Saturday, November 30, 2013

Self Conscious on Black Friday

Did you go black Friday shopping? I only went to the Brooks Outlet at 10:00 a.m. and then bummed around with our friends all afternoon. I had high hopes of snagging some shoes at a crazy price, but I wanted to be fitted for a site and the workers were running around dealing with the insanity. I should have gotten one of their infinity bras to try out, but didn't see my size right away.

I think my reluctance to browse and take my time to find what I want when things are busy is because I am feel silly because I am larger than most other runners, plus I have wide feet. Digging through the smalls and 32" bra bands to find my size when things are crowded just makes me feel self conscious.

I'm also self conscious about my poor card shuffling skills, as we learned playing games with Daniel yesterday.

Today is Shop Local Saturday,  and the only local store I went to was a delicious Mediterranean Cafe for really good Gyros. Besides that,  we went to Hong Lobby,  Trader Joe's, Winco, Costco, and Fred Meyer. I kind of lost at shopping local. Even though those places were crowded, I knew exactly what I wanted there and want self conscious. Alas.

I didn't workout yesterday and continued my laziness by not running today.  Drew ran and it was bad and had haunted him all day. We walked to Freddy's in the dark and then I was like, "I'm ready to go now! " so then I did a quick kickboxing DVD. And I'm feeling much better.

You know that "inspirational" quote that says "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" and then Jennifer Lawrence says, "I can think of a lot of things that taste better. " in that same vein, lazy does not feel better than active.

Today's Workout
Kickboxing 20 minutes

Have you seen Catching Fire yet?
No. I have not

Did you go Black Friday shopping?  Did you shop local?  Are you planning on anything on Cyber Monday? Did you get any awesome movies? 
Free cookbook from Costco woot woot!

What are you self conscious about? 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Trotting Like Turkeys

Since we didn't run in a race yesterday, A and I had our own little run. We put El in the stroller and headed down to our favorite local jogging path. It was a cold morning and now we both hope that Santa brings us running gloves.

A pushed the stroller and we kept at a pretty quick pace (for me). My splits don't seem that way because we kept stopping to rearrange El in the stroller because she kept sinking into her snowsuit. But, I could tell my cadence was faster than usual and was excited to hear some nice splits. I was all set and ready to run 5 miles, but after 3, A was ready to be done. Pushing a jogging stroller is so brutal. I just keep thinking how strong I am because I can run with it for up to 5 miles. So we just ran a small race and then walked the 2 miles home.

We talked about organizing a small race next year with our ward (Church congregation) and having people donate 2 cans of food or something. We'll see when the time comes.

I felt good and my shin splints went away after running. Today I need to foam roll my hips though.

How was your Thanksgiving feast? Ours was great. We had the missionaries and some friends over for our feast. Everything was delicious, except we had an issue with the turkey and my inability to read the meat thermometer. Let's just say that we got turkey two hours after we started our meal.

Yesterday's Workout
Run 3 miles, 32:25, 10:53
Stomach stretching with large amounts of food

Did you run in any Thanksgiving races? How did you do?

What part of your feast was a disaster?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tired Legs

Today I got to go running without the stroller! That was nice to just worry about pushing myself and not me and El. My legs were so tired from yesterday's intervals and Monday's row. Mostly the row, and my core was still tired and sore. Who knew rowing would kick my butt so much.

I pushed hard and I am so pleased with my pace. It was a short 2.25 mile run. Mile 1, I got 10:34 minutes per mile, and mile 2 reached 10:07! I was really pleased to hit that time. I felt like I was flying without that jogging stroller. I do, however, think pushing it makes me a stronger runner, as seen by my significant pace increase today.

So even on tired legs, I did better. But I think I need to ice then later. I feel kind of lightly shin splinty.

Today's workout
2.25 mile run, 23:09, 10:21 avg pace
Yoga 10 minutes

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have you ever done something that significantly changed your running?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Running With Music

Hello and happy Tuesday. It has been an interesting day so far.

