Thursday, December 29, 2011

Little trip to Strasbourg, France

2 more days left of 2011, crazy! This year feels like it has flllooowwwnnnnn by!

We are enjoying our last week of the year here in Germany with Lukas' family. They live in Linkenheim, which is near Karlsruhe, Germany. A nice little area of the country but not much to see and do, especially since it has been chilly and rainy. Mostly we have just enjoyed our time with visitors including: Lukas' grandma and great aunt that live in the nursing home nearby, his sister and brother-in-law who bought a house nearby recently, his brother who lives about an hour or so away, and his aunt and uncle who came to visit from Nuremberg which is a few hours away.

On Tuesday however our friends the Clarke family who used to live in PA but are now living in Bayern area of Germany for a few years came to visit. I love this family, Luke has been good friends with Stewart for years and it is always wonderful getting to see them. They have 4 children ranging from 12 - 3.5 years old. Lukas and I took a little trip with them across the border to Strasbourg, France to go see the Christmas market. I was a little disappointed that much of the market has been broken down since we went after Christmas, but there were still some decorations in the city to see and the city itself is lovely. Here are a few fun pictures of our day trip:

A very lovely trip with the lovely Clarke family :)

Afterward we of course had to stop at a huge grocery store nearby, seriously bigger than a super walmart if you can believe something like that exists in Europe! We got some more of our favorite french bread and cheese and drinks and the Clarke's stocked up on some things for the kids and other regional goodies. Always a nice way to end a day trip, yummy food! :)

We don't have much else planned for our trip here. Yesterday we wandered around Karlsruhe and did a little shopping and today we will just be hanging out and will go visit with Lukas' grandma and great aunt again in the afternoon. His sister and brother-in-law have been papering and painting their ceiling and walls all week in their new townhouse so we might drag them over this evening to take a break and play cards with us... we'll see if they can be convinced.

Tomorrow we will head to Darmstadt to stay with Lukas' best friends, the Wiese family. We will have a big New Years party at their house on Saturday with lots of their friends and eat some yummy raclette. A good way to end a nice long trip, as we will be flying home on New Years Day.

I miss my puppy and miss being in my own home and will be happy to be home on Sunday. I always feel like that after a long trip tho, even if I am enjoying seeing friends and family. It has been a nice break from home and work and has been good to see everyone. Hopefully in 2 years we can come back again.

Hope everyone is having a lovely last week of the year and I wish you all a very happy New Year! Party it up but stay safe! :) Helllooooooo 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmahanukwanzaaka everyone!! :)

Have yourself a merry little Christmahanukwanzaaka everyone! :) Cheers until 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas...

This song has been stuck in my head for days on end... ahhhhhh! Want to know why? Because I DID get a Hippopotamus for Christmast haha!

Be careful... he is one cranky Hippo! Meet my new puppet pal - "Slim"

Scariest Christmas present ever :)

Freaky right? Best Christmas present opening ever haha.
Here is a less scary picture:

I got a hippopotamus for Christmas...

My good friend knows how much I love puppets, espec. because she was subjected to the "Tiffany can give life to any puppet imaginable" show one day while we were out shopping - embarassing to say the least but I just can't hold it in lol. Soooo in honor of my insanity, she got me this cute little fella for Christmas - yay! I always wanted a Hippo for Christmas and now I have one :)

Wishing you all a very very Merry Christmahanukwanzaaka and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 9, 2011

How do you do, new hairdo ;-)

After a second trip to the salon to have them fix what they did yesterday, and really frustrating the girl today, I have a super cute haircut! 

There is no way I will be able to get it to look this good tomorrow for work but I will enjoy it tonight while I can haha.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The running blues..

Runs this week - aka all I was able to do before my ITBS pain started - Tuesday1.6, Thursday 2, Friday 1.1, Saturday 1.25... LAME :(

After running a 5k at almost PR speed on Thanksgiving morning I REALLY thought this week was the week I was going to get back into running steady 5ks. Monday's run at the gym killed that and killed my mood for the day, that is for sure.

After Thursday's run I hoped that I could at least stick to 2 miles and work up from there... now I am not even so sure I can do that and it has me down down down :(

Guess all I can do is run as far as I can each day, stretch, and do those stupid strength training exercises at home that I hate... and hope for the best. We were supposed to start half marathon training in January after our Germany vacation but I know I won't be up to a steady 3-miler by then. Hopefully by Feb. 1st I can do 3 - 4 miles without any pain and start working up from there and start a 12-week half-marathon training schedule. If not, I will cry.. and whine... and you will hear all about it :-p

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Title Explanation and other ramblings

You may have noticed that we have a new blog title - "Die Fische haben keine Beine".
This translates into "fish have no legs".

I know a certain Canadian living in Alaska that may get a kick out of this title, as this is one of the German phrases I taught her and she uses it well haha. It has no deeper meaning, just a product of me being a master of the obvious in German class ;-)

Just thought it was time for a change and since I'm usually rambling about us Fischers going running, it seemed appropriate :)

Speaking of rambling... I have some more for you!

