Monday, December 20, 2010

Double-digits, baby!

Yesterday my little Google Calendar reminder went off at 8:30am, and I couldn't for the life of me think of why I needed reminding. Turns out it was the 4 week mark of the Race. I feel like this next month is going to fly by, between the holidays and trying to get my training in. Especially with a week of it being across the country in Massachusetts. But let's get to this past week's training before I lament about the next couple of weeks.

I told ya I was looking forward to repeats last week- and I had SO MUCH FUN doing them! They certainly weren't easy, but they were fun and quick. The mid-tempo run was a bit more challenging, my leg is still going through some stiffness, so I had to keep stopping and stretching it out, which I am not sure is really beneficial. Once I stop, it's that much more difficult to get moving again. I can almost hear the squeaking as I'm moving the crank that is my body! It concerned me enough that I was wary of how my body would handle the 10-mile run I had scheduled for the weekend.

I have to say it went better than expected! I managed a good 6 or 7 miles before I tightened up enough where I needed to walk a bit, other than being forced to stop and wait for traffic at intersections. Hitting the 8 mile mark also suddenly made me feel a little more tired, simply my mind telling me that this is the furthest I've gone but I'm not done yet. But I kept pushing, and resisted the urge to tackle every cyclist that went by and steal their ride. My very first double-digit run!

So, the next two weeks are going to be interesting. Repeats this week are 3 at 2000m (1.25 miles), a 7 mile run, then another 10 miles for the long run. I'm trying to figure out how to get that in, Christmas is Saturday, and we leave early Sunday morning. It's suggested you put a day in-between your Key Runs, which is why I'm not doing Repeats today. So who knows. I wouldn't mind getting up extra early Christmas morning, but I know my younger daughter likes to wake us up. The decisions!

We'll see what happens- I also feel confident enough that if I missed a long run, it wouldn't ruin it all for me. Ten miles is definitely a milestone. Now I know I can do that, and 13.1 isn't that much further.

"This is not about instant gratification. You have to work hard for it, sweat for it, give up sleeping in on Sunday mornings." ~Lauren Fessenden, Cross Country Athlete

Amen to that!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Holidays From The Cutler Clan!

Yep, that is our eldest being put to work this year stringing lights. Though she offered, and she loved helping out!

Merry/Happy Christmas/Holidays! We Cutler's (read: Danielle) decided to say goodbye to the paper and go internet for our holiday greeting. This way I can still write, and I don't have to print out 50 copies to mail. AND I get the added benefit of linking you over to an album with a selection of photos from throughout 2010. You can also get there if you click on the picture of Allison!

2010 was a year of milestones and changes for the family. Let's start with the youngest, at least of the humans in the house.

Samantha turned the big 10 this year, and is in 5th grade at the Montessori school. She is an avid reader- we can't seem to keep up with how fast she consumes books. At times it's difficult to find things for her, she reads a few years above her age but the comprehension is still on track for her age group. She has also developed a love of Greek Mythology after having lessons at school, which helps in the book department (thank you Percy Jackson!) She also really enjoys playing football and soccer, and keeps asking if she can play football in High School. I love that she has an interest in so many different things!

Allison turned 13 this year, and with that the rest of Bret's and my hair went gray. I think she had more changes than any of us this year. Unfortunately the Montessori Middle School needed to close due to budget cuts, so we had a bit of a last minute scramble to find a school for her to attend the next year. Allison was just as involved in the process, researching schools and talking with her mentors about it. We decided on a great Preparatory school, and so ended and began a new chapter. One adjustment was the uniform requirement, which she was/is not happy about, but is adjusting. Not a big sacrifice to make though for such a great school. She jumped right in, and yes, it was a bit stressful for the first month or so, but she transitioned really well.

The new school also opened up the door to what was not offered at the old school: extra-curricular activities. One semester in and Allison is all ready participating in the Yearbook Club, and was part of the Volleyball team. Now for winter she is playing soccer, and in the spring she would like to join the Archery team. What's great is the school has an open policy, you don't have to try out for a team, and there are no cuts. It has really given her a chance to find out what she is interested in. What we're realizing is that she can excel in just about anything she puts her mind too. The biggest problem is deciding which activity to cut, because there are just too many!

During Allison's down time (ha!), she is still active in Girl Scouts, enjoys reading/watching anime, attending Anime/Comic Conventions, and has even discovered a little romance too. It's not going to slow down any time soon, is it?

Bret also had a milestone this year, the big 40. For him it really wasn't a big deal, but we did celebrate by doing something he has always wanted to do. Skydive. Turns out he wasn't the only one who wanted to do this, so we spent the weekend in Sedona with my brother Andy and our friend Rob and his family. Then the three of them jumped out of a plane. Bret absolutely loved it, a great weekend to celebrate a great guy. :-) He's still working for Intel, and just started a new project where he is working with the AZ colleges and universities crating a program for Intel employees to advance their education.

I'm still working for KWSS Radio, a local independent station, and loving my position as the mid-day announcer. I'm also still podcasting my politics with Truth Seekers. Haven't done much voice acting this past year, though I have read a couple of stories this month for some science fiction podcasts. I'm still enjoying the audio world very much. Sometimes talking politics all the time weighs me down, but I try and give as much of a positive spin on things as I can. And take plenty of breaks, which helps my sanity!

I've also discovered a new passion this past year, running. It began a year ago when I started training for Pat's Run, a 4.2 mile run named for Pat Tillman, the football player who gave up his contract with the Arizona Cardinals football team to join the military after 9/11/2001, and was killed by friendly fire. I had no idea that running would have such a profound effect on me. The sense of accomplishment, feeling my body becoming stronger- I was hooked! Now I can't stop running! In January I'm participating in the PF Chang's half-marathon. When I turn 40 (not all that far off!) rather than jumping out of a plane I'm going to run a full-marathon. Where and when are yet to be determined, but my birthday is the end of April (2012) so there is time to plan. I'm very grateful that I have the time and ability to train the way I have, but I think the benefits have gone way beyond a healthy body. You know, if I'm happy, then the whole family is happy! I've been blogging the progress in my training, so if you are interested to see how it's going, come by any time.

