Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Boston Marathon Training: Surgery, A Sick One and 19 miles

Let me tell you - last week was insane. It was one of those weeks, where as you are in the middle of it all, you wonder will you be strong enough to get through it? How will you accomplish everything, be a good Mom and stay sane?



He started playing beach volleyball before the surgery - I didn't have that when I was kid! ;0


I wrote a long post on Instagram, but Josh (our nine year old) had a major, major surgery on Tuesday (which happened to be Valentine's Day, but we couldn't even think about it). When your child is in a four HOUR surgery, you start to feel uneasy. Okay, scared out of your mind - but you know you have to hold it together and trust that everything will be okay.

The surgery was good and he is healing well. I hate that he has to have another surgery in nine months, but in order to completely restore the hearing in his right ear, that is what has to be done. They have to go in and insert a prosthetic bone in his middle ear that was destroyed. Ruined by the skin growing in his inner ear (a condition he was born with, but we didn't know) that has blocked a lot of his fine tune hearing. For instance, take your thumb and index finger and rub them together up to your ear. Did you do it? Okay, you can hear that, right? Well, Josh can't hear that and many auditory tests have shown us that he has lost a lot of his hearing. So, after many consultations, this was what we had to do for him. 
We got up at zero dark thirty on Tuesday and made the trek to the hospital for our half day visit. He was so incredibly brave and I have never felt more proud of him. Josh is such a loving, inquisitive, funny kid and he walked away from us with the anesthesiologist, confident and ready to get it done.



Gone in a blink - I almost missed it!


Jerold and I went and had breakfast together - making small talk and trying not to think about the surgery. The nurse called a while later to let us know what Josh was sleeping and they were about to begin. After pacing around the hallway, trying to read, and catching up on e-mail, I realized that the best thing for me to do was run. I had my phone, Jerold was there and I walked out the door into the (rare - it finally stopped raining for a bit) sunshine and began to run. I was praying as I ticked away the six plus miles and asking God to watch over him. Take care of our baby, please.
The run was the absolute best thing I could have done to whittle away an hour and when I returned, it was time to go and see him.

Josh was in a lot of pain and a bit disoriented, so the nurse gave him some pain medication to ease the discomfort. I wish I could have traded places with him in those hours - I gladly would have done it in a heartbeat.

It was the perfect week to have this done, as the kids were off for ski week (do you guys have that? It's a total thing here in LA) and we stayed home to rest (no skiing for us - the kids were sad) and for Josh to heal. He can't run, jump, ski, swim, play hard or anything that a nine year old boy likes to do to stay active for a while. Zero plane trips, altitude, long car trips - pretty much just stay home and play with legos and rest, rest, rest.

By Thursday/Friday, he was going a little stir crazy, which was awesome, because that meant he was healing.
We took the kids for a walk and they found snails laying around after the rain.



The bandages are all gone - now he just has cotton in his ear with a ton of ointment to protect and a scar behind his ear where they made the cut. My heart hurts writing about it, but he is strong. Love him so much.






Sunday rolled around, and I was happy to run 19 miles and get it done - it's such a great feeling during a marathon cycle when you have the first super long run under your belt.







Sunday night, Elle (our four year old) wakes up in the middle of the night BURNING UP hot. Ugh. 104 fever and she feels absolutely miserable. Soothing, medication and getting her back to sleep, put us into the wee hours of Monday morning. She has been sleeping and sick all day Monday.
This, ladies and gentleman - is Mom life.



Monday February 13th - 4 easy miles. 

Tuesday February 14th - 6.5 miles during Josh's surgery

Wednesday February 15th - DAY OFF (I took the day off - I needed the rest today and day was spent taking care of Josh)

Thursday February 16th - 1 mile warm up, 7 miles at 7:10 pace, 1 mile cool down. 
Didn't want to run today - these are the days that test what you are made of. It's days like this - where you have to push and shove yourself out the door that make you stronger.

