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May 2011

Intermediate Training

Mom, look, am a big kid now! I have graduated to the Intermediate level of marathon training! :) It only took me 6 marathons to finally bump up to the next level. I am afraid and I think I may need my hand held for a little while but I think I can do it...if anything, I think I will give it a shot and it can only help me get a little better out there on the road.

I am bumping up from running 4 times a week to running 5 times a week and there will also be some hill workouts, speed workouts, and something called YASSOs at the end. There are some longer runs at the end too--22 milers, eek! But I think I am ready. I am ready to tackle something new :).

Week 1 training:

Week 1 Intermediate Level

I have also been working on my hamstring strength, I think my ITB issues are coming from week hammies so I am working on bum hurts now from all the lunges but I guess that means I am working muscles that I hardly use.

Smithfield 10K Report

Ran it. Brought it! Loved it. PR on the course!

Smithfield 10K Six miles seems really like nothing to run, especially after running 26 a couple of weeks before. I was talking the other day to a friend and I said something along the lines of "you know, when you start your season off with a marathon, your body is trained for any other event during the season". I went home and really thought about what I had said and I have to say that my comment was quite on the mark. Once you train for the marathon, you are really trained for a lot of the other smaller races, still need to keep the mileage up, at least run 10 miles every couple of weeks to be ready for a half marathon but overall, your body is ready for a 5k to a marathon.

The race was awesome, this time around I knew what to expect and there were no surprises, except for the fact that I forgot how long 3 miles uphill feels. I kept a steady pace going up the hill. I didn't push it very much as I wanted to feel comfortable and be able to enjoy the race without panting my way to Pukeville. About 2 miles into it, I saw the first people coming back, a young high school kid and then some men, then about 2.5 miles up, I saw the first gal coming down. She was booking it! She probably ran a 7 minute pace up the hill (not like my 8:30pace) and coming down she looked strong. I so want to be like her when I grow up :)!

Smithfield 10K2 At the turning point, 3 miles, I took some water and kept going down the hill--my favorite part! I love going downhill, there is something about it that just feels right. I knew that I wasn't going to be first nor second nor third but I had a chance of being at least at the top 10 in the women so I took off. It felt like I was flying down the hill. Then the little hill came and I just powered up it, I haven't worked on hills yet but they seem easier this time around than last year.

The Finish Line came a little too soon. I wasn't ready for it, my body wasn't ready to stop, I guess it has gotten used to running long. I gave it a last push trying to beat my time last year and I did it!

My time 47:22. Avg pace 7:38

I placed 4th in my age group and 6th overall in the womens.

Mile 1: 8

Mile 2: 8:37

Mile 3: 8:42

Mile 4: 6:52

Mile 5: 7:13

Mile 6: 6:51

.20: 5:42.

Future goals: I want to have a time of 45 minutes on this dream is to come in at 43 minutes flat one day.

We got super lucky in this race, they have a raffle at the end--you have to put your name in to be Smithfield10K entered in the raffle. This year, both hubby and I put our names in to all three. We came home with 3 race entries: one the most coveted St.George marathon guaranteed entry, one for a half marathon here in town, 1 for an entry into next year's Smithfield 10K race, and we even won some socks :).

Feeling the Pressure

2010HealthDaysRaceLogo  I am doing a small race this Saturday, Smithfield Health Days 10K,  typically I wouldn't put much thought into a small race, however, I realized when I signed up that I had a goal in mind. I really want to do well this time around, at least shave a few seconds off my time from last year.

10K Last year, I did this race and I went to the start sore from doing Body Pump a few days prior and for some reason I was also a little under the weather.  The morning was cold and I remember starting the course and being shocked by finding out that the entire first 3 miles were uphill and then coming back, expecting all downhill I was presented with a different route and had a major hill around mile 5. I remember cussing the organizers for putting such a hill at that mile, but I guess they were trying to keep it honest and true.

Turtle running So, I am going into this race a little preoccupied and with high hopes of beating my time for this course from last year. Time to beat: 48:07. Wish me luck! I really hope I can beat that time...but I don't know if my legs will have it in them...also I am hoping the rain will go away and let the sun come out to warm me up. If I really think about it, I think it is a huge miracle that I could have gotten that time, that is about 7:44 minute miles (I never even train at that pace)...I am going to be hard pressed to accomplish that this time around......really, it seems a little daunting. Eeek!

