Thursday, March 21, 2013

Three things Thursday

1. I'm registered for a 15k on Sunday. I've trained very little. In fact, I average 1-2 runs per week. This is all due to 12 hour days in nursing school and needing to prioritize my family the rest of the time. There is a 5k also and I am considering dropping down. This is hard for me. I'm stubborn. I WANT to run the 15k. I can complete the distance no problem, but it wouldn't be a race. I don't know anyone doing the distance to run with. If I do the 5k, I start earlier, will be done faster and get home to my family quicker--maybe in time for church. I've never done an official 5k, so it could be a good experience. And it's a Hot Chocolate race--- so it's all amount the chocolate at the end, right? I'm still debating though.

2. I've had to reach the conclusion that the only training plan I can follow is "finish nursing school and get my RN." 17 more months now. Exercise is only a bonus and more for therapeutic reasons right now. Thankfully, I am eating well these days, so I'm not worried about weight gain. It's hard because part of me wants to sacrifice sleep, or family time to run. But school and family must be my priority and sleep is so important for my health and performance in school. I'm not a young thing who can pull all nights anymore.

3. I'm trying to figure out how to combine this blog with my family blog. I just don't think I will be blogging much about running and I've been considering this for a while. It's much easier to manage one blog. But I love both my blog titles so much! How do I combine Embrace This Day and Mama Needs To Run?

That's what's happening (or not happening) around these parts!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

running + nursing school + mamalife

There is nothing in life right now that makes running easy or a no-brainer.

Monday through Wednesday I leave the house between 6:20 and 6:40am. Also two of those days, my hubs leaves at 5:15am. I learned to love morning running. Getting it done before the kids were up and the day started. Not having to find time to squeeze in running or exercise later in the day and take a second shower. I got really spoiled much of last year because I did a lot of early morning running in my neighborhood because Bean didn't leave for work until about 6:45am. But his schedule has changed, and it's a benefit to us overall.

I know there are a lot of people who get up at 4:30am or 5:00am to run and I could do that. But I haven't. A lot of nights I'm studying or prepping the family for the next day of me being gone, and I don't get to bed early enough wake up that early. I have chosen to prioritize sleep in my life--a minimum of 7 hours when possible, realizing how important it is in overall health.

By the time Thursday and Friday roll around, I want to sleep in (until 6:30am when I have to get up for getting the kids to school) and cuddle on the couch all morning with my 4yr old. And weekends are full of family stuff and I don't like taking time away from my husband and children to run. When I have exams coming up (like the THREE I have next week) I typically need a few hours away from the home to focus solely on studying.

I guess I'm thankful I've been nursing an injury and have already been running less the last few months.

The hard part (well, one of them) is that I want and need running more than ever. But for the next 18 months, it's not a top priority. However, that doesn't mean I can slack off completely. Or that I want to. Because when I do fit in running, I'm so happy I did and it makes everything better.

Tuesdays I get home around 3pm and I try to do a DVD (or maybe run on the treadmill in the garage while the kids play outside around me) before I make dinner.

This morning I disciplined myself to put on running clothes before I took the kids to school (you know, instead of staying in my jammies and slippers). When we got home, I set the kidlet up with the iPad (she watches mostly PBS stuff on it, so it's educational, right?) and headed to the garage. Pumped out 3.5 miles, done before 9am.

I'm trying to figure out when I'll fit in a run on Saturday or Sunday this week. I'm registered for a 15k at the end of March, so trying to not die while running that!

This is a new season for me in running. It's been able to be a huge focus the last few years. But now my focus is getting through nursing school while being a good mom and wife.

I am also looking forward to the fact that when I'm done with nursing school coincides with when Lilybug starts kindergarten. So once I have a job as a nurse, the days I don't work--or I start later in the day, I can run after dropping THREE kids off at one school.

It will be glorious!

Oh--and I'm still having trouble with my piriformis but I got a suggestion on the Another Mother Runner Facebook page to try the pigeon pose and it's helping SO MUCH!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Let's GO get Dirty Girl!

