Tuesday, July 14, 2015

TOTR: Where I Run (AKA - I Run This Town!)

I'm linking up once again with MCM Mama Runs for another Tuesdays on the Run. This week's topic is showing ya'll where I run. So in other words, I'm going to show you how I run this town!

I do my fair share of complaining about my boring town that I live in and its lack of scenic trails and places for adventures to happen. It's also fairly flat, so I have to get creative to get my hill training in, but you know for all my complaining, if I ever left my hometown I would surely miss many of my running routes! So let's take a look at some of my regular views, shall we?

My number one running route is around my neighborhood because that's what is easiest, right? Strap on some shoes and head out the door to get it done. I live in a gated community that isn't too bad on nice views and clean, safe well-lit streets so that's definitely a plus. And then if I need to go longer than a few miles I can head out of the gate and find some additional routes that offer their own benefits.

One of four lakes in my neighborhood that are host to ducks and other water fowl on occasion.
Canadian Geese telling the Mallards "What's up, eh??" ;-)
The next "route" that gets the most use is the one that is in my home office/workout space. I really don't know what to call this room outside of MY ROOM, because it really is the only room in the house that is very much mine and mine alone. It's where Max hangs out during the days he gets to rest.

A little glimpse at my trusty pal, Maximus Decimus! I absolutely LOOOOOVVVVEEE him. :-)
It's where my Daisy pup hangs out too when she isn't snoring in other areas of the house or using the wall in the living room as a pillow.

She was seriously SLEEPING like that for hours...and snoring so loud to boot!
And it's of course the place that has all my racing motivation, my medals, my degrees, my books, and my treasured items.

Motivation Wall and another look at Max.
Thankfully I have windows to look out of and my tablet so I can watch Netflix otherwise I don't think Max and I would be such great friends. One of these days I will dedicate an entire post to my love for Max though - I know you can't wait, right?!?

I have another spot that we like to hit for our hill training that I have "lovingly" nicknamed The Beast. It's a massive hill that goes from the base of the valley to the top of a man-made lake. It offers stunning vistas, views of the lake, and a whole lot of heavy breathing and hamstring burners and quad killers.

The first portion of The Beast - it is quite harmless here but that is just a false sense of security...don't be fooled by it!
View from the middle of The Beast - right after the worst of the climb you get the reward of a view of the valley.
Last year I did a lot of my running at the lake at the top of The Beast and it was awesome. Unfortunately, the lake levels are so low right now because of the drought it just breaks my heart to see it. I haven't gotten out there much this year but it is one of my favorite places to train, especially for the hills.

Diamond Valley Lake last year already showing lower water levels, and it has gotten much worse this year. :(

Just earlier this year I started adding in a little trail running on a path that I used to just hike. It starts out a nice and gently rolling hills, but about 3 miles in turns into a MAJOR hike. One that makes The Beast look like nothing more than an ant hill. It climbs up and up for days. BUT if I stick to only running the first part, it makes for a nice trail run just around the corner from my house which is pretty freaking awesome.

My sister snapped this picture of me and I absolutely love it. The hills aren't green now though and are a very scorched brown.
 So where do I run? I run my town!!! I love driving around and thinking "yup, I've run this street", or seeing one of my favorite spots like the little bridge that runs over the dry waterbed and makes me feel like I'm running someplace else instead of my boring town.

This last picture says it all...that's where I run - that little town down in the valley are my streets and I run them!!!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week in Review

First let me just acknowledge the fact that I published a blog every day last week from Monday-Thursday!! That is definitely a first for me as I am usually a very bad sporadic blogger. I really want to work on publishing Monday-Thursday for now and see how that goes. Which brings me to here we are again! It's a new week so I want to start by rehashing the week that just finished. Because that's totally logical, right?

I'm still in a non-training period of training; meaning, I don't have any races on the calendar that I'm specifically training for. The next race that I have (even though I'm still not registered and really need to get on it in the near future) is early October and it is a 5k. So, no training really required. After that will be a 10k in November and then a half in January. So right now I'm simply running for fitness and to keep a decent mileage base.

