Tuesday, October 25, 2011

how to alter my schedule

I recovered pretty well from the 14-mile run.  My quads had the most soreness, but it really wasn't bad at all. I learned today that my ice bath didn't have enough ice or water in it, so maybe that would have helped with my quads.  I knew I probably needed the water to cover my legs completely, but it was SO COLD!

And how awesome that they quote me at the end!

Monday morning in spite of my 7 year old being up at 5:30am with a stomach ache, I still hopped on the treadmill for a "shake it out" 3 miles.  It's still so amazing to me that often the best thing for soreness after a long or hard run, is another run.  The first mile or so was a bit painful, but after I was loosened up it felt great and I really cranked it up the last several minutes.

The 5:30am stomach ache turned into 7:30am vomit and a day working from home.  In spite of the change of plans and challenges that presented, I was calm, cool and collected.  Much thanks due to my run that morning.  Had I not run or waited until the evening, I would have been twitchy all day.  It really does pay to start the day off with a run.

It looks like my daughter is going to have a tonsillectomy in a few weeks, a few days before my first 20-miler.  It's hard to predict if I'll be able to do that 20-miler at all that weekend.  I'm not sure how to alter my schedule.  Here's what my long runs look like around the three 20-milers on my schedule.

Week 5: 16 miles (maybe I could make this one 20 miles instead?)
Week 6: 8 miles (not sure if I could lengthen this due to schedule that weekend)
Week 7: 20 miles (this is the one I don't know if I can do)
Week 8: 7 miles
Week 9:16 miles
Week 10: 20 miles
Week 11: 16 miles
Week 12: 7 miles
Week 13: 20 miles



I'd love any thoughts or experiences anyone has had with having to switch runs around.  I feel like it's important to get all three 20-milers in since this is my first marathon.

Who knows, maybe she will be a champ and be doing well enough a few days after the procedure to leave for the morning.  But I want to have a back up plan just in case.

I did a little bit of cross-training today.  Really looking forward to running some speedier miles in the morning.

Happy running friends!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

14 miles: a post almost as long as the run itself

Today's 14 mile run was much better executed than last weeks 12-miler.  Here were my improvements!

1.  Did a better job of mapping out my run so I wasn't confused, which I was at the beginning of last weeks run.

2.  Left the house on time and got started about 7:05am.  Last week I left late, made a pit stop for gas and then was super stressed the whole run, trying to calculate if I was going to get home in time to recover briefly and shower before the 4yr olds soccer game.

3.  Remembered to use Glide on a few trouble spots that I forgot last week.  Used more Glide on my feet to prevent blisters forming.  I got a good-sized blister on my right foot, third toe last week.  The area was bothering me while I ran, but I didn't realize a blister was forming.  With applying the Glide to it today, it didn't bother me at all!  I kind want to drain it, but since it's not hurting me, I figure I should leave it alone.

4.  Stayed calm and stress-free during my run.

As I mentioned earlier this week, this is a new personal distance record for me.  I've never run 14 miles before, only 13.1.

Overall, this was a good run.  As my mileage increases, but my pace stays about the same, this is a huge confidence booster for me.  I did struggle towards the end.  My body just hurt, I was feeling hungry and the rest of the fruit snacks I had with me just did not feed my belly!  It wanted a lot of real food at that moment.

I ran out of water towards the end and went a few miles feeling pretty thirsty because there were no drinking fountains.  There were quite a few earlier on the route, and I realized I should have used them instead of my water bottles and saved the bottles for when there were no fountains available.  Thankfully I knew there was one at the 13-mile mark and getting some water really helped spur me on to the end.

Wearing a belt and water bottles isn't my favorite, although I'm adjusting to it.  I will probably wear a belt during the marathon because I tend to want access to water whenever I feel the need.  During half marathons, I typically drink at some of the water stations, but enjoy having my own water too.  I think I'd really like to try a handheld bottle though.  I may feel more comfortable with that than the bottles on the belt.

For the most part, my splits are within seconds of each other.  I guess I'm a pretty consistent runner, at least at the "easy" pace.  I'm not sure what this means for race day.  I'm worried that I'll not pick up the pace a bit and run these same times during the race, when the idea is to run faster.  Hopefully the environment will give me that boost.

