High Times at the Track; Low Moments as a Human

“Nobody really cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy.” ~Cynthia Nelms

Good point, Cynthia.

I was happy yesterday. But circumstances have made it tough to be joyous today, this Tuesday.

Since you probably don’t care that much about my level of happiness, I will just have to get over myself and tell you about yesterday’s high times at the track.

No. Really. High. Like I was coming around for my final warm-up lap and, WHAM, pot smoke right in the face. I don’t care whether or not people want to use that stuff, but it is so stinky; just really gross, especially when you are running. Next lap, though, it was gone, so it must’ve been someone just walking by somewhere. (Although, I gotta be honest, I sort of wondered if it had hung around…would I have felt the effects during my speedwork?)

I didn't write much on my skin when I was growing up, so this felt strange to me. My skin didn't really like it either. Any other suggestions for remembering pace goals?

Other things you should know about Tuesday’s track workout:

  • I wrote my times on my arm so I wouldn’t forget what I was supposed to be doing.
  • The north straightaway of the track was heading into the wind.
  • The air was cold and it was very cloudy, very low light.
  • For jogging and rest intervals, I stuck to Lane 5. For repeats, I used Lane 1.
  • There was an older man with matted bed-head hair wearing baggy high-water jeans, a hoodie and mega headphones walking on the outter-most lane when I began my workout. As the workout progressed, he got closer and closer. I assume he must be one of those people who measures his workout by “rings,” as in every two laps, move in a lane. He was polite and didn’t use Lane 1 at the end of his walk – instead, I noticed, he stayed in Lane 2.
  • I wore black UnderArmour leggings, a black Skirt Sports skirt, my yellow long-sleeved North Olympic Discovery Marathon race shirt and a black “Run” Bondiband.

Here’s how the rest of it went:

1.3 mile warm up
I took this nice and slow, and did a lot of strides, butt-kicks and high-knees to get my legs warmed up. I’m sure I looked like a total dork to the few high-schoolers who were still hanging out in the parking lot. Ran through pot smoke with head-swiveling trying to figure out where it was coming from and then laughing that someone would do that so close to school. (I’m a rule-follower, so…)

Goal: 1600 m (1 mile) in 7:42
Actual: 7:44
I was surprised, at first, how difficult this pace was. I know I shouldn’t have been, but since it wasn’t the 7:16 pace I had to do last week, I guess I just thought it would be easier. It was nice to do this at the track, though, so I could count down the laps: just two to go…just one to go…half a lap to go…use your glutes, WOMAN!

400 m rest interval
I had to walk for a minute, and then I slowly jogged a lap.

Goal: 1200 m (.75 of a mile) in 5:39 (7:32 pace)
Actual: 5:38 (7:32 pace)
For some reason, this 1200 seemed easier than the 1600. Only one less lap at a faster pace! Not sure why I was able to hit this pace more easily than the 7:42.

400 m rest
I, again, had to walk for a minute, then continued the lap at a jog.

Goal: 800 m (.5 of a mile) in 3:42 (7:24 pace)
Actual: 3:43 (7:25 pace)
I thought I had it, then I hit the wind during the second half of the lap. I had a hard time getting my pace back down after that.

400 rest
Walked and jogged.

Goal: 400 m (.25 of a mile) in 1:49 (7:16 pace)
Actual: .26 in 1:52 (7:17 pace)
It took me the entire lap to get my pace down.

10 minute cool down (actual 9:30)
I cut out 30 seconds early since I was on the side of the track nearer to my car and I needed to pick up T Junior, and get home to get ready for girls night with Chelsea (Will Run for Food), Zoe (Run, Zoe, Run), Mel (Tall Mom on the Run) and Jill (Running to Sanity).

Prior to the track workout, I’d spent a couple hours cleaning our belongings out of our travel trailer that we haven’t used in 3 years. Needed to get it ready to go to the dealer and to make more room for the new coach. This counts as cross training.

