Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pace vs. Heart rate

So, this morning I finally managed to successfully export my first speed workout with my Garmin watch. I was surprised at how easy 6x400 felt and totally annoyed with all of the beeping my watch did telling me that my heart rate was too high. I've figured out my past tempo and long runs with the Mcmillian pace calculator, but that's not how this speed workout was programed. The Garmin workouts are calculated with heart rate zones. I can't tell you how hard it was to slow down enough to get my heart rate low enough to stop the beeping in zone 2. So, which is better, a speed workout done by pace or heart rate? I've only been running with a Garmin watch for 1 1/2 months, so I'm still a little new to this even after 3 years or running...

Friday, March 26, 2010


from my 2nd Peachtree Road Race 2008

Do you know what you were doing the last weekend of March 2007? I do! I was getting fitted for the right pair of running shoes for the very first time. After checking my bank account that Friday I noticed my check for my very first Peachtree Road Race had cleared (back in the good old days when things were done by paper & you didn't have to wait for the servers to crash before registering...). I had actually started running June 2006 after my parents started having major medical issues (they're issues that run in the family too), but had stopped when the weather got colder. Now I had no excuse. I took my Nikes out of the box and ran 2 miles on the treadmill without stopping. It was the first time I had ever been able to run 2 miles without stopping. So, I set up a training plan and 150 miles, and a dead treadmill later I was running my very first race (I should mention it was a very old treadmill that sadly did not get replaced because I was the only one using it :( ).

Fast forward 3 years, 3 Peachtree Road Races, 4 marathons, and a multitude of 5 & 10k and 1/2 marathons. Wow, what a difference 3 years makes! I actually started calling myself a runner last year. I think it finally fits. I love running!! I go crazy when I can't run. I'm starting to get rather addicted to strength training and cross training too. I've been doing the Speirs squat, pushup, and situp challenges (I actually paid for the iPhone apps. Steve these things rock!!) and they have already made a huge difference in my running. And my garmin Clyde has helped too :).

So, where do I go from here? I'm working on speed and biomechanics. After finishing "Born to Run" I've been walking around the house barefoot to see what my problems are. My left ankle needs some help. After a couple of weeks of strength work my pronation problems are getting better. I've been working on my stride for a year now (I'm a mid foot striker and proud of it!), which has helped tremendously. I'm thinking about trying a more minimal shoe, but I'm not sure yet. I've already moved down from the super corrective, highly padded shoes I use to wear (I never really felt like it helped and I never got more than 200 miles out of them). I'm also almost done with the Speirs challenges. I'm not sure what to do next for strength training. Anyone have suggestions? I know p90x is popular, but I'm also a musician who doesn't make much, so money is very much a factor in everything I do.

I'm pretty excited about what's going on with my running. I'm super excited about running the Chicago marathon this fall! So, here's to another a great year of running!! To quote my favorite running store "may all your best miles be covered by foot!"

2009 Nike Women's Marathon

Monday, March 22, 2010

2010 ING Georgia Marathon

It's been a fun all ING Georgia weekend. It got started with a trip to the expo on Friday afternoon with my good friend who talked me into running marathons (honestly it's not hard when I'm running. I loose brain cells when I run), followed by another trip to the expo Saturday morning to help at the Team in Training table with one of my Nike mentees, and then the race. It's all ING Georgia, all the time :-).

look what I got at the expo!!!

I thought about the race all week. I've been getting faster. Would I be able to run my new pace for 13.1 miles? Would I finally get to the 2 hour mark? And then it occurred to me that a plan might be a good idea. This would be my third ING Georgia ( full in 2008, half in 2009). I know the course well. So, I decided that I would treat it like a Fartlek run. Beg your pardon, a what? See fartlek runs are awesome in my small opinion. Pick a distance, short or long, and pick up the pace, then relax once you've gotten to the object you've picked. Lots of people like to pick an object like a tree, telephone pole, etc. and run like the wind.