Last night Lukas and I decided to check out "map my run" after I came home cranky and frustrated and needing to get out and work off some energy. I HATE that it is dark by the time I get home from work on Mon/Fri and none of the parks by us have lights. Seriously people, do you think all joggers have no jobs and only use the park during the daylight? Ridiculous... especially when we are still having 50/60 degree weather at the end of November... we need light!

So after finding no where to run, we decided we need to make our own running path and this is where 'map my run' comes into play. It is a free site where you can do just like the title implies - map your run. It will tell you the distance and elevation change and even your average speed and calories burned if you put in all your personal and workout information - not bad! We found a 3.3 mile loop from our house, up the road at about a 200ft elevation change, and back. A little nervous about this path because Lukas had run it before and said it is difficult with the constant incline on the way up and downhill all the way down, but if the weather dries up tomorrow night we may just give it a try.

Today is a yucktastic rainy day tho, so I will be attempting a 5k inside at the gym. Wish me luck... I'm sure I'll add to this post afterward to complain or share my good run ;-)

Yep, definitely time to compain ... ahhhhhhhhhhhh! I made it 1.6 miles but the ITBS knee pain started and I forced myself to stop. I wanted to push through it and just keep going but I KNOW from experience that is just bad bad bad news.

I am so frustrated tho... I want to scream and cry and kick things :( I am going to go back down to just running 2 miles and see if I can get through that without pain... once I can do that I will work my way slowly up probably 1/2 a mile at a time if I can. Apparently jumping from 2 - 3.2 was a bad idea but man... it felt SO good last Thursday... I hate this rehab crap!!

*sigh* ... time to suck it up and get back to work... whine whine boo hoo...

Monday, November 28, 2011

5k time again, yay!!!

First of all - I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! Ours was good - good family time, good food, and good deals on Black Friday - can't complain! My dad and sister and her 3 kids came out to my mom's house for a few days and we went down 2 days to see them all. Stole some time with my dad on Saturday to take him out to lunch for his birthday and chat which was really nice. Always good to see everyone more than just once a year :)

Thanksgiving morning I went out and ran a 5k by our house while the hubby played football. I was so proud of myself that I was able to make it the whole way AND I ran it in 33:25 - only 10 seconds slower than my PR from October! YAY! I had a bit of knee pain for the last half mile but I couldn't stop at that point - fortunately stretching and rolling it out helped a lot and I felt fine for the rest of the day.

I did end up walking 3 or 4 times because I was running too fast at first and I also had some knee pain towards the end and needed a minute to let it calm down. Even with those few short walks tho I still had a great speed for me. Leads me to believe that I am getting faster inspite of the break I had to take for ITBS recovery and gives me hope that I can get to my goal of a 5k in 30 min early next year - we shall see!

Training plan is as follows: 5k 2-3 x's a week - 2 days on the treadmill and then saturdays outside - not pushing the tempo too much, just building my endurance and muscles back up from a month of walk/run/walk/run rehab. Once we get back from Germany in January we will start half marathon training so I need to be at a steady 5k pace by then. Soooo happy that my rehab plan is going well - just need to make sure I keep strength training on my legs.

3.5 weeks until we leave for vacation in Germany! Unfortunately our dog sitter needs surgery so we are on the lookout for a new one. A little stressful but we have a few leads so hopefully that will work out. Def. don't want to be worried about our big fuzzy monster while we are on the other side of the ocean :-/ Looking forward to a nice long vacation and it will be nice to see Luke's family and friends for the holidays. He is getting super excited whic makes me happy - it has been 2 year since he was able to go home so I'm definitely glad we were able to afford it this year.

Hope everyone's between holiday time is going well - remember to enjoy the season and time with family and friends!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kettlebells kicked our butts!

On Sunday we took dessert over to a new couple in our ward at church to get to know them a little better. She is super adorable and so nice so I decided we needed to be friends :) We had a great time chatting with them over cheesecake, yum!
At one point we were talking about hobbies and mentioned that we like to run and use the climbing wall. She chimed in that she really likes to exercise and as she is super tiny and fit I fully believe that!
Then yesterday I got an email from her inviting us to come to a Kettlebell class at the fitness center she attends. What is a kettlebell you ask? Well here is a picture for you:

So imagine alternating exercises with 1 and 2 of these, swinging them around, doing arm lifts, doing squats and lunges while passing them between your legs... yes, lots of craziness! Now throw in there jumping jacks, jackknives, flutter kicks, pushups and all other sorts of torture and that basically describes the 45 min class we took with her lol. Honestly it was a lot of fun and a great workout - inspite of the fact that I was one of the few people using a 5lb bell haha... Luke had 15lbs and our friend had 20lbs... so I'm a wuss, it is really ok with me :)

I am REALLY uncoordinated and Luke and I definitely ran into eachother a few times - awesome couple that we are haha.  If she isn't too embarassed by us hopefully we can go back again sometime, hehe. I really need an iphone to be able to document with pictures these silly things that we get ourselves into!