Mile 1- 11:03
Mile 2- 11:04
Mile 3- 11:12 (no idea why I slowed here)
Mile 4- 10:46 (pushing up a hill and then some downhill)
Mile 5- 11:00
Mile 6- 10:59
Mile 7- 11:02
Mile 8- 11:54 (gave myself permission for a little walk break at the halfway point)
Mile 9- 10:32 (A guy came up behind me and passed me, but then was running almost the same pace as me.  And he shuffled his feet--loud and annoying!  Even though we were going up a hill I had to pass him because I felt like he was slowing me down and I needed more breathing room!)
Mile 10- 11:02
Mile 11-11:01
Mile 12- 11:08 (starting to struggle!)
Mile 13- 11:12 (hurting!)
Mile 14- 9:59

Total time: 2:33

As always, I like to try to push it a bit more towards the end.  It's all about the mental aspect, proving to myself that there is more in my tank.  During miles 12 & 13, when I had thought I might speed up a bit, I was hurting and struggling.  Even though my pace was just seconds slower, it felt even slower than that.

Like I mentioned, I finally got some water as I was beginning mile 14.  The minute or so break and the water seemed to be the fuel I needed.  I was only attempting a sub-11 mile, but was pleasantly surprised to find this speed in me, a full minute faster.  I think my pace for the last .01 of the run was under 8:00!

It was great to accomplish this mileage today but I'm also excited that next weeks long run is just 6 miles.  That will be a nice break for me legs, and my family.  My girls are missing me these mornings.  I can't let the guilt get to me, but it will be nice to wake up with them and be home and head out a bit later for just an hour or so.

On my way home I bought a bag of ice for my first ever ice bath.  My two younger girls were very intrigued that I was in the bath, in my shorts.  Lily (2) was convinced I needed a bath toy and kept telling me "just one toy."  I finally relented to her putting one toy in the bath.  But then she kept adding more, and Gracie (4) joined in too.  Then they started playing with the toys in my bath.

See all the toys?  And Gracie playing?  The ice had melted at this point, but it was still plenty cold.

I asked my 7yr old to take a picture of me in the bath with the toys.  Lily wanted to pose with me, so she perched on the tub next to me and threw a leg up onto the rim.  See where this is going?

Yes her foot and leg ended up in the bath.  Why she was wearing only 1 sock, I have no idea.

The photo caught the aftermath.


I do think the ice bath helped.  My legs are fatigued tonight and there is some soreness, but it's not terrible.  I think there will be only twinges tomorrow.  Although I was tired most of the day, it helped that I was pretty active with the kids and family stuff going on.  There was very little sitting and relaxing today.  

Now if only I can win some compression socks in a giveaway....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.  I installed a new comment system so it will be easier for me to reply to commenters!  Yay :)

2.  I had a tempo run on the schedule this morning.  3 miles at 9:30ish with a warm and a cool.   I confess, on tempo and speed days, I often blow off some or most of the cool down.  It would be nice to cool down for a mile, but it's also nice to sleep an extra 10 minutes.  True story.  I did do the Insanity stretching routine though.  I had to come inside to take care of some business mid-run, which lost me a few minutes too.

But I managed 2.5 tempo miles around the right pace.  I'll admit, it was a bit challenging.  I don't know if I would have been successful at keeping that pace had I not been on the treadmill.  Which is the beauty and the curse of the treadmill.  I can almost always run on the 'mill at a prescribed pace, which I do believe helps my overall speed--but I don't often get a chance to do speedwork on the streets, which is a hinderance come race day.  I've found that my Garmin is still useful on the treadmill because I can mark the laps and know my exact paces for each mile.

3.  On Saturday, I will do my longest run EVER.  At my last half marathon, I probably walked another couple miles after I completed my race as I found a friend and helped her complete the race.  But I've never set out to run more than a half marathon and this weekends training run is 14 miles.  I have no doubt I can do it, and I'll probably do okay with my pace too.  It's exhilarating and intimidating at the same time!

(who started Three Things Thursday on running blogs anyways?  I read it on several different blogs, so I decided to join in--when I remember--but it's always been a curiosity to me.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a day without a run

I didn't run this morning.

I ran yesterday evening (Monday).  I set my alarm to get up and run this morning, but I wasn't feeling it and knew it wasn't a "must-run" day.  So I slept a little longer and had a not so rushed morning getting out of the house with the kids.

