November 29, 2012

Marathon nightmares and a giveaway winner

Another day, another pain-free run. And this time it was with speedwork. Lately I have this possibly irrational fear of speedwork, that the fast feet will immediately cause something to snap in my ankle. Today I had 5x1000 sprints on the schedule, and I felt overly cautious on the first two rounds. But when my foot bones didn't splinter apart, I was able to let go of the scared and embrace the huzzah of speedwork for the last three sprints.

At the end, I had one of these moments.

Bring it, Rocket City. 

Today's rockstar (meaning no bones were broken) speedwork session helped to counteract my first ever marathon nightmare. Last night, I dreamed that I was at the start line, but my legs were still sore from the lunges I did yesterday. And I felt so confused about why I was doing strength training the day before my marathon. There was this overall feeling of I'm not ready for this, why didn't I taper, how did I not remember this race was today, do I even remember how to run, where are my chia seeds

Marathon nightmares are rough, but not as rough as icing a sore foot in the winter. 

Brrrrrr. But no matter how many blankets I have to cocoon in, icing my foot needs to happen. It was even part of my physical therapy homework. 

Homework assignments from today's visit:
  1. Ice my foot.
  2. Do hip strengthening exercises. I'll have to get a picture of that one for you guys. 
  3. Read some more about Newtons. My PT brought her pair for me to try on today. They are so incredibly light. 
  4. Research additional nutrition/supplements. She really wants me to work on getting quality supplements to help my bones and joints recover from all the work I'm asking them to do. 
I love seeing a physical therapist who's also a runner. Every time I go, I feel like I learn something new about how my body works and how to better adapt to the stress of distance running. 

What I still need to learn: how to stop breaking stuff around my house. We're on a breaking spree this week. So far we've broken one Xbox, one TV, one Joseph (Mary's porcelain hubby), one jar of jam (thankfully only 1/4 full), and now one butter dish. I was in love with this butter dish that I found at the thrift store a few years ago. It was mustard colored, simple, and old. All things I love. 

But apparently you aren't supposed to drop really heavy salt shakers on top of your butter dishes. 

Reenactment. Noooooooooooooooo (cue the dramatic symphony). 

So the moral of today's post: do your homework and don't drop heavy metal stuff on delicate glass stuff. Who said this blog wasn't super informative?

And last thing, congrats to the Handana giveaway winner, Sarah Jones. Sarah, email me at yomommaruns (at) with your address so I can send out your new sweat/snot/anything you want wiper.

Also, they've been having a lot of sales for the holidays and other giveaways on the Handana Facebook page, so check it out for coupon codes before you load up on these for stocking stuffers.

Any Newton fans out there? Did it take you a minute to get used to the bump under the forefoot?

Have you broken anything you loved lately? Hopefully not someone's heart. 

Do you ice in winter? What do you do to warm up? I'm thinking I need to get the Costco-sized cocoa for the win. 

November 28, 2012

Safety, trail shoes, reading list, and more Meb

Yesterday, I ran without the sharp pain in my foot! This was my first run since the pain popped up at the end of Saturday's long run, and I cautiously decided to go for my tempo run instead of attempting the speed work on my plan. There is a lingering soreness in my foot, like it went to Body Pump class, but otherwise, it's good.

To make sure it's getting stronger, I also did some more balancing exercises. Luckily, I'm tapering anyway so it'll be getting more rest than it would normally. Rest well, little foot.

And for the remainder of today's post, I feel like breaking it down in numbers.

1. You have to (HAVE TO) read Elizabeth's story about getting attacked while running. A great reminder to pay attention to your surroundings and run defensively. I always carry my phone with me while running. Not because I want to text someone while running, though that has happened, but because I want a lifeline if something goes wrong. Even though I love the freedom of running, I love being alive for my family more, and it's worth taking precautions to help with that outcome.

2. Meeting Meb was awesome. He's extremely humble for a world champion, and after our two-minute talk, I'm pretty sure he agrees that we're best friends now.

And as some have kindly pointed out, he's not much taller than me. I'm 5'2" and always thought of short legs as something to overcome in running. Now I realize that short legs are just champion material. That'll be one of my mantras in Rocket City. 