Friday February 17th - 4 easy miles

Saturday February 18th - 6 easy miles

Sunday February 19th - 19 miles at 7:45 pace (prescribed pace was 7:45-8). Note: Coach was not happy with the 17 miles at 7:34 pace that I did the other week. I trust and respect his advice and he told me to SLOW DOWN this week. I listened. :) #trusttheprocess

Total miles: 48.5


Strength work: Core every day; including push ups, bicycle crunches, dynamic plank, bridges, russian twists with medicine ball, superman. Plus monster walks, lateral walks (with band), jumping jacks, squats, dynamic warm up before every run, PT exercises for foot. Yoga = pigeon, legs up the wall, child's pose and downward dog. Heavy weight training lacking this past week - looking forward to hitting it hard this week.


Eight weeks left till Boston, time to lay it all on the line! 

Have a great week and happy running!

xo,
Natalie



Monday, February 13, 2017

Boston Marathon Training: Single Digits Have Arrived!

This tree is my favorite part of our backyard and every February it blooms the most beautiful flowers. I can sit outside and gaze at it for hours - mountains in the distance is a huge bonus.




We are getting a big break from the rain this week and it's been so fun to be outside. I bring the yoga mat and get all of my post run stretching and some strength training done out here.

Yesterday, I got in a long run (although not as long as usual, it was a step back week) and we also made it out to a trail with the kids.




They are definitely my kids and to say they got the wiggles out is an understatement.

It's always fun to find creatures along the way...





And this newly four year old insists on picking out her own clothes - this was her choice of the day.




Nine weeks till Boston!!! Here is what my week looked like:

Monday February 6th - 5 easy miles. Run easy to run fast and I fully take advantage of these easy, recovery runs. It's all about what my body wants, enjoying the run and taking in the scenery.

Tuesday February 7th - 10.45 miles on a Tuesday = we are in the thick of training!!
2 mile warm up, 3 x 2 mile repeats (6:59, 6:48) (6:44, 6:42) (6:25, 6:22), 2 mile cool down.
This was a good workout for me and my body is adapting to these paces - getting stronger!

Wednesday February 8th - 4 easy miles

Thursday February 9th - An unexpected day off. We went to a wedding and it was a crazy, fun day!

Friday February 10th - 9 easy, rainy miles. 





Saturday February 11th - 5 easy miles

Sunday February 12th - 14 miles. 10 at 7:55 pace and then 4 at 7:11, 7:04, 7:03, 7:02

Total miles: 47.45


Core work, yoga and PT exercises happen every single day, weight training two times during the week.

Nutrition: I was craving steak on Saturday night (that never happens!), so I prepared a juicy rib eye, with butternut squash and broccoli. #fueling



I've got a 19 miler on tap for the weekend, so ----> lots of sleep this week!!

I hope you guys had a great weekend and a stellar start to the week!

Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Favorites!

What's up you guys? Friday is HERE! 

I can't even tell you how happy I am for the weekend. I have talked about sleep a lot lately and how it relates to good marathon training. Welp, I haven't gotten as much as I have wanted this week and I am feeling the effect today. It is raining again - by the way, we have had so much rain in Los Angeles, that no one has a regular conversation anymore - all we talk about is RAIN. 
Anyway, I am cozy inside with a mug of tea and my kids are having their weekly movie night afternoon (movie night would mean disaster for my family complete with a bunch of crazy kiddos.).
The silence is unbelievable and all I could think about was connecting with you guys and catching up.



It's not always sunny here!


Let's talk about flexibility for a moment. I think it's so important to be flexible in your training. Life is a series of roller coasters and no training plan is perfect. I've talked about my word of the year being GRACE and I'm still in love with the word. Giving yourself grace and love and understanding. It sounds like something you would gladly give your best friend, but what about yourself? I am learning every day to love myself more and more. I know (most of the time - it's so easy to revert back to beating yourself up on occasion) that if I love myself, I will be capable of giving more love to others. 

For example, yesterday we went to a friend's wedding. Yes, on a Thursday afternoon. It was so beautiful and super fun, but I had to juggle a whole LOT to pull it off and guess whhhat? The run didn't happen. I kept thinking that we would get home in time (early morning didn't happen for a good reason, not because of sleep cause I was up at the crack) that I could jump on the treadmill and it just wasn't meant to be. We arrived home late, bellies filled with food and wine (I haven't had a glass of wine since New Years, I think) and all I wanted to do was go to bed. So, that means I have to run Friday, Sat and Sun - but it's worth it. Grace.

