Thoughts on Running, Raising Kids, and Living Life to the Fullest



Wow, It’s been awhile since I have last posted. It’s not because I am not running, in fact, I am running, but I have cut some of my running down due to having a stomach bug…TWICE! It has not been my idea of fun but it is something I needed to do. Also, with all the kids home for summer, my days have been busy playing referee.

What is going on???…..well, I am not doing the San Francisco Half Marathon in a few weeks. Due to possible child care issues, I backed out and  I am letting James run the San Francisco Marathon. However, I did sign up for the Rock N Roll San Francisco Half Marathon that will be held in March 2015! That will cross off San Francisco as one of my “where I wanna race” cities.


Also, on Monday I start training for the Santa Clarita Marathon!!!! James has already signed me up, so I can’t back out now.

I am also going to sign up for a small half marathon in September. I love small races, especially races that raise money for a good cause.

Well, that is what is on my race schedule for the next eight months. My goal is to write about my training experience a few times a week. I want to at least have some documentation of my thoughts and feelings. I may even need to remind myself mid training cycle why I wanted to do this and to convince myself I am not crazy. HA

 26.2…here I come!

Fueling for the Long Run

Date of Run: Saturday May 17, 2014

Run Distance: 12.37

Run Duration: 2 hours 16 minutes

Average Pace: 11 minute mile

This week my plan called for me to practice fueling for a long run. Knowing what you are going to eat before and during a long run is very important in the success of a run. A few weeks ago, I ran 6 miles without eating first and it made my run more difficult than it should have been. Learning from my mistake, I wanted to make sure I had a good amount of calories consumed before my run.

For breakfast I normally eat toast with peanut butter and a banana, but sometimes when I am away from home I do not have access to that. For this run, I ate a Luna bar, banana, and a Pop Tart. I also carried two Shot Blocks to eat at about mile 7 or 8 of my 12 mile run. I also drank water whenever I needed it.

Everything that I ate or drank worked out well. The only thing that I would change would be eating the Shot Block later on in my run. That is something I will do next week when I run another 12 miles.

 I know that I have my water/ sport drink plan down during a race. I always take a cup or two of water and whatever sports drink they have at the water stations. That has always worked well for me. I do need to be aware that sometimes in smaller races, they can run out of water at the stations. I need to plan for that as well.

Overall, I felt good during this run. The hills started to kick my butt at the end. But I felt good despite that.

Rubbing off on the kids

Most of the time we worry about how our bad habits rub off on our kids, but our good habits also have a way of engraining their way into their minds.

Our youngest daughter, the one we take with us on a lot of runs, was running around the house the other day. We thought she was just being crazy, however, we realized she was in fact imitating Jennifer when she looked down at her wrist to check her pace.

Maybe this will rub off on her to develop a love of running…

Relay for Life Torrance

Saturday walk total: 8 miles

Sunday walk total: 4 miles

On April 26-27th, James and I participated in Relay for Life Torrance. This was the second time that I have walked in a Relay for Life event. The first time was 4 years ago in honor of my mom who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Since her diagnosis, she has walked in multiple Relay for Life events.

The theme of our booth was “Blow Bubbles Not Smoke.” Our group was trying to bring awareness to teenagers and young adults about the dangers of smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, “9 out of 10 adult smokers started by age 18, and 99% started by age 26.” The best way to stop smoking is to not start at all. 


While walking, I noticed the in memorial signs and booths for people who have died of cancer. One thing that stuck out the most to me was how young some of the people with cancer were when they passed away. You don’t realize how fast your life can change in a moment. It made me realize that I am blessed to have healthy children and to be healthy myself.


Even though it was a cold, windy, and rainy day, our team raised a lot of money in the effort to find a cure for cancer. I hope that I can make doing Relay for Life an annual event for our family. 


Going into last weekend’s run, I was a little concerned about getting my long run done. It was my in law’s 40th wedding anniversary and we went up to San Luis Obispo to celebrate. I was afraid that I would be too busy to want to complete my 10 miles. I also don’t like to run in an unfamiliar place.


SI convinced my sister in law, who lives in SLO, to run with me. I am very glad that I ran because I got to explore different parts of a city that I wouldn’t normally go to. I also got some hill work in. During the run, I was able to keep my pace to where I could hold a conversation.

I felt good after my run. I was told that we ran 10 miles, but my GPS watch wouldn’t hold a signal so I’m not sure on the exact mileage or pace….and that’s okay. I just enjoyed the time I got to spend with my sister in law on that beautiful day. 


Date of Run: Saturday, April, 26, 2014

Run Distance: 9.5 miles to the beach

Run Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes

Average Pace: 11:35 minute mile


WOW! What a crazy weekend! Not only did James and I participate in a Relay for Life (more on that later), we both had to fit in our long runs in.

Saturday was a very windy day. This says a lot from someone who lives in the desert, where wind is normal most of the year. Because of the rain that morning, I choose to postpone my run to later on in the day. By the time I decided to go for a run, it was very tempting to skip the run altogether. I knew I had to get my long run done. I know that I can skip a run or two during my training and it wouldn’t kill me, but you shouldn’t skip a long run.


James and I had originally planned to do this run together, but because of the wind, we decided to do it on our own so we wouldn’t have to take Baby Girl out in her jogging stroller.


When I set off for the run, the wind was horrible. It didn’t help that I was running toward the beach; the source of the cold wind. Not only did I have the wind going against me, I also had a few hills to run up.


Early in the run, I decided to walk up the hills because the wind was killing me. I was just happy that I was getting the run done. Once I got down to the beach, the sand was blowing sideways and hitting my face…which hurt. The wind was also pushing me over. Another runner trying to run in the wind was also falling over. At that point, I decided to cut my run short and be happy that I attempted the run.


The run back to my parent’s house went really well. I kept looking at my pace on my watch and I was running anywhere between a 9 and 10 minute mile! That was very speedy for me!!!!


Even though my overall pace wasn’t the best, I feel very good about this run because I hung in there and I finished the run even with less than ideal conditions.

Ready for week 4 of training…..


Date of Run: Saturday, April 19, 2014

Run Distance: 9.32 miles

Run Duration: 1 hour 46 minutes in our neighborhood

Average Pace: 11:22 minute miles

Do you ever have a run that feels like you cannot get through even though you know you aren’t tired or injured? Well, that was my run last Saturday. At about the second mile into my 9 mile run I just wanted to turn around and go home. I know my heart wasn’t into the run and I just wanted for it to be done. It was a mentally tough run. For me, 90% of any run is mental and 10% physical.  If this was not a training run, I would have gone home but I knew I had to complete most of this run. I kept running even though I wanted to give up and I am glad that I did not give up. At about mile 8, I got into the groove and picked up my pace. I am glad that I didn’t give up because I felt accomplished after this long run. I think this run taught me to not give up on runs that my heart may not be in but to keep on going because you never know how it will turn out.

Looking forward to week 3!


How to Fight Treadmill Boredom

Date of Run: Thursday April 17, 2014

Run Distance: 4.36

Run Duration: 40 minutes on the treadmill

Average Pace: 9:10 minute mile

Cross training: Insanity for 60 minutes

Fun Run at local running store: 3ish (????) miles

Over the past 3 years, I have run many miles on the treadmill. This has included a few 14+ mile runs. At first, I only ran on a treadmill because I was self-conscious of how I looked while running. During my training for the San Francisco half marathon, I am trying to keep my running on the treadmill at a minimum. However, sometimes I still have to run on one because it is too dark outside to run on the streets. So, the treadmill is my only choice.  Being on the treadmill for a long time has made me get creative on how to pass the time. Here are a few things to keep the run as exciting as it can be:

1)      Change up my pace while running

When I am running on the treadmill, I try and change up the speed and incline every quarter mile. When I change things up, I do it by how I am feeling. If I want a harder workout, I speed up and set the incline to an 8. Not only does this keep my mind alert, it helps me become a stronger runner.

2)      Change up my iTunes playlist

On a regular basis, I like to change up my playlist to keep things fresh. Sometimes when I am running, I question my taste in music and start to dislike certain songs on a playlist.  New music also comes out all the time and I might hear a song I like and want to add it to my running playlist. Also, the beat of music can help me keep up a certain rhythm and helps me stay on pace.

 3)      Listen to a podcast

When I would drive in LA traffic five days a week, I discovered podcasts to entertain me while I sat in standstill traffic. There are multiple podcasts that I have been following for years. Now that I am not sitting in traffic every day, I catch up with my podcasts while I run on the treadmill. ITunes has millions of podcasts available. A few that I follow are Relevant, Jillian Michaels, and Stuff Mom Never Told You podcasts.

4)      People watch

I think people watching is one of my favorite thing to do while on the treadmill. I always try to hop on the treadmill closest to the window to get the best views of people. Over time, I have seen a lot of interesting things. I have seen women working out in full hair and makeup at 5am, people running in jeans, and, my favorite, someone running while eating M&Ms.

5)      Catch up on the news

At my gym, they have personal TVs attached to their cardio equipment. At 5am, there isn’t much on TV but the news. This gives me the chance to catch up on all the news that happened overnight. PS…Did you know MTV still plays music videos early in the morning?

Tomorrow’s plan is to run 9 miles and then week 2 of my half marathon training plan is DONE! 

Fun Runs

Every Thursday one of our local running stores hosts a free fun run. This week the children have been off school for their Spring Break, and so we went running as a family. (Well actually our oldest daughter rode a bike, but close enough.) We only ran about a 5K, but it is always more fun to get out and run as a group than hitting the pavement as an individual. 

This was an up and back run, and by up we literally ran up a hill, and then back down that hill. I was on stroller duty, as I usually am when we run together, and even though the run was a bonus run (which means that it was not part of my training for the San Francisco Marathon), I pushed it a little bit as we went up the hill to build up a little strength, but unlike last week’s hills, I did not get a chance to work on my arms as they were busy pushing the princess in her chariot.

Overall, it wasn’t a particularly fast run, nor should it have been, but I built up a sweat, and felt good running.

One little perk about doing some of these fun runs was that they sometimes have opportunities to try out some new shoes, although with my big size 14’s they rarely bring shoes that will fit me. However, tonight one of the sponsors had a raffle and Jen won a free entry into a 10K next month. Also we both got a discount code for when we register for the race in San Francisco.

All the goodies aside, it is good to get out running with a group as we find out that running can be social, even though our sport of choice often has us alone running around our city. If you have a running store near you, find out if they host fun runs, as they are a great way to get connected into the sport.


Date of Run: Saturday April 12, 2014

Run Distance: 7.48 miles

Run Duration: 1 hour 17 minutes at the beach

Average Pace: 10:18 minute mile

As with anything in life, sometimes we just need to slow down a bit and enjoy what is going on around us. I am lucky enough to have parents who live in an area that allows James and I to run at the beach on Saturday mornings. My mom watches Adam and Faith while James and I take Baby Girl for a run. My first long run for this training cycle was on Saturday. It called to run 7 miles at a steady pace for an average of an 11:30 minute mile pace. I know that my road runs average about a minute faster than what the plan called for. I debated with myself about how fast I was going to run. I felt that running at an 11:30 pace would feel really slow and I didn’t want to feel like I wasted a run but I also want to stick as closely to the training schedule as I could.

After my first mile, I looked down at my watch and noticed I was running around a 9:30 minute mile! Something I was not intending to do. I knew that I could run at that pace for a few miles, but not for 7. I need to SLOW DOWN and enjoy my run. Not everyone has the opportunity to train for a half marathon by running by the ocean. I should pace myself into a comfortable pace and watch all of the interesting things going on around me and enjoy the ocean breeze in my hair.


In the end my pace for this run was faster than what my plan called for, but I am okay with that because I felt great during the run.