After that it was time to head to dinner with Chelsea, Mel, Zoe and Jill. We met for Greek last year, and we wanted to go again. Just dinner, no running or anything. Of course, that was a big topic, but the night wasn’t centered around it.

You know what’s dangerous: 5 bloggers with alcohol and cameras.

I can’t describe the dinner, just that when I left, I felt so blessed to have met these women – all of whom I’ve met through running/blogging since I started this whole journey in 2009. Here’s my favorite picture of the night (Just one more before we go home!):

L-R: Zoe, Mel, me, Jill and Chelsea

I’ll post more pictures tomorrow or Thursday.

Side bar:


End side bar.

We laughed a lot. In fact, hopefully the restaurant will let us come back. Once, when Jill and I were cracking up over nothing (just basically laughing at each other laughing – yeah it was one of those nights), I cried a little.

Tuesday morning, though, I cried for a different reason.

First, I woke up at 3:45 a.m. I don’t know why I woke up, but I was extremely thirsty and didn’t feel so well. Seems half a bottle of wine paired with too much garlicky Greek food after 7:30 p.m. is not the best idea. I couldn’t fall back asleep, so at 4:30, I decided to just get up. My alarm clock was set for 5 anyway.

Fine. I accepted I would be tired.

But then, as I was driving to work in the dark, a bunny leaped into my lane! I stepped on the brakes and glanced in my rearview mirror. There was someone in a van or truck close behind me. I couldn’t risk either a) swerving off the road or b) getting rearended. I had to hit the rabbit. I had no choice. I felt the thwack as it went under my car and when I glanced in my rearview mirror again, I saw tufts of fur flying up in the air behind me lit up by red taillights and the other van’s headlights.

At first I was in shock. I just killed a bunny. A poor, innocent, fluffy-tailed bunny. I bit my lip. Then I burst into tears. I tried to get it together. I asked God to please take care of the little bunny. Then I burst into tears again. Then I composed myself again. Then I imagined the little bunny just going about its morning routine and how it probably didn’t expect to die that day and I burst into tears…again. I cried off and on all the way to work.

Nothing makes you feel more like a big, bad human than killing a defenseless piece of living nature with your over-due-for-an-oil-change minivan.

My coworkers (all men) were nice about it (they only laughed a little and called me “bunny-killer” a few times), and tried to help cheer me up. One of our graphic designers even suggested maybe the bunny was really sick and wanted to “just end it all.” I’m going to go with that.

Have you ever hit an animal with your car? Have you ever run through pot smoke? Geez. I’ve had a weird couple of days.

The Plan

Well, we did it. We bought a bus. The thing is huge: 34-feet, 3 slide-outs. I cannot wait to go somewhere in it after we pick it up. Meantime, I have to clean out our trailer that’s been sitting in storage for 3 years.

Where should we go first?

We didn’t just decide to buy this thing on a whim. We’ve been looking on-and-off for years; and we’ve been saving and paying other things off so we could buy something like this and afford it. (That being said, it is a 2004 and it did not cost nearly as much as you might think.) We had a plan.

I enjoy having a plan, which is why I love training. I basically know what I’m going to do, exercise-wise, for the week. Here’s my plan for the week:


10-20 minute warm up

1600 meters at a 7:40 pace

400 meters rest

1200 meters at a 7:32 pace

400 meters rest

800 meters at a 7:24 pace

400 meters rest

400 meters at a 7:16 pace

10 minute cooldown



Swimming or Jillian ab workout



(Not sure I will be able to do a mile rest in between — I only have an hour, so I may switch it to .5 mile easy.)

1 mile warm up

1 mile at 8:13 pace

1 mile easy

1 mile at 8:13 pace

1 mile easy

1 mile at 8:13 pace

1 mile cool down



30-40 minutes on my bike at lunch



6 miles at a 8:43 pace



Slow walk or Jillian workout



Swim, bike or Jillian workout


Do you enjoy having a plan? Have you ever had a motorhome?

