Monday, September 30, 2013

Tweaked Back

Somehow over the weekend I tweaked my back. It is literally the injury I am afraid of most. Maybe it is the field of nursing that I am going to with its high incidence of back injuries or maybe it is the agony of past experience by I take special care of my back.

Well somewhere along my husband and I's 22-mile bike ride Saturday I think I hit a pothole or something and took the impact the wrong way. I noticed a slight soreness develop then somewhere at 12 miles I really started to notice. The rest of the day it was evident that some sort of trauma definitely occurred.

So I have been down for 2 days now with a hot pad and ibuprofen *trying* to take it easy. I am not good at taking it easy. I just came off a week's worth of coughing and phlem and I may have stayed in bed one day. Taking care of a household makes it hard to let go of the reigns.

But I'm going to try, for the sake of getting back on my feet sooner. I will not lift anything heavier than 5-10 pounds or twisting. I will ask for help. I will go slow and be careful. I will be patient with myself.

In the meantime I can focus on other muscle groups and areas of health (like diet!)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Me, For Real

Lately I have been surrounded by inspiration. Whether it be a Facebook post by a friend, the fall weather, something my kids did, or the fact that my husband rides his bike a gazillion miles a day to get to and from his work. It is a blessing to be inspired every time you turn a corner. Although I do believe it is something you can find if you are willing to look for it as well ;)

I felt inspired to write a little about the real me. The me #nofilters if you will. This will be a bit of a here-and-there post but here goes:

I am me. I am a woman, a mother, a very proud wife. I am the backbone of the US Coast Guard. I am strong, and I love staying active and in shape. 

My family has the genes for muscles. We are middle height, dirty blonde with what I like to call a "schnozz" and we are athletic. Both of my brothers and I were high school hurdlers in track and field and we were all really good at it. My younger brother went on to play football for USU, got his bachelors in personal training and has dabbled in MMA as well as other training disciplines. My older brother is the ultimate "man's man" and has worked very hard for many years as a logger and in other tree-trimming professions which are very taxing physically. He has to stay strong.

So I have always been muscular.  In high school I was teased to no end and called "manly" by boys who, let's be honest, I could have kicked the crap out of. I even had one really mean boy draw a picture of me with huge muscles and male genitalia. I can rationalize now as an adult that they were just self-conscious and intimidated. However, as a young, developing girl, to say it made me self-conscious of my physique is an understatement. I have struggled with it ever since. It was only when competing in sports-especially track and field-that I felt comfortable in my own skin, because performance reminded me that being strong was a gift. It made me proud of my muscles.

As I grew out of the awkward phase of high school and started having kids, my priorities changed but I have always craved physical activity. My pregnancy with my oldest son was a surprise at 18 years old when I was the fittest I have ever been. I ran up to 6 months pregnant, and didn't really "show" until about 7 months. I gained an ideal 25 pounds and fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans 1 week later. This was in 2000. I laugh about that now! 

I had never been much of a long distance runner but the desire to "get my body back" motivated me to run in the mornings before my husband went to work. My runs were usually about a mile and a half. 

Fast forward about a year and a half and we were pregnant again! Determined to have as great of a pregnancy as my first (and bounce back as well), I was running as I had before. I ended up losing that baby to miscarriage and was devastated. I don't remember how much I ran after that, but I did take my son on daily walks that probably added up to a mile and a half or so. 

In 2003, we were blessed with our 2nd son. I gained a bit more weight (about 45 pounds) and did NOT get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans one week later. I discovered pilates and continued to go on daily walks. I think I felt pretty much back to "normal" by his first birthday.