Alright. here is what I am loving this week!



1. Sarah Mac Robinson's blog post - How To Go Faux Pro, Marathon Edition

Um, yes; I'm fan girling here. Sarah is a STUD. She is an amazing athlete, I love the raw honesty of her blog and balance of motherhood and marathon training. Be sure and check out her Instagram for pics of her adorable daughter and dedicated, blazing workouts (8 x 1 mile at 5:56's!!) She qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2016 (hello, awesome!) after having a kick ass race at CIM in December 2015 (her face as she crossed the finish line is absolutely priceless). She is down to earth and I feel like I could have tea with her and talk for hours. Anyway, you have to check out the post, as she keeps it real and lifts you up all at the same time. You'll find yourself muttering "yes, I do this!" or cursing "ahhh, I need to do this!" 




2. New World Women's Half Marathon Record!!

4:57 average page!!!???

I guess we should all have that look on our face when we finish a race, right?! 





3. Martha and Snoop!

I love this commercial and more importantly, I want to move into her house, stat! :) #lifegoals





4. Ina Garten Brownie Tart Recipe

Someday I am going to meet Barefoot Contessa. Yep, I just know it :)
Here is a delectable dessert to make for Tuesday! This looks so good I want to eat the page...










I hope you guys have a great weekend! 


Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? If so, how?

How many miles are you running this weekend?


Happy running.


xo,
Natalie

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Boston Marathon Training: 10 Weeks!

I have a ton of sweaty running laundry to wash. I always know that I am in the thick of marathon training when the machine seems to always be full of running laundry.
Currently rotating between two versions of the Brooks Ghost 9 in different colors, pondering on ordering the new Launch 4 - especially after I saw my friend Jes's pretty new ones! I love the Launch - it's a tad lighter than the Ghost, the heel to toe drop is 10mm vs. 12 mm for the Ghost (which I realize a 12 mm drop is pure sweetness for my feet, but the 10 mm is good for tempo and speed work).
What else? Training is going well. Smooth as glass, fingers are constantly in crossed mode that it stays that way. I talked last week about doing all the little things to stay strong and healthy. I try not to over think, otherwise I will drive myself nuts - which totally defeats the purpose of running, right?





Psyched to be an official blogger for Women's Running Magazine!! I wrote an article on five of my favorite trail runs in Los Angeles, and you can check it out here!! 




After my daughter's birthday, this was the definite highlight of my week!!! Woot!!

Coach directed me more toward performing a dynamic plank as opposed to a stationary one - so I am in plank position and then raise each leg twenty times - perform two or three reps. I like this so much more than the regular (kind of boring) stationary plank.

Oh, and I am wearing these socks underneath my regular running socks - I bought them months ago when I was on the tail end of plantar fasciitis, and they are so comfortable that I have been wearing them ever since. Anything that gives my foot a little more support, I'll take it.


Here are what my workouts from last week looked like:

Monday January 30th - 5 easy miles. Also, Happy 4th Birthday to my sweet girl!!



She said to me: "Mama, I want ladybugs and butterflies on my cupcakes, please!" 



Tuesday January 31st - 1 mile warm up, 5 x 1 mile repeats (each at 6:27 pace on the treadmill) with .25 jog in between, 1 mile cooldown. 8.25 total miles

Wednesday February 1st - 4 easy trail miles

Thursday February 2nd - 8 easy miles

Friday February 3rd - 5 easy miles

Saturday February 4th - REST. If you follow me on Instagram, you have heard me talk about this before, but I go with how my body feels on the weekend. The plan is always a long run on Saturday - BUT, that is usually after I have been running six days straight. If I wake up and feel beat down tired, I rest. Period. You are not doing yourself any favors if you ignore your body.

