Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Weight Loss Progress

I decided to make a point of weighing in and recording the number every day in December, with the intention of losing weight instead of gaining weight over the holidays. Well, this month also included final exams in  grad school early in December, a new twist. I succeeded in this goal, recording my weight every day in December for a "whopping" loss of 0.2 lbs! I'm disappointed that it's not a bigger number, but I'm happy I didn't have a net gain for the month. My weight did fluctuate a bit across the weeks, but I've been at a plateau for the past three days.

I had a good workout at the gym this morning, a good way to start the weekend!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


The past week's workouts went pretty well, with more time on the elliptical and less time on the recumbent bike. Elliptical workouts are a bit harder for me, but closer to the run/walk efforts I plan to do in the spring.

I've had mantras at times over the past few years, words or sayings to help me get through workouts or races. Well, I just found out last week that I'm going to a conference in Anaheim next June. While I'm there, I hope to get over to Disneyland. Now I want to be in the best shape I can be for walking around and riding rides at Disney (in case I get to go!). It should be good for motivation over the next six months, I figure! :-) 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday Gym Workout

I had a well-rounded workout at the gym yesterday, which included some time on the stationary bike, the elliptical, some upper body strength training with dumbbells, and a little bit of core work. I don't feel as sore this morning as I expected to. Either I've gotten stronger or I need to push myself a little bit harder. Maybe a bit of both.

I tried a new elliptical machine there at the gym, one with a TV screen, but the mileage was quite off from another elliptical machine I normally use there. After 7 minutes, it said I'd only gone 2/10 of a mile! I'm slow, but usually go more than twice that speed on the elliptical. I got off that one (the TV screen turned out to be a nuisance anyway!),  went to do something else, and hopped on my normal brand of elliptical machine (sans TV), and had a good workout there.

I still have my eye on the half marathons in March and April (and hopefully May), but am enjoying my time in the gym for now, especially during this cold weekend here in central North Carolina.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Fun on the Elliptical Machine

I went to the gym last night instead of yesterday morning, thinking I'd do a short 10-min. workout on the elliptical, but I ended up staying on for 45 minutes. The music on my iTouch really helped! I'm encouraged by this endurance workout during the week, and I plan to continue. This is my favorite gym machine, because it gives me a great workout without bothering the plantar fasciitis in my left foot. It's also great for the calorie burn! :-)

Friday, December 02, 2011

I'm Gonna be a Flying Pirate!

I've signed up for another half marathon, the Flying Pirate next April 22, on the North Carolina coast! That's two half marathons (Tobacco Road and Flying Pirate) in two months (March and April). I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I want to shoot for it! Truth be known, I WANT to sign up for a third half marathon in the North Carolina mountains scheduled for May, but I can't bring myself to fork over the money just yet!

More truth be known, this coming "spring semester" is the perfect time for me to shoot for membership in the Half Fanatics. I'm not in the best shape or weight for trying this at the moment, but thank goodness I don't have to do a half marathon right now, today. (Whew!) But since I'm only taking one grad school course next semester (and it's not a Saturday class), I'll have more time to train, so I NEED to make the time to train!

I've hit the gym more frequently in the past week, and am working on building endurance and burning calories without putting too much impact on my feet yet. (Earlier this year, the podiatrist told me that longer-than-normal metatarsal bones are causing my toe pain after 3-4 miles, and custom orthotics have been little help. Earlier this fall, I had plantar fasciitis.) One thing I've learned this past training week is that the elliptical machine gives me a great workout! I can tell because I'm kinda tired the rest of the day after a morning elliptical workout, and often the day after as well. This tells me I need to keep working on my cardio and endurance, but that, at least for now, I need to honor the Rest Day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Good Gym Workout

I had another solid gym workout before work this morning, between the stationary bike and the elliptical machine. I love early morning workouts, since there's such a feeling of accomplishment at getting a workout done first thing. I tell ya, though, I'm tired! I can tell I need to work on my endurance. For that, I'm thankful for a gym with plenty of cardio equipment. Since I've had such an issue with my feet the past few years, I'm glad to be able to give them a break early in this half marathon training cycle.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Training for the 2012 Tobacco Road Half Marathon

Toni and Lesley during the 2011 Tobacco Road Half Marathon
Okay, I did it. I've signed up for the 2012 Tobacco Road Half Marathon! I did this half marathon last year, and it was my worst half marathon time ever. I finished it, and was happy about the finish, but there's a lot to work on, obviously! I missed the City of Oaks Half Marathon earlier this month due to plantar fasciitis and a busy fall semester with grad school going on (including a Saturday class!). I've signed up for spring semester, and am only taking one class (on a weekday night), and my foot is feeling much better, so I'm going for it!

I decided to buy a parking pass for the 2012 race as well. Last year, there was a big snafu with the busing people from the remote parking area. George and I got there very early, so we didn't have a problem with being at the race on time, but it was a hassle having to catch the bus back to our car. (Other runners were late to the race because of the buses running late.) I decided to park "on-site" this time. The parking pass was only $5, and since I signed up on "Black Friday," I got $10 off registration anyway.

So, I had a really good workout at the gym yesterday, and it felt great! I didn't walk or run, but worked on crosstraining for conditioning purposes. I'm going to work on conditioning for another week or two, and see how things go from there. I've also started working on my diet (again).

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about going for Half Fanatics membership this spring (starting with Tobacco Road). Here's hoping I can stay healthy! :-)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Lake Lynn Walk

Lake Lynn
I got a late start to my workout  yesterday, but I still wanted to be a little adventurous, so I decided to start my workout at Lake Lynn, a lake in north Raleigh. I was glad I went, because it's very pretty, and turned out to be a very nice change of scenery! Since the community center there was closed, and I needed to use the facilities somewhere, I didn't stay as long as I wanted on the Lake Lynn trails, but I would love to go back!

Here are my pictures from the 1.26 mile walk around part of Lake Lynn. I hope to return to make it all the way around the lake sometime!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A New Use for Duct Tape

A New Use for Duct Tape by Lesley Looper
A New Use for Duct Tape, a photo by Lesley Looper on Flickr.
I took this picture before the 2011 City of Oaks Marathon earlier this month. George commented on this barefoot runner standing near us, and he showed us the bottom of his feet. I got permission to take a photo of the bottom of one of his feet.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Water Aerobics

I returned to water aerobics class at the gym on Monday night, and I'm still feeling the effects! In fact, my left hamstrings are a new soreness this morning! I won't go back to water arobics class this evening because my first final exam is looming on Saturday, but I hope to return soon. Good workout!

Clipart from

Monday, November 07, 2011

My First Marathon Support Gig

George and Me Before the 2011 City of Oaks
While I've volunteered at a marathon before, yesterday was my first experience of supporting a runner during a marathon. George was shooting to complete his first marathon, the City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh, NC. To help me help him, he developed maps with mile markers and ETAs, and packed a bag of possible supplies for me to have at each stop. It was fun to see him at each stop, though I discovered how tiring it can be! My advice: people doing support need to get rest before the race too! I stopped in at the Cafe Carolina at Cameron Village in between support points, and I actually fell asleep in the restaurant! (Glad I woke up in time to get to the next location!)

I'm sad (for George) to say that he didn't quite make it to the end. He suffered calf cramps for about 10 miles (Holy Cow! TEN?!) before finally deciding to call it quits after 21 miles. He's bummed, of course, but otherwise doing okay. He plans to get lots of R&R today.

I continue to be very proud of George and his running, and hope he recovers quickly. He does plan to try another marathon sometime in the future.

Thanks to Ashby for taking the picture above of George and me before the race started!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Picking Up Swag for a Race I'm Not Running

I visited the City of Oaks Marathon and Half Marathon Expo today to pick up my number, shirt, and other stuff for tomorrow's half, only I'm not running! :-/ As I've mentioned earlier, plantar fasciitis and grad school have gotten in the way in recent months, so it's the right decision, for sure. Still, it ended up feeling a little odd walking out with this stuff I'm not going to use tomorrow. I went with George, who's running his first marathon tomorrow, though, and it was nice to be there with him! I also saw several runners I know, so it was fun to be able to wish them luck in person, rather than on Facebook only!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Walking with Some Pain

I haven't been to the gym this week, as I've been busy with school (class and looming deadlines), but I have been taking some walk breaks at work. The weather's been great for it, and getting some fresh air during the workday is always nice.

