Adventures In Running

Friday, October 31, 2008


I went up to my sister's house after work tonight and got to hold the puppies! They are so adorable and Sadie is being a really good mommy to them. Once she remembered me she didn't have a problem with me holding them (as long as I paid her some attention to). The puppies are so tiny and cute and the softest little things.

Soooo tiny
Just a little handful!

Time for a closeup!

I give up
I think this one was full of food.....


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's a boy and a girl and a girl and a girl

I have been absolutely psyched because my sister had bred her Yorkshire Terrier and is going to give me a puppy for Christmas.

At a little after 6 this morning I received a video text message with a picture of Sadie and the first two puppies - a boy and a girl.

Sadie is a mom

After I went on my run, I called my sister and another little girl had been born. While we talked, the final little girl puppy (the runt of the litter) came out.

Puppies at birth

Aren't they so adorable? I can't wait to finish up my business trip in Michigan so I can get back to Utah and hold them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Can I 'Do a BQ'?

I started running seriously in 7th and 8th grade when I joined my school's junior high cross country team. At that point in time, I realized that I would never be a fast runner.

In 2004 I started competing in marathons and my first two years I mainly speed walked and learned that I could walk pretty fast - sometimes between 12-13 minutes per mile.

However, in 2006, I decided that I wanted to start running more and overcoming my fear of running and believing that I could not run. That year I started running 100 steps, walking 100 steps. I could occasionally run a couple of miles in a row - but it sure seemed like a lot of work. In addition, no matter how much I ran - I still didn't feel like a runner.

In 2007 I signed up with a personal trainer and lost about 30 pounds and realized that while I had trained a lot in the past - I had not trained to my potential. In my latest marathon - the infamous 2008 St. George Marathon - I maintained running 8 minutes, speed walking 2 minutes the entire time.

I am a member of the Fast Running Blog ( and have asked the creator of the blog, Sasha Pachev for advice.

Sasha has said the following:
9/29/2008 Some thoughts on your training. I see no reason why you could not run a 4:20 marathon if you adjusted some things in the training and in the life style. Starting with the principles. Avoid anything impulsive, and choose steady. Steady training, steady eating, steady rest. No hero acts, but no slacking either. More detailed. Train 6 days a week, and take one scheduled day of rest. Your day must not end until you've run at least 4 miles. No walking breaks. Just plod along at 13:00 pace or so, but do not walk for any reason. Even if your running pace slows down to a near-walk, still move the legs and the arms in a running motion. Do not count your walking mileage. At this point do not worry about long runs. Learn to run at least 4 miles 6 days a week without skipping. No excuses, no exceptions. Diet - if you know it is bad, do not eat it. If you know it is good, eat it to satiation. If you run 30 minutes after eating it, and it makes you throw up or feel extremely uncomfortable, it is bad, do not eat it again. This would take some paradigm shift, and self-control, but that is ultimately the secret to eating right. Stay on the trail. Do not look for a short cut. Suggested shortcuts are a trip up a mountain through some nasty thick bushes. Sleep - early to bed, early to rise. I find having a strict bed time curfew very helpful. Other - true commitment and 100% consistency are very important. You need to be willing to sacrifice lesser privileges to achieve higher goals. Work on doing it without a grudge or looking back and saying "I miss my old behavior". The fruits of the old behavior are a 5:00+ marathon. The fruits of the improved behavior are 4:20 marathon. A tree is inseparable from its fruit - the quality of the fruit is determined by the quality of the tree. You must have the courage to abandon the tree that yields 5:00+ marathons. Part of the ability of the 4:20 tree to grow lies in how well you can do the right things even when you are not in the mood to do them. While having the right attitude can provide some physiological benefits, those benefits still accrue at nearly the same rate when you do the right thing with supposedly the wrong attitude. Human physiology is a very just, in a sense, but at the same time very merciless judge. It does not care about intent very much, and rewards you primarily according to your actions.

After following this plan for a few weeks, I have asked for some additional information based upon my age and my recent training results. Here is what he has to say:

10/27/2008 When injury from impact is a concern, the general principle is thatyou should run for as far as you can risk-free, and then cross-train the remainder of your training time. In your situation I would play it by ear - listen to your body and adjust. If you do not feel you are ready for more impact on a particular day, ride a bike or do the elliptical instead. If you feel that fatigue-wise you can deal with extra cross-training on a running day, do that as well. The more aerobic training you do, the better. Of course, make sure to not overdo it - the muscles must be fresh, the energy levels decent, etc,the next day if you've done it right. When cross-training, make sure your heart rate stays at or above your regular running range. E.g when riding a bike it is easy to get lazy and coast. So pick routes with a lot of uphill where you really have to work. On the positive side of things - with consistently good diet, stronger muscles, tendons, and bones, and reduced counter-productive weight your ability to tolerate the impact of running will increase. Based on your recent 5 K time trial, I'd say that with proper training sub-4:00 marathon in St. George next year is a possibility.

St. George is also a downhill course. You are currently able to run about 3:50 marathon pace for 3 miles on a downhill with relative comfort. The biggest obstacle to running the marathon at a certain pace is to be able to run that pace at all for any significant length of distance, and you have already overcome it. The rest is mostly a matter of consistent training.

Can I do it? Only time will tell!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Ten Little Distance Runners

One of my fellow runners on posted a takeoff on Ten Little Indians about Weight Watcher's members and my warped little mind modified it to come up with the following:

Ten little distance runners waiting in a line, one couldn’t stand a porta potty and then there were nine.

Nine little distance runners say “Running is Great.” One says, “I don’t like being sweaty” and then there were eight.

Eight little distance runners say “This Is Heaven.” One over trained and then there were seven.

Seven little distance runners working on splits. One decided that the results were too hard and then there were six.

Six little distance runners looking for a runner’s high. One never got to experience it and then there were five.

Five little distance runners trying to run more. One upped his distance too quickly and then there were four.

Four little distance runners needing to pee. One couldn’t handle the squatting and then there were three.

Three little distance runners needing to do number 2. The cactus spines turned them off and then there were two.

Two little distance runners too tired to run. One decided to take a break and then there was one.
One little distance runner standing all alone, her body has gotten strong, how the pride has grown…

One little distance runner, PR’ing across the finish line…

We, each one of us, can be that one and not the other nine!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Speed is Relative

I have never considered myself a fast runner, or walker, or bicyclist, or anything. However, I have always wanted to get faster.

I ran cross country and track in junior high school and was always in last place. I was considered the team motivator because I would never give up, but keep plugging away.

When I started walking marathons in 2004, I found that I could actually walk a pretty fast pace for long periods of time. I often was doing 13 minute miles or better in marathon distances. If the truth be told - I could actually walk faster than I could run.

In the last couple of years I started running more and more of my training. Last year I finally considered myself a runner, but I was still averaging about 14-15 minutes per mile. This year I have started pushing myself more when I run in order to try and speed up. Some days I think it is working. Other days I wonder why I even try.

One of my goals has been to run a 5K (3.1 miles) in under 30 minutes. I have done it on a treadmill, but never on the road. My previous 5K PR (Personal Record) was 31:28 for a short 5K (it was only 2.9 miles) and 32:32 for a full 5K (although on a graded trail).

Today, my friend Leslie and I had our own race. We decided to see if we could break 30 minutes on a downhill course with gravity aiding us. We drove up Millcreek Canyon and parked. I set my Garmin to pace us for a sub 30 minute 5K and we took off. Leslie didn't think she could do the sub 30, but I knew she could so I stayed with her to be a pain and motivate her (plus its funner to not always run alone). We actually set a huge PR of 26:42! We couldn't believe it and felt like queens of the world. I actually didn't push all that hard, so will have to try another 5K to see how fast I can go if I really push my pace.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Choices: Uphill/Downhill

While running today, I had some time to think. Actually, I decided it was better to think about running than to think about my current run.