By the way, my fastest 10K was 45:05 last year but it was on a different course--mainly flat with some really little ant hills.

KFB/KF&B on a Loom

What? Yah, it may seem like I am speaking gibberish but I do know what I am trying to convey. KFB stands for Knit into the front and back of the stitch.

I was looking for some written instructions but I couldn't find them, however I did find a video that I made a few years ago. After finding the video, I had to make the written instructions to have on file.

I hope you find them useful. I tried to take step by step pictures but I don't know if they make sense, I think the video shows the steps a little better.

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kfb/kf&b: knit into the front and back of the stitch. Also known as the bar increase.  It is as it description says, you create a two stitches out of one by knitting into the front leg of the stitch and then knitting again onto the back leg of the stitch.  Although in needle knitting is quite simple, for loom knitters this type of increase requires an empty peg where you want to create the increase, meaning we need to move loops around. Prior to creating the stitch, you will need to move the loops from the pegs to open a peg for the increase.

The main characteristic that this increase demonstrates is a small bar created by knitting into the back of the leg. You can see it in the picture above (it is pointed by the tip of the knitting tool)

To demonstrate: the increase is being created from a Right to Left direction on the knitting loom, in our example, the increase will take place at peg 3.

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Picture above--Peg 1 is marked with the orange stitch marker.

Step 1: Knit peg 1 and move the loop to the empty peg to the right (peg 1 is now empty).

Kfb knit peg 1 and move
Picture--step 1

Step 2: Knit peg 2 and move the loop to empty peg 1 (peg 2 is now empty).

Step 3: Holding the loop on peg 3, knit peg 3 (do not let the original loop pop off the peg). Place the newly formed loop on peg 2. Peg 3 remains with the original loop on it.

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Step 4: E-wrap peg 3 and lift the bottom loop up and off the peg.

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Steps 1-4 created a kfb at peg 3. Continue working the other pegs as the pattern directs.

Derby Races!

Boyo's Boy Scout derby race was last week. He had so much fun planning his little car. He has such a great imagination that his car had many different personalities but at the end he decided on a skateboard. He had a blast painting it and dreaming it up and he hoped with all his heart that it would ride great down the ramp.

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(My Boyo and his best friend)

But...we are terrible at putting the wheels on and like last year, his little car didn't fare very well during the race. I saw his dissappointment right away after the very first race and his little skateboard came 3rd. I wanted to cheer him on and so I kept saying, "it is okay, it will be okay". Thankfully, he didn't get as sad as he did last year. But he did come and tell me that they should have a real race with the kids running and then he would smoke every single one of them (I was laughing inside as I knew this would be totally true) but I had to say, well, we have to win some and lose some and today we are going to be happy cheering those who win. It is a hard lesson to teach children that you cannot win everything, some days you have to lose some and say good job to the other person with a smile on your face. Lessons on losing with grace.

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This reminds me about a recent talk I had with my 4th adn 5th graders. They are all preparing for a big 1 mile race and they are very excited, but some of them are afraid that they will lose. I had to stand in front of them and say to all of them that in all my races, I have won only 1. It is not about winning the race, but about crossing that finish line with a smile on your face and being able to tell yourself "I did my best. I gave it my all." If you are able to tell yourself that, then you are a winner!

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Anyways, went on a tangent there for a minute, Boyo did have a great time, despite our losing streak with our skateboard but he came home with a participant ribbon and some candy. I came home happy knowing that my child had learn a valuable lesson that day--we can't win them all, but we can win the day by finishing with a smile.

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Last Dance of the season

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I had the most amazing time this Spring teaching up at Utah State University. I was one of the Fun Fit Forever instructors, the program is in its second year and I can see a great future ahead. Although the school provides the students with an awesome exercixe facility, group fitness classes were not available unless you were registered for a class. The Fun Fit Forever program came and filled in that void. During the spring semester there were over 8 different formats avaiable for the students, I went up there and I was one of the Zumba instructors.

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Teaching up there was one of the funnest places ever! The students were always so happy to be there and so full of energy--I love energy and what it does to the entire class. The cumulative force of energy is outstanding!