The catch? I'm feeling the plantar fasciitis in my left foot, even though I haven't been doing that much exercise, AND in my RIGHT foot, I'm thinking it's a heel spur. *sigh* I'm already wearing good running shoes (even to work lately--lucky!), and have custom orthotics in them. Guess I need to work on icing and such when I can remember to do it.

Meanwhile, I'm going to look into some classes at the gym once this week's school deadlines are over. Maybe water aerobics? Spinning/cycling? Any other suggestions? I love being out in the fresh air for exercise, but I don't own a bike (and don't have a place to store it if I did).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ahhh, Massage!

I had a professional massage a little while ago, my first one in several months! It feels like I have a new upper back! Holy cow!

Meanwhile, I've gotten a little more exercise this past week, and that feels good too. Here's hoping there will be more of that soon. Grad school continues to eat up a lot of free time, but that's definitely a priority right now.

Meanwhile, George is gearing up for his first marathon a week from today! Yippee! I won't be running the accompanying half marathon that I paid for, but it is what it is. I stopped running because of plantar fasciitis in my left foot, but classes and studying have quickly filled the void I've felt in the past when I stopped running to heal. So, I'm really looking forward to supporting George during next Sunday's marathon. I'm sure he'll do great!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Finally Back to the Gym!

I'm on staycation this week, so I finally made it back to the gym this morning, and it felt wonderful! My exercise regimen has fallen by the wayside, between work+school and an upset stomach, diagnosed as gastritis) this past week. I'm finally feeling better, with a new medication and a change in diet, so I'm on the mend and had the time this morning for a long workout! I ended up staying on the stationary bike the whole time, so not the most intense workout ever, but I stayed on for 65 minutes and completed 11.51 miles. Yay!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Late Workout

I had a productive afternoon of studying, but missed my morning workout. I decided to go tonight, even though it was about 9:15 PM when I got out the door! Had a great workout on the bike and the elliptical, and even tried a new machine, the Precor AMT (Adaptive Motion Trainer), for like two minutes. I'll have to practice on that machine, but other than that, a great workout to end the weekend!

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Shoes Ordered

I finally ordered some new running shoes. I've been needing some new ones, but have been putting off buying them, between giving the foot some rest and the hectic pace of grad school. I read a blog post this morning that reminded of the importance of making time for exercise, though, and it inspired me to make worn out running shoes an excuse of the past!

Stay tuned!

Monday, September 12, 2011

More Crosstraining

I'm still taking a break from running as the plantar fasciitis in my left foot heals. Meanwhile, I've been to the gym two days in a row now to crosstrain on the gym equipment, and it's been a surprisingly refreshing break from running. I think part of it is that I've been able to concentrate a little more on grad school, now that I've let go of my running training plan for a bit.

In some ways, I feel like I've traded in my identity as a runner for a new identity as a part-time grad student. I'm definitely enjoying grad school, though it's a lot of work and has wiped out much of my free time. I'm not ready to totally ditch running, but it could be that I need to adjust my goals for the next few years and concentrate on different ones. For instance, in my quest to run more half marathons, I have missed running the 5K races that I ran when I first started running again. One of the bright sides of training for shorter distances is that I'd run less chance of having the recurring pain in my right toes at distances of 3-4 miles (due to extra long metatarsals, not interested in bone-shortening surgery, thank you very much).

So, we'll see! Meanwhile, I'm back on the elliptical and the stationary bike, plus some weight lifting and other things. Maybe I'll plug into a fitness class or two for the social thing that I'm missing with the running group.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Plantar Fasciitis Strikes Again

I've been in denial, but now I've got to admit that plantar fasciitis is back in my left foot! I've been feeling the twinges for a while, but I wasn't able to finish my run last Thursday because of the pain. I ran for 20 minutes this morning, and while not as bad, I decided to stop running and hop on the bike before it got worse. *sigh*

I'm not sure what this will mean for my half marathon training, but meanwhile, grad school has me busy and distracted a bit from running. Maybe this is a good time to let my foot heal up a bit. I'll work on keeping up my crosstraining in the mean time.

On a side note, George and I went to Savannah for the weekend and had a really nice time! Check out my pictures here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekend Update

Well, this weekend's run was delayed because of my first Saturday class for grad school. It meets every other Saturday from 9-3, and I was pretty pooped by the time I got out of class yesterday afternoon. It was also a busy weekend in general, as I had a birthday dinner to go to on Friday night, and a birthday party to attend last night. So, I delayed my weekend run to this (Sunday) morning! Since we were out late last night, I was slow getting to the track, and it had warmed up outside!!
I had 6x800 on my training schedule for this weekend. Since I was pretty tired this morning from the busy weekend, I thought about reducing the number of 800s, but I decided to get through them, no matter what (barring injury), for the mental training.

This morning's 800/Yasso/half mile splits:

1) 9:47
2) 9:48
3) 9:45
4) 9:41
5) 9:39
6) 10:17

As you can see, I tanked on the last one, but got it done. I'm now halfway through my training plan! Next weekend calls for 11 miles.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This Week's Training and Life Outside of Running

I've continued my training this week, although it's taken me a little longer to recover from Saturday's 9 miler. On Monday, I ran 2.45 miles in 50:04 minutes, for a 20:27 average pace. I see a pattern now where I slow down the week after a longer weekend run. I wonder if it would help if I changed my runs to Tuesdays and Thursdays before work, instead of Mondays and Wednesdays. Maybe.

This morning, I hit the gym and rode 5.15 miles in 35:01 minutes. I felt like I worked harder than the clock and mileage indicated, but I did ride on a different stationary bike today, and am still a little tired. Huh.

Meanwhile, my laptop got wet on Sunday night (rain from leaky roof came through my home office ceiling and soaked my computer!!), and while it booted up last night, it wasn't as happy this morning. I was able to turn the laptop on and putter for a few minutes before it shut down on its own, and wouldn't come back up at all. I'll try again tonight, but I'm not hopeful.

[On a side note, I haven't been able to sync my Garmin Forerunner to my online training logs to update them with my runs, but as soon as I get set back on a personal computer, I look forward to doing that. I'm at my geekiest with numbers about my runs!]

On a happier note, I'm starting graduate school today! I'll be working on my Master of Library Science (MLS) at North Carolina Central University in Durham, and my first class is this evening! This has been a goal of mine for over 10 years, so I'm feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness today. :-) I'll have a class on Tuesday evenings and every other Saturday, so I'll have to be creative with my half marathon training, for sure.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Longest Run/Walk of the Season

Yesterday I completed my longest distance of this training season, 9.09 miles! I'm still tired this morning, so it's a rest day from exercise. Still, it felt good to finish the distance yesterday morning.

George and I Before the Run
(Thanks to George for the kiss, and thanks to Ashby for taking the shot!)

I started early in the parking lot where the Raleigh Galloway group was starting, since I wanted to be in the annual big group picture at 6:30ish. I tried 15-sec/45-sec run/walk intervals as Jeff Galloway suggested for my recent Magic Mile, but it drove me a little nuts, so I went back to my regular 30/30 interval again. Maybe I'll try it again, or fiddle with it and try 20/40 later. (I wish I'd done that at the end of yesterday's mileage, now that I think about it!)

After the group picture, Ashby was kind enough to take the picture above of George and me! (Thanks, Ashby!) Then I headed off to another part of the American Tobacco Trail to finish my run/walk. I felt pretty strong for much of the run on the other part of the ATT, but started to fade toward the end. I ended up walking it in, but wish now that I'd just shortened the running interval. But I finished, and I'm relieved about that.

9:09 miles in 3:14:32, 21:24 avg pace

According the Magic Mile prediction calculator, I should be training at a 23:48 pace, so I'm pretty comfortably ahead of the game there. My predicted half marathon race pace is 21:02, which I still have several weeks to improve on. (And I certainly wasn't doing a race effort yesterday!) Maybe I'll try another Magic Mile this week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yesterday's Run

I did another 45-minute run around Brier Creek yesterday, knocking out 2.31 miles for a 19:30ish pace. I was pleased to get the average pace under 20 minutes again. I had to focus and push a little, which is good training too. I've gone back to a 30/30 run/walk ratio, after trying 20 second run/walk intervals once. I like the feel of 30/30 better.

