Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Our Wedding Quilt

Instead of a guest book at our wedding, we had squares of fabric for our guests to sign. The idea was to later incorporate these squares into a quilt. Something that we would see everyday, rather than something that would sit in a box in an attic or garage. And while I'm crafty, I'm not that crafty. And certainly don't have the patience that quilting requires. So while we were shopping for fabric for the squares, my Mom offered to make it for us. After the wedding, we sent all the signed pieces back to California with her. And I figured in a few years we would get it on one of our anniversaries. Like the 5th. Or the 3rd if she got busy with it.

Imagine my suprise when I tore open a box this Christmas...less than 3 1/2 months after the wedding...and saw this! I cried it was so beautiful. And I know how much love and hard work went into it. Each square was sewn together by her and then the entire thing pieced together. She had the front and back quilted together, and then had to hand sew the edging on. Hand sew, not with a machine, but as in a needle, thread, and hours hunched over the whole thing. We are now in the process of making new drapes and duvet cover so that it will match in the bedroom.

Barefoot Snow

Okay, not totally barefoot since I did wear my Vibrams. It was the most surreal feeling. If you can imagine dancing barefoot in the snow but without the frost bite...that's what it felt like. Today marks Day 1 of training for the Eugene Marathon. I'm following one of Hal Higdon's novice plans. I couldn't do a super focused marathon because I will simultaneously be training for this marathon, a hilly century ride, a half ironman, and an ultramarathon.

Today called for an easy 3 miler. This is how it looked outside when I started. There was at least another inch on the ground when I finished.
I was the only runner in the neighborhood and had it all to myself. I was having so much fun along Officer's Row with all of the Christmas lights on the huge homes, huge chunky flakes coming down, and making first tracks all over the place. On the way back I saw 3 accidents where cars either tried to stop too quickly, or tried to drive up a hill and didn't make it. At one intersection I helped push 2 cars out of the way so that all of the backed up traffic could get through. Can you believe that no one came out to help an old lady stuck in her car until they saw me pushing it? Crazy rude.

Injinji socks inside the Vibrams kept my feet pretty warm.Cool tracks!Total mileage = 3.15
Time= 42:17
That is a pace of 13:25...not terrible considering I was almost barefoot in several inches of snow. :-)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Weekly Totals

And just to show that I haven't been totally sloth-like, here are my "training" totals for the week.

Swimming - nada...gonna fix that this week
Biking - 11 miles
Running - 15 miles (shoed + VFFs + barefoot)
Barefoot walking - 1.75 hours
Strength - 1 hour
Total time = 6.6 hours

Here is Jeff and I from our run this morning on Heritage Trail. Jenn was there too, but disappeared before I got the camera out.

Barefoot Running, The Holidays, and Happy Changes for 2010

Barefoot Running...
I got some emails after my last blog post regarding barefoot running. It seems that being overweight isn't a hinderance to going barefoot. Quite the opposite, actually. So I gave it a go. And LOVED it! I started with a little less than 1/2 mile. Just decided to take my shoes off towards the end of a 5 mile run. It was freezing temps, so I left my socks on. A couple of days later I went about a mile, this time with no socks. And again a couple of days later. And so on. Each time, adding a little bit of distance or more difficult terrain. So far I've run on asphalt, concrete, and grass. And gravel for about 10 feet. That will take a bit more time to get my running form correct enough to run on. I also purchased some Vibram Five Fingers, which I love. But I am trying not to use them as a way to run further "barefoot" than I really should. Ultimately, I would like to run totally barefoot all the time, except for sub-freezing temps or on really ugly terrain. It's just too dang cold to go barefoot every day right now.
Some of the common questions I've received already:

Q - Why?
A - I don't have enough time to write all of the reasons here, but go to these websites for some great info on barefoot running: http://www.runningbarefoot.org/, http://www.barefootted.com/, http://www.barefootrunner.com/

- Does it hurt?
A - No. Unless I am running incorrectly, and then it does. Then I stop and figure out what I'm doing wrong.

