Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"What Lies Beyond the Challenge is What Defines You"

I came across a post this morning on an Ultra Runners blog I follow. (Ultra running is any distance over 26.2 miles)He , like most runners, is asked by friends and family why he keeps running. Why does he keep putting his body through the beatings? Why does he repeatedly test his bodies limits? Why did he sign up for another race? Well, he lists these 3 things as his reasons he gives as his answer to that question.

The 'Wall', the 'Pit', and the 'Abyss'. I have never reached the pit, or abyss, but the Wall is the beast Brian and I meet up with at mile 23. Without fail, mile 23 we feel our bodies making the switch. The technical explanation of what your body is doing when you have hit the wall is this -

Carbohydrates that a person eats are converted by the liver and muscles into glycogen for storage. Glycogen burns quickly to provide quick energy. Runners can store about 8 MJ or 2,000 kcal worth of glycogen in their bodies, enough for about 30 km/18–20 miles of running. Many runners report that running becomes noticeably more difficult at that point.[52] When glycogen runs low, the body must then burn stored fat for energy, which does not burn as readily. When this happens, the runner will experience dramatic fatigue and is said to "hit the wall". The aim of training for the marathon, according to many coaches,[53] is to maximize the limited glycogen available so that the fatigue of the "wall" is not as dramatic. This is in part accomplished by utilizing a higher percentage of energy from burned fat even during the early phase of the race, thus conserving glycogen.

Carbohydrate-based "energy" gels are used by runners to avoid or reduce the effect of "hitting the wall", as they provide easy to digest energy during the run. Energy gels usually contain varying amounts of sodium and potassium and some also contain caffeine. They need to be consumed with a certain amount of water. Recommendations for how often to take an energy gel during the race range widely.[53]

Alternatives to gels are solid candy, cookies, other forms of concentrated sugars, or any food high in simple carbohydrates which can be digested easily by the individual runner. Many runners experiment with consuming energy supplements during training runs to determine what works best for them."-wiki

Feel smarter? So it isn't just a myth, or common sense that you are tired after running 20+ miles. There is actually a physical change going on, your body is transitioning where it is pulling fuel from. During that time, your body wants nothing more than for you to stop moving. That's its goal. What tactics will your body use? Cramping, fatigue, hot flashes, feeling flush, sweating more than normal....not just fatigue, as in tiredness, but like moving through water trying to run....your telling your body to keep going, and it's just not moving any quicker. In fact, it feels as if it's actually resisting your forward motion. You feel extremely heavy. Your body is screaming from the inside out, telling you to stop!

In the next 8 months, Brian and I will have the joy of hitting the wall 3 more times. Yes, we ' get to', we look forward to it, we are excited to meet that friend/nemesis that waits at mile 23. Which brings us back around to "why?"

In the words of Scott Dunlap -
"The Wall, The Pit, and The Abyss - What Defines You Lies Just Beyond Each Of These Challenges.

The Wall
Most people have heard about "The Wall". It's that physical challenge most of us hit around mile 20 in a marathon when your glycogen gets dangerously close to "E" and your body starts messing with you to get you to stop. Cramps, fatigue, twitchiness, fluctuating body temp, and an ego ready to throw in the towel. It's not fun. But in truth, it's a defining part of the marathon experience. When you push yourself through this barrier, moving forward despite everything your body is signaling, you learn to trust your will. You find, on the other side of that wall, that you are far more courageous than you thought. You engage, and build, your character. You finish a stronger person.

In a nutshell, that's really it. What lies beyond the challenge is what defines you. By overcoming your own perceived limits, you face the undeniable truth that you are stronger than you knew, and thus must redefine your self image as a stronger, more capable person. It's not always a conscious thought, but it's always there. It's what gets you to sign up for the next one."

He hit the nail on the head. After watching Biggest Loser Finale last night, I can't help but reflect back on Brian and I. The contestants now get to go out and start living their lives. What are they capable of? What are their limits? What things can they do that they would never have dreamed of? For 10 years, Brian and I pretty much did nothing to challenge ourselves. We were 'comfortable' with our lives, going with the flow, day in, day out. I didn't wonder about things like what's my limit? Or, 'could I ever do that'?I knew the answer was NO. Our biggest challenge was deciding where to go get our next meal. That was our excitement, Jack in the Box or McDonald's, hmm, well, what's in the happy meals? Which toys will the kids like most? Just typing that makes me want to cry, but that's how it WAS.

