Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's not gonna happen

I've waited until the very last minute and it's been decided for me that I will not be running my birthday run. I've got a stress fracture in my left fibula. After being quite patient and waiting until it didn't hurt to hop on one foot, I took off for a run. Within 15 steps I could feel the pain coming back. So after waiting some more, I decided to have an x-ray taken to rule out a stress fracture. And if it came back with everything looking good, my plan was just to have it taped up and then go for it. However, even after a normal looking image, my doctor wanted me to have a bone scan just to make sure. And that image clearly showed it. So I will be stuffing my face with cake instead of getting my sweat on tomorrow. I am simply devastated.
Life goes on. I have so much to be grateful for. It's still a good day to be alive.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vega Sport Performance Protein

A couple of months ago Vega Sport contacted me about trying out some of their product. It was great timing as I was getting into the thick of my training. I have really experimented with a lot of products in the past because of my sensitive stomach and have found some things that work for me and some definite things that do not. So I was curious about how my stomach would deal with this nutrition. After investigating the company a little I was more than excited. Though I am not a vegan or vegetarian, I completely believe in the power of plants and how essential they are for our bodies to work properly. I am always intrigued by superstar athletes like Brendan Brazier that manage to eat this way and thrive on it. The biggest thing that peaked my interest was the ability for the body to recover quicker and be ready for the next work out. With back to back long runs, I knew my body was going to get run down and needed good nutrition to be able to recover well.

The package arrived and was more than I was expecting.

There was a wide variety of products for each stage of activity. Prepare, sustain, and recover.

To be honest, I didn't try the prepare drink mix. Because of religious reasons I do not partake of tea or coffee and it included tea in the mix. I typically do not eat or drink a ton before a long run because of my stomach issues. But lately, I've been able to eat a bit of banana or even an apple in the mornings. And once I get going into the run, I am drinking and refueling well.

The sustain portion was the part I couldn't wait to try. There are 3 products. First the electrolyte drink mix that has no sugar or artificial sweeteners and antioxidant protection with 0 calories. I personally can not do Gatorade or Powerade or anything that has sugar in it. It irritates my stomach the more I drink it and the more the miles pass. I get sick of all the sugary taste in my mouth as well and long for real water. I enjoyed the drink mix. It was not sweet at all, in fact I found it refreshing and I had no cramping on the run. There was also a bar that I consumed that surprisingly didn't bother my stomach at all. I always worry about real food that won't be digested but this seemed to be just perfect. There is also a gel which I was not crazy about. The taste was not good but we've all just sucked down a gel before because we know it's we need it, right. Well, this one has a gritty, sand texture that was really hard to swallow. It's the only product that I didn't enjoy and haven't even had the guts to open the second flavor.

I have known for years the importance of refueling after a tough workout so that the body can repair itself and be ready for the next day. So I was pleased to find so many options to try. There were a couple of protein bars and they both tasted good. My favorite was the chocolate coconut. There is an aftertaste that seems to accompany all protein bars but it was minimal and the flavor made up for it. I also enjoyed the recovery accelerator drink mix. I really like that it not only has protein in it for muscle repairs but also has ingredients to suppress inflammation in the joints and muscles and supports the immune system. The performance protein drink was also really tasty. The thing that I really like about this was the included ingredient of glutamine. I usually take some glutamine after a hard workout and I like that it was already included.

My overall impression of the company and it's products is extremely positive. It's been researched and developed by someone who was looking to improve his own performance and then wants to help the average Joe or Jen improve their performance as well. It's a labor of love. I respect it.

Lastly, the company is sponsoring a HUGE sweepstakes coming up in January offering more than $30,000 in prizes. So be sure to go enter for your chance to win! Here's all the info!

Vega Sport Sweepstakes

Enter to win the Vega Sport Sweepstakes with over $30,000 in prizes!

Sweepstakes Entry Period: January 3rd - March 31, 2012

Enter @

One Grand Prize

Vega Sport Adventure Trip for 2:

Cycle, raft and explore your way through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama for 15 days

$5,000 in Vega Sport product

($15,000 value)

Ten Runner Up Prizes

$1000 in Vega Sport products

Twenty Finalist Prizes

$200 in Vega Sport products

Five Weekly Prizes (per week for 11 weeks)

1 Vega Sport product

Weekly prize winners will be announced weekly via social media!

