Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for the ‘Training’

Published December 8th, 2007

Virtual 8 on the 8th

While my darling thinks I have an obsession with running blogs, there definitely is a benefit to being a member of an online community. I’ve “met” lots of fantastic runners who inspire me and spur me on to lace up weekend after weekend.

A few weeks ago Nancy suggested a virtual 8-mile race on the 8th of December. Since my darling and I are training for the Goofy Challenge, we decided to make it two back-to-back 8 mile races. We picked a scenic route that started at our doorstep, wound around Greenlake and Lake Union, headed along the Seattle waterfront and the wound back up through the neighborhood to our favorite pub (we thought a frosty beverage would provide enough incentive to run those 16 miles!).

Despite not having to pay any race fees, we still got a t-shirt:
Betsy & Matt 8on8 t-shirts


(I think my arm weight routine must be working; do I look buff OR WHAT?)

While other runners were forced inside due to the snow, we awoke to gloriously sunny skies. This was an incredible change from the beginning of the week; as some of you may have read the Seattle area got a deluge of rain earlier in the week (they had to shut down a major interstate for several days due to flooding). I was crazy enough to run a little over 10 miles in the stuff, and I tell you, it wasn’t fun. As I was stretching prior to the run it was snowing:

Snowy stretch


…but by the time I started the run it turned into a cold downpour that soaked me to the bone. So I was thrilled to see the weather cooperated today for our 16-mile run. Here’s a picture at the end of the first 8 miles (notice I’m still smiling):
First 8 miles


We finished the first “race” in 1 hour, 14 minutes — a 9:21 pace (I’m extremely happy with that!). The second part of the race was much hillier, plus we were starting to tire. We still finished in a respectable 1 hour, 20 minutes, but I had to take a couple of walk breaks (I powered up one hill at the 15-mile mark and thought I was going to faint). Here I am enjoying my frosty beverage:
Second 8


We originally were going to run the mile+ home, but decided to walk given the hills. But tonight we’ll be walking around Greenlake again to enjoy the “Path of Lights” (they line the edges of the trail with luminaries) and will be running a 5K Jingle Bell Run tomorrow morning.

Thank you Nancy for organizing this!

Published December 4th, 2007

Determination or insanity?

Now that I’ve got Boston on the brain I’ve been rethinking my training strategy. I’m still a fan of Jeff Galloway (he’ll always have a place in my heart given he got me to Medoc), but I question whether the run/walk program will get me to Boston. It’s a fabulous program for one’s first marathon: the “to finish” plan requires only 3 days/week of training with relatively low mileage (although he does recommend running the full 26.2 miles before the race). And because you’re interspersing walk breaks with your running, you recover much quicker (and reduce the risk of injury).

But something tells me Boston will require much, much more.

After perusing the Runner’s World discussion boards on marathon training I picked up a copy of Pete Pfitzinger’s “Advanced Marathoning.” As the name implies, it’s definitely more hardcore than Galloway. They offer several training options: 12-, 18- and 24-week plans with 55, 70 and 70+ miles per week (not every week includes that mileage, rather, you work up to it). However, they do recommend a hardy base — you should be running at least 25 miles/week within the past month and should have comfortably completed a run close in length to the long run called for the first week.

I won’t be following this plan for Disney, but will start the 18-week, 55-mile plan once I’ve recovered (I’ll be giving myself three weeks) for the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in June (where I hope to BQ). The first week calls for 32 miles with a 12-mile long run; while I knew it would be an increase in mileage, I hadn’t realized how much.

I had been reading Runner Gal Leana‘s post on breaking 100 miles for the month of November (way to go!), which prompted me to figure out how much I’ve run per month. I was shocked to see the results: even during my marathon training, not only did I never break 100, I only broke the 80-mile mark one month! My average monthly total has around the 75-mile mark. Part of it has to do with sickness and injury, but most of it has to do with laziness. While I’d be diligent about getting my long runs in, I was pretty lackadaisical about the midweek runs. Obviously I was still able to finish the marathon, but again, if I’m to run in 4 hours, 59 seconds, I’ve got to step it up.

At first I chose a very optimistic goal for the month of December: 150 miles. But considering my hip/hamstring issues, I should be more realistic (most training plans don’t recommend increasing your mileage by more than 10% each week). So I’ve revised my goal: the bare minimum is 100 miles, the “Way to Go Betsy!” target is 125 miles, and the “Wonky Body Mechanics Be Gone!” target is 150 miles.

I’m happy to say I’m off to a good start: 22 miles for the month! (Although I hope to not have to do a lot of it, I’m including treadmill running. With the nasty weather we’ve had over the past couple of days, I decided to do my 4-mile run this morning indoors). But I’ll be outside — rain or shine — for Nancy’s 8 on the 8th!