Today's Workout
4.5 mile run, 49:49, pace 11:05

Today for my run, I broke out my running tights because it was cold. El wore her down snowsuit and her pumpkin hat and was super cute, as usual. (PS--I keep taking pictures and putting them on flickr, but they aren't showing up when I paste the code in here. I will have to keep working on that.) My phone gave me two temperatures, so when I started running it was either 35*F or 29*F and when I finished it was 39* or 31*F. I'm not that great with knowing the temperature by feel, especially here in WA with the humidity. But I do like running in the cold weather, and in the past have run outside when it was 20*F, but having El to worry about makes me not as excited to run in the cold with her. When it is cold, I'm not so worried about temperature as I am about ice, but things were OK today.

Anyway, I was doing one-minute intervals, and then El started to scream. I think it was the cold air in her face. I tried covering the stroller with her blanket, turning around, talking to her. There were not a lot of people on the trail, but the trail goes through a little shopping center and there were people getting coffee or walking to work. They were all glaring at me. I thought, 'I am 2.5 miles from home. What should I do?' And then I remembered that I was only a half mile from my BFF Shannon's apartment. She told me to walk on in to her house any time I needed to. I prayed that her door was unlocked (it usually is) and ran as fast as I could to her place. We parked the stroller under the stairs, I pulled El out, ran up to her door, knocked and twisted the knob...

It was locked.

I knew that the one time I needed to get into her apartment, it would be locked.

But then her hubby Brady opened the door and let me in! They are heading out to CA this afternoon so both of them had the day off. We warmed up, gave El some goldfish crackers, chatted, and I was very stinky. I shared some hot chocolate with El, which she dribbled on her shirt. After a half hour, we loaded back up and ran home. El was happy and then fell asleep. Even better, she fell asleep in her crib after we got home. YAY!

So it has been cold and weird and thank goodness the weather cover should be here tomorrow because I think El will be a lot warmer with it.

Now, the topic at hand...

Do you run with music? Does it help you keep pace?

I don't. The headphones always slip out of my ears or make them sore. I don't like wearing them since I run in streets without sidewalks, among drivers who I can trust to pay attention, and where dogs prowl their yards. I feel much safer without headphones or music playing. It also seems like my iPod is always out of power. By the by, I did use my iPod last night during my rowing workout but not on today's run. It is about of power.

Since I want to work on my pace, I think upbeat music could help. The tempo could push me and the energy could motivate me. But I still won't if I have to wear headphones to get those benefits.

Let me tell you, my 2+ hour training runs got pretty long without music to break up the monotony. But I do think training without music helps you train for races that don't allow music. I imagine the race could get tough if you depend on your tunes to keep you on pace, to entertain you, or to keep your mind off the pain/discomfort.

But I still would like to listen to music or an audio book while I run---but no headphones. So I have a running etiquette question for you. Can I play music on my phone or other device during my training runs? I would just put it in the stroller's cup holder and go. Since I don't usually see many other people out walking or running when I am out, I don't think it will be bothersome to others. I could potentially be embarrassed about some song that comes on. Thoughts on that running etiquette?

Do you run with music?

What is your favorite song to workout and/or run to?
I do like "Eye of the Tiger" in spin class. Cliche, I know. I also really like INXS and Tina Turner. Everyone knows 80s music is the best to workout to.

Can I listen to music without headphones while I run?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot

I could not find a turkey trot within 30 minutes of my home. Since I am the one cooking the feast all by lonesome, I have decided to do one on my own. I will probably make Drew run, too, and he'll probably bring along his running buddy, Daniel. Someone will have to push El in the jogging stroller, and it will probably be me,  and that is ok. So I am trying to decide what distance I'll shoot for.

5k--- not a challenging distance, but I'll really push the speed.