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But, all good things come to an end and unfortunately, our Spring semester ended but we had one last class were we put together our favorite songs for a full hour (okay, we may or may not have gone over by about 20 minutes) but it was so much fun. I loved my class. I am going to miss all my awesome friends. I wish you all the best in your future careers. Congratulations to all of you who graduated this year :)!!!

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Especially, I am going to miss my two dear friends Lara and Mel. They started taking the class in the Fall semester and they came back in the Spring after talking to them for awhile about Zumba, they both went through the training and became Zumba instructors two weeks before the end of the semester. They are full of positive energy and always super fun!

Zumba Girls

Boston--the tourists

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I would like to tell you about our great adventure getting to Boston but I am afraid that it would just make me a bit upset and want to cry so, I think I'll just tell you the some of the details: plane from Boston to NY got canceled. We had to rent a car from NY and hubby drove us to NY. Got to Boston exhausted but just with enough time to pick up my packet before 6pm on Sunday. I went close to 40 hours without sleep, so when we got to the hotel and they told us that we couldn't check in til after 4:30pm I wanted to cry. I needed to sleep so badly. By the time we got into our room, close to 5pm, I took my shoes off and my bra and took a nap. I needed to sleep and I needed to eat but I knew that sleep was the most important part. I wanted to go to the pre-race dinner but I missed it--I was napping! By the time I woke up from my nap it was almost 8pm. I brushed my teeth and combed my hair and we went to Maggiano's for some pasta. I ate the slimpest pasta I could find on the menu not wanting to throw my tummy into any type of antics this late into the day. Hubby had something delicious that I may or may not have snuck a couple of bites of.  Then we went to the hotel to put all the clothes and gear in order for the next day.

After the marathon, I was starving and I wanted something spicy and with meat! At first, I wanted a steak or something Mexican but the hotel sent us to a bar type place to eat and I wasn't too thrilled to be around such a big crowd. I wanted to eat and just relax so we went in search for something else, armed with a little map the hotel had given us with the local restaurants. One Bostonian saw us going myopic over the map and he took pity on us and asked us what we were looking for, we both said an "Indian restaurant" he directed us 3 blocks down to one of the best Indian restaurants in town. We slowly made our way to the restaurant and we were not disappointed! Kashmir in Newbury Street and Gloucester! It had the best Indian food we have had to date! The lamb was so tender, the spices just right, the spicy level just a tad on the high to make you want to take off a few layers of clothes. The Naan just soft and warm and with the right amount of garlic. Loved it! Must go back to it! Yes, I have a love for food :).

It was a bit sad to wake up the day after the marathon to see that it was cloudy and raining outside. I had this big plans of going on a cruise and seeing the whales and walking all around town. I came ill equipped for a Boston spring though. I brought only my thinnest pair of jeans and my thinnest sweat pants. I had my winter coat but no scarves or hats (yes, the knitter had no hats with her!). I literally froze my butt off for the next two days. My hubby only had a thin sweater with him. It was hilarious, we walked everywhere and one of my hands was in my pocket and the other inside his pocket while he held my hand.

Boston 091 I loved walking down the Boston streets. It all seemed to hold some sort of magic and history. My favorite part was walking down the Italian area--we went to eat at the famous Regina Pizzeria. The pizza was amazing, fresh ingredients and the server was truly a fun guy to chat with.

We took a trolley tour, wanting to get the most out of the experience and learn the most about the area. Although I loved the tour, I told Sam that I would have enjoyed a more leisurely tour with tour guides at the stops--maybe it was my foggy after-marathon-brain but it just seem to go too fast. I guess, I enjoy the history and I like to know more than just "here is X spot and now we are going to X spot". I have become addicted to learning more about each of the places I visit, it makes everything feel more "real".

The architecture of the entire area is just phenomenal. Except for the newer buildings, I loved the feel of the "old town". The narrow streets--I made fun of this trying to go down one of the alleys--I am small and I barely could fit sideways. Loved it! It would make a great set up for an old love story movie!

One of our favorite places was seeing USS Constitution--what magnificient ship! I want to kick Boston 093 myself in the butt for not bringing a better lense for my camera as I couldn't capture its beauty with the little lense I brought with me. If you ever have a chance, go see it, it is a beauty! Yes, I held my inner urge to climb on the gun and say "ride it cowboy!".  The fact that it is still standing just goes to show the great craftmanship that went into "Old Ironsides". Throughout the entire tour of the ship, I wished I had my kids with me. My boyo would have loved to see the ship first hand and to touch the guns and the walls of such an amazing ship.