I had decided that I wanted to have a nice, long downhill on today's run. However, as I ran to where the downhill started, I realized that I had to do a lot more uphill running in order to get where I wanted to go than there would be downhill running. This was probably the toughest run I have ever done (not counting marathons and ultra-marathons) and I came to some interesting conclusions.

Uphill benefits:
  • Excellent cardio workout
  • What goes UP must come DOWN
  • Pride

Downhill benefits:

  • Excellent quadriceps workout
  • The breeze blowing through my hair
  • Speed
  • Carefree running (when not on trails)

It wasn't until August, 2007 that I decided I had to learn how to run hills. I was never much of a runner before then, but when I did run, I liberally followed the ultrarunner theme of 'walk the uphills, run the downhills and flats'. (Except my version was run the downhills only). As my fitness improved, I began to start running up hills - unless I decided the hill was steep enough that I would actually be faster race walking them. It has taken a while - but I am conquering the hill demons. As a matter of fact, I think I might be 'stronger' now on uphills than I am on downhills.

Final conclusion: Hills are a pain and hard work. Downhills are the reward for making it uphill. I take a lot more pride in conquering a long uphill than I do a long downhill.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Current Reading and Listening Pleasure

Tonight I purchased two new CD's and am listening to them. The first is 5 Stars - Favorites from the 5 Browns. I have read several newspaper articles about the 5 piano playing siblings, but this is my first opportunity to listen to them and I am really enjoying their versions of the songs.

The second CD is Silver Screen Serenade by Jenny Oaks Baker. She is a fantastic violinist and I saw her perform last week at the BYU Homecoming Spectacular. I love songs from movies and I love listening to the violin and this album combines them both. I remember Jenny when she was a little baby back when her parents lived in Chicago and also running into her mother and her when she was young and her father was BYU President. Watching her play last week reminded me of how much I enjoyed watching my daughter learn and progress on the violin and her years with the Utah Youth Symphony.

I have also been reading several books:
I am almost done reading Twilight in Italian. It has taken me a lot longer than when I read it in English - but I can imagine Edward Cullen whispering sweet words to me in Italian this way.

I am also reading the entire Spencer series of books by Robert B. Parker. I really like Spenser because he is quick witted and a bit sarcastic and very funny. He is also resourceful and independent but a bit of a romantic. He kind of reminds me of myself, except I am female and much more intelligent.

I picked up a new book tonight - The Yorkshire Terrier. My sister's Yorkie - Sadie Sue - is going to have puppies in the next week or so and one of them is going to be mine. I am getting so excited. I didn't think I was going to be, but I spend a lot of my running time thinking about where to put the puppy, how to make time to play with the puppy, where the puppy will sleep, etc. Having a small dog will be quite a change. We had a beautiful Siberian Huskie/Australian Shepherd/Mutt dog called Max for 14 years and were so sad to have to put her down. I won't be able to run much with my new dog (unless I put it in a baby carrier) - but will really love having some company around my house.


Enough with the nagging!

My daughter and some other friends keep telling me that I need to get a blog. I do have a running blog at, but they want something more detailed.

I've tried pointing out to them that I don't have much of a life – but maybe this is their way of having me get one.

A little bit about me:

I am a single (divorced) working mother with two children.

My daughter Jennifer is 21 and lives in Naples, Italy (usually with her husband – but he is deployed at this point in time). They have two children who are living with their mother in the states. So – I have two grandchildren – Elise is 12 and Brad is 10.

My son Kevin is 18 and is attending (and living at) the University of Utah.

I am interested in running, hiking, walking, reading and playing the banjo. Hopefully, as I post about my adventures in all of these interests and about my family, someone, somehow, somewhere will find it interesting.