My Running Shoes (Altras!)

Last year I looked at a list of vegan athletic shoes, and I found out that the Saucony running shoes that I had been enjoying so much aren’t actually vegan.  Ugh.  So when it came time to get a new pair of shoes, I used that handy list, and I decided to look into Altra shoes, because it says that all their running shoes are vegan.  I’ve been very interested in Altra shoes since the Iron Cowboy ran in them last summer when he did 50 triathlons in 50 states in 50 days.  If someone can do that in those shoes, they must be good, right?  I was so happy to see their running shoes are vegan!  Plus, I’ve been super curious to try out zero-drop shoes.

I ended up getting a pair of Altras for a great deal on Amazon.com. . . . okay, actually I ended up buying four pairs.  After I bought one pair I liked them so much that I bought another pair for myself while it was still a good deal on Amazon.com.  But I ended up giving those to my younger daughter!  Then I bought a pair of Altra trail running shoes, but they were a little small for me, so I gave them to my other daughter.   So, that meant I still needed a pair of trail running shoes for myself, so I checked out a different pair of Altras, in a larger size, and I bought them for myself!  Woohoo!  So all the ladies in our house wear Altras now!  I guess next I should see if I can get the men in our household interested in Altras!  lol   I’ll try and post some pics of our shoes soon!  :)  On 4/25/2016 I’m editing this to add pics of two pairs of Altras that we own.  :)

 

 

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A Series of Races

This year I ran in a series of four races called the Resolution Series.  There were four races, each one longer than the last — 5, 10, 15, and 20, either kilometers or miles, whichever you choose.  I ran the Resolution Series last year as well, in kilometers (so a 5k, 10k, 15k, and 20k), and I wanted to see if I could run each race faster than I did last year, so I chose to run kilometers again this year.

raceme

Here I am before the 5k  on Jan. 1st.

The first one was on January 1st, and I did better this year than last year!  This year I ran the 5k in 27:06, so at an 8:40 min/mile pace.  Last year I ran the 5k in 28:39, so at a 9:14 pace.

The second race, a 10k, took place later in January, and this year I ran the 10k in 55:55, at a 9:00 pace.  Last year I ran it in 58:18, at a 9:23 pace.

The third race, the 15k, took place in February.  This year I ran the 15k in 126:12, a 9:15 pace.  Last year I ran it in 1:36:19, a 10:21 min/mile pace.

I really did not think I was going to do very well in the fourth race, a 20k.  I felt like skipping it! I hadn’t been getting very long runs in, and I just didn’t feel ready.  I felt super happy when I did way better than I expected!  The fourth race took place on the 3rd weekend of March.  The night before the race I had looked up how fast I ran it last year, and I knew I wanted to come in before 2:15:54, which was a 10:57 min/mi pace.  When I came around the corner, so very tired and happy that it was almost over, and saw the clock, I was thrilled at the time — I ended up finishing it in 158:54, a 9:34 pace!

I ended up getting second place for the series of races for women in my age group (40-49), and I got second place for women in my age group for the 20k!  Yay!!

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Here I am before the 5k  on Jan. 1st.

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Here I am before the 5k  on Jan. 1st.

This series of races is so great because it encourages me to go longer and longer distances.  It’s such a super way to start off the year!  Maybe next year I’ll try to to run the miles instead of the kilometers!  :)

Last year after these races were over, I kept up the trend and ran at least once race a month. I’d like to do that again this year, and my race for April will be next weekend, on April 17th.  I’m going to be in an indoor mini-triathlon.  Should be fun!

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Exercise/Training Notes for 3/10/2016

I’d like to start keeping a journal of the things I do to try and get fit and reach my racing goals.

This morning I met my mom at the Y.  She just recently started working out there, after I had been pestering her about it for years, and I’m really excited. So far she goes once a week, and it’s a great start.

While she used the weight machines I (mostly) ran on the treadmill for about 45 minutes, attempting my first progression run.  I warmed up for about 5 minutes, then I started at a slow pace, and over the next 35 or so minutes I slowly increased my pace.  Shortly before I cooled down I got up to (approximately) a 7:56 min/mi pace.  Then I cooled down, slowly lowering my speed over the next five minutes until I was walking at a relaxed pace. In the end I went 4.5 miles, and it turns out that my average pace was 10:01 minute/miles.

I did a speed workout today because I’m in my third month of doing the 12-month running challenge on the No-Meat Athlete website, and doing one was part of the challenge for this month.  The challenge has been really good for me. The first month, January, I ran at least a mile every day.  In February the goal was to add more strength work to my routine, so I began doing five of the exercises posted in The Body Shop: Know Squat? workout a couple times a week, plus planks, in addition to the strength workouts I do each week at the Y, and this month the goal is to complete 6 new speed workouts. I’ve never purposefully done any type of speed workout, so they are all new to me.