Last but not least, we should introduce the new addition to the family. My brother and his friend were on vacation in Mexico last Christmas, and found an undernourished barely 5 pound puppy on the side of the highway. They took her in, but realized that they really didn't want to leave her at a shelter. So, using the Extreme Awesome power of the mobile upload, they sent out a pic of her with the call for a home. Yep, I was hooked. Showed the photo to Bret, and though he won't admit it, he was hooked too.

That's how Lizzie came into our lives. She's a terrier/poodle thing (Terrioodle? Snickerdoodle?), and now she is full grown at nearly 20 lbs. She's a bit tenacious, and loves to dig. She is also still wary of other humans, and will pee when frightened or excited (who doesn't?). But she is an absolute sweetie, and we all love the little ball of fluff. I'm just happy to have a dog in the house again, it had been lonely since our previous dog Sandi passed.

So there is The Life Of Cutler. Thank you all for reading, and I hope everyone enjoys this holiday season with family and friends. Know that you are all in our thoughts at one time or another, and always in our hearts.

Danielle, Bret, Allison, Samantha, and Lizzie

PS: Don't forget- PHOTOS!

Monday, December 13, 2010

5 Weeks Left!

The time has just flown by- I can't believe I'm in the home-stretch of training for the PF Chang's Half Marathon! Looking ahead at the FIRST training program, the next couple of weeks are going to really push it, then naturally it backs off so I can be strong on race day. But first let's go back to this past week of training...

Repeats were good- 3x 1 mile runs. I'm still dealing with tightness in my right leg, but thanks to the massage and using the foam roller, it's considerably less. My lower back is practically pain-free too, which is 100% better in my opinion.

The second Key Run was an easy, relaxed 6 miles. No complaints there. It's still a challenge to ignore my time and run slow. The long run was also slow- 8 miles. It's easier to ignore time when you're outside running. I don't wear a watch or have a heart-rate monitor, just use the stopwatch on the iTouch and Daily Mile fills in the rest. I prefer it that way, otherwise I'd be looking at it all the time. Too distracting. Besides, it's not that difficult to know when your heart rate is high or low, when you're pushing or not. It's also how I know the repeats are working- my cardio is awesome. If it weren't for my leg pain I know I could keep running for miles.

The pain in my leg and back are the things that worry me the most about the half-marathon. The distance itself doesn't scare me at all. It's making sure all the parts of the machine are in working order.

So, this week. I am REALLLLY looking forward to repeats tomorrow- 10 quarter-mile ones! That will be fun, I can't wait to use the shorter distance to run faster. I would like to do all of them at the very least a 10 min. mile pace. Then the second run is a 5 mile mid-tempo, with the long run a whopping 10 miles! Another accomplishment waiting to happen, my longest has been 8. I just hope it's not another 80-degree weekend, I don't mind getting up early to run but I don't want to get up too early on the weekend! However I have to say that although I can't stand being in warm places, I'd rather run when it's too hot than too cold.

125 Mile Challenge: At 31 miles. Not sure if I'll make it to the full 125, but even 100 would be an accomplishment. The leader is at 73 miles! I think it's easier allot time for running when you're faster. Even looking at the 10 miles this weekend, I will need at least 2 hours, probably more. Anyway, it's fun to see what I can do, and it encourages me to get out there and run even on my off days.

I also just discovered a great organization called Girls On The Run. It's like Girl Scouts with a running theme. I just may have to look into getting involved with that, my younger daughter has really taken an interest in running and I would love to see that interest grow. Beyond that, just to support other girls and watch their confidence grow the way I know mine has since I began running, what a great idea.

Girl Power!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

True Freedom

"People ask why I run. I say, "If you have to ask, you will never understand". It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through pain, but know, deep down, how good it really feels."

~Erin Leonard, athlete

That about covers it this week. I feel better than I have probably in, well, ever. I now understand what the pain of pushing yourself feels like, instead of the pain of your body not being strong. It took a tweaked nerve to get me to open my eyes and truly focus on healing myself. While healing, I truly became a runner.

The kicker is, I loved running even with all the extra pain. I accepted the pain as normal. I can't even tell you how long I had truly been hurting, the body is amazing the way it just adapts. It wasn't until the pain went away that I realized what I had been living with. I've come to a whole new level, and I don't ever want to go back.

I'll give a better update next week, since I got a little off this week due to trying to finish up holiday madness. But I'm here, and I'm still running.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Forced Break Is Over- Back To Training!

I used to think the most difficult part of training was running slow and for distance. Nope. The most difficult part of training is recovering from an injury, and not being able to do any running. Last week SUCKED. I know I needed to rest my back and let it heal, but my legs kept wanting to run. The chiro said swim or use the lower impact machines for cardio work. Oh whatever. I know they are great, but I just want to run. I was still in plenty of pain most of the week, and it was pretty busy anyway from the holiday.

It was the worst possible week to have to not be so active- so much eating. I managed to at least maintain my weight rather than gain a bunch, so that's good. I went out a couple of times and ran. The first time I made it to a mile and it was still pretty painful. Yesterday I went two miles and it felt really good. Started to get a little tight in the lower back, but the great part was when I stretched after I recovered really fast- more so than in the past week. I also finally had a chance to try the new shoes- and I LOVE them. So light and flexible it's like I'm not even wearing shoes. I did notice that I was putting my weight on different places as I ran, but it wasn't painful. Just different. I'm really glad I didn't wait until after the half-marathon to switch.

So, now that I'm at about 80%, I decided just to continue where I left off in my training plan. Only this time I will keep stretching, no matter how good I feel!

