weekend with one of my close girlfriends and her daughter. I always love going to Chicago! I used my Overland "Donner" bag on this trip as a travel crossbody. It's one of my favorite travel bags and has two side pockets for water bottles, perfect for me and my daughter. You know how we runners need our hydration ...

Weekend in Chicago

... and of course we hit up American Girl to blow a fortune.

American Girl Chicago


Post-Chicago shakeout run


I'm still dealing with shuffling summer time child care and my runs, but was able to get Grandpa to swing by after Chicago so I could get an 8 mile run in. We walked so much in Chicago and my legs were actually pretty tired, but the run felt good!

A nice 8 mile shakeout run


I'm a bit tight on time and have a million tasks to accomplish this week involving the wedding and am in a frenzy-mode now. I'm not sure when I can get my next run in, but I will try. By next week, I should be able to start getting back to my normal routine. It's amazing how much you miss your normal boring old schedule when you aren't on it for a while!


Happy running everyone!


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Christina

I'm also found here:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/christinaruns
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/movablemom
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christinamoves
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