5 miles --- a more challenging distance where I will try to keep my pace around 10:45 if I'm pushing the stroller or 10:30 if I'm not.

10k ---a longer run to challenge my endurance, which has really slacked off since September's half marathon.

If you are running a race, Good luck!

Today's workout
Row, 32:00 min, 0.5 mile --- that was rough! I should row more often, it will definitely build my leg strength.

Are you running a Thanksgiving race? What distance?

Are you the only one running it or does your whole family join in?

Runners Physique and The Normal Person

I follow a blog that provides at-home CrossFit style workouts for moms. I do the workouts a few times per week and they are really good. Lately there have been a lot of running workouts, usually something like 5 rounds of run 400 meters, 20 dead lifts, 20 sit ups. I actually skip most of the running workouts, not because I can't do them, but because I already have a hard time squeezing in a full run without having to do those intervals. Plus, I do interval training and sprints. Yes, I would get faster quicker if I did them, and yes, I would see some great results physically. I also hate having to drag my weights outside to complete the workout. I am more prone to do it if there are on,y body weight exercises. I do enjoy these workouts and I know they have made me stronger, I just skip the running because, frankly, already run. I could tack on a longer run, maybe I should do that.

Today, the author posted this image:

She then said that readers won't get the same results if they combine the running intervals instead of doing shorter sprints. This is true. I won't deny that. You can find articles and posts from scholars, health experts, and any average joe with a simple google search.

But I take issue with something else in this image, especially as it was posted on the website targeting moms.

And that is the meaning that average women can have the physique of a serious sprinter by doing those workouts. That is highly unlikely without a lot of work, and the workouts on this website will not deliver those results by themselves. Yes, doing HIIT workouts and running sprints will help you lose weight and tone up. But you will not have the same physique as a high-training athlete, especially ones that compete at the levels pictured here. They definitely don't do only 5 rounds of 400m sprints per day. They don't only do 5 rounds of 20 squats or deadlifts or pull ups. They train for much longer than 20 minutes per day.

On the other end, I also take issue with the implied message that you will look like these hardcore marathoners. Not all marathoners look like that, especially the casual ones. The average distance runner will be slim, but not look like walking skeletons. The marathon pictures are really unflattering, and are taken when they are tired from their efforts.

Normal people, like me and most of the women who follow that blog, will probably not have the physique of either types of runners. We aren't high-training runners or exercisers.

All the pictures I see for "thinspiration" are of women in teeny bikinis with hot abs. Isn't this just as bad as comparing yourself to a celebrity body? Most women won't look like super models. Most women won't look like professional athletes. The athletes, both sprinters and marathoners, train incredibly hard. They push their bodies to the limit. The normal person who has a job, cares for their kids, cleans the house and tries to get a workout in will not meet the same strength, appearance, or endurance points.

I ran a half marathon! I am not thin. I do want to lose some weight. But, I am amazed at my body's capabilities and am so grateful that I have a healthy body.

Our bodies are amazing no matter what they look like. I think the most important thing to do is to take care of our bodies.

Weigh in. What do you think about that image and others like it?

Have you struggled with your body image in the past?
I have, but I have accepted my body as it is and its capabilities. That doesn't mean I don't want to be as healthy as I can, it just means that I'm not obsessed with it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Going to a Concert!

I'm going on a date with A tonight. I am pretty excited. We are going to the Trans Sibrian Orchestra concert at Key Arena in Seattle. I will definitely give a review of it! We are going with our buds Shannon and Brady. Shannon is my BFF.

We won the tickets in a raffle from a bake sale. Awesome!

I've never been to one of these concerts. I'm not sue about the dress code. I think it is probably more like a rock concert than an orchestra concert, though.

It has been sunny but cold the past few days. We are busy shopping got our feast next week, so I probably won't get a run in. At least I have done some yoga. Happy happy stretching. :)

Here's to enjoying some music tonight!