I decided to pass on water aerobics last night, since it's usually a pretty strenuous class, and I don't want to risk injury at this point. Crosstraining is great, but not at the risk of injury or knocking me out of a run very often. I did miss the exercise time with George, though.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bike Ride at the Gym

I hit the gym this morning and rode the stationary bike for 6.01 miles in 35 minutes, with a few intervals thrown in for good measure. While I was riding, someone on the treadmill said she recognized me running through her neighborhood yesterday morning! So we introduced ourselves, enjoying the small world factor. :-)

After the bike, I did a little core work, not a lot, but enough to get me restarted on it. I don't do the core work much when I skip the gym and run outdoors. I guess that's one of the negative trade-offs of hitting the roads. There isn't any good reason I can't do some core work at home, except for the motivation thing. When I'm at the gym, others are doing the same sort of thing and it's a reminder. (And sometimes I get good ideas from watching the gym rats!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Another Monday Run

This morning, I cranked out a run in slightly cooler temperatures, which felt great! My pace was better than both of last week's mid-week runs, but it's still slower than the sub-20:00 runs I was doing before that. Part of it may be that I'm running for a [slightly] longer amount of time, part of it may be a lack of sleep lately. I can definitely work on the sleep...except that I'm starting graduate school next week! I'll do what I can in that area, though.

2.31 miles in 47:01 (30-sec/30-sec run/walk ratio)

I've also reset my weight loss goal on (where I have the most weigh-in data), and have decided to make weight loss goals for a week at a time. I've been setting long-term weight loss goals this year, and have mostly floundered. Now I have a weight loss goal for the next week, and a new target weight for next Monday, 8/22.I'll post how that goes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

First 800s Workout in the Books

In place of a long run on yesterday's training schedule, the assignment was to do 4x800s at race pace. So, I used my projected half marathon race pace per mile based on my current Magic Mile average, which is 21:02, which translates into a 10:31 minute half mile, 800, or "Yasso." I decided that, since I only had four of them to do on yesterday's schedule, I'd try to pick up the pace. After a walking warm up, I nailed all four of them, with some walking in between. I walked a half mile afterward to cool down.

Here are my 800/half mile/Yasso splits:

1) 0.50 in 9:51 min
2) 0.50 in 9:42 min
3) 0.50 in 9:47 min
4) 0.50 in 9:43 min

Not quite the negative splits I was going for, but not bad. I felt pretty decent afterward too, so either I didn't run hard enough, or I'm getting in better shape. A little of both, perhaps.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mid-week Runs

I haven't blogged as much this week, but I have gotten my mid-week runs in. On Monday, I went to the American Tobacco Trail in Durham, and completed 2.44 miles in 48:01 minutes for a 20:36 min/mile average pace. This morning I returned to the Brier Creek area, and completed 2.30 miles in 47:01 minutes, for a 20:26 min/mile average pace. I was happy to get a little faster today, but I've been feeling sluggish in my run/walks this week. Last weekend was pretty busy, with a lot of time on my feet both Saturday and Sunday, and I think that has factored in. I need to work on getting my mid-week pace back below 20:00 min/mile, though, on the way to getting faster overall.

This weekend's Galloway training schedule calls for 4x800 in place of the long run. I have a love/hate relationship with speedwork, but I hope it will help! I need to decide which track to hit.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

I'm a Weather Wimp!

Thunderstorms abounded this morning, so I decided to head for the gym treadmill instead of running in the rain. I missed the Galloway group, and was looking forward to trying out my new long run run/walk interval outside, but I enjoyed the air conditioning and dryness of the gym for a change of pace--at least starting out! The treadmill got boring after a while, but I managed to get my long run/walk DONE! The goal was 7.5 miles, and I finished 7.61 miles in 2:29:27. Week #3 of my training plan is in the books. Next week's workouts will be a little longer mid-week, and next Saturday the plan calls for several Yassos in place of the long run. Huh. I'll let you know how all of that goes!

Clipart from

Friday, August 05, 2011

Small Running World

I'm in the process of getting many of my medical check-ups out of the way before I start graduate school later this month at North Carolina Central University. Yesterday I had my annual physical with a new-to-me gynecologist, and it just so happens that he just ran his first half marathon, the Inside-Out Sports Classic, back in May! He's signed up for the Outer Banks Half Marathon in November, and I did that one last year, so we really hit it off with the running thing! I liked his bedside manner as well, and also enjoyed talking with the nurse who assisted.

Although "going to the doctor" isn't my favorite thing to do, it feels good to be getting my health ducks in a row.

Clipart from

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

New Run/Walk Interval Today

I emailed Jeff Galloway yesterday to ask his advice about my run/walk interval for the long run, based on an average of my recent Magic Miles. I received a nice email back from him, and he suggested 15-45 sec run/walk intervals for my long runs, and either 30-30 or 20-20 intervals for my mid-week training. I've been run/walking at 30 second intervals lately, so I decided to try 20-20 this morning. It felt different, but the jury's still out on whether or not I like it better than my regular 30-30 intervals. I'll try it out again next week.

I ran on the American Tobacco Trail again, and went 1.81 miles in 35:01 minutes for a 19:23 average min/mile pace. Nothing spectacular, but it's done. It did feel slightly cooler this morning, and it felt good to be out in the fresh air. What a nice way to start the day!

Here's a YouTube video of part of the course I was on this morning, though I didn't go as fast as the biking videographer, of course! :-)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Anyone Tried MyFitnessPal?

I've just recently discovered MyFitnessPal, an online weight loss/food journal/exercise website, and decided to register this morning. It reminds me a bit of FatSecret, but with a much better name (especially considering my interest in fitness and running)! :-) It has an iPhone/iTouch app that I've downloaded, but haven't started using yet.

I've signed up for several websites of this kind, and I keep looking for just the right fit to keep me motivated. It's interesting to see what's out there, for sure. Maybe MyFitnessPal will carry me through! If you happen to use MyFitnessPal, I'd love to know what you think about it, and whether or not it's worked for you. My "handle" there is lllooper.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Another "Magic Mile" Test`

I decided to head to the American Tobacco Trail this morning for a change of pace and do a timed mile, known in Galloway lingo as the Magic Mile.It's a predictor of finishing times for various racing distances, as well as a way to figure out what pace someone should be training at for different race distances. Anyway, I'd put off doing this Magic Mile test on last week's training schedule because of the pulled muscle in my lower back. My back's much better after buying a heating pad Friday after work, but it's still not 100%, and I felt it this morning during that Magic Mile! (Boo hiss!)

I did warm up for a half mile, first with walking, and then with run/walk intervals of 30 seconds each. That felt pretty decent. On the timed mile, I ran as much as I could, and walked a little bit. I did have to cross over a couple of streets along the trail, but I lucked out with little-to-no car traffic. I ended up with a 17:30 minute mile, 8 seconds slower than my Magic Mile time last month. A bit disappointing, but I'm sure it would've been faster if my lower back hadn't been a little sore.

When I worked with a running coach, she used to have me do an exercise called "alternate superman" as part of my core strengthening routine, but I've gotten away from doing it! I need to start back and stick with that part of my training, because a sore back stinks (and probably could've been avoided)!

Here's an example of the alternate superman exercise I'll start doing again soon:

Back to the Magic Mile, the Jeff Galloway website suggests doing 4 Magic Miles over several weeks, then dropping the slowest and averaging the fastest three times for a more accurate snapshot of current ability. I did that and came up with a 17:32 average. According to the Magic Mile calculator on the Galloway site, I should be training at a 23:48 min/mile pace for a half marathon, which makes my 21:05 min/mile average pace this past Saturday look pretty good. It also predicts I'd finish a half marathon in 4:35:37 in a hard effort under ideal conditions. Considering that my last half marathon (back in March) was 4:50:06 (chip), I'd certainly take a 15 minute improvement!! Still, I'm not where I want to be, which is definitely a sub-4:00 half marathon finish (and that's just for starters!).

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Galloway Long Run #13 (Plus Pancakes!)

I had a 6 mile run/walk on this morning's calendar, and I'm happy to report that I completed it. It was a good bit slower than last week's run, but it felt really good to finish it AND stay on track with my training schedule.

I started at about 5:30 AM on the Bent Creek Greenway in Raleigh, and followed it to the Shelley Lake Trail. This YouTube video (done by someone else) shows my path today (though I went the opposite way around the lake):

While I was on the trail, I passed a number of other Raleigh Galloway runners, and it was fun, as always to see them out there. Even though I'd set out on my own this morning, the camaraderie among the group as a whole is very encouraging! Thanks to Ashby for shooting this picture of me in passing!

