Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Christmas Present!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that all I wanted for Christmas was a treadmill. I know...I don't want much, right? I also mentioned that we went to the super special treadmill store just before Christmas to order the one I wanted. It finally came on Sunday! I felt like I had to wait forever! Okay, maybe it was only two weeks, but's cold out there.

Side note, can you believe they deliver on Sundays? Nick was talking with the setup guys and they said during the winter they're delivering seven days a week! They were delivering treadmills the day before and the day after Christmas. And in the summer time it can be so slow, they sometimes take whole weeks off.

We can officially claim that we have a home gym now. There's the weight bench (not mine). Then there's the stationary bike, row machine, and now the treadmill. I have laid claim to all the cardio equipment, although technically Nick had the stationary bike before he even met me... technically (it's really mine).

The basement is full of awesome workout equipment and toys! This is nice because it's cold outside. The cold doesn't usually bother me, but it's starting to bother me a little. The actual running in the cold is fine, but afterward I'm freezing for the rest of the day. Also, my skin is so ridiculously dry that every time I take a shower it stings. I know, I know, suck it up, right? Anyway, the cold and snow also means I can't use the running stroller so the treadmill is awesome!

Have you been wondering which treadmill we picked? Our general selection criteria was how well it will stand up to beatings. I like to really test the durability of cardio equipment. My parents like to tease me; technically, I broke two pieces of their cardio equipment when I was younger. So durability was important. Also, I don't need a lot gadgets or gizmos. Speed, incline, pace, that's all I need.

In the end, Landice came out on top. These treadmills are pretty sweet. There's a full one year warranty that includes labor, and a lifetime warranty on all the treadmill parts, ALL the parts...that's rare. There are two downsides to the Landice brand. One, there are no bells and whistles in regard to the electronics. Something I don't care about, but others might. And two, it is expensive, but these treadmills last so long that when you fill out the warranty card there's a space to name a person to inherit the treadmill warranty when you die. Okay, that sounded only slightly morbid, but still, durable. In case you're wondering, I've endowed my treadmill to Kaylee.

In other news, Christmas went well, but my workouts fell off a bit. Not so much because I couldn't fit them in, but more because I didn't feel well. Saturday I had actually laced up one sneaker and was beginning to lace up the other, when I decided I was too tired and opted to take a nap instead. This is very uncharacteristic of me, but for whatever reason I was ridiculously tired. I did get in one good run last week. I did a nine miler, started at 8:34 pace, worked my way down to 7:00 pace, and wound up averaging 7:59 pace. The rest of the week was pretty much a flop.

Training Journal 12/21-12/26
Total Miles Run: 16.6
Total Time Running: 2:17
Average Pace: 8:15
Total Time Stationary Bike: 4:10

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Running with Asthma

Asthma, as defined by moi, is a big bad bully standing between me and my running. That's all there is to it. Asthma is simply my own personal irritating obstacle that I plan to eliminate. I'm working out the details.

I was diagnosed with "moderate persistent" asthma just after Kaylee was born. Symptoms popped up during my eighth month of pregnancy and were severe enough that I had to take prednisone for it. I was hoping the trigger was hormonal, but it didn't go away after Kaylee was born. Eventually I went to an allergist who tested me for every allergy under the sun, but to no avail. It seems my trigger is not allergy related.

I probably had mild asthma as a child, but not bad enough to actually get a diagnosis for it, and I only ever had an inhaler when I was extremely sick. Now though, it's a completely different story. Sometimes it's worse than others. Over the summer, I thought maybe the whole asthma thing was getting better, then came September. When I visited the Allergist in late September and told him I was having more trouble but no trigger that I could pinpoint, he suggested the temperature change. "Really?" I asked skeptically "because 60 degrees doesn't seem all that cold to me." To which he replied "True, but a few weeks ago it was 80's and 90's." I was training for a marathon at the time so we went through what my game plan should be, which mostly consisted of me taking my various inhalers at the appropriate intervals. The marathon did not go well. Asthma being a big factor to the over all badness (although admittedly not the sole factor).

After the marathon, I diligently stuck with the inhalers, but was still having issues. I tried a week hiatus from exercise, still no better. A week after that, I stopped taking the inhalers. They weren't really helping anyway. That same week I decided I'd still exercise, but only what I could do without wheezing. A "just keep moving" approach. I think it worked. That first week was hard. My chest felt tight all the time and my running/biking was extremely slow, but the next week the tightness was a little bit better and I got a little bit faster. Then I threw in some workouts, which went well too. On Thanksgiving, I ran a 5K and did fairly well for someone who couldn't breath a few weeks earlier. I did use both my Advair and Albuterol inhalers the morning of the race and I did wheeze a bit for the rest of the day, but overall the race was a success. Since the 5K I haven't been taking either of my inhalers. My chest is still tight when I wake up in the morning, but I'm not wheezing, so whatever. I think some of the chest tightness might be from the dry air. Winter time is so much drier and the heating system makes the air even drier.