Find us on Twitter & Facebook to find out if you are the lucky winner of our Weekly Prizes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Winner and a Baby!

It's been kind of crazy around here this week! Christmas programs and just Christmas stuff in general has been keeping me quite busy. Although with a kindergartener I am able to wrap things during the day. That has been nice. And also, my runner partner Heather had her baby last night 5 weeks early. Mom and baby are doing well. Go here to wish her congratulations!

Jerilee is the winner of the Zip Fizz! Congrats! I can't wait to hear how you like it! Shoot me an e-mail and I'll get it shipped out to you right away!

Monday, December 12, 2011

When I'm not running...

I bake. Oh, I've been to 5 spin classes, done full body weights 6 times, and yoga 6 times. But with all this free time I've found some new recipes and have been baking. And with Christmas right around the corner you would think that it would be sweet things too, but I'd almost rather eat this other stuff. Almost.

Herbed Focaccia Bread. I got to use my fresh rosemary plant for this one. I LOVE focaccia bread and will gladly pay the $3 a loaf at my local grocery store. But I was too lazy to go to the store and wanted to try to make it. Let's just say that I'll never be buying it again. This was SO yummy and really easy to make. I made some chicken salad to go with it. It didn't last long. I'll have to elaborate on that chicken salad some other time.

The next night I made homemade soft wrap bread.

We had chicken tacos with it and as you can see, there were plenty of leftovers for personal pizzas. I even froze a dozen of them for later. Again, delicious and easy to make.

I made Mel's chicken corn chowder tonight. It did not disappoint! I better be able to get to running again soon or else all this yummy food is going to catch up with me!

Friday, December 9, 2011

An Update and a Giveaway

First a quick update: I knew deep down that taking time off from running was really what I needed to get this ankle thing under control. However, it is hard to do that when you've been logging miles and it becomes a regular part of your day. Thank you so much for all your comments and encouragement and advice. For some reason I was having a really tough day and you all made it so much better. I am pleased to say that my ankle is doing so much better. I did jump squats yesterday and didn't feel it one bit. I still can't jog in place without some pain so I'm not going to run quite yet. But I am confident that it's going to heal in time for my run. Which by the way, is December 30th. If you are remotely close to the Northern Utah area and want to run part of my 37 miles with me, send me an email and we'll hook up.

Second: A giveaway! I was contacted by ZipFizz to try some of their drink mixes. It is a healthy alternative to sports and energy drinks.

I'm not a big caffeine drinker (I do have the occasional diet coke on the weekends) so the company has offered to give it to one of my readers. You will receive 6 different flavors and a nice water bottle along with a thumb drive with information on their product. Also, you must be a blogger who is willing to do a review on your blog after you've tried it out. Leave me a comment and I'll pick a winner on Thursday December 15th.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Training Update

I have nothing clever to say. I try not to write when I feel like this, but it's been far too long so maybe it will get better as I go. Training for this birthday run has been all sorts of things. It's been fun, tiring, challenging, inspiring, amazing, and lonely. I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer but in reality 24 miles with myself is a lot. I just plain run out of things to say to myself. I've gotten up at the wee hour of 5 for these long runs and they take me a while. I've done them on Mondays for two reasons. First: in order to do back to back long runs I can't do it on Saturday because I rest on Sundays. Second: there are some pretty fun races this time of year and they are all on Saturdays so I wanted them free so that I can do them. The problem with that kind of thinking is that by the time the weekend comes, I'm bushed. So I haven't really pushed myself during them and just physically can't and knowing that I have another long run coming in two days mentally makes it so that I just can't push it to the hurting point.

Winter is still my favorite running season though even if it has been bitterly cold here lately. What is the weather like where you live?

Winter seems to produce some incredible sunrises. And they don't last long.

Thanksgiving day was nice and so we went for a little mountain bike ride after dinner. It was muddy and hard. Just the thing I needed before stuffing my face with pie.

My dad, me and my hubby.

