My Plan.

I need a plan. I am a person who must plan. I like to make lists and cross things off and I even give my self stickers When I accomplish something big. Yes stickers. Not any sticker either mind you, shinny, glittery, happy face stickers.

Yes. That is right. So I am posting my plan. As I've mentioned before I'm approaching running marathon much like approaching the CPA exam. Hard work, determination, setting your calendar, have the test (*cough* race *cough*) scheduled and hold yourself to it. Ask for advice from those who have been there but take note with the area you know you are weak in and find what works best for you. Tell everyone you are doing it so they serve as constant reminders. RB75 how is studying going? RB75 we were going to invite you the movies but you have to study.  It is a little extreme and I know only a small percentage of the population can relate to taking the CPA exam and wanting to run a marathon. But for those of you out there I tip my hat to you.

So my plan:
As of 7/31/2011 I have 23 weeks until the Chevron Houston Marathon I have been perusing the internet for running plans that will:
* work for a beginners
* does not ramp up the mileage too fast
* has a sufficient tapper period
* long runs are after a day of rest

I found one close to what I was after here with the Houston Chronicle's Beginner: 26-week marathon training schedule. I've modified it slightly moving runs around to better work with my schedule and shift the rest day to before the long run. I've found I've done better if I have a slight break before heading out for what is now a 7-8 mile run.

So here is my plan for the month of August:

August 2011

Cross-train or walk 30 minutes
3-4 miles (including 3x880 yards at RPE-H, 440 recovery

Cross-train or walk 35 minutes
4-5 miles at RPE-L
3-4 miles at RPE-L (including 1 mile speed play)

7-9 miles L.S.D.
 Cross-train or walk 35 minutes
3-4 miles (including 2x5 minutes at RPE-M, 5 minute recovery)
Cross-train or walk 35 minutes
4-5 miles at RPE-L
3-4 miles at RPE-L (including 4x100 yard strides)
8-9 miles L.S.D
Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L
3-4 miles (including 2-miles at RPE-M)
 Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L
4-5 miles (including 4x440yds at RPE-H, 440 recovery).
3-4 miles at RPE-L
8-9 miles L.S.D
 Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L
3-4 miles (including 2x6-minutes at RPE-M, 5-minutes recovery)
 Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L
4-5 miles at RPE-L (including 1-mile speed play).
3-4 miles at RPE-L
8-9 miles L.S.D
Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L
4-5 miles (including 4x880 yards at RPE-H, 440 yard recovery).
 Cross-train or walk 35 minutes at RPE-L


Midweek Run Report

7/24/2011 Yoga
Another great class. I am amazed at how much how after each class I am enjoying it more and more. I find myself telling random people about it (you, the cashier at the department store, coworkers, coworker's friends). Dear, Yoga Studio, the word of mouth has been spreading and ya'll are doing a fantastic job. Keep it up.

The points that I normally share:

  • I go to the same weekly class. I love the instructor and how she encourages it is our hour, our practice and she just strings together suggestions. 
  • It is not about outward appearance but keeping your breath with the movement and feeling it. So what I can't get my heels on the ground in downward dog. I'm a heck of a lot closer than when I started. 
  • No mirrors. No judgement. Everyone is welcome and everyone shows up.
If you are thinking about it I encourage you to try it.

7/25/2011 Run
Some small debate on the exact mileage but upwards of 7 with a max of 10. 2 hours 10 minutes. The grade was similar to the first hill run I did on the 15th just a longer distance. The first part of the run was great I kind of felt like an eager puppy (is that weird?) next to Slade pushing him to go out harder but I paid for it on the back end more walking than I wanted but I'll get there.

Lessons learned:
For me I do better when I am running in a friend's territory especially in a neighborhood I don't know. Does that sound sketchy? Let me explain. If you are out for a long run and you aren't setting the route other than making a suggestion at the beginning or strenuously suggestion a stretch break all you have to do is run.

Yep that's right I write out notes on my lessons learned.
If ya'll are nice I'll show you  what motivates me.
You are probably thinking well, R.B75 that is all you do. And I must say nein! If you are out on your own it is a constant chatter:  "do I want to push it and go out another mile which adds two to my run? Ugh last time I ran this route I was at a 8 minute mile (ha one day) and this time I'm at a 14? I might as well give up now. What is going on with my stomach? Ohhh look puppies! Ouch blister/knee/ flux capacitor"

Okay at least that is what is going through my head on some solo longer runs. It is easy to settle into a pattern and not push yourself as hard as you can, at least it is for me. However, if you are in an area you aren't as familiar with you just follow your friends lead. Slade goes right. I go right. Last time we did two hills this time we are changing it up with a loop. Awesome lets do this! There is no pattern, no serious thought.You can tune into your body and tune out of the mind chatter while you listen to your friends take on different topics eg theology(amazingly this is a great running topic and really gives you some food for thought).  Again, I recommend, find a friend to run with especially in the beginning of your training.

Now don't get me wrong I'm all for developing you mental endurance on some solo runs and I will focus on this later in my training but for me right now this is helping. I'm building my base, my confidence and I'm able to run at night without my parents getting as worried about me. All bonuses in my book.

In terms of hardware on the run I was pretty happy with Adidas performance socks I picked up on Saturday. I still got some hot spots but they developed at a further mileage point (6 rather than 3) than when I was in the C9s. I am still aiming to get out of cotton tops before my next run. Absolutely need new running shoes.

I've saved a small chocolate milk plastic container to carry with me on the next run to see if that helps with hydration. Though it was kind of cool to get a drink out of a sprinkler.

Oh! I meet an Iron Man finisher too! Hello inspiration. Just Slade's neighbour. No big deal. Advice from the Iron Man: "Just put one foot in front of the other." A retro take on the little engine that could? Me thinks so.

Can't wait to get out again. I'm trying to get three in today or Thursday at the latest. Silly life is getting in the way. (post on that later).

Mileage total: 7-10
Effort: 8-9
Pros: Felt really great going into it.
Cons: Need to figure out my body's hydration requirements and efforts on hills.
Weather: We might as well have been swimming. Humidity at 100%.


A run for F.L.

I am getting ready to meet up with Slade for a run but wanted to do a quick run dedication to F.L and her family. We lost touch after our first move overseas but we still make her fajatis twice a year or more. Last night was the first time we have had them in awhile which got me thinking how I miss her and her family. I mean how can you not think of the woman who taught me and Big Little Brother (BLB) how to burp our alphabets. So I don't think she will see this but if she does. F.L this run is for you and your family. I think of you often.


F.L.'s Fajitas (her original recipe)

Yummy blurry homemade fajitas.

3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
ground pepper
dash season-all
1 clove minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sherry or 1/8 cup reduced vinegar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup salad oil*

Combine all ingredients and marinade beef overnight. For the beef use round, flank or strip steak.

Slice very thin. I marinade several packages of meat at once then divide marinade and meat into zip-lock bags and freeze for later use. Then grill, broil or fry meat.

My notes: * my mom uses less but in the spirit of a post about F.L. I am writing out the original recipe as it appears in my little composition notebook. If you are going to fry the meat in a skillet slice it before you apply the heat. However, if you are going to grill it I think it is easier to leave the piece of beef whole and then slice after it is cooked.

The beef is shown in a tortilla with rice, beans, jicama, avocado, tomato, mango and cilantro.

It also goes great in quesdillas the next day or on top of a salad. Have fun with it, it is your food and F.L has always encouraged fun.

Or the veggie version for my vegan friends (C-bear!).


Work Out Catch Up 7/17/2011- 7/23/2011

Yoga and 3 miles.

It was great to run into A.M. who is currently going through training to become a yoga instructor. Stealing her words here:

"We practice a style of yoga called Vinyasa which literally means "to place in a special way". While there are many different styles of Hatha Yoga (which refers to the type of yoga which includes the movement of the body, or what we typically think of yoga as in the western world) Vinyasa focuses on the movement of the body in connection with the breath. This connection between the breath and the body brings us inside during our physical practice uniting our mind, body and spirit. It is a great workout and it simultaneously brings a sense of inner peace and calm."

Check out her blog here:  The Yoga and Surfing Adventures of a Wine Loving Foodie very happy she is fulfilling her dream and I cannot wait to take one of her classes.

Every yoga class has been better than the last and I cannot wait for the next one.

The run in the evening was so-so. Nothing to write about.


Six miles.

I did it. Furthest yet and I definitely struggled at the end. Just ask Slade Runner. Okay end and middle and a little at the start. It is *shocking* how much you notice a tiny change in grade when you are running. It is kind of a far drive to get up to where we run but the change in grade and company/motivation is worth it.

Lessons learned:
  • Do not eat the chia easy oatmeal before a 'longer' run. Peanut butter on toast works well. I now know what the stomach issues people talk about.
  • Start carrying a small bottle of water on a run. 
  • Head up, knees up, think light, think smooth.
My mileage was low this week and there is much room for improvement. 

Lets see how this coming week goes.


Ch-ch-ch chia....seeds

I first heard about Chia seeds in Christopher McDougall's Born to Run (see post here) and ended up ordering a bag after continuing to run across them in Angela Liddon's blog/reciepes at Oh She Glows.

These little seeds pack a healthy punch. I have been having a tbsp each morning as part of my Chia Easy Oatmeal and they are not bad.

Chia Easy Oatmeal
lightly adapted from Oh She Glows

1/2 cup overnight oatmeal
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon raw chia seeds

Optional morning add ins
Peanut Butter
Maple Syrup

Before you go to sleep:
Add the oatmeal, almond milk and chia seeds in a bowl. Mix up the ingredients and place in the fridge overnight. Stir one more time after brushing your teeth, wandering around your house/apartment right before you get in bed.

What is happening while you snooze: The chia seeds are hydrating and thickening the mixture overnight so when you wake up you are greeted with oatmeal consistency but without the heat. Perfect for this heat wave we are going through.

In the morning:
Stir and add in whatever you feel like. I've been adding Maple Syrup most mornings and I've experimented with banana and peanut butter but not a huge fan of that. Add what you like subtract what you don't. Make your breakfast your own.

The other recipe I've tried was chia fresca, written about in Born to Run but the actual recipe I used was from the No Meat Athlete. (cold water, chia, honey and lime; mix and wait) The key with this one was cold water and let it gel before you drink it. Chia seeds can hold A LOT of water, if you drink the mix before the seeds have hydrated fully it can cause some discomfort as they expand in your stomach.

I still have not figured out the seeds are actually helping my runs but the placebo effect is working for me.

5 mile run tomorrow. Rest well legs.

Yoga and new socks

No better way to spend a Sunday.


Ice Ice Baby

Literally I am sitting in my first ever ice bath shivering trying to compose this post on my iTouch while shaking. Ahhhhh cold!!! 20 lb of ice.... Thank you Slade Runner (not his real name).

But let's go back we are going to Tarantino this and go back to the beginning of why is RunningBear75 turning blue and shivering? Well let's go back...

So workout in hotel gym (7/13) not that good. I did an hour on the elliptical (not a fan of that machine) I tried the treadmill but when the whole machine is shaking and ever foot fall is amplified THUMP! Thump! THUMP! And you are in a room the size of a shoe box kind of makes you a little self conscience so elliptical for an hour. Check.

Get back Thursday face time and great dinner with the family heavy dinner so no run. I practiced my corpus pose for Yoga but that was it.

Now today. Back to the HQ at work got in early, left late. No plans for tonight except I want to get
a good solid run in. Which made it perfect when Slade Runner texted me:
"Hey, you wanna do a hills run tonight? I need to get out but I have been way short on motivation."

Perfect!!! Now the last time I was out running with Slade was precrazy studying. He was also breaking into barefoot running so we were closer in pace than I know we are now.  I said yes anyways taking it as a challenge and I always learn something new or get some pointers or an amazing book recommendation(Born to Run (there is your shout out Slade!)) etc. Well I didn't think the man was going to kill me but it felt at one point he was going to succeed.

I challenge everyone reading to find a running friend who is a few levels ahead of you and on a light/rest day for them join them on a run. It is a great challenge. Especially on the uphills when you are sucking wind but have a friend on your side talking/storytelling cause they know where your energy is going but recognize that if they go quiet that little evil voice will be easier to hear. You know that voice. The voice that says: Ouch. My knee, it is too far, just start walking, come on just walk. You have been sitting for the last 9 months you are too out of practice.....EVIL little voice. So while you might not be able to fully focus on their story because mentally you are trying to convince your legs to keep churning a friend talking at your side is invaluable. Better than music in my opinion. 

I met Slade at his house and we jogged to the park to drop our water bottles and then started the hill loop. Oh man I was sucking wind. I don't think I walked any of the first loop other than a stretch break at the top of the second hill. Smaller strides, quicker turn over. Knees up. Head up. Breathe deep. Mentally, I was going okay one loop I'm good. I'm good. Okay one and done fine..... Nope we are doing two. 

Second loop, run up first hill, practice walking downhill landing on the balls of the foot then lightly running the flat, walking again. A quick stretch then we sprinted up the next. It was amazing. I would have soared over the top but had to wait for the cross traffic. I got goosebumps sprinting. Awesome. 

The jog back to the park not so hot. My back on the lower left spazzed once and we walked a bit but it was a good feeling to go out and get some hills in. You are able to do more than you think you are capable of doing. 

Map of the run.

So ice bath. A recommendation and why not. Sweating my behind off and its 100 degrees out so ice bath sounds ...refreshing. I told the guy at the gas station that my trainer recommended. White lie? Not really. But the look on his face definitely said "Wait, you have a trainer?". I have some ways to go.

Twenty pounds of ice and some cold water. That is how RunningBear75 ended up in an ice bath. Hopefully it helps in the morning. Cause it was freezing during.

Quick Lessons learned:
I need new socks.
Yeah that is for real.

Get out of cotton shirts and invest in some fabric that wicks the sweat away.

Chocolate Milk after a run is delicious!

Running with other people is a great way to push yourself.


Getting off my behind...



Okay really right now. The hotel has an itty bitty gym and I am going to go hog the treadmill for 3 miles. Or at least sit on the bike through an episode of Dexter.

I'm going I'm going.




A wreck.

Worse run yet. I took my sister out in her stroller last night to try and get her to wind down but it was a terrible run. Pushing a stroller changes your gait and puts more focus on shoulders. It did not help it was 85 degrees and I am still in pants from yoga class that morning.

Good news is I got out there and there will be plenty more cruddy runs but also so really great ones.

I'll have to dedicate a full post soon about the motivating capabilities of a two year old. I am back on the road, this time for business so updating isn't as easy as I would like. Especially now I have gotten some pictures up.

Hope your runs are going well. Just get out there.


What are you waiting for?



No more no less but it is delicious.
Bread, bananas and peanut butter (B^3 breakfast)

To be barefoot or not to be barefoot

Okay, so this is a late post but I got in a few barefoot beach runs in on vacation. I also discovered a lot of muscles and new places that could get sore. I have the most sensitive feet in the world but the beaches of Destin, FL were so soft, sandy and free of jagged shells. I was able to run without fear impaling my feet. It was a blast. Most of my running was done on walks with Dad and the littlies which developed into a game of "sibling suicides" - 2 year to 9 year old dawdling behind back to the 2 year old surging ahead. Wash, rinse, repeat.

