I Think I Feel Like An Athlete


So this week was interesting for me.  I am back with my group this week for my long run, which was 7 miles!    Previously I wrote how difficult it was doing my long run alone and I was looking forward to joining my group for this run.  When I showed up, I started second guessing myself.  I started thinking that 7 miles is a long way.  I started thinking maybe I should just concentrate on doing 10K’s instead of half-marathons….I’m a newish runner for one thing.  I’m almost 50 for another thing…what am I thinking!!?!!  Well, again, thanks to the group I got through it.

Low and behold, others in the group were also feeling the same way I was.  Already feeling defeated and stressing about the distance ahead of us.  But we all just got in line when the time came and headed out for the run.  I had an unusually hard time getting my breathing right.  For the first couple of miles and had to force myself to correctly.  I kept wanting to take quick shallow breaths.  This started the first signs of a side stitch (I believe).  So I truly had to focus on getting my breathing right.  And then the first half seemed to be all uphill…ugh!  Can this route be uphill both ways!?!  Then, at certain times during the run, some of the members of my group dropped out and opted to walk or join a slower group that would be coming up behind us.  Again, this gave me self doubt.  I balanced my water intake, my snack intake, and by mile 5 I knew I was going to do it.  The others in my group had the same feeling and we checked in on each other during the run to see how we were doing.  This gave me encouragement and reassurance and I think I did the same for them.

By the time I got home I had a blister under my big toe, my right ankle was feeling wonky and my thighs were already getting sore.  I ran to Big 5 and I got some Body Glide and new wicking socks.  I had to start thinking about my run the following day which was the Santa Monica Classic 5K.  Now, if I had known when I signed up for the race that I would be running my first 7 miles the day before I would’ve done something different.  But I made the commitment and I was going to run the race.

I woke up this morning and my legs were sore, my right ankle now had a greenish squishy bruise on it (but it doesn’t hurt) and I was tired.  I got my things together which I had already laid out last night and I started out to Santa Monica.  The start and finish of the race are about 1 mile apart so I thought I would park at the finish and then Uber to the start.  Once I got there, that felt lazy so I walked the mile.  As I’m walking the mile I’m realizing that my right ankle is giving me a little pain when I walk on it a certain way.  So now I’m thinking, maybe I shouldn’t be walking….hell, maybe I shouldn’t be running!  I kept going thinking that I just put my body through more than it’s ever been through so of course I’ve got aches and pains.  Once I got to the start line, I found shade and waited until 10 minutes before start time to take my place.

When I ran this race last year I did it in 30:44.  My plan was to break 30 this year, but then I decided to train for my half marathon.  So today my plan was to just have fun and enjoy the race..and now, to be aware of my ankle.  As the race started I realized that I felt pretty good.  My legs felt good, my ankle was fine and I was wide awake.  I saw a girl who volunteers for the same Kitten Rescue that I do at the start of the race and gave her a thumbs up.  Then I saw some people from my LA Leggers running group and I gave them a shout out and thumbs up.  This gave me more momentum and aided in my enjoyment of the race.  It was cool seeing others that I sorta knew trying to finish the same race that I was.  We were all trying to do the same thing.  I finished somewhere around 36 minutes, which was fine with me.  I picked up my shirt, grabbed my chocolate milk, I spun the Big 5 wheel of prizes, and did a quick walk around the expo then headed home.


I took my first Epsom Salt bath.  My legs were already sore and starting to stiffen.  My ankle was feeling wonky again too.  The bath did wonders!  Though I’m still feeling small aches and pains, I feel stronger and accomplished.  I think I finally feel like an athlete.  This is what we do to achieve our personal goals.  I’m digging this!

First Long Run Without My Group


This was an interesting weekend.  My husband is a musician and has two local shows this weekend.  One on Friday and one tonight.  This means that we get home pretty late and it’s safe to assume that I will be very tired the next morning.  My group runs aka long runs are Saturday mornings in Santa Monica.   A little bit of a drive, but since we start early, there’s no traffic and I’m there in about 30 minutes; which is great.  When I signed up for the L.A. Leggers, I did have a concern about having to drive that distance once a week just for a long run.  I thought that maybe I could just do it on my own…I’m glad I didn’t.