I Get Runmesia

Wait. Is it 8:17 or 8:13? Wait. Is it 8:47 or 8:43?

The thing with Run Less Run Faster is that you are supposed to stay as close to your prescribed pace as possible. I always leave the house thinking I know what pace I’m supposed to be running, but then I get out there and I FORGET!

It happened Wednesday during my tempo run. The first mile, which I ran in 8:19, I thought: Oh, pretty close to 8:17; cool! Then a second later: Wait. Was it supposed to be 8:17 or 8:13? I decided it was 8:13, and I ended up being correct. Today, not so much.

About 2 miles in, I thought: Wait. Am I supposed to be running 8:47 or is it 8:43? It’s gotta be 8:47. Yeah, it’s definitely 8:47.


Why, in the end, did I think it had to be 8:47? Because trying to get to 8:47 was kicking my ass! I just kept telling myself I could do it and that it would get easier. I tend to have an easier time during the second half of a long run.

For the long run, RLRF suggests starting slower and then running a little faster than your prescribed time…and it’ll all even out. I had the slower part down, but I had a little trouble with the faster part.

So, today, I made the mistake of running a new direction on the trail by my house. I’d thought it was paved after a mile, but it wasn’t. Loose gravel all the way. Loose gravel is a lot like running in sand. Rough on the ankles. I ran without music, which is new on a long run for me.

The trail ended and I had to turn around. I took a side road through a neighborhood that I’ve taken before so I could have some non-gravel time. It’s straight with small rolling hills for about a half mile and then a really big hill at the end that’s about a quarter-mile.

Mile 1: 8:54

Mile 2: 8:55

Mile 3: 8:43 (Yay! If only I’d remembered this was the pace I was supposed to be running.)

Ended up taking on this hill:

I really only ran up because I wanted to know what was on the other side.

From the top (Mile 3.5 exactly):

Going down was a tad scary since the sidewalks were sandy.

Then it was back to the trail toward home. Unfortunately, I knew I would end up running at least the last mile on a gradual uphill, so I tried to bank a few seconds on the gradual downhill. Sort of worked.

Mile 4: 8:47

Mile 5: 8:35 (trying to bank time a little)

Quick shot of the pretty lake before running uphill for the last mile.

Mile 6: 8:39

Mile 7: 8:46

Since my overall pace ended up being an 8:45, I guess it’s not that far off my 8:43. So it’s done. So it’s one run. Monday, I head back to the track!

11 (Really) Random Things, from Parathyroids to Meg and Hamilton Swan

Thanks Kris from Fight Hard, Finish the Race and Alma from Average Woman’s Running Blog for tagging me. I think these things are fun to write and read, so here we go!

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

My 11 random things:

1. I’m getting my parathyroid checked out…again. Blood levels are off, so I have to go get an ultrasound and stuff. I really don’t understand what a parathyroid does or anything, but the doc said to get it checked, so I will. I did this a few years ago and there didn’t seem to be any conclusions, so I sort of let it go.

2. Bennie and I went to obedience class on Thursday night. The first half of class was completely embarrassing. He was the worst behaved (and oldest and biggest) dog there — jumping 5 feet straight in the air and barking mostly because there was a boxer puppy in the class and he thought he should get to play with her. The instructor just kept saying, “Wow,” and laughing. I think he got tired during the second half of the class because he eventually calmed down.

Who, me?

3. I have a bunch of reviews to do on this blog! So far, all of the products are awesome, too! Look for a review on 2Toms Sports Detergent (the best sports detergent I’ve used yet, and I’m not just saying that because I blog for them!). Another one will be coming on a product from Outside Interactive — it’s a video of a race route you can watch while you are on the treadmill, and it has several different pace settings. Love it, too! And the Jabra Sport wireless Bluetooth headphones. Amazing!

4. I’ve been getting my hair highlighted. I’m slowly going blond.

5. Amazing Race is my favorite TV show.

6. I “organized” my pantry this week. I bought plastic bins for everything that didn’t have a designated Tupperware container. I got the idea from Pinterest, of course. I usually organize my pantry about once per year and it slowly becomes disorganized…kind of like the garage.