Me and Jodi right after the Turkey Trot. I ran it 1 minute faster than last year but 1 minute slower than I thought I would. I did come away with a pumpkin pie for 3rd place though.

I only have one more long run before the taper starts and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do it. I've done the following runs the last couple of weeks: 18, 20, 22, 22, 24 miles all followed the next day by 10 mile runs. The second to the last 22 miler I felt SO good. I wanted to go further but kept myself reigned in. It was also my first 50 mile week ever. I was pretty excited. I stepped on the treadmill the next week to start my 24 miler and from the first step my ankle felt off. It didn't hurt, it just felt like it was tweaked. Well, with no other warning, I just kept going thinking it would work itself out. It did not. The 10 miler the next day was torture. It did hurt by then. Why I kept going I can not say. But I haven't run for almost a week now and it's getting better. I've been to see the chiropractor to make sure nothing was torn or broken and it looks good so now it's just the waiting game. I've been going to spin class as often as possible and lifting weights and doing yoga. I hope that if I can't do that 26 miler that things will still be o.k. for my birthday run. I'm trying to be patient but anyone who know's me knows that it's not my strong suite. However, I was very proud of myself because I was a very good girl and had my first DNS. It was only a 5K, but it's a fun one and I sat it out. I now have a really cute $20 pajama shirt. First race I've paid for and not run. Guess there's a first time for everything, right!

Tell me things will be o.k. for my run. (Lie if you have to!)
What is your favorite season in which to run?
What holiday plans do you have?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Garden Love

Now that there's snow on the ground I am really missing our garden. Not the weeding or the work, but the fresh tomatoes. Store bought ones just do not taste good. And we're a good 7-8 months away from that luxury again. My husband is the visionary in our house. He killed half our back lawn in order to put in a big garden. And while I was the skeptic, I love it just as much as he does. Our kids really enjoy it as well. Not so much the weeding, but all the great produce. And they like running up and down the rows playing games.

We had quite a few lover carrots this year. And even a three some. It was fun pulling them all out before it got real cold and seeing all the different sizes and shapes. We need to do better about thinning them next year.

I peeled them all, diced them, blanched them, and then froze them for the winter use.

We got 32 quart sized bags full. They're great to throw in soups or just to eat. And they taste so much better than store bought.

This picture does not really do justice to the size of this bowl. These were what were left over after making spaghetti sauce and salsa. I chopped them up as well and threw them in the freezer. They're great added to eggs or soups as well.

My awesome neighbor gave us some grapes last week for juicing.

He let me borrow one of his juicers so it went twice as fast!

There is nothing like fresh grape juice. My favorite after workout snack is grape juice mixed with 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder. So good!

We also grew an abnormal amount of basil so I could make pesto sauce. It really doesn't take as much as I thought it would. And toasting and peeling pine nuts sucks.

But the efforts were so good on homemade pizza!

It was my husband's idea to get chickens as well a couple of years ago. It was so nice to be able to go out back and get breakfast.

Spaghetti sauce. I think we're stocked up for the winter.

My favorite way to eat tomatoes is bacon and tomato sandwiches. We grew a lot of different kinds of heirloom tomatoes as well. The yellow ones were so sweet!

And that sweet corn on the cob was delicious! Unfortunately we ate all of it and didn't get to freeze any this year!

Peaches from our tree

More spaghetti sauce. So good with lots of garlic and basil.

These little cherry tomatoes were better than candy. So sweet and everyone's favorite snack!

And beans. Truthfully, I let these go to waste more than I should have. If you keep picking them, they will keep growing. I let some go too long and the plants died at the end of the summer. Next year I will keep on top of them and try to freeze them once a week. We did eat a lot of them during the summer. I just didn't put much away for the winter.

And it's nice that the kids will help too.

Do you garden?
What is your favorite vegetable?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why do we keep running?

What does running do for you? Why do we all keep running? We don't make excuses (well, maybe sometimes we do) but rain or shine and even wind, on treadmills, or roads, or trails, we run.

We all run for varied reasons. We run to improve our health and to be a good example to our families. We run so that we can eat whatever we want. We run to clear our minds and to have a mental release. We run for the sense of accomplishment. We run for time alone or time to be with friends.