3. During the taper, I always need some good reading material. Currently on the list, Run to OvercomeInto Thin Air, and Cutting for Stone. I'm listening to Cutting for Stone on CD, which is perfect for multitasking chores and reading. 

The main character is a twin. Of course since we've had twins, I've really gotten into reading stories that involve twins. Another one I enjoyed is The Thirteenth Tale, which I also listened to on CD, right after the twins were born.

For some reason listening to books makes it a slightly different experience for me, and some books that I listened to on CD might not be as enjoyable if I were reading them. Or vice versa. The reader's voice is huge. The Book Thief has a great reader for the audio version too.

4. I experimented with the Saucony Kinvara trail shoes recently, and they didn't work for me. Anytime I ran in them, my toes went numb. I thought it was just a coincidence or the laces at first, but the numbness continued no matter how much I loosened the laces. In the end, I think the toe box was too narrow for my foot, but I really liked the overall low profile of those shoes for the trails. So I went back to the drawing board to find a shoe that had a wider toe box but with a similar low profile.

I narrowed it down to two New Balance options, the 110 and the 1010.



On paper, I loved the 1010, but when I compared them side by side, the fit of the 110 on my foot won me over. Underfoot the 110s feel similar to the Kinvara, but they have the extra space I need in the toe box. And did I mention they are silver? Cause that's what's up.

While I was trying on shoes, I added a few other items to my wish list:

Stripes, I love them.

Cool pockets with headphone openings? Yes, please. 

I've been looking for some casual, wear-with-jeans shoes that make me look taller. These could do it. 

Stripes on little kids are way cuter than stripes on adults. 

These chairs were in a sidewalk sale, and that teal one screamed for me to buy it. Now, I will be looking for its sister at the thrift store. 

**Last day to enter the Handana giveaway!

Would you rather listen to a book or read it?

Which trail shoes do you use? 

What's one thing on your current wish list? Price doesn't matter because it's a wish list, so dream big! Wait, that might change my list a little bit. Add a family vacation to Europe and a housekeeper.

November 26, 2012

Workout wrap-up and a guest post

**Don't forget to check out my Handana giveaway! They also have 25% off today only when you enter the code CYBER at checkout.

Also if you want some tips on how to find an ultimate BRF (best runner friend), check out my guest post on Running Kellometers today.

Now for a quick review of last week's workouts. The week started off grand because I knew it would be a slow trickle by the end of the week with the massive turkey eating and all.

Monday: 7 miles -- 1 mile warm-up, 6 miles of speed work alternating .5 miles at 9.0/9.1 mph with 90 seconds of rest at 6.5 mph. Also rowed for 15 minutes, yoga-ed for one hour, and did 20 minutes of legs and arms strength training. This was a super overkill day, but I knew the rest of the week was going to be easy.
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: tempo run, 7 miles in 55:22, the goal was to hit the middle 5 miles at 7:39 pace.
Thursday: turkey day run with the family, 5.41 miles in 55:41.
Friday: rest
Saturday: 10.6 miles in 1:21
Sunday: rest

So the Saturday run was supposed to be 13 miles, but I cut it short because of a sharp pain in my left foot. This is the same foot that I've had problems with on and off for a while, but this pain felt a little sharper (bone?) than previous pains. I decided that it wasn't worth totally screwing up my foot two weeks before a race to get in a few extra miles, so I quit the run early.

But not before I had a gloriously freezing run. Gloves would have been nice.

Too cold to not get the crazy eye.
The creek is almost a giant popsicle. But a very gross flavor. 
Mennonites in town. Maybe trying to take this pic is what brought my ankle down.
I gave my ankle extra rest today and just did a spin class. It doesn't hurt at all when I walk or hop on it. The hopping part is a good sign to me, but I'm very nervous to do any speed work this week. I'll also be heading to the PT on Thursday, so I'll get to chat about it more then.

Do you have mysterious foot/ankle pains that come and go?

What did you do to fix them? After the marathon I'm going to take a couple of weeks off of hard running.

November 24, 2012

Why I hate Black Friday but love Thanksgiving

As always, a weekend in Kentucky at my in-laws' farm is the exact opposite of boring. From first light to last snooze of the night, the place is busting at the seams with life. Animals milling around, kids stick fighting, food gobbled up as fast as you can cook it, tractors pulling, hoses cleaning, fires burning, load after load of laundry hanging on the line, grandma distributing bushels of band-aids, pictures snap snap snapping. Stop, sleep, repeat.

On Thanksgiving morning, we paused the bustle of Thanksgiving prep to run 4.1 miles. I wanted to call it the Turkey Day 5K, but it turns out that the easiest and safest route to run was just over 4 miles. Commence the re-naming because I'm going to try and make this the first of many Thanksgiving family runs. The cooler the name, the more people will want to run. Right? And it was free, so no one is allowed to complain about zero water stops and the out-and-back course with no spectators, unless you count the couple of cars that honked as the sped past.

We had ten people lace up their sneaks, which was pretty good for only planning it right before we fell asleep on Thanksgiving Eve.

My seven-year-old son was the youngest participant, and honestly, I wasn't sure he would make it all three, soon to be four, miles. But he wanted to get in on the fun, and I thought it would be a good way to get out some early-morning energy. I've seen that kid run in circles for hours, so even though he didn't have traditional race prep, he wasn't completely unprepared.

Although he was wearing blue jeans. So you can't really say he was prepared either.

But he was smart and brought his own snack, a plum. Remember it was a no-frills (or should I say environmentally friendly) race.

The course was slightly rolling hills with a mix of dirt, gravel and pavement. 

At the end of the run, my son said his shoes were hurting his feet, so I told him to take them off. And that went awesome for a few minutes. He was in love with not wearing shoes.

Until he kicked a rock. I decided to spare you the picture of the mangled toe because I want to post pictures of food. Although I'm pretty good at being an uncool blogger, I draw the line at posting food pics right beside mangled toe pics. 

But he finished and even had enough gas in the tank to kick at the end. It was really interesting to watch him because after running the first mile, he would sprint and walk, sprint and walk, sprint and walk. I tried to teach him the value of running a little bit slower than he knew he could so that he could run longer, but I'm pretty sure he didn't absorb that lesson that day. I have barely absorbed it for marathoning, so I can't say I blame him. 

And it could have been the food and family, but I'm pretty sure the running put us all in a better mood for the day. The pies and cobblers helped too.

And I was not at all offended by the marshmallows that tried to escape the crowded casserole dish. I could not stop eating these sweet potatoes, and I'm guessing I would have a hard time not eating anything else covered by that amount of marshmallows. 

Yes, we also ate veggies, but I guess the pictures tell the truth of what is really important to people. I only took pictures of desserts.

The rest of the day was dedicated to fun. These two look like they are coming up with a sneaky plan.

Which may or may not have included overthrowing the older siblings.

When surveyed, 20 out of 20 kids said they were thankful for horses. 

I'm never in the mood to shop Black Friday. Ever. And I am severely into good deals. I'm the person who drives to ten places on my birthday to redeem all of the coupons for free birthday ice cream and burritos. But we tried Black Friday once about eight years ago, and it just didn't seem worth it. The deals evaporated before we even got out of line. Then someone told me today that Amazon matches most of the deals anyway. My niece was particularly excited about this Harry Potter deal (all eight movies for $33.49). When I heard that Amazon matches the deals, I was even more annoyed by Black Friday.

Instead of hitting Best Buy or getting trampled at Wal-mart, we hit up the Mennonite store (also known as a storage shed). There's a large Mennonite community down the street from the farm, and there was definitely no trampling at this operation. Just politeness in skirts and bonnets. And dodging horse droppings. 

In case you're wondering, because I was, what the difference is between the Amish and Mennonites, here's a short explanation

Have you ever visited an Amish or Mennonite community? They make me want to hug the earth. And nothing is cuter than little girls in bonnets. Period.

Are you pro or anti Black Friday?

Thanksgiving day runs: good or give it a rest?

November 22, 2012

Happy Handana Giveaway!

