Daily Chatter

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A treadmill is NOT just for running

When you workout at home you do things and think that everyone else is doing them to but yesterday as I was posting my workouts from the day on the HBBC FB page
I found out that I might be doing something that isn't quite as common.
With planks seemingly all the rage but extremely boring and my mommy tummy not getting any tighter on it's own, I wanted to raise the bar on my core workouts without the expense of say, a CorBench.  
I've call them walking planks and a quick google shows me that others do them too so I'm not crazy.  They are crazy hard.  Since this amazing lady is much nicer to look at we will use your video as an artistic interpretation of how I look doing them.  

 I start standing right behind my treadmill with the belt running. Remember to start slow you can always work up to a faster "walk" in time. Safety first. I then simply do a plank over the moving belt. First with my hands on the side rails and then once I'm set in position, I start "walking" with my hands on the belt. Even if you can only go for a short time, try walking for X length of time and holding plank on the side rails for X length of time. That way you can work up to longer "walks."

Another thing I do while on the treadmill is basketball drills. Lateral side shuffles and running backwards. Lately I've been doing a lot of lateral side shuffles in a squat position.   I usually do this drill after my run portion so my legs are a bit tired.  I squat slightly and side shuffle turning sides every minute with a backwards run inbetween. 

Lastly I do agility drills to practice the needed "fast feet" while running on rocky technical trails.  Which simply means taking several strides on the belt and then stepping once on alternating side rails then right back onto the moving belt.  Remember safety first.  Start slow and work up to going longer and faster as your ability allows.

These are just a few ways I try to keep my treadmill workouts hitting different muscles and keep my brain more active while running in one place. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Something New

Could you believe that weather yesterday?  Well at least on the East coast it was AH-mazing!  I could have lived outside all day long.  In fact I had a hard time coming inside to make supper.  That mild evening air kept me lingering on the deck playing Ruzzle.  Did I mention I am addicted to Ruzzle?  Yeah, thanks a lot Biking Sherpa who introduced me to it at our annual bowling party.  Anyway I was sitting on the deck just breathing in the air until well past the kids are going to die if I don't feed them soon time.  But who can blame me with 60 degree temperatures at the end of January.
Now if my phone hadn't gotten a new update this is where you'd see a nice photo of me after my run or maybe a calm shot of how green it is or a beautiful sunny meadow shot but you won't be seeing that today because like I said my phone got an update and now I can't get the stupid photos off my phone!.  And of course I haven't dug out an actual camera in well, a really long time.
When is the last time you used an actual camera?  Have you had an update funk up your phone?
  But let's pretend I looked like this when I run:
What?  Are you going to tell me I don't look just like this?
So besides lounging on my deck after my runs, I've been practicing with my new Ninja.
So far the kids have been less than impressed so I'm thinking I need some ideas.  All you experts out there feel free to offer up your home concoctions for us to try.  I need to find healthy ways to keep myself fueled while I try to get rid of these stubborn extra pounds before May.
What's your best recipe?  Any advice for getting the kids interested?
Speaking of losing weight I have also started using Lose It.  Have I mentioned how easy it is?  Well it is.  And so far it tell me that I should have lost about 9 pounds.  But in reality, not so much.  It is helping me be more aware of what I am putting in my mouth.  Hopefully if I stay consistent I'll get to a better racing weight by May.
Ever try logging what you eat and how much you exercise?  How long did it last?  Did it help?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Traditions and Additions

This will always be home to me.
We went home this past weekend.  We had a great time!  I love feeling a part of a larger family, the one made up of my birth family and all our created families too.  Annually we get together on multiple occasions to do things together.  In January we get together to celebrate my mama's birthday and go bowling.

Trampolines and snow = awesome fun.
LBM started his weekend with some fun in the snow with his cousin Z, who he doesn't get to spend enough time with.  S'ghetti girl and the super secret spy went to run shopping errands so I was "forced" to play with the boys. Don't worry it wasn't too difficult for me to enjoy it. 

Snow diving.  What the rest of the world calls a face plant.
The boys enjoyed a bit of what they called "snow diving," I passed on that activity but loved watching them cover themselves in snow.  I had to squeeze in my run before heading out for our bowling party.  With a bit of a cut back week I tried to keep my workout intensity up but lower my overall miles.  Since we were so action packed this weekend lower miles wasn't too hard to pull off.
Blessed to be part of this amazing family.
Of course I killed at bowling.  At least amongst the girls.  We all simply enjoyed being together more than anything.  I am sure we talked much more than we bowled but these great family traditions help us remember that we are part of something many other are not as lucky to have. 