7. We bought a minivan before we had a child to put in it. We got it for dog-showing. Yes, we were those people.

8. Speaking of…we are going RV shopping this weekend. The motorhome will be for vacations and…dog shows. Yes, we still are those people.

9. One more thing about dog shows: If me and Mr. T fight (like legitimate rude talking and even yelling — WHERE’S THE CHEESE?! YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BRING THE STRING CHEESE!!!!!), that usually means our dog is going to win. If I had to pick one couple to describe our “dog show personality,” it would be Meg and Hamilton Swan from Best in Show.

"You go back to the hotel and you get her busy bee!!!!!!"

10. I was watching a late-night episode of Seinfeld when I went into labor with T Junior. Wish I could remember which one!

11. Best gift from Santa this year: a heated queen mattress pad/cover. I will never be able to go another winter without this.


Answers to 11 questions from Kris:

1. Where is your favorite place to run?

I would have to say along the ocean, although it’s been a long time since I have been able to do that.

2. What’s your favorite distance to race?

I really like the half marathon.

3. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

Right now? Somewhere warm with sand, ocean and fruity acoholic drinks like Maui.

4. Why would you go there?

It’s where me and Mr. T went for our honeymoon, and we’ve been talking about going back so I keep daydreaming about it.

5. What’s you favorite type of food to eat?

Bread-heavy food: pizza, sandwiches, soup in a bread bowl, cinnamon rolls, etc.

6. What’s your favorite “fashion” clothes brand?

I love Carolina Herrera’s dress designs. So classic and elegant. Wish I could afford to buy her clothes.

7. What’s your favorite sport besides running?


8. Do you like to dance?

Not really.

9. What type of music do you listen to?

I like a lot of different types, from pop-crap to classical.

10. If you could meet one person (dead or alive) who would it be?

I’m horrible with questions like this. I really cannot choose. Um, how about John Denver.

11. Why would you want to meet them?

LOL! I sort of had a crush on him when I was younger. I just really love his voice. Plus, he seemed like a really nice person.


Answers to 11 questions from Alma!

1. What is your preferred method of re-fueling after a long run?

Chocolate milkshake!

2. Do you keep a food diary?

Sort of. I’ve been keeping track of my food on MyFitnessPal.com. (It’s public, too, so if you want to see how bad I eat…)

3. Do you typically run alone or with others?

It’s probably about 50/50.

4. If you could get paid to run, would you?

Um, YES.

5. Desiree, Shalane, or Kara?

Desi (but the other two are awesome, too).

6. What/where is your “dream” race, the race you would love to do over all others barring any limitations in resources or ability?


7. What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2011?

So much! First marathon, Hood to Coast, sub-2 half marathon! Worked my bum off in 2011.

8. Have you ever changed careers?

Yes! I was an editor; now I’m a copywriter.

9. What podcasts (if any) do you listen to?

I don’t really listen to any regularly, but I like TBTL.

10. If you had to pick, where would you go in 2012: Japan, Iceland, Mexico, or Spain?


11. How much longer do you think you’ll continue to blog?

Forever!!!!! (Or until I decide to stop.)

Thanks for tagging me Kris and Alma! This was fun! I have to tag 11 people now, but I have no idea who has been tagged yet. How about the last 11 MvM commenters:

1. Marissa at Let’s Move It Mommas

2. Jess at Run With Jess

3. Karla at Running on Eagles Wings

4. Kendra at Mama Loves Medals

5. Jen at Runner…Maybe?

6. Marie at Why She Runs

7. The Jesse at Journey Through Life

8. Ricole at Ricole Runs

9. Alicia at Running Around in Circles

10. Marlene at Mission to a(nother) Marathon

11. Lindsay at Chasing the Kenyans

Here are my questions for YOU:

1. Why do you blog?

2. What is your favorite childhood board game?

3. Coffee with or without cream?

4. Tell us about your favorite vacation ever.

5. What is your favorite movie quote?

6. Best bling from a race:

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

8. Why would you live there?

9. The one song that gets you superpumped to run is:

10. What did you have for dinner last night?

11. Why did you start running?

(Play along if you want, but this did take me longer than I thought it would, so no worries if you don’t have time!)