But I was in a funk all day.  Just feeling discouraged about a variety of things, dwelling on things I'm frustrated with, feeling negative.

The weight of life is heavy.  I am always stretched thin.  I rarely accomplish all that I'd like to.  The home-making items end up on the bottom of the list and don't usually get done.  This is often what nags me the most.  I have such visions of the home I could create, the meals I would serve, the quality time with my children, if I had the time and energy.

Yet I wonder, how much of my negative feelings today were related to not running?  Was my body missing those endorphins?

I talk often about how running is my sanity, and it really is.  But do I need my runs that much?  Are they that vital to balanced emotions?

This thought scares me a bit.

Because running every day isn't realistic and wouldn't be good for my body.

I know that running isn't the only key to sanity and feeling in control of my life.  I guess I need to make a point to utilize other mechanisms on the days I don't run.

You better believe I'll be running Wednesday morning.  After a day like today (which really wasn't bad in reality, just in my head), I am amped to put in some speedy miles.

I wish it was already the morning.

new commenting system

Testing my new commenting system!

Monday, October 17, 2011

therefore

I would like to blog tonight, but time and energy are waning.  So here's a little inspiration.

And maybe a question too.

I would say "I run, therefore I am a more balanced individual, a more patient mom, a more attentive wife, a more motivated homemaker, focused on my goals, both running and non-running related"

What say you?  You run and therefore, what?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

a quick review

So, I ran 12 miles yesterday.

But it wasn't easy.  Nor pretty I'm sure.

However, my overall pace was about 15 seconds under my goal.

New shoes are lined up for early November, and I think that will make a huge difference.  I've run over 300 miles in these shoes, which is perhaps on the lesser end of the life of a shoe, but I can tell they are causing issues for me.  Sore feet and calves, which aren't usually issues for me.

I'm still in the process of building.  This isn't called training for no reason.  If it was always fun and easy, I wouldn't be challenging myself.

Even though it a very fun run, I still felt great about it.  I did it and I stayed at the right pace.

Next week...14 miles!  I think I'll plan an ice bath for when I get home from that one.

This week in review:

Monday: 3 miles, 11:09 pace

Tuesday: 3 miles, pace unknown

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 3.83 miles, 10:24 pace, 2x1600 at 9:00ish with jogs

Saturday: 12 miles, 10:57 pace

Total miles: 21.83


Week 3 of marathon training coming up.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"I'm training for a marathon"

There is a running store less than a mile from my house, but I only recently started visiting there.  One reason being, I haven't been running enough to need anything running-wise.  But I often forgot about it, because it's tucked into an industrial park.

I'm hoping that over the next few months, they'll get to know me--and I'll get to know them better too!  Running community :)

I needed some nutrition for my long run tomorrow (12 miles baby) and my sister-in-law loaned me a belt with water clips, but the bottles were gone so I needed to replace them.  I was there a few weeks ago buying Glide and Nuun.  I think the girl who helped me last time recognized me.

Lily came with me, and she came in style.  She was bedazzled with about 7 stickers from the grocery store and doctor's office today.  And she was wearing big girl sunglasses with rhinestones on the side, carrying a doll in a toy dog carrying bag.  She instantly attracted their attention (it's a pretty small store, but they know their stuff) and a lot of the employees chatted with her and asked her about her stuff.  Lily always has 8,000 questions for what I'm doing too.

I picked up some Gu and Honeystingers as well as the water bottles.  It caused me to recall that when I ran my first half marathon in 2006, I had no nutrition with me!  I didn't even really know that I was supposed to take in calories during that long of a run.  My sister had been to the expo the day before and picked up some Gu, which she introduced me to and shared a few packets with me.

The guy ringing me up was super nice and chatty and asked what my plans for the weekend were--to which I responded, run 12 miles!  He asked if I was training for something and for the FIRST time, I was able to say "I'm training for a marathon."  We talked more and he said he thought the race I'm registered for is a pretty good one for a first marathon.  I guess the half marathon is pretty full, but the marathon doesn't attract as many people.  I'm not completely sure why that's good, but I'll take his word for it.

Maybe one day I can meet a running buddy there!  I know they have some trail running groups they set up, but so far my schedule hasn't been able to coordinate with their runs.