After the run, we had the annual Raleigh Galloway/ North Carolina Roadrunners Club pancake breakfast, cooked by volunteers who gave up their training time this morning to cook for over 400 runners! The food and company were great!

Here's a map of my run/walk course this morning:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Morning Run

It was another pretty warm, pretty humid morning, but it was a good run/walk. I went to the same neighborhood to run this morning, but decided to go in another direction. It was a nice change of pace, with a few sprinklers to run through, to boot! I ended up going 1.92 miles in 37 minutes, for a 19:14 average pace. It's nice when I can go a little farther AND a little faster than the last run! Progress doesn't always show itself in the numbers on every run, so I'll take it when I can get it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Morning Run

This morning's run was another score for the warm outdoors! I've just gotten into the habit of running outside lately, though it really helps that I'm able to get out there early, before work, instead in the post-work heat of the late afternoon.

Today's running assignment was 35 minutes (up from 30 minutes on last week's mid-week training), so I went to a nearby neighborhood to pound the pavement. I ended up going 1.81 miles in 35 minutes, mostly doing a 30/30 run/walk interval. I pushed the pace a little to get my average pace under 19:30, and ended up with a 19:20 average pace for the run. If it weren't for being cautious about a pulled back muscle from the weekend, I think I could have gone faster. I'll keep working on that!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Galloway Run #12 Complete

Boy, this morning's run was a hot one! I'm glad I started early, got about 3 miles in (starting about 5:10am) before the regular Galloway run at 6:30. The time & temp sign I passed on the course around 5:15am read 82F, and it warmed up pretty quickly as the sun rose. Those first 3 miles were relatively flat, but the regular course for the Galloway group was pretty hilly through the North Hills neighborhood. I was glad I only had two more miles to do. My new training plan called for 5 miles today, but I ended up doing 5.26 miles in 1:45:01, for a 19:57 average pace. It's my best average pace for a long run since shorter mileage in early July, so I'm pretty pleased with the progress, especially for a hot, hot day. The rest of the group did longer miles, but I was happy to complete the assigned mileage on my newest training schedule. Week #1 is in the books!

Afterward, I got a little bit of walking in by walking to the nearest Panera, instead of driving, to meet some Galloway friends for breakfast. From there, George and I went to a nearby gym that has a saltwater pool AND hot tub, great for soaking!

I'm still having some lower back pain, muscle spasms, I think, which I first noticed after the run. I did a little hand massaging, then foam rollering, but both hurt!! I'm off to try an ice pack.

Here's my course map of today's run.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another Treadmill Delay

I decided to head to the gym to walk on the treadmill this morning, but when I got there, I decided to walk outside instead! (Glad I had my Garmin Forerunner with me to help make it happen.) There's a paved trail that goes around my gym and meanders through part of RTP, so I walked around there for 1.5 miles in 31:16 minutes.

After the walk, I finally went inside the gym (first time this week!), and got a short bike ride and some (upper body) weights in for a well-rounded workout. I'm feeling a little tired from the workout, so I think (and hope) I'll sleep well tonight.

When I arrived at the gym this morning, it had a new name. Read all about the change here.

Meanwhile, I've dropped a couple of pounds in the past week, so there's progress again on the diet front. Yay!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Morning Run

I feel like I'm getting into the groove with the new training schedule. This morning's run was my second on the new plan, and my second outdoor run in a row. It feels nice to break away from the gym for my runs, even though I'm slower outside than on the treadmill. My weight training has slacked off this week, and I need to get back on track with that, but one thing at a time, I guess.

This morning's run was 1.53 miles in 30:02 minutes, slightly farther than Monday's 30-minute run, with 30-second run/walk intervals. I tried to pay attention to cadence this time, though I didn't bother to keep count. I got a good night's sleep last night, which helped too, I bet.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Week, New Training Plan

This morning I started a new training plan, Jeff Galloway's half marathon training schedule for a time goal. For now, I'm going to follow it as closely as I can, but I'll keep in mind that I may need to be flexible down the road and scale back a bit. Here's the link. Scroll down to the second plan to see what I'll be working on.

So, I did the 30 minute run on today's schedule outside for a change. I'd gotten into the habit of going to the air conditioned gym and running on the treadmill. Because I run more quickly on the treadmill, that's always a confidence boost. In the big scheme of things, though, running outside is more realistic, and allows me to track my progress on a wider variety of surfaces. Anyway, I ran through the Brier Creek Country Club neighborhood, and had plenty of company, including several dog walkers. (I enjoy seeing people's dogs, as long as they're leashed as I'm running by! Who knows, maybe being chased by a dog might help me with my speed, though!)

Today's workout: 1.51 miles in 30:01 min., 30 sec/30 sec run/walk intervals, sunny and around 75F

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back to Triple Lakes?

I'm thinking about heading back to Triple Lakes, the course of my first marathon, this year, but to do the half marathon instead. I still have some solid training to do, but I'm thinking hard about it! I just ran across a race report by "Barefoot Josh" (aka Josh Sutcliffe) for the Triple Lakes Half, and had to share! Follow this link to check it out.

If you're interested in learning more about barefoot running, Josh's site looks like an informative one, and if you're into North Carolina races (as he seems to be), maybe you'll run into him! (He'd be the one without any shoes, apparently!)

So, I haven't paid for this race yet, but will post, of course, if I decide to. If I can stay on target with my newest training schedule, it would be a great fit. I'd just need to be careful on the trail course and remember to use it as a training run.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Another Difficult Long Run

I had another challening long run today, but this time weather wasn't the problem. I think that lack of sleep and good nutrition over the past few days were the biggest factors. My right foot toe pain came on early today as well, at around two miles, which was surprising and discouraging. I'm icing my toes now as I type. I need to do more icing, in addition to getting better sleep and food inside of me.

Total mileage today was 4.1 miles. Blah on the time and min/mile average. I got it done. Tomorrow's another day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Who's On MapMyRun?

While I've been a member of the website MapMyRun for quite some time, I just rediscovered it this week! It feels like a fun new running toy, and I really like the various stats it provides (like elevation). I'm still getting acquainted with the features of the "plain vanilla" version, but it's fun to study the route(s) on a map.

I've decided to do about 4 miles tomorrow, and have mapped out a couple of different possible courses. I'll be starting with the Raleigh Galloway group, but will do shorter mileage than the group has planned. George and I will be doing the same mileage, so we plan to run together.

Are you on MapMyRun, what's your favorite feature? Is the premium membership worth it? If you're not on MapMyRun, check it out and let me know what you think.

If you're interested in being "MapMyRun buddies," click on my MapMyRun profile and click on "Add as Friend."

Clipart from

Thursday, July 14, 2011

No Run Today

I'd planned to get a run in this morning, but last night's water aerobics class was a tough one! After the class was over, the instructor shared that she was a competitive swimmer for over a decade, and the drills she had us do were some of the things she did on her swim team. No arguments about that. It was a great workout!

Clipart from

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mile Repeats

I decided to run on the treadmill before work this morning, since today's heat index is in triple digits Fahrenheit, and I usually prefer to exercise in the morning anyway. My plan was to "get some running in," but it turned into mile repeats! This happened mostly because I had to go to the bathroom, but wanted to see how long I could last before I really had to stop and run to the ladies locker room! Maybe this is TMI, but it's how it happened to work out today. In retrospect, I'm glad I did it, and I can tell it was a good workout, more for endurance than speed this time, really. I did two mile repeats, which was plenty for my first time, especially since I ran without walk intervals for both! I've been feeling it for the rest of the day, in some overall tiredness. A good workout overall, though. In the near future, I think I'll try some shorter distance intervals (quarter and half miles) to change things around and work on my speed.

0.52 mile walk (warmup) in 10:05 (19:23 avg pace)
1 mile run in 17:24
1 mile run in 17:03

The second one was faster than last week's 17:22 Magic Mile outdoors, which reminds me how much easier it is for me to run on the treadmill in an air conditioned gym! Ah, well!

My upper body is sore from yesterday's strength training,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gym Workout

This morning I rode 5:04 miles in 31:02 minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym. My legs still felt a bit tired, probably from Saturday's hilly long run. I decided not to worry about it and moved on the the weights for some upper body strength training (machine and dumbbell combo). I felt like I had a good upper body workout this morning! I think that if  I can be consistent with the strength training (especially core and upper body), it could really help me with the running.