I should be studying right now. But I want to get this post up! Nursing school is a butt-kicker. It's not particularly "hard" yet, but just SO MUCH INFO TO MEMORIZE.

But, a few weeks ago I had a blast getting dirty in San Diego and getting my mind off school for a few hours. I had the opportunity to run the Dirty Girl San Diego Mud Run. Please note, I didn't say it was a race---it was a run, and it was really fun.

The nitty gritty...

As I was getting ready the night before, I realized there is a reason why the Mud Run I have done in the past was in June. GREAT temperature. Not blazing, but not freezing either.

Um, February in San Diego can be freezing (to us thin-blooded folks) and it was.

I knew the general area of the run (a local golf course) but I was surprised to be driving on a dirt road and parking in the grass with some cows across the street. You just never know what parts of your city you will find when you do a new run.
Hello, bovine.

Melissa arrived just after I did, and since we were on the news together a few days prior, we hooked up quickly. In fact, there was a chance were going to be on the news again that morning at the race site, but it got cancelled at the last minute (i.e. I heard a tweet come to my phone at 3am with the change) which we were all okay with because that meant more sleep and less time in the cold.

Carrie came down from L.A. to run with us and it was great meeting her too! Melissa printed up Run for Sherry Bibs for us, but since they were just on paper they didn't make it past the first few obstacles. Melissa had Team Sparkle Skirts for us. Definitely on my list of running attire I want for myself!

The check-in area was well organized and adequately staffed. Something happened with my registration and they didn't have it, but they quickly added me to the list and got me a bib number without much issue at all.

One bummer was that the port-a-potties were a few minute way to the other side of the course. Since this run had waves running all day, I think that was their way of not having one area be too crowded. But I wished they had at least a few at the check-in area.

We got our bibs on and checked our bags.

The biggest bummer was the start of the run (we were in the first wave scheduled at 8am) was delayed over 30 minutes. And it was COLD. We were dancing around just to stay warm. Since we were going to be getting wet and  dirty, we didn't want to layer up too much, like I might have done for a regular run on a cold morning.  We had a lot of rain the night before and the organizers said that delayed them being set up on time.

Finally the run was under way! It was kind of nice running on the grass and dirt trails.

The obstacles were creative and fun.

(I'm at the top, climbing over)

 And cold and muddy! I managed to stay upright in the mud pits so I didn't get terribly dirty on top. But my shoes and legs were caked in mud most of the time.
(This was my favorite obstacle...although I couldn't find a picture of myself on it.)

 It finally started to warm up a tad about half-way through so my hands were no longer icicles. Every obstacle had a sign that said "shhh, we won't tell if you go around." I thought that was pretty nice!

 This was the craziest obstacle (in my opinion). In fact, my forearms and triceps were sore the next day and I'm pretty sure climbing across this rope net was to blame.

(again, not me, but gives you an idea)

I appreciated the wave starts because the running paths weren't very wide at some points, but it was never congested.

We took the run easy, took a few walk breaks when we felt like it and enjoyed the course.

The finish was a little anticlimactic due to new waves starting at the same time, but there were some people there cheering us on which I appreciated. There was water available, but whatever snacks they were offering were across the way again, and due the late start and family schedule-- I didn't have time to go check it out.

My hands got a little torn up from crawling through a mud pit with a netting over the top to keep you low. And I found this odd bruise across my thigh a few days later, and it took me another few days to realize it was probably from the Mud Run! But what's a fun obstacle run without a few souvenirs?

Overall, this was a great fun run! It is PERFECT for a group of girlfriends wanting to do something fun and active together. It's awesome for a new runner who doesn't want the pressure of a "race" but wants to do something organized and get some race swag too. I would totally recommend it to friends and any of the cities where it's coming up. There were tons of teams with great tshirts and costumes, wigs, tutus, rufflebutts and more.

Go get dirty girl!!!  They have a great Facebook page as well, with thousands of great pictures from their events.

(Read Melissa and Carrie's recaps too.)

Monday, February 4, 2013

getting ready to get dirty (on TV!)

My Dirty Girl Run is coming up on Saturday. Mud Runs have a special place in my heart because they were some of the very first runs I signed up and actually trained for.