In the relatively short time that I have been running, I have run for each of these reasons. Some have taken priority over others because of what's going on in my life. But there's something that has been the main reason why I run.

I didn't know it when I first started but it's always been there in the background, if no where else, giving a constant beat to every other reason. I learn life lessons through running. But it goes deeper than that. It's a spiritual connection to God. Lessons about who I am and what I am capable of doing with His help. I learn that we make self imposed limitations but through God nothing is impossible. Running has taught me that. And I don't know if I would have ever learned that lesson any other way.
I was not athletic growing up. I was more interested in boys and dancing with boys. I was NOT an athlete. I still don't consider myself an athlete, but what I have accomplished is more than I could have ever conjured up.
Things changed when I decided to run a marathon. Even when I was running consistently, this seemed so far out of my reach. But once I made the commitment and started training, I was surprised each week as I was able to do more than I thought was possible. I also had an ulterior motive. I needed to change something about myself. I didn't like who I was. But I was scared. I thought it was going to be too hard. So I bargained with God and told him that if I could run this marathon that I would change and be better. As the weeks leading up to that starting line got closer, I was nervous for the race, but was increasing worried that I'd actually be able to do it and then I really would have to uphold my end of the bargain. In fact, I KNEW that I was going to be able to finish because He wanted me to finish so that I'd change. Sure enough, I finished, felt like I could do anything, and then I upheld my part of the deal. I was able to do something that was harder than I thought possible. And the rewards have been far greater than I thought were possible as well.
Since that time, each marathon has been a race to beat that time. And it has not happened. I have not been faster than my very first marathon. Do I think it will happen someday? Yes. Otherwise I might have given up a long time ago. But all 6 marathons following that first one have taught me valuable lessons about gratitude, faith, trials, patience, friendship, courage, strength to overcome and enduring to the end that I don't think I could have tangibly have learned any other way. In fact, I don't look for that runner's high anymore. I know it will be there eventually. You run long enough and you'll find it. Nope, I'm looking for that runner's low. We've all been there too. That point where you don't feel like you can take another step... and then you do. The power to overcome. To do what you didn't believe was possible. To break those bands of self limitations.

The last several weeks have not been easy. I don't know if I would have believed that I could run a 20 miler followed the next day by a 10 miler. And this week's 22 miler was tough. Really tough. It never felt like my calves recovered from the week before. The last 4 miles were a death march. It felt every bit as hard as a marathon. But the 11 miler the next day was again surprisingly good. Next week is a step down week and I may take the whole week off. My calves are tight. One of my shins is slightly sore. But do I think I can still do it? Yes. Because I'm going to learn a whole new set of lessons from this experience. And by doing so, it will help with life in general. Hopefully I'll know how to deal with tough situations from what I learn while running. Most of all, I know that there's strength beyond my own that will get me through whatever I face.
A couple of weeks ago I was laying in bed dreading my run. It was the day after my 18 miler. I was tired and that run didn't go well. I knelt to say my prayers and after I had finished the first thought I had was that one of my favorite artists (Hilary Weeks) had a new CD that was to be released that day. I went and plugged in my iPhone and found it had downloaded (as I had prepaid for it) and went down to the treadmill. I listened to it during that 10 miler and listened to several songs repeatedly. That run was so good. And I've come away with a couple of new favorite songs. Some would say that it was a coincidence that I remembered it was the day of the release. I know better. I know that it was a tender mercy, help for me to get through what I thought would be a tough run. Because He cares about what I do. He cares that I succeed. It was another lesson that I needed to remember.

Here's some of the lyrics to "Past the Point" and you'll see why it's one my new favorites:

Lock me up, that's what you'll have to do
If you're gonna stop me from getting where I'm going to.
Or try to keep the sun from coming up
Or the tide from rolling in
Now that I know what I'm capable of.
'Cause every time I wanted to stop I kept running
And every time I hit a wall I climbed
I've broken the bands of my self limitations
Gonna go into line
Going past the point, beyond the mark
Further than I ever thought I could
Out of the dark, into the light
Just like He always knew I would
And when Heaven tells me I can,
I believe it.