I can't wait to go back next month because I'm getting new shoes and I need them so bad and I'm excited to try various ones on and see what works best for me.  I've been running in Nike's, partially to use my Nike+ but now that I have a Garmin, that's not such a necessity.  Who knows what I will end up in.

I wonder if there's a point where I will dread my training runs.  So far, they still excite me.  Even though I'm running 12 miles on my 2nd long run of the training cycle.

If you are doing a long run tomorrow, I hope you enjoy it too!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. I am proud of myself for getting up at 5:33am to do some tempo miles on the 'mill, especially since it's my day off!  Got almost 4 miles in total, with 2 tempo miles around 9:00min pace with a jog in between.

2.  Last night I was browsing my own blog (so exciting I know) and saw that over HALF of my "Running Story" page was missing.  I know I typed it all up.  But somehow it was deleted before I published it.  VERY bummed about that.

3.  One of the reasons I love to register to for a race that requires training is because at least a few runs a week become "non-negotiable."  Yesterday Bean was asking me about our schedule for Saturday and how many miles I had to do.  I told him "12" to which he scuffawed, because he thinks I'm a lunatic even thought he supports my lunacy.  But I appreciate that he knows how important it is for me to get my long run in and when I'm training for a race, those long runs are part of our family schedule.  If I wasn't training for a race I'd be more likely to put it off or cancel it, if necessary.  I DO work around our schedule and find the best time to run--but this is just one more reason why I decided to register to for a full marathon.

Hats off to my wonderful husband for supporting my lunacy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm another mother runner!


If you're coming over from Another Mother Runner--hi!  If you look up, you'll see a few tabs where you can read more about my running history, who I am and some of the blogs I really enjoy reading.

I don't even remember how I first heard about the Run Like A Mother book.  Probably somewhere online.  But as soon as I read the description, I knew I needed it.  I think I got it for Christmas last year and I devoured it.  I recall reading just the introduction and thinking "this is me, every sentence here describes and how I feel about running."

Finding the Another Mother Runner blog and community on Facebook has really helped motivate me and keep me on track, since I mostly run alone.  Knowing I can report my runs on Twitter with the #momsrunning or #rlam is a great motivator and I love to encourage and congratulate other moms who share their triumphs.  If it weren't for Twitter, I'd still be struggling with blisters on my arches--but now I bathe my feet in Body Glide and I haven't had a blister since.

I couldn't believe when SBS tweeted that she wanted to feature me on Follow This Mother.  Because I'm not the fastest (a 10-min mile is my standard) and I don't always log a lot of miles.  But I am every mom, who happens to enjoy running.  Juggling three young kids, a job, a household and a love and even need of running.  Sick kids thwart my running plans.  My husband is baffled by the fact that I will get up before 6am to run, but on a day off I can barely drag myself out of bed by 6:45am (when he leaves for work).

Thanks SBS and Dimity for helping to create this community that I'm proud and glad and honored to be a part of!  I am humbled that you chose to profile me.

As I continue to train for my first marathon, I know this community is going to be there right along with me, answering my questions and cheering me on.

Want to keep up with me and my training?

I tweet and I also blog here about family life.  It's going to be crazy.  But crazy fun.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

review & preview (week 1 and week 2 of marathon training)

It's now Week 2 of my marathon training.

Here's a little review of what Week 1 was like.

Monday: 3.5 miles in 37:35/ 10:44 average pace

Tuesday: Rest day
I don't exactly remember why I didn't run.  I know I thought about it, but something caused me to sleep in I guess.

Wednesday: 3.5 miles in 36:01/ 10:17 average pace

Thursday: Rest day
This was our 10th anniversary and I had thought about squeezing in a run before we took off for the day, but decided that enjoying a few extra minutes in bed with my honey was the best way to start off our anniversary.

Friday: Rest day
I had a lot of family running around to do on Friday and I was considering doing my long run that afternoon because Saturday was scheduled tightly too.  So I didn't run in the morning and then I ended up deciding Saturday was still best for my long run.

Saturday: 9.52 miles in 1:40:52/ 10:35 average pace
I left late, had been on my feet for 4 hours the night before so this run was rough on my body.  But in spite of it all, I was pretty surprised at my overall pace.  I never really slowed down and had some good negative splits, although all the splits weren't negative.