Yesterday's workout
Strength training, 20 minutes

Today's workout
Yoga, 30 minutes

Do you go to a special Christmas concert each year?

Have you ever won free tickets to a concert?
This is my first time, but I worked at a tv and radio station as a receptionist one summer and gave a lot of winners their prizes. Some were so excited they were practically jumping while they claimed their prize!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

On My Running Calendar: Early 2014 Races

Although I don't really want to train intensely during the winter, having a race or two will motivate me to keep running through the rain. I thought readers may like to hear about some races I considered running.

First Call Running Club New Year's Races, January 1, 2014
A local running club puts together a low key race every few months. The next one is the First Call to Run New Year's Race, and they will have half marathon, full marathon, and 50k distances. You have to be a club member to run, but after that, the races are free (donations welcome). Our friend just ran their Veterans Day half and loved it. It is along the beautiful Sammamish River Trail. It's pretty low key, so you need to carry a water bottle and fuel. I probably won't run this race, but maybe their next one in the coming year.

Rain Run, January 25, 2014
Since I need to redeem myself in another half marathon, I am considering this run. The Rain Run sounds like a fun one that also celebrates the PNW rain. I love the phrase on their website, "Seattle doesn't run from the rain, we run in the rain!" So true. My only problem is that I don't rally feel like training through the Christmas season when it is so dark out at night. I will decide if I am running this half marathon by the end of November.

Puddle Run, February 2, 2014
I really wanted to run in the Mill Creek YMCA Puddle Run. My neighbor told me about it and I think it sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to embrace the wet place we call home. There is a 5k race, 5 mile race, and a 1-mile race. There are races for kids, too. The race is really reasonably priced. I was disappointed when I realized that the race is on a Sunday! I don't run on Sundays and am bummed that I will miss this one.

Lake Sammamish Half, March 8, 2014
This race is the half that is the most darkly penciled in on my racing calendar. Lake Sammamish Half should be a good run on a beautiful trail. I haven't decided for sure yet, but I will probably run this race. It is far enough in advance that I will be able to comfortably build up my mileage.

So far, those are the races on my radar. If you are in the area, let me know about upcoming races! A reference or a friend always helps make a race better.

Today's workout
4 mile walk, 1:20:00ish

I didn't make it on a run last night, darn headache. This morning I just felt like walking. I can take it easy this week because next week I'm going to stick to a training plan!

Do you have any races planned for the first quarter of 2014?

Do you have any specific running goals for 2014?
I have three. First, improve my pace. Second, PR in a half marathon. Third, support Andrew in his marathon training.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I spoke too soon.

I spoke too soon about getting up and going. Today the sun is shining. It is a brisk but refreshing 36*F outside. And I'm out of commission with a headache. I can't shake it. I think I will have to go lie down while El is napping.

At least I was very productive during her morning nap, including core.

If my headache goes away, I might go for a 3 mile run. If not, I'll call it a rest day.

This is a great blog, right? I write about running and can't even get going within the first week.

But this blog is also about music. I practiced my cello the other day and had to use a metronome for a tricky rhythm. I haven't done that in years and it was nice. Maybe I need a metronome for running at a quick pace.

Today's workout

Metronomes: do you love them or hate them?

What is your favorite weather to run in?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Just GO!


I found this image and thought it was really true to what I have experienced with running.

Being the fastest isn't important.
Moving is what is important.

That first step on each run is the hardest. But I have never finished a run and wished I hadn't gone. Even if I am sore or exhausted, the knowledge that I did something hard is so worth it.

Today's Workout
3.25 run, 36:01 minutes, 11:05 min/mile pace

Any running quotes that have really inspired you lately?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wet Running Weather

I live in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, I live in the Puget Sound Convergence Zone, which means it is the wettest part of the wet PNW. To my understanding, the weather is wetter because pressure zones (or however it is in meteorology) go around the Olympic Mountains and then converge here in this area. So all the weather collides and makes it very wet here.