By the time you read this, we will have hosted the first ever Booher Family Turkey Day 5K (or whatever the random distance is between this farm and another farmy back road). I was going to try and run an official 5K race, but it was about 30 minutes to drive there. I think I'm making my new rule if it takes me longer to drive there than to run it, I'll run it at home. Except that rule won't apply with marathons. And half marathons that have really cool medals.

Last night we watched an inspiring interview with Nick Vujicic, the author of Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action. Vujicic was born without arms and legs, and travels all over the world to share the message that there is hope even in our darkest moments and thickest trials. He talked about getting depressed, especially when he was younger, about the things he couldn't do, but as he focused on the things he could do, he found happiness and fulfillment.

This is relevant in every life, but of course my mind immediately hones in on how this applies to whatever we're trying to accomplish with our running. I'll never be Meb (even though I'm going to meet him Monday in hopes that he rubs magic fairy marathon dust on me), but I can strive for the fastest my legs can carry me. And I can try to push my edges to discover where I can eek out a few more ounces of strength.

We make our own magic with our lives when we act on what we uniquely have to offer the world. Today, I'm thankful that we're all different and that we teach each other through our differences.

And remember that I promised a T-day giveaway? The creator of this product used a trial in her personal life to create something positive. Here's her story:
My name is Katie Niemeyer and twenty-six years ago, a
severe reaction to a medication sent me to the burn unit at Barnes
Hospital in St. Louis. I was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson
Syndrome (SJS), an autoimmune reaction causing your skin to
blister to the point that you have 2nd and 3rd degree burns. Unlike
many with SJS, I survived and was not left blind or severely
scarred. I felt so blessed by this outcome.
Yet, as I started running, I discovered that SJS did leave my
eyes very sensitive. If sweat drips into my eyes, it burns so badly
that I find it hard to focus on anything else. Wearing hats and
sweatbands help, but in the Texas heat, I found that the sweat still
dripped, causing extreme pain and an excuse to stop my workouts.
With my first marathon in sight, I needed a solution.
That’s when I created Handana. It is a high performance
fashionable sweatband that wraps around your hand. You can use
both sides of your hand to wipe sweat from your neck or forehand,
while leaving your hand completely free. And if you’re like me,
you need those hands, either to keep your stride smooth or to open
GU packets and water bottles.
Handana does more than protect my eyes: It has become a
powerful reminder to cross my finish lines, to persevere. And I
hope that is what others take away from my story and from this
product, that it becomes a symbol and an inspiration for all of us to
cross our finish lines, no matter what they are in our lives, and
empower others to do the same.
I used my Handana for the first time at the Oak Mountain 21K. It was not as hot outside as it has been, so instead of my normal buckets of sweat, I was producing buckets of snot. I sincerely hope you already ate your turkey for the day.

But back to that race, I am not a rocket launcher. I've never perfected it, and I'd usually rather treat myself like I treat my three year olds and wipe it on the inside of my shirt collar (while running -- in regular life I swear that I use tissues, mostly). Handana was an awesome replacement for my collar and much easier to maneuver while running.

Also, when I was nursing my skinned and bruised knee at the end of that race, I realized that my hand was also bruised and might have been bleeding too if I hadn't worn the Handana. I love unexpected ways a product saves you. 

Dirty from the falls, but no scrapes on my hand!

I will definitely try this out in the summer too. I am a heavy sweater and usually wear some kind of bandana wrapped around my wrist for wiping sweat out of my eyes, but I really liked the material this is made of and that it never felt too wet even though I thoroughly soaked it again and again. My bandanas are always dripping wet in no time.

And it makes a great replacement for a bulky towel at the gym.

Handanas are $15 and come in a variety of colors and sizes.

Want to try one out? Handana sent me another blue size small to share.

To enter: 

Tell me what you would use Handana to wipe. Get creative. I want to laugh today.

For bonus entries (make sure to leave a separate comment for each so I can count them all!):

* Follow Handana on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow (or already follow) Yo Momma Runs on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Like Handana on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Like (or already like) Yo Momma runs on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow (or already follow) Yo Momma Runs via Google Friend connect. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Share this giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or your blog. Leave a separate comment for each share!

I'll pick a winner on Thursday, November 29th.

***Edit: Also this weekend, they are offering free shipping and 20% off any order with the code THANKFUL. 

P.S. The twinners also wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. 