Monday: Ballet Fitness DVD

Tuesday: I did 6x400 with Maximus, my Treadmill. Yes, he has a name and it is Maximus Decimus; Max for short. LOL I forgot to turn off my GPS and it always cracks me up when I look at the map data on Garmin Connect afterwards.

This is what a run when you're actually not going anywhere looks like apparently.

Wednesday: Full Body Strength Training and it hurt so good!

Thursday: Headed out with my sister for an easy run.

Friday: Walked the little Daisy pup around the block. She's getting a little older now (11 years old) and probably has some arthritis that flares up at times because she won't be as spry as she normally is and this last Friday was definitely one of those times. So we took it nice and slow.

Saturday: I did a 6-mile solo run and kept it a 5:00/2:00 run/walk ratio. It was pretty uneventful but was a great way to start the day!

I've gotten to see some cool birds lately on my runs and have been so glad they've sat still long enough to snap a picture.

Sunday: Rest Day

So the other part of Friday was heading up to my Mom's place and picking up some couches and stuff for a dump run. I think I might have gone to the dump once with my Grandfather when I was just a wee lass, and I had all these images of what it would be like based on countless Law & Order episodes...but it was NOTHING like what I expected it to be! I feel totally ripped off!

Instead of actually driving into the dump, you just pull into a bay marked off by k-rails and dump your stuff on the concrete in your bay and then drive away. It was very blah and I was disappointed. The only thing I got out of it was my cool cheap safety vest.

Because what goes better with a cheap safety vest than a really stupid look???
I was at least rewarded for my hard work loading and unloading the truck with lunch with the hubster, so that was nice. :-)

And for anybody wondering about my reward plan and whether I earned my second reward - heck YEAH I did!!!!! I actually earned 25 points when I only needed 20 so huzzah! It was a good couple of weeks. I'm going to look for a yoga mat to spend my reward on this time around.

The rest of the weekend was pretty mellow and consisted of spending time around the house, running the weekend errands, laundry and all that fun stuff. I know, I lead a very exciting life...try not to be jelly.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fuel Your Fire!

FitApproach has asked the Sweat Pink bloggers to share how they fuel up for working out. I don't know about you guys, but I'm super excited to read what others have to say about this because even though I've been running solid for 6 years I STILL don't know that I have fueling properly down. It's confusing, ya'll!!!

Here's what I do know right at this moment.

I know a lot of articles actually suggest having a cup of coffee prior to running, but I have to say that if I do indulge in the java before heading out, it is a sure thing that I will have to pee ridiculously bad within a few miles. If I skip the coffee before heading out, I very rarely even THINK about having to stop and use the restroom. So I've definitely learned that I can't fuel a run with coffee unless I want to pee every two miles.

GU Chomps are my absolute favorite energy chew. I'm still getting the timing down on when to take them and how often, but I seriously LOVE how they taste. I could eat them like candy, as a matter of fact (Something I have NOT done because I fear that once I did I could never go back...).

I ingested so much of this stuff during marathon training last summer that I don't know if I will ever want to have another packet again (specifically, Salted Caramel). I had a few left and attempted to use them earlier this year and just one taste and I wanted to vomit or die, or maybe both. I ended up handing them off to Mom & Sister. Know this - whatever your preferred fuel is you probably will want to mix the flavors up some. Too much of a good thing and all...

So that's what I currently know about fueling. I told you, it's not much. So what am I doing to fuel at the moment?

If it's a weekday run I won't have anything before except for some water and maybe a GU chomp or two if I happen to have some left in a package laying open. I may only do that for the simple excuse that I absolutely love them though (see above item and eating them like candy). If it's a long run I will wake up and eat my normal bowl of cereal, which has been Frosted Mini-Wheats for quite some time now. I seriously think I could eat them until I die and never tire of them.