Like I said before, one of the fun parts of a Mud Run is that it's difficult to "race" them due to the obstacles and crowds. But that takes the pressure off and you just enjoy the experience.

Last week, I was contacted by the Dirty Girl staff and asked if I wanted to be part of a news feature for the run. Dirty Girl raises money for breast cancer, which is such a worthy cause. The caveat was-it was for the local CBS morning show. Which is EARLY. But I figured, why not?! You don't get a chance to be on the news every day. And that's what coffee is for, right?

So I got up at o'dark-thirty this morning and threw on my workout clothes.

Since I would be driving from the news feature to my long lecture day of nursing school, I had to be completely ready to be away from home for a total of 14 hours.

The other bonus was I got to meet Melissa (blue Sparkle Skirt) and Shannyn (pink Sparkle Skirt) for the first time and Melissa brought her friend Sandi, who is a trainer and put us through some paces. (and if I'm ever looking for a trainer or boot camp, I know who to look up because Sandi was all about getting the maximum out of the seconds and minutes we were on air).

Melissa brought a Team Sparkle Skirt for me to wear (and perfect that it matched my long sleeve running shirt I love) and we were able to bring awareness to the Run for Sherry. (I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome the skirt is. If only I had unlimited funds for race-wear.)

We did a brief "teaser" and then a bit later the actual segment aired--all live. We elected Melissa to be our spokesperson, while Shannyn and I "trained" in the background. We did this at both the 5am and 6am hour. We were done about 6:20 and PRAISE GOD I spotted a Starbucks in a Vons on the way to the freeway and I got my caffeine before heading to school

Check it out!
San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 -

You can still register and save 20% with the code: SDBLOGGUEST

So, what do you think of my form? Seeing this video made me want to video myself doing some of my workouts so I can critique my form. I think my butt was too high during the mountain climbers.

I'm super duper tired today, and sitting for so many hours doesn't help, but it was a fun morning and I'm glad I did it.

Can't wait for all the fun on Saturday!

(Read Melissa's recap here)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

come run in the mud with me in San Diego!

Before I became a runner, my sister started running. And a few of my friends were running too. They did a mud run one summer and I was so intrigued by their stories and photos. It seemed crazy, but fun.

Fast forward a few years, and the hubs and I were running a 10k with a big group of friends, including both my sisters-- The Camp Pendleton World Famous Mud run to be exact. And it was crazy, and fun. Before you finish the first mile you are sprayed down with fire hoses from fire trucks. Then you run trails and through creeks, through obstacles, up a few huge hills before you hit the walls (thank you marines who were there to help us over!) and then swimming across a small pond. The finish is in the actual mud pits--but not before you climb up the slipper slope where you hang on to any weed or bush you can, clawing at handfuls of mud to get up the hill with water running down it.

Are you convinced it's fun? It really is! Because you can't really "race" a mud run (in my opinion), there's no huge pressure, and everyone is getting dirty.

Enter: DIRTY GIRL, a fun Mud Run coming up next month in San Diego. What's better than getting dirty, is getting dirty with a bunch of girlfriends. I love

Here's the description from their website: 

Run, walk, climb, crawl—you will experience it all. With obstacle names like H2OMG and PMS (Pretty Muddy Stuff), you can expect to laugh until your cheeks hurt. But don't worry, if you get to an obstacle that's more than a challenge for you—hey, take one of the detours. Also expect safety throughout. Expect the competition to go on rain or shine. Expect not to be timed. Expect some crazy team uniforms. Expect to leave with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

A few other great things about the race:

-you can register as an indivual or a team
-this is a non-competitive event and isn't timed---it's just FUN! 
-your registration fee also gets you a tshirt, charm, entertainment and music

I love that the race also supports the National Breast Cancer Association. My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor, so this is a cause near and dear to our hearts. 

It's not too late...the race is February 9, and there are still spots available.

Better yet, save 20% on the race with this code: SDBLOGGUEST

Disclosure: I'm a Dirty Girl Ambassador, because I'm a girl, who has fun getting dirty, while she runs. In exchange for a Mud Run entry, I'm telling you all about it! All opinions on mud runs are my own dirty ones. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Instead Softcup Challenge (for ladies only!!)