Key Run #1: Repeats: 1k, 2k, 1k, 1k, 400m rest intervals
Key Run #2: 5 mile medium tempo run
Key Run #3: 8 miles (we'll see how the back is doing by the end of the week).

In other running-related news, I might have had too many slices of pie this week, because I joined a challenge over on Daily Mile. Going to try and run 125 miles in December. Crazy? Not if you love to run!

Time to get moving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I thought my knees would be my big problem being a runner. Sure, I've had minimal knee pain over the months, but that's been the least of my problems compared to my back. I've got this lovely curve in my lower back that has always caused me some sort of problem over the years. If I stand too long, the pressure is too much. Walking stretches it out nicely, but even if I walk too much it gets tight and I need to sit or stretch or both.

So I start running a year ago. More impact, more pressure. My chiropractor has helped greatly since I finally went back (no pun) to her in May. She has actually been 1/3 chiro, 1/3 physical therapist, 1/3 personal trainer. If you are in the East Valley, I recommend this place a hundred times over. They also have a massage therapist on staff now that is fairly inexpensive, and I will be utilizing her very soon.

The hip and legs start feeling great, overall I'm feeling stronger, and I get lazy. Stop stretching as much (if at all) before runs, yet with the half-marathon training I'm adding a lot more distance to my runs. Cut back on icing areas whether they hurt or not.

So what happens? I tweak my nerve. Last Wednesday I got through a mile, then had to stop because rather than the pain working itself out like it usually does during a warmup, it became sharper and more annoying. Been sidelined ever since. The pain goes up and down. Over the weekend it started feeling better while I was at PodcampAZ. Monday morning however I was on the phone hoping I could get in to see the doc.

The back is such a sensitive and large area, you don't realize how it all connects until a connection is broken. Even just raising your arms straight in front of you takes lower back muscles. If you're tight, you're going to hurt something.

It's been a rough week- taking the time to heal is like doing the longer, slower runs. You want to do more. I took a walk the other night and it took GREAT willpower to not try a little jog. I argued with myself the entire time. Probably mumbling to myself so I also looked like a crazy person walking down the street. On the upside, I bought new shoes. No, they are not 5-fingers (sorry Tyler), but they are a lot more minimalist than what I had. My training partner and her husband wear them. She said most of her arch pain was gone after a couple of runs. They feel like a water shoe, and are really light and flexible. We'll see how it goes- I can't wait to try them out!

So what have we learned kids? Stretching and ice should be an extended part of training. Just put it in the routine. Even if you feel good, because by the time you hurt and feel it too much damage has been done.

And you're sidelined.

I miss running.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm a freakin' genius!

Ok, not really. However, this year at PodcampAZ they are doing something new- Genius Panels. For some insane reason they stuck me in one. I guess after 4 1/2 years of podcasting I know a thing or two. So if you want an informal setting to ask questions about podcasting that you have always wanted to ask but never knew where to go to ask them- then this weekend you can.

It's not just Podcasting, either. There are Genius panels for Video, and for that Wordpress stuff that clearly I don't use if you're reading this blog entry. Here's the breakdown:

11:30-12:30 Video Genius Panel
1:30-2:30 Podcasting Genius Panel
2:45- 3:45 Wordpress/SEO Genius Panel

9:00-10:00 Wordpress/SEO Genius Panel
10:15-11:15 Video Genius Panel
11:30-12:30 Podcast Genius Panel

All panels will be in the main auditorium.

I certainly wouldn't call myself a genius, but this is a genius idea. I'm honored to be a part of it- so join us this weekend! The entire speaker line-up is now available if you scroll down on this page, so you can plan your attack accordingly. It's not too late to register (for free, in case that was holding you back).

See you this weekend- and if you see me before I see you, you'd better say hello. I take stuff like that personally, so don't disappoint me!

Monday, November 15, 2010

You're Not Supposed To Be Fast Until The Race!*

... and it's a good thing too, because it sure wasn't happening with me this week. Training is definitely a two-step forward, one-step back situation. I had a step back this week. First, the stats:

Miles: 15.62 Comments: 2
Time: 05:02 Motivations: 0
Calories: 2672 Among Friends: 4
Workouts: 5

The week started out good. Really good, in fact. Doing 12 quarter-mile repeats was FUN. When it felt too easy, I upped the speed. The second 6 were definitely more difficult than the first 6, but that's how it goes. I noticed quite a difference in these repeats from the first time I did them, in the very first week of training. Which shows me that indeed I've made progress over the past 8 weeks.

Unfortunately I screwed it up a bit. I was trying out some new ab exercises, and one of them included a lunge. So all day Wednesday my quads were extremely sore. Like, didn't even want to walk up and down the stairs sore. Thursday I was still hurting quite a bit, so when I got to my run it was a disaster. A lot of walking, and a LOT of stopping. Just pathetic. It was probably one of the worst runs I've had since I began training.


Sunday's run should have happened Saturday, before I attended a friend's birthday party and enjoyed a few glasses of Sangria. And enough cheese cubes to fill my water bottle. AND a slice of pizza. I may be diligent on the physical training end, but the diet end? Not so much. I didn't drink enough to constitute a hangover, but I was definitely dehydrated and digesting bad food. The whole run that morning was just disastrous, and my hip all the way down my right leg was really hurting too. I couldn't even kick myself for eating so badly, that's how much pain I was in. Just tight everywhere.

We'll say two steps forward, one and a half steps back this past week. But, no reason to dwell on the past so let's just keep chugging forward. The plan this week:

Key Run #1: Repeats: 1 mile (400m Rest Interval) 2 miles (800m RI); then 2 at 800m w/400m RI
Key Run #2: 5 mile run medium tempo (11:45/12:00)
Key Run #3: 6 miles half-marathon pace +30 seconds.