It has been an adjustment running with a group.  I forego my music, I’m somewhat locked into a 2 x 2 formation, lots of call outs like “footing” to be aware of something that can trip me up, or ” walker right” meaning there’s a slower person walking up on the right, etc.  It’s definitely different from running by myself but I have been enjoying it.  It’s great running next to someone who is going through what you’re going through and other’s who have had success with this training plan.  I’ve felt really good about my last couple of runs of 4 and 5 miles.  I’ve found my runners high and I’m feeling good about the pace group that I’m in, which is 12:30 mm.

So with this odd weekend of going out late and planning on being tired the next morning, I planned on running my long run on my own.  I thought this would probably be better than trying to do it on Saturday on just 2 hours of sleep.  Since we are in the 100 degree temperatures this week, I opted not to do it on Saturday so I could sleep in and chose to do it today, Sunday, where I would have a better chance of catching an early morning aka cooler temperature while I run.  Well I was still a bit tired from Friday night and didn’t get out the door until close to 9:00am and it was already 89 degrees out.  Unfortunately, here in L.A. we are experiencing the La Tuna fire which has been burning for the last couple of days.  I’m about 10 miles away from it, but there is ash around my home and in my pool and of course there is the smell of smoke in the air.  So I I knew this was going to be a tough run, but I prepped myself with my hydration belt with water, gels and a bandana for when I might need it.  My plan initially was to drive to a local park since I would be doing a 10K and I thought the atmosphere would be nicer.  But then I remembered it’s Labor Day weekend and the park might be crowded by that time; so I kept to my usual near the house route.  This meant that I had to make 6 laps around my blocks which sounds boring….and it was!

I felt ok starting out and I just told myself that I’m doing my usual run, twice.  That I just needed to get through the initial 3 miles and then the real workout would be after that.  Mind you, I’ve never run 6.2 miles before so I admit I was a little nervous about it.  That is half of the distance of the race that I’m training for so it was a meaningful run to me.  I made the mistake of wearing a regular running shirt rather than a tank top.  I was pretty hot right out the door.  It was humid and I just tried to ignore the smoke smell as best I could.

Even the first 3 miles were tough.  I went through one of my water bottles in that time which is odd and I was just sweating up a storm and used my bandana to constantly wipe my face.  After the three, I tried one of my new Huma gels.  It was blueberry flavored and tasted horrible but I ate it and drank plenty of water with it.  By mile 4 I felt like stopping thinking this is not the best way to run my first 10K.  My home was pretty close and I could just walk there and be proud of doing 4 miles.  But I told myself to just keep moving.  I thought if I can’t make it 6.2 miles on my own then how will I make 13.1 miles?!  I didn’t want to give up and just kept moving.  By mile 5 I could see mile 6 in my grasp and just kept moving.  Nearly all of my water was gone by then but I saved enough to get me through the end.

6.2 was finally here!  The funny thing is that I wasn’t burnt out.  I think I could’ve kept going.  The heat was just the worst of it and it really messed with my head.  My body was fine, my breathing was ok, I wasn’t hurting; but the damn heat made me feel like cutting my long run short.

So I learned a couple of things, do my best to get out to run as early as possible.  Enjoy and respect the group long run.  It has built in motivation and doesn’t give me time to second guess myself.  I don’t plan on missing any other long runs so hopefully I won’t have to deal with this again.  But at least I know a few things to do differently like just get out to the park so I’m not bored.  Pick a gel that I know that I like.  Make an extra long playlist so that I don’t have to listen to my playlist twice.  And maybe try finding someone in my group who might want to do the long run on Sunday with me.  Nothing wrong with feeding off of someone else’s motivation to encourage my own.  By the way…doing the 6.2 makes me feel like a badass!

