Saturday, May 31, 2014

Playing with Intervals

I think I found my "sweet spot" as far as intervals go.  Today I ran 1:45 mins, walked 1:00 min.  And it cut 2 mins off my overall pace.  It's within "finishing" pace for my first marathon.

Early this year I decided that I would run my first marathon.  The half marathon distance had become "comfortable".  A few runner buddies decided to run the Rock N Roll San Diego Full.  It was time to face up to the challenge of 26.2 miles.

I've always used the Jeff Galloway Run/Walk/Run method.  In the beginning it helped me face the increasing distances with a plan.  I found that the active recovery of walk intervals helped me with fatigue and prevented injury.  I could do back to back half marathons with this method.  So I've turned to Jeff Galloway to train for the Marathon as well.  I chose the California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA for several reasons.  I needed a challenge and the 6 hour time limit is scary.  I DO want to FINISH, so I WILL push myself to be better.

The training method suggested that I run 1 min, walk 1 min.  But I was finding that I was SOOOO slow.  I'd NEVER finish the marathon at the 15:45 pace that I was ending up with.  So I've slowly increased the running interval over the last few weeks.

I also found an EXCELLENT walk/run pace calculator at Endocrinology Online.  I could put in my desired finish time,  my walk pace, my chosen intervals and it told me the pace that my run intervals needed to be.  I applied that info to the intervals today and I was faster!!!  And it didn't feel like that much more effort.

Math is a REALLY great tool when you are frustrated with your running results.  

Friday, May 30, 2014

You're not running the race? Go to the Expo anyway!

I'm a Race Expo Addict.  A large hall filled with vendors hawking shoes, gear, gu and glide is my favorite place to be.  Add to it the buzzing excitement of all the runners who are getting ready for the BIG race.  Picking up a bib and a race shirt is fun, but that anxiety of the next day's race can take away from experiencing an expo.  Should I be walking this much?  Am I going to dehydrate in this super air-conditioned room?  Is it okay to take all these supplement samples??  It's much more fun to go to race expos WHEN YOU'RE NOT RUNNING THE RACE.

The RocknRoll San Diego Marathon and half marathon happens this weekend.  That means the Health & Fitness Expo is in town!  Competitor is my FAVORITE race expo.  I've been to enough to have a "favorite", that should tell you something.  I don't even need to go with someone who IS running the race.  Although I do try since expos are always more fun with a buddy.  This time I was solo, which probably worked in my favor since I could easily maneuver the crowds quickly.

Even when I'm alone I tend
to run into friends 
Runners LOVE free stuff.  I'm sure everyone does, but not every sport or hobby has expos where free stuff is expected to be found.  I have yet to find a runner that will turn down a free sample of body lubricant or energy gel.  The Competitor expos attract the biggest and most popular vendors.  This includes the Women's Half in February, another expo that I highly reccomend attending even if you're NOT running.

As soon as you walk quickly past the runners picking up their bibs (no line for me!) and the shirt pick up (sad about not getting the BRIGHT RED shirts for this year) you stop at the SAMPLE TABLE.  This is new and wonderful!!  Young volunteers were handing out packets of STARBUCKS VIA, HYLAND'S LEG CRAMP OINTMENT and some body lubricant.  2 minutes into the expo and already I've got swag in my bag.  The next thing you encounter is the BROOKS official race gear store.  DON'T GET SUCKED INTO THAT.  It's really overpriced race gear.  Unless you're RUNNING the race, you do not need a souvenir beer glass.  And honestly, isn't your race shirt, bib AND MEDAL enough to help you remember the glory of the 2014 RnR San Diego??  Moving on, you come across the BEST expo booth ever.  The BROOKS RUN HAPPY ISLAND.  It's a runners playground, with a "bull riding" shoe, a race up a volcano and a shoe fitting station.  If you go to all three, you get passport stamps and can win some free BROOKS gear.  SOMEONE will win a FREE pair of shoes!  Some of my other favorite vendors this year were the WORLD PLANET Tuna Booth (Who fuels with TUNA?? If I smelled that on a course I'd wonder about that runner's hygiene), the TIGER TAIL booth, and the Celebration Run's booth.

        My Favorite Booths!!                     The Brooks Run Happy Booth 

Besides the awesome swag that you get at an expo, the other perk is the discounts and deals that you get.  I got coupons for supplements, kefir yogurt, sports authority, petco unleashed, and tons more that I won't actually use.  I also got a few CODES that I can share with you!
My expo swag!  ALL FREE! 
              • Hot Chocolate 15k/5k on March 22, 2015 - FREE HAT with code SDHAT1

              • - for RNR SD photo orders use code 22350 for $10 of orders $66 and up

              • All American Hero 5k/10k Challenge August 31st - Use Code 5American for $5 off

              • Color Me Rad on Aug 23rd - Use Code RADVETERAN for free knee socks

Seeing the swag for other races is also a highlight of the race expo experience.  I was personally STOKED to see the GOLD Diva medal for the 2015 Limited Edition Diva race in Temecula.  The new salted watermelon gu was out for everyone to see.  (I personally think warm salted watermelon flavor is gross.  I went to the Women's Half expo in February and had the benefit of being part of the voting                                                                  body.  My choice, Cinnamon apple lost).  