After that awesome class we decided we REALLY like classes and want to do more. That gym might be a little out of our price range but the YMCA by us is a little more reasonable and has lots of classes so we are going to go take a tour and try one out next week if it works out. They don't have a kettlebell class there, nor do they have our friend, which makes her gym much better... but I'll take what I can get.

Another awesome thing about this class and others like it is the cross-training opportunity that I've been wanting and really needing! My thighs are SO sore today but I can tell that all of the sore muscles are ones that I've been needing to strengthen for running - fantastic! If I could do classes like that for a couple months I really think our Spring half-marathon training would be a lot more successful. We'll see in the new year... maybe a gym membership can weasel its way into our budget :)

Until then, Luke is taking a rest day and I am off to decide if I want to attempt a jog or just go for the elliptical. I am on day 4 of gym days for the week and feeling good about getting a full 6 days in this week! 5 more full weeks to lose those last 5lbs I've been carrying around since Winter 2007... I can do it!! And my running rehab is going ok... I overdid it on Tuesday and had sore knees yesterday so I'll have to scale back if I do run today (or tomorrow which is more likely after that butt-kicking class yesterday haha).

Yay for progress, yay for new friends, and yay for butt-kicking classes! :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Germany here we come!!!

Some news that has nothing to do with jogging for once.... we are going to Germany for Christmas! Yay! We will stay there for about 11 days which will be a really nice break from work and nice for Luke to see his friends and family. Will be hard to stay with other people for so long but as it is over Christmas and New Years I'm sure the time will fly by since we will be so busy. We got non-stop tickets which is fantastic too... hate all of those layovers when we are flying overnight... makes it easier to sleep if you never have to get off the plane!

We have an awesome dog sitter that will come stay with Winston so I won't have to worry about him too much... even tho I probably will because that is what I do hehe. I will miss my big fuzzy dog but I'm looking forward to the vacation for sure!

15 days until Turkey Day - looking forward to seeing my dad and maybe my sister and her kids if they come too - let the insanity begin! :)

Rehab running, I'll take what I can get!

I was good all last week and did not run at all at the gym but in the nice sunny weather on Saturday I could not resist! Lukas and I went up to the reservoir and I ran 1.1 miles (1 lap) with him and then walked 2 more laps and then ran another .25 at the end. Probably that last part that ended up making my knees hurt later... silly me. I couldn't resist tho... I'm an addict and this withdrawl is bad stuff! haha

I forced myself to just do the bike on Monday and have been using the foam roller daily and stretching which seems to be helping. Soooo I decided I should start running this week :) I came up with a great plan for walk/jog/walk but then ignored it once I was at the gym haha.

I was able to jog 1.8 miles of my 5k and still did the whole walk/jog 5k in 36 minutes so I was pretty happy with that. Walked between 13-14 min/mile and ran at 10 min/mile. I think the alternating between walking and jogging is really going to help in my rehab, lets me run so I don't go insane, but keeps my IT band and knees from getting stressed out. Will try to tone it down a bit tomorrow and not go overboard like yesterday but *sigh* it is just so hard to walk sometimes when you just want to RUN :)

One thing I'm still neglecting is my strength training... that is going to be essential for staying injurgy free when I start jogging so I really need to get on that. I keep saying I will do it at home but it never happens... maybe tonight? Maybe tomorrow? haha

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

No race day for us :(

The sad truth is that we will not be racing this coming Saturday. My IT Band issues are worse and I couldn't even run 2 miles without it being a problem and making me limp on that side. Glad I gave up after 2 tho and just did the elliptical because it was sore and painful on Sat. and Sun. ... don't even want to think how much it would have hurt if I had tried to run more!

I cried a little at the gym when I told Luke I needed to stop and the compression band was not helping... fortunately it was our work gym and no one else was there on the weekend. He gave me a hug and I stopped being a baby ;-) I am just really frustrated and disappointed but o well... it happens to seasoned runners too so it is not like I did anything wrong or there is anything wrong with me. I will just have to stay off the treadmill for 2 weeks, stretch a lot, and hope to slowly build back up to a 5k by the end of the month with luck. I guess the elliptical and the stationary bike are going to be my new best friends for a few weeks.... LAME haha but better than nothing.

Luke decided not to do the race either - we will both train over the Winter and shoot for a faster and stronger half marathon in the Spring together.

All in all training was great and I made A LOT of improvement... here are a few highlights:

March - started at 15 min/mile - could barely run 1 mile
Now - My fastest 1 mile pace is 9:24, my fastest long run pace (8 miles) was 10:30/mile, my best outside 5k pace is 33 min, and my longest run was 9.5 miles total - not too shabby for 6 months of work!

I also lost 15 lbs and went down 2 jeans sizes which is always good... 5 more lbs to go until all of my "graduate school" weight is gone and I'm back down to around what I was 4 years ago when we got married. Very enjoyable side effects :)

So... I'll stop my whining, be grateful for what I've accomplished, be smart about resting and rehab and will start again in December at a slower pace and build up my strength and speed and kick that half-marathon's butt in the Spring! :)

Good luck to all my friends racing this weekend and in the upcoming 30 days - so excited for all of you and the progress you've made! You are going to rock your races!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Scary... last chance run test tonight - last chance run tomorrow!

