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Posts from the ‘Treadmill’ Category

Training for a half marathon, on a treadmill

I'm running a half marathon in three days, but you wouldn't know it by the number of times my Garmin has tracked runs lately.

Because that number would be zero.

But my miles logged are as impressive as I could hope for with a very active nearly 10-month old running my life lately. I could wake up very, very early to run. I could. But I've never been a morning runner.

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After the long weekend

Lots of new things, lots of changes and lots of moving forward hit today after the long weekend. These things happened in both my little running world and the running world abroad.

Here’s a couple updates/changes I noticed that took effect after the long weekend:



I woke up this morning to a Facebook status update on my phone that I didn’t recognize as something I had previously “liked.” I looked at the profile and realized that iFtiness had changed it’s company name to Fitletic.

The website addresses the name change specifically:

“We believe that the name change better captures the company’s mission of providing premium ergonomically designed endurance accessories that allow fitness athletes to unleash their performance potential.”

I love, love, love my iFitness band. My first concern was that the company was no longer going to making these awesome products. I was especially worried because mine seems to be nearing replacement age. I was relieved when I saw that the bands were all still available on the website, just with a different name written in silver letters.


My treadmill was starting to have an awful smell to it if my runs were getting a little long. On Saturday night, when I failed to run the color-run type 5K, I ran eight miles in the evening instead.

It wasn’t even warm but I started to smell something a little burnt.

I know my treadmill needs a new drive belt. I’m going to replace it once I get paid for my freelance work from the month of June. I’m actually hoping my husband can replace it for me. The “treadmill guy” from a couple years ago said he would only change $75 to come and service it if I already knew what was wrong with it.

But I also know my husband, the engineer, can probably tackle it as well.

That can wait, lubing it up couldn’t. I grabbed the kit I purchased awhile back from I’m nearly out of the lube that came with it, but I poured it on and spent a good amount of time trying to work the “wand” in between the deck and the tread belt. It seems to work a little better now, but definitely still in need of a drive belt replacement.


Runner’s World is reporting that marathoner Ryan Hall is now self-coached again, dropping an Italian coach he’s only been with for less than half at year.

The article says he’ll go back to “faith-based coaching.”

Every time I think I’m doing well in running, I remind myself that with coaching I could probably be so much better. Then I realize that even the best athletes don’t work well with coaches all the time. Would coaching work for me? I don’t know.

More power to Hall for striking it out on his own again.


A month ago, I saw the StrideBox booth at an expo. I was tempted then, but I didn’t sign up because I wanted to know more about the service before committing.

In the past 24 hours, I’ve seen numerous tweets about how excited people are after receiving their July StrideBox. I looked at some of the images. This month’s box includes a water bottle, energy bars and hydration tablets. The water bottle alone would be worth the $15 in many cases.

I looked at some previous tweets and realized that other packages included some sort of “gear” item too. I was sold. Look at what the StrideBox has to offer:


The animated gif is from where runner’s came sign up for the $15 a month membership.

The boxes promise “stuff runners want.” After I signed up Ashley over at Rather Be Runnin’ also highly recommended it just a little bit ago on Twitter.

Since I signed up today, I won’t actually get my first StrideBox until August, according to the tweets responding to customers today. But I’m looking forward to it. And will definitely review it on the blog once I receive it.


In 2006 and 2007, I did out-of-state newspaper internships in Colorado and Texas. I actually looked to leave the state both summers because, as a California resident, I got in-state tuition at University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. I figured that instead of competing against the other students who needed to be in the state to get in-state tuition that second year, I’d just expand my horizons.

Both years, when people asked me if I’d considered leaving California. I was so tempted in Texas. I loved the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area. I probably had the best summer of my life in Dallas.

But I love California and it’s not just because I was born and raised here. California has a vast variety of climates and cities that make every part of it diverse.

So it’s not surprising that Runner’s World reported today that California has the most marathons with 61.

To think, I’ve only run four of those: California International Marathon (twice), Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, San Luis Obispo Marathon and the San Francisco Marathon. I think I have a lot of groundwork to cover in this state before I start a 50-state quest.

A no-run holiday


I woke up too late to get in a decent run (over four miles) today, so I just kind of said no to any distance. Instead, I decided that I’d burn off enough calories helping out with a baking/pie contest and walking around in the heat. It’s only 5:23 p.m. and I’m already exhausted…but we’re having friends over for dinner and fireworks.

I don’t think I’ve ever voluntarily gone for a run on July 4. It’s one of those holidays I tend to skip when it comes to putting on the running shoes and heading out the door.

For one, it’s really, really hot where I live (see photo). It’s also just not one of my “overindulgent” holidays. Not typically, at least. Today, I made a cake and a Smore treat from Pinterest, though. That may change.

I usually got a six to eight mile run for Thanksgiving. For longer holiday weekends, I try to fit my long run in on the actual holiday (which usually gives me my weekend, always nice). I don’t really consider holidays rest days.

Except for July 4.

Maybe it’s because it’s been mid-way through the week over the past couple years. Maybe it’s because I overbook myself.

Either way, there’s no run today. I have 11 miles down for the month already, so I’m fine with that.

Happy Independence Day!

It’s too hot to run outside

I am a treadmill evangelist. I love my treadmill. I don’t care what anyone says about it being boring or monotonous. There have been many times when my treadmill is my only saving running grace.

Today was one of those days. And it’s not because I waited to long to run and didn’t want to venture into the night. Nope.

It’s because my air conditioner kicked on in my house immediately after I woke up.

That means my house was already 85-degrees. At 8 a.m.

I tried to put myself together quick to GET OUT THE DOOR AND RUN BEFORE IT GOT HOTTER. About a half mile from my house, still within my neighborhood, but almost out to my six-mile loop trail, I pulled out the metaphorical white flag.

I surrendered to the heat.

And I went home, into my air conditioned formal living room, grabbed a box fan from my bedroom and turned the small one I keep near my treadmill on and finished my run.

Then I confessed to it on Twitter.


I’m not sorry. I’ve spent the past two 100+ temperature days hydrating my little butt off and yet my calves cramped up like there was no tomorrow as I ran through my neighborhood. Coming off a massive misuse and mistreatment of my left hip and I wasn’t willing to do anymore damage.

I hopped on the treadmill and ran through nearly two episodes of “Clean House” on Netflix (I love the way Niecy Nash looks at the clutterbugs and says “Take me to your foolishness!”).

Two hours later, I