Monday, March 30, 2009

Computer Virus Alert

Blogging Friends, are you ready for Conficker?

On April 1st the Conficker virus is set to explode. Is your computer ready for this attack?

You can get the virus several ways. One way, as seen in the pic, is by scam websites that appear to be your own PC having a problem. You click on their website and “Bam!”, you’re on your way to downloading a virus.

To read more about Conficker, click on this link. Be careful out there! I'd miss you if you weren’t blogging because a virus attacked your PC.

Letter to My Running Shoes

Dear Running Shoes,

I've missed you! This morning when I pulled you on and laced you up, it felt like life was getting back to normal.

I thought my legs would feel heavy after a few days off, but instead they felt fresh. We don't usually run such a steady pace, but it was very consistent, only varying by one to three seconds for each mile. We averaged a 9:13/mi. pace for our four mile run.

Thanks for running with me today, Running Shoes! Nothing beats running down familiar roads, seeing the pink and yellow wildflowers and feeling the cool wind gently blowing on my face. We'll go on a run again soon!

~Gotta Run Now :-)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gotta Run Soon

I haven't run since Wednesday because my knee hurt after my run. My running mantra of "go faster" has changed to "be a smart runner" so I've stopped running for a few days.

I think I'll go on a run again soon, though, so I probably don't need to scrape off the 'Gotta Run' and '26.2' stickers off of the back of my car just yet.

I haven't completely stopped exercising, though. I've finally completed four consecutive weeks of strength training three days a week - something I've wanted to do all year.

Friday, March 27, 2009

USATF's Athlete of the Week

Sumi Onodera-Leonard, an 80 year old woman, is USATF's Athlete of the Week. On Sunday, just one of her accomplishments was to set an 800m world record. Her time was 4:59.60. That's half a mile in less than five minutes! USATF's Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Free Sample: Quaker Granola Bar

I received a free Quaker dark chocolate raspberry almond granola bar in the mail. It wasn't real crunchy like some other granola bars that crumble apart with each bite. It's more like a soft cookie. I'm kind of surprised it only has 8 grams of sugar because it was sweet. On the other hand, it's not too sweet. It's a good granola bar, handy if you need to quickly grab a snack. If you'd like one, too, just fill out this short questionaire.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Five Mile Pain-free Run


I ran five pain-free miles this morning. It felt great to get a good run in - finally!

Because it was dark outside, I started my run on the treadmill. I listened to music on my earphones and the news on TV to pass the time. I can listen to both at once if I don't turn the volume up too high. That way, I can listen to music during the commercials and boring news stories.

After three miles on the treadmill (really 3.04 miles, if you're checking the photo) and once it was light outside, I ran two miles in my neighborhood. It was nice to be running outside again. The wind cooled me off. Time went by faster than when I was inside on the treadmill. Usually, I run six days a week, but since I've had some knee pain I've had to run fewer days. I've missed it.

After my run, I iced my knee with a bag of frozen peas, just to be safe.

~Gotta Run Now

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Change Your Body Shape Book


For just $3 at Borders, I bought Change Your Body Shape by Brett Oteri. I've been using it to plan my strength training workouts. It has exercises categorized into four muscle groups and I choose a few from each group for my workouts.

I used my Swiss ball during my workout this morning. The Sports Injury Clinic has a page of Swiss ball exercises. The site has information about knee pain, too, and I know the answer to most problems is to rest so I'm taking a day off from running today.

I reached a new high for holding the plank today: three minutes. I think I was only able to stay on my elbows and toes that long because it was my first exercise of the day. Kind of seems like cheating!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dulles Dash 5K, Maybe

The next race I run in will probably be the local 5K race, the Dulles Dash in Sugar Land, Texas, on April 25, 2009, rather than run the half marathon I was planning on. The chip-timed 5K takes place at Lost Creek Park where I've run a few other 5K's. It's a flat, partially-shaded course that is close to home, something I'll appreciate on race morning.

I've had some knee pain lately so I haven't been able to run as much as I would have liked. Today I got in a run of 3 1/2 miles before the wind picked up like Dorothy's Kansas. If I had anything outside that wasn't tied down, it's gone now.

~Gotta Run Now

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sugar Land Sugar Mill Geocache


Hoping to find the clue we needed to locate our next geocache, my husband and I started at the fountain in Sugar Land Town Square in Sugar Land, Texas, close to home. (That's the fountain in the photo.)