If you are one of my testosterone-dominant readers, you may want to skip this entry. Or perhaps you want to read it and file the info away for sharing with a girlfriend, wife or lady-friend. If you have those types of convos with them.

Just consider yourself forewarned.

Thanks to For The Love of the Run, several months ago I received a one months supply of Instead Softcup to test and review.

I've been intruiged by "alternative protection" during that time of the month. Since having my 3rd child, and perhaps also hitting my "mid-30's" I have needed more protection than normal. If you get my drift. Or flow. Heavy. You know.

It took me a few months to remember that I had a supply of Softcup buried on my dresser, which resides behind a curtain in my closet. Fancy digs I have. 

So when I finally did, I read the directions a few times and gave it a shot. 

I'll spare you the somewhat messy details of the week that ensued--because do you really want to read a witty post all about the insertion and removal of alternative period protection? I think not! 

But here are the things that you want and need to know about the Instead Softcup.

1. Insertion is a little tricky and takes practice. Often while sitting it didn't feel right, but once I stood up and started moving around I couldn't feel anything.

2. I didn't feel or notice it at all once I was moving around! Which was awesome. 

3. The Softcup lasted way longer than any tampon ever does. Several hours. 

4. It never leaked. Not even once. Not even during the night. The first few nights of my cycle I usually have to change my tampon during the night or have to race to the bathroom when I first wake up. But the Softcup lasted all night, without discomfort and without leaking.

5. Removal is messy. This is the downside. Perhaps there is a way to master it and not have it be so messy, but I certainly didn't figure it out in one week's time. I got better at it, but it was still messy. And this was a real detriment to using the Softcup if I knew I'd be gone all day. Getting messy in a public restroom or any bathroom away from home is a real drag. So I chose not to do it.

I will say this is a GREAT product for runners. If I had a long run coming up or a race, I would use a Softcup in a heartbeat.

In fact, I did have an incident during my last training cycle involving leaking protection that could have been a lot more unfortunate if not for black shorts and a towel I laid in the car to protect the seat from sweat, that protected it from a lot more. 

I should have worn a Softcup!! 

I've not yet had to race during a cycle, but if I did--I would totally use this product.

So, there you have it.

There are a lot of plusses to this product. The messy removal was the one drawback for me, but even that wouldn't deter me from using it in situations where I wouldn't have access to a bathroom for several hours or want to lose precious minutes on a race clock.

Thanks Tina for the opportunity!

I received a one-month's supply of Instead Softcup in exchange for a blog post review. Instead Softcup is also reimbursing me a race registration. All opinions are my own! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Silver Strand Half 2012

It's been almost two three weeks since I ran the Silver Strand Half.

Life never stops. Even long enough to blog.  Most of [which is very, very little lately] my blogging is done in the evenings. But between classes, homework, sports, hubby doing homework on the computer and just general exhaustion---there has been no blogging.

But, I ran a race. And so did my husband! It's Thanksgiving night and although I may not complete my post tonight, I am determined to start it. It WAS Thanksgiving night when I started. Now it's a week later.

Friday and Saturday before the race I taught an all-day class. Which meant I was on my feet A LOT less than if I would have been at home. A very good thing and helped my legs and body in general feel pretty rested. On Friday night, I may have taken a Benedryl to ensure a good night's sleep. It worked.

Saturday night my mother-in-law took the kids overnight, which was a huge blessing! We went to church at 5pm and then dropped the kids off to her. Bean and I had a quiet night watching TV and getting our race stuff ready. It was fun to be prepping for TWO to race.

(seen in photo: Nuun Strawberry Lemonade, Honey Stingers, Body Glide, Spibelt, Sketchers Go Run bag, Carlsbad Marathon 2012 hat, and the kids coloring books!)

We got up at 4:45am, which is when Bean gets up for work 4 days a week. I couldn't do it. He does it for 10-hour work days and Fridays off. I'm thankful he does, but it just wouldn't be worth it to me. Bean showered, because he just can't NOT shower. I did not. My friend Leslie came to our house at 5:30am to carpool and off we headed.