We've had a pretty mild spring, summer, and autumn so far. It hasn't been very wet. But today is wet.

There are lots of different kind of rainfall, which I have experienced since moving here from Utah. There is misty rain, a steady drizzle, and fat droplets of very wet rain. There are other rains in between and beyond these, but those seem to be the most distinctive to me. You'd be amazed at how wet you can get from running in the misty rain.

Anyway, this year has not been terribly wet, which has bee great for my running. I don't have a gym membership or a treadmill, so I get to run outside. That isn't too bad, even in the rain. To make rain running even more difficult, I get to push little El in the jogging stroller. I actually don't mind it. It is fun to have such a cute running buddy. But I have put off and put off buying a rain cover for it.

Today is the day. I need to order it. I think the wet winter has officially started. I'm fine getting wet on a run. But I don't want El to get soaked.

Another challenge is that we live way up north. I am always amazed at the short sunlit hours. It isn't as bad now as it is in December and early January, but it is getting dark at 7:30 a.m. and dark at 5:00 p.m. Soon it will dark at 8:00 a.m. and dark again at 4:00 p.m. This adds another challenge for my winter workouts---I don't feel comfortable running in the dark where there are no sidewalks, especially when it is raining! But I will just have to deal with this, too.

A year ago,  right after I had El, I walked every day with her. If I didn't leave by 2:00 p.m., it would be dark before I got home! I wore my Ergo to carry her and I carried an umbrella to keep her sry. It worked well and was great to get out of the house.

It is definitely wet out today. And, though I woke up with enthusiasm to run, we haven't gone out yet. The rain comes down when she is awake and it stops after I put her down for a nap. I'll just do an indoor workout instead. But I am hoping to get out for a short run once Andrew gets home.

I do think that it is ok to back off on the training intensity during the winter. Maybe it is a bit of an off season. I know some people really like training in the winter. For now, I will just try to maintain fitness.

Today's workout
20 minutes total body strengthening
5 minutes core
****hoped-for 3 mile run****

Also, I actually practiced my cello on Saturday! I will be better about that because I am playing in a few weeks at church.

What are the winter challenges for your workout? Do you power through outside or take your workout indoors?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Old Pianos---are they worth it?

We don't have a piano in our home and it makes me really, really sad. Most people are surprised, even shocked.

"You don't have a piano? YOU don't have a piano?"
No, I don't . Someday.
And then, because I play the piano and organ in church. "You mean, you don't get to practice before church? You just get up there and play it?"
Correct. You do what you have to do. I do wish I had more opportunity to practice the organ because it really is not my strong instrument. But, alas, we live 5 miles from the church and I don't have a car during the day. I guess I could run there. And practice. And be stinky while I practice. Sigh.

Anyway, we have an opportunity through a friend of a friend to get a piano for free. YAY!

We went to her home, an old farmhouse she recently purchased with the intent to turn it into a bed and breakfast. She bought the 100-year-old house from the granddaughter of the people who built it, a 70-year-old woman who didn't know what to do with the stuff in the home. Our friend of a friend put the offer in on the house and all the contents of the house.

With it, came a 95-year-old piano. The friend of a friend already has a piano she really likes, and wants this one to go to a new home. We tried it out. The action of the keys was fantastic still. The wood was in good condition (except for one spot on the top from a vase). The finish was great (this is really important to Andrew, as he worked for a summer refinishing pianos). It was beautiful.

But some of the strings need to be replaced. They are in the middle. The middle strings are the most used and the hardest to get to. How brittle are the strings? When will they snap? How many need to be replaced? We aren't sure.

Restringing the piano will cost about $1000. Is it worth it when we could get a new piano for that price? I know that refinishing an old upright piano is not worth it, unless it has sentimental value. Restringing is right on the border or worth it.

This is definitely a better, more beautiful used piano than what we could get from an ad on craigslist, which we'd still probably have to put some work into. But is the price of the repairs worth it? Ultimately, the decision is up to me. I am just having a hard time.