I carry good ol' H2O with me on every run, so on a short easy run during the week I will simply sip on water as needed. On the long runs I have been doing the GU Chomps and ingest 4 about every 45 minutes or so. I suck so bad at running I couldn't tell you if they are working or not because I get tired and lazy and don't want to finish and start fighting the stupid lazy brain anyways so is that because I'm not fueling right or just because I suck at running? I have no idea. What I do know is that being able to eat some delicious GU Chomps in the middle of a totally sucky run is a nice distraction. After all, I may not have mentioned this yet, but I could eat them like candy!!! ;-)  I really feel like I have to become a better runner to know if fueling is even working. I know that nailing down my nutrition would probably make me a better runner, but I still struggle with this.

Weekdays I have my normal breakfast (aforementioned Mini-Wheats) and my cup of coffee. After a long run I will usually eat another bowl of cereal as a snack and then follow it up a little bit later with a lunch that has some substantial protein in it depending on what is around the house. I have to admit that I don't plan this out very well and this could be part of my overall problem. I know that last summer when I was marathon training I had to eat something salty soon after my run otherwise I would get a headache. I'm sure this means something important, like maybe my electrolyte balance is off and I need to do some alternate hydration during runs like that, but remember how I told you that this whole thing is confusing? Yeah...that. I always "plan" on having a protein shake, but rarely remember to actually have one. I seriously suck at this whole fueling thing...don't say I didn't warn you! LOL

Mmmmm...salty goodness! Lay's Kettle Baked Chips were my fave salty choice last summer.

So that's what I'm doing to fuel and I hate to tell you guys that I'm probably not a lot of help if you're looking for what works. HA! I seriously think that I could run for a million more years and fueling my run will still be confusing to me. I often think about hiring a coach that does fueling and regular training and I really want Vinnie, my Garmin, to be able to be programmed with fueling intervals to remind me when it's time to take more in. Why don't the Garmins do this yet??? No really, I want to know...

I have read one book that I felt was VERY informative and when I get around to getting it back from my sister (ahem...), I would actually like to read it again. I think following the fueling plan in this book might make an impact, or at the very least, I would like to give it a solid try and see what happens.

So there you have it - that's what I'm doing, but I certainly know that what I'm doing could be done a whole heckuva lot better!!! So guess what? I'm going to keep working at it and trying different things until I feel like an expert on my fueling plan! Because that's all part of the fun, right?

How do YOU fuel before, during and after? I wanna know...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

That's The Point...

I'm not using this chart...but I really should...because it is AWESOME!!!
I know we've all heard before how much rewarding ourselves can really pay off towards helping us achieve our fitness and health goals, right? I just did a Google search for "rewards for working out" and got back a bajillion results.

Don't believe me about it being a bajillion? That's just a small snip of the results!

But for all the talk about how good rewards can be, I've never gotten it. I've set up plenty of rewards over the years. If I skip the candy jar this month I can get a new nail polish. If I don't stop at See's all month I can get some new socks. I've even participated in challenges that have a money pay-out from a group putting funds into the pot...but you know what? I never actually GIVE myself the reward even if I earn it!?!? How silly is that? But at the end of the period I just kind of say "eh, I don't really need to spend money on that thing". So I don't. And then over time, the rewards just don't mean anything because it's just a bargain I'm making with myself. Until now...Let me explain.

I've been in a slump, ya'll know this as I've talked about it several times. I haven't been putting in my training and I've given myself way too many excuses to cut short or go slow or skip entirely. And it was really starting to get me down. I started talking to my hubby about feeling like I needed someone to really push me. He says "like a trainer? aren't those expensive??" And of course they are...they can be quite expensive...so we talked about the reasons that I felt like I was struggling. And then together we came up with a plan, and I was willing to give rewards one more try to see if it would actually work to keep me motivated this time. With him being my accountability, I would have to earn points for incremental rewards. Here's what we came up with.