So, how did my little plan go? he he he, well it turned out to be more of a tempo run. I found my friend and fellow Team in Training Laura in our corral (it's the first year I've actually been able to find my corral!!). It was great having someone to run with! We settled into a nice 9:30ish pace, backing off a little on the uphills, and going with flow on the downhills. I have to say that I've never seen the early miles so full of people before. It was packed until the 1/2 seperated from the full, which is where Laura and I parted (she ran her first full!!). I was a little worried that I had gone out too fast, and thought about easing off a little, but once I started grabbing a water cup to toss over my head to keep from over heating I stared feeling much better. That and it started to move from a drizzle to rain, which didn't bother me one bit. I was glad to get rid of the humidity. In the back of my head a small voice was saying you need to take some salt and a few sports beans. By mile 10 I was cruising at a run time of 1:30 when I knew I needed salt in a bad way. So, I had to stop and walk for a minute to fish out a salt packet and crack open the sports beans (fruit punch is not my favorite now). I wish I had paid more attention. I know I lost important time for my poor planning, but it couldn't be helped. But once it all started to work into my system things got much better!! I finally made it to the finish in 2:05:13 (a PR by 6 minutes), just 5 minutes off my goal and an incredibly hilly course. I'm pretty happy about it since it's even faster than I ran the first 1/2 of my marathon last month. I guess all of those squats, lunges, sit ups, and push ups are working! I have a 5k in May and a 10k in July to work towards and training for Chicago officially starts for Team in Training in May. Why wait though? I want to keep working on my speed and keep getting stronger for Chicago, and use my shorter races as a way to see how things are going. If it's not broken why fix it right?! I feel like I'm moving in the right direction. I have some biomechanics to straighten out (left ankle it would be so nice if you stayed in line with my foot and knee!), but after a week of working on my form I'm already seeing results. On to Chicago!! Watch out, here I come!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Running on Memories

There were balloons in our Sunday School class on Sunday. Balloons aren't really my favorite thing (the noise they make when the pop scares me), but one of the guys thought it would be really fun to bust one open for the helium. Announcements definitely would have been interesting. My first reaction was my Uncle use to do that all the time. I remember my Grandmother's birthday the summer after my 7th grade year. We always went to the same Chinese restaurant across from some of the UVA fields in Charlottesville. My Uncle Clyde's wife Leysia had walked over to talk to my sister and I, noticing how beautiful my smile was now I that I no longer had braces. She turned her back, and my uncle got his hands on the balloons. I never knew my Uncle really well, so I was surprised when he started opening balloons and talking after a mouthful of helium. It was hysterical. The more I've heard about my Uncle, the more I've come to discover that this was just his way. Fun loving, a little bit crazy, and enjoying life. I really admire that. I loved hearing stories of the crazy things he did at his memorial service. I learned a lot about him that I never knew.

This weekend would have my Uncle Clyde's birthday. It seems fitting that I'm running a half marathon this weekend. I run a lot of races in memory of my Uncle. It just seemed like the right thing to do after he lost his very brief battle with cancer. This weekend also marks another anniversary. A year ago I was on the way to the same race (ING Georgia 1/2 marathon) when I learned that a friend unexpectedly passed away the day before. She loved to run even if she didn't run as much as she wanted too. I often find myself wanting to tell her something I think will make her laugh, or wanting to send her a note to see how she's doing only to remember that she isn't here anymore. I can't bring myself to take her out of my address book. She reminds me of my Uncle Clyde. Always smiling, bubbly, and full of life. So on Sunday I'm running the ING Georgia half marathon (I so wish I had time to run the full) in memory of Clyde and Jen. I hope it will be a day full of fun and laughter. I think they would have enjoyed that.

Left to right: Kim, Jen, Peter, & myself

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I'm so excited I'm shaking at the moment. Oh my goodness!!!! I'm going to run the Chicago Marathon, and I get to do with Team in Training as a mentor. Have I mentioned I'm really, really, really excited? I could go run a marathon right now. Okay maybe not, but I feel like I have enough energy to go run one. I've been bouncing off the walls all weekend thinking about if I would get picked to be a mentor or not. It's totally turned around my week. If I wasn't shaking out excitement so much right now I would be bouncing off the walls.