It was a little chilly when we arrived just before 6am. We hopped in a line to shuttle to the race start. It was just a mile away, but why walk when we were there early enough to shuttle?

Bean wasn't so sure how he was feeling about this whole thing. He enjoys running and being active, but he would usually rather do yardwork, vacuum out our van or other house and family related stuff. He intended to train, but it just didn't happen. He ran some 10k mud runs, but that was a few years ago now. He also injured his back a week or so prior to the race.

The sun started to come up more and it was looking to be a beautiful day. That's the Hotel Del in the distance.

We got to the start and slowly started getting ready. We had some time, so we stayed warm for a while in our clothes before shedding and checking them in our bag. I can't wait until Bean and I can do more things like this together. He's a lot of fun to be with :)

And here is my rockstar friend Leslie! We initially connected on Facebook via Another Mother Runner and turns out we have a mutual friend, which made it not so weird that we met up to run when I started training for the race. We did almost all our long weekend runs together. Leslie is a bit of a Ragnar addict and she may have run Ragnar Las Vegas at the last minute, the two days before this half. Rockstar, I tell you! Someone in my nursing cohort was giving up a bib for this race and so Leslie was able to transfer it to her name and her main intention was to help pace me.

At first waiting for the 7:30am start seemed so long. But then all of the sudden, it was time! It wasn't predicted to be that hot. but not that cold either. I don't really have a shirt I like running long in. This is my favorite running tank (Costco, $12!) and I made a last minute decision to risk being too cold. It ended up being perfect!! I wasn't ever really hot, but I also wasn't cold. It makes me pretty proud to rock this MARATHON hat. It doesn't say half marathon, because I ran a full marathon! It may not have gone as planned, but I still ran a marathon.

The gun went off, and so did we! I actually connected with another friend, made via Twitter, at the start and the three of us started off together. Sarah & I also started off the Carlsbad Full together too. She and I both had a 2:09 half PR, on this same course, and wanted to set a new PR.

We started off right around the 2:00 pacer. Carrie had suggested to start off near the pace group because running a faster pace doesn't feel as fast when everyone else around you is also running it. Great advice that I will be sure to use again! When I ran this race two years ago I started further back and I spent almost half the race weaving to get around people. 

From the get-go, we were running 9:30-9:45 pace, and it felt great. Sometimes I'd look at my watch and freak momentarily, thinking it was too fast--but then I would remind myself that this is the pace I trained for and I felt good, so just keep going with it. Since Leslie had put so many miles on her legs the days prior, with little sleep, and a lot of driving, I told her to just do what felt good and not worry about me. But her legs loosened up and she was by my side.

I fell off blogging partway through my training. Carrie was absolutely awesome in giving me a plan, altering it as needed and letting me bounce stuff off her all the time. I'm so thankful I was one of the first to email her when she was offering some free coaching.

A little backstory...
Over the last several weeks of my training, I had a lot of hip pain. I had to skip a few long runs, and cut a few others back. I went down to three days of running per week, instead of 4-5. I went to the chiropractor and got a sports massage as well. I spent a lot of time icing, stretching and rolling. Carrie also suggested icing while driving, since you'll be sitting anyways. This was another priceless tidbit. Especially since I commute 6 hours each week to and from school. Sitting and driving especially irritated my hip.

When I was vigilant about icing, stretching and rolling I was able to complete most of my key runs and hit the right paces. Towards the end of my long runs my hip would hurt more, especially when we did tempo miles. But I was able to push through most of the time. I knew my pain and whatever was going on probably wouldn't resolved completely without complete rest and perhaps more treatment. But honestly, I just wasn't willing do that until after the race. I knew it could cost me, but as long as I wasn't getting worse, I kept training.

Running on the most flat and even ground was best for my hip and leg, so that's what I looked for during the race. The course itself is extremely flat but every road is slanted to some extent. But if I stayed on the left shoulder for the most part, it was pretty flat. 