Sunday February 5th - 17 miles at 7:34 pace. And there you go - happy body = happy running :)

My splits: 7:33, 7:02, 8:02, 8:01, 7:19, 7:31, 8:05, 7:21, 7:25, 7:23, 7:27, 7:29, 7:27, 7:42, 7:45, 7:22, 7:29



Oh, and by the way - after the run I pulled on the compression socks and put my legs up the wall. Seriously, you could FEEL the blood circulating in my legs and I felt so much better after doing that for 10-15 minutes. #thelittlethings

Total miles for the week: 48.25


Have a great week!!

Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Boston Marathon Training: Less Than 11 Weeks Till Race Day!

How is it February first already? January is usually such a slow month after the holidays, but 2017 is off to a quick start. I think the race in the middle of the month and the long weekend really broke up the month and time has flown by.
Marathon training is in full effect and I feel like I finally have a sold base of running in my legs. I am also building on some quality workouts in which the goal is to continue to strengthen and get those fast twitch muscles revved and ready to go on race day. I am training with all my heart to finally dust away my old PR of 3:23 and grab a shiny new one. I will be ready on April 18th to run completely with my heart and make it happen.





I am continuing with all the little bits and pieces: dynamic stretching routine before every single run, continued PT exercises, not forgetting to take care of my feet to keep the nasty PF far, far away - strength training, adding more weights to my routine and really working on my upper body. I need my arms to be strong - especially for the last few crucial miles of a marathon. I am focusing on sleep and I know I am such a better runner and person when I sleep a good amount at night. My body has been craving nine hours and I have been giving it what it wants. Nutrition plays a big part in my day - eating balanced healthy meals and fueling right after a workout to repair the muscles. I love having a cup (I'm actually sipping as I type this) of chicken bone broth for added protein during the day. Eggs are on the menu every single day along with fish and tons of fruit and veggies. I am constantly thirsty and my body is demanding that I get 100 ounces of water each day - I feel so much better when that happens. I am also taking iron, vitamin D, a multi, probiotic and amino acid supplements.
Stretching and legs up the wall, foam rolling, compression socks, massages and ice baths - whew! I know I am probably forgetting something, marathon training takes a lot of work.




Oh yeah - mental stuff. I am upping the mental game too. I have been feeling like at the end of a race, I need to stay focused and present in the last two miles. Of course you can sprint down the last 100 meters when you see the finish line, but what about in the last miles before the finish line, when you are so tired? How to stay really focused and fight through the pain. I am working on that a lot.. With seven marathons under my belt, I know miles twenty three through twenty six are when you are truly tested and I need to conquer that and not break down. I'll have a post coming on that, cause I think it's so important.

I noticed a change in my body ----> after Carlsbad I tried cyrotherapy and felt so GREAT the following week - it was as if I didn't even race. The next weekend I ran 15 miles at 7:37 pace and did NOT jump into the ice bath afterwards and I could really tell the difference in the following days. Yesterday I ran five - one mile repeats at 6:27 pace and you better believe I jumped in the bathtub of ice. I realize it's just part of the marathon routine.


Here is what last week's workout looked like:

Monday January 23rd - 5 easy miles

Tuesday January 24th - 8 miles: 2 mile warm up, 4 mile tempo at 6:53, 6:44, 6:35, 6:22, 2 mile cool down. Really happy with the strength I showed in this workout. #progress

Wednesday January 25th - 4 easy recovery miles

Thursday January 26th - 8 miles

Friday January 27th - 5 miles

Saturday January 28th - REST. Supposed to run long, but my body wasn't having it. 

Sunday January 29th - 13 miles. 10 miles easy (8 minute pace) 3 miles at 7:12, 7:08, 7:02

43 total miles for the week

154.28 for the month of January

There it is - chugging away bit by bit. I will race a half marathon in March and I'd like to race maybe another 5K this month, we'll see.

I hope you guys are having a wonderful week and happy running!

xo,
Natalie

Friday, January 20, 2017

Carlsbad Half Marathon Race Recap

Before I talk about the race, let me say - all I could think about when I crossed the finish line was a proper recovery. I immediately started sipping on fluids: chocolate milk, water, coconut water, and a beet smoothie. I also nibbled on a banana while walking around, shaking out my legs.  I stopped to lightly stretch while looking for my family and then immediately went on a one mile cool down. The complete focus is on Boston in 13 weeks and I wanted to make sure that my legs are healed and recovered to get back to running this week. 