Doing a full workout at prescribed paces - 3 points
Doing a full workout but not at prescribed paces - 2 points
Doing a partial workout (not full time/miles or paces) - 1 point
Cross-training of any kind - 1 point

I have to earn a minimum of 10 points each week to get my reward so it gives me a little bit of wiggle room; but not much (as I learned recently...more on this in a moment). I have regular reward intervals set up, the first two are two weeks apart, and then after that it goes to three weeks in between. And my reward goes up in increments. So the first one was $10, the second one will be $15, the third is $20 and so on. Then the final reward if I earn 160 points total (over the 16-weeks of my program) I get $100 for a new Skirt Sports outfit. (YAHOOOOOOO - and the Fall 2015 line will be out so I can get all the pretty new designs!!!)

So is it working?? YES!! Let me tell you a quick story. The week of June 22-28 was the final week in my first two-week reward period. And it ended up being a crazy week...I skipped my Wednesday workout because I was sick with the plague (okay, it wasn't actually the plague, but it sure did feel like it!). And then on Friday I was still sick and needed to go to my Mom's to help her pack for her move to Utah so I didn't work out that morning either. Thennnnn on Saturday when I should have done a run, I did a very easy walk with my Mom & Sis as it was Mom's last time joining us for a walk before she left on the plane later that morning and I wanted to spend the time chatting with her. So I had already missed 4 points that week and only had 8 points. That meant I needed to earn at least 2 more if I wanted my reward. My plan was to make it up on Sunday morning. But you know what they say about the best laid plans...

I woke up and was still just so sick...and exhausted...so I didn't run. In the morning light I was basically thinking "whatever, so what, so I lose 10 lousy bucks, who cares. i'm sick, i'm tired." And I told my husband pretty much that same thing to which he basically responded along the lines of "sweet - 10 bucks I don't have to pay out!! too bad you won't get your reward, honey...that's a real bummer". Just imagine that last bit said dripping in sarcasm. So I sat there and thought about it all day and I just couldn't let him have the satisfaction of me not earning my reward!!! (And just so you don't think that my hubby is a total jerk, he knew that saying those things would get under my skin and that I would refuse to let it go...so by being all oh bummer about it, he totally nailed exactly what I needed to get it done. That tricky little stinker!!! He knows me so well...) So at about 7:00 PM in the middle of cooking dinner I strapped on my shoes and hopped on the treadmill. I had to do 4 miles at an easy pace, and I had to stop to stir the food every once in awhile, and I took a longer break to actually eat dinner. But I actually finished that 4 miles (not always at an easy pace though as I walked the last mile pretty much after eating dinner, so I only collected the 2 points) and I collected my definitely not lousy 10 bucks!!! And the satisfaction I felt at earning that money cannot be beat!!!! Yeah, it's $10 and I could pretty much spend that anytime I want without it being a "reward"...but it was so much more than that. It was that it had momentarily slipped out of my fingers but I ended up saying no-way-unh-uh I am not going to LOSE it when it is that close!

So, yes, it is totally working!! Last week I actually earned 13 points and didn't even need to do my Saturday run, but I did it anyways just because I wanted to and could and I didn't want my stupid lazy brain to let me off the hook.

I finish my second reward period this weekend and am well on track to earning my points...but I won't get too cocky just yet because we've seen how those best laid plans can go. *wink*

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

TOTR: Social Media Share

Today's post is part of the Tuesdays on the Run Linkup through MCM Mama Runs, one of the link sponsors.

Be sure to take some time to check out the other posts by clicking the above image! :-)
The topic today is all about sharing our social media handles so everyone can find some new, awesome people to follow along with!