5K vs. Half Marathon


Up to now, I’ve been focused on 5K races.  The farthest distance I’ve run on my own is 4 miles.  So my running has been concentrated on getting faster with my goal of breaking 30 minutes at a 5K.  My PR is 30:44…I’m so close!  Now that I’m training for a half-marathon my thinking has to change.  Now I’m doing long distance running so I have to think about building my endurance.  It’s a whole different mind set.  So I’ve got a 5k race coming up in a couple of weeks and I really want to finally break 30, but, I’m in the middle of training for my half marathon and I don’t want to disrupt that.  Do I concentrate on my 5K and then when it’s over concentrate on my half-marathon?  I already know that answer to that.  Somehow I have to reconcile my 5K goal but not sure how.

In my free run days I just run as instructed.  I don’t look at my watch or try to keep a pace; I just run for the time I’m told to run.  I like the freedom of this.  I just go with how I’m feeling and monitor my form and enjoy the run.  With a 5K I’m constantly trying to run the 3 miles faster than the last time.  Each free run I compare to the last to see if I’ve improved.  Now, I just run and I keep in mind that it’s not about going fast, it’s about going the distance.

My break 30 goal has been on my mind for awhile now.  I wanted to achieve this goal during the Big 5K this year.  It was the one year anniversary of my first 5K.  Even though I beat my time by 15 minutes, I did not break 30.  I wasn’t too hard on myself though.  I forgot how crowded that race is.  It was so crowded that I had to walk the first half mile until the crowd started to spread out.  The minute I got in my corral, I hit me that this is going to be a slow start.  I thought maybe I could make up the time but those hills were just too much.  So I set my sites on the Santa Monica Classic which is where I achieved my PR and figured I could certainly PR there again.  But then I gave myself a new goal.

So the Santa Monica Classic is in 3 weeks.  I haven’t been pushing my time at all.  If I were to attempt my PR I would need to make a move now.  I would need to change the way I run my free-runs now.  I also have to consider the fact that I have my long run scheduled the day before the race for 7 miles.  Can I run my 7 miles on a Saturday and PR a 5K on a Sunday?  It seems like way too much.  I need to focus on what is most important to me and that’s the half-marathon.  I’m enjoying the training, my free runs, my group runs and I really just want to enjoy that whole experience.  I’ll do the Santa Monica Classic and just enjoy it as another free run day for myself and go at a comfortable pace so as not to risk injury for my bigger race.

I can still think about hitting that PR in the future if I want.  It’s still going to be there.

Garmin, Strava, app?


One thing that I really like about running is keeping track of my progress.  Am I getting faster?  Am I going longer?  What’s my pace?  I’ve been using various devices, and apps to see what I like best but somehow I can’t seem to just use one method.  How do I choose?

I like my Garmin Vivosmart HR+ and it really makes sense that this be the one that I concentrate on.  I like it because it measures everything…my sleep, my heart rate, steps walked, my activities, calories burned, pace, etc.  It also alerts me when I have a text message or an email or phone call; which is nice.  It’s a little bulky around my wrist but I feel like that’s part of the price to have all of these things at my fingertips.  I do know one thing, no matter what, I’m sticking with this one.  I really love the pace feature so it tells me if I’m ahead, behind or on my pace.  So why do I need anything else?

The Runmeter app is one I came across after I began running using the 5K Runmeter to help me start running and preparing for my first 5K.  So as I started running more, it made sense for me to try Runmeter.  I like Runmeter because I’m able to enter my half marathon training plan ahead of time.  Note that Runmeter also offers its own half marathon and marathon training plans, but since I joined my running group, I’m sticking with their plan.  So, when I begin my run in the morning, my goal is already set up and I just need to look at it and go without having to figure out what I’m doing that day.  Runmeter shows everything about your run like distance, pace, mapping, elevation, heart rate (if you connect a heart rate monitor), it keeps track of your gear, etc.  Lots of good stuff.  The main thing I like is the pre-planned run and that’s hard to beat.

Strava is the newest addition to my running measurement.  I like that it just tracks my running.  I found that I don’t even have to start it, it starts on its own if it senses that I’m running.  It gives me all pertinent info about my run like pace, time, distance and I like that it compares it to my history so I know if I’m getting faster.  I like that it easily helps me share my stats to my social sites.  This seems to have the least bells and whistles, but I like that about it.  It just gives me facts about my run and running history.