Last week I did my first fartlek run (such a funny name), and, as mentioned above, for my new workout this week I chose to do a progression run.  I chose the type called a “thirds progression run” in which you divide your run into three different parts, running easy for the first part, harder the second part, and hardest the third.  Here’s the guide I followed (from the article Start Slow – Finish Fast: How Three types of progression Runs Boost Your Fitness by Greg McMillan, M.S.):

For your first thirds progression run, choose a 45-minute easy run. Run the first 15 minutes slowly, the second 15 minutes at your normal pace and finish the last 15 minutes at a strong pace. While I break the run into thirds, your pace doesn’t radically change after each third. Instead, it is a gradual but steady increase across the run.

I didn’t divide it up into exact thirds.  I had a limited amount of time and wanted to get a warm up and cool down in there, so I didn’t run quite as long as I would have liked, but I think it was good for my first time, and I sure got super-sweaty while doing it, so it must have been good, right?

So today I ran 4.5 miles while doing a progressive run, and then afterwards I used the leg press at the Y to finish up the resistance workout I started last night. Last night at the Y the leg press was being used for a long time, and I had to leave before I was able to finish my workout.  My legs aren’t as strong as I’d like them to be (the rating the test at the Y gives me is “fair” for leg strength), and I did two sets — 15 reps at 100 pounds and 15 reps at 110 pounds.   I stopped doing leg presses for awhile when I pulled a muscle last year, and that’s one reason my legs aren’t stronger.  But I’m trying hard to get them stronger now!

Okay, that’s all for now.  Have a good night (if anyone reads this ;))!  :)

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Random Thoughts About Not Feeling Well and About Triathlons

So much for writing every day!  I skipped two days, but I’ll pick up again today.

I’m afraid I might be getting sick.  Two of my children got sick this week, and I have hoped so much I won’t get it, but this morning I feel kind of icky with a headache and slight bit of nausea.   Maybe as the day goes by I’ll feel better.  We have a busy day planned for tomorrow, so I’d better feel better fast, right? Plus, I’m training to be in a sprint triathlon in July, and I don’t want to lose time I could be training by being sick!  Ugh!

Speaking of training for triathlons, I’m happy to say that I swam 1600 yards last night at the Y.  I didn’t swim it continuously: I took short breaks, but I did it, and I’m excited I swam that much.  My goal is to reach a mile, which is 1760 yards, because later in the summer I want to participate in an Olympic distance triathlon.

Today I’m supposed to go to cycling class, so we’ll see if I feel well enough to go to class this afternoon.  Or maybe I should trying riding outside right now before I feel worse?  No, on second thought I think I should rest.

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Me in my tri top last year!

Yesterday I ordered a new tri top. Somehow I  misplaced the top I wore in the triathlon last year.  I’ve looked and looked for it, but it seems to have disappeared, and it’s frustrating because I really liked that top.  So I ordered a new one on amazon.com, the Zoot Sports Women’s Performance Tri Racerback.  Hopefully it fits me well and is comfy.  I can’t wait to get it and try it out!

I’ve almost reached my 300 word minimum, so I’ll talk to you later.   Writing with a headache isn’t fun!  There. . . 313 words.  :)

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Yummy Blueberry Smoothie

Trying to eat more healthily, I’ve been making more smoothies lately. My goal is to have a smoothie once a day. I still haven’t quite got into the habit yet of having one every day, but I’m working towards it. The No-Meat Athlete recommends having a smoothie and a salad every day. He says in his post The Perfect Smoothie Formula:

The smoothie and salad act as “anchors” that keep you on track, to remind you just how great it feels to put real, fresh fruits and vegetables in your body.  After you start the day with a smoothie, McDonald’s for lunch doesn’t seem so good anymore.  And when it’s time to start thinking about dinner, the salad does the same.

In this way, those two healthy meals become three or four—which doesn’t leave much time for junk.

I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s in I don’t know how long. It’s been probably at least 10 years, so I’m fine with not eating there.  I do, however, still need to work on eating more healthy foods, and the idea of a having a smoothie and a salad everyday helps me keep more focused and is making it more do-able.

So I’m always on the looked for smoothie recipes, and feeling inspired by this recipe for a blackberry smoothie, though not having any blackberries (I’ll have tons of those later in the year!) but having blueberries in my freezer, I made this yummy, wonderfully cold, blueberry smoothie this morning.  [I apologize for the Styrofoam cup.  I usually avoid Styrofoam, but bought some cups the other day in a moment of weakness because they were so cheap.]

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To make the smoothie I put two bananas and almost two cups of frozen blueberries in my blender and then poured rice milk into the blender up to the top line and blended it until smooth. I also ended up adding juice from half a lemon that I had leftover from yesterday because blueberries and lemon are so good together, and so good for you!  And I and my kiddos really enjoyed it! I’ll definitely be making this smoothie again soon.