I'm still mulling over my long run last Saturday, and how hard it was. Part of it was the humidity, heat, and hills, I know, but it was my slowest average pace for the season! I decided to plug my most recent Magic Mile time in on Jeff Galloway's website, and it says I should be training at a 23:35 minute/mile pace for a half marathon! It makes my 20:26 min/mile average pace from Saturday seem pretty good. It makes me wonder if my Magic Mile last week could've been faster. Maybe, but it felt like a pretty hard effort. Well, it could be that I'm still doing a pretty short long run (6 miles this past weekend), and I'll need the cushion of the extra minutes when the longer miles kick in, especially while it's still so hot! But I also hope that my endurance and speed will continue to improve, resulting in a faster Magic Mile.

Meanwhile, I've been tweaking my half marathon training schedule a bit, based on my target race and class schedule for the fall. (I'm starting graduate school part time in August, and will have a class every other Saturday.) I'm actually looking forward to making it work. Weekend long runs will be more challenging on class weekends, but I'm determined to make it work!

Clipart from

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Galloway Long Run

This morning the Raleigh Galloway group met at the Athlete's Foot store in Cameron Village for our long run. This course has a reputation for being hilly, and it was very humid and hot today too! It ended up taking it slower than usual, but I made it! My goal for today was 6-7 miles. I did .20 mile as a warmup before the official group run started. Once the run got going, I made it to the bridge over I-440, the first time I've made it to the bridge this year, so it was a personal milestone. Making it to the bridge also meant I was at the 3-mile mark and had 3 miles to get back to my car! It was a long 3 miles back, and my 30 sec/30 sec run/walk intervals broke down going back. The pain in my right toes returned in the late miles, a little discouraging. I was glad to finish my longest run/walk of the season, though. Time on my feet. It's done.

.20 mi 4:19
6.02 mi, 2:03:00

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Another Magic Mile Test

George and I returned to the American Tobacco Trail this evening, this time to do a Magic Mile. I was concerned about doing a Magic Mile at the end of a warm day, but the sky was full of big, billowy, gray clouds, with a gentle breeze but no rain. I was pretty pleased with my Magic Mile time, a 22-second improvement over my last Magic Mile in late May!

Warm-up walk: 0.23 mi, 4:59 min
Warm-up run: 0.27 mi, 5:11 min
Magic Mile: 1 mi, 17:22 min
Cool-down walk: 0.40 mi, 9:00 min

I think I spotted a red fox running away from the trail, but I missed the black snake that a couple of people on the trail mentioned to me. :)

Monday, July 04, 2011

nOg Run #1

Nog Run by dukefan86 at Garmin Connect - Details
George and I joined the nOg Run Club tonight at Tir Na Nog Irish Pub in Raleigh. This is a run that goes on every Monday evening, but it's usually pretty hard for the two of us to make it there after work. Since we both had today off for Independence Day, we decided to shoot for it.
We made it there in plenty of time to sign the waiver form and get our little keychain swipes. After 10 runs, you get a t-shirt, and after 25 runs you can a mug. But it's more about the social run than the swag! I got 2.12 miles in, most of it by myself, but several folks helped me find my way on a shortened (by me) course. I only vaguely know my way around this area of Raleigh, but it was a nice course, and I look forward to doing it again. I finished in 40:01 min. (18:53 average pace). I ran/walked 30/30 second intervals, and was happy to get my average pace below 19:00 this evening.
Afterward, we enjoyed a light dinner outside in front of the pub with some Raleigh Galloway friends, and headed back home before the big thunderstorm hit.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Yesterday's Long Run on the American Tobacco Trail

Yesterday's Galloway long run was on the American Tobacco Trail in Durham, one of my favorite places to run! I'm not up to the distance on the schedule, but I did do my longest run/walk total of the season, and I'm generally okay with that.
It was our first run starting at the new time of 6:30 AM. I enjoyed the slightly cooler temperatures; in fact, I arrived at 6:00 and got a mile in before the official run started. Then I joined the 17:00 training group, which is run/walking at 20 sec/40 sec run/walk intervals. I was at the back of the pack for most of my time with the group, but was able to hang pretty well. I suspect that their actual pace was a bit slower than 17:00, since I was able to keep up pretty well. Since I got a mile in early, I turned around at 1.60+ and headed back to yesterday's sponsoring running store, where I enjoyed a discount on a new pair of running shoes, Brooks Ghosts. (I walked in expecting to replace my Brooks Dyads, but learned that the Dyad line has been discontinued.)

Oh, on my run/walk back to the start (and the running store), I switched from 20/40s back to a 30/30 run/walk ratio, since I wasn't with the group anymore, and I was able to improve my average pace a bit.

Run #1: 1.02 mi in 20:04 min (19:42 avg pace)
Run #2: 3.33 mi in 64:04 min (19:14 avg pace

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mid-week Run on the American Tobacco Trail

George and I met after work to run on the American Tobacco Trail last evening. I'm not used to running in the heat of the late, late afternoon, but it was a nice change of pace! I usually exercise in the morning, and on Wednesday evenings we usually do water aerobics together at the gym. It was good to shake things up a little, and I really enjoyed having the running company! We did 2 miles, and then hit the Mellow Mushroom at the American Tobacco Campus for dinner. Yum!

I was happy to have negative splits for the 2 miles. The first mile did include our .25 mile warm-up walk. After that, we ran/walked at 30 second intervals.

Mile 1: 20:16
Mile 2: 18:55

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Race Report: 2011 North Carolina Blueberry Festival 5K

Last Saturday, June 18, I participated in the North Carolina Blueberry Festival 5K. My goal was to break 60 minutes, but I was a little nervous about it. Anything can happen on race day, even in a 5K! This was my second trip to  Burgaw, so I knew that the course would be pretty flat.

I rode down with fellow Raleigh Galloway runner Marjorie and her boyfriend, Rudy, and we left from Raleigh about 5:00 AM. (I think this is the farthest I've driven to a race and not spent the night!) We ended up with plenty of time before the 7:30 AM start to warm up and use the porta-johns (some of the nicest I've ever been in, seriously!).

The race started on time, and I had my interval timer set to run/walk at 30 second intervals. That worked pretty well, as I was able to maintain that throughout the race.The course was flat, over several neighborhood streets. There wasn't much crowd support, but maybe the residents were already at the Blueberry Festival! There was a firetruck along the course that had water streaming from the hose, and I ran under it a couple of times, but was sorry later that I had done that. It was so humid that my wicking shirt never dried. I was glad I brought a change of clothes for walking around the festival!

I ended up with a chip time of 58:06, and a gun time of 58:39, and that's with having to stop and tie my shoe! I came in 475th out of 482 runners and walkers, and 30/30 in my age group. Official results are here. Slow as my finishing time was, I'm encouraged the progress over my last 5K.

NC Blueberry Festival
Marjorie, Rudy, and I enjoyed walking around the North Carolina Blueberry Festival afterward. Many vendors were in the courthouse square shown on the left. (If you click on the picture to make it a little bigger, you can make out the Pender County Courthouse in the background.) I bought two pints of blueberries--yum!! (Now I wish I'd bought more!)
Marjorie and Rudy

There was a classic car show going on in conjunction with the Blueberry Festival. Here are Marjorie and Rudy in front of one of my favorite cars there.
Love the License Plate!

The back of the same car, with a clever license plate!

The rest of my pictures from Burgaw and the 2011 NC Blueberry Festival are here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Race Recovery

Today has been a busy recovery day from yesterday's North Carolina Blueberry Festival 5K! It was a pretty nice race, connected with the annual NC Blueberry Festival in Burgaw. Normally, I would've enjoyed a low-key post-race day, but George and I were busy today! I'm still waiting for official race results, so I'll wait until those come in before I write and post my race report. (Good thing 'cause I'm about to fall asleep in this chair as I type!) The good news is that I have a new 5K PR for 2011! (I'm taking progress where I can find it!) More soon!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Back to the Gym

I decided to go to the gym last night after work, to give my legs more of a rest from Monday morning's workout. After some cardio, I tried a weight machine for legs for the first time in ages, but felt some sharp pain in my left leg, so I tried some one-leg lunges instead. I didn't feel any sharp pain doing those, so I'll stick with those for a little while.