Handana provided a free product for me to review and one to give away. I received no other compensation, and all thoughts, opinions, and snot rockets are my own. 

November 21, 2012

Don't waste your fall and meet Meb

We're currently in Kentucky, enjoying some farm animals, fall colors, and loads of cousins. One of our chores today was raking leaves, and my kids finally got to jump in leaves for as long as they could stand. They loaded the leaves into this contraption.

And jumped, and jumped, and jumped.

Last week when we were raking leaves in our own yard, we had a few more scoops to go when I asked my kids if they had jumped in the pile when they first started the job. My seven-year-old son screwed up his face and said, "No, we just totally wasted fall." So the farm saved fall from being a complete disaster.

Leaf juggling also saves fall from being a disaster.

The leaves and tall grass were perfect for warming up for today's tempo run. Running in long grass is another great ankle strengthening workout. You know how lately I'm all about bulking up my ankles. I'm going to have to start using my ankles, instead of my biceps, to point to the gun show.

Hitting my tempo pace on the small hills of Kentucky was a surprising (or not) challenge. My goal was 5 miles at 7:39, and instead I hit the splits at 7:09, 7:38, 7:37, 7:40, and 7:26. I felt like I had just finished a marathon. 

But I didn't even run one of those miles as fast as this guy runs all 26.2.

Good news: Meb's coming to visit us in Birmingham on Monday night. From 5:30 to 7:30, he'll be at Aloft Birmingham, 1903 29th Avenue South, Homewood, Alabama.

Here's more info:
The Birmingham Track Club, in conjunction with the Trak Shak, is proud to invite you to “An Evening with Meb Keflezighi.” Meb is one of America’s most talented marathoners boasting such honors as: Silver Medalist at the Beijing Olympics, winner of the NYC Marathon, winner of the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, and placed 4th overall at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Admission is free, but this is a special one night only event, so don’t miss out. Meb will be autographing copies of his book, “Run to Overcome” and $5 of each book sold benefits the Birmingham Track Club. 

Help spread the word and please invite your friends as well. We look forward to seeing you there.
I will definitely be picking up a copy of Run to Overcome. I'm always up for reading an amazing runner's life story. Always. Hopefully I can finish it before Rocket City so I have some Meb motivation flowing through my brain cave during the more grueling moments of my marathon.

Also, if you're looking for some online running gear deals this week, check out Too Tall Fritz's Thanksgiving and Black Friday Roundup.

And check back here tomorrow for a Thanksgiving giveaway!

If you could ask Meb one question, what would it be?

What's your favorite fall activity, without which fall would be wasted? 

Where are you spending Thanksgiving day? 

November 18, 2012

Workouts and a giveaway winner

After the Savannah marathon, I rested completely (no yoga, no anything else) until Saturday, so I'll pick up my training report from there.

Saturday: 3 easy miles, didn't time them
Sunday: Oak Mountain 13.1, 2:01
Monday: 45-minute spin class, one shake-out mile on the track
Tuesday: 9 miles, 1:10:47, tempo run, plus 1 cool-down mile
Wednesday: walk 2 miles, bike 20 minutes, row 20 minutes
Thursday: speed work -- 6 miles of alternating .25 miles at 9.3/9.4 mph with .25 miles at 6.5 mph, physical therapy/myofascial release for an hour
Friday: rest
Saturday: 20.36 miles in 2:51, 30 minutes of rolling and stretching
Sunday: one hour of easy, easy yoga

Also, I've been throwing in balance exercises on the balancing disc (like this one) that I found at the thrift store. While I'm cooking, I stand on one leg at a time until I feel like switching. I probably should time it, but for now, I'm just happy to be doing it at all. My goal is to strengthen my ankles for my increase in trail running. 

Also, I just found a trail that I can run to from my gym, so I can drop off the kids and run there and back. So that gives me another opportunity to strengthen my ankles during the week. 

Looking at this past week's training, the only thing I'd like to add for this upcoming week is one weight lifting class. Otherwise, my plan is to stick with the training schedule and possibly replace one of the cross-training days (biking or rowing) with a trail run day. 

Are you guys still awake? I barely am. 