Around mile 5, my calves started to feel really tight. At the mile 6 aid station, I decided to stop and stretch them out quickly. They felt much better after that and I'm glad I stopped. I seemed to have a little trouble getting back up to my goal pace again. Within another mile, my hip started to bother me. 

Mile 8 was really my undoing. The road became very slanted for about a quarter of a mile, and there was no flat side. A few months ago when my chiropractor was checking out my hip, he told me that my right leg (the affected side) was about 1/4 of an inch shorter than the left. Ever since then, I have totally been in tune to my gait and how offset it can get. Unfortunately, the lower side of the slanted street was the right. So my leg, that already has to step down further, really had to step down further. I had to stop and walk a few times to get through that short distance.

Things just really unfortunately unraveled even more. I'd push through and run for a bit, but then I'd have to walk because it relieved the pain a bit. And when I was running, my paces were in the 10:xx not the 9:xx I was aiming for. Sarah was having a great race and pulled way ahead. Poor Leslie's legs revolted every time I needed a walk break. But she hung with me and would walk-jog instead.

As we approached mile 11, I just wanted to cry. I was hurting. I was disappointed. I was watching my PR slip away. I don't know what I would have done without Leslie. She was a cheerleader and a drill sergeant, both things I needed! I probably would have walked more or run even slower if she wasn't right next to me. 

When we hit mile 12, I was ready to give it all I could to the finish. I may have taken one short walk break, but I knew the finish line was close and I just wanted to get there. It did help that I've run this race before, so I knew how the finish was and I could envision the turn and how far it was to the finish line. 

I turned it on at the very end and we crossed at 2:13 (chip time). Just four minutes slower than my PR. Which I decided was a great "injured running PR." Honestly though, if I was able to run just four minutes off my PR while injured, I KNOW I could have PR'd without my injury.  BTW, Sarah ran her way to a PR by several minutes! 

Leslie's husband and son met her at the finish and her husband snapped this shot of us! I picked up our bag, said goodbye to Leslie and started to go back a bit to look for Bean. Since I stopped my Garmin when I finished, I wasn't sure how much time had elapsed or how he was doing.

I had seen him around my mile 10. He was running and looking pretty good.  I saw him again at my mile 12+ and his mile 10. He was walking and hurting, but looking very determined. I walked back to about the 12.5 mark and waited. I would have gone back further, but I had our heavy backpack and carrying that along wasn't too appealing to my tired body or my hurting hip.

A friend of ours was pacing the 3:00 group and she was able to tell me he was a little behind her and hurting more. His pace had fallen off quite a bit since I had last seen him.  I walked back a bit further and found him. He was almost in tears, his back was hurting so bad. But he was extremely determined to finish and I was glad to walk alongside him for a few minutes. When we got closer to the finish I jogged up so I could get some photos of his finish. He turned it on, just like I did and powered through the last yards.

Bean's official time was 3:03. Which, for the record is two minutes faster than my time for my first half marathon. And he had a very hurt back. 

We were both thrilled to be done and even though we didn't run together, it was really fun to race with my husband. I think we are pretty cute here at the finish. 

I look forward to when our kids are a little more self-sufficient and can even stay home themselves for a few hours, so that we can do more activities like this together. Before we had kids, we enjoyed running and hiking together--but babysitting time is precious and we usually use it for my school schedule and the occasional date night.

We had a little time after the race before our kids came home, so I forced Bean into an ice bath. He was NOT happy about it, but I knew it would help his overall recovery and his back especially. We both squeezed into our little tub. Interesting note: we didn't fit as well as I thought in the tub and my quads weren't covered in water and guess what part of my body was most sore the next two days? Yup--QUADS. Ice baths are the bomb. 

He may kill me for posting this, but Lily brought Bean a blanket and a pillow and this is how I found him later in the afternoon. I am so proud of you babe for getting through the half marathon with an injured back and no training. Let's do it again sometime! Maybe with a little more training :)

Not the race I had hoped or planned for, but I am proud of us both nonetheless. 

And now, it has been almost three weeks since I've run. Working on my piriformis and cross-training. More on that soon.