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Updates: New T-Shirt and Race Results

Well, last month I wanted to write something in my blog every day, and, sadly, it’s been about a month since I last wrote in my blog.  I sure didn’t keep up with it!  I think I’ll try again this month.  Okay, so I’m going to try and write a blog post with at least 300 words.

In my last blog post I wrote a list of some things that I would like to receive for my birthday.  One thing on the list that I got from my mom was the purple “No-Meat Athlete” t-shirt!  I was so happy to be able to wear it in a race later that week.   I wore it in a half-marathon — it was my first time to run a half-marathon.  I felt so good afterwards, and I even came in 3rd place for women ages 45-49!!  As I crossed the finish line, the announcer must have noticed my t-shirt and when he read aloud my number and time he said I was “representing vegetarians everywhere”!  It made made me smile!

Finishing the Half-Marathon!

(Source: JBLM MWR)

This past Saturday I was in a 5k.  I decided not to wear that t-shirt, but I did wear another purple t-shirt I have (love purple!). It was a small race, but I came in 1st place for women ages 40-49!  I was pretty excited.

It was near a playground, and my son and I were on the swings while they called out the winners.   They announced the second place winner first, and when the announcer didn’t call out my name, I commented to my son, “Oh, I guess I didn’t get anything.”  I was sure if I were to have placed I would have gotten second place or nothing.  And then, surprisingly, the announcer called out my name for first place!   So fun!

I don’t have any more races this month, but I have three coming up in July!  One is a four-mile run, one is a sprint triathlon, and one is a 5k color run I’m going to do with my kiddos.  I’ve passed 300 words now.  See you tomorrow!

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Birthday List

This will be a self-centered post!  Woohoo!    I have a birthday coming up and chances are I won’t get any of these things, and that’s okay, but I thought that I would make up a birthday list of things I’d like to have.  This kinda fits with the idea of the importance of setting goals:  with this list I’ll have a reminder of things I’d perhaps like to save for and eventually own some day!  It will also be interesting to look back when I’m older and see what types of things I used to want.

1.  T-Shirts:  The first thing I’d like is a new t-shirt. I’d really like this No-Meat Athlete T-Shirt, in size small.  It has a cute running carrot on it.  For some reason it seems like a lot of people think of carrots when they think of food that vegans eat, so I get a big kick out of the cute running carrot.   I’ve wanted one of these shirts for a really long time, and I chose this one because I love purple.

I admit I’m a bit nervous to advertise myself as a vegan, for a several reasons. I’m not the activist-type of vegan, and I’m not perfect at being vegan (see my article that I wrote on Tuesday).  The idea wearing a “No-Meat Athlete” t-shirt, though, seems to cover those concerns well, though.  This t-shirt, which is a pretty good price, $9.95, might be okay.  It says No Animals Were Harmed in the Feeding of this Body.  I like the charcoal gray one in size small.

Also, I admit that I’m afraid I’m not good enough to advertise myself as a vegan athlete / runner.  I remember one time I wore a vegetarian t-shirt while running at the Y, and I didn’t make sure I drank enough water, and when I felt rather lousy afterwards, I thought to myself, “Oh, great, people might be able to tell that I don’t feel so good and they might assume it’s because I’m vegetarian!”  I’ve noticed it seems people illogically often like to blame bad things on someone being vegetarian / vegan.

A neat t-shirt that would be fun to wear is this berry-colored running t-shirt in size small that says “Let The Course Be With You” on it.  Isn’t that clever?  Or this neon pink t-shirt that says “All You Need is Love and Running.”  Isn’t that sweet?

2.  Books: The second thing I’d like is another Tolkien book.  I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile–The Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Their Friends by Humphrey Carpenter.  I love C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and I collect books about Tolkien (thanks to my dad for starting my collection!), and I’d really like to read that book.  There’s another book by that same author that looks good called J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography.  The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien would be another great book to own, as would The Tolkien Reader.

3.  Swim Goggles: I’d like to have another pair of these awesome goggles: Aqua Sphere Kayenne Lady Swim Goggles.  I had a pair, but somehow I lost them.  I guess I left them at the Y one day.  I asked them if they had any in the lost and found but they didn’t.   I wore them during the sprint triathlon I was in last year, and they worked great, and if not for my birthday, I hope I can get another pair before the triathlon this year.  They were reliable, great at keeping the water out, and I didn’t really have to worry about them fogging up like I do with the Speedo goggles I’ve been using.

If I could choose any goggles, and money didn’t matter, you know what type if would love to try? These lovely purple goggles: Sable WaterOptics RS 101 Mirrored Goggles. I think they are gorgeous!

4.  Running Shoes:  I really think these Merrell Women’s Pace Glove 2 Trail Running Shoes are pretty, and, yes, they are purple!  Here are another pair of purple shoes that look nice: New Balance Women’s W890v4 Neutral Light Running Shoe.

Okay, I’ve reached and surpassed my daily goal of 300 words, and I’m tired of writing, so I’m going to stop now, but at least that’s a good start on my birthday list.  ;)

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