The long run may not happen this week. Podcamp AZ is this weekend, and I just don't see myself getting up before it begins to run. I especially won't be running afterward, that's for sure! Unless I go Sunday evening, but that's a wait and see. A BIG wait and see.

Until next week!

*Thank you Tyler for providing me with my blog title. :-)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Attitude Is Everything

I'm well into the 9th week of training, and I have to say I am having a blast! Last week was another good week in my training. When I went to my chiropractor this week I realized it was the first time I said I felt HAPPY with how things were going and how my body was feeling. My mental attitude also did a complete turn-around:

Miles: 18.91 Comments: 0
Time: 05:35 Motivations: 1
Calories: 2877 Among Friends: 4
Workouts: 6

Last week the six half-mile repeats were difficult, but I got through them. Making sure I give myself enough time is key, because if I start feeling rushed by the clock, then it starts to go downhill. That's what happened on my second key run of the week. I was feeling good, feeling really good actually, but had to cut it short due to time.

I noticed some other positive effects as I modified my training. I stopped the cross-training on my off days. Giving my body a bit more time to recover in-between key runs has definitely helped my performance. AND, I lost a few more pounds too, which also contributes. I think that is going to continue to be my strategy until the half-marathon. The most important thing is to take care of my legs and feet! I got some other tips from this great blog post from a more seasoned runner. I was also happy to find that I am incorporating several of these things all ready. It's good to have affirmation that you're doing something right.

So, as I said I've all ready completed my first Key Run this week, which were quarter-mile repeats. 12 of them! Looking back, the very first week of training were the exact same sprints. After re-reading how I handled them the first time, I'm happy to say I've definitely accomplished a lot in 9 weeks. I can jog or walk through my rest intervals, and I had a REALLY difficult time doing that in the beginning.

The rest of this week is a medium tempo run for approx. 7 miles, then an 8 mile long run this weekend. I will keep giving myself more rest between key runs, but I tell you it's not easy. I like being out there and active. Have to keep thinking long-term however. If these results keep up, it will be very easy to do.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Remembering I Love To Run

What a difference a week makes, when you put your head in the right place and have a whole new attitude! It was a great week of running, and at the end of it I made another distance goal.
The stats:

Miles: 24.27 Comments: 1
Time: 07:37 Motivations: 4
Calories: 4057 Among Friends: 2
Workouts: 8

The miles are higher than normal because Saturday I was feeling restless, so I grabbed the family and we went on a bike ride. But I digress. Let's go back to Tuesday.

Changing the name of "sprints" to "repeats" was probably the best move I could have ever made in my training. It made all the difference. I may not have run as fast, but I ran more of each repeat. Therefore I think I had a better Key Run because of it.

My second run of the week started out all right, but my knees were bothering me a bit more than usual. Time was also becoming an issue. The longer the distance, the more time (naturally), and I'm all ready a slow runner so I stopped at 5 miles instead of going the 7 I had planned. Lots of ice later on that day.

The long run of the week was my best run this week. 8 miles was the goal. I completely expected to do a lot of walking. I don't mind it on the long runs however, because knowing what the distance feels like is important to me. But- I ran WAY more than I thought I would, and my time was only a bit slower than my 7 mile run the week before! How's that for progress? My leg and hip felt really good, which I know helped. It also helped that I hydrated a bit more prior to running than I usually do. It was a really great run- and you know what the best part was? I enjoyed myself. I love to run, and this week reminded me that this is not work- it is fun. My knees were still hurting though, as well as the back of my knee. I've been making sure to ice and stretch and rest my legs a lot today.

So, the plan this week- 11 weeks left!

Key Run #1: 6- 800m repeats with 1:30 rest intervals
Key Run #2: 5 miles at medium tempo
Key Run #3: 6 miles half-marathon pace + 30 sec./mile

It's a tapering off week, one I feel I have earned! Go me! ;-)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lather, Rinse, REPEAT

So I'm re-reading the post from last week and just laughing. I didn't do ANYTHING I said I would do. Not worry about speed? Ha. Focus and stay positive? Yeah, whatever. THIS past week has been the worst so far- and I'll tell you why right after we look at the stats:

Miles: 15.37 Comments: 5
Time: 05:51 Motivations: 3
Calories: 2970 Among Friends: 6
Workouts: 8
Had a total break down Tuesday. I was all ready off my game Monday when I did my cross-training. I just didn't feel right. So we get to Tuesday, and it's busy at the gym and it's difficult to get my weight training complete because I have to keep finding alternatives to my normal routine. Which throws me off. Then I find a treadmill, but now it's late and I have to leave early because of half-days at school.

Screw up number 1: Only warm up for 3 minutes.

The lady on the treadmill next to me is strolling (I'm serious- I looked at her speed and it was a 3.0. ) while chatting on her cell phone. Loudly. And for some reason her head is turned in my direction, so it's like she's talking to me. I have the iPod at full blast, and am really trying to focus, but this laugh- this CACKLE- was driving me bananas. It was one of those moments I wish I could be rude and say "DO YOU MIND?" So I try to tune her out and start running.

Screw up number 2: Trying to run an entire mile at my fastest speed- the whole mile.

After a half mile I was spent. From there it all went downhill, and at around a mile and a quarter I quit. Gave a final glare to Chatty Kathy, and walked away. Sat down at the tables, and started crying. I must have looked completely crazy to the employees at the gym. I just lost it. Then I gained a little composure, walked to the van, and broke down one more time, feeling like a complete failure.

I really have no clue what I'm doing. I'm just thankful I have a network of people who DO know what they are doing, so I can get back on track. Kimber and others have been telling me for weeks that the important thing is to run and not stop, not run as fast as I can. But I hear "sprint" and I automatically think "run as fast as you can". So, I'm done with the term "sprint". I'm calling them repeats, because that is what I need to do. Repeat the interval, at a pace where I'm working hard, but not killing myself. Funny how it sounds, I need to slow down in order to run faster.

So the rest of the week was mediocre. I went back the next day and did repeats but took it slower, and felt better about it. Got back on the saddle, so to speak. My Thursday run went well, but I stopped a couple of miles short due to a pulling up my thigh.

Sunday was the long run, and it was my best run this week. Upped it to 7 miles, and it hurt, but it was still a good run. I'm proud of how I did. The weather also cooperated, so I enjoyed it immensely. It reminded me that this is exactly why I run.

This week I'm centered and ready to have a whole new attitude towards my training. Here's the plan:

Key Run #1: 2- 1200m REPEATS; 4- 800m REPEATS; 2 min rest intervals
Key Run #2: 1 mile easy, 2 miles Medium Tempo; repeat; then 1 mile easy
Key Run #3: 8 miles half-marathon pace + 20 seconds/mile.

Keep moving forward. Repeat.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Get 'cha head in the game!

The beginning of last week was really hard mentally. I like being a loner when it comes to training, but only in the work. I like the motivation of having someone around to help me push myself. This is why I don't really like exercise classes. Everyone prancing around, doing the same thing, that annoys me. You don't have to do that with running and weight training, and I like that better. You can be individual even if you're doing the same thing.

Well, it makes sense in my head, anyway.

Last week recap:
Miles: 15.39 Comments: 0
Time: 05:22 Motivations: 0
Calories: 2709 Among Friends: 5
Workouts: 7

Sprints felt pretty good this week. The idea of not worrying so much about my sprint speed really helps. The second Key run this week however- ug. Since I'm now incorporating outside runs into the training, I'm doing the second run on the treadmill but at an incline for a more realistic feel. It hurt so much, and I kept stopping. Which would annoy me, so I'd get frustrated and stop more. And it all went downhill from there. I'm not very good at self-motivating.

The weekend long run was very nice however. I focused more on my strides and making them longer, and if I had to walk that was fine. I also made sure I kept my walk at a good pace versus strolling. My time was faster because of it. Now, I'm not too concerned about time, but I do want to be faster than 14:30! A speed-walker would pass me at that pace. It still got really hot by the end of the run, but I felt good and not as wasted as the week before. I'm looking forward to the long runs now, this week I'm adding a mile. I want to explore a little more of the canal trail!

So, the plan for this week is:

Key Run #1: 3 ONE MILE SPRINTS! I've all ready been told I won't be able to do them. Yeah, well watch me.
Key Run #2: 6 miles at long tempo pace (12:15 or so)
Key Run #3: 7 miles half-marathon pace + 30 seconds/mile

I'm just taking it all in stride, focusing on getting used to running. The rest will take care of itself. My goal is finish the course, and I think if I hit 10 miles, I will pretty much have that in the bag. Mentally I'm my own worst enemy, so I just have to stay focused and positive.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Month One Of Training In The Can!

First month of half-marathon training is complete! I can't believe it's been a month- it ran right by me (yuk yuk yuk). This week was rather interesting, as I threw in an outside run to see how it felt.

Miles: 15.10 Comments: 1
Time: 06:46 Motivations: 0
Calories: 3363 Among Friends: 5
Workouts: 9

I have certainly felt progress the entire month. Stronger, though not necessarily faster. Sprints have really been good for increasing my cardio, and I've noticed that I can run further without stopping or walking.

Tuesday's sprints were the most difficult yet. Starting at 3/4 mile then working my way down was definitely a challenge, but I tried to go into it with a different mental attitude. I let myself go under 6mph instead of thinking it was total failure, and that helped. Plus, going down in distance each sprint also helped mentally. By the time I got to 600m it felt like the home stretch, and the final 200m sprint I pushed at a 6.3 because it was simply a dash to the finish line.

Thursday was another good run at a straight 5 miles. My mid-tempo is around an 11:45 to 12 min. mile, so though it was definitely work, I felt good. It was so good in fact I decided with this good morning weather we've been having to do the long run this week outside. I would like to start incorporating more of the long runs outdoors, especially since well, that's how I'm running the marathon. Might as well start getting used to it sooner rather than later.

And wow, it is a BIG difference. Since it was the long run I knew I could take it really slow, because it's all about distance and not time. My body was like "whaaaaa???" First mile and a half was really good. I was really enjoying the change in scenery as well, and had the tunes loud enough to hear but soft enough to hear the world around me. I might have been along the canal, but still wanted to hear what's happening.

At about 2 miles was when my knee started to hurt. So I walked. That was pretty much the rest of the run for me, walking and jogging. The path is not concrete, but whenever I could I ran in the dirt or gravel just to take as much pressure off as possible. I also noticed I take shorter strides vs. on the treadmill, thought that was interesting. My back also became really stiff which added to the pain down my right leg, and then even my toes started to cramp up. I didn't enjoy the second half of my run because of all the pain. Oh, and by then it was hot, so that added to my frustration. Didn't have enough water.

However, what it also told me is I should run outside more, so that's what I'm going to try and do on the long run days. That way I can at least walk and feel fairly guilt free, since I'm supposed to keep it slow anyway. I also think that after the marathon in January I might give those Vibrams a try. I'll get the marathon out of the way, and then I might have some Christmas money to spend too. ;-)

OK, the plan for this week (Week 5 holy cow!) is:

Key Run #1: 5- 1k sprints with 400m rest intervals
Key Run #2: 1 mile easy, 3 miles short tempo (11:15-11:30 mile), 1 mile easy
Key Run #3: 6 miles HMP + 20seconds. Or whatever it ends up being. No rush!

Last thought- I really miss Kimber. She's off cruising and vacationing and my motivation is shot. Last week was ok, but this week without her plus MY kids on fall break, will be more difficult. I all ready skipped my workout today because it was way too easy to shrug it off.

Send me motivation!!!!!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I Love To Hate Sprinting!

Week three of training is eating my dust!

Miles: 22.54 Comments: 9
Time: 06:15 Motivations: 1
Calories: 2804 Among Friends: 2
Workouts: 7 Overall Position: 5424

Sprints last week were still pretty difficult. I'm getting a better understanding of why this program plans them the way they do. It's more mental training than anything. Knowing I had 6 sprints each a half mile- that is hard on the brain. Kimber will tell you I'm all ready really hard on myself- harder than I should be. Slowing down feels like failure, stopping mid-sprint feels like failure. I had to do both during these sprints. Longer rests in-between helped, and I was able to finish strong, but I wasn't happy. And I should be!

The second run of the week showed me that these sprints are really helping increase my cardio, because running longer distances is definitely getting easier to do. Short tempo pace still is a workout (around 11:30 for me), but I still feel really good running.

Same with the third run on Sunday. That is also a mental game. Slow and relaxed is the pace. To me that's even more difficult than the sprints. Sure, it's easy to run as fast as you can for a short period of time, but maintaining a slow pace for 5 or 6 miles? It's pretty boring. On the treadmill at least I have music and the occasional eye candy walking by to keep me entertained. I think running outside will prove to be more difficult because I'm not sure if I'll want the iPod or not while running. Arizona drivers are pretty inconsiderate, but in Gilbert? The WORST.

If this cooler weather sticks I will definitely want to start doing some the longer runs outside. The body should get used to it before it has to run 13.1 miles outside. The treadmill is awesome for pace-training however.

So, on to this week!

Key Run #1: Sprints starting at 1200m and down to 200m, with 200m rest intervals.
Key Run #2: 5 miles at mid-tempo
Key Run #3 (my new long run schedule): 6 miles half-marathon pace +20 sec.

I am also not pushing the long run. Sunday when I wanted to do 7 miles, I made it to just under 6 and decided to stop. I really have no reason to push it this early in the game.

Happy Running!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Podcamp AZ Time Again! Yippeeee!

You all know I love this social media stuff. Connecting. Networking. Seeing how I can make all the new ways to communicate (that seem to pop up daily) relevant to me, and incorporating it in real life situations, as well as with my own podcast and radio show. This is where an un-conference like Podcamp AZ comes in. The 4th annual Podcamp is coming to the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe on November 20th and 21st!

4 years of this and it only gets bigger and better- that's what she said!!

"Un-Conference?" Podcamp? What the heck is that?" you may ask. Basically, it's for anyone who is interested in new media (podcasting, blogging, or video blogging for example), and would like to learn more about it and see how to make it relevant in their life. The un-conference part comes in because you don't just go and sit listening to others tell us what they know about new media. YOU are as much of a part of Podcamp as anyone. No one is deemed an expert, although we all have different levels of knowledge about new media and its relevance. Which makes it perfect for anyone to attend, since we all contribute and we all learn something new.

If you want to know more (and if you're surfing around on the internet then I bet you might be), head over to Podcamp AZ's awesome website at to get all the information you need. Find out more about what podcamp is, why Arizona is becoming a bigger new media hub every year, and even see some of the speakers lined up. Then go ahead and register- it's TOTALLY FREE. Seriously, I'm not kidding. Although we do still need some sponsors, so check out the sponsor page and pass it around if you think you know of any sponsors. Podcamp AZ is entirely run by volunteers and sponsors, which makes it everyone's conference. One big happy geeky family!

Register now for Podcamp AZ 2010!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Too much too soon?

Your Training for 09/20/2010 - 09/26/2010

View Training Log Workout
Miles: 15.29 Comments: 2
Time: 05:30 Motivations: 0
Calories: 2530 Among Friends: 5
Workouts: 7 Overall Position: 8607

This past week was hard. First I still had that nagging head cold hanging over me, combined with a very horrible diet over the weekend at a friend's Birthday party. Honestly, one night of excess turned into a three-day carb binge! So by the time Tuesday came around and it was time to do a Key Run, I was nearly three pounds heavier and feeling AWFUL. So here it is:

Tuesday Kimber and I were trying a different gym, and their treadmills didn't want to cooperate. So we decided to mix is up and do the second run first, which was 5 miles at a medium tempo. As I said, it was awful. I actually found myself thinking like a binge drinker- "I'll never EVER eat that way again- EVER, if you just get me through this run." Of course I know it's bullshit, because I love food too much. Still, I really should start focusing on my diet more. I have been hovering between 139-141 lbs.* since Pat's Run in freakin' April, and I'm really tired of carrying the extra weight. Just 10lbs more I want to drop, that's all. I really think that would help me be a little faster, if I had a little less to drag around.

Thursday was the sprint day- and it went pretty well actually. I was all ready feeling better by taking in more veggies and less icky carbs like white pasta, so I was off to a great start! It was REALLY rough when I had to do the 1200m sprint- holy cow I needed to sprint for 3/4 of a mile?? I'm just not ready for that 10 minute mile yet. I kept going though, hoping it would get easier on the way down (800, then 600, then 400)- but NO. Life isn't any easier going downhill either, apparently.

Friday I was so thankful for an off day, because on Wednesday I had done some core work with my legs, and they were all ready sore going into the sprints. I was walking around pretty stiff that day. Must have looked hysterical.

Sunday was the long run, which was only 5 miles. I went to the chiropractor on Wednesday, and she was worried I was going to hurt my knees taking on so much more running without doing it gradually. I basically doubled my miles in a week. She said the sudden repetition could hurt me mid-training. So I hit the Google and did a little research on beginning marathon training. Turns out she does have a point. So I am trying to tweak the schedule a bit and come up with a happy medium. I love doing sprints and pushing myself, so I think those will stay. I'll just take my time getting up to running 9, 10, 12 miles. I've got 16 weeks, that's plenty of time. If I can run 10 miles, then I can surely run 13.

I also realized I was sicker than I thought (or was just ignoring), because I ended up with a fever of 100 degrees and nausea the rest of the afternoon. I guess you can't outrun sick!

This week things get a little more crazy:

Key Run #1: 6, 800m sprints with a 90 second rest interval
Key Run #2: 2 miles easy pace, then 3 miles at short tempo, then 1 mile easy

Key Run #3: Well, it SAYS 10 miles, but I think I'll go for 6 again. Easy relaxed run.

Diet- really going to try and watch the diet! Let's get running!

*No, I'm not one of those women who keeps their weight to themselves. I definitely know I'm overweight, others who see me know it, so why bother being secretive about it? Knowing my weight and being open about it could help motivate me. Or just give you an excuse to point and laugh next time you see me. Either way, whatever! I'm still running!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ever Try To Outrun A Head Cold?

Week one I am happy to report was a big success! I killed all kinds of personal bests. Here's my Daily Mile Weekly Report:

Your Training for 09/13/2010 - 09/19/2010

View Training Log Workout
Miles: 21.07 Comments: 0
Time: 06:41 Motivations: 1
Calories: 3153 Among Friends: 3
Workouts: 7 Overall Position: 6484

Seriously, I ran 21 miles last week? Praise Jesus, Buddha, Allah, and Ra*! Let me tell you, it was not just a effortless jog in the park. Well, maybe one of the runs was, but I still passed distances I have never ran before, so that's a big win in my book!

Tuesday was my first big sprint day- 12 of them. I was actually nervous, and itching to get moving. I had butterflies in my stomach like I did before Pat's Run. Isn't that strange? I was that excited to get started! Kimber (my training bud) thought (as usual) that I was crazy. That was my first surprise this week- I was able to hold my sprints for a 1/4 mile without having to slow down, and even sped up the treadmill for several of them because I didn't feel like I was pushing hard enough. However, by the 8th or 9th sprint I noticed something weird- I had stopped sweating and was feeling more chilly. I most likely would have not thought anything of it if just a few days before I hadn't read this awesome post from the Almost Barefoot** blog. So when I upped my water intake a bit on those last few sprints I felt a lot better and could push through them. It ended up being around 5 miles.

Thursday was a more even tempo, and I ran 6 miles that day, which again I had never done before. The catch here was I could feel the beginnings of a head cold coming on, and I did my best to ignore it. The lozenges actually helped keep my throat from getting dry, which might be a good idea sick or not when I'm running longer distances. I also did stop several times to stretch my lower back out. Overall, good run and I still felt really good afterward.

Until Friday. Head cold was starting to get worse, I had been coughing quite a bit overnight so there was a lack of good sleep, and the medicine I took to rest made me jittery rather than sleepy. So other than my chiropractor appointment, I took it easy. By that night I was feeling worlds better, which is good because....

Saturday was the long easy run. 8 miles! I calculated my half-marathon pace based on the only other race I had been in, Pat's Run. I ran that in an 11:45 average. So half-marathon pace is a bit slower than that, around 12 min. miles. This 8 mile run was another 20 seconds ON TOP OF THAT, so I was really just taking it easy. Had a bumpy start though, the stomach was not cooperating at first. But after I got those issues out of the way, it went really smoothly.

Until about mile 6. That's when my knees decided to let me know they were there, and they were getting tired of all the movement. Stupid knees. It never got to the point where I couldn't finish, but I definitely had ice on them later, and all day Sunday. I did realize that my knee pain meant that I was starting to slouch a bit. When I straightened my back and held my head up higher it took some of the pressure off. It's all about the posture!

It was an accomplished week, and although I am still working through this head cold, it's not going to stop me from week two of training, which consists of:

First Run: Warm up, then 7 sprints at 400m, 600, 800, 1200, then back down to 400.
Second Run: 5 mile run at Medium Tempo
Third Run: 9 miles at Half-marathon pace +2o seconds

I think eventually my base pace of 11:45 will change. I'm taking into account that I only have one race under my belt and 5 months of training before that. I've definitely become stronger and faster since then. Should be another good week!

*Please forgive me if I missed your own personal deity.
**Even if you are not a barefoot runner, this is a great blog to subscribe to!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Addiction Makes You Crazy!

It's been a long summer!

After Pat's Run I slowed down a bit, though I did manage to keep running fairly consistently. It wasn't enough though- I haven't been pushing myself to go further. Using Daily Mile is great and motivating, but still not enough. The only way I can really push myself is with another race fix. I need to train for something specific. The 10k I was looking at fell through due to a daughter's volleyball schedule, but then I started seeing people talking about something even better...

So here it is. Most of you who are friends of mine over on the Almighty Facebook know this all ready, but I've taken the plunge and decided to run a half-marathon in January. 13.1 freakin' miles, baby! Screw you 10k- I'm doing double, and then some! A lot of people think I'm a bit tweaked, and maybe I am, but I don't care. I love this stuff. The ultimate goal is a full marathon when I turn 40 (2012), so this is just another step on the ladder.

I start training tomorrow, and I'm going to use the FIRST half-marathon training program. A couple of my running friends said it was too complicated, but I like it that way. It forces me to focus, and brings on a challenge. I won't push myself otherwise. Here's what is in store for me the first week (running each Tuesday, Thursday, and one day on the weekend):

First run: Warm up, then 12 400m sprints, with a 90 second rest in-between, cool down
Second: 2 miles easy, 3 miles slow tempo, 1 mile easy
Third: 8 miles at your half-marathon pace plus 20 seconds.

I did Pat's Run at just under a 12 minute mile, and it's all I have to go on as a pace (they suggest base pace as your best 5k). So that's where I'll start, and work my way up from there.

Yep, totally complicated. Am I crazy? Perhaps. Addicted? Definitely.

I don't care- bring it.

I want to blog my progress, but want to keep it interesting (thank you, Tyler!) So if you want every smelly, painful detail of the training, follow Daily Mile. It also goes to Facebook. As I begin each new week of training, I will recap and let you know what the training mark is for the coming week. For me, it lets me journal my own feelings about the progress I'm making (or not making).

You can join me wherever you'd like online, but if you're in AZ this January, you should join me en route! I hear it's a great time!

Let's go!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Making Social Media Safe For Kids

About a month ago I attended an excellent panel discussion on social media and raising your kids in the social-media world. After all, even though certain sites fade and new ones come in, social media and the internet life in general is never going away. It's a part of our culture, and rather than running from it or sheltering our children from it, we should educate ourselves in the best ways to handle the excessive amounts of information that keep coming at them. Tackling it head-on is probably the best way to keep our kids safe, and keep them open and communicating with us. The bottom line is talk to your kids, about the benefits as well as the dangers. The more you educate yourself about something, the less scary it becomes.

There is also a great slide show to go with the audio! Here is the direct link, but as you see it is embedded below as well. The slides about Facebook (to make it more interactive with listening) begin at about 5min. 12seconds in the audio. The entire audio is 1hr. 34min.

Audio Download (right click):

Thanks to Katie Charland for putting this together, and to all the panelists for participating! I hope there will be more of these in the future.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Running for Pat, and Myself

Being an Arizonan, and having a husband who is an avid ASU and Cardinals football fan, I have had no choice over the years but to know the name Pat Tillman. It was also a very big deal when he gave up his contract after 9/11/2001 to join the Army and help fight in Afghanistan. You don't get any more patriotic than that, right? Then to have it all end and be killed by friendly fire. Yes, I know that these situations are intense and friendly fire is just a horrible common occurrence. However, the cover-up that came after really brought home how awful this pointless war on terror is and how it's not a win or lose war. You might say that Pat Tillman's story was the last straw that made me completely anti-war.

November seems like a really long time ago. I had just finished the amazing book, "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey Of Pat Tillman" by Jon Krakauer. It was a whole new perspective on Tillman, his life, and history of a land that has always- ALWAYS- been at war. Reading the excerpts from his journals, and the detailed account of the days events that led to his death, I was in tears even though I knew how this story would end. I was also surprised that he was actually a more liberal-minded person than I thought. Shame on me and stereotyping. You definitely can't peg who a person is from the surface.

It was the very next day after finishing the book that I made my decision to participate in Pat's Run, the yearly event for the foundation his wife and family set up in honor of Tillman. This year will be the 6th, and every year I have been able to put it off, ignore it, but this time I couldn't. I called my neighbor Kimber, who has run it every single year with her family, and asked if she would help me train. I haven't done any serious running since Jr. High School. She agreed, and this past fall began a change in me that has only been for the positive.

The first time I walked on the treadmill with an incline, I thought I was going to pass out after 5 minutes. The first time I tried running? Couldn't make it 2 minutes. Working with Kimber, having that partner who knew what she was doing and supporting me was more helpful than I could ever express. It's going to sound silly, but every time I hit the gym, I was thinking about all the years I've covered Tillman's story on my podcast, and how General McChrystal is still out there commanding operations in Afghanistan. Even after admitting (well, admitting without really admitting is probably more accurate) his part in covering up key parts of Tillman's death. In order to parade Tillman's name as a symbol of the sacrifice we supposedly need to make in this ridiculous war. These are the things that have driven me for the past 6 months. The family still to this day doesn't have all the answers, and I imagine they never will.

The Run is a fundraiser for the Tillman Foundation, which has many programs set up which they call "Leadership Through Action" programs:

  • Tillman Military Scholars - To honor their service and support their continued leadership, we offer scholarships to veteran and active servicemembers and their dependents (children and spouses) to help them pursue their greater educational goals.
  • Tillman Scholars - Arizona State University (ASU) - Through a rigorous leadership development and service-learning curriculum, we challenge the leaders of tomorrow to apply their passions and talents to promote positive change in their communities today.
  • Tillman Social Action Fund - For students or student groups initiating projects throughout the U.S. we provide resources to help them implement their own plans for social action.
A great cause, to honor a great man. These are my main reasons for running Saturday. They probably don't match everyone's reasons for running (actually I'm sure of it), and I respect that. I'm not going with intent of making some big statement, or causing a scene. I'm going to run. I guess you can consider this blog post my statement.

Of course, I can't complain about the side-effects either. I can run several miles now. I'm eating better, and the way I look at everything that goes into my body (and my family's) has changed. I've lost a pant size, and for the first time in at least 5 years I'm not dreading the upcoming swimsuit season. Not saying I'm a supermodel (because yeah, like I've ever been there!), but I know I look worlds better and feel worlds better than I have in, well, maybe ever. It's habit now, when I don't go to the gym, I feel bad. And I LOVE to run! On the treadmill, outside, I love it. I want to see how far I can go. I'm all ready looking forward to my next challenge- the Phoenix 10k in November!

Who's in? :-)

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Note From My Daughter's Girl Scout Troop

Our troop made the 1st cut!

Now we’re asking for YOUR help. Cadette Girl Scout Troop 2305 made the first cut in the 98.7 The Peak’s Girl Scout Cookie Bailout Plan. Help our troop convince morning DJs Chris and Amy that they want to buy 98 boxes of cookies from OUR troop.

Go to the PEAK website:, click on “Katie”, and hear our GS troop’s Billy Mays-ish cookie pitch.

Our troop pledges to donate all of the cookies to Army Unit RSG 653 who shipped out of Arizona in October and are now stationed in Kuwait. Our troop member Kira’s aunt and uncle are both members of this unit.

Then go back to the website starting this Friday and vote for our girls. Not only are you helping our troop, you are helping us send a positive message about Girl Scouts to the community.

Together we can make a difference!


Kira, Katie, Jeannie, Allison, Kori, Natalie, Jona, & Ally

Cadette Girl Scout Troop 2305