I did some upper body strength training after that, and followed with a good stretch/flexibility session on the floor. A hot bath with Epsom Salt felt great afterward!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Running Dreams

I had two dreams about running recently, one Saturday night and another Sunday night, both involving my running speed (or lack there of). In Saturday night's dream, I was running a marathon that was taking me all day (quite literally)! In Sunday night's dream, I was meeting up with the running group, which was so large that we had to meet inside a mall (don't know why!). In the dream, I was walking around and looking at all the runners before we got started, and I was thinking, "I'm not going to be able to keep up with any of these people!"

Gee, do you think I have issues about my speed? :-P So, what am I going to do about it?

When I woke up yesterday (Monday) morning, I shook a leg and headed to the gym for a solid workout before work. I need to remember not to overdo it this week, though, since I have a 5K this weekend.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Taking it Easy

Just realized I haven't posted here at all in June! Wow! Work has been super busy, trying to finish the end of the fiscal year. On the exercise front, I did join the Galloway group for last Saturday's training run. We had a guest leader who took our pace group out faster than usual, and try as I might, I couldn't keep up. My run/walk pace was my fastest of the season, but I wasn't able to hang with the pace or the distance last Saturday. I've been licking my inner wounds a little, but mostly letting my legs rest so far this week. The IT Band Syndrome seems to have come back, and the tendonitis in my ankle has been fussy lately too, the price I may be paying for trying to get faster too quickly. So, I've been skipping my morning workouts and getting to work a little earlier (not a bad thing for me in June!) this week. I do miss my exercise, though, on several fronts. George and I are planning to go to water aerobics tonight, which should be good.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Magic Mile #2

I did my second Magic Mile of the Raleigh Galloway season this morning. I decided to head for the American Tobacco Trail, but got there later than I'd planned. The temperature outside was warming up already, but I decided to go ahead and get it done.

Walked 0.52 mi in 12:01 min to warm up
Ran 1 mile in 17:44
Walked 0.63 in 14:10 min to cool down

My first Magic Mile on 5/14/11 was 18:00, so there's some improvement. Not a lot, but some. According to my current MM time, my training pace should be a good bit slower than the pace group I'm running with--or better yet, running behind, but not THAT far behind, and I'm closing the gap. I do feel like my Magic Miles have been a good, hard effort. My knees, in fact, are talking to me this evening, so I'll be taking an Epsom Salt bath after I finish this post!

Jeff Galloway recommends running Magic Miles every two weeks or so. Once you have four Magic Mile times, drop the slowest and average the remaining three for an indicator of various race times. I hope I can continue to see improvements over the summer, even with the rising temperatures. Since my target race for 2011 is the City of Oaks Half Marathon in November, the cooler fall temperatures will be a plus.

Speaking of the Galloway group, George has started a Facebook page for our Raleigh Galloway pace group, the Pacers! Check it out here and feel free to "like" it!

Meanwhile, I've registered for the North Carolina Blueberry Festival 5K, which is in Burgaw on June 18. I'm really excited about it, and hope that I can beat my 5K time from the Catch Me If You Can 5K back on Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Galloway Run #4 from Inside Out Sports (Cary)

Today was the fourth Galloway run for the 2011 season. We ran from Inside Out Sports in Cary. We went a different route than usual from there, and the change of scenery was nice. Someone took a picture of our pace group before this morning's run. We were down a few people due to the holiday weekend, but it was still a good crowd across the different pace groups. We had big storms late yesterday afternoon, but things cleared up nicely for this morning's run, though it was very humid. (It did rain later in the morning, during breakfast at Panera.)

George is still curtailing his mileage due to IT Band Syndrome, but he saw us off this morning, then met up with us at the McDonald's bathroom stop. Since my pace (and our pace group's) is faster than I'd been doing on my own before the season started, I decided to hitch a ride with George about a mile down the road, where he'd decided to start his mileage with the group, continuing to the finish. I'm still having some issues falling behind the group, but I'm working on my mid-week training (which includes speed work) and weight (down 9.6 pounds--yay!). I was able to close the gap between the group and me a good bit this morning, and finished strong. I ended up doing 5.53 miles in 1:47:27, a 19:26 min. mile average pace. This included a warm up walk of about a quarter mile, followed by a run/walk ratio of 00:30/00:30. The slightly slower mileage buildup will pay off , I think. (The rest of the group did about 6.4 miles.)

My splits:

1) 20:19 (warmup)
2) 18:53
3) 19:19
4) 19:12
5) 19:25
0.53) 10:20 (19:26 pace)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Training Update

Saturday's Galloway training run went pretty well, even though it was a hilly course. I struggled at times to keep up with the group for the first half of the run, but after a pit stop at a Burger King bathroom along the way, I did a good job of keeping up with the group on the way back to The Athlete's Foot in Cameron Village. I ended up doing 4.32 miles in 1:26:08, a 19:56 min/mile average pace (which included a walking warm-up at the beginning). I was happy to get the average pace under 20:00 min/mile, definitely a milestone for a "long run" that doesn't include the Magic Mile like the second Galloway run did.

I took Sunday off to recover and spend time with family, but I was back at it yesterday morning. I was planning to run outside, but rain sent me inside to the gym treadmill for a pre-work. I ended up running for 2 miles straight in 37:08 minutes, an 18:34 average pace! I'm happy to see that progress, though I know it was on the treadmill and not outside! I worked to keep myself from trying to go faster, and I'm glad I held back a bit. I was pretty tired from the workout (which included some strength training after the run) for the rest of the day.

This morning, I decided to give my feet a break at the gym, so I rode the bike for 6.41 miles in 37:00 minutes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Welcome Back, Speed Workout!

I did a speed workout this morning for the first time in AGES! It was long overdue, for sure!

I was inspired, in part, by last Saturday's Galloway group training run, a 4-miler which included a "Magic Mile." I was the last one to finish the 1-mile test, with an 18-minute mile. Now, my average pace for the 4-miler is my best in quite a while, but I'm still at the back of the pack.

On Monday, I ran/walked 1.52 miles outside for 31 minutes, pretty slow, but I was pretty tired from Saturday morning's 4-miler, followed by two fun days of Duke graduation festivities and family time (congratulations, Laura!). Yesterday's exercise was a slow walk, so I decided I'd better work on speed today.

So, I decided to head to the gym and do my speed workout on the treadmill to help me ease into it. After warming up on the stationery bike, I did four 0.25 mile repeats, at 3:47, 3:46, 3:46, and 3:45. It's a good starting point, I think. My legs were pretty spent, but not totally (which is a good thing, since I still had to go to work!). In time, I'd like to build up to Yassos, the mile repeats, and plan to do some on the track or road too.

Clipart from

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stretching Again

George has recently started physical therapy for his newly diagnosed IT Band Syndrome, so I've been reinspired to start my own stretching regimen again. I've been through PT twice (at least), once for IT band, and I was told to be diligent with my stretching to help my legs stay healthy. I have been inconsistent at best, until this week. I've even pulled out a couple of yoga books, and my legs have felt so much better after a warm Epsom salt bath and yoga!

Tomorrow's Run #2 of the latest Galloway season. Jeff Galloway, by the way, is against stretching, citing stretching-induced injuries by hundreds of runners. I think it's one of those "balance" things.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Taking a Rest Day

I decided not to head to the gym before work this morning, since my legs are feeling especially tired. I'm missing the feeling of accomplishment after a morning workout, but I'm listening to the legs in hopes of staying injury-free this training season.

Meanwhile, the weight seems to be dropping again. After a quick 6 pound drop a few weeks ago, I've been playing with those last three pounds recently. *rolling eyes*  Two things I've realized this morning: 1) limiting cheese (and the foods I want to put cheese on) helps, and 2) I can't keep peanut butter (regular, reduced fat, reduced sugar, doesn't matter) in the house.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Race Report: 2011 Catch Me If You Can 5K

I've been eyeing the Catch Me If You Can 5K in Garner, NC, for a few weeks now, but finally registered for it last Wednesday. I had to get up at 5 AM this morning, which was harder than I expected it to be! I had laid everything out last night, so it was fairly easy to get myself together this morning. The only thing I didn't do last night was check the weather forecast for Garner this morning, and when I opened the door this morning to leave for the race, I saw that it was raining! Oy!

I paused briefly, but decided to head down the road anyway, since I'd already paid for the race. Surely, the rain would stop by race time!

It took me about 35 minutes to get to the race start and get my race number. The races (my 5K and a 10K too) started and finished at a strip mall, Aversboro Square, so the bathrooms were nice--a big improvement over the usual porta-johns, only we had to go upstairs to use them! I ran into Hardin Watkins, the Town Manager of Garner, who was participating in the 10K, and it was nice catching up with him. (Hardin is a marathoner, and part of the Raleigh Galloway Training Group too.)