Published December 1st, 2007

One step forward, two steps back

Mean lookWhile I refuse to see it as an omen, there sure have been a few wrenches thrown into my Goofy Challenge training. I missed a couple weeks in September due to a nasty cold, then my right hip rebelled against my increased training (which included hill and speed play). Just when I’m back running long distances (thanks to doing my physical therapy exercises diligently) the holidays hit. ARGH!

Given I’m a personal chef, Thanksgiving week is always hectic for me. Not only do I have to prepare Thanksgiving dishes for my clients, I’m also responsible for my own. Because we were heading to Whistler for the holiday I roasted the turkey ahead of time and froze it (it works remarkably well, resulting in incredibly moist turkey!). I ran about 12 1/2 miles on the Sunday before, which meant I was too wiped to bake any pies on the weekend. So I was forced to bake a pie for my client during their cook date (it was a gift). Given I only bake pies once a year, I’m not that speedy. In addition, they live about 20 miles from me, and by the time I hit the road the traffic was horrid.

As I was winding my way through the jam I got a call from my Wednesday client: what was I planning on preparing for their Thanksgiving dinner besides the stuffing? Well, I hadn’t even planned on doing the stuffing! (The wife was out of town the week before and her husband said her family was going to take care of everything. Apparently he got it wrong). So while I had planned a quick cook date to allow us plenty of time to get to Whistler, I now was responsible for stuffing and mashed potatoes for 25. sigh.

But what the heck has this got to do with my training? Unfortunately it meant I had to curtail much of my workouts, especially my physical therapy. I got a 3 1/2 mile run in on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, then the 5-mile Whistler International Turkey Trot on Thursday (I still can’t believe you’ve never heard of it). But Friday and Saturday were a bust (okay, so I suppose I worked off a few calories WALKING down the friggin’ mountain on Friday).


Published November 12th, 2007

Nature’s birthday gift to me

As I’m laying on the couch watching the news on today’s storm, I’m grateful for nature’s gift to me. As I mentioned, I awoke to pouring down rain and gusty wind; the weather report promised it would get worse as the day wore on. I was kicking myself for postponing my 9-mile run, but figured I’d just bundle — and buck — up.

I spent the morning reading blogs and futzing around the house, but by 2 p.m. I was ready to lace up my shoes. My darling decided to go with me, so I waited for him to finish up his photo project. It was about 2:45 when we finally headed out, but as we opened our front door we saw something totally unexpected: the sun! While there were dark clouds to the northeast, we had blue sky overhead. The wind had also died down considerably.

Because of the weather and the fact my darling’s foot was bothering him, we decided to just run three laps around Greenlake (we figured if either of us needed to bail, we’d be so close to home).  As we got halfway through our second lap we noticed the clouds to the northeast had turned darker and more ominous; would the weather hold out for our entire run?  We certainly hoped so!

As we neared the end of lap 2 I checked with my darling to see how he as faring.  He was good to go.  By now the clouds had started drifting over us and we were certain we’d get caught in a downpour.  But being the hearty Pacific Northwesterners we are, we continued on.  Although the wind started to pick up, we got nary a drop.

What a wonderful birthday treat!

(And just out of curiosity, I weighed myself after the run — 163.2!!!)

Published November 2nd, 2007

So much for speed

Yesterday I experienced a PW (personal worst): 2.8 miles in 28 minutes, 29 seconds.  Even when I weighed 200 pounds I could run that loop faster.  But you know what?


I went in for another PT appointment on Wednesday, and while I probably should take a bit more time off, with the upcoming Goofy Challenge, I wanted to get back to running.  However, my goal for training for the rest of the year is to keep it slow and steady.  I felt so good yesterday, I’m planning on running the loop twice tomorrow.  Assuming all goes well, I’m hoping to work up to a 20-miler three weeks before the race.

Although it sucks to be plagued with knee and hip issues (yet another indication youth is wasted on the young), I’m glad it’s happening now when I don’t have so much at stake.  I’ll continue to incorporate my PT exercises into my workout routine (in addition to various strength-training exercises, she also has me doing a bunch of core work).  I’ll also continue to work in water running and the elliptical machine on non-running days.

Hopefully all the strength training will prepare me for the hill and speed work necessary for a BQ.  I’m still shooting for next summer, however, if we decide to tear our house down that may have to be pushed back (although he’s an extremely patient and understanding husband, my darling might not appreciate me bopping off on a long run while he’s stuck dry walling).

Published October 23rd, 2007

Better than a gold star!

Can you guess what I just did? Can ya? Can ya? Give up?