The how, and why of our changing is for another post. But change we did. That process was one big challenge....but we came out the other side, having "redefined our self image". Our daily challenges now consist of things like, how far do we want to run? What all can you make with eggplant? Do I want to do a fartlek now or after another mile? How much more would I have to train to finish a sprint Tri? When will Brian do a century bike ride?

Every time we go through the training, the process of preparing for and then running a marathon, and we get to mile 23, we are so happy to have been able to even get there, and have the experience of hitting the wall and running through it is a privilege for us, one that even 3 years ago I would have never dreamed was possible for us. So far, the 2 marathons that we have finished, we have come across the finish slightly different people. We are 5 weeks into training for marathon #3, and each training run we do, every mile we log, puts us closer to being able to have that amazingly challenging growth experience at mile 23!

I firmly believe that every finish line one crosses results in growth, and a redefined self image on some level....but again, that's for another post!

So, there you go, a little insight into our "why".

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Biggest Loser Finale

Any thoughts on who the finale person standing will be?? My thought is by % alone, it would have to be either Mike or Ashley. That said, they are all winners, all have accomplished so much.

I love and hate finale night. I love seeing them all done up, looking and feeling great, oozing confidence they never thought possible. They all look so happy. Look at their eyes tonight and how alive they look compared to those first days on the ranch. Its after finale night that the rest of their new lives start, in the real world. They get to go out and do things they never dreamed they could. Their lives are just beginning in many ways.

I hate that the season is over. I feel a little sadness as statistic wise, the finale is when they will most likely be at their healthiest weights. Most contestants put back on 10 - 20 lbs in the weeks following the finale. Frankly, some need to. I think that's a normal thing to happens as they get back to reality and their lives, figuring out a manageable routine. It's not the actual fact that they gain back some weight that makes me sad, its that I know the emotional toll that takes on a person after having done all that work.

I am anxious to see Koli. I am hoping he looks healthy and hasn't' gone overboard. Daris could also be interesting to see. Hopefully he has figured out a few things since we last saw him. It has been 6 weeks since they did the marathon and had their last weigh in.

I am excited to get the kids into bed tonight and settle in with the hubby for a fun night of BL. Its Circuit Assembly week for us, so no meeting tonight, that's a bonus as we usually watch it taped after meeting and are up till near midnight.

BL Finale day deserves a 'Last Chance Workout' style workout for me today. I am off to give it my all and follow it up with a lunch-date run w/the hubby!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stop Consenting!

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rock City, Mt. Diablo

We continue to be amazed by how much of our local area we have yet to explore. The supply of nooks and crannies, hikes, trails, seems endless. When I say local, I mean close to home, not just in the state. Close, like with in miles of our front door.

Saturday after service, we decided to take a drive up to the top of Mt. Diablo. We had only driven it once, probably 10ish years ago, in our old Honda Civic. It's a very steep, twisty road w/Mt on one side, and amazing drop offs on the other. I remember Brian having to constantly be shifting the first trip up, hating the traffic and the cyclists. As for myself, I was terrified the entire time. I am not a fan of heights.

Well, it wasn't at all as bad as we remembered. Nobody got sick, we are now in awe of the cyclists endurance, and calves : ) , and as for the heights, still not a fan, but it was tolerable. I just felt a bit loopy, almost a bit disoriented?? Not sure how to describe it.

These cyclists were going up the final hill to the parking area at the summit. Having climbed over 3800 feet, they were moving very slowly. We just hung back and let them take their time. Talk about digging deep!! Pretty impressive.

The views at the top are amazing. We went up into the tower and walked through the visitor center at the summit. On the way down we drove through the campgrounds scouting future vacations. We went down to Rock City. Again, a place we should have been long ago, but just got around to finally visiting. It was pretty amazing. The kids loved it. We could have spent a lot of time exploring there!