This is what running should look like.
After a week of that I am now back to the real world and find myself contemplating to run barefoot or not to run barefoot. I went for a shoed run on my second day back from vacation and I was fairly miserable. I can chalk part of that up to being back in a city that is rejecting me like a bad organ transplant, confusion over my job, a lack of bug spray and just general post vacation blues (1st world problem I know) but whirling among all of that was grumpiness about having to shove my feet into shoes. After running barefoot for a week even with lighter running shoes my feet felt heavy. My gait felt restricted and my normal problem of hot spots on the inside arch came back.

Before you all comment: Yes, I have read Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run" 3 times. I have a copy on audiobook and subjected J-bird to 9 hours on the drive back. It could not have been too bad for him, between picking up dinner and a five minute drive to his house he made sure he turned it back on. It probably has more to do with the three F-bombs and less about the Tarahumar and Caballo Blanco. Though after a particular detailed description of Leadville100: as “running the Boston Marathon two times in a row with a sock stuffed in your mouth”—then hiking “to the top of Pike’s Peak”—and then doing it all over again, “this time with your eyes closed.”

J-bird looked at me, eyes wide "is this a true story?" Me: Yep. This is also coming from the kid who, on the day I entered the lottery to run the marathon was quizzing me on the probabilities of me winning the Houston marathon. After ten minutes of trying to explain you win by competing and finishing is an accomplishment and you are really just racing yourself he looks at me and goes: "yeah but is it like 1 in 1000 or like 1 in a million?" To him unless you are going to win there is not a point in taking part. We are working on this though it does shorten our family monopoly games.

I digress. All of this has been going through my head and I am contemplating the investment in a pair of vibram 5 fingers. My feet are too sensitive to run truly barefoot and I wNt to try the minimalist approach but the $80 cost is holding me back. "Born to Run" makes a strong argument but I do not want to invest in something that will just gather dust in two months. I need to get a new pair of running shoes so how about it? Barefoot? Or not barefoot? That is the question.


Second Race

Another Warrior Dash but this time I incorporated the lessons learned from my first Warrior Dash. My friend C-Bear (not his real name) and I arrived, bladders empty, in costume and ready for a muddy good time. Armed with the loose change found in the couches that C-Bear was surfing while figuring out his living situation he came up with the following marvelous outfits:


My time was worst than the first race as a result of busy season and the hardest (for me) of my exam sections. That terrible combination lead to 18-20+ work/study weekdays and long hours of class and studying on the weekends. I gave myself no room for running or a social life but when WarriorDash came less than 30 minutes away from H-Town and a few weeks after my exam I had to talk C-Bear into flying down for a weekend  and running with me.

With the goal of having a good time it was a blast. Had I set any pace/time goals other than beating C-Bear I would have been disappointed. I did not beat C-Bear but we had a blasty.

The weather was a heck of a lot warmer and the crowd wasn't quite as rabucious as the Austin group (yeah that is right Conroe I'm calling you out) but the logistics of the race was spot on (parking and buses to the race course was a breeze) and the beer was just as cold as the first race. All in all a lot of fun and will still reccomend this race to friends looking for a good time.

It helps when you convince a friend from out of state to fly down, run with you, give you their beer tokens and be your DD. C-Bear, you're my hero.


My First Race

My first race, Warrior Dash,was in November 2010 and was done as a reward for sitting the first two parts of my certification. I have to admit I was motivated more by the concert and free beer on completion than the 5k itself but still had a blast and learned a lot about my first race.

1 hour, 2 miles. Even I don't run that slow.

First Lesson:
When the race directors say arrive an hour early add an extra hour. I made great time until the last two miles (see photo left). Thankfully even though I missed my wave I was still able to run.

Second Lesson:
Okay not a new lesson but one I had not experienced in awhile and no picture needed Port-a-Potties are gross and they only get worse throughout the day. Go at the gas station when you stop for gas or right when you get there. It is easier to maneuver clothes when dry and clean than wet and full of mud.

Third Lesson:
There is this thing called bag check and it can save you a long walk back to your car.

Fourth Lesson:
Packet pick up can be chaotic. Chips are something that goes on your shoe for timing and are not an after race snack. Be prepared to stab yourself with a safety pin once or twice. 
Ohhh that kind of chip. Drat. I'm hungry.

Fifth Lesson:
The walls you were stressing about are not as high as you imagined. The fire is.

Sixth Lesson:
Bring extra garbage bags. They can be used to hold dirty clothes, given out to new friends and are excellent seat protectors for the long drive home.

While my time was terrible, I walked away with what I wanted, a muddy fun time away from a windowless office with study material as thick as a phonebook. The race drew a social "Keep Austin Weird" crowd.  I loved the party attitude and wished I had a group to run with. I felt like I was left out of some of the fun by running solo.

If you plan on running Warrior Dash - I advise get a group together, no matter the fitness level or pace time dress up and have a blast. My favourite group during my start time was a group of about 12 friends running as the holidays. The Easter bunny was fast but Mardi Gras struggled so all the Holidays would meet at the obstacles but race the in between parts on their own. Great attitude and I think everyone walked away happy. Have fun get muddy, have a beer at the end, dance the cupid shuffle with your buffalo hat on and mug for the cameras. Embrace it, this is a race for a PBR not a PR.

Alene is Amazing


Simply wow. I was surfing blogger blogs for running blogs to get an idea for layouts/information included etc and found Journey to Badwater absolutely inspirational. Check it out from July 13-17 to follow Alene on her journey from Badwater and back to Telescope Peak as she competes against herself and raises funds for a Cancer Center. Check out her blog for donation information.

Which leads to another question I have been pondering, Houston Marathon does Run for a Reason where runners can easily fundraise for a cause with more than 20+ official charities listed. My dilemma is choosing which one. Two that instantly came to mind was the USO ( shout out to Sgt. Pensyl who is currently over in the sandbox and my friends Chopp, Batten, Baer, Wise, Deillinger, de Leon) or MdAnderson. Two separate causes but both I feel very passionately about. However, neither are listed and I cannot figure out (yet)if I can still fundraise or if I should just pick a charity from the list. If I go with the list there are a few that are at the top of my list:
Child Advocates
Snowdrop Foundation
Young Texans Against Cancer

More to mull over.

First Run

The day I found out I was selected to run the Houston Marathon I went out for an "easy three" which was not so easy. I ran the first mile no issue but had to run/walk the last two. it is a start.

The time gave me a chance to reflect on the last nine+ months of my studies and how time, determination and a will to succeed (I will not suck seed!) will get you through almost anything. When I graduated college with a double major in Accounting and Finance I had no clue what I was going to do. I fell into accounting much as I am "falling" into running. I craved security in my profession and wanted something stable. I was told with my fourth college accounting class that I would never go far and should not expect to get my CPA by my professor in office hours. Well determination got me through and I am an ethics test away from including a few more letters behind my name. I am just going to have to apply the same stubborn determination to running sadly there is no Tim Gearty or Peter Olinto (I still want my cup of coffee) guiding the way but I will figure it out.


So this is really happening.

With finishing sitting all four parts of my certification a milestone birthday coming up and coming out of a convulted personal time I was looking for something to answer the question: "What are you going to do with all of that free time?" With anywhere from 2 to 6 hours after work on week nights and 16+ hours on the weekend that is more time than just "sleep" could answer.

My certification taxed me mentally and to a degree I will argue it taxed me physically (yes sitting for 20 hrs+ and staying awake that long gets physical) but I wanted to challenge myself physically and mentally outdoors and having NOTHING to do with work and something outside of my comfort zone. Ding (that is my smart idea sound) let's enter the Houston marathon. I have not run since starting my cram fest that is a brilliant idea! And besides the Houston Marathon is lottery based what are the chances???

On June 27th I got two emails One notifying me of my successful completion of all 4 parts of the CPA exam and the second notifying me of a $125 charge to my credit card, I have been selected to run the Houston Marathon.

Oh crap this is happening and neither has sunk in.

So here I lounge (hey I am on vacation) 197 days from race day. I will finish what I started and I plan on doing so while using this blog to track my training, thoughts and motivations.