Okay, so it was just for 15 minutes (running 2 minutes, walking 1 minute), but it felt SOOOO good to do so. Assuming I feel okay on Thursday I can up my running portion to 3 minutes, then 4 minutes, then 5. Once I can run for 15 minutes straight without injury I can then increase the total running by 5 minutes. I have to take a day off in between, but I should be in rather good shape within three weeks or so. I still have to do my exercises and stretches, which is fine since they’re obviously working.

Now if I can just lose 10 pounds I’m sure my hip and knee issues will completely disappear 🙂


Published October 21st, 2007

Ain’t nothing like the real thing


If I didn’t have this darn hip issue I’d be lounging on my couch with a glass of wine, recuperating from a 16-mile run. Instead, I’m lounging on my couch with a glass of wine, recuperating from… an hour of cleaning my kitchen. (Oh — and making homemade arugula and goat cheese whole wheat ravioli).

Fortunately today’s slothfulness is an anomaly; I’ve been very diligent in not only doing my physical therapy exercises (I hope to get a gold star from my PT on Tuesday), I’ve also been going to the pool for deep water running and also put in a good hour on the elliptical machine on Thursday. While those have been good, hard workouts, they just aren’t the same. However, I know if I push things then I’ll really screw myself up.

Must. Learn. Patience.

As an added torture, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading running blogs and articles on various running sites. I figure if I can’t run myself then I’ll “run” vicariously through others. I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see if See Zanne Run qualifies for Boston in the Columbus Marathon tomorrow; I’m cheering on Tall Girl Running as she wraps up her marathon recovery and is eyeing her next challenge: getting a new 10K PR; I’m sending “heal quick” vibes to See Diva Run as she recuperates from her tumble during the Spirit of Survival half marathon; and I’m feeling both happy and envious of Frayed Laces, who was given the go-ahead to run by her doctor after having to take off almost two weeks due to Achilles tendonitis.


Published October 16th, 2007

By Jove, I think she’s got it

So I just got back from my physical therapist appointment.  After all sorts of poking and prodding (and having my hips moved this way and that), it’s obvious I need to work on some major strength training.  My problem areas?  I seem to be weakest in the muscles worked by the exercises I avoid (specifically, the hip rotation).  Although I’m a blonde, even I can see the correlation.  🙂

I first started going to my PT after experiencing patellofemoral pain syndrome (pain under the kneecap).  It’s common among woman and is usually attributed to under-developed quad and hamstring muscles (when those muscles are under-developed they tend to cause the patella to track incorrectly, resulting in pain).  She gave me several exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles; although I would do a few,  I certainly wasn’t consistent.  I pretty much stopped doing the exercises once the pain stopped.

Now the pain has returned, but in a different area.  Although it’s frustrating to have to give up running for a while (at least two weeks, she’s recommending), it comes at a good time.  I’ve said I was going to see how my body reacted to increased training, and considering the reaction has been “OW OW OW OW OW” it tells me a lot about what I need  to do.  On one hand I’m concerned about not being able to do any running given I’m training for Disney, but I’m also confident I can finish that race even if I have to take a few weeks off.  I’ll just need to concentrate on water running and/or biking — two exercises that won’t aggravate the injury.

I’d like to end by thanking everyone for your advice and support.  You keep me motivated to be the best I can be!

Published October 9th, 2007

My hips don’t lie

When I wrote in my last post about keeping things in perspective, I had times like this in mind. If my running isn’t being sidelined by sickness, it’s injury. sigh

On one of my runs before Medoc I started feeling a bit of pain in my right hip (the muscles running in front and just to the side) . It wasn’t particularly painful, more of a heightened discomfort. I would feel creaky in the mornings and the discomfort increased after all the walking we did in Paris. However, I don’t recall it feeling that bad after Medoc.

My first run after the marathon was seven days later, and again, I don’t recall my hip hurting much. My cold kept me from running for a week, but I then started training in earnest for Goofy. Not only did I do a couple of days of hill repeats, many of my runs were on hilly courses. I also started doing my physical therapy exercises again, thinking the pain could be from my weak hips (that had been the source of my patellafemoral pain syndrome earlier this year).

My cold returned, so I took the following week off. But on Saturday I felt good enough to run again, so my darling and I took off on a 9+ mile run, which included running up the almost mile-long Stone Way Hill (although long, it’s a gradual incline). My hip was rather sore afterwards and the pain remained the next morning. While I probably should have rested it, I instead headed to a hydrofit class at the pool (Sundays are my cross-training days). I didn’t feel any pain during the exercises, but I was again creaky come Monday morning.