I hope we get the chance to go back with our children some day, to see the sights and to eat some more wonderful food.



Boston Marathon report part II

The Race

So I left off when I told you that I had gotten to the Start of the race late. Yes, I felt so awful when I finally got through thousands and thousands of people to get to my corral was gone and the entire second wave was leaving. I wanted to cry when I heard that I missed the start, thankfully my time didn't start at the wave start but when I crossed the timing mat. I cruised up to the end of the wave and made my way slowly through it. I began at about a 11 minute pace as people weren't moving very fast...I felt like a snail, then finally I was able to find some room and run a little bit more at my pace. The weather felt great, a little chilly but the sun was out and I had a hoodie on just in case it got too cold. The spectators from the start were lining the streets--both sides of the street! Little kids, adult, older adults, and their pets were outside cheering and singing and giving treats to the runners. It was amazing. I had never seen that before in my previous four marathons.

The first mile went by quite uneventful, just tried to get my little body in a space where I was okay to move at a decent pace.  I knew the first couple of miles was going to be congested but I never imagined the magnitude of congestion I was presented with...the whole time I was surrounded by thousands of runners, to the left to the right to the front to the back. I seriously thought that if I could hook my arms to the people next to me and lift my feet that I could probably make it at least half way down the course.  Crazy fun to be surrounded by so many runners!

Between mile 2 and 3, I unfortunately had a little mishap that I wasn't expecting. Someone ahead of me dropped a water bottle and I tried to avoid steppinp on it so I lifted my foot and side-stepped only to have my foot roll and my ankle go pop! I thought was going to die! In my head, the only thought that came was "no, not now, I still have 24 miles to go and I am not quitting". There were some lady spectators on the side who quikly ran to me and asked me if I was okay. I felt like crying and saying, "no, it hurts" but my stubborness came out and instead, I mumbled something along the lines of "I will be okay, it was nothing". I hopped for the next little bit and my hop became a small limp as I tested my weight on the foot. It hurt but not to the point of tears, so I kept going paying close attention to my foot. The pain lessened as I continued and I concentrated more on my left left and foot making sure that it wasn't taken all the weight of my body. In my head, I kept repeating that I had 24 miles to go and that I wasn't about to quit. My foot felt better and eventually the pain went away or my body realized that I wasn't going to pay any mind to it.

SPI Belt At mile 3, I took my first GU and started hydrating. I had a plan of taking one GU every 5 miles after mile 3, a GU every 40-45 minutes or so. I hate carrying GUs with me and most of my other marathons provide GUs along the way but Boston only provides 1 at mile 17. I wasn't prepared for this 1 GU deal so during the expo (by the way, the most amazing humongous expo I have ever seen, wish I had had extra mula with me to buy stuff) I purchased a SPI belt to carry my GUs. I was thankful that I was able to find a GU booth were they were selling the stuff super cheaper 5 of them for $6 bucks, cheaper than I buy them around here anyways.  The belt weighs almost nothing, it is perfect for holding those gels. I just wish it doubled as a number belt too.

The next few miles truly went fast. I loved running down the streets with all the spectactors. They had bands playing or music playing. One of the towns even had the Elvis singing just for us! Another town was playing YMCA and all the runners were dancing to it and making the letters with their hands--I of course had to join in on the fun and had to dance along. It really didn't feel like I was running a marathon as I was having so much fun waving and laughing at everything around me.

When I reached my 13, I had to look at my Garmin just to be sure that I was truly at mile 13, I couldn't believe that I had ran already 13 miles and that I was feeling so good, even my foot was feeling great. I was keeping up with my hydration--walking through every aid station picking up a water and sipping just a little bit of it and then a little bit of gatorade. 

