Sunday, March 31, 2013

Running Update - 03.31.13

Well, I should have known better than to write this post. I managed to get in my long run (9 miles) on Sunday, but then that was it. Nada. Nothing. The rest of the week. I just didn't make the time. We were preparing for another trip which meant longer work hours, more laundry, more stress and less time. But, I didn't choose to make the time either.

Good news. One week won't kill me. I'll still be able to run the Mini just fine. :)

I picked back up once we arrived in Florida, but only a little. This week was supposed to be a lighter week - 21 miles. No speed work and no long run. I improvised. Instead of fitting in five runs like I was supposed to do, I did three, but still managed 19 miles.

Mom and I ran a nice 6 miler on Monday right along 30A. It felt like we were running much faster than the 9:45 average we ended up with, but I attribute that to chatting the whole way. She is very used to that and I am very much not used to that. So, I think I felt more winded. Either way, I was happy to sneak that one in!

Then, on Thursday, I did five on my own around Watercolor - the beautiful neighborhood where we stayed. You can see some of the houses in these posts from last year. I took a path around Western Lake. I kept up a good clip of 9:30 and felt much better than Monday. The run was just beautiful!

We also fit in a few bike rides, but nothing too serious. It was nice to just take it easy.

Today, I went for eight miles through the neighborhood and felt awesome. My app says I ran over 8.5, but I'm pretty sure it was only 8 based on my previous mileage readings. I have a loop that I think is around 2.3 miles - I ran it 3 times, with an extra mile added on at the end. I really need to start using Tom's GPS watch. Either way, I was thrilled with my time, and even more thrilled with how good it felt while I was running. I'd love to really figure out why some runs feel so good and others feel so bad.

Unfortunately, my feet did not agree with my legs and lungs. When I got back, I thought I felt a little pinch and sure enough, gigantic blister. Ouch. I skimped on the Moleskin this run, but I'm scared it's the new shoes. I've worn them on a handful of 5-6 mile runs and felt fine, but this one did me in. I'm so mad that it happened too because it really hurts. Hopefully, it will heal up quickly and I'll load up on the Moleskin this week. Bummer.

So, great week - bad week - OK week. My plan for this week is to get in all of my runs. It should be very doable as it's a relatively quiet week. I've added a few running blogs to my Google Reader (Side note: I heard this is disappearing - I will be lost without it! Suggestions?) and hope those will add additional motivation.

I've added Yurbuds to my Wish List due to finding them on one of the blogs I recently added. They are NOT cheap. Don't ask me how my ears sweat, but I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with this problem! If I keep finding all of these fancy gadgets, running will not be such an inexpensive sport. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mama Got New Shoes!

I hit a running milestone this week. I actually ran every scheduled run in my training regimen. Shocking. Really, this should have happened at least one other time during my training for four half-marathons but I don't think it ever has.


Although, I needed that win this week. I take what I can get.

Here's what I did this week. (21 miles - Honestly, I think that's close to another record. Again, pitiful.)

Sunday - 8 Miles @ 8:51 per mile - Neighborhood Trail
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 5 Miles @ 9:45 per mile - Treadmill
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - .5 Mile Warm Up - 3 Miles @ 8:24 per mile - .5 Cool Down - Neighborhood Trail
Friday - 4 Miles @ 9:45 per mile - Neighborhood Trail
Saturday - Rest

Doubly impressive? Tom was gone for four and a half days this week. I had to stop Tuesday's 5 miler on the treadmille three times - to make lemonade, to help find scissors for homework and to change a dirty diaper. That's dedication. :)

I realized a few things this week.

1. Making running a priority makes running happen. I need to plan when I will run the night before and make sure child care is lined up and the weather is OK. Or, I need to mentally prepare for the treadmill.

2. I hate the treadmill more each time. This winter, I have made an concerted effort to run outside regardless of the temperature. The only thing that really stops me is rain. I don't like wet feet.

3. My easy-could-run-forever pace is speeding up a bit. Two or three weeks ago, I was running 10:30 miles. I was highly disappointed in the speed, but I was very surprised at how good I felt at that pace. That pace is now 9:45.