Now I think about it, there were many things I did on Monday that were probably unwise: not only did I do side leg lifts with weights (one of my PT exercises), I then did a 6 1/2 mile fartlek workout that afternoon. Although I could feel the pain, it wasn’t enough to make me stop. Afterwards I popped a couple of ibuprofen and iced the area, but it remained quite tender (and still is). By yesterday evening I could tell I had overdone it.

Who knows what’s causing it: thinking my stride has been too long (which can cause hip pain), I’ve consciously shortened it. Sure, my runs have included more hills, but it hasn’t seemed too extreme (we live in a hilly area after all; it’s difficult to avoid them!). I haven’t taken my Pilates class for quite a while, and due to my cold I haven’t been going to my ab class. So it could be I just need to work on strengthening all the muscles surrounding the area. (Let’s hope that’s the easy answer). I have another appointment with my PT next week.

So for now I’m back on relative rest. I’m scheduled for an easy run tomorrow, but will probably hit the pool instead. We’ll see how I feel on Thursday; it may be another pool day. I had planned on running the Dawg Dash 10K on Sunday, but that’s now up in the air. I know if I’m to get back to running I need to be smart. And sometimes that means NOT running for a while. Argh!

Published August 4th, 2007


26.2 milesQuestion: if you run 26.2 miles and there’s no one at the end to hand you a medal, have you just run a marathon? I know what MY answer is: Hell to the Yeah!

I suppose I should write this post tomorrow to make sure I’m still alive, but considering I can’t do anything more strenuous right now than lay on the couch and eat chips, I might as well do it now.

As you can see from my Garmin, today we ran our longest training run to date: 26.2 miles. That’s right, a full Freakin’ Marathon. We’re following Jeff Galloway’s “to finish” run/walk program; while most training programs limit you to 20-22 miles for your longest run, Jeff recommends going longer since he finds many people will hit The Wall at the point of their longest training run. But the key is to run MUCH slower than you could during the race (at least two minutes/mile). We certainly accomplished that — our average was 11:32/mile; our fastest mile was 10 minutes (mile 11-12), our slowest was 12:47 (mile 21-22).

Our route took us through some of the best scenery Seattle has to offer. We started at our home near Greenlake, wound our way north through the neighborhood and down to the beach at Golden Gardens, headed along Shilshole to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, crossed over to Commodore Park, headed south along the train tracks to Myrtle Edwards Park, continued along the waterfront to Jackson St., where we headed east to Lake Washington Blvd. We continued along the boulevard, then headed up Madison St. to the arboretum. Turned north toward University of Washington, where we picked up the Burke-Gilman trail. We then cut through Cowen Park and wound our way back to Greenlake. Ran around the north end, then stumbled our way back home (I’m getting tired just writing all that out!)

High points:

  • The weather — it started off cool & cloudy, and while we got a few sun breaks near the end, the temperature remained pleasurable
  • Coming to the aid of a woman in distress (she entered a stall without toilet paper and I handed her some underneath the door). Turns out she’s also doing the Danskin in a couple of weeks, so I gave her a pep talk.
  • The bagel and strawberry-banana smoothie break at Starbucks between miles 11 and 12 (I think the nourishment helped make that our fastest mile).
  • The little girl standing in front of me in the restroom on Lake Washington Blvd. who whispered to her mom asking if I was hurt (we had run about 16 1/2 miles by then and I was stretching my legs while waiting for a stall. I assured her that while my muscles were quite sore, I was indeed okay. I thanked her for her concern).
  • Catching several glimpses of the Blue Angels air show (this weekend is the culmination of the weeks-long Seafair; an annual Seattle tradition. The Blue Angels perform several shows over Lake Washington, just before the hydroplane races).
  • Spying the water fountain at the end of Cowen Park (we thought there was one where we first entered the park but were dismayed to find none. By then my water bottles were empty and we were both getting parched).
  • Having the course measure out to 26.2 miles pretty much at our doorstep (we just had to run past our house a 1/4 block and back).
  • Chowing down on home-made lobster rolls at the end.

Low points:

  • The hills! You can’t get to Lake Washington Blvd. from our house without going up one. Of course that heads back down again, so you have to go up another one to get home.
  • Seeing my darling suffer during our walk breaks starting at mile 18. His knees were really bothering him, and the transition from running to walking was particularly painful.
  • Realizing there wasn’t a water fountain at the entrance to Cowen Park.
  • The knot in my shoulder blade. It was particularly bad today; I may have pulled a muscle during my arm weight routine yesterday, so it was hurting for much of the run.
  • My teary breakdown at mile 25 due to the shooting pain of said shoulder blade (although the tears were a nice form of release).
  • Having my darling almost barf up the lobster roll lunch (fortunately a nap settled his poor tum-tum).

Hmmm… considering there were more high points than low points, I say today was a mighty successful run. Bordeaux, here we come!