There are more pictures HERE. There would have been a lot more, but the batteries on both my camera and my phone died while at Rock City.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Today's Favorite Exercise


Why? Because I am a leg girl. I like strong legs. Period. Not for vanity reasons. Our legs work amazingly hard. I like to know I am taking care of mine. Keeping them strong means I get to enjoy the things I like to do, rather then being tired and in pain the whole time. Running, hiking, walking, playing with the kids...all more enjoyable and less tiring.

Anyhow, done properly, you will feel these pretty much everywhere. Make sure your entire body is working. Keep your abs tight! Keep your back straight, shoulders back and down. Start with hands on your hips, as you get used to these and have a stong core and balance isn't as much of an issue, you can ad weights and either do a variety of curls, or shoulder presses, or just hold them for added resistance. Only ad weights once you are able to maintain proper form for an entire set. As always with lunges make sure your knee never passes your toes, back straight, chest up, drop that back leg...if you don't feel it in your quads, hams, and aren't maintaining proper form.

To be clear on what a rep/set of these is - each rep is made up of 4 lunges(1 lunge from each of 4 angles makes 1 rep). So if you do 1 set of 20 reps on each side, you will have done a total of 80 lunges on each leg. Short version of instructions is your lunging forward hitting 11, 12, 1, and 3 o'clock each rep.

Jillian's Instructions :

Clock Lunge
This move works out your lower body from all angles, hitting every part of the thigh!

Step 1
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, keeping your weight on your heels and your shoulders squarely over your hips. Picture yourself standing in the middle of a clock, facing 12 o'clock. Step forward with your right foot, bringing it across the body and setting it down at 11 o'clock. Bending the left knee, lower yourself until the right leg is parallel to the floor.

Step 2
Exhale and push yourself back into starting position. Then step forward with your right foot, leading with your heel, and put your foot down at 12 o'clock. Bend both knees until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your left thigh is perpendicular to it. Your left heel should lift off the floor.

Step 3
Exhale and push off the ball of your right foot to step back to the starting position. Repeat the lunge movement, this time stepping with your right foot to the 1 o'clock position.

Step 4
Exhale and push off the ball of your right foot, to step back to the starting position. Then step out to the side with your right foot to the 3 o'clock position. Your left leg should be straight and your right thigh parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat. Do all the reps on the same side, then repeat on the opposite side.

Jillian Says:
This is an advanced move, so make sure you have the proper form in your basic lunge before you try this one!

---Source: ---

Monday, May 17, 2010

See Jane Train!

Sunday we did a training run with fellow See Janers. We don't know most of the 40 sisters as most are from other congregations, so we, or I, was excited to get to know and at least see some of the other runners. There were 15 ish of us?? I honestly didn't count, but somewhere around 15, maybe 20 people total. I only really know Angela and her family, and had met one of the other sisters, but that was it. We gathered at Heather Farms and were on the trail a little before 4 pm. Angela is recovering from a Hip Flexor injury, so she and a few others were doing a run/walk combo for 6 miles, 3 out and back. I am not sure if any went over 6 miles or not, it started as an 11 mile training run, but everyone was told to do their own thing and just do what they felt comfortable with. Brian and I were doing 13, so we knew at some point we would be on our own.
Emma was able to ride her bike with her friend Claire the first 3 miles before they turned back, so that was a treat for her.
Brian started off in the front with Derrick (Angela's hubby) who was also pushing a jogger stroller. The 2 of them were giving it their all to keep up with the 3 kids on bikes and pulled ahead of the pack quickly. I sort of was all over the place taking pics and video at the beginning. I took a video of the pack as they left the park and hit the Canal Trail.