I am freaking out on the inside, trying to not let it come to the outside since I'm not home yet and out of the public eye haha. I have not been able to run all week, not even half a mile, so lame! I biked 2 - 10ks and that has been it for me - lots of ice cream and snack cakes tho, but I digress.

So, once I get home tonight there should be a UPS package waiting for me with my compression band in it. I am going to test it out at the gym tonight and see if I can run a mile or so with it without sharp shooting pain. If it works, I will do my last training 10-11 mile run with it tomorrow, either in the rain/snow/yuck we are getting or we will come to work and use the good treadmills here and be in for a REALLY long boring indoor run haha.

Seriously, I would MUCH rather have a long boring indoor run than no run at all! No run at all or at least not a successful 10-11 mile run tomorrow means no race for me next Saturday. I am all upset about this and it has been all I could think about for the past week - seriously, FREAKING OUT!

I know it is not the end of the world or my new running career... but it is still super upsetting because we have worked so hard and made so much progress to be cut off a week before the race :-(

... just had to post even tho I don't have an update, just had to get this out of my head and share it with... I dunno... anyone? lol *sigh*

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last training week... not looking good :(

Maybe I picked a cursed race date or something because I REALLY think fate is working against me on this one :(

Our 8 mile run on Thursday was GREAT but there is no way I could have any longer at the park that day - my leg was already pretty sore by the time I was done. I was hoping Saturday would be just as good and I could run longer but it def. did not turn out that way.

I made it 2.6 miles and needed to walk for a bit - tried to get going again and just sent Luke on by himself. Just could not get into it and my leg was hurting and I felt like throwing up for the first few miles... not fun at all.

Luckily for me my friend Leslie came jogging by after I had walked about half a mile alone so I turend around and jogged with her. She is training for the same race that we are! We ended up doing 4.5 miles together which was awesome - way more than I thought I was going to do that day! The distraction of having someone new to talk to really helped me to keep going even when the pain started getting a bit worse. She finished her laps and went home and Luke and I started off on another lap so I could do 10 miles for the day - did not happen. I could barely make it .3 and my leg was screaming at me in pain... walked the .3 back to the car and just waited for him. SO LAME :(
In total I jogged 7 and walked 8 - a lot better than it seemed like I would do that day after the rough start but less than I needed to do 2 weeks before race day :(

After a hot shower and an ice pack, my leg was ok for the rest of the weekend, thank goodness, but I am REALLY disappointed about our training and the chances of me running the race are not so good at this point. It is just so hard to face that possibility after last Thursday's run - we were doing a faster pace than I ever run, made it 8 miles and it was great - I was so psyched up and positive. *sigh*

So... plan is I will take it easy this week and hope for the best on Saturday. Saturday is our last long running day before the race and the last day we will sign up for it.
I need to run 4 laps on saturday (10.4 miles) and still be able to walk just fine after that in order to sign up for the race. If I can barely walk after 8, which is what has been happening lately, there is no point in paying money to try and run 13.1 and just not being able to do it and pushing myself too much out of frustration and injuring myself further.

Incredibly disappointed but still hoping that maybe, just MAYBE there is a chance that a rest week will help. I will just do a 5k tomorrow and bike the other 3 days of the week at work and hope my leg feels like behaving on Saturday. If not ... well... at least I know I gave it my best try. Physically I can def. do the 13.1 - I am fit enough and have trained enough - it is only that knee pain caused by my IT band that is holding me back. Without the pain I would have run 4 laps at the park by now and would have been ready to go for race day.  *sigh* O well... you live and learn I guess. If we have to postpone until the Spring that is life... very sad and frustrating... but so is life :-p

Wish us luck... maybe it will help! ... 5 days until I sign up or declare defeat :(

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another PR!

Man someone must have put the crazy juice in my water this week because we set another PR on our longer run yesterday! Another 5k in 33:17 - and our full 8 mile run was 84 min of running, plus a 4 minute break at mile 5.2. Running was 10.5 min/mile the whole time - add in the break and we are still at 11 min/mile - AWESOME! If you want to know a secret, we also walked .2 of that because of my knee... so the running time was really fast for me to keep up that average!

If we could run that pace the whole race on the 5th then we could hit 2:30 for our race time - I would be SO happy. Only issue would be the hills... PA is VERY hilly, especially Lancaster County - which is why I won't beat myself up too much if we don't hit 2:30 - anything under 3 hours is fine with me because at this point I am just going to be happy to run the race!!

Speaking of which... right now it is looking like a 75% chance that we will be running in the race. Tomorrow we have 4 laps scheduled at the park - 10.4 miles. Not 100% sure I can hit that after yesterday's fast 8 mile run, espec. because I am having major problems walking this morning. So bad I messaged my boss this morning and asked her to bring in an icepack since she comes in a few hours later than I do and was still at home - it is that sore and stiff :( Next week I am only doing 3 - 5ks and then our long 10-11 mile run on Saturday and that is it - need more stretching and resting time for this poor leg of mine. If I can live through next Saturday and can still walk, we are def. signing up for the race.