You know you want to join me right? ;-) Check out the Team in Training website for more information and tell them I sent you. It will be a blast!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New favorite

Someone please get me to step away from the Sweaty Band website. NOW!!! I picked up one of these super cool headbands at the Big Peach Running Co during the week after eyeing them for a while. My brain was telling me how cute I would look in my ING Georgia race pictures with it on (current race day forecast calls for rain. HA!). I put it on before heading the the Team in Training GTS and fell in love! It is so cute, and it kept the sweat out of my eyes (I don't glisten). So, I started thinking about how great it would be to have a few more of these little gems. Now I can't stop looking at all of the different styles on the website. They have a green polka-dot one!!!! (green is my favorite color!!) No Team in Training one though. Hmmm, although there are some cute purple bands. Hmmmm. There is some serious trouble than could be gotten into with this site...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sometimes you just have to let go

I have a problem. I like to be in control. Who doesn't for that matter? However, I've learned over the past several weeks that my control problem is getting in the way. Sometimes it takes giving up the control to get where you need to go. Running or playing the violin.

I've struggled with spiccato for as long as I can remember. I always thought it was a bouncing stroke. I learned a few things at one of my lessons a few weeks back. It's not a bouncing stroke. Spiccato in italian means short, which just happens to bounce because we're always go so darn fast when we use it. OHHHH. Hmm, that explains a few things. I also learned I try to control it too much. Well, that's because I was trying to make it bounce. Duh. Unfortunately, that just makes things worse. If I try too much it just gets really pecky, like chickens pecking at feed (not really what I was going for I have to say). And because I'm trying so hard and controlling it so much I get really tight, and then tired, and then sore. Turns out if I let go of the tension, and don't try and control things so much I'm actually kind of good at spiccato. Who knew? :) Letting go when I'm playing my violin has been a huge struggle. It's the opposite of the way one of my teachers taught me, and because I of that I got hurt really bad in high school. Letting go is hard. It's uncomfortable. It means taking risks and trying new things. Some may work, others may not, but it never hurts to try. And slowly I'm getting there (the video taping has helped grumble, grumble).

With running, well I tried to control my pace a lot. I wanted to hang with the fast kids and run fast all of the time. Unfortunately, the path to speed involves slowing down. Now I do one speed workout a week and run all of my other runs at least a minute slower than I use too. The difference is huge! My 6 mile run earlier this week felt easy, and I never had to stop to walk or catch my breathe. I just ran at a nice comfortable speed and enjoyed the small lakes forming in my shoes from the rain (ah the memories of high school soccer games in the rain). Long distance running is still something I'm learning, and yes I'm saying that even after four marathons. I'm still learning. Letting go and enjoying the run has helped so much the last 4 weeks. It's not about the pace, and my endurance has skyrocketed because of that. I'm actually really excited about my half marathon next Sunday because of all of this. I can't wait to run and see what happens.

So here's to letting go. May I continue to get better at it because I kind of like being a little more relaxed

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy, Happy tummy

I'm in food heaven. It may take me a while to come down too. Oh my goodness!! If you live in Atlanta and haven't been to Woodfire Grill you need to get a reservation. NOW! I have been dying to go to Woodfire for months all because of one of my favorite shows, Top Chef. It did not disappoint!! I was fortunate enough to have my parents take me, all I had to do was be the DD, a role I do not mind. I have gotten many a good meal this way (and since I don't drink I'm a cheap date :)). We got there early and sat out in the bar area while they finished getting the table ready, and then they lead us to our PRIVATE ROOM!!! Yes, that's right, we had a little room all to ourselves!! I wish I had pictures, but taking pictures in restaurants isn't really my think. More power to you food bloggers. They were beautiful plates that would look lovely on the blog, but really, I'm a runner. I admire momentarily and then dig in.