Next year there will be seven!
Our little group isn't very little anymore. We certainly keep growing! 
We will welcome a new addition in about a week.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Snow Day, Bad Math and Winning the Lottery

The alarm went off this morning like every other school day but to my surprise we had about 3 inches of snow!  And if you know anything about Virgina and snow, you know that in Virgina
snow = NO SCHOOL!

An unexpected snow day was just what we all needed!  It was so cold outside that the snow a light and fluffy.  Great for staying dry while you played outside but not so good for building snowmen.  The kids and I enjoyed some of the white stuff before I even got my morning run completed.   

I had been eager to run today because I started the day thinking it was my 1000th day of streaking.  Amagine my surprise when I started entering my run and gathering my totals for a 1000th day blog post only to see I was only at day 991. 

Speaking of surprises, you may remember the post HERE where I told you all that the super secret spy was going to try to get into a 50k in February.  Well it happened.  We both won the lottery and got in.  So did my pacer for MMT, Diane!  In about a month hubby and I will be running the Hashawha Hills 50k.  You can read about my 2012 experience HERE.  I couldn't be more excited for him to join me on the trails.  It is going to be an exciting month as he shifts his workout routine to prepare for the challenges of a trail ultra.  I know that he will be able to go the distance.  I can only hope that he will love the journey of getting from the start to the finish.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MMT 100 Training Run #1

An early start

It felt like the night before a race as my nerves were on edge when I checked into the hotel Friday night.  I tried to tell myself that it was just one of the four Training Runs for the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 but I couldn't help but be a bit unsettled knowing that my last long trail effort had been at the Stone Mill 50 miler in late November. 

One of many good rocky climbs

Fortunately an issue with my room had me back in the lobby when Brian, the run director, was checking in.  He graciously went over the course with me and assured me that there were only a few places that runners were prone to going off course.  With my nerves a bit less on edge I finally got some sleep.

An example of why they say, Massanutten Rocks!

For the training run runners were asked to bring an item to help stock the two aid stations that would
be along the 32+ mile course.  Since I was only asked to bring water and I wanted to help out a bit more, I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  It was also nice to have a familiar treat to look forward to enjoying.


Runners met at the finish area to get checked in, drop off aid station supplies and car pool to the start of the run.  Unfortunately it took me longer to find my way to the Signal Knob Trail head and I was running later than I had wanted.  I quickly got checked in and was asked to drive several others to the start.  I wasn't even able to find the trail runner friend, Diane.  Since Diane will be pacing in at MMT this May we are planning to run as many of the training runs together as possible.

Amazing views

With the car full of chattering trail runners we joined the caravan toward the start.  We barely got there with enough time for me to fill my hydration pack (should have done that the night before) and grab my gear.  Diane was already there and ready to go.  Final instructions and we were off.  The day started with over 3 miles on a dirt road. Thankfully Diane kept my coffee fueled enthusiasm in check. Being able to pace myself for the distance will be one of my biggest hurtles in May. If I run too fast too early I will never see that finish line. 

Up again

Diane and I ran off and on with several other trail friends. I was glad to share some time with Kim. A fellow trail runner who I respect a lot. She is such a strong runner and skilled at the trails at Massanutten. Her ability to find energy late in a race is inspiring. 

No rocks - for a little while

The early portion of trails - wait the course was largely rocky but - the early portion of the course was an eye-opener as to what kind of a mouth full I will have to chew in four months. It was also a reminder of what kind of shape I am in or not in. But I didn't let the challenge of the rocks, inclines or distance dampen my love for being out in the woods on the trail. 

A refeshing creek to cross

Being able to work together with Diane as we both took turns leading and pulling each other through low moments and feeding off each other's high moments was so beneficial.  I know that we both learned a lot about working together.  And what works for motivating me when my energy is dipping.  Like running into trail friend, Gary and his perpetual smile.  Just seeing he excitement and sharing a few words helped fuel me through many miles.

Kim, Brian, Harry and Diane refueling

My introduction to the trails at Massanutten was a real eye-opener but with this run I feel one of many step closer to being able to confidently see the start line in May on the Massanutten mountains.

32.7 miles of rocky hilly fun

Friday, January 18, 2013

What's in a Name

Life in Virginia is quite a bit different than life in Pennsylvania.  Since we still spend so much time in both places it's easy to notice even the smallest of things like, for example, the cars.  Or more precisely the license plates.
It seems every other car has a vanity tag. 

Sometimes the tags seem to say something about the driver

other times it's something about the car.

Now that the super secret spy has his dream car he has been noodling ideas for his very own vanity tag.  But after a month we have yet to find that perfect one. 

That brings me to the fun part, a giveaway!  No you are not going to get a Tesla.  Get real.  But there will be a Tesla inspired reward for the person who comes up with the vanity tag.

How do you do that? 
1.  You come up with a catchy word or two that you can put on a PA license plate. 
Click Here to try out your submission.  You can't win if it's not available.