I then kicked it into gear to get around everyone and catch back up to Brian. But, along the way I passed a sister who I didn't know, and she said "see, I knew you guys would be fast". I was actually sprinting to catch Brian, but when I heard what she said I pulled back to normal pace, which was about what she was running at. We started talking and I explained that I am not a fast runner at all, just trying to catch the hubby. Well, we talked...and the time we turned onto the Iron Horse trail, her running partner Pat was with us. Again, never met her before. They were planning on doing 11 miles, which would have been the farthest Karen had ever run. She would end up running 13.1, she just didn't know it yet! At 3 miles we passed Derrick and the kids as they turned back. We hit the bathroom at Whole Foods, and then continued on, talking and talking. The miles flew by and before we knew it we were at the 5.5 mile turn around for them if they were going to do 11. But, we were all having a great time chatting, none of us were tired at all, and they were easily convinced to keep going! At the turn around, Brian ran into Safeway and got the kids some treats, while we waited on the trail, stretching, drinking, re-arranging Karen's bandages, and...talking. They were happy to hear that going back we would be running slightly down hill, I had forgotten to mention on the way out that we were running uphill.
Going back they did great! No whining, just more talking. At one point, the part I like the least, they had quieted down a bit. I told them this was the hardest part of the run for me and asked them to talk.(seems odd, but this is a normal request in 'runner-land') Pat shared with us some points she enjoyed from last weeks bible reading, which then led to talking about the Watchtower lesson from the mornings meeting...and then we were past the roughest part! Pat shared with us that non of her family is currently in the truth, so she has really enjoyed her runs with Karen because they can talk about spiritual things, and she cant' do that at home.
In no time, we were making the final turn onto the Canal Trail and in the home stretch. Karen was having some toe pain and a "stretchy" feeling in her calf, but she kept up and finished her first 13 mile run like a pro! They both finished with smiles and hardly any sweat!
I finished knowing 2 sisters life stories, having gained two friends...two sisters that I had never met before!
That's Karen and Pat

To say running is therapy is a huge understatement. You could take 3 sisters who don't know each other and who you've never seen or spoken to before and put them at a table in a restaurant and sit them there and you know what would happen? For me, I would probably sit and stare at them for 2 hours and not know what to talk about or say and be counting down the seconds until it was over, uncomfortable and fidgeting the entire time. But, you take those 3 sisters and put them out on a trail together for a run, and its an amazing bonding experience. You go into it strangers and come out knowing probably more about each other then you should know!! I loved every second of it!!
Thanks again, to Angela for getting the run together. Thanks to Pat and Karen for your company! Looking forward to the big day!!

Hike in Shell Ridge

We have always wanted to hike up in Shell Ridge, but for some reason we have never done it. We come arcross the different trail heads all the time in service and always think "we need to hike here"...well Saturday evening was finally the day. We had been in service Saturday morning and finally tracked down a call from last year on Sutherland Drive and at the end of the road there was a trail head, so that is where we came back later in the day and started. We intended this to be just a quick outing mainly to get the kids out of the house and let them burn off some energy. However, I learned from my grandpa years ago, that once you are on a ridge, sometimes you have to go for a while before there's a safe place to come down. There were lots of surprises along the way that made it go by quickly and the!

There are more pics here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Today's Favorite Exercise

Russian Twists

Being a 30 something mother of 3, my abs receive twice the beatings as the rest of my body. I will never love my stomach, but I do enjoy working out in the privacy of my own home and being able to see some definition in my abs. My lower abs will probably never be visible : ) but thanks in part to Russian Twists, I can identify my obliques and upper abs. I do these weighted with 10 lbs in hand. This dudes legs are all loosy goosy, which is pretty lame. Keep your legs as together as you can. You can either keep them straight in front of you, or bent, twisting them the opposite direction of your upper body. But, don't be lame like this guy and just let them hang out, they should be working too! Only twist as far as your back allows, try to keep your back straight, not rounded. Enjoy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hey Ladies!!

Brian came across this picture that is too good to not post! Its from a play date in November 2005. 5 years, and a whole different life ago. For Melissa, your fellow See Janers are Tina - in the back next to me in green. Jina - long black hair w/dark glasses. And Michelle - Blonde in the green sweater.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

See Jane in under a month, are you ready??

Don't know about the "good juju"....but I loved pretty much everything the owner of See Jane says at the end. We are all doing this run for different reasons, but on June 5th, we get to come together, have fun, and cross the finish!