Q - Aren't your feet going to get nasty and callused and icky?
A - Nope! Being a vain person, this was one of my bigger concerns. If you are scuffing your feet and damaging the soles, then you aren't running properly. If you "kiss" the ground with your feet, then your soles won't get all torn up. I read on one of the websites to treat your feet as kindly as you treat your hands. Meaning, wash them and moisturize them and take care of them. I have about 6 barefoot miles on them over the last couple of weeks and they actually look better than 2 weeks ago.

Q - (from Ken) Really, you have a gazillion pairs of expensive shoes, but you want to go barefoot?
A - I really have no way to answer this one. Sorry honey.

The Holidays...
We had a wonderful time over the holidays. We went to the Nutcracker (an annual tradition) and I walked around downtown in ridiculously high heels. Wishing I was barefoot. But being vain won out that night. And Vibrams don't work with stocking feet.
We had lots of awesome friends and coworkers stop by on Christmas Eve for cocktails and good conversation. And I went for a run in the sunshine with Jeff. On Christmas day we cooked a beautiful turkey (our very first one together). 17 pounds of free range and hormone free yumminess. Except that we fell asleep on the couch while it was in the oven and it was done when we woke up. But none of the other dishes were ready, so we had to scramble to get it all together. It ended up delicious anyway!
We played lots of Wii. Here I am getting my Kung-Fu on.
And of course we did the gift thing. Santa brought me some new BLACK Uggs. These won't show bike chain grease like the last ones. Yay! And I don't care if you are an Uggs-hater. Nothing feels quite as fabulous after a 20 mile run, as sliding your feet into a cozy soft fuzzy pair of Uggs. Even if they are covered in chain grease and sticky PowerGel drips.
Happy Changes for 2010...
Despite very good intentions, it appears that I have been suffering from PIAS. Post-Ironman Attitude Syndrome. Symptoms are lots of sleeping, lots of unhealthy eating, and a general don't-give-a-cows-ass attitude about pretty much everything. Thankfully, I've done just enough training to avoid packing on too much weight. Actually, as of this morning I'm back to the weight I was on race day. Which is still overweight, but at least not 10 more pounds overweight. Admittedly, I've spent far too much time on the couch. I googled "Ironman Couch Potato" today and this is what came up:Despite a little too much lounging, I do feel like it was good to take a break and recharge. Even if I have lost some fitness because of it. Whatever, I'll get that back. And unlike a couple of weeks ago, I'm getting all excited for next season. This afternoon, I am writing out my training plans for the marathon and half-ironman. I'm trying new plans. Hopefully making some good changes over the plans from last year.

I am slowly making changes in my diet. Okay, the holidays don't count. I am trying to limit added sugars, eliminate high-fructose corn syrup, and eat as little refined foods as possible. I'm even moving to bulk malto-dextrin and bulk electrolyte powder for my sports drinks. As soon as I work my way through the GE tubs I have in stock.

And, as of today, I am changing where I workout. I've been wanting to do this for awhile now, and I finally did. Swimming: Did you know that there are 3 community pools with convenient hours and super cheap fees within 5 miles of my house? Neither did I! Very cool! Biking: I pretty much ride outside or on the trainer in our spare room anyway. I'll miss the group workouts, but I have lots of backlogged shows on DVR to catch up on. Running: I haven't ran on a treadmill in over a year (with the exception of the 1 mile run I did the week after Ironman), so not much will change there. Except I will be doing more on trails. And barefoot.

So, yeah, some pretty exciting changes for 2010 for me. Hopefully I'll have happy updates as I incorporate everything into my new routines. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


It's going to be impossible to top 2009. It was one of the most amazing years of my life. But I want to carry some of that energy and excitement into 2010. My main goals are: lose weight and get faster. Specifically: I will get closer to my goal weight of 145 lb. I will break 30min in a 5k. I will break 22 mph at the VBC Thursday night time trials. I will PR at Vineman 70.3.