So, if you get the chance, GO to an expo even if you're not running the race.  You could walk away with free stuff, coupons, codes, and tips and tricks to make your next race BETTER.  

Check back soon!  I'll be giving away some of my expo swag!  

Monday, May 26, 2014

I run 7+ miles and win a contest! I love running!

Some runners win races.  A friend of mine, Abigail, is known to regularly place in her age group.  I will probably NEVER see the podium under my own New Balances.  However, I DO know how to find FREE races, and that's almost as good.  I came back from my 7+ miler this morning to an email from my amazing hubby that said that I had won the ZOOMA Race + Relax contest on their facebook page.

Such great news after a great run!!  I'll update more about this contest win once the Community Manager replies to my elated email.

My run this morning was one of those fantastic ones that make me glad I'm a runner.  A beautiful morning, and I felt ready to run this morning.  I planned to start off from our neighborhood, run down the rural highway, and into the a series of trails in the neighborhood behind us.  The plan worked out perfectly and I realized as I was going that I should take more pictures.  Maybe because it is Memorial Day, my mind drifted to the fact that eventually I wouldn't be here anymore, or at least be unable to run these same places.  I also thought about my momma (who is thankfully still with us and also a crazy runner) and how she probably didn't know that I regularly run in areas that she would love.  My momma loves a good dirty trail.  I prefer road races.  Along the run, you could tell it was spring.  Everything was green, and there were a ton of animals.  Snails, hummingbirds, bunnies and unfortunately a dead butterfly.  But they all served to fuel my love of running and to keep me going even when my legs were tired.  And they reminded me that I don't run to be fast, but because I love how I feel.  I love that wrung out feeling when you've trained hard.  I love the friends I've made and the places it's taken me.   I'm not fast, but I love it as much as anyone else does!  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Inspiration from my CSA box

While I was at the post-race expo for the Girls on the Go Half Marathon at Mission Bay, San Diego I visited the booth for Farm Fresh To You, a locally based CSA. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture, Local Harvest's website has a good explanation:

Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

In my first box, delivered on Monday I received the following:

I paid $25 and the produce was of amazing quality!  If you are in the area, I suggest that you look into this CSA and you can use my code JURI6685 and get $10 off your first order! 

The produce I got inspired me to reach out of my comfort zone to try a few recipes.
The gold chard was a new vegetable to me, and I wasn't certain how to cook with it.  A quick internet search later and I found a ham and swiss chard recipe.  The swiss chard was delicious but had a slightly slimy texture to it.  I think I'll try making soup with it the next time it comes in my CSA box.  
Ham with Swiss Chard

I ate the fruit and avocados as they were, sharing some with my family.  Others, like the cantaloupe were almost TOO GOOD to share, but I'm lucky that I'm the only one in the house that likes melons!  The german butterball and squash were eaten tonight, in a big weekend dinner.  I made PaleOMG's bacon meatballs , Oven Roasted German Butterball Potatoes with roasemary (recipe from Carpe Cibus who ALSO recieved their first german butterball's in a CSA box!) and followed the recipe for Roasted Yellow Squash from  
Bacon Meatballs, potatoes with rosemary and roasted squash

All three recipes used the oven, but it was a cool spring day in San Diego so I could risk letting the house heat up a little.  I also minimized the oven time, but starting the potatoes first (roast for an hour) and then half way through their cooking time I put in the meatballs (20 mins in the oven) and the Squash (15 mins).  The oven was on for only 1 hour.

I have not cooked like this in a while, due to an increased work, school and volunteer load.  But with summer approaching and all the wonderful vegetables that come between now and fall I feel the siren call of the kitchen again.  I think this CSA will be the inspiration I need to start cooking! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Week 1 Update - Success!

As you can see from the pic I've had more success than I sought after this week.  My original weight loss goal for each week is 1.5 pounds.  That would get me to my racing weight in the 9 weeks that I had until the America's Finest City Half Marathon.  I'm working on the theory that my racing times have been directly affected by the extra weight I'm carrying around.

This week was both harder and easier than I thought it would be, as every time that you get back on the wagon is.  I already had all the knowledge about paleo so I wasn't making any rookie mistakes.  But there were a few days in which I gave in to temptation.  There was a bag of chips.  And a piece of french bread.  My body knows where those precious carbs are and when you try to switch from 50% of your calories from carbs to fat, your body doesn't necessarily get the message right away.

I read an article where endurance athletes are finding success on the paleo diet.  They are regularly eating almost 60% of the diet in healthy fats like olive oil and avocado.  I admire them, but they also have a trainer/nutritionist telling them what to eat.  If only the rest of us had that tool in our toolbox.  We only have our determination and motivation.