4. I decided to start counting my weekly mileage with my long run on Sunday. And, I like having a long run on Sunday. Starting my "week" with a long run means that I get a jump on the mileage count. It motivated me this week to make it happen. Isn't it funny how your brain can work?

5. I like to run. It usually takes me until around mile 2 each day, but eventually, I remember that I enjoy this whole process. I usually forget that by the next morning too. :) It's mind clearing. It's motivating. It's quiet time (even though the music is blasting). And, it burns calories. I think I lost a pound or two this week. 21 miles = 2100 calories = 1 pound.

6. I like the speed work with this program. Thursday is the speed day. It varies but this week, it was warm up with an easy jog for a mile (I did 0.5 mile for time constraints). Then, run 3 miles at your half-marathon pace. Then finish with another mile (again, did 0.5 mile) at an easy jog. If I could actually sustain this pace for a half-marathon, I would have a 1:50 finish. Wow.

7. I don't think my paces are right. :) Which makes point #6 a little irrelevant. It would also explain how I ran 8 miles at 8:51 and felt pretty good. But, a small part of me wonders if they're not off and I'm just feeling better and training better. I felt really strong today. And, what does it really matter? I just need to get the runs in and do my best.

Enough of the ruminating. I'm proud of myself this week. Can you tell?

I bought new shoes today. Brooks Ravenna 4. I think I like them. I've been working hard to try to eliminate my awful blisters. For any run over 5 miles, I slap on some moleskin with athletic tape. This is new for me and has appeared to work for the blisters. I think it helps that I've been running in new socks too - Smart Wool. (Thanks Claudia!)

My first run in these shoes though had a new set of issues. I'm chalking them up to being new though and will wear them in next week. I plan to do my long run on Sunday in my old Saucony ProGrid's.

One final note on the running front. I realized this week that in 2010, I ran 0 half-marathons (I had Jack that year). 2011 = 1, 2012 = 2 and I plan to do 3 this year (2013). By now, I sure hope you're seeing that pattern. If I keep it up, I'll run 9 half-marathons in the year I turn 40. How cool would that be? I've not yet set it as a goal, but it sure does spend a lot of time rumbling around in my head these days. For now, I'll stick with my three for this year. 

Oops. Sorry. One final point. I signed up for the Steamboat Springs Half-Marathon on June 2nd this week. My friend, Claudia, has an awesome goal of running a half-marathon in every state. So, a few months back, I told her I would go with her to Colorado since I have family there. We're making it a girls weekend and my sister-in-law, Katie, is planning to come and run as well. (Maybe the 10K?) My other sister-in-law, Amy (the one with the triplets), is also considering tagging along.  I'm nervous about the altitude but also really excited for the new experience. And, it will just be so much fun to be with just the girls. Thanks Claudia for the motivation to try something new! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Habits for Success

I came across this article on Facebook from Inc. Magazine - 8 Habits of Remarkably Successful People

Before I read the article, I took two minutes (literally), and jotted down what I thought would be on the list. 

Here is their list (with no commentary - it's my blog - I get to do that)...

1. They don't create back-up plans.
2. They do the work...
3.  ...and they work a lot more.
4. They avoid the crowds.
5. They start at the end...
6. ... and they don't stop there.
7. They sell.
8. They are never too proud.

Now, I could get particular here and argue that these are not just 8 Habits, rather they are characteristics and personality traits as well as a habit or two thrown in for good measure.

Here is my list...

1. Practice - Read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and you'll become a believer. I would compare this to #2 & #3 in Inc's list. No one is born talented. No one is born knowing how to walk. We all learn how to walk after much practice. The same would be said for the Bill Gates of the world. Even Bill had to sit down and learn about computers at a young age. Only after much practice (10,000 hours if you ascribe to that theory), did he become a genius computer programmer. 

2. Read - I'd say this correlates to #8 if I had to pick one. Successful people know there are many others out there who know more, and can do better, than they can. How many successful people do you know that sit around and say, "No need to ask anyone else. This is the best way to do XYZ." At one of the first New Home Sales Training Courses I attended, Myers Barnes stood up in front of the class and said, "I'm going to tell each of you how to double your income in just one year. Unfortunately, my experience has proven that none of you will do this." Want to know the secret? Read an hour a day in material that benefits your profession. This is particularly true in the sales field. Guess what? He's probably right, but I wouldn't know. As he predicted, I didn't do it. And, I even believe it will work! {Side Note: He also asked the class of 150 how many had read Bill Gates' book on business. Two hands went up. "You mean that out of 150 business owners, only 2 of you have read how the richest man in America runs his empire?! He writes about how to run a business and only 2 of you have read it?!" Ouch.}

3. Set Goals - This one is #5 all the way. We've all heard that setting goals is important, but how many of us actually do it? Not only do we need to set goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) but we need to WRITE THEM DOWN! Tom and I just went through a goal setting session a few weeks ago and it feels so good to have a plan. And, don't forget to communicate those goals with your team (either your employees or your support team or your mentor). They do no one any good hidden away in a notebook in the bottom desk drawer. 

4. Have a Mentor - We all need someone to hold us accountable. A mentor should be someone who rejoices in your success and picks you up when you fall short of your goal. (That should be another habit - failing early and failing often - read Failing Forward by John Maxwell.) An ideal mentor is someone who has been there and done that and wants to help get you to the next level. 

5. Give Generously - Look at any successful individual and/or business and check them out to see how much they give. You'll be shocked. This is the age old question - which came first? Giving Generously or Becoming Successful? Successful people understand that they did not get where they are on their own two feet and without a huge push upward from programs, schools, teachers and other organizations. They give back. Let's go back to Bill Gates (sick of him yet?) for a minute. To date, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $26.1 billion - with a capital "B" - in grant money for causes such as Polio Eradication, Malaria, Higher Education, Maternal & Child Health and much, much more. {SOURCE: Gates Foundation Fact Sheet

6. Time Management - Successful people absolutely work a lot more (#3). But, they also do more with less time. I heard a funny statement at the last training I attended - if you want something done fast, ask the busiest person you know. Successful people know how to prioritize their task lists and to fit more into a day than most fit into a week. Personally, I know my least productive time is when I'm at home with a boat load of time and without a deadline in sight. Laundry can always be pushed off and dishes can be hand washed if the dishwasher is full. I've written about my Notebook System before and it certainly doesn't need to be this system, but most "Remarkably Successful" people have some way to effectively manage their time.

7. Have a Team - Or a support system. Successful people surround themselves with people who encourage and enable, not with people who tear down and naysay. Want another funny quote? Behind every great man stands a great woman. Forget about the sexism for a minute and take it for what it's worth. We're meant to work in teams and support each other. We can't do it alone. Google the 10 richest people in America and I'll bet they're not misers living in a fortress all alone. They have people who have shared their vision and encouragement for them to get to the top. 

8. Have a Role Model - So, maybe this goes along a little too closely with my #4 and #7. I told you I made the list in two minutes. This post has taken much longer and I may have switched this out if I had given it more thought. :) (I particularly like #4 on Inc's list - read Blue Ocean Strategy for why this works - I haven't read it - I should...) Anyway, having a role model is important to adults for the same reason it's important to pre-teens and teenagers during their formidable years. We need good examples. We need a path to follow. We need to know it's OK to be successful. We should all have someone who we respect and someone we want to mimic, and perhaps even surpass, their successes. 

So there's my list. I write these certainly not because I consider myself in the "Remarkably Successful" category. No way. No how. I write this rather out of observation of those who I would put into that category. 

Personally, I have a long ways to go on many of my own 8, let alone Inc's 8, successful habits. On Inc's list, I can do better at #1, #6, & #7. On my own list, I can do better at  #1, #2, #4 & #7. I'll just have to keep trying.

Do you all agree? Did I miss something? Which are you working toward doing better? {That is if you made it this far through my rambling. It's my blog. I get to do that.} 

Friday, March 8, 2013

This is the way. Walk in it.

I don't think there are any Bible verses, passages, stories or parables about God slapping someone in the face. This week, I got slapped.

I've always been fairly skeptical of people who claim they prayed for something and then felt led to do something very specific. Honestly, I always chalked it up to the person "feeling" they "felt" led and in reality they just decided what they wanted to do. You see, I'm a logical person. And, "feeling led" just isn't very logical.

Some would probably call me cynical. They would probably be right.

One thing I have always been able to do is to see God's guiding hand in my life - much later. Through a series of events, most of them random and not thoroughly planned (by me anyway), I am where, and who, I am today. Usually, it's through what I perceive in the moment to be a miserable position. Moving to a new town in my 8th grade year comes to mind. Devastating. Years later, I can understand how that move made me a better person by building character, and most importantly, put Tom and I in the same town to later date, get married and have a family.

But, usually it is so subtle, I can only watch it on the big screen. That is, like a movie of my life, I can see His plot appearing on screen - documentary style. This documentary always ends in a cliffhanger though. I never know what is next.

This week, God slapped me in the face with a plan. This week, through a series of events, He let me know that He is in charge. This week, He showed me His plan, which is better than any I have in mind for myself. This week, He did not give me subtle nudges and encouragements as He usually does by leading me silently and making me guess as to who's plan I'm really following. This week, He pushed and shoved me along the path and made His presence known. And, somehow, He's letting me know its OK to blindly follow and be led.

I write this for all of the other cynics out there. Yes. God is usually silently guiding us along the way. Every once in a while though, He lets us know what's up. And in a big way.

I am on a path and it is not my own. I don't know what is next or what He has planned. I do know that I have made the right decisions this week. I've been given a renewed faith that He knows what is best for me. And, I know that, every once in a while, He'll slap me in the face and say "Wake up Sara! I'm right here! THIS is what you're supposed to do." And, I'll listen.

{a quick google search yielded these verses- not quite a slap in the face, but they all point to hearing the true word of God}

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3

And, my favorite...

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:31

Sounds like a whisper doesn't it?

This is the way. Walk in it.

This may be my new motto for 2013.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Go Away!

I'm giving winter one last, "I'm being a good sport" chance today. In honor of the winter storm warning, I'm wearing a skirt with new tights that I bought on clearance. I thought I would have to wait until next November to wear them but I guess I get one last chance.

But, I am hereby putting winter on notice. I am done with you. Go away.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Vail! Tons of Photos!

Here I sit after the second day of skiing Vail. And, wow, my legs hurt. :) We had about 12" of snow yesterday and totally enjoyed the full day of powder. Unlike any I've ever skied. (I say that every year.) Today, it was more groomed but we were still able to find a few powder stashes, or honey holes, as my brother called them today. I ended the day with three tree runs with Matt and I decided I cannot hang with my younger, more talented, brother. Not to mention the cliffs he had to warn me about as I got just a little too close. But, it sure was fun.

We spent the morning yesterday in the Game Creek Bowl and then spent the afternoon at Avanti, This morning, we ventured to the back bowls and enjoyed the beautiful views. The afternoon was spent back at Avanti and in the trees.

Here are some photos of our trip so far.

View from our condo

Matt & Tom at dinner on Thursday night.

Yes. That's an ice skating rink in the middle of town. I loved the open fire and the kids burning off their excess energy (what's that?!) by ice skating.

Every time we head to a ski resort, I salivate over the architecture. I know it would look silly in Indiana, but I just love the style. Particularly loving the chevron detail on the top floor.

My ride for the weekend.

Mom and I waiting to buy our tickets the first morning. 

First trip up in the gondola. It was so snowy! 


Heading out after lunch. Snow is still falling!

Matt has a bunch of friends here too. Jack is on the left - Matt on the right.

Apres Ski! Garfunkle's on the mountain

Mom and dad at Montauk's for dinner. Lighting was not great - oh well!

Tom & I at dinner. If you're going to make silly faces, you'll have to pay the consequences. :)

This is me trying to get my stupid goggles off my head. Apparently, it takes four people. I'm happy the photographer snapped this one too. :)

After the goggles are fixed...

Heading into the back bowls.

We took on Shangri-La. It was a beautiful run through the trees. You can't see from here but the little sign to the left talks about "enjoying your new skiing adventure." It also talks about the "sticks, divots, rocks" and other fun stuff you may encounter in the Mongolian Bowl. We skipped that one. 

Top of Poppyfield's - Heading into the Back Bowls

Matt & I at some point today

Random shots of the mountain

And, finally, I took a bunch of panoramic shots.