I really like the piano. It matches the "retro" feel I have going in the rest of our living room area. It is in great condition for its age. It is free. I would really love to have a piano (finally) in our home.

So, any thoughts about old pianos?

Do you have sentimental value attached to your piano?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Practice Makes Permanent

Even though I haven't really practiced by cello for 7 years, I can pick it up, work on a not-too-difficult piece a few times, and perform it with confidence. Why is that?


Before I graduated from high school, I practiced daily for 4 hours. For a professional or aspiring professional, that isn't much, but it is a lot for someone playing for fun. I practiced hard and I practiced well. It made my fingers know what to do. Even now, 7 years later, I can pick up my instrument, and play it---not as well or as skillfully or as beautifully or with as precise technique---but I can make my way through my old repertoire and new pieces. And it still brings me joy.

red cello
Cello image from here.

I wish that I kept up on my cello better. However, because I wasn't studying music at college, it wasn't practical to practice for 4 hours, or often even 1 hour. My productive and persistent practice stuck with me.

This is a goal I have with running. I don't have 4 hours to dedicate to it. Most days, my entire workout is an hour, tops. By being careful about my technique while I run, I can enjoy it more in the future. I'm trying to not heel-strike, I'm trying to increase my cadence, I'm trying to keep my shoulders relaxed (this is tough with the jogging stroller). I also try to do some running drills each week. When I have learned something well, I won't have to think about it and can enjoy my runs for many years to come.

No, I don't have a coach. Maybe someday. But for now, reading articles and self-correcting is good enough for this runner.

Good running form
Running image from here.

Today's Workout
Body weight exercises
30 minutes of yoga

Can you still pick up your instrument and enjoy it? What is your instrument?

What have you committed to muscle memory?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On Being Really Slow

I am a really slow runner. So slow, you may wonder why I have a running blog. It seems like most of the running blogs I read are written by people who are pretty quick, like 8:00 minute miles is taking it easy. They compare themselves to professionals who run 5:00 minute miles or better (I have no idea about pros, I haven't checked).

And this isn't a bad thing at all. We should be inspired by people who are fast, who challenge us to do better. But I think it is important for us all to be realistic.

I run, on average, an 11:00 minute mile. I am pushing a jogging stroller; I do sometimes hit 10:30 or better---but I have accepted that I am pretty slow. I am trying to get faster, to be fast more consistently. I will probably never run a 7:00 minute mile. I may hit my peak at a consistent 10:00 minute mile. And that is OK.

What is important is that we all try our best. We won't always be successful. Sometimes I feel like I'm flying and my GPS says I'm going 11:30. Oops. Maybe that's the best I can do today. And the more I try my best, the easier the hard things will come to me.

The way I'll be trying to get faster is to push myself harder and to do some speedwork. Time to read up on that!

What is your favorite speed workout?

Who inspires you to run harder?


Hello to the world!

I'm Lou, a runner and a musician. Lately, I've been doing a lot of running and not a lot of celloing. A lot of people start a blog so they are accountable. That's part of the reason I want to start this blog. If this blog is called RunCello, I had better run and cello! But more than accountability, I want a place to share my thoughts. Lately, I've been a bit down in the dumps and have tried to figure out how to connect more to the world when I'm a stay-at-home mom. Maybe a blog will help! I want to comment on music and some running posts I read in a more thorough response than in the comments section on a blog. Really processing the information, seeing what works for me and sharing it, and going out of my way to learn more about music and running will, I believe, make me a stronger musician and a stronger runner. And, there are so many overlaps to both music and running! (I guess they are both like Star Wars, you can apply it to everything.)

I hope that you enjoy my thoughts and feel free to comment, too!

Today's Workout
4 mile run with jogging stroller, ~43 minutes (GPS issues, so don't have the stats)
Core workout

What content are you interested in?

How was your workout today?