If you’re reading this, yes, as I begin my run, I hit my Garmin, and switch between Strava and Runmeter to “turn them on.”  What’s interesting is they all give me different pace information and distance information.  I wish I knew which was most accurate but I’m not sure how to do that.  I’m thinking I may compare their readings to that of my pacer of my running group and then pay attention the most to that device/app.  Or I suppose I could go to a track and start there.  It does seem kind of ridiculous using three different means, but right now I’m unwilling to give at least one of them up.  I’m thinking that when I’m not training for a race that one may be less meaningful to me than another and I may make the break then.  How do you decide what to use and why?

First Day with LA Leggers

So it was my first day running with the LA Leggers.  I got all of my stuff together last night so I wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting anything in the morning.  Well, I forgot my running hat of course so that was a first for me.  I also put out my pre-run nutrition which was a few fig newtons and some apple sauce.  I read somewhere online that they were a good pre-run food.  I brought a Clif Builder’s Bar for after my run for the protein.  I had my water bottles filled in my hydration belt and managed to fit my phone and my ID in its pocket.  My keys were kind of bulky but I made them fit.  Funny thing is I saw someone else running this morning with my same belt on and she had her keys looped into the belt, doh!  So I will do that next time.

Today seemed to be a lot of firsts for me.  My first time running with a group which meant (obviously) following someone else’s pace, lots of things being called out that I had to pass along to others, no music, eating before a run and no hat.  Let’s start with following someone else’s pace.  I like this.  For the last year and a half I’ve been trying to run faster to get a new 5K PR.  Now I’m concerned with endurance so this pacing thing makes a lot of sense and, again, helps me just focus on my form and breathing.  We did a combination of running and walking.  I understand that this aids in injury prevention and building endurance.  I’m doing what they tell me to do and I like it.

Now the stuff that’s being called it is mostly for our safety and helps us run with others like pedestrians, walkers, bikers, etc.  So I have a different awareness for my surroundings than I would have if I were just by myself.  I like this too.  We’re being courteous to others so we can all use the same beach harmoniously.

Running with no music is really interesting.  I love music.  It takes me out of my head and gives me motivation while I run.  I really want to participate in this group experience so I am leaving my earbuds at home.  It’s ok so far.  I chatted a bit with my running partner and that kept me occupied.  I’m not sure how I will do during a race on my own or on longer distances, but for now it’s ok.  Again, I think running without music gives me a new awareness while I run.

So I usually don’t eat before I run simply because I tend to run first thing in the morning and I don’t want to take the time to eat and then immediately go out and run.  Since I have to drive to Santa Monica and it takes me around 45 minutes, now I have the time.  I’m going to try different types of food before my runs so I know what works for me by the time my race comes up.  Please give me suggestions if you have any for pre-run, during run and post-race foods.

I think the best part of today was enjoying running along the beach.  It sure is nice to look up and see the ocean and even smell the ocean breeze.  I’m looking forward to running around Santa Monica and seeing it from a different view.


I’m looking forward to continuing my training and learning along this journey.

Week 1, Day 5

I already needed to find motivation today. I went out last night to see Brian Setzer at the Hollywood Bowl. It was a tame evening but I didn’t get to bed until 1:00am. Now I had planned on being able to sleep in today so I would be rested for my run this morning but I neglected to factor in that the heat and humidity would be in full force with a later run start time. 

So what was my motivation?  I had also planned on running with the new hydration belt I got from Amazon yesterday!  I’ve been using a Flipbelt which I love but I can’t add water bottles to it and it doesn’t seem like it could hold that extra weight without jiggling even if it did. I know they make one that holds one curved water bottle but I really wanted something more traditional with a pocket and two small bottles. 