Did You Know Google Friend Connect is Going Away?

Google+? But I already have a Facebook page!

I didn’t know Google Friend Connect (GFC) was going away till Marlene from Mission to (a)nother Marathon e-mailed me about it. Yep, that handy little widget over there to the right that says “Running Buddies!” will be gone as of March 1, according to this article and others I’ve seen around the Web. As I understand it, people with a Blogger-hosted blog will have only one or two months after that before GFC goes away for them, too.

What does this mean for bloggers and blog-readers?

Google is encouraging bloggers to make a Google+ page. Great, but then I have to have another page and ask all of you to go “follow” it, etc. I already have a Facebook page and a Twitter account and a blog and e-mail. That’s enough for me. I’m not a fan of the way Google is trying to force everyone to use only Google products. They have some great services, but some just aren’t for me. It’s too bad that I have to use all Google or no Google at all (at least it feels that way).

So, what I have to do instead is ask you to:

  • Follow Mom vs. Marathon using the RSS Feed (over on the right). Copy and paste that feed address into your blog reader. Or,
  • Subscribe by e-mail. Or,
  • Subscribe using WordPress (if you have a WordPress account). Or,
  • Subscribe with BlogLovin’ (the little “+Follow this Blog” button over there on the right), which is a lot like Google Reader, but much cleaner, and easier to read and use.
  • And, of course, if you “Like” my Facebook page, I always publish new posts there (plus other fun stuff!).

So, what do you think about all this? Are you going to start a Google+ page? I, for one, will be canceling my Google account shortly and switching all my blogs over to BlogLovin’.

Winds-day Tempo Run and What Dog Crap has to do with Running

I was in the garage for 5 minutes. FIVE.

I know because I was trying to make it quick. I promised T Junior we would make popcorn and watch a movie after dinner. I just wanted to do one last look for the tire pump. I want to take my bike with me to work tomorrow, but the front tire is flat. Need pump. Pump is lost in messy garage.

I’d already looked, but thought I’d look again real quick with “fresh” eyes before I got to popping. T Junior came out to help. When we came in, FIVE minutes later, there was pee sprayed over every square foot of the kitchen floor (somehow missed my gym bag, hallelujah), and 6 or 7 chunks of poop on the living room carpet that had been stepped in.

All three dogs look scared. As they should’ve been since I lost my mind and screamed at them.

Some days I think I have the “being an adult” thing down. Some days I know I don’t and tonight was evidence of that. After I calmed down, cleaned up, apologized to everyone for my tantrum, and jailed the kitchen-pisser and carpet-pooper, I laughed about it on Twitter. A step in the right direction, I think.

So what do indoor-deficating dogs have to do with running?


I just thought it was funny, and it made me feel better to share it with you. (Just be glad I’m not including the picture I took that I sent to Mr. T, who was not home yet.)

This afternoon was considerably better (although not without the potty-talk since I had a weird tummy and visited the ladies’ room multiple times before my tempo run at 11:30).

Anyway, the Run Less Run Faster plan called for a tempo run, and I convinced Mel (Tall Mom on the Run), who has been on a work trip for a week and out of her running routine, to go with me. (It didn’t take much convincing, as you can probably imagine.) And the friend she is, she drove to my office so we could start together.

The plan called for a 1-mile warmup, 3 miles at my Short Tempo pace (which is 8:13) and a 1-mile cooldown.

Since my body was, um, empty, I felt light on my feet as we left the parking lot and made our way toward the Interurban Trail, about 1.5 miles from my office. It was cold and windy. Someone honked at us.