Just keep moving is my new asthma treatment. For me that means at least 60 minutes of cardio a day (running, biking, rowing). It doesn't have to be hard, but it has to get done. The day before the 5K I did 80 minutes on the bike and totaled 9 hours of cardio that week. I'm sure there must be a scientific explanation of why this is helping. I don't know what that explanation is though. I'm also sure that what I've done isn't the solution for everyone, and I would never suggest that anyone exchange needed medication for exercise. I am pleased that I seem to have discovered a method of dealing with my asthma without constantly being on drugs.

What are your thoughts? Anyone out there have asthma? Do you think I'm crazy?

On another note...I only got 30 miles in this week. Arg! That Sunday snow storm threw my schedule my schedule off.

Training Summary for 12/14-12/20:
Total Miles Run: 30.5
Total Time Run: 4:21
Average Pace: 8:33
Total Stationary Bike Time: 4:45

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Training 12/07 - 12/13

Running last week went fairly well. It was tricky with the snow. Last Monday the snow was melted enough that I was able to run with the running stroller, but then on Wednesday we got slammed with another eight inches of snow. The fuzzy photo to left was taken with my phone mid Wednesday morning. Thursday it was about 40 degrees, but there was too much snow to run on my narrow busy road. I wound up driving to a wide quiet back road and used the stroller there.

My days of running stroller use are numbered. I've been lucky that there have been a few warmer days. I don't feel comfortable running with Kaylee if it's under 40 degrees. Without the stroller, it's hard for me to run much more than 28 miles a week, but...we went treadmill shopping last week! I'm excited to report that we ordered a treadmill. I knew which one I wanted before we went to the store. I called ahead of time to make sure they had a floor model to look at and run on. And I ran on a few others too just to make sure! I'm crossing my fingers that it will be in before Christmas, but not holding my breath.

I know as runners the treadmill is a last resort, but where I am in my life without a treadmill my running is going to be severely limited. I'm really excited to have one. I've been slowly trying to make my up to 40 plus miles a week, but the weather, lack of stroller use, and early darkness are getting in my way. It's ridiculous because I'm not training for anything right now, but thinking about how I'll get in my miles actually stresses me out.

Do you get stressed if you can't run the miles you'd like to (even if you're not technically in training)?

Training Journal Summary
Miles run: 36.4 (14 with the stroller)
Time running: 5:19
Average pace: 8:45
Time on stationary bike: 4:00
Pushups: 4 x 20

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Found a Garmin in my Dresser

True story. Hmm, where should I start. I'm hopeless. That's a good start. When it comes to gadgets I can be utterly hopeless. I did in fact find a Garmin Forerunner 101 in my dresser drawer a few days ago. I'm not sure what I was trying to find, but out came a Garmin. And I remembered immediately that my little brother (who's nearing the end of his training to be a helicopter pilot in the Marines) gave me that Garmin four years ago! And at the time I thought, "Oh that's cool." But then I never wound up using it. Like I said hopeless. Now since I've been doing an abundance of running blog reading, the whole idea of a Garmin has started to intrigue me. So when I found it in my drawer I was all "Oh look at this! I have a Garmin! Woo hoo!"

I immediately looked it up, and found even though it's the oldest of the models it works just as well. It just doesn't have the bells and whistles. Things such as a PC connection option. Needless to say I was excited. From what I've read, the biggest complaint of the Garmin Forerunner 101 is the batteries. They take AAA's, and only last approximately 13 hours. When I opened her up, there were no batteries inside. A great stroke of luck for me given that four years of old AAA's could have been a complete disaster!

And we had AAA's in the house (score)! I just threw in some batteries and went running! I didn't even need to read any instructions. Well, I don't read instructions anyway. Whenever I get something new I just pull it out of the box, turn it on, and go from there. This is not the way Nick works. He does read instructions. I'm not allowed to setup gadgets for the home. He says my methods are...less than ideal. Usually I just stand over him giving him friendly encouragement like "just turn it on already!" and "is it ready yet!" Anyway the Garmin worked as soon as I turned it on.

I was so excited because for the first time last week I had to run on a route that I hadn't mapped out. It snowed again on Wednesday and this time we had eight inches, so my street isn't safe to use with the running stroller. People drive fast on my narrow road and with the snow I can't just jump into a neighbor's yard when someone comes at me fast. Thursday I drove to a set of quiet back roads and ran there. I had no idea what the distance would be, and here is where the marvelous Garmin came into play! It told me I ran 6.9 miles at 9:07 pace, which I thought was very considerate of that Garmin especially considering how I've ignored the poor thing for the last four years.

I took it to work on Friday and ran my usual 7.5 miles, curious to know how accurate Mr. Garmin would be. The Garmin reported 7.6 miles at 8:10 pace. Hm, pretty darn close. And it's not like my work loop is a certified course. We drove the car around the complex to figure out how long a loop was (not the most accurate method perhaps but good enough for training purposes). Nick and I have also figured out where the 1/4 mile mark is (we did this through trial and error no measuring at all). The Garmin says it's actually 0.24 not 0.25, which is too close to even argue. We've also identified the 5K spot. Again, we didn't measure it. You just a get a feel for things running the same loop over and over. The Garmin said we were being a little conservative there and identified our 5K spot as being 3.2 miles rather 3.11 miles.