Only 8 more weeks until the AFC, and potentially a Personal Record for a San Diego race.

Things that helped me stay paleo this week:

  • Go Raw Organic Sunflower Flax Snax - These little crackers were the perfect movie theater snack when my kids and hubby wanted to go see a movie
  • EPIC bar - The Bison Bar is my favorite and it's almost a perfect meal replacement when you're on the go
  • Breakfast Hash - What do you do when you run out of bacon AND avocados and need to make breakfast?  You grab all the veggies out of your fridge, a meat (ground turkey is my fav) and eggs and make breakfast hash!
  • WATER - This can't be stressed enough.  You need to drink about 75 ounces of water a day.  It keeps you hydrated, it helps flush toxins, it makes your skin beautiful, and it keeps you from feeling hungry.
  • Quinoa - I know . . . it's not strict paleo.  But its not a grain and its not a pasta, but dang does it taste good.  The high protein of this sprouted seed justifies the "not-so-paleo" I feel.  And I can eat it when my family is having rice or pasta and I don't feel like I'm sacrificing or depriving myself.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Running bored: how to put that spring back into your running gait

As runners you'll eventually come to the point where running is a habit.  You no longer have to give yourself a pep talk to get out of the door and into your shoes.  But there's something else that can inhibit your progress in training: BOREDOM.  I live in a very hilly neighborhood, which is a challenge and good for training.  But every once in a while I find myself dreading my run.  Runners love to run but we also love to run in fun places.  That's why races like the RockNRoll series holds their races in exciting places like Las Vegas and Dublin, Ireland.  There's no need to shell out hundreds of dollars to find that excitement though.  While it may seem counter-intuitive to DRIVE someone to run, think of it as an investment in your training.

When you're excited to run, you're more likely to do it.  In any city there are well-established "runner" areas.  In San Diego, Mission Bay is well known for being Runner Friendly, as is Lake Murray.  I was reminded of this topic by an article on the San Diego Military Lifestyle Blog.  In the comments on that article I posted "I have loads of favorite running spots! I live in Lakeside and its not a runner friendly area, so when I need to run distance training I have to drive. I enjoy running at Lake Murray in La Mesa, in Eastlake in the community near the ARCO olympic training center, along the Silver Strand (watch out for the triathletes! They’re in full training mode!), and along Mission Beach from the Pacific Beach Pier. San Diego has some of the best running areas!"  Is it obvious that I've fought boredom in my running?  

If driving to another area to run isn't possible, consider another solution to running boredom: apps.  Running apps come in all sorts of varieties.  There are some that change the tempo of your music to match your pace, there are some that give you feedback on your pace, and then there's my favorite Zombies, Run!  There's no way you can be bored when you're listening to a well written storyline about a post-apocalyptic world in which "Runners" are relied upon for food and supply gathering.  A great list of running apps to help fight boredom can be found at  

What are ways that YOU fight running boredom?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Back in the Saddle

If anyone has noticed that I haven't been posting very much its for two reasons.  The first is that I've been busy.  I've been a half marathon running fool, having run 5 half marathons already this year.  Two of them were two weeks apart.  I really don't want to do that anymore.  The recovery is rough.  I also "went back to school" to get a degree in PR & Marketing from Ashford University.  Also, as of May I now work for the racing group that I am an Ambassador for.  I'm the new Event Volunteer Coordinator for Wiz Marketing, Inc and I have the joy of helping to organize 5k/10k/half marathons in the SoCal area.  It's been an amazing 6 months.  My second reason for not posting (at all!) is that my Paleo has been just awful.  I am stick cooking paleo-style.  No processed oils, no legumes, and lots of whole foods.  I gave in to the temptation of grains though.  As a runner, those easy carbs are so very tempting.

I am going to attempt to show that YOU CAN GET BACK ON THE WAGON after falling very hard.  For the next 9 weeks I plan to focus on my Paleo to get back to my PR weight.  The last time I earned a Personal Record I weighed 171 pounds.  That's still considered "heavy" for my height, but I look and feel great at it.  Besides, I'm pretty sure my leg muscles consist half of that weight.  So that's about 14 pounds in 9 weeks.  Or about 1.5 pounds a week.  I can do this.  And posting here is going to keep me accountable.

Yesterday was Day 1.  And I already have optimistic results . . . . but we all know its just water weight as my fat cells dehydrate.
1.5 pounds lost after Day 1

Oh, and as you can see I got a Withings scale after my old digital scale bit the dust.  It's an amazing tool for motivation when you link it to your iphone.  It also links to my Runkeeper to track my activity and can link to many many other apps and devices.  I totally recommend a Withings scale to anyone who is interested in tracking their progress. 

If you've fallen off the Paleo wagon and managed to get back on, I would LOVE to hear about it.  I'd also love to hear the REASONS that you feel off in the first place.  The key to success is knowing what to avoid and how to stay on track.