Hopefully you half marathoners are getting excited!!! Do you have a race day strategy? Do you know when and how much you plan on drinking during the race? Will you just drink water or use a water/sports drink combo? Do you know what you are fueling with during the race? What you are eating the night before? What you are eating the morning of? Will you carry water? Will you use a fuel belt? If yes, what's going to be in it? Which pair of socks you are wearing? Will you listen to music or not? How many minutes you will use for your run/walk rotation? Do you know what your race pace is and what pace to stay under? Do you know how to drink out of a cup while running? Have you bought your water proof makeup? : ) And, of course, do you know what you are wearing???

5Kers, do you have your plan? How fast will you go? Do you have a finishing time in mind, a goal? Do you have a game day strategy? Will you walk some, run all, do a combination of the two?

Now is the time to be working out all of that stuff, even the stuff that sounds silly. You don't want to try anything new on the big day. There are also certain running myths that you may choose to avoid....such as the carb loading the night before the race. Do your research, be informed. You may find it wiser to slightly increase "good carbs" during the 5 or so days before the race and avoid a large, heavy carb filled dinner the night before, which can leave you feeling sluggish race morning and in search of porta-potties along the course. Same goes for the morning of the race meal. This is not the time to eat something you've never eaten before, or eat more than you normally would. Running, running/walking, and walking 13.1 miles can cause intestinal discomfort by itself, don't test your stomachs on race day! Stick to what you know.

Other Random Nuggets to Consider :

Sports Drinks - if you aren't using them in training, it may not be wise to use them on race day. They can cause stomach issues for some. I would recommend if you haven't already, start using them in training and figure out what works for your stomach. I always grab both the sports drink and the water, drink the sports drink first, then the water. Later in the race I start grabbing 1 sports drink, 2 waters. One water gets dumped down my shirt, or on the head...which is why you need to make sure you are grabbing water, not sports drink. Also, as you see the aid stations approaching, if you are using any Gu, Gel, Sports Beans, Blocks, whatever fuel you plan on using....take it before you get to the aid station. Usually you have enough time if you are keeping your head up. You'll see the aid stations usually long before you get to them, that is the time to get your fuel in. You can then chase it with water at the aid station.
If you haven't thought at all about fuel/drinks yet...start today! You need to know what your plan is. On race day, you are going to have adrenaline, excitement, endorphins, nerves....all these are great and amazing and part of why I love to run and do races. Come mile 10, 11, can all become a bit draining, and you are going to want a boost! If you have waited that long before fueling, it's too late. You want to fuel and drink from the early miles of the race so that you don't crash at the end, you have a great, fun, amazing day and finish strong and on top of the world!

Aid Stations - Pay attention!! Volunteers will usually call out what they have. There is usually water at one table, sports drink at another table. As you approach, pick out a volunteer, make eye contact, nod if you like - you are letting that person know you are aiming at them, and want whats in their hand! They will then also aim at you, not the runner who swoops in and grabs your cup : )Drink spillage onto your volunteer as you grab your cup is ok! Don't feel bad. They volunteered their time to hand you that cup and get wet in the process. Say thank you!! Keep moving!! If you need to stop, slow down, walk, whatever, just keep moving until you are past the tables, pull off to the side, do your thing. If you come to a complete stop mid aid station, and I am behind you, I will plow you over-fair warning : )

Drinking Out of a Cup While on the Move - this is tricky! Early on in our running life, I would grab a cup, aim at my face and throw the contents at it. This would lead to gagging, swallowing air, and liquid up my nose. Air leads to stomach pains later in the run. Over time, I found the pinching method to be most effective at getting liquid where it is supposed to go and avoiding air intake. Pinch your cups shut, and drink out of one of the corners. Don't feel like you have to get every last drop, a few good swallows is enough to get you from aid station to aid station. Cup disposal - check quickly to the side before you throw your cup, especially if it isn't' empty!