I know that "social media" can be a double-edged sword; here you are opening your life up to strangers that may or may not have your best interests in mind. We hear all the time about spamming, trolling, flamers, etc. But at the same time, social media can be a great tool to keep you inspired! I can't tell you how many times I've felt like being a total lazy bum, but then I see a post from someone to Facebook or Instagram and I'm reminded that if they can get out and run, then there's no reason I can't too! Or just to see others that post their paces and they are similar to mine...makes me feel like we are part of the same tribe. The reality is that I find myself inspired by social media more than I find myself on the negative side of it. I follow some truly amazing people that are all around the world. I feel like I've gotten to explore places I've never seen through the eyes of people I may not have even met, but have become good friends! I've cheered a social media friend through her marathons on the other side of the country via text message. I've gotten to know all my amazing Skirt Sisters through our Facebook page. I've participated on the Coach Jenny's Holiday Challenge the past several years and have gotten to know some truly AWESOME people through that group even though I've only actually met one of them! But as it turns out, the one I did meet - Brian - I went to school with his wife and his Mother-in-Law was my favorite teacher at the Teen Mom school that I attended while pregnant with my first son. We've seen each other at several races now and always cheer each other on and I never would have known who he was without Coach Jenny's group.

So even though Social Media can get a bum rap sometimes, it can also be an amazing thing with the right people involved. So if you're looking for some inspiration, take some time to visit the link-up and follow along! If you aren't already following my journey, you can through the following avenues:
kgrimes26 - Just click the image and follow some boards!

@kgrimes526 - Just click the picture and hit follow!

@PuttPuttRunner - just click the picture and hit follow!

+KristenGrimes - just click the picture and add me to a circle!

The Pursuit of a Quality Life Page - just click the picture and Like!

Hope you join me in sharing the journey! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Some MadLibs-Style Fun and Inspiration!

First up for today is Sweat Pink's latest MadLibs style fun on behalf of their #1MillionMinutes campaign and Puritan's Pride. This week is all about: How do you fuel?


I’m so excited [adj] to fuel my #1MillionMinutes goals with Puritan’s Pride! All summer I plan to run [verb] my way to a healthier, fitter me, and I’ll need help staying hydrated and fueled during all my crazy [adj] adventures!

I will make sure I stay on track and will rely on Oreos [noun] to keep me well fueled before, during and after workouts, and my Southern sweet tea [noun] to keep me hydrated! (hahaha - I'm kidding...I'm really going to rely on protein-packed food for fueling and good ol' fashioned H2O for hydration!) ;-)

 I’m most excited to try fancy mixed fruits (product) and Spicy Hot Trail Mix (product) from Puritan’s Pride because they look absolutely friggin' delicious!! (adj).

One supplement I’ve never tried but am curious about is BCAA Supplements [noun]. I think it might make me extra healthy and faster [adj].

Bring it, #1MillionMinutes! I’m ready to go!

The other part of today's post is this article that I read over at Skirt Sports* this morning. Go take a moment to read it, I'll wait...

The thing that really jumped out at me was how Kara says she showed up at her first run with the Kick Start Program and looked around saying "these are not my people". It stuck with me because I think that pretty much just about every single time I show up at a race and take a look around. I can't help but look at those thin, lithe runners and think...I am NOT like them. I will never be fast, I will never look like a gazelle, I will never have that "runner's physique". But then I usually look around a little bit more and I see everybody else that is at the race and I realize that our outside bodies are not what define us...it's the passion and the commitment to the sport that define us. It's that we show up and that we keep coming back. I don't always FEEL like a runner and I don't always FEEL like I fit in or that they are MY people...but at the end of the day when I complete the run, or even when I don't but I don't quit and I come back and keep trying, is when I realize that this crazy tribe of runners are MY people too! Everybody can be a runner and it doesn't take anything special to do it. Just like Kara you can show up wearing jeans on day 1...the thing that makes you part of the tribe is that you keep showing up. I guess the take-away is that you should never let yourself miss out on something really awesome because you don't feel like you fit the mold. Make your own mold and then break it to make a new one again and again. We are all runners. We are all from the same tribe. We are each other's people! Don't forget it...and with that, don't forget to make those people that may not look like a typical "runner" feel like they are. You just might be the one that keeps them coming back.

I had an awesome staycation last week and we are already well into the beginning of July! I have lots to share with you over the coming days!

*Disclaimer: I am a Skirt Sports Ambassador and receive discounts and product in exchange for my representation of the brand. However, all opinions are my own and this is NOT a sponsored post and is not being written by their request.