In 2005 we had moved to a brand new city in a whole other region of the US and I had delivered our third son. I gained 55 pounds with him and noticed a real change in my body. My thighs and butt were definitely heavier, as well as basically the rest. I had my work cut out for me. I was busier than ever now with one in Kindergarten and 2 babies at home. I would put them in the stroller as soon as our oldest was off to school. I wouldn't even go inside the house except to grab sippy cups. Then we'd be off! Gradually I walked further and further, reaching about 3 miles. Some days it would be less because squirmy kids could not tolerate the stroller that long. I also did some biking in this season since I could convert the stroller into a bike trailer. In the summer it was crazy hot so I would swim laps while the kids swam.

One winter day in 2006 I found myself jogging down the hills on my route and eventually these stretches of jogging got longer and longer until I was jogging the entire walking route. I had "accidentally" become a long-distance runner. I ran my first 5K in 2006 and the rest is history. Having a way to "compete" with myself and gain a sense of accomplishment in something related to physical activity was awesome as an adult.

I have never been the fastest, but I have gotten faster. I have never felt like I look good running but it makes me feel so good that I don't even think about it. I don't always love running while I am doing it, but I never regret getting myself out there on the course. 

I am not a skinny runner. During times of intense training I have gotten trimmer, but I lose weight in my abdominal area first and start to show ribs (unflattering in my opinion) before my legs and butt lean out. I have a big butt, I have meaty legs and arms. I have great abs and shoulders. I am shorter, my legs are short and I have a flat chest (although my kids were breast-fed and I'm proud of that!). My right arm is bigger than my left. I don't know how many times people have asked me if I were a gymnast. I am my own runner.

I have been called many things: thick, in-shape, stalky, buff, ripped, yolked (a new one to me). We do not have control of others' perceptions of us, all we can do is be kind to ourselves. 

I have stretch marks near my breasts and on my butt although it is through the grace of God that none of them show in a bikini. I have some extra skin on my middle that shows if I bend over or sit in certain positions. It is all me. I have great hair. I tan well. I have some acne issues and age-expected wrinkles. I don't have to shave every day thanks to blonde leg hair. I have cellulite, and my butt isn't as "lifted" as before.  I don't like pictures of me point blank and prefer them taken at an angle. My husband says I am most beautiful right when I wake up in the morning. And I am just me.

I fall off the training wagon from time to time, but I always get back on. I'm 32 and can do pull-ups. I ran a freaking marathon this year and P.R.-ed in the half marathon. I can keep up with my kids and almost out-sprint my 13-year old. I inspire my kids to be active and reach for their goals. They love running the kids' races at my races. I am me. 

So there you have it. If you want to say I am naturally muscular you would be right...underneath I am. But genetics can only take you so far. Guess what happens when you don't work muscle? It turns to fat. Guess what happens when I eat badly? I store it on the backs of my arms and legs, not to mention I get cavities and feel like crap. I have to work, diligently, consistently to stay in shape.

My point is that whoever you are, your goal should be to be the best YOU. Discover your strengths and celebrate them. Discover your weaknesses and work on them, but understand having them makes you a human being and without them you might not have the motivation to strive for improvement. Never give up and always keep trying. Always keep improving.

Then, remember to celebrate the unique, one-of-a-kind YOU. YOUR journey. YOUR achievements. The influence YOU have on this world. It's a beautiful thing! Just be you.

Busy, but not too busy to run!

Style/Workout: 3.75 miles
Setting/Route: Nearby, hill, heat
Progress: (running mileage):  3.75 today/
30.05 this month/ 361.4 year-to-date

Today was one of "those" days, in a good way.  I got through the normal hullabaloo of whisking kids off to school, came back and picked up, including making beds, scrubbing dog pee out of the carpet, tons of dishes, kitty litter box, walking the dog, going a load of laundry...and exhale. 

By that point the sun was out and I was dressed and ready in workout gear. Hubby and I have a biking date for this afternoon pending his intention to get off work early. For whatever reason- may have been my second cup of coffee, some motivating stories from friends on Facebook or the marines in the field close-by playing flag football, I decided to go ahead and throw my hat on and lace up my running shoes for a run anyway. I just felt like being active! The sun was shining with not a cloud in the sky so it was by no means cool during this run. So it was also a good measure for how well I am adjusting to the heat. 