I also had a chance to try Cyrotherapy! Have you guys tried it? In a nutshell, you stand naked in a booth with gloves and booties on and they lower the temp to about -110 degrees!! Um, yeah - it feels as crazy as it sounds. The purpose for athletes is to jump start the healing process (although you can also get into an ice bath, which is much less expensive) and I think it worked, because I feel great! Fresh legs and zero soreness this week and gearing up for a long 15 mile run this weekend.



Big thanks to Janelle and the team at Gocyrosd for letting me try a frozen experience!! :)



The Carlsbad Half Marathon was not a goal race or a race that I trained for. This race was simply a test of my fitness and a gauge to see how much work I needed to do in the weeks ahead (a lot! :). I haven't raced a half marathon since last March, when I ran the Oakland Half. My autumn mileage has been very conservative - in fact I haven't yet run over 40 miles a week. Coach is being conservative - it doesn't make sense to rush into high mileage + speed and risk getting injured. I finally feel fit and that I have a good base behind me which will carry me well into the coming weeks of super focused training.


The race! We arrived in Carlsbad early on Saturday morning and had a huge, relaxing breakfast followed by a day at the beach. My kids were in heaven - to the point that you would think we were visiting from the Midwest instead of a beach town less than two hours north.






I went on a three mile shake out run with my Mom which was really fun. I am so proud of my Mom  - she is getting back into running consistently and we were able to run the first mile and a half together.
Checked into our hotel, quickly hit the expo (no shopping or standing around to tire out my legs), dinner and off to bed.





Woke up Sunday morning at 4:45 am feeling rested and ready to go. It was really fun to take over the Women's Running Magazine Instagram account for the whole day on Sunday, so I started out with a very real, just out of bed pic of what I eat before a race.






Soon it was time to head out to the race - Jerold had a cargo bike which he would transport our two older kids around the race course, so he took off on the bike pretty early and my Mom drove me to the starting line. Traffic was light and it was easy to arrive at the race. I jumped out and started my usual dynamic warm up routine followed by a half mile run with the last sixty seconds really picking up the pace and turning over my legs. I was sweaty at the end and felt ready to run - but first, bathroom!!






The porta potty line was HUGE. I stood for quite a while waiting to go and at one point didn't think I would make it to the start on time. Luckily, I made it and a minute after I arrived they started the race.


Mile one - 7:22 - coach wanted me to start off really conservatively. I always feel like I want to run fast right away and I felt happy that I held myself back on the first mile.

Mile 2, 3, 4 - 7:04, 7:18. 7:15 - getting into a rhythm and these miles were a bit quicker than my plan dictated, so knew I had to keep things in check. I felt good - but don't we all feel good in first few miles?

Miles 5, 6, 7 - 7:25, 7:21, 7:39 - ouch on the 7:39 - there was a pretty nice gradual, longish hill on this mile and I felt okay on it, but still have work to do on becoming speedy on the hills. Overall, I was happy with the effort, especially considering where I was 3 months ago.


Miles 8, 9, 10 - 7:22, 7:21, 7:27 - After the 7:39 on mile 7, I knew I needed to adjust my posture, and focus on picking up my leg speed. By the way, for this race I took fluid at almost every stop and I took TWO GU - one at mile 7ish and another around 10. I usually only take one GU during a half, but my body needed something at 10 (plus I had the gut feeling that I needed to get this into my body, like right now - trust your gut) and I made the split decision to take another.



I was so happy to see Jerold and my kiddos at mile 11.5!! I could definitely feel it at this point and although my mind was pushing me faster, my legs were a little dead here, but I was able to push it at mile 13.


Miles 11, 12, 13 -  7:31, 7:32. 7:08  - I was supposed to be racing at this point. Coach told me to run conservative the first 10 miles and race the last 5k. Eleven and twelve were a bit humbling as I knew I wasn't racing and yet I couldn't make my body go faster. BUT, I am proud of the 7:08 for mile 13!! Progress! I still had some fight left and that was able to carry me all the way to the finish line...