Total miles: 16.5

Thoughts on Week 1: I was short at least one run, or two shorter runs.  I needed to either run on Tuesday, or make time for it on Thursday or Friday.  But it's not the end of the world.  It was only week 1 and I'm still getting in the routine.  I know I need the weekly miles to build my endurance, but I find myself focusing more on the successfulness of my long runs.

This week so far:

I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and 3 miles this morning with my sister.  I really need to make these weekday runs more like 4 miles, but I'm just not quite getting up early enough!  I am hoping to run at the beach on Thursday with the double jogger and log 5 or 6 miles, probably with a stop midday to let the girls out to play.  I may run a few slow miles on Friday with my sister, and then 12 on Saturday!  I will be leaving plenty early and driving to a flatter location to run.

It's crazy to think that last year I was training for a November half marathon and my training probably peaked during this time with a 13 mile run.  And here I am, in the second week of marathon training already looking at a 12 mile training run.  This is for real, yo.

And I like it.




Monday, October 10, 2011

running makes me fat

It should be just the opposite, right?  Logging all these miles, burning so many calories, should count for something. 

Yet here I sit at work, wishing I were wearing elastic-waisted pants because the waist of my slacks is tight and making my muffin top even worse.  I've run at least 15 miles each week for the last month or more.  I am ALWAYS trying to watch what I eat, count calories, count points, eat clean and the list goes on.

At some point each day though, I derail.  I give in to cravings.  To stress eating.  To grabbing a piece of candy or other treat from someone's office.  To sharing a bowl of ice cream with my husband who could eat it every night and not gain extra weight (mostly because he eats very little during the day!).  There is always a holiday, a birthday, a celebration...something to be celebrated.  And who can turn down cupcakes?

For some reason, running makes it worse.  It's a combination of things.  I feel like I am burning more calories, so a little extra here or there won't make a difference.  I AM burning calories, which makes me more hungry at times and if I don't choose my food wisely I end up being still hungry, more hungry, and eating more junk.

I know that this is a common problem.  I've read other bloggers talk about it, I've read articles about it.  Runners feel like they have more free reign on food.  And one day, maybe I can, but not right now.

Weight has been a lifelong struggle for me.  I am a sugar-a-holic and a stress eater.  I may or may not have told my daughter last night that she couldn't have a piece of the chocolate that I was eating because "mommy doesn't drink wine, but she needs SOMETHING right now."  Not so proud of that moment.  I can never quite kick my Diet Coke habit--and I know there are multiple articles about artificial sweeteners causing you to eat more and gain weight because it tricks your brain.

I was looking at some photos last night from my half marathon in November 2010, where I PR'd with a 2:09--a pretty decent time if I do say so myself.  (I won't mention that the top male runners in the recent Chicago Marathon ran 26.2 in that time, or that the top female runners finished just several minutes after that).  My eyes were drawn to my midsection.  The spandex shorts I'd run in aren't as forgiving as my new Nike Tempo's and I'm thick in the middle.  I wonder why my time would have been if I hadn't been carrying those last extra pounds.

I'm not fat.  I realize that.  I am on the upper range of "normal" on the BMI chart for my height.  But I know I can do better.  I can feel better.  I can run faster.  I hate that I'm a girl, who is so ruled by how she feels about her body.  I wish I were a guy who was okay with some extra lbs in the middle.

So what am I going to do about it?  The same stuff I've been trying I suppose.  It needs to be a lifestyle, a habit--not just a diet.  Running is such a mind game and I need to apply my mental strength to my eating habits as well.  For me, preparation and grocery shopping for myself is key also.  It's when I don't know what to bring to work, when the only dinner options are carb-heavy, that I flounder.  I need to have cut up veggies in the fridge at all times.

I have to want this.  I have to want this as much as I want to finish my training runs.  I have to want this as much as I want to run 26.2.

I'll keep you posted...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

how many miles does standing for 4 hours count for?

We went to a concert on Friday night.  Something I rarely do, but well worth it for this show.  We were on our feet for 4 hours, which was after running around pretty much all day doing errands and mom stuff. The only seats at this show cost more and in my opinion took away from the ambiance because they were a level above the stage.

However, maybe it would have been a good idea since I had 10 miles to run the next day.

Due to the concert, I went to sleep at least 30 minutes later than normal, if not more.  Yet, wake up came at the same time.

I knew this wasn't going to be an easy run.  Sometimes the mental aspect is most daunting for me, but today I knew the challenge would be physical.  It didn't help that I got out onto the road later than planned (mostly my fault) and I was under the gun to get back in time to go to my daughter's soccer game.

Doing a long run from my door involves a 1+ mile hill climb after a 1 mile warm up.  It can be a little brutal.  But when time is a factor, this is best way to go and I typically aim to gain back the time I lose running up, but running back faster.

My legs were aching and screaming at me from the get-go.  I really had to rely upon my mental strength today because my legs were never feeling it--or rather they were feeling it too much.  I fall more in love with my Garmin every run though.  Seeing my mile pace helps so much.  When it's a little slow, I tell myself to pick it up.  If I'm going too fast, I make myself slow down.

I didn't pay much attention to my overall splits during the run, I was simply focusing on the overall time and getting home by my deadline.  I wasn't sure how well I was going to perform the last half of the run, so I decided to cut it short just a bit to ensure I was home on time.  The middle fewmiles were at the lake, and I didn't do an out-and-back, so I wasn't exactly sure how much I had cut off.

It hurt, oh it hurt so much.  My calves and shins were feeling it the most.  But I just kept running and pushing myself.  I didn't have a choice, I had to get home!

My timing was right on, and I got home in time to even shower before the game.  I ended up stopping my Garmin at 9.52 which I ran in 1hr 41 minutes for an overall pace of 10:35.

My overall pace was way faster than I thought it would be.  I did pick it up as much as I could on my way home going down the hills, but by then my legs were aching so badly that I didn't pick up the pace as much as I normally do.  But somehow I ran the miles faster than I thought.

I decided that my family had to come before hitting a certain mileage (it was my bad for leaving too late) and that standing on my feet for 4 hours the night before HAD to count for some sort of mileage.  .48 miles to be exact, I suppose.

Next week there are 12 miles on the schedule and I plan to give myself plenty of time to drive to a flatter location and take a little more time to run the miles.

But, if I can run 10 miles at a 10:35 pace on sore, achy legs, I'm one step closer to running 26.2 at a decent pace.  I hope.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

dusting off the treadmill

I tried to be an o'dark-thirty street runner.  I really did.  I headed out a few times in the dark.  Once I tried the main road in our neighborhood, which I had assumed would be well-lit.  Oddly (to me at least), it wasn't.  There were actually no streetlights, only the signal lights.  I was running on sidewalk because it is a busier street, and I was afraid I'd trip on a crack or bump in the concrete.

I've tried running on the streets near our house.  But I just don't feel comfortable.  I've reached out to the Run Like A Mother Facebook page and gotten wonderful suggestions and accounts of women that do run on their own in the wee hours of the morning.

But I just can't be comfortable, and I'm okay with that.  There were plenty of women that responded that they wouldn't run in the dark on their own either.  I have to be home by 6:45am at the latest, for my husband to leave for work.  Right now it's not getting light until at least 6:15am or even a bit later.

So we pulled out the old treadmill in the garage that had been folded up during the summer, when it was lighter in the morning and evening schedules weren't so tight because of lazy summer days (for the kids).  I'm thankful for my treadmill, given to me by a friend who didn't need it any longer.  It's old and creaky but it's a champ.

Today (Monday) marked Day 1 Week 1 of my marathon training.  My schedule called for 6 easy miles, which is a little much for me on a work morning.  My goal during this training cycle is to get the miles in and not worry so much about how or at what pace.  I logged 3.5 miles this morning at about a 10:40 pace.  Pretty good with that.

About 5 minutes before I finished my run, I saw a curly head running from the house to the garage.  She asked to sit by me, while I finished running.

Now this is a perk of running on a treadmill in your garage.


How sweet is her little sleepy face?

This morning as I was running on the treadmill (3.5 miles in 36:01) , I chose to appreciate that the treadmill faces east, so I have a great view of the sunrise over some hills and tall palm trees in the distance.

This crummy photo doesn't really do it justice.  It was all sorts of pink and orange this morning.

I still wish I felt safe enough to run in the dark, but I need to respect myself and just enjoy that I have a treadmill!