Showing posts from July, 2009

Avoiding Heatstroke

I just finished a ten mile run. My plan was to run at whatever pace felt comfortable. That's easy to say, but when you're running slower than usual, there's a lot of reminding going on... Just run easy! It's okay if I can't run faster. The only goal is ten miles.

I drank water at mile two, water and Tri-berry Gu (I like it!) at mile four, water again at mile six and then Gatorade at mile eight. There were a couple of planned breaks and one unplanned one at the 9th mile where I needed to walk. The "feels like" temperature was 98*F. when I finished running. So, no wonder!

Maybe I'm still acclimating to the heat. I ran across the article, How to Avoid Heatstroke, in which Gretchen Reynolds wrote that it may take three months for your body to get used to the heat. The article reminded me that I should drink ice cold water to cool down, so I froze my fuel belt bottles last night.

While I was running, I was looking forward to my ice bath. Turns out, summer ice…


Time to change my core exercises - wouldn't want any bored muscles! I found some new exercises at on the Core Conditioning for Runners page and did some this morning.

Then I stepped outside for my run and the first thing I noticed was the humidity - the "feels like" temperature was around 91* F so it felt like stepping into a warm room. I had to remind myself that I had run in the heat before and I haven't fainted yet. I'm easily scared!

After a two mile warm-up, I completed some running drills, like sideways jumping jacks where you move done the driveway while doing the jumping jacks.
Then it was time for my hard run: 17 minute tempo run w/20 steps of walking for recovery 1 min. sprint w/20 steps of walking for recovery 2 min. sprint w/20 steps of walking for recovery

Now, let's not say that I failed at my planned 20 minute tempo run. We'll just say that I'm flexible! ; ) I ran until my body said: stop! And then I tried to complete the 20…

Favorite Running Journal

I've used the same type of running journal three years in a row because it's just that good! First, there's a monthly page where I pencil in the workouts I want to do (lower right). Then when my workout is done, I use my four colored ink pen to write down what I did (top right). Blue is for running. Green is for other exercises. Red is for problems. Black is for anything else.

It's a 19 month planner, but I cut some pages out and make it a 12 month book, leaving a few extra pages behind to write extra information, like detailed marathon reports and how many miles I've put on my shoes. I found it with the school supplies at Walmart for just $4. The planner is made by Carolina Pad and you can find it at other stores listed on their website.

And now to today's workout... After a short abs workout, I ran eight miles. The temperature was about 80*F and I drank Gatorade every two miles. I felt a little tired in the last two miles, but I was able to keep the pace up so …

Saturday Sunrise Run

First thing this morning, I put on some shorts and my 2009 Houston marathon shirt. That's when I came up with my new goal for my next marathon: to finish before they run out of my size in finisher shirts. ; )

So with my new goal in mind (sort of, mostly I was just sleepy), I grabbed my swiss ball and did an abs workout. (Here's my previous Abs with Allyson Felix post about this workout.)

About 25 minutes later, I went outside. I hurried because it was only 76 degrees F and I was hoping to finish before the temperature reached 80, but that never happened. Today I had the treat of running in 76 degrees for the entire 4 mile run. Not only that, but I ran towards a beautiful sunrise complete with a bright orange sun, pink rays and fluffy clouds outlined with the brightest white all below a soft blue sky. What a way to start a day!

Photo: That's not my marathon shirt. This is a reenactment. I had to wait until my photographer woke up. ; )

Have a wonderful weekend!

Send in the Clouds

Since it was cloudy and the sun wasn't beating down on me as usual, most of my longish nine mile run felt easy today. I saw a heron standing in a large bunch of purple wildflowers. He took off and I tried to stay with him as he flew down the road.

I took a ten minute stretch/drink break at the midway point. I changed into fresh socks and shoes because mine were heavy with sweat. When I started running again, my feet felt good - light and cool with the breeze blowing through the top of my shoes.

The last two miles of my nine miler were the hardest because I was tired, but I didn't want to slow down. My music helped. I focused on good running form, too. Run tall! No slouching! Arms pump the legs!No mouthing the words to the songs! Don't bob your head with the music, either! All of my energy had to go to my legs. Happily, I kept a steady pace - averaging 9:27/mile for the whole run.

I should add that on most days, I don't sing and dance in the middle of the street. ; )


Marathon Training Plan

Since I'll be running in the Houston marathon in January, I'm looking for a training plan. I came across two marathon training plans and some training tips, too, at the Boston Marathon website. Right now, I'm mostly building up my mileage with a little speedwork, too, so that when my plan says, "Run a zillion miles at goal pace," I'll be half ready.