I started on Amazon since I love to shop on Amazon and researched hydration belts and read all of the reviews. I began to find that finding one that would fit my iPhone 7+ would be a little bit of a challenge. Which made me start to think about what would I really need to carry come race day. My list was:  my phone (preferably with a case), my keys (since I’ll be driving myself), my ID, water, and some energy gels that I’ve been hearing about. So I definitely needed a belt that had a decent sized pocket but I also wanted a snug fit so all of this stuff wouldn’t bounce around when I ran. I narrowed it down to a couple and they were all between $15 and $30 (yay!).  Of course now that I kind of knew what I wanted I didn’t want to wait to get it so I went to my favorite local running store Fleet Feet.  They had several belts and packs to look at with lots of add on options. All great looking but unfortunately the least expensive one was $60!  So I as I walked back to my car to head home, I ordered my belt from Amazon. I figured if I find that this belt needs to be more heavy duty, then I will go ahead and put out the $60 for my next belt. This is the belt I got 

So today was my first run with my belt!  I put water in my bottles and headed out. Even though I was not planning a long run, I still wanted to get used to how it feels running with a new belt with stuff in it. At first it did feel odd having these water bottles sticking out. But I soon got used to it. I prefer to have the belt around my hips than my waist so I made an adjustment for that. The funny thing is that I actually drank the water during my run which I haven’t done due to short distance and time. 

So my run was not the best this morning. I was hot and it was hard to breathe through the humidity and I was still tired from last night. But my new belt got me out the door happily. I slowed my pace down due to the heat and I struggled. It was not an easy run for me but I did it. And I got to break in my hydration belt!  

Week 1, Day 3

The first benefit I’ve found by joining the L.A. Leggers is that they give you a training plan. This means I don’t have to do much thinking and I can just do as I’m told. I’ve been online looking at this training plan and that training plan but I always wondered; how well does the plan work and is it for someone of my experience?  With my actual plan, I know that’s it’s already been proven and it is for someone of my experience. Check!

The first thing I did was transfer the plan into an app I use called Runmeter. This way each day I already have a goal and its programmed into my app. I just do what it says. Today it told me to run 2 miles do I did it. So now the only thinking that I have to do it what to do on my cross training days. 

When it comes to cross training, I wanted to do something that would obviously support my running goals. The L.A. Leggers gave some suggestions such as swimming, yoga, cycling and walking. I’ve decided to go with strength training. Since I’ve never really worked out I know that I have weak muscles. Or at least I know that they need to be built up. I’ve been stalking another page that I’m going to use for my strength training called Kinetic Revolution. It’s a great resource for all kinds of supportive running exercises and it has a great 30 day guide. They also have an active and supportive Facebook page. Another thing to tell me exactly what to do to get stronger. Check!

Something crept into my thought process while I was doing all of this and that is the potential for injury. Yikes!  I don’t want to get sidelined because of an injury!  I had to stop these thoughts quickly before they get out of hand. So to keep myself in a positive stats of mind, I’m having complete faith in the plan and in the strength training to gradually build up my strength and endurance to reach my half marathon goal injury free. 

Already feeling good and keeping positive and motivated!

I’m Committed 

Today I went to check out the L.A. Leggers running group to see if it was for me. Mind you, I’ve been stalking several running groups online to see how their groups operate, what my level of commitment needs to be financially and physically, how are they going to help me, and do I think they can help me reach my goal overall.

I chose L.A. Leggers because they had an updated website and Facebook page where I could easily find information like time, place, activities, cost, benefits, training plan, and overall philosophy of the group. On top of that they’ve been around 29 years and have helped tons runners and walkers achieve their goals.

Today I attended the second of two available orientations. I registered with the group, got my shirt and a cool goodie bag with good stuff. Then we had to figure out the pace group that I will be training with. Everyone ran (or walked) one mile and based on that time they added 2 to 3 minutes to suggest a starting pace group. I ran a solid 10 minute mile and decided to go with the 12.5 minute pace group. I will begin training with this group every Saturday morning while I follow their training plan during the week.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous thinking things like will I be the slowest?  Will I be the oldest?  Will I be the least experienced?  But right away I was greeted by friendly and smiling faces and it was obvious that we all came from various walks of life, experience, goals and ages. So I immediately felt comfortable.

Another concern of mine and I think I still need to figure this out is that I will be running with other people. I’ve never done that. I run alone with my ear buds and my thoughts. So it will be an adjustment for me to get used to running with others at a certain pace without my music.  I could use my ear buds but if I’m going to have a group experience then why would I cut myself off from others?  So I’ll have to check in at a later post about this.

So, today’s the day I made the commitment. My first half marathon will be on Sunday, October 8th in Long Beach.