The rain did slow down to barely a spit, so I thought it was be a perfectly cool, cloudy morning for a race! The 10K started first, then after about 5 minutes, the 5K started. Initially, I tried 0:30/0:30 run/walk intervals, but my legs were pretty tired and creaky from yesterday's 3-miler with the Raleigh Galloway group, so I took it down to a walk after a while, and worked on my walking form, especially with using my arms and keeping my chin (which tends to drop when I'm tired) up.

Within the first mile, I had to go to the bathroom, and while I eyeballed some bushes and a convenience store along the route, I made it to the finish line for a gun time of 1:00:52.8. If I'd made a pit stop, I would've missed out on the "00" part of the time. Slow as I am, it's the little victories that count! :)

The course was mostly residential, with some "rolling hills." It was pretty, but it was wet! The rain picked up while we were on the course, but there wasn't any thunder, so we kept going. One volunteer, under her umbrella, actually said, "Isn't it miserable out there in the rain?!" Another volunteer along the course said, "Are you the last one?" I told her I was probably the last 5Ker, but I didn't know about the 10K runners. I was a little grumpy by then because of the run, and that didn't help! She probably wasn't having much fun out in the rain, herself!

I was, indeed, the last 5K participant, but came in before a handful of 10K runners. My finish time was slightly faster than my current training pace, but not a 5K race pace of old. It's a good place to restart, though. In fact, Buckeye Outdoors, my favorite online training log, is back up after a hardware crash. All of the runner data was lost, so when I put this morning's race in, it told me that it's a personal record! I know better, but it's a nice place to restart!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Core Exercises for Runners and Walkers

I really need to improve my core for running AND walking, so I was glad to find this video by Jenny Hadfield! I decided to post it here, partly to share, and partly so I can find it again! :)

Core Exercises for Runners and Walkers from Jenny Hadfield on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Catch Me If You Can

Well, I've registered for my first 5K of 2011, the Catch Me If You Can 5K in Garner on May 8. It'll be my first 5K since last September. I'm looking forward to seeing how my times compare. Since I haven't done much speedwork since then, I may be slower. BUT I do have custom orthotics in my shoes now. We'll see. I love the name of this 5K! Maybe it'll help me run faster! :)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Run/Walk AND Water Aerobics Today!

This morning, I decided to return to the Black Creek Greenway, where I did a 3-mile run/walk in beautiful weather. I was able to pick up the pace a bit, but forgot to turn off my Garmin for a bit when I stopped to use the facilities in Godbold Park, so my Garmin time isn't totally reflective of my time on the move. Ah, well, it happens!

Afterward, I met George at the gym for an hour of water aerobics. The pool water usually feels cold to me, but it felt really refreshing after my run/walk!

So after back-to-back exercise sessions this morning, I'm pretty pooped tonight! It's a "good" tired, though! :) I think I'll crawl into bed with a good book now.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Don't Go, B.O.!

I logged into my favorite online training log, (B.O.), this morning to log yesterday afternoon's walk, and got the following message:

Buckeye Outdoors has suffered a major outage. A series of electrical storms first knocked out the backup servers that were located at the backup up location. Then the unthinkable happened 4 days later and a second electrical storm caused an extended power outage at the datacenter where the primary Buckeye Outdoors servers are hosted. The current situation is pretty grimm [sic] and I'm despritly [sic] trying to recover the data that has been lost. If I am un able [sic] to recover the data I will put the application back online but right now I am holding out hope and I even might send the Hard Disks to a data recovery place. If you have any questions please email here:

Ahhh, rats! A lot of personal data will be lost, but I do hope the site comes back up in time (hopefully sooner than later!). In a way, it would be like having a fresh start with my training. I hadn't planned on "wiping the slate clean," but hardware crashes happen. *sigh* I've really enjoyed BuckeyeOutdoors as an exercise log, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, I was able to update my data on this morning. I like DailyMile, which is like Facebook for exercise, big into the social networking, but lacking in the data and stats departments. I also revisited and, two more online training logs I've tried in the past, and uploaded my current Garmin date to RunningAhead (which I prefer over Running2win, but not as much as BuckeyeOutdoors).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Weapons in the Weight Loss War

I ordered a new bathroom scale from a little while back, and have had it at home for a week or so, but I finally put the batteries in it this morning. It seems to be a nice scale, and it weighed me a little less than the old scale did, so it's my new best friend! :) It is nice to have a fresh, new machine to step on, and I like that the display is backlit. The bathroom scale I ordered is here.

Meanwhile, I'm trying out a new diet website called I heard about it last weekend from Jeff Galloway, so I decided to check it out. It's a food, exercise, and weight tracking website that also has an iPhone/iTouch app. Although I use bits and pieces of other similar websites, I'm enjoying the newness of It's fun and motivating to see the numbers in a slightly different context.

The good news is that I'm down 6 pounds, the most success I've had in a while. (A little bit of that is the new scale, but most of it is from effort.) Things that have made a difference so far this week: more exercise, packing my lunch for work, and staying away from the Peanut M&Ms, a new temptation at work.

Clipart from

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Galloway Season Starts Again!

Me, George, Jeff Galloway, Margaret
It's been a busy weekend for the start of the new Raleigh Galloway season here in the Triangle. Friday night, pace group leaders and their significant others were invited to the program director's home for a meet-and-greet with Jeff Galloway. This is the second year I've gotten to attend this event with George, who's a pace group leader. It's a lot of fun to visit with the leaders, and to re-meet Jeff Galloway. He is very personable, knowledgeable and encouraging. The picture on the left is from the Friday night gathering. Jeff Galloway is the man in the cap.

The Raleigh Galloway Program Annual Kick-Off was yesterday morning at the North Carolina Museum of Art. George and I both volunteered, so we were there at 7:30 AM! It was fun to see the large crowd (350+), including a number of people I know in the running community. Afterward, George and I participated in the 3-hour running school that Jeff Galloway ran at a nearby wellness facility. It was my third year doing the running school, and I enjoyed it a lot. It's been a little different each year, depending on who's there, mostly. Galloway changed the format a little bit this year, too.

After leaving home at 7:00 AM, we got home around 4:00 PM, after a day full of talking about running, but without actually running at all! It was a fun day, though!

I had planning on doing a 7-miler this weekend, but all I could muster was a 1.5 mile walk at Umstead State Park this morning. I was feeling pretty tired, and my right ankle's tendonitis is fussy from all the standing this weekend. Otherwise, it was a nice, but hilly walk.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another Long Walk in the Books

George and I did our long run/walk yesterday, since we both went to a Galloway training session Saturday morning. I did 6.2 miles (2:20:00) with George's company, first along the Rocky Branch Trail, then on part of the Reedy Creek Trail, both part of the Capital Area Grenway System. The Rocky Branch Trail was new to me, so I really enjoyed it the change of scenery, and would go back there on my own. Here are three YouTube videos, showing different parts of the Rocky Branch Trail:

I ran/walked about 3.3 miles, and just walked the rest. It really wore me out! My right toes and right ankle bothered me some, to boot. I am rethinking the New River Half Marathon next month. Perhaps I'll continue my training and shoot for one later in the season.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Long Walk on Crabtree Creek Trail

I decided to do my long walk yesterday, instead of Saturday, since I had college reunion festivities Friday and Saturday. It was a really busy week leading up to the reunion, so I was really tired heading out the door yesterday morning. George had promised to do some of the mileage with me, and the fact that he was heading out the door with me helped a lot.

I ended up doing 5.12 miles on the Crabtree Creek Trail in Raleigh, with about 3.5 miles of it run/walking. Even with some running in there, it still took me 1:50:01. Still, it was time on my feet, and Saturday night's rain had everything looking especially green yesterday morning. Crabtree Creek was flowing more like a river, and the sounds of the rushing water and the birds chirping was all very pleasant.

Even though it was slow, I was pleased with the mileage. I'm hoping to do 6 miles next weekend.

Meanwhile, I started back to tracking my food intake this morning, in hopes that it will help with the weight loss.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Water Exercise

Last night, George and I did water aerobics at the gym again. A different instructor was there last night, so it was a different workout! I'm sore this morning in places I haven't been sore in a while!