Today after an abs workout, I went for a run. First, I ran a two mile warm-up with six short strides towards the end. Wake up, Legs!

Then I found some fast songs on my MP3 player and sped down the street, hoping to keep the speed up for two miles. In the first mile, I had lots of energy. I was hopeful. I was running an 8:12 mile.

In the second mile, I was getting tired, but happy to be speeding down the road - more fun than an easy run. Pace for this mile: 8:02/mile.

I finished with a couple of easy miles, stopping a couple of times to chat with walkers. The next time I'm asked how long a marathon is, I might just…

Museum Fun

Yesterday my husband said to me, "Wanna go to the museum?" We hadn't been to the Houston Museum of Natural Science in ages. I was ready to go in two minutes - had to hurry before he changed his mind!

The most interesting sight was the terracotta warrior exhibit - life-size statues that were made to guard the first emperor of China. Here's a warrior (not a real one) that I found guarding the t-shirts in the gift shop and doing a fine job of it, too.

Now imagine walking through the terracotta warrior exhibit and seeing a statue in the corner. There aren't any ropes around it and you can actually walk right up to it. You get up close and study the workmanship - all of the details. You're so close that you could even touch this 2,000 year old piece of history. And then... Bam! It moves!

The silent warrior-actor only had to make one small move and then the unsuspecting museum visitor jumped, yelled and laughed. The warrior was very kind after each scare - smiling wit…

Hot Running Tip

Today I took a short break midway through my run for a drink and some stretching on my back porch. Last night, I put a wet hand towel in the refrigerator and threw that in my insulated bag with some Gatorade this morning. During my break, I wiped that nice cold towel on my face and wrapped it around my neck while I stretched. I should do that every time.

I had a good eight mile run with the last mile a little faster than the rest. Because of the clouds, it was a fairly easy run today, like it was supposed to be. I kept thinking the clouds would float away, but they stuck around for the whole run. My splits: 9:54, 9:30, 9:23, 9:20, 9:22, 9:24, 9:18, and 8:50/mile.

Pre-run: yogurt topped with strawberries
Post-run: chocolate milk

2010 Houston Marathon

I signed up for the January 2010 Houston Marathon (my 5th Houston marathon!) yesterday, the very first day you could register, and it's a good thing! It's a good thing I receive Houston Marathon tweets, too! That's how I know that if you want to run in the next Houston Marathon, now is the time to sign up. The marathon is nearly sold out with only 1,850 out of 22,000 entries left. I can't believe how fast it's filling up this year!

Noon update: only 1,250 entries left! 9:45PM update: only 200 marathon entries left! Final update: the Houston marathon filled in only 2 1/2 days!

Flowers - Look for Them!

Another good run today! I ran seven miles starting at an easy pace and finishing the last mile fast. It actually felt good to push hard at the end and speed up. My splits: 10:16, 9:57, 9:42, 9:45, short drink/stretch break, 9:39, 9:44, and 8:55/mile.

And would you look at those purple wildflowers? I don't know how many times I've run passed them and didn't even see them. I've definitely been doing too much road-staring this week.

4 x 5 = A Good 6

I had a good six mile run this morning. I warmed up with a two mile run with five strides and then I took a short break to get a drink and stretch in the shade on my back porch before the hard work began.

I ran 4 x 5 minutes with 90 seconds of recovery. My pace goal was to not run slower than 8:30/mi. and my actual pace for each five minute run was 8:19, 8:23, 8:17 and 8:15/mile. You just never know how it's going to turn out, especially in this heat. I followed that up with a cooldown mile.

I got the workout idea from the Tempo Running Tips to Boost Your Speed article by John Hank at that I mentioned last Wednesday.

Pre-run: toast with honey
Post-run: chocolate milk and an orange

Skip the Ice Bath?

Do you take ice baths after long runs? I usually do, but I skipped one after a fifteen miler last year - it was Christmas Day and who wants to suffer on Christmas Day? Turns out, I was fine - no muscle soreness, but maybe I had built my mileage up enough that a fifteen miler wasn't enough to make me sore.

I read at that only elite runners really need ice baths because the rest of us don't build up enough lactic acid - that most of us can just stretch and take an anti-inflammatory, but I don't know. Maybe I'll have to do some experimenting when I start upping my mileage for the Houston Marathon next January - only 186 days away!

This morning I did the half hour abs workout I wrote about last week. Then I had a good 'n easy five mile run. At 6:15, I was out on the road. There were clouds in front of the rising sun in the first half and the new songs on my MP3 player kept me happy in the second half.

Seven Mile Run

I had a good seven mile run this morning. I took a five minute break after running four miles to drink and stretch in the shade on my back porch - nice because it was so hot. I never needed to walk today, like Friday, and my average pace was 9:48/mile. Thanks to Meg who mentioned running breaks and reminded me of that summer survival tip!

Pre-run: Breakfast Bowl
Post-run: Blueberry smoothie
Animals I saw on the run: 2 horses, 1 rabbit, 1 dark red Cardinal

Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

After eating sweet potato fries at a restaurant recently, I wanted to bake my own. These are good! The recipe makes enough for 1 - 2 people.

1 sweet potato (about 1/2 lb.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Peel the sweet potato. Slice potato into round chips or long, thin fries or both, like I did. The chips cooked faster and were crispier.
Place foil on baking pan. Place potato slices on the foil. Brush oil onto potatoes. Flip potatoes over and brush the other side. Sprinkle salt on top. Spread potatoes out on the pan so that they aren't touching each other.
Bake at 425 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. Using a spatula, flip potatoes over every ten minutes.

6/2/12 Update: I heard Ryan Hall, who loves sweet potatoes, say that it's best to keep the heat down at 350 degrees so you don't lose the nutrients. Instead of olive oil, you can use olive oil spray on the pan and potatoes. Turn over after 20 minutes and bake another 20 minutes for …

Gulp Your H2O, It's OK

I did thirty minutes of strength training. My right knee felt stiff before I started, but fine when I finished. That was good because I wanted to go on a short run.

Today's run was so much better than yesterday. I never felt like I needed to walk like I did yesterday. I took a couple of minutes to stretch and drink in the shade after running two easy-paced miles and then I ran a couple more easy-paced miles.

I meant to pay attention to whether I gulped my water when I stopped for a drink, but I forgot. I read that gulping is better than sipping during exercise in the Eating to Fuel Exercise article by Tara Parker-Pope with Leslie Bonci. Gulping prevents cramps. I'd never thought about it before, but I'll try to pay attention next time. (July 14 Update: Okay, I gulped. Good!)

Pre-exercise: Cheerios, skim milk & a spoonful of peanut butter
Post-exercise: plain & vanilla yogurt topped with blueberries

8 Mile Run vs. Me

The heat nearly did me in today. The "feels like" temperature went from a hot 81 degrees F. to a hotter 91. Or it could have been that Gatorade Endurance I drank before I ran. Normally, I just drink water pre-run. Or it could have been that I was just plain tired. I keep waking up in the middle of the night. I know... I should just exercise more - then I'd sleep better. ; )

So now that you know my sob story... Oh wait, I'm not done. I forgot to mention how much I really wanted to stop running in the third mile, but I didn't. Didn't I just read that our bodies will acclimate after two weeks of summer running? I've been running all summer! And then it happened again in the sixth mile. Still, I didn't give in.

In the seventh mile, since I was nearly walking anyway, I caved in and walked. I shook out my arms and I wiped all of the sweat off my face (with my dripping wet shirt - yuck!). After a couple of minutes, I felt better and I finished the run.

My mile …

Tempo Running Article

My goal was to run 5 x 4 minutes with one minute rests. I got the idea for the workout from the Tempo Running Tips to Boost Your Speed article by John Hank at After a warm-up, I ran at a pace that felt like an 8 on a scale of 1 - 10 and it worked out to be an 8:30 pace, so that was my goal for the rest of the workout.

Somewhere towards the end of the run, a message popped up on my Garmin, "Delete some old workouts now". So I stopped, deleted some old workouts and pushed 'start'. Or was it 'lap'? My Garmin beeped and I started running again. Those 4 minutes felt especially long, but don't they all? Turns out, I ran an extra one of those four minute legs and it really was too long, but I stayed close to my goal pace - so, no big deal!

Today's workout: 4 min. @ 8:28, 8:35, 8:25, 8:30, 8:22 and then 4:52 minutes @ 8:34/mi. pace
Total Miles Run: 6
Post-run: a delicious peach smoothie

Glisten Workout

I receive workout plans by email from Glisten. Today I did the Abs with Allyson (Allyson Felix, that is) workout. I worked through the exercises three times. The goal is to do each exercise for one minute. A month ago, I could only do 30 seconds of each one, but now I can almost reach the goal - the ab scissors exercise is holding me back.

After that, I ran three miles on the treadmill with four one-hundred meter strides towards the end. The time went by fast with the fan blowing on me and music humming through my earpods. Glad to be running pain-free today!

Pre-exercise: Cheerios with skim milk
Post-exercise: chocolate malted milk and a banana

Time to Retire the Trainers

I woke up and did 35 minutes of strength training: chair dips, swiss ball exercises, weight lifting, etc. so I was sweating even before I went outside for a run where the 'feels like' temperature was 88. The clouds helped, though.

It was a good run until the 3.64 mile point when my left shin started hurting so I walked home. I'm icing my shin now. I had run at a 9:38/mi. average with my splits being 10:02, 9:30, 9:28, 9:31.

My other shin hurt Saturday afternoon (after the 5K race), but was better by that evening. Today the right shin didn't hurt at all. I wonder if it was the shoes I was wearing - that it's time to retire my Asics DS Trainers with 372 miles on them. My previous DS Trainers had to be retired at 377 miles because they felt flat when I ran.

Pre-exercise: banana
Post-exercise: open-faced peanut butter and raisin sandwich & skim milk

2009 Freedom 5K Race Report

I finished! It was hot - I think the "feels like" temperature was about 90 degrees, but I'm sure it was hot last year, too, when I finished in 24:01.

The morning started with a two mile warm-up. I ran a mile out and back from the finish line. I was surprised that there were a few short hills on the course, but they weren't too bad. I ran five short striders in the last mile.

The race started and we were off. I didn't have to do too much zig-zagging and my first mile was run at a happy 7:43/mi. pace. I didn't know it then, though. I should have paid attention to my Garmin, but after I saw 8:39 in the first mile, I thought it might be too depressing to know my speed.

I slowed down in the second mile to 8:17. Now I wish I would have kept an eye on my Garmin for extra incentive. The third mile was slower at 8:27, but after the three mile mark (for .14 mile) I sped up to a 6:44/mi. pace. Seeing the finish line helped.

My finishing time was 25:22, but I was hoping…

2009 Freedom 5K Race Results and Photos

My 2009 Freedom 5K Race Report
The race was held in First Colony in Sugar Land, Texas. Race Shots took the photos at the 5K. 
(Originally, this page linked to more race information, but those links are no longer working.)

Complete Running Directory

I started out looking for some new running blogs to read at the Complete Running Blog Family Directory. You can search by filters like favorite race distance and number of years of running experience. The website has almost 2000 blogs listed and anyone with a running blog can be added to the list.

After just a few minutes, I found a couple of good blogs and then I added Gotta Run Now to the blog directory.

Welcome to all, but a special welcome to you if you are visiting from the Complete Running link! : )

Fruit Smoothie

Smoothies taste great - especially after a hard workout. I like to make mine the night before I run so that it's ready to drink right after I run. There are a zillion ways to make them, but here's how I usually make mine.

Pour the following ingredients into a blender:

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup whole  milk
1/2 cup any fruit (usually strawberries &/or blueberries)
1/2 banana (I keep a bag of frozen bananas, quartered)
favorite sweetener, to taste (optional)

Calories: approx. 215 (without sweetener)

3 Advantages of a 3 Mile Run

As soon as I started running today my legs felt so tight that I thought I'd have to turn around and go home, but by the 1/4 mile mark, they felt fine. I ran thirty seconds slower per mile than I usually do for easy runs. I think I'm tired after the speedwork I did yesterday. I'll rest my legs tomorrow.

3 advantages of running 3 miles:

1. When you're used to running at least five miles, three sounds easy.
2. You don't drip sweat all over the house after a three mile run.
3. You have more time to blog. ; )

Pre-run: Breakfast Bowl
Post-run: Strawberry Smoothie
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 11

Have a wonderful fourth of July holiday! And if you're racing this weekend, I hope you PR! : )

Not So Bad Speedwork

Today I warmed up for two miles with five 100m sprints and then I started the speedwork. I ran a mile trying to reach 5K pace (shooting for 7:44/mi.), but I was only able to reach 7:57. It was one of those long miles! I ran a half a mile slowly to recover, but maybe I should have recovered a tad bit more because...

I did 4 x 400m next and my first one was kind of slow at 8:15. Wait! I just remembered that I had Garmin trouble with this one. I didn't hear the "start running fast now" beeps. So, no biggy! The next three were better: 7:39, 8:04 and 7:40/mi. I took 200m rests between those 400 meters.
After that I ran 1 1/4 mi. in cool-down mode and that finished up my 6.15 mile run.
I liked this workout. The mile was hard, but the 400m intervals were short and there were only four of them. Too bad I didn't get down to the pace I wanted every time, but maybe actually being in a race will speed me up.
While I was running, I saw a tree down our street that was struck by light…