That's my Mom in the background!


Final official time: 1:37:11 (7:25 pace), 5th in my age group, 59th overall woman.

I plan on racing another half in March to test the water and it will be fun to see how much improvement I will have between now and late March. I am so looking forward to challenging myself, working hard and see where this journey will lead.

I highly recommend the Carlsbad Half Marathon!

1. Gorgeous weather for running - cool, only a slight breeze, temps in the 50's, overcast. Plus the weather is incredible and Carlsbad is a really cute laid back beach town with great restaurants and lots of healthy, organic options.

2. The race was well organized. Water and energy drink (grape Ultima) at every mile, great course support, good crowds.

3. I also appreciate how the race made the decision to start a few minutes after 7:45 due to the large amount of runners stuck in the porta potty lines. This shows that they care and were paying attention.

4. Great finish line fuel, nice volunteers and just a really supportive atmosphere.

5. Loved the course, great layout, not overly crowded - the start had runners divided into waves according to time and when I began the race, I wasn't bumping into anyone. This was a huge plus!!

6. Bonus that they gave a nice technical long sleeved shirt AND a really high quality technical half zip.


Every runner also received one of these...








Now it's time to really buckle down and get serious. :)

Do you drink at every water stop in a half marathon? (I usually don't, but my body needed it).

Have you ever been to San Diego?


Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie







































Saturday, December 24, 2016

Five Ways To Gain Confidence In Your Running

We are runners.

We love to run. It fuels us and brings joy into our lives.







To achieve your best in anything, you have to be confident. Your mind needs to possess a calm, positive disposition so that you can strive to reach your goals. For different people it means various things - some runners work hard to achieve a particular time goal, other runners want to run certain mileage or days per week. Yet another runner just wants to get off the couch and start running for the very first time (you can do it!).

No matter which category you fall into, these steps will help you to feel confident each time you lace up those (super fancy!) running shoes.


1. Set a goal and go for it.

Once you set a goal, don't let anything or anyone stand in your way. Surround yourself with people who are going to support you. Have a friend who raises their eyebrows when you say you are going to start running five days a week? You can still be friends, but that is not the person you want to share your running goals with. Once the seed of doubt is planted, it begins to grow and soon you'll be convincing yourself that there is NO WAY you can run five days a week with all that you have going on in your life.
Positivity, optimism and glass half full are the words you need in your vocabulary. To achieve goals in running (and in life) you need to speak it, think it and work at it every day. Share your goals with a family member or friend who is going to lift you up and cheer for you. 

2. Flexibility is okay, but no excuses.

Yes, you have a busy life and sometimes life gets in the way. It's okay and perfectly normal to maintain some flexibility in your running, but get rid of the excuses. If you have to move your hard workout to another day during the week - do it, but don't skip it altogther unless you have a very solid reason (i.e. you are sick and can't run).
Excuses just set you up for skipping the work, which ultimately moves you further away from achieving your goals = lack of confidence.


3. Be Your Biggest Cheerleader

This is a big problem for so many runners.  We have to take the time to cheer on our small successes along the way toward the big goals. You went from the couch to running two times a week? That is huge and you should really cheer for that. The five days a week will come soon enough, but at least you aren't sitting on the couch anymore.
The one minute PR you ran in your half marathon? I know, I know - it's not the six minute PR you (freakin) trained for, but give yourself a break - you grabbed a PR!


4. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

It's so easy to run those comfortable nine mile runs on that same route that you love and that is great. However... if you want to improve - how about running the route with the three hills that intimidate you and picking up the pace on those hills? Or how about instead of six steady miles, you run two of those miles at half marathon pace? Do more runs and workouts that scare you and the payoff will be huge in the end. Bonus? You will feel pretty darn badass at the end of those workouts!


5. Keep a journal

One of the best ways to gain confidence in your running is the ability to look back at your progress over time. When you keep a log or journal (it doesn't have to be complicated or elaborate), it allows you to see just how strong you've become over time.


As we end yet another year and embark onto a new one, remember and remind yourself:

You. Are. A. Winner.


Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie