Friday, June 29, 2012

July Abs Challenge!

So...my latest email from Amanda of Run to the Finish talked about a July 30 day challenge.  With my June Challenge coming to an end, I'm looking for another to keep me moving in July.  Viola!  An abs challenge!  Perfect!

AbChallenge1

Unlike other challenges I've participated in the past, this challenge has different workouts every day.  Here's what you have to do:
  • watch the Strong Like Susan daily videos on YouTube.
  • do the exercises she demonstrates
  • if you're on Twitter, tweet your progress with the #AbsChallenge hashtag
  • if you're so inclined, follow Amanda on Twitter
  • hey, follow me too!
This challenge will take a little more forethought since I'll have to watch the videos every night so I know what to do the next morning.  I took a peek at some of the videos already...the exercises where you move your legs all around while in a plank position kind of make me nervous about hurting my hip.  I'm going to try all of the exercises every day and if an exercise aggravates it, I'll do another exercise in place of that one.

***************

Speaking of my hip....

I had my first appointment with the physical therapist on Tuesday: it went well...ish.  Brent, the PT, agrees with my doctor's diagnosis: a strained hip flexor...or a few strained hip flexors.  He said this type of injury can take up to 12 weeks to completely go away, but obviously, it's already on its way to healing.  He found the sore spots in my hip and gave them a deep tissue massage.  Holy cow.  It hurt.  He also prescribed hip stretches, squats and clams.  He also said that I could continue running as long as I was smart about it.  Stick to short distances and don't run when it hurts.  When I see him this afternoon, we will have a clarification discussion to define "long distance".  A distance runner doesn't think of 6-8 miles as a long distance, but a non-runner would think 2 miles is a long distance.  At the end of my Cleveland training, I referred to my first taper run as "only 16 miles".  I'm pretty sure Brent did not have 16 miles in mind when he said "short distance". ;)

***************

Will you participate in the July Abs Challenge with me?

Monday, June 25, 2012

June Challenge Days 12-25

So....I've been a total slacker with the updates, but I have not been slacking on my June Challenge.  I won't go into detail about every workout, you can check out the calendar posted below.
My hip is improving and I'VE BEEN RUNNING!!!  I'm taking it slow to be sure I won't cause a set-back, but so far, this crazy hip is tolerating running very well, but it's not completely gone.  It's not getting worse, it IS getting better, but slowly.  Too slowly.  It's driving me crazy.

What I'm left with now, I wouldn't call "pain".  It doesn't really hurt, it's more of a discomfort and I don't feel it all the time, but it's nagging, so obviously, something is not right.  I suspect the problem is in my glute since the location of discomfort in my hip changes, but there is one troublesome spot in my glute that I always feel when I sit on the foam roller.  I will see a physical therapist on Tuesday.  Hopefully he can tell me exactly what the problem is and how to kick this thing.

On Friday, I ran for 2 miles.  I started out the run at a 12min/mi pace, by the time I finished, I was running about 10:30.  The longer I ran, the more it loosened up...glorious!  Then today, Monday, I ran for 3 miles!  WOOT!  I'll be keeping the runs on the shorter side to make sure I don't make it worse...at least until I see the PT.  I can't wait to get back to my normal mileage.

I wasn't on the bike much last week and I kind of missed it.  I'll make sure I get in a few more miles this week.

Only one more week of the June Challenge to go.  I wonder what I'll do for July....


How is your June Challenge going?



Another Mother Runner Challenge June 2012



<><><> </>
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
1
2
3




Rest
Walk 1.8mi
Bike 3.38
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Bike 4.45mi
Abs & Arms
Rest
2.81mi run/walk
2.23 run/walk
Pub run 2.54
Bike 2.44 mi
Rest
3 mi run/walk
Bike 7.37 mi
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
Bike 3.39mi
Walk 1.79mi
Strength:
Arms, abs, hips
Stretch/foam roll
Run/walk 2.25mi
Walk 3mi
Bike 9.3mi
Bike 12.8mi
Rest
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
Rest
RUN!  1.8mi
Bike 2.37mi
Strength:
Abs, arms, hips
Stretch/foam roll
Run/walk 3.3mi
RUN!  2mi
Quick abs & squats
Rest
25
26
27
28
29
30
RUN! 3.38mi







Name:
City, state:
How badass you feel on June 1st:
How badass you feel on June 30th:



Jamie
Ohio
Injured, but pretty freaking badass

Friday, June 22, 2012

Running is a Team Sport

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to participate in an all-night relay race and, wow, what a great experience.

Relay Around Columbus (RAC) is a 105 mile relay race where runners travel all around --you guessed it-- Columbus.  Most of the running is done on the paved trails/bike paths in and around the city's metro parks.
RAC Logo

Don't worry, I wasn't running.  When I first heard of this race back in October, I so wanted to form a team, but being just a few weeks after Cleveland, I was afraid to commit to running a long distance.  Turns out, it was a good call.  I still wanted to be a part of the race, so several months ago, I volunteered to be a driver for a team of runners from a running club I belong to.  Most teams consist of 6 runners, each running 17-19 miles.  The team I drove for was an ultra team: three runners, each running 30+ miles.  Yikes.  Their team name was Gone Bananas.  30+ miles?  I'd say that's pretty accurate.


Gone Bananas at the starting line
from right to left: Rob, Chris, Peter
When I volunteered to drive, I expected to...well...drive, and that's it, but I got to do so much more than that!  I got to be the driver, cheerleader, photographer, water refiller, Gatorade holder and runner care taker.  The guys were jokingly calling me their van mom....kind of funny since I'm pretty sure I was the youngest person in the van.

The race consisted of 18 legs and the guys ran 3 legs at a time.  Since there was no water support on the course, I drove to every exchange point to refill water bottles (and cheer--I did a whole lot of that) as the guys passed through.  At first, the other two on the team came with me to the exchange, but later on in the night, they were exhausted and took naps in the van while I met the runner at the exchange.

All night long, I drove, cheered, refilled water or Gatorade, cheered some more, passed out baby wipes and drove again. 

It. Was. Awesome.  I had so much fun, I don't think I could have enjoyed the experience more even if I were running.

Now, about the race: this is the first ever Relay Around Columbus and I'm not alone when I say that I expected to run into problems or oversights at some point during the race.  It usually takes a few years to work out all of the little kinks.  Nope.  Not this one.  RAC ran smoothly from start to finish.  If there were any snafus, the participants didn't see them.  It was a pleasant surprise for all of us.  The race director and all of the volunteers did a fantastic job.

I told the guys that I'd drive for them again next year and there is only one thing I'd do differently.  RAC provided us with the names of the parks where the exchange points are as well as directions how to get there, but they didn't give us addresses.  We tried to use the GPS in the van, but it didn't recognize many of the parks that we had to go to so we had to rely on the written directions.  Next time, I'll have a list of addresses to plug into the GPS so I don't need one of the guys to be a co-pilot in the dark.  That leaves more sleeping time for them.  I should also say that RAC provided the GPS coordinates of every exchange location as well, but I didn't know how to program the GPS using them.

Well done, RAC.  It was an amazing event.

To Peter, Rob and Chris, thanks for letting me join in the fun.  You guys are incredible.  Congratulations!


Have you ever participated in a relay race?  What did you think?
I've never run a relay race.  My first will be in November, and after this, I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Let's Chat About Safety

I have so much to blog about this week: the June Challenge, which is going swimmingly and I want to tell you all about the crazy fun relay race I attended Saturday night...

Before I can do any of that, I need to put on my serious hat and talk safety while running solo.

The story of mother runner Sherry Arnold's death was national news earlier this year.  I won't go into details, but you can find out more here.  I'll admit, it shook me.  The day after I heard the news, I was spooked by every shadow on my run.  For weeks after that, I was afraid to run alone.  I came up with excuses why I couldn't go out in the mornings and asked friends to watch my girls so I could run in the middle of the day.  It was awful.  I hate being afraid.  Eventually I grew back into my big-girl pants.  I wouldn't say I'm scared to go out by myself, but I'm cautious--which isn't a bad thing.

Today, I read about another runner murder.  This time, a woman from Kentucky.  (Read the story here.)  Sarah Hart, mother of three, pregnant with a fourth was killed because some a cowardly sorry excuse for a human being wanted her money.  Seriously?!  A man now has to raise his three small children alone because some asshole wanted drug money.

Is anyone else pissed off about this?  I'm sure these are not the only two incidents this year and that makes me even more mad.