No more storms
No wave of fear or doubt
No chains of disappointment could ever hold me back now
'Cause every time I wanna stop I'll keep running
And every time I hit a wall I'll climb
I'm breaking the bands of my self limitations
Gonna go into line
Going past the point, beyond the mark
Further than I ever thought I could
Out of the dark, into the light
Just like He always knew I would
And when Heaven tells me I can,
I believe it.

There it is right in front me just a few more steps, just a few more breaths and I'll get
Past the point, beyond the mark...

Go give it a listen here:
and while you're there give a listen to "That's who I am" and "Living Proof" as well.
Then go check out her music video for "Beautiful Heartbreak". You might see some familiar faces!

What are your reasons to keep running?
What life lessons have you learned?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mantua Spooktacular and this really did sounded like a good idea 4 months ago...

Fall is my favorite season. Not just to run during, but just to enjoy. It's as if the world takes a big sigh of relief from the hot summer and celebrates by changing all the leaves to brilliant colors. I love the cool mornings and evenings and the sunny warm days. I like the occasional rain and snow storms that remind me that winter is coming. I love the smell of damp leaves. That shouldn't be a good smell, but it is. I like kicking the leaves on my runs and hearing them crunch underfoot. I love how it is soup and hot chocolate season. I love that the garden is done. I just really love fall.

Heather and I took my day off and walked the trail. It was simply gorgeous. And I really noticed a lot more things just walking rather than running. It was fun. We parked a car at the top and the bottom to make it a little easier. Heather has been told to take it easy these last 2 1/2 months of her pregnancy. Unfortunately, we left the keys for the bottom vehicle in the top car so we walked back up the canyon to get them. We like to make things exciting.

Last Saturday we both ran the Mantua Spooktacular 5K. The shirts were awesome!

The course was difficult. I still don't know my official time finish but it was 28 something. I was a little disappointed after that great PR a couple of weeks ago, but knew that I wasn't running at top condition. And it really was a more difficult course. But we all had fun!

I was really disappointed that there were very few who dressed up for a Halloween run. I thought that having 8 legs would make me run faster. Ha ha! And I wished I'd had a photographer for this run. I bet all those legs looked cool while I was running. Of course that may just be how I thought it would look in my mind. I probably just looked like a spastic spider.

Have you seen that sign during a marathon that says something like, "This sounded like a good idea 4 months ago!"? I always liked that one. And now I'm starting to think that on a weekly basis. Back in July (when I wasn't training seriously for anything and was reading too many books), I came up with a great challenge for myself. I've always wanted to do a winter marathon. They just don't exist. At least around here. And I don't want to go to Arizona during the winter. I want a cold weather marathon.
So I decided that it would be really "fun" to run 37 miles on my upcoming 37th birthday in December. People could run miles with me instead of buying me presents. I could do all my favorite loops. My husband agreed to be my water boy and aid stations. I found a couple of ultra training plans and tweaked them to fit my date and goal. It basically consists of two long runs back to back working up to 26/10 miles and then 3 other runs during the week that work up to 10 miles.
I've really been surprised at how well it's been going. I was mostly worried about the second longer run immediately after the first one. But so far, that's ended up being the best run of the week. I really haven't been too sore either and have really enjoyed the step back weeks that have occurred every fourth week. Last week and this week however have proved challenging and the 5 weeks coming up will tell me if I can really do this thing or not. Last week's 18 miler was really hard to get through. My stomach was not doing well and I couldn't wait for it to be over. I woke up the next day DREADING my second long run. But that 10 miler was great.

So Monday, in my best RUNNERD fashion, I busted out 20 miles on the treadmill. That's a new record for me by a long shot. It kept my pace in check for the first half and the plan was to go outside after a while and try to keep the pace the same. But after I had finished 12 and could go outside, I didn't want to have to change clothes, so I just kept going and finished it out.

And if that wasn't enough for one day, we still had Halloween that night.

Which meant I still had to be "on" for a doctor's appointment, for our spooky dinner...

And trick or treating. Good thing we only walked about a mile or so. And it was a really great night. Perfect weather and everything!

No downtime at all, no nap (obviously) and I felt o.k. I wasn't until after my 10 miler yesterday day that the calves really started hurting. I sure am glad today is a rest day!