Wish us luck! 2 weeks from tomorrow... ahhh it is getting SO CLOSE!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A new 5k PR!

Although our training plan called for a 6 miler yesterday, getting home only 20 min before sunset makes that a bit difficult. Luke had a headache and since running alone is boring, I decided just to do a 5k. To justify a shorter run, I decided to work on speed and guess what.... I set a new PR!! 33:15 - my best time before was 35. Felt SO good even tho I thought my lungs were going to burst on that last quarter mile. My goal by the end of the year is to get a 30 min 5k on the treadmill with a 1% incline - but for now I'm SUPER happy at shaving 1:45 off my current outdoor PR. Happy happy kid :)

My knee wasn't bothering me too much during the run, just a few pricks of pain here and there. Hoping that if I rest and roll and stretch today it will be ok for our longer run on Wed/Thurs (whichever ends up not being rainy - boo to weather interfering with training!)

19 days... just 19 more days to go :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

20 days and counting down!

Let's talk about Shot Bloks... do they have a physical or just a psychological effect?

In this package are 6 little gummy cubes that are supposed to give me energy while running more than 1 hour. I'm not sure if they really work, but even if they are just a placebo it seemed to help my run on Saturday! 9.5 miles and I wasn't dragging the last couple like usual. Now, this could be due to the fact that sharp shooting pain in my knee made me walk .5+ of a mile within the first 2.5 miles, as well as take 2 drink/shotblok breaks where I was able to sit down, rest my leg, and catch my breath... but considering the fact that it only took me 2 hours to get through 9.5 miles, I couldn't have been THAT slow. (Slow is a relative term... we are talking about 2 hours not being slow for someone who runs a 11-12 min mile on average :)).

The draw backs to these little gummies include the following:
1. Hard to chew while running - must stop to chew up 3 and drink enough fluid to get them down
2. You spend the next 5 min focusing on licking them out of the crevices in your teeth, which may slow down your race pace due to lack of concentration
3. The package is hard to get open - I had to chew it open
4. These little things are STICKY which is ok for the first 3 but the other 3 that you roll back up in the package and put in your pocket to eat in 45 min might be a bit of a mess

All in all they were tasty and I do think they may have helped sustain my energy level and keep me from hitting "the wall" - but not very practical.

Wednesday we will run 7 miles so I figure at mile 4 we will try a Gu this time around:

A small packet of less solid goo to slurp down with water while running - should have the same effect as a shot blok - just easier to carry, open, and no chewing involved. We'll see if I can gag it down or not ;-)

... as far as a training update let's just say that my IT band is causing me issues but I'm going to keep trying to work through that in these final 2 weeks of training. We have 20 days until Race Day and I have every intention or holding out hope until the last minute that I will be able to run. The 29th will be our 11 mile run and the last Saturday before the race - we will decide then if I can do the race or if Lukas will do it alone or not at all.

Run - roll - stretch - strengthen - rest - repeat will be my life for the next 20 days - wish us luck!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dear leg - you suck - love, Tiffany

Apparently I hurt myself a lot worse last Saturday than I knew. I was in pain on Sat. and Sun. and come Monday stairs of any type made me just want to cry. I think it may have been my IT Band that got stressed out last Sat. because the area on the outside of my left knee sounds very much like what all the IT Band injuries online describe.

So... TRYING to be a responsible adult, I put training on hold this week. Tuesday - Friday I've been doing a 5k-10k on the exercise bike and then 1-2 miles on the treadmill and that has been going well. My knee/leg was hurting so bad on Tues/Wed/Thurs, working out seemed to be the only thing that helped. Today it is feeling a lot better but I'll still go for the 5k stationary bike and 2 mile plan just in case.

Tomorrow we are scheduled for a 8-9 mile run since we did not go on Wednesday. I am super excited about it, but a little nervous. If I can't make it this week on my long run, I might not be able to do the race. After this week we only have 2 more weeks of training and both have a 10-11 mile run in them. I NEED this run to go well tomorrow... send positive energy my way please!!

On a good note however, my short runs have gotten a lot faster! Even on a 1 incline on the treadmill I ran my 2 miler on Wednesday in 20 min and my 1 miler on Thursday in 9:24 - so exciting! Today I am hoping for a 19 min 2 miler... we shall see. If I can keep it at 20 I'll be cool with that too. At least its some improvement, helps ward off the disappointment of putting training on hold for the whole week.

So there is my whine, yes I would like some cheese with it :) Wish us luck and hope you have a lovely weekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

3 more weeks... the countdown starts!

(No pictures... just lots of rambling about running... you've been warned! :))

Only 3 more weeks of training to go and then a "light running week" on race week - I'm getting so excited but so nervous too! We still haven't 100% decided if we can/will do the race or not. We are waiting until the 22nd to decide and will either sign up then or find another race in the Spring to train for.

Last week was a mix of good and bad days.
Monday was awesome - we ran 5 miles at 11:10 min/mile pace which is the best I've been able to do outside and the best I've been able to do for that distance.
Wednesday was AWFUL and slow and blegh but we still ran our 4.4. It was too hot, I was too cranky, and it was just a bad running day all around.
Thursday was better, our timing was great other than me feeling like I was going to throw up and needing to walk half a mile in the middle of our 6 miles and sit down for a few minutes. Not sure what was going on but we finished and still only averaged 12 min/mile including the walking time.

Saturday... the big mileage day ... turned into a bit of a fiasco. It was hot out again and super sunny so I wasn't doing so well with that. We still kept it around 11:15-11:30/mile and we were doing pretty well(other than me needing more drink breaks) but around mile 6 things started going bad. All in all I ended up with a cramp in my right thigh, a cramp in my left calf which then moved up to my knee which then settled at the side of my knee and calf for the remainder of our run and the whole weekend as well.
My pinkie toe also turned into a full blister, seriously like 50% of my toe was and still is a blister... so that was not too fun either. I was limping and upset and not a happy kid at all for the last 1-2 miles. I told Luke to go on ahead and I finished my 8 in the end with some walking/jogging /stretching alternation and he finished 9.

Saturday's issues really worry me because with only 3 weeks left I can't be getting cramps and leg pains and huge blisters or I won't be able to do the race :(  And after a painful weekend for my legs I'm still feeling sore and my knees are screaming at me when I'm going up and down stairs. I'm a little nervous about our 6 mile run today and especially nervous about our 9 mile run on Wednesday. I guess all I can do is get out there and give it a try tonight and see how it goes. :-/

Wish us luck! :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cold weather speed boost!

Thanks to browsing the internet and tips from someone which whom I went to HS, I've started doing leg exercises for my quads to help out those painful knees of mine. The dog was very confused and wanted to attack me as I lay on the floor kicking my legs around and the hubs was rather amused at my patheticness... but I got through the suggested reps and most of the exercises on my list last night.
I'm going to try to do these exercises 4-5 times a week and hopefully will see some improvement and not just soreness - like this morning :)

Saturday before General Conference we went to our favorite long loop at the park and ran 8 miles. I will admit that I was pathetically slow and we averaged about a 13 min mile for the whole thing, but at least we did it and at least it was a steady pace! That included stopping for a quick potty and drink break, but I still can't blame the slowness on that.. *sigh* o well. Slow and steady might not win the race, but it will help me finish the race injury free!

Fortunately it was a bit colder last night when we went running after work and somehow that gave me extra energy because I pushed my pace the whole way and we averaged 11:10 / mile for the whole 5 miles. That is probably the fastest I've run outside this year - felt GREAT! Hopefully I can get close to that tomorrow on our 6 mile run and get my 8.5 mile run on Saturday down to 12/mile instead of 13. Wish us luck!

Due to the colder weather setting in I was finally able to wear my awesome purple tights! O boy... do I love them! They are so comfy and there is no riding up, rubbing, etc. and they keep me warm enough to be comfortable but not over heated. If race day is in the 50s I'm going to have a GREAT race!

I've noticed a rather odd thing while running with Lukas tho - I'm always cold at home, and he is always warm - but while running, I get over heated quickly and need to wear just a tshirt, while he is cooler and needs a fleece jacket - strange right? I figure its probably because running at my slow speed is more taxing on my body than on his, since he runs around 8-9 min/mile, so maybe that is why he is cooler. Who knows... but that is why someone invented the idea of layering... so you can strip while running as needed haha.

Other than a head cold that set in on Sunday, we had a lovely and relaxing weekend. General Conference  was fantastic and there were some really great talks that I personally needed to hear. I am looking forward to the Ensign (church magazine) coming out with all of the talks in it so that Lukas and I can reread them together and discuss them more indepth. Looking forward to Stake Conference this weekend... mostly because that means no Sunday School or Relief Society, haha, but in general its always a good experience as well. Some how General Conference is more motivating for me to set goals and try to make positive changes than New Years - I guess because its based on inspiration and not just the "end of the year - must make a change!" fever that everyone gets. I definitely will be writing down some personal and spiritual goals and try to improve between now and the next conference in April.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Definitely not the bee's knees!

**Update** - saving you from reading my whining below lol:

I called the doctor today and got an appointment 1 hour later - sweet! I just needed to make sure, for my own peace of mind, that nothing was injured with my knees and that I am ok to keep training. I also needed to talk about my new and ongoing knee pain (2 different areas) and find a solution.

Before I went I did some research and it seemed like my under the knee pain is just runner's knee, need to strengthen my thighs (quads). The inside on the side of my knee pain is just due to stretching.

... paid $30, doctor checked out my knees, bent my legs, moved them around all weird (awkward in a skirt, yikes!) ... and agreed with the above. He prescribed me 12 visits to P/T. I called when I got back to work and found out that it is a $50 copay per visit for P/T. Nope, I will not be going even once - thanks tho doc! :-p

Honestly, I'm glad I went and eased my mind about my knees. I don't have crappy knees... just weak thighs. Apparently sexy muscular thighs are useful, not just good looking... I need both of those benefits so time to start on the thighmaster! Haha just kidding... I found some good exercises online for both stretching and strengthening my quads so hopefully by the time we run the race ( 5 more weeks of training, ahhh!) my knee pain will be gone gone gone gone GONE.

AND knowing I don't have bad knees gets me more excited for a long running career and who knows... maybe one day even a full marathon! No worries... that's even further off than my "one day I will get pregnant" and we all know how far THAT is...(if you don't, its VERY far off in the future, so far I can't even imagine it lol.)

Anyway... peace of mind was worth $30 and now I just need to do daily exercises to work on those muscles and maybe I too can have the bee's knees type of knees ;-)

... speaking of which, do bees even have knees?

***End of update ***
Is it weird to be jealous of someone's knees? Haha. Luke is doing great during training and doesn't mind going slow with me which is a huge help. We are both adding on the mileage together and feeling good about our goal. Unfortunately for me, my knees are just not the bee's knees... meaning they suck... majorly lol - and I am super jealous of Luke's pain free knees :(

Usually I get the "under the knee cap" type of pain but starting last Friday I have developed this weird "on the inside side" of my knee pain. After doing a 5k on the treadmill both of my knees hurt in the same spot, as if I had been banging them together while running - which I assure you I was not haha. Then we went to a movie on Friday night (The Help - so good! :)) and I felt like an 80 year old woman trying to stand up afterward... pain, so much pain.

No clue what I've done or am doing to cause this pain... just wish it would go away. Its ok that I'm wheeze-mc-fatkid and need to run slow and build mileage slowly, but this knee pain is really putting a damper on my half marathon training and I don't like it one bit.

Our 6 mile run on Saturday turned into a 3 mile run - partially due to lack of time but also because I could not handle the extra distance. This week our mileage should be 5/6/4/8 -... do you see that big fat 8 for Saturday? How can I do that if I can't walk after the other 3 days of training without pain? *Giant Sigh*

Whine whine whine whine.... and now that that is over... what do I do?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Purple People Eater!

I think my love of running may stem 50% from my love of work-out clothes haha. Maybe I just run so I have an excuse to buy cute things... hrm... o well, at least its a healthy habit ;-)

Our 1/2 Marathon is scheduled for November 5th, which I'm thinking is not going to be track shorts weather. I LOVE my new shorts for training and will wear them until it drops below 60 but I figured I may want something a little warmer for the race.

I found these lovelies on and knew they needed to be mine:

Nike low-rise running capri - so comfortable and super cute! I love that they come below my knee and are snug, have a zipper on the back waist band for my house/car key, and sit right on my hips and do not ride up at all. Fantastic all around!
Nike had them on sale for 30$ but they did not have my size. I found a coupon and went to buy them at Dick's Sporting Goods on my lunchbreak yesterday and found out they were on sale for 30$ there too - jackpot! I ended up getting a matching purple sports bra and the pants for the original price of the pants, what a deal! Super happy kid... now I wish it was cold enough to wear them!! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Get out of your head and on the road!

#1 most valuable fact I've learned this week about running - it's hard!... and your head makes it harder than your body!
Its fun (most of the time), its rewarding, sometimes its easier than others, but in general it's hard... and it should be!

Some days are more difficult than others tho... and yesterday was definitely one of those days.

Issues that caused a bad run:
1. Weather - only in the low 70s but overcast, humid and sticky
2. Knees were sore from Monday's 4 mile run
3. - and the most problematic - Bad day at work, no motivation to run, and I just could NOT get out of my head!

1.2 miles into our 5.2 mile run I gave up and walked. Luke did not abandon me, just kept going and circled back for me... so after .1 of walking I started in again. Jogging... walking... jogging... walking. Finally Luke just stopped and walked with me the last .4 of our 2.6 mile lap. I grabbed a quick drink at the car and started up again - the next 2.6 mile lap was way better - hard physically but easier mentally and I finished it. I ran 4.6 miles of our total run and only walked .6 so that isn't so bad for such an awful start. Sometimes you just have to give yourself that angry walking time, get over it, and keep going.

Things that made my run better:
1. Walking a short distance and then going again
2. Walking the last short stretch of the lap and starting fresh on the next lap
3. - and the most helpful - a supportive husband who does not push me or get upset with me, just sets a good  example and circles back for me once I've had time to cool down/calm down.

Thanks sweetie - you are the best running partner I could ever hope for :)

So, note to self: Not every day will be your best running day, not every day will make you happy and feeling awesome, but if you calm down and keep on going, you'll feel a lot better in the end instead of giving up and being frustrated.

2 more training days this week - 5k at work on the treadmill on Friday and a 6 mile run on Saturday.
I can do this, I will do this, and it will get better.

After this week we only have 5 more training weeks and then a slower rest week before the race... yikes!

Alaska Day 7 - Farewell dear friend!

Day 7 - our final day in Alaska and with MC - sadness!!

MC was able to take Friday off too so we went exploring. I could finally walk just fine so we decided to do some more hiking.

First however, we headed to the Alaskan Pipeline - can't miss a chance to see that!

Trying to figure out which way to go?

I guess Germans can't read signs - get off that pipe Lukas! :)
It was interesting to see and crazy to think of how far this pipeline stretches! Apparently there is some controversy about wanting to route the pipeline through Canada - hence the "Canada my ass, its alaska's gas" sign in some very well-educated person's yard ;-)

Next we headed toward Chena Hot Springs and stopped off at Angel Rock for some hiking:

Hrm... could this be a dead end? :)
No pictures of the hot springs - we were too busy enjoying their mineral bath-water like goodness. It clouded up and started raining while we were hiking so it was perfect weather to enjoy the naturally heated baths. We stayed in for over an hour, chilling on some chairs and relaxing after a long and adventurous week in Alaska. A great way to end our stay for sure!

Thanks so much to MC for hosting us and showing us around - you rock! So glad we got to spend time together... muahhhhh for having good friends so far away :(

Dear Alaska - you were awesome, we will be back one day - love, The Fischers

... and now its back to deary every day work life... *le sigh*

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Alaska Day 6

MC had lots of research and a conference to prepare for so Luke and I chilled most of the morning/afternoon on Thursday, which was really nice! Remember, we are on VACATION! So that meant sleeping in, eating breakfast, watching a movie, then taking a nap hehe. In the afternoon we went to campus and walked around, checked out the university bookstore and then picked MC up from the lab.

For a fun little trip we went up to Murphy Dome and picked cranberries on the tundra. Awesome, I know :) Another picture string for you if you aren't sick of them already:

Murphy Dome

The lovely view from the tundra

Cranberry Picking

More cranberry picking

My feet sinking into the trampoline like moss - very fun to bounce on, I tried it ;-)
After a lovely little hike we went back and chilled at MC's. A lovely relaxing day if I do say so myself, just the type of day one MUST have while on vacation!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Alaska Day 5

Back safely from Denali on Tuesday night, we went out to dinner in a lovely restaurant that looked like someone's house - pretty cool! I had the yummiest pesto pasta EVER and the desserts were pretty awesome too. A nice reweard after braving the wild and eating nutella sandwiches all night/day :)

We were ready for a bit of relaxing on Wednesday. I had a nice big blister on the side of my heel and my toes were super sore from my new hiking boots. The boots which are getting sent back tonight I would like to add - grumble grumble grumble. Somehow I also hurt both of my calves and had issues walking - needless to say a relaxing day was definitely in order.

We decided to do a bit of driving around with MC since she was able to take some time away from her research - dear girl! Here are a few of the awesome things we saw and places we visited:

We went for a little hike to start - lovely field and path in the woods

Finally found out why MCs car needs to be plugged in - apparently -40 is cold ;-)

Visiting North Pole, Alaska!

Luke chillin' in Santa's sleigh

I think this one was Prancer, he was not up for autographs tho

Those invisible reindeer are fast!

MC and I .. awww :)

Hanging out with Santa and his squirrel friends

Met my first polar bear, and got mauled!

FINALLY saw a moose - our only one while in Alaska

The hats say it all... hope Santa doesn't mind us borrowing his chair

O yes - these crossings really do exist
I refuse to take a picture of the moose crossing sign since the stuffed one in North Pole was the only one I saw the whole time we were there. We saw some antlers sticking out of the tall grass in Denali but that doesn't count really... ok it kind of does, I'll take what I can get haha. However, I hear that moose hang out in people's back yards, by the school, see them all the time around town ... nope, don't believe it, no moose in Alaska so not point for moose crossing sign pictures :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Alaska Trip Day 4 - Denali Day 2

Welcome back to the Alaska picture sure, courtesy of the Fischers ;-)

Day 4 in Alaska - Day 2 in Denali National Park

The main season for the park ended the day we arrived and a new bus schedule for the final 1.5 weeks was posted Monday night. Unfortunately that final week+ schedule is a lot lighter than the normal schedule so our options for leaving the campsite were 8am or 1.45pm. Since its a 5 hour bus ride back to the entrance of the park and another 2 hour drive back to MC's place in Fairbanks, 8am was really our only option.

Bright and early at 6.30am we drug ourselves out of our tent to be greeted by this beautiful sight:

That's right - even tho only 30% of people get to see the mountain we got to see it both days! Love this sunrise photo - seriously majestic.

And then we got back on the bus... and here is another picture string of lovely things we saw:

6:30am - tired but excited to see Denali

Mt McKinley (Denali) at Wonder Lake

Caribou - Reindeer's wild cousin

Enjoying the wide open spaces

Apparently staking my claim on this valley :)

A little patriotism in the park

Awesome camper bus that got us in and out of the park safely!

Bear #3 - eating a pile of something dead

Pack of 11 wolves that chased bear #3 off and stole its food!!

Grizzly bear butt - #4

Side shot of silly grizzly #4 - sleeping right at the side of the road

Grizzly Bear #5

Grizzly #6 - collecting cranberries

Fall at Denali National Park

And that my friends is the end of our time in Denali - such an awesome park and a wonderful experience! We feel a little less like tourists and a little more like natives... ok not really, but still, we are awesome for surviving a night of camping and hiking in Alaska haha.

Stay tuned for more Fairbanks adventures coming up!