We found the clue. We used the clue to solve a puzzle to find the coordinates for the geocache and off we went to the oldest sugar mill refinery in colonial Texas, Imperial Sugar. We hunted around a huge sugar kettle sitting in front of the sugar mill and a pond full of tadpoles. We nearly gave up, but we eventually found the geocache.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hold that Plank!

I'm sipping on a fruit/yogurt smoothie as I write this. I'm glad that I made enough for two servings on Thursday.

I just finished my strength training session. With the clock beside me on the ground where I could keep my eye on it and my husband watching me (had to impress!), I was able to hold the plank (flat body with elbows and toes on the ground) for 2 1/2 minutes - my previous high for this year had been 2 minutes. Fitness for Mommies has some good information on the plank, nutrition and other exercise - related topics, too.

This is the third week in a row that I've completed one of my 2009 goals: strength training three times a week. Next up: one full month of strength-training.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Asics Landreth 4 Shoe Review #2

I did a short run in my new Landreth 4 shoes today on the treadmill. My heel felt cushioned and the toe box was roomy. I like them. (If you'd like to know a little more about my new shoes, click on the Asics Landreth label at the bottom of this post.)

Post-run, I made a peach smoothie. In the blender I put: plain yogurt, frozen peach slices, a frozen banana, non-fat milk and a sprinkle of sugar. I didn't measure anything. I just poured the ingredients in, taste tested and revised along the way. Less mess that way.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ASICS Landreth 4 Shoe Review #1


A local running store in Sugar Land, Texas, Finish Line Sports, had a sale on some of their older model shoes so I went shopping. A runner always needs new running shoes. It's just one of those necessities of life: food, water, shelter and clothing (that's where the shoes come in).

I tried on some ASICS Landreth 4 shoes (on sale for $61), a shoe for neutral feet, and I ran up and down the sidewalk. I'd never worn these before, but they cushioned my heels and felt roomy enough for my toes so I bought them. I'll give the shoes a longer test run on the treadmill soon.

At the store Mike showed me a shoe lacing technique to prevent my heels from slipping in my shoes. I think it really works.

Here's a trivia question for you...What does ASICS mean/stand for? ASICS is an acronym derived from the Latin phrase, Anima Sana In Corpore Sano - a sound mind in a sound body.

Update: I ran in my new shoes the next day and I liked them.

Updated update: I didn't like my Asics Landreth 4 shoes after all. Click on the Running Shoes post label below to find out more. What shoes do I like? Mizuno Wave Rider 11 and Asics DS Trainer 13 shoes.

~Gotta Run Now

Monday, March 16, 2009

Helpful Calculation Tool

I ran 11 1/2 miles this morning. I warmed up and then ran 4 hard miles (average 8:22/mi.), a 5 minute recovery jog and 4 harder miles (average 8:00/mi.) followed by a recovery jog. (I used this calculation tool to figure out my average pace for each four mile part of my run.) I liked the fact that the hard parts were divided by 5 minutes of easy running, but it was still a hard workout.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My First Nanocache & Our GPS Receiver

I found a nanocache today! No! No! It's not that humongous bolt you can easily see in the center of the photo. The cache is the teeny-tiny metal box which is hanging just below the large bolt. You can just barely see it in my fingertips. It's the tiniest cache I've ever seen.

My husband and I used our GPS receiver to get us within 30 feet of the cache and then we started looking for something that just didn't seem to belong. It only took a few minutes and then I spotted it. Hmm... What is this little metal part on this big bolt? Aha! It came off! It was a magnetized nanocache. Inside of the cache was a thin strip of paper which I unrolled, signed and dated. We didn't hike through the woods today, only through a bit of wet grass - a good location for a cold rainy day.

My husband and I have been geocachers only for about a week now so we might not know all there is to know about geocaching yet ; ), but he wrote this up just in case anyone would like to know what we newbie geocachers use on our treks...

All you need is a handheld GPS (or even a good cell phone).

The Garmin eTrex is what we use (actually an older version of this without WAAS): http://tinyurl.com/bjzttw It’s just about the cheapest you can find, under $90. Ours has an accuracy of about 30 ft. This new one may be better.