Quick, look at this delicious food. 

It's pork with brie and pecan molasses. My brother cooked this up for us one night using this recipe. I feel super proud that I'm related to someone who made this because sometimes I make cereal for dinner. 

Now for the important part of this post: the winner of the Endorphin Warrior bracelet!

Congrats to Laura from Mommy Run Fast! Check out her blog for some deliciously healthy recipes. Laura, email me at yomommaruns (at) with your word choice and size.

Thanks to all of you who entered and shared this giveaway! 

November 16, 2012

Two songs that will make you run faster

The faster part was not really true, but this song makes me want to run in general.

Then I remembered that it was one of the theme songs from the Olympics. Just another example of how I still haven't gotten over the Olympics. And that marketing completely works on me. And that I'm so out of touch with American Idol because I didn't even know he was related to that show (spoiler alert: he totally wins). I think I stopped watching after Ruben won -- because how could it get better than someone from Birmingham, AL, winning? It couldn't.

Speaking of Ruben, his half marathon is this weekend in Alabama. I half to three-quarters wish I was running it.

But back to the Olympics -- the official song for the games was Muse's "Survival." Did you guys hear this song during the Olympics? I don't remember hearing it at all.

But I like it, so I'm adding it to the play list too. It makes me feel like I'm marching to battle in Lord of the Rings.

Do you remember Ruben? I love that he started this race weekend in Birmingham.

Will you go to opening night of The Hobbit? I'm trying to speed read it with my kids so we can take them (minus the twins). I hope they do some early showings like they did with Breaking Dawn 2.

Do you agree that only mean, bossy moms make their kids read the books before they see the movies?  

November 15, 2012

Thrift store Thursday and shoe deals

*Have you entered the Endorphin Warrior bracelet giveaway yet? Go here to enter.

This week's thrift store haul didn't include much running-related material, except for the three runner magazines. The thrift store updated their magazine categories, so now instead of Lady Magazines, these mags were found under Women's Health. Getting closer. Still no luck if you are a dude trying to run because obviously if a girl is on the cover, you have nothing to learn from it. I think the magazine categories mostly get on my nerves because I have to look in more than one place to find Runner's World.

Note to thrift store magazine sorter (because I'm pretty sure you're reading this): Runner's World is the same magazine whether or not a lady or a dude is on the cover.

This week's haul

We originally went shopping for another pair of shoes for the twins, and we had luck with that one. Love it when a thrifty plan comes together. No more mandatory kid shoe shopping left for the season. Somehow we also found matching shirts for the twins. I now forgive you, thrift store, for that messed up magazine junk.

Also, we found out what you wear if you are a baby who jogs. Is anyone else picturing a tiny baby jogging on a treadmill right now?

I scored some other deals this week at Birmingham Fleet Feet. They have stacks of shoes on sale for $60 and a rack of clothes that are half off. 

Score #1: Nike tank for $14. I'm trying to add bright clothes to my collection for running in the dark. I also have a safety vest, but it will be easier to put something like this on before a long run. Yes, we can still wear tank tops for running in Alabama -- at least for a couple more weeks.

Score #2: Mizuno Wave Rider 15s for $60.

If all of my wishes came true, they would have been this color, but I'm still happy to have a cheapish new pair for my rotation. Currently, I'm rotating between these three shoes for the roads: Mizuno Wave Rider 14Karhu Fast3 Fulcrum Ride, and New Balance 890. My strategy is to have a few different brands in rotation and to buy last season's model on clearance.

Here's my lunch strategy for this week: rice, spinach, cilantro, mango salsa, purple onions, cheese, and avocado (added after I melted the cheese). I get on a roll and stick with the same lunch for days, weeks even. 

But I've been saving this pumpkin bread for a special day just like today. Since we don't have Trader Joe's nearby, we have to carefully allot our Trader Joe items until our next visit to Nashville. 

*Update: someone messaged me that Road Runner coupon code isn't currently working. I'll be back with an updated code soon. Sorry for the confusion!

Does anyone else have something super special planned for tonight? Like dressing up as a sparkly vampire.

What is your shoe rotating strategy? 

What lunch groove do you get stuck in?