2.  Be the first to leave your clever submission in the comments below.

3.  Have your catchy phrase be the one that we actually put on our Model S.

Besides the joy of knowing that your words will forever be on our car, if your submission is chosen, you will receive this... 

Tesla Lambswool Blanket.

Submissions will be accepted until February 28th

Get creative and run with it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A weird thing happened...

A weird thing happened on the way to sell our car.  There I was happily day dreaming as I drove the super secret spy, LBM and myself back over the mountain at the conclusion of the sale of our Passat.  That little silver baby had been a great car but with the introduction of our new mega car,

I basically drive myself.
we simply had to let one of our other cars go.  The Passat will now live with a super nice family over the mountain from us.  We expect Christmas cards and frequent updates on how she's doing.  So I didn't shed a tear after the papers were signed but happily piled everyone into my car and headed home. 
Since I had endured the majority of the day dealing with very uninteresting car issues, I didn't feel bad at all when I switched the ride-home conversation away from all things cars and focused on updating the super secret spy on my running/racing schedule.  Due to his frequent travel I need to make sure I know when he will be home to support my racing or when I need to get something else worked out.  I was chatting away about my need to run various 50ks and my hopes to get into my spring 50 miler when my husband suddenly thought he was a super hero.
Not that he isn't a super hero.  He comes to my rescue quite frequently.  Or maybe it's the children he rescues from me?  Either way, he is pretty super normally but during our ride home I think he thought he'd become an actual super hero.  What made me feel this way was when I mentioned that I had spent some of the morning registering for a 50k in late February, he calmly stated that he could do that - go ahead and register him too.
 It took me 13 marathons before I made the leap to ultra length races.  Then when I did make the leap I trained.  I ran a lot.  I got to my racing weight.  It took a long time for me to feel ready to go 30 something miles in the woods, on trails, over mountains, across creeks and down hills.  The super secret spy is going to do it in about ...a month.
And now you know why I call him the super.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

By the Seat of my Pants

I've been asked quite often what my 2013 racing schedule looks like.  Well, here it is...

 Yeah, that's how I roll, by the seat of my pants.

I know that I am officially registered for a few items on this list and I completely know I'll never get to or want to do everything listed.  Since the super secret spy often traveling much of my planning revolves around working out a sitter for the kiddos without being away from them every weekend. 

This year's A race will be Massanutten Mountain Trails 100.   My training and racing plans up to race day will be shaped completely by this one race.  With the first training run over MLK weekend I won't have long to worry about getting to know the extreme trails on the mountain. 

Luckily I won't be alone on the trail for those nearly 33 miles my fellow trail runner, D will be joining in the challenge.  D will be pacing me this May for about 40 miles.  I already know that if when I finish this amazing challenge it will be because D helps me remember that quiting is not an option. 

But for now, today, I'll remember that just like in a race I can't run the whole distance at once.  I can only tackle the step I am taking right now.  There is no need to worry about the next 99, first I have to tackle the one I am facing.  Today I am gaining strength, endurance and confidence to make each mile a little more enjoyable.   Because I might just barely finish the 100 mile adventure by the seat of my pants but I want to do it with a smile on my face.

How are you pushing out of your comfort zone in 2013?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Since I've Been Away

It's been nearly a month since I last posted.  You may wonder what I've been up to.  Since it has been such a long time the only way to handle it was, you guessed it, a photo update.
Since we last visited I have...
Made these amazing treats

I've served snow cones at S'ghetti Girl's middle school fun night

Rocked out while we decorated our little tree in Virginia

made salt dough ornaments

I've ran a bit.  About 272.7 miles since my last post. 
No need to thank me for sparing you from all those self-portraits.

The family and I enjoy seeing some ice sculptures come to life at our home town holiday festival
and we told Santa our wishes.

We got silly and played

We gathered at my sister's house to bake sugar cookies

I finally opened the box and put together
thanks to my better half
my new treadmill

a variation of the pumpkin jars from Halloween.
I got crafty and made jars to give away puppy chow

We got a NEW CAR!
Does anyone know what kind it is? 
 It deserves it's own post, coming soon.

Hubby and I celebrated our anniversary with a dinner alone.

We enjoyed our traditional Christmas Eve morning cousin's breakfast that my younger sister hosts.
Hubby and I crashed it this year to get to spend more time with the oldest and his GF.

The traditions continued with Christmas eve at my mom's house followed by candle light service and gift opening into the wee hours.

The family and I must have made it home in time because...

...we enjoyed a Christmas morning filled with gift unwrapping.

And we enjoyed a white Christmas and piles of snow.
It has been a wonderful December break but I'm glad to be back and have so much more to share with you like BIG BIG race plans, a potential giveaway and lots of fitness and creative fun!