If you want better accuracy look for a handheld GPS with WAAS technology. This narrows your target range down to less than 10 feet. You also may want one with built in maps. These can get very fancy and start costing several hundred dollars.

Another option is Google maps mobile. http://tinyurl.com/67w4q8 If you’ve got a cell phone with built in GPS (many do these days) you can install Google maps mobile for free. Then just punch in the lat/lon coordinates in the search box and start walking.

Here’s the official GeoCaching website for more details on geocaching. http://www.geocaching.com/

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ten Mile Run

It was a jacket and gloves kind of morning: raining, windy and 45 degrees when I ran just over 10 miles.

Today's workout is from Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon by Hudson and Fitzgerald. After 2 warm-up miles, I ran 1 minute repeats (run fast for 1 minute/slow for 1 minute) for F-O-U-R miles.

Then I ran 2 easy miles and then 2 hard miles back to my house. Near the end I thought that all I had to do was to run to my mailbox. I passed my mailbox. I listened for the much anticipated 'you're done' beep from my watch. I looked at my watch once, twice. I still had to run 0.1 mile longer. Kind of disappointing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blinded by Bugs

When drenched in sweat, don't run through a swarm of biting gnats because they'll stick to any exposed skin. I did this today and I got a gnat in my eye. I took out my contact, found my house with one eye 0 ), got a new contact and got back outside to finish the six miles. My pace got slower the more I ran.

Hot (70 degrees outside), tired and bug-bitten I jumped on the treadmill: 8 x 1 minute @ 6% incline. That made 0% incline feel like running downhill and one minute last forever, but the more I did, the stronger I felt. Finished with the hillwork, I set the incline to 1% and finished the whole workout (eight miles today) feeling better than I did after the first six miles.

~Gotta Run Now

March 9, 2009 Post Update: I added a link in case you'd like to see one of our geocaching videos.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's Snake Season

I saw a snake yesterday when I was geocaching.

I saw a snake today when I ran eight miles (this includes 8 x 10 second 6% hills on the treadmill).

I wasn't scared either time, but neither snake looked venomous. Still, I'm hoping this isn't the beginning of a pattern.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Geocaching at Brazos Bend State Park

I still had some energy left after running ten miles this morning so I went on a geocaching adventure with my husband. We had a picnic and hiked four miles through the woods at Brazos Bend State Park, which is near our house. We found five geocaches, a snake and four gators. In the photo, I'm sitting next to one of the geocaches we found today - the largest one we've found so far. It was hidden next to a downed tree with a pile of sticks over it. My husband nearly fell out of a tree while trying to get to the geocache!


Ten Today

Today's workout:

Ran 2 warm-up miles.

Ran six miles @ 1/2 marathon pace (my goal: 8-8:20/mi pace; my actual pace: 8:14) which included:
  • short sprint at 6:11 pace in an effort to get away from Diaper Dog (Uh-oh, it's the dog that wears a diaper. It's Diaper Dog!)
  • and stopping to yell at Diaper Dog x 3 when he caught up to me (That dog can run!)
Ran 2 miles easy.

~Gotta Run Now

Saturday, March 7, 2009

First Geocache Find!

My husband and I set out on a short adventure after lunch. We were on a search for a mystery box. Using our GPS receiver and coordinates found online at Geocaching, we made our way to our first location: a historical sign on a country road. The sign held the clues that we needed. We used the answer to continue looking for the geocache which was down the road. We actually walked right up to the geocache (this one was a box holding key chains) right away, but didn't see it at first because it was hidden beneath the... I can't tell you that!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Run Carefully!

Happy Friday! I ran a twelve mile progression run today in which the last two miles were run faster than the first ten. It was windy out there!

Average pace for 12 miles - 9:11
Average pace for miles 1 - 5 - 9:19
Average pace for miles 6 - 10 - 9:13
Average pace for miles 11 - 12 - 8:45

I meant to take a vanilla Powerbar gel at miles 4 and 8 (a little sooner than the usual every 5 miles), but I didn't take the second gel until mile 10. I wish I had thought about it. It might have made the run easier. My pace for mile 9 was the slowest of the whole run at 9:29.