Why do people honk at runners? Do you? Is it because we were female runners? Was it my WSU logo t-shirt? Mel’s Nuun visor?

End sidebar.

During the warm-up, we had to high-step over a fallen tree that was blocking the sidewalk, and swerve around mud and puddles. And we had to start the first tempo mile before getting to the flat, straight trail.

Tempo Mile 1: So, with a half-mile to go, we sped up on the sidewalks along the busy street, then dooowwwwn and uuuupppp a big hill to the trail where we were practically knocked over by the wind. What a blustery day! (Ahem, understatement.) We thought it was bad on the side roads, but up on the trail it was way worse. The wind was so strong, it was even hard to breathe. I’d forgotten to reset my watch, so I didn’t know what our average pace was, only what our actual pace was. That made things tricky. I wasn’t sure if I was on pace or not. Pace: 8:19

Tempo Mile 2: We stopped so we could restart my watch. We got going again. We saw a train coming our way (the trail runs right along side tracks). The TRAIN honked at us as it passed. A train. There was also something weird up ahead on the trail a ways. We were mesmerized. At first, I thought it was a dog. Then I thought it was a trash bag blowing in the breeze. Then we both thought maybe someone was laying on their skateboard. As we got closer, it was just a runner coming toward us. But that hadn’t been the shape at all! Maybe he was an alien and morphed! At the turn-around point, the wind was thankfully now to our backs, but Mel was not feeling well. She let me know and told me I could go ahead and she would keep up. I did, but stopped at the end of the the mile. Pace 8:13.

I wanted to run with my friend, so I decided to swap my last tempo mile with my cooldown mile. Poor buddy just was not feeling well. We ran along down off the trail and back to the sidewalks chatting. Pretty soon, I had to speed up for my tempo…and, well, because I had to get back to work, clean up and change before 12:30.

Tempo Mile 3: We split and I headed back to work. I felt bad, but I appreciated that she let me run ahead. Pace: 8:13

So, I’m mid-way through my second week of RLRF training and I still really like it. I hope I’m still liking it after attempting to ride my bike on my lunch hour tomorrow. Should be interesting…

UPDATE: The bike pump was ATTACHED to my bike. Actually stuck to the side of it. With Velcro. On purpose. #eyesfail

Run Less Run Faster Pacing Explained

The Run Less Run Faster 5K training plan calls for repeats, tempos and long runs to be done at a particular pace. A few people have asked how I can get my paces so exact when I run. The answer is…

I’m not.

It’s all about averages, which may sound tricky, but it’s not. Trust me, I’m no good at math. My watch/treadmill/computer do all the work for me. The most important thing, I found, is to have the “actual pace” and the “average pace” visible on my Garmin.

Yesterday, when I ran my 1,000-meter repeats at a 7:44-per-mile pace, that was the average time. Usually, I started too fast. A quick glance at the “actual pace” on my watch after 100 meters or so would show something like 7:20 or 7:30. I would slow a little. My “actual pace” would reflect that with, say, 8:00. Eventually, the change would reflect on “average pace.” I would keep an eye on that average pace, slowing down or speeding up as necessary.

The last 1,000-meter run was tough. My average pace wouldn’t go below 7:50. I really had to push myself, so I watched my “actual pace” to make sure it was going down. Eventually, I was able to go fast enough to bring my “average pace” down and end faster than I started. So it all averaged out in the end to reflect a 7:44 pace.

The treadmill is nice in that you can Ron Popeil-it (set it and forget it), but it’s not so easy when your treadmill doesn’t set to exact times (like mine). Besides, I had a lot more fun doing repeats on the track. I also think I need to feel what a 7:44 pace is really like. Everyone knows treadmill-running is different than pounding the pavement…er…track surface.

Do you have questions about repeats and meters and all that jazz? I’m just now figuring it all out, so let me know if I can answer anything for you! The nice thing about WordPress is that I can respond directly to you in the comments — and other people can learn from our convo, too.