Afterward, I joined George in some water running for the first time, so that might have something to do with my soreness too! Although it can't totally replace running time on the road, it was a great workout too! I'm really glad our gym has water running belts available.

Here's an intro video to water running, also known as aqua jogging:

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Weekend Walk and Workout

Yesterday morning, I joined the Galloway Pre-Season Run from Raleigh Running Outfitters in Cary. It was nice to see some "old" folks and meet some new people! I walked 4 miles in 1:21:56, with negative splits on all miles!
1) 20:40
2) 20:37
3) 20:21
4) 20:13

I was going to do the Cary Road Race this coming weekend, but have decided to pass on that and continue to work on endurance in light of the New River Half Marathon on May 7. I haven't signed up for it, but would still like to do it.

Today I went to Gold's Gym at North Hills Mall, and really enjoyed my workout there. I did 2.82 miles in 37 minutes on the elliptical machine, then did some upper body and core strength training. I also sat in the steam room, which was like dessert after the workout, especially with the eucalyptus spray! Mmmmm!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Umstead Walk

Yesterday I started with some of my Raleigh Galloway friends at the Old Reedy Creek Rd. entrance to Umstead State Park. I've never been to that area of the park before, so I had a very enjoyable walk. (The only downside was the lack of bathrooms at the start!) Once I got past the gravel road leading up to the gate, the trail was packed dirt. The flowering trees are starting to blossom, and there was a good bit of foot and bike traffic, but it wasn't overly crowded. I hear that the airport overlook is off of this trail, but I didn't make it quite far enough down. Check out this webpage about this end of Umstead and the airport overlook.

I ended up going 3.26 miles in 1:09:01 with no toe pain.

Mile 1) 21:28
Mile 2) 21:09
Mile 3) 21:00 (the Garmin called this mile 20:60!)

Afterward, I met up with the rest of the group (they ran longer) at Panera for lunch. After lunch, George and I grabbed our bathing suits and went to the Gold's Gym at North Hills, where they have a saltwater swimming pool AND a saltwater hot tub! Ahhhh!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Race Report: 2011 Tobacco Road Half Marathon

Toni White and Lesley Looper
 This past Sunday, March 20, I participated in my third half marathon, the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in Cary, North Carolina. The weather was perfect, and the volunteers were wonderful!

This was my first race with the custom orthotics I picked up in mid-February. I was curious and concerned about how things would go, since I hadn't trained beyong 3.5 miles with the new custom orthotics in my shoes. I wondered if my right toes would hurts, and how my feet and legs in general would handle the orthotics. Mostly, I was concerned about my lack of training in general this winter, but I was determined to start the race and see what happened.

George and I parked at NetApp in RTP around 5:30 AM and caught the shuttle bus to the park where the race would start and finish. (We were glad we got there early, because others arriving later had problems with the shuttles and late arrival to the race.) We didn't know until we got there that the bus drop-off was about .7 mi. from the start and finish line, an unexpected hike, both before and after the race! The race itself started about 15-20 minutes later than expected, as we were waiting on some of the late shuttles to arrive.

Before the race, George and I had a good visit with Emily, Jon, and Ashby. At the start line, I saw Barbara and Toni too. Toni, pictured with me above, is the cousin of Danny, someone I met on the Outer Banks Half Marathon course back in November 2010. Danny introduced the two of us through Facebook, and Toni and I met for dinner in Raleigh a few weeks ago. It was a lot of fun to walk with Toni for the first half of the race (her first half marathon)!  (Thanks for Cara Greening for taking the picture! Cara was a water stop volunteer at Mile 6.)

Speaking of volunteers, there a lot of Raleigh Galloway runners on the course, both participating in and volunteering for the race. It was a lot of fun to see so many people I knew out there!

My right toes starting hurting a little before the Mile 6 mark, and the tendonitis in my right ankle started bothering me as well. At one point, I was glad I didn't see a bench, because I might've succumbed if I'd seen one! When I told my mom about the pain later, she asked, "Well, couldn't you have stopped?" Yes, I could have, but the truth is, I didn't want to, not really.

With about a mile to go, George found me! He finished a while before I did, and after a stop at the first aid tent for his knee, he walked backward to find and walk in with me! How sweet was that?! :)

I finished the race with a chip time of 4:50:06, my worst time ever in a half marathon, but I was mighty glad to finish! I've been thinking about it over the past few days, and here are some things I learned from this race:

1) It pays to train! My longest walk since my last half marathon was 3.5 miles. Even though I've been crosstraining, nothing beats time on your feet when you're training for an endurance race.

2) The extra weight I've gained had an effect, and I don't like it. I need to find a "healthy way of eating" (avoiding saying the "D" word) that works for me.

3) The pain in my right toes came several miles later, a good sign! Time and training will tell if that's the new norm.

4) When my tendonitis gets better, I need to work on building stronger calves, and continue to work on my upper body and core strength.

5) I continue to love, love, love Race Day and all the runners and walkers out there. I pay for it for a few days afterward, though,  in "recovery" since, by nature, I'm an introvert. I think I've been quieter than usual  the past few days as I've tried to recharge internally. I've also been much more physically tired than usual since the race, so that probably has something to do with my quietness too.

6) I want to stop my trend of slower and slower half marathon times. I'd like at least one more that's faster than the last one!

7) I found out last Thursday that I got into graduate school, and today when I registered for classes, I learned that one of my classes in the fall will be every other Saturday. It'll make training a little more interesting, but the things that are important to me will rise to the surface.

Meanwhile, I haven't exercised since the race on Sunday, but George and I are planning to meet for water aerobics this evening. Should be a good way to start my comeback! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Icing My Ankle

I've been icing my ankle throughout the morning--under my desk at work (thanks to my efforts in yesterday's Tobacco Road Half Marathon)! I did finish, although it wasn't my prettiest race. A race report will be coming sometime in the next few days.

Meanwhile, I'll be giving my ankle a little more TLC!

Clipart from

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Getting Ready for Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I'll be attempting my third half marathon, the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in Cary, NC. My training has been less than stellar this winter, but I'm hoping for a nice 13.1 mile walk on a beautiful course. I'll be introducing my new custom orthotics to their first race, though I think my feet have adjusted to them in daily life. I also have a new ankle support that I've been wearing today only, but I think I will try it out for the race anyway, and see if it provides adequate support for walking the half marathon.

George and I went to the expo last night, and saw several people we knew, which was fun. One fun surprise was seeing my freshman year roommate, Lisa! We hadn't seen each other since college, but we've been Facebook friends for a while. She's doing the Tobacco Road Half too, and this will be her first! How exciting!

I've also set up race alerts for Facebook and Twitter, hope it works!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Missing That Lost Hour of Sleep!

Yesterday, we changed to Daylight Saving(s) Time, and I'm really missing that hour of sleep I lost! I had an industrious workout at the gym (50 minutes on the elliptical, 3.85 miles, including some intervals, and some upper body strength training) yesterday, and I'm feeling a little sore in the arms today. On another positive note, I've got a professional massage on tap for this evening, and I'm really looking forward to that! I have a feeling that I'll be tempted to come home and go straight to bed after the massage!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Walk on American Tobacco Trail

I had a nice walk this morning on the American Tobacco Trail (White Oak Entrance). I started with Meri, Bert, Jon, Susan, and Linda, but did my own pace. It was a chilly, but beautiful morning out! I didn't feel any pain in my right toe bridge (yippee!), but the achilles tendonitis (I think) in my right ankle DID bother me. I return to the podiatrist on Monday for a followup on the orthotics, so I'll ask him about the tendonitis. (Meanwhile, I'm icing as a type!) Today's walk: 3.54 miles in 1:12:00.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Water Aerobics

George and I did a water aerobics class last night at Gold's Gym, and Kathryn from our Galloway running group joined us! It was another pretty good sized class, not like two weeks ago when I was the only one. I enjoyed knowing one more person in the class, and Kathryn had a nice time chatting in the sauna for a few minutes afterward. I tried the heavier water weights during the class last night, and I can feel it this morning! Not too bad, but I can tell I had a good upper body workout last night. I need more of those, since upper body strength is a weakness of mine right now.

Meanwhile, I've finally started having some success with my latest Weight Watchers venture, down 6.8 pounds on my own scale. I continue to be consistent about weighing myself daily, even when I've gone over the points allowance. I'm not enjoying tracking what I eat and drink, but I think it's helping me be more aware of what I eat, which is a good exercise right now.


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