I think it's crap that this post is necessary; that women (and men) need to protect themselves while exercising, while doing what they love, but here we go.  Let's discuss...

I run at the crack of dawn and I never have company.  In the summer months, it's starting to get light out in the middle of my run.  In winter months, it's dark for the entire run.

First let's talk visibility: I see very few cars while I'm out.  I have to be home by 6am and not many people leave for work before then, but for the cars I do see, I need to make sure I'm visible so I don't get intimate with a windshield.  Almost all of my running clothes have reflectors sewn in.  I also wear a headlamp and a blinking taillight.  The taillight has 6 different settings and I always set it on the most seizure-inducing blink.  We runners have to assume that people leaving for work in the morning aren't really focused on the road.  They're too busy making sure they have their cell phone, coffee, briefcase and that their shoes are the same color.  We need to be as bright and visible as possible.

Are we all aware that, as pedestrians, we are supposed to walk against traffic?  I thought everyone learned that in elementary school, but just this morning, I saw a male runner in my 'hood running with traffic; meaning cars would be coming up behind him (if there were any).  Not cool.

OK, we're all bright and shiny so drivers see us and we're all running on the left side of the road.

Now let's talk safety from predators.  I have no intention of leaving my sweet babies to grow up motherless and it's unfortunate that I have to protect myself from someone who may want to do just that, but that's reality.
  • Don't think it can't happen to you.  My neighborhood is pretty safe, but roads lead in and out.  ANYONE can wander into my 'hood.
  • Stay focused on your surroundings.  I run with music, but the volume is turned way down.  I can hear my breathing, I can hear my foot steps and I can hear foot steps around me.  I hear screen doors and garage doors opening and closing.  I've tried running without music and my mind wanders as I try to entertain myself.  I'm much more focused with music in my ears blocking the random thoughts from entering my mind.
  • Stay close to home.  I don't leave my neighborhood alone in the dark.
  • Make sure someone knows where you're going and when you'll be back.
  • Carry pepper spray.  And know how to use it.
  • Carry your cell phone.  It amazes me how many people run with just an ipod.
  • Seek out safe havens.  I pay careful attention to which houses have lights on in the bedrooms.  Those people are awake and getting ready for work.  They will hear the pounding on the door and get there fastest.  I've also memorized which houses have dogs.  I know how my own dogs react to the doorbell or a knock at the door.  If I'm in distress, there's nothing that I want more than a barking dog.
  • Trust your gut.  If something or someone gives you the creeps, turn around and run in the other direction. 
Usually, I see lots of bunnies, a few cats and occasionally a skunk, another runner or a dog-walker.  I've never seen any predators, but that doesn't mean I never will.

Be safe out there, people.

Do you have anything to add to my list?
Are you afraid to run alone in the dark?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Applesauce Carrot Cake



My little ladies were watching Super Why...ever see it?  It's one show that I don't feel (too) guilty about letting my kids watch because of the education components: letter recognition, spelling, reading, math, shapes, etc.  The girls love it. 

So, they were watching the cook book episode and the Super Readers were following a recipe to make Applesauce Carrot Cake (you can see where this is heading...).  Of course as soon as the show was over they begged me to make an applesauce carrot cake.  I googled it and found a recipe from cooks.com

Seemed easy enough, so I gathered the ingredients and got to work.

First we mixed all the dry ingredients.
The recipe called for 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, since we use whole nutmeg and not store-bought ground, I used a little less than a teaspoon. 
The girls got to help grate the carrots in the food processor.  Unfortunately, my grating disk for the Cuisinart isn't a very fine grate, but it's better than having to grate by hand...hopefully the cake doesn't feel too fibrous...


Then it was time to mix all of the wet ingredients. The little ladies love watching the mixer.
I'm careful to keep Ellie's hair pulled back as I've read stories about little girls' hair getting tangled in the mixer. (Obviously, this was before she donated 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love.)
Ready to go into the oven!
It came out of the oven smelling delicious!
Next it was time to make the frosting.  Really, how can you go wrong with butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla?  It was mighty tasty.  I may or may not have licked the bowl.

I have to say, this is the best carrot cake I've ever had.  I had no idea I was capable of such a thing!



Recipe:
Cake
2 3/4 c. flour
3 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
4 eggs
3/4 c. oil
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (15 oz) jar unsweetened applesauce
3 c. shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour cake pan (either bundt, 9x13 or two 9 or 10 inch round).