I averaged a 9:57 per mile along the 3.75 mile route. I am pretty pleased with myself! Not only was this run a tad longer than my other ones in the heat, I did run harder and felt much better. This run was marked with a giant smiley face. 

So I goofed about the training plan that I mentioned in my last post...that one is a marathon training plan. So I will be searching today until I find the appropriate half marathon training plan! 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

5K A-OK!

Style/Workout: 5K
Setting/Route: Fast, flat loops
Progress: (running mileage):  3.11 today/
26.3 this month/ 357.65 year-to-date

Ok maybe a lame title, but I was glad to be back running after being sick for a week. What a pain! Third week of my kids back in school and I get sick. Did any of them get sick? Nope!  Just Mom! Such is the life of a mom and wife as they say :) Well today has been great. The weather has been a little cooler lately, dipping into the 60s in the evenings and slightly lower at night. Today I woke up to clouds which were welcomed because it was nice and cool, with a cool breeze. So I took off, did some running then took some time to stretch and do some strength training moves. 

Today I need to make some real measurable goals. Then I need to get some tangible plans for my goals. 

1) Run the Runway 5K October 5
2) Run the Silver Strand Half Marathon November 17th. 

I have no time goals for these runs, I just want to participate and finish! 

1) Register for races (budget them in)
 2) Follow a training plan (I found an easy no-brainer one in Competitor magazine!)

** Fail to plan and you'll plan to fail! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

By Time, Not By Mileage

Style/Workout: 40 minute run
Setting/Route: Out my front door route, including big hill
Progress: (running mileage):  3.8 today/
23.19 this month/ 354.54 year-to-date
Yesterday I wasn't feeling well. Sore throat, just not quite feeling as up to speed as usual. But this morning I was feeling mostly fine so I went ahead and got a run in. I didn't want to run. Everything in me wanted to snuggle back into my bed after dropping the kids off at school and sleep all day long (ok maybe I wasn't feeling "fine"). But I decided to run by time not speed which kind of takes the pressure off mentally. I kept it really relaxed and checked it off! 
I was by no means "fast" per say, but I was glad I finished the run. I almost regret it though because it didn't take long to realize that I am, indeed fighting off some sort of bug. Whatever energy I had before my run was completely sucked out of me by the run. I managed to do some laundry, shower and blow dry my hair before I took a nice nap. Then I popped some ibuprofen, guzzled a bottle of water and picked the kids up from school. By the time that was over, I was just glad to be home, and have my kids miraculously behaving themselves. My wonderful hubby took over as soon as he got home and now I'm just resting. No run tomorrow, but hopefully the next day. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Back to it!

Style/Workout: 5K with hill
Setting/Route: Out my front door route
Progress: (running mileage):  3.1 today/
19.39 this month/ 350.74 year-to-date

Today's run was the one out my front door that starts with a flat stretch followed by a gynormous hill. I like this run because it allows me to gauge if I am getting stronger/faster. My times on this route have included: 8/27: 34:33, 9/6: 33:55,  & today's run 9/16: 31.40. So YES, I am getting faster! It is good to see some progress. 

I'm not going too nuts this week because I've developed a sore throat and while I a believing it is nothing, I know I need some rest. The kids/life has been stressing/wearing me out lately! 

Lastly, I will register for Silver Strand Half Marathon happening November 17th 2013 before the end of September! That is my goal! That being said, my second goal is to formulate some sort of training plan on my calendar. I am coming up on the 8 week away mark!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Better Temperatures, Better Run!