I live in a quiet neighborhood where I feel safe running outside, but at 7:30 AM when a car passed by me for the second time and made a u-turn at the end of a fairly desolate street I was running down, I grabbed my pepper spray. The car passed by me for the third time. Nothing happened. The poor guy was probably just lost, but I'm glad he didn't stop to ask for directions. That was at the end of mile 1.

Mile 2... I'm running along, feeling more secure because the scary black car seems to be gone and I'm running down a street with lots of houses when I hear the scurry, scurry sound of doggy toe nails racing down a driveway towards me. Uh-oh, it's the dog that wears a diaper. It's Diaper Dog! It chased me down the street and when I had to run by the dog again a few minutes later, it chased me down the street again... I used to like little dogs.

A few miles later, I think I was stung or bit by some sort of little bug on my face. The bite started to sting. I started to race home. Then I remembered that I had a little water left in my water bottle and poured the water on my sweaty face. No more stinging!

At the end of mile 12, I decided to try to run faster even though I was running into the wind. I checked my Garmin and my pace was seven something! I didn't want to collapse at my mailbox so I slowed down. I checked my pace again: ten something. I didn't want to slow down that much! Somehow it ended up being a reasonable 8:46 after all.

I had a couple of little problems, but everything worked out fine. My twelve mile run: done!

~Gotta Run Now

Drive Carefully!

My husband just called to say he just missed hitting an oncoming car by about a foot on the freeway. The other driver was driving backwards after getting hit or nearly getting hit by a big truck. My husband stopped to help and said the driver seemed okay. I would have been a complete wreck. Amazingly, no one was hurt.

Be careful out there!

~With a Thankful Heart

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Shorter Strides

Did you see the sky this morning? In my neighborhood, the sun's bright rays were streaming down through the puffy cumulus clouds - beautiful. It was sixty degrees and as long as the cool wind was blowing, the temperature felt great.

I tried shortening my strides today. I was running into the wind and checked my pace and it was faster than I thought it would be for running into the wind, but I wasn't getting as tired as normal. I think it works.

I had planned to only run six miles, but added an extra mile just because I was having such a good run. If you run today, I hope you have a good one, too. :)

~Gotta Run Now

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Next Race, Maybe

After running in the Houston marathon, I started training for the Thoroughbred Half Marathon which takes place in Houston on April 19. I haven't signed up for it yet, but it helps to have a race penciled in on my calendar. I'd like to beat my PR of 1:50:57. That's a few weeks away, though, and now it's time to train, so...

Today, after a warm-up, I ran ladder intervals: I ran for 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, and 3 minutes each followed by equal active recovery (easy jogging) time. My goal was to run these at 5K pace (7:36/mi. pace) or faster which I managed three times, one of which was the last three minute interval. : ) It was windy which probably both hurt and helped. The intervals weren't too long and there weren't too many of them. It was a fun workout.

I used the running calculator at McMillan Running to come up with my pace goal. It's a handy calculator that gives you prescribed paces for training.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Four Hard Miles

Here's how my run went this AM...

Before I ran, I ate some oatmeal with raisins and an orange juice smoothie. (Stir some yogurt and juice together. Add vanilla, if you like.) I also finished half of an orange smoothie flavored Powerbar pre-run bar. (These bars are sweet and really too much like candy to eat for breakfast.)

I did an easy two mile warm-up. It was 50 degrees. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. It wasn't nearly as windy as it was Saturday. I felt great.

I drank some water and then came the fun (sort of, kind of) part. I ran four faster miles.

The first hard mile, my pace was 8:22 minutes per mile. I wanted the next mile to be faster, even if it was only one second faster.

Hard mile two pace: 8:21. Okay, that's good (and kind of funny), but could I go faster?

Hard mile 3... It was a little windy. Now I needed some encouragement... Just run home now. Get home. Go. Pump your arms. Pump your legs. Fight the wind. Don't let it mess up your time. Hard mile #3 pace: 8:10.

By the fourth hard mile, I was getting tired. My head felt like it was going to explode - I was so hot. How much farther can I go? I ran by some walkers, waved and said, "Hi!" It was a good diversion, but then it was just me and the road again and I was so tired. But it's supposed to be hard... I was doing the pep-talk thing again... I'm nearly home. Run home! Get home! I finished the last hard mile in 7:59.

I ran a two mile cool-down. Eight miles total today.

And then I pigged out at lunch! :8)

~Gotta Run Now