In large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside.
With whisk, beat eggs, stir in oil, sugar and vanilla.  Add applesauce and carrots.  Mix well.  Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix just until moist.  Pour in prepared cake pan.  Bake until cake tests done (mine took about 30 minutes).


Frosting
1/2 c. soft butter
1 (8 oz) package soft cream cheese
1 (16 oz) package confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl with mixer, beat butter and cream cheese and vanilla.  Slowly add sugar, beat until smooth.  If frosting is too stiff, slowly add milk and mix. (I didn't have to add any liquid.)



Photobucket
Click to find other great recipes linked to Run DMT.


Monday, June 11, 2012

June Challenge Days 6-11

Things are starting to look a little better for this irritating injury I've been sporting, but I'm improving much slower than I'd like.
Day 6: My big day.  It was National Running Day.  I had to feel good enough to run.  What a perfect day for it!  No dice.  While it didn't exactly "hurt", it didn't feel good either.  I ended up walking 1.81 miles, but my walking pace has improved, so that's something.

Day 7: My neighbor started the Couch to 5K program.  Today was her Day 1, so I ran/walked with her for 2.23 miles.  This is my farthest and fastest run since Cleveland.  I didn't have pain to run, but I felt my hip complain a little transitioning from running to walking.  Later in the day, I had no pain,  WOOHOO!

Day 8: rest

Day 9: 3 miles mostly walked with Kate.  This is the farthest I've walked since Cleveland.  We tried to run a couple of times.  It felt uncomfortable and I didn't have an even gait.  The impact did not hurt.  Swinging my leg forward to take another step hurt.  Sigh.

Day 10:  My goal was to ride the bike for 30 minutes.  I've never rode that long before.  I rode 7.37 miles in 32 minutes.  That's the longest, farthest and fastest bike ride to date. :)

Day 11: I got up early to ride the bike for a bit.  I had plans to meet my neighbor again to walk at 5:30am.  I got a little bit of a late start due to the ease of the snooze button.  I ended up with 3.39 miles on the bike then walked with my neighbor for 1.79 miles.  Not too shabby for a Monday morning, huh?

Hip Update:
While it's getting better, it's still hanging around over a month after it started and that is concerning me.  Walking, riding the bike and going down the stairs do not hurt.  I feel pain (although not terrible pain) running, --probably because of the faster swinging forward motion than walking-- sometimes walking up the stairs and carrying stuff: baskets of laundry, heavy grocery bags, a child, etc.

Unfortunately, I don't have the option to sit on my couch and not move for a week to let it heal.  I have a house to keep and small children to care for.  And, really, I don't even know that sitting for a week would help!  I'm doing what I can to avoid the things that aggravate it: I ask Randy to carry the laundry and the kids can walk on their own two feet.

I'm in the process of trying to see a physical therapist, but I need an order from my doctor to do so and my doctor is on vacation this week!  Doctors shouldn't be allowed to take vacation. (Kidding.  Mostly.)  I'm waiting to see if another doc in the practice will sign the order so I can get in as soon as possible.  Fingers crossed....


Another Mother Runner Challenge June 2012



<><><> </>
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
1
2
3




Rest
Walk 1.8mi
Bike 3.38
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Bike 4.45mi
Abs & Arms
Rest
2.81mi run/walk
2.23 run/walk
Pub run 2.54
Bike 2.44 mi
Rest
3 mi run/walk
Bike 7.37 mi
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
 Bike 3.39
Walk 1.79






18
19
20
21
22
23
24







25
26
27
28
29
30








Name:
City, state:
How badass you feel on June 1st:
How badass you feel on June 30th:



Jamie
Ohio
Injured, but pretty freaking badass




RULES

(They’re really Simple)

You must move at least 5 days/week

Run, walk, cycle, downward dog, swim, squat, push-ups if your bottom half is injured. Whatever. Just move with purpose and focus and get your blood flowing.

You must have at least 1 rest day/week.

Two days is fine too. Sorry if that doesn’t work for you. We insist—and your body will be happier and less injury-prone because of it.

Claim your prize.

Your “finish line photo” is a picture (screen shot or regular shot) of your planned/finished workouts on this calendar. Send the pic to runmother@gmail.com to claim your AMR bumper sticker.