Style/Workout: 5-Miler, no walk breaks!
Setting/Route:  Lake Miramar
Progress: (running mileage):  5 today/
16.29 this month/ 347.64 year-to-date
Today's run was really great! For the first time in a long time I actually marked the "it was great" smiley on my Nike + app. Today was a bit of a test for me. The temperatures dropped back to San Diego normal, and it was less than 70 degrees this morning. So...I was curious to see if during these temperatures I would perform better. I did! I ran the entire 5 miles without stopping (well except a few steps to cancel a text coming in...). Not only that but I had a goal to run it in 10:00 or less and I managed 9:15 per mile! Yaya! It was a good day for running. There's hope for me! 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Same Run, Different Day

Style/Workout: 5K Run/Walk
Setting/Route: Santo Rd Hill + La Mirage Condo Neighborhood
Progress: (running mileage):  3.11 today/
11.29 this month/ 342.64 year-to-date

Today I ran the same route I have been running that starts at our travel trailer. I run about 3/4 mile flat for a good start, then I tackle the gynormous hill. Today I felt stronger! I went hard at the hill and only walked once. I give myself permission to walk for 3 reasons 1) I feel like I am overheating 2) I feel like I am about to throw up 3) I am getting a sideache. All of these things are typically caused by CO-2 build-up, so walk for a bit while I focus on taking a few breaths, focusing particularly on the exhale to blow off the CO-2. 

My pace wasn't much faster, but I like how with a particular route, you can test your fitness by seeing if you can finish it in less time. I shaved .78 off of my last time, which isn't earth-shattering, but it is still faster. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lake Miramar Run

Remember a few posts back when I mentioned a cool lake with a path around it? I asked around and got some good information about it, and today after dropping my kids off for their first day of school I had the opportunity to run it! 

Style/Workout:  4.68 Miles Lake Loop
Setting/Route:  Lake Miramar
Progress: (running mileage):  4.68 today/ 8.18 this month/ 339.53 year-to-date

Today's run was tough but great! The heat is really getting to me, and even at 8am it was still around 80 degrees. My app usually posts the temperature but for some reason it didn't this time. 

This trail is a nice paved loop that has a few small hills but is mostly flat. The views are gorgeous! And it adds up to around 5 miles so either you turn around or you push yourself to get all the way around the lake. There is no in between, no swimming across! 

I was not on my A-game preparation-wise today. I managed to forget my hat so I wore my everyday sunglasses which kept slipping down my nose from the sweat pouring down my forehead, I forgot my armband and headphones so I held my iPhone (and carkeys) the whole way. It was just kind of awkward, but I made it work. No one looked at me weird at least! I also didn't have my wrist-strap water bottle which really is a must on this trail this time of year. There are even signs posted to carry your own water because there are no water sources along the way. There are porta-potties however, just FYI. So while I had guzzled water throughout the morning and right before my run, it really would have been nice to have it with me. 


Morning Run + Afternoon Bike Ride!

Style/Workout:  3.5 Miles running, hills included; 15.5 mile bike ride, nice and flat
Setting/Route:  Neighborhood Run/Coronado Bike Ride
Progress: (running mileage):  3.5 today/ 3.5 this month/ 334.85 year-to-date

Today was a good day fitness-wise. I got out and went for a great run, followed by a nice bike ride in the afternoon with my husband. I kept thinking, hey all I need is the swim and I've completed a triathlon today!

Run: This run still felt tough. It wasn't a new route, it was close-by and included a huge hill! I am still regaining my endurance, as evidenced by my 10:00-11:00 pace. But I don't feel badly, I will find my groove. The added heat is also an adjustment still. 

Bike: My husband and I escaped out to Coronado Island with our bikes and had a great time! It wasn't super hot by any means because a nice cloud layer was lingering off the coast. This was our second long bike ride together and is proving to be a really nice way to spend time together (and works my legs and butt big time!). 

My husband blows me away big time when we ride, but he's sweet and slows back for me.

At the Coronado Chamber of Commerce

Every year there is a half marathon out on Coronado called the Silver Strand Half Marathon. It is November 17th this year and I'm not sure if I will make it due to previous commitments. If for some reason they fall through I'm going to run it!