What kind of awesomeness did I have for dinner? Well, I started with a mixed baby lettuce salad with a light buttermilk dressing, feta cheese, and an onion cruton with bacon jam. Oh bacon jam, I think I love you. It sounds so weird, but it a wonderful, smokey, bacony piece of heaven. And I didn't share one bite of it! Then I had the duck. More awesomeness!! The duck was slightly salty with smokey greens underneath and beets with a chocolate glaze. It was heaven in my mouth!! I also got some sunchokes to go with dinner too. Covered in mint and pomegranates, they reminded of a really awesome light and refreshing green tea. But I have to say the duck with the smokey greens were my favorite!! The whole thing was finished off with a marscapone cheesecake and some counter cultures decaf coffee (my favorite from Octane, which I need to get more of). Oh happy, happy tummy. I wish I could eat at Woodfire everyday, or maybe once a week. Or really I should go get a lottery ticket...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A fond farewell to Nike+

Dear Nike+,

It's been awhile since the last time we went for a run. I hope you're enjoying your new home with my sister. I think you'll have fun in Florida. We've done a lot together. 3 marathons, 4 half marathons, and a whole bunch of 5k & 10ks. We've done a lot over 2 1/2 years. Sometimes you didn't tell me the truth. Sometimes you didn't work like you were suppose to. Maybe you wanted me to feel good about my pace and how far I was running. We've had ups and downs, but now I have a new friend. I hate to say that I'm running even better with my garmin watch Clyde, but I wouldn't be able to move ahead if you hadn't gotten me in such good shape. I enjoyed the challenges, and the graphs. It's time to move on. Despite the fact that I enjoy seeing the mileage we've done together, it's time to move on. So thanks for the good memories, and great runs. I'll never forget them.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Orchid fun

Ahhhh orchids! I've been planning this post ever since my parents said that they wanted to go to the Botanical Gardens this week. See, I have a small yet expensive problem. I love orchids! Every time I go to the gardens I come back with a new orchid :). I will hem and haw about spending money on just about anything, but I can put $30+ down for a new orchid in a heartbeat. Yes, I have a problem :) :) :). Right now I have four really healthy orchids in my teaching studio, and I'm proud to say that I can even get them to flower again. Three of them I've had for about 3 years now. Don't ask me how this has happened, but apparently I am good with orchids. So, since I now have to spend an arm and a leg on my bow I left my wallet at home for our garden trip (think of it like freezing your credit cards. If you don't have it you can't use it!), and brought my camera instead. Enjoy!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My poor bow :(

I am so upset with myself right now. I guess the only good thing is that all of this happened right at the end of my lesson yesterday instead of at home, work, or rehearsal. What happened? The winding on my bow came loose. What? The solid gold winding on my best bow came loose as I was wiping it down yesterday. I should explain that a bow's winding comes in two parts. First a metal winding (although student bows are often plastic), which is typically either silver or gold. The better the bow, the more expensive and heavier the winding (gold being heavier than silver). Second is a leather piece that goes at the base of the metal winding for comfort while holding the bow.

 Maybe I gripped it too much, or maybe I started wiping lower than normal. I don't know. All I know is that half of the winding is nice and tight, and the other half. Well, it's not so tight. I don't trust anyone but the maker of my fabulous bow to fix it. I've heard too many horror stories (and I'm a little worried one shop might try and steal it. Sad, but again I've heard stories). There are just a few problems:

  1. The bow maker lives in Spain, so I have to ship the bow to him. This is normally not a problem, but it's international shipping. It also has to be insured (because it's an expensive bow), and it can't just sit in shipping trucks and planes. All of this adds up to roughly $180 each way. Hopefully a few other people need to send bows too (crossing fingers!!!!)
  2. Did I mention the winding is made out of gold? Yeah, gold. While a gold winding is a good sign of a really nice bow, it's also not cheap to replace. Again fingers are crossed that the winding can be saved. Otherwise it's big bucks to replace.
  3. Since it's going over I'm getting my free rehair too. Might as well. I've owned the bow for 2 years now and this will be the first rehair. Michael uses the best materials he can get his hands on, and it shows. (and I'm grateful for that!)
To be honest I'm not sure if I'm more freaked out that I messed up my bow, or how much it's going to cost to get it back up and playing. There is no question that it cannot be used at all in it's current state. Fortunately my teacher has a bunch of Michael's bows so I can borrow one. It's still a fabulous bow (I should say that I would buy 10 of his bows in a heartbeat if I had the money), but it isn't my bow, and I'm not very excited about using. It's a little stiffer, and a little heavier, and did I mention that it isn't mine. I'm going to do some baking later. Maybe that will help. Or maybe some speed training on tomorrow's run. Although chocolate sounds good now too. I just miss my bow. I feel like one of my arms is missing...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

All things Pumpernickel

I have become obsessed with all things pumpernickel. I can't help it. So, instead of buying pumpernickel bread, or eating tons of pumpernickel bagels I decided to try my hand at making pumpernickle (cause that's what you do when you're obsessed right?). Who knew it would be so hard to find a recipe. At least it was until I came across a gold mine in my parent's kitchen called "The complete book of bread." Jackpot!!! Not only does it have a pumpernickel recipe, it has two pumpernickel recipes. So, I tried out the Pumpernickel Rye Bread recipe:

3 packages dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water 105-115 degrees (it calls for warm wafer. I'm assuming they mean water...)
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups pumpernickel rye flour (which I couldn't find so I used dark rye flour)
3 to 4 cups bread flour

  1. combine the yeast & water and stir to dissolve. Then add molasses, caraway seeds, salt, oil, & rye flour. Beat about 100 strokes (or in my case cheat & use the mixer...). Add bread flour a 1/2 cup at a time until dough is stiff and cleans the sides of the bowl
  2. knead until dough is smooth
  3. 1st rising. Place dough in greased bowl & cover with plastic wrap for 1 /12 - 2 hours (poke to test, dent will remain)
  4. Divide into 2 pieces (can skip if you want 1 big loaf) and let rise 10 minutes. Place on opposite corners of baking sheet
  5. 2nd rising. cover and let rise for 45 minutes
  6. preheat oven to 375. Stab loaves 10 -12 times with skewer and bake until browned (40 - 50 minutes)
  7. cool on metal racks
2nd rising

mmmm pumpernickel!

Result: It's good bread, but it taste more like rye bread that happens to be brown than pumpernickel. It's also a little bit heavy. Seeing as it's already half gone I'm guessing people are enjoying it anyway :)

All in all it was a fun way to spend a Saturday. Especially after a good run in my new Dailymile tech shirt :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

If you can't laugh...

Last night at my violin lesson my teacher told me I had a good sense of humor about things. Playing the violin isn't easy. Everything must be perfect. The fingers have to go down at the right time to match the speed the bow is going, and well the other 10 things going on at the same time have to be perfect too. The problem? I'm not perfect, and after a while the over analyzing, and picking takes a toll. Honestly, if you can't laugh at something you're going to go crazy. And who better to laugh at than yourself? I wish I could say that I do this in every part of my life. It certainly wasn't happening when I was washing dishes last night (I greatly dislike doing the dishes, yet I somehow always end up with that job...), but that's something I want to work on.

I will admit that I didn't do a whole lot of laughing last week. Watching the Olympics late into the night has taken a toll. Add a hurt arm, and a flat tire into the mix all in one day. There wasn't a whole lot to laugh about, and it was hard to look at it in any other way. But isn't there always something to be happy about? Right now I'm happy that my arm is itching like mad. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but whenever something gets better it itches, at least for me. And I had a good lesson for not being able to play for the better part of a week. I understand things better. I know what is going on when I'm playing. I'm listening and paying attention to what I'm doing and I'm getting better! I'm looking forward to going to work this afternoon and playing with students. And my teacher told me he thinks I'm a good violinist. I just need to pay more attention to what I'm doing. I feel much lighter. I feel like laughing. So here's to a little more laughter in our lives! I hope you laugh today! :)