Wellesleykiss12 I have to mention that it was between mile 13 and 14 that I was presented with a beautiful sight! The women from Wellesley College, hundreds of women lined the streets with signs that read "Kiss me" or "Kiss me, I won't tell your wife" or "This is your only chance to kiss a Chemist". I couldn't help but smile. Hundreds of young women spending their Saturday outside cheering for us crazies. It was beautiful.  No, I didn't run to kiss any of them but I did smile as the men ran over and hugged them and gave them a kiss on the cheek.  With memories of these women cheering me on, I kept going for the next few miles, smiling, high-fiving children along the way, my heart calls to them when I see their little hands out and I only imagine my kids doing the same thing. I always get a thrill when I high-five one of them and they turn to their parents and say "did you see that, they like me!" (picture found at FieldNotes)

When I crossed mile 18, I told myself--well ducky from now on it is all heart. You only trained to 18 miles this time around so from this point on, it is all coming from the heart. I knew that the next few miles had in store a couple of hills, including HeartBreak Hill but I was ready for them. I wasn't feeling tired, my legs felt okay, my lungs had plenty of air (the wonders of coming from a 4,500ft elevation down to 200ft) so I charged ahead. I kept my eyes down on purpose during the next few miles. I knew that hills were coming and the mind can play tricks on you making you believe that the hills are bigger than they truly are so with eyes on the ground, I dug in and ran forth. I counted the hills and I knew that I should be feeling the hills that they were right there and that I only had so many left.

Before reaching Heartbreak hill, I looked around and I saw a few people walking, I didn't want to walk, not yet. I told myself I could walk if I reached mile 22, then I could take a one minute break. I dug my toes and kicked up and started up what I thought was the second "big" hill in the course. I ran up it, passing a few people on the right and left. My pace wasn't fast but I was feeling pretty good. When I reached the top of the hill I was quite surprised to see a big broken heart drawn on the ground. I looked up and I had to ask the person next to me "was that Heartbreak hill" they confirmed it. I couldn't believe that I had ran up THE hill and I didn't even feel it. I had miscounted my hills and thought that I still had one more to go when in fact I was done. Granted, I was running a 9-something pace by this time so I wasn't sprinting up it.

The next few miles were all heart. At this point, I put my headphones on and listened to some songs. One of my favorite Zumba songs came on (Pegate by grupo Treo) and I was singing and trying to put my heart into my run. I had 5 miles left. I told myself I could run 5 miles. 50 minutes tops even with water breaks. I brougtht memories of my kids to the front of my mind and forged ahead. The spectators were still around cheering us on but at this point, I needed to reach deep within me for what I needed and my kids are usually the answer. As I pictured their little faces and imagined hearing their voices, the miles went by under my feet.

BostonRunning2 It was around mile 25 when we crossed some sort of bridge along the course that I remember getting all choked up, I put my headphones away and turned my iPod off.  I felt out out breath not because of the intensity of the workout but because of my personal thoughts of things going on in our lives right now. I felt tears surfacing and I felt my heart hammer through my chest and the crowds around cheering me on. At that moment, it wasn't so much about the marathon I was running but more about my personal struggles at this time of my life. I remember as if I was in slow motion, I closed my eyes and one of my tears fells down on my lips. I could taste the saltyness from my tear combined with my sweat. I remember lifting my sunglasses and wiping my tears clean with my hand, feeling the remnants of salt particles on my face from the dried up sweat. I remember looking around and seeing a little girl with deep blue eyes just smiling and waving. I looked up and saw the Citgo sign and the promise that it brought of only 1 mile left.

Boston Picture I shuffled through the 25 mile aid station. Stopped to stretch my lower back and to reasses my feelings at the moment. I told myself again, 1 mile, anyone runs 1 mile, even my 6 year old has run 1 mile races. So, I stood up, smiled and high-fived one of the spectators and told myself that was the end of my break and no more breaks til I crossed the finish line.

Five words carried me through that last mile. YOU. CAN. DO. IT. MOM. At first, they were almost a whisper in my head, then they got louder and louder and louder. I could hear my little children's voices in my head cheering me on. As I reached the 26 mile mark, the voice just got louder and louder and louder. Then, I heard my name and my sweet husband was there screaming my name at the top of his lungs and taking pictures. It was exactly what I needed, my children's voices in my head, then my husband there in person cheering me to the end. I gave all the little bit left that I had in me and I crossed the finish line. 3:50:07 Boston dream completed!

Boston 2011--an Epic Year for the Boston Marathon. World records were broken with Mutai coming in at 2:03:02 for the fastest marathon ever. Many others achieved personal record times. Personally, I reached my goal of running the prestigious Boston marathon.

It was one of the best running experiences I have ever had, one that I truly will never forget and I hope I can repeat again in the future.