In short, Garmin passed the test. I'm so excited to run all my home loops with it now. When I run at home I'm so much slower, but home is also a lot hillier. I'm wondering if I was too conservative when I figured out the distances (which I did using Google maps, but I'm not sure that tool was made with runners in mind). We'll see!

Hey little brother, it took a while for me to figure it out, but I love your Christmas present! Thank you so much!

Do we have any Garmin lovers out there? What do you like best? Have you found it to be accurate?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Running

This was the view from our kitchen window on Sunday. New England is so crazy. The fall has been so temperate that I forgot winter was coming. And boom December comes in with some snow right away! This particular storm was fairly mild. We only had 3 or 4 inches, but it was that wet heavy snow that stuck to everything. I did go running on Sunday. It is hard to run in the snow. The streets were clear, but people drive like lunatics, there aren't many sidewalks where I run, and it's slippery. So there you have it...not my favorite for running. What really irritates me, though, is that once it snows the running stroller isn't safe to use. I did manage a run on Monday with the stroller, but only because most of the snow had melted. Now without the flexibility of the running stroller, my running becomes trickier. Sigh.

If it weren't for the snow (leading to my inability to use the beloved running stroller), I would love running in the winter time. The way I see it, you can always put more clothes on when it's cold out, but there are only so many you can take off when it's hot. But alas, I can't control the weather (shakes fists at the heavens).

So what's a running girl to do? This running girl has asked for a treadmill. I used my sweetest voice and said, "I would really like to get a treadmill and here are my completely logical and sane reasons for needing wanting one...blah blah blah." It might interest you to know that somehow I included less likely to get injured on my list. To which Nick replied nervously (because one must be delicate with a running fanatic), "Ah, really? Because I thought that running less would lead to less injuries." Silly man! "My logic is sound," I replied. "I don't disagree with your's just that sometimes, you, ah, have control issues when it comes to running." I smiled, "Don't worry about that! I'll make sure to increase my mileage appropriately. And it's all I want for Christmas!" Ultimately, he agreed. So it looks like we'll be adding a treadmill to the basement to go along with the row machine, stationary bike, and weight bench!

Oh, and look at's snowing again. I wonder if I can get that treadmill before Christmas...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Running at Work

Okay, the picture has little to do with the post, but it's cute, right? And I did take it this week after a run. Alright back to the topic...

Some of my best running days are at work. Work can be flexible (obviously as I only go in two days a week). As long as I can work around any meetings I'm free to go nuts running at lunch time. Of course, this is only made possible by the gym and locker room we have. Yes, I am spoiled. Anyway, for me, it's the best time to run. I don't have to worry about the weather or the running stroller. This week, however, I had a class. I had exactly 55 minutes at lunch. What to do, what to do...Eat lunch? Check email? Visit the hubby? Go running? I opted to run a quick 4 miler, which was tricky given that I had to change, run, shower, and eat something in 55 minutes. I made it back to class with like two minutes to spare and a gross protein bar from the vending machine.

A few co-workers noticed my lunch fare and the questions started rolling. I'm one of five ladies in my 60 person department, and I'm probably 15 years younger than the average. As a result, I have a tendency to get noticed even without the running factor. Running, though, really piques everyone's interests. They talk to me with awe in their voice like I'm a member of a new species of humans It's cute really. They asked how far I ran, how fast, how often, what races I do. Of course, starting that line of questioning was their mistake because I love talking about running (and myself) so good luck getting me to stop fellas! I do find it funny that they're so interested. For instance, the how fast do you run question, I'm just not sure what a pace actually tells a non-runner? I certainly don't mind the discussion and generally enjoy being the center of attention (for things like running anyway), but I don't think they really understand.

There are also the guys at work that go to the gym. Now those guys are hardcore. Some of them do an IronMan every year, others do the half IronMan, a few run marathons. These guys are more like 20-25 years older than me, but they're awesome and so much fun to talk with! Because I'm one of the few ladies around, I attract a lot of attention there too. They're always so impressed with my times, which is funny because many of them run about the same times as me or faster. For whatever reason though, they think I'm crazy. Nick tells me that he has street cred now that he runs with me at work. People feel bad for him. He tells me this is a compliment. I trust him.

Anyway, I'm so lucky to work at a place where there are runners to chat with! And even the non-runners show interest. Do the people you work with show an interest in running? Do you ever run at work?

Training log:
  • Stationary bike workout
  • Warm up
  • 8 x 3 minutes hard
  • 3 minutes easy between intervals
  • Cool down
  • Total time: 90 minutes
  • 4.4 mile run at 7:39 pace
  • 60 minutes easy on the stationary bike
  • 2 x 20 pushups
  • 4.4 mile run 8:18 pace
  • 60 minutes on the stationary bike (6 x 2 minutes hard)
  • 4 x 20 pushups
  • 7 mile run at 10:10 pace (with the running stroller)
Friday: Rest

  • 7 mile run at 8:45 pace
  • 2 x 20 pushups
  • 7 mile run at 9:45 pace (snowy and icy translates to slow)
  • 1 x 20 pushups
Total Running Miles: 30
Total Bike Time: 3:30
Total Pushups: 9 x 20