Other things running around in my mind -- trail running, ultramarathons, and barefoot running. This is all very new territory. New challenges. And that's what gets me going. I recently bought a book on trails in the Portland area. I picked out some shorter distance trail races. If I like those, then I'll be signing up for an ultra towards the end of next season. As far as barefoot running goes, I don't think that it is a possibility for me until I drop some weight. But I'm doing some research and seriously considering integrating very short barefoot sessions into my training plan. Well, as soon as temps get out of the 30s. In the meantime, I have a lot of running to do to be ready for my 2010 season.

1/24 - Vancouver Lake Half Marathon (signed up)
2/20 - Hagg Lake Trail Run - 25k
3/16 - Shamrock Run - 5k, 8k, or 15k
4/3 - Beaver Freezer Sprint Tri
5/2 - Eugene Marathon (signed up)
5/30 - Forest Park Trail Run - 10k or 20k (or 50k, but not likely yet)
6/5 or 6 - Blue Lake Sprint or Oly Tri
6/20 - Livestrong Century Ride (signed up)
7/18 - Vineman 70.3 (signed up)
7/24 (?) - Mt Hood PCT Ultra - 50k (probably won't be ready yet, maybe I'll volunteer)
8/27-28 - Hood-to-Coast Relay (signed up)
9/11 (?) - McKenzie River Trail Run - 50k (thinking this will be my first ultramarathon)
10/10 - Portland Marathon or Half Marathon

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Update

It's been a challenging week on the health front. For starters, the "no cookie" thing isn't going so well. Two days after my last blog post, a care package from my Mom showed up on the doorstep. Full of homemade chex mix and Christmas cookies. Argh! I have ZERO will power when it comes to cookies. They were gone in less than 48 hours.

Also, I've gained 3 pounds this week. THREE pounds in ONE week. So much for my goal of a 1 pound loss. I'm sure some of this is from the cookie box, some is probably catching up with me from the car trip home (in which I ate lots of cookies), and the rest I will credit to Mother Nature's biological gift. Such fun.

On a happy note, I had a fabulous week with friends and with Ken. I came home from work each night, changed into my comfies, and spent time with The Hubs. I haven't been able to do that in months. I had an alcoholic drink at 10am on a Saturday. Awesome. We got our Christmas tree. We actually went out to a party, and I am proud to stay that I lasted past 9pm. I ate lots of cookies there. We slept in one day. Did some Christmas shopping. Basically, normal life stuff. Stuff that has been missing since April.

And while normal life is great, and something I could really get used to, I have a half marathon...and then a marathon...looming. I'll probably semi-wing the half. Train just enough to avoid injury. But I want to PR at the marathon, so starting in January, I'll be gettin to it. Right now, I'm still trying to balance getting some workouts in with making sure I recover both mentally and physically. I'm working out when I feel like it (which isn't very often), but trying to ease back into a routine.

So, my goals for this week:
-- Run some.
-- Not gain weight.
-- Develop some form of a healthy diet. This is much harder than I imagined.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Moving Along

The focus of my blog over the last year has been Ironman. Now that it's over, there's this big gap in my schedule. In my conversations. In my thoughts. Oh dear, I did not realize how one-track minded I had become! Time for a shift in focus.
Yesterday started the first day towards hitting my final weight loss goals. I have lost around 50 pounds over the last 3-4 years (give or take 5, depending on cookie consumption). I have maintained this for about a year. But I still have about 25 to go. IM training wasn't very conducive for weight loss -- lots of sugary stuff during training, constant stress on the body, insane appetite, stressful schedule, not enough sleep. But now I have no excuse.

I have my new starting weight, measurements, and goals. The weight goals will probably change as I go, as I will periodically check my body fat composition (I don't have access to a reliable method on a weekly basis). Stay tuned for progress reports!

Weight = 169 lb
Goals for the week = lose 1 lb, continue working out for recovery (runs of 20-30 minutes, zone 2 rides, swims less than 1000m), plan/shop for/stick to a healthy menu plan
Long term goals = weight of 145 lb, body fat of 20-22%, eat for energy and not for comfort, be healthy!