Outfits, Socks, Shoes, Other Random Accessories
- Ok, so of course we are girls and we want to look decent while we sweat. I usually get some piece of new running attire for every big race, this one will be no different. Gives me a boost, and I will take any boost I can get! Whatever you are wearing, wear it on at least one run pre race day. Pay attention to things that poke, rub, are too snug, ride up, don't stay in place, slip, ect...Starting from foundation garments up...make sure you are supported and comfortable. (sorry to any guys reading this) Really, ladies, if you haven't gotten a good sports bra, I beg you, please please please get one, two if need be! Make sure you are contained, and comfortable. You do not want to be worrying about whats moving and shaking more than it should and if anyone is noticing. I've been there, I know how that feels! To this day I am double, sometimes triple layered in spandex. My normal attire is 7inch compression shorts, another pair of 4 inch compression shorts over those that are built into, and covered up by my running skirt, sports bra, running singlet w/built in sports bra. If something doesn't feel right after a mile, it is really going to bug you and be a distraction after 5, let alone 13 miles. Make sure you are comfortable and feel good and confident about what you are wearing. We are girls, we worry about how we look under normal circumstances. Put us in a situation we are nervous about or maybe a little intimidated, and the power of a new, comfortable outfit that we feel good in can be immense!
Sports Basement has a wide range of sizes and a great selection of running apparel and sports bras. They have an "extended sizes" section as well. I should mention that Sports Basement is our favorite store for all outdoor activities. We get all our running gear there, including our fuel - Sports Beans, Shot Blocks, Gu, ect. Also our shoes, fuel belts, visors, running clothes, ect. They are also a AAA Show Your Card and Save store, so if you are a AAA member, you can save 10% off your purchase. If not a AAA member, you can usually find a 10% off flyer down at Sweet Affair Bakery. Plus they have a kids area for the kids to play and keep busy. Did I mention we love Sports Basement??!! Sports Authority at Sun Valley Mall has a huge selection of running clothes, a bit more trendy and spendy than Sports Basement, but not as wide a size selection.

Fuel Belts, Fanny Packs, and Anything Else Strapped to Your Body - again, run with it pre race day! We have tried a few different fuel belts, and all seem to annoy after 5 miles or so. I personally do not use one, but many runners do. It depends on how important whatever you want to carry with you is. It may be worth the annoyance to have the food and drink you want with you. One un-thought of benefit to wearing one I discovered was that the Jelly Bellys I had in my pack made a great rhythm to run to as they rattled around to the beat of my pace. If you plan on walking more than running, you will be out on the course a bit longer and therefore may want to have more stuff with you. You also wouldn't have as much annoyance from the pack bouncing around as you run.

These are just a few of the things you can do now to make sure you have a great race day!! Set yourselves up for success by thinking about and figuring out the small stuff now. You want to be able to enjoy your special day and soak it all in, so sort out this stuff now so you can be as prepared as possible. And, as always, these are one persons advise and thoughts. These 'nuggets' are just my observations and what has worked for me, but the point is, there are so many different ways to go about this. Plan ahead and figure out what works for you!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Emma's First 5K Road Race

Name Age Gender City State Category
----, Emma 8 F ----- California 5K Run

Emma is officially registered for her first 5K on the road! Watch out fellow See Jane 5Kers, she and her cousin will be hot on your heals : )
I've blogged about Emma's love of running before, but lets just say she really really loves it! She has done 2 previous 5k's that were trail runs w/near 1000 ft elevation gains. I am thinking she will be wondering why this 5k is all flat: )
She has been itching to do a "race" for a while now. She ran the reservoir with me 2 weeks ago and managed a 35 minute lap. Not too shabby for an 8 year old! And really, that was my 3rd lap, she had already ran up and down the hills on the first 2 laps, then managed a 35 minute lap on top of that!
So, when she got wind of this 'See Jane' thing, she started asking about the 5k. For those who don't know what See Jane is, there's a link on the side. There are 40ish sisters running either the half marathon or the 5k. Pretty amazing, and exciting!!
Anyhow,the down side of her not running the kids race is that I should be back from the half marathon in time to see the kids race, but I will be running during the 5k, so I wont get to see her. She doesn't know that though, and I would never hold her back from pushing herself! I know Brian will take pictures and motion sickness inducing video! This will be her cousins first 5k as well. He's manning up, and stepping up to the start with the ladies! Bubba, Sophie, and cousin Audrey and Uncle Shannon will form team Marro-Ham (?? ew) and take the kids race by storm. Only about a month left before the big day!! Should be a blast, we are so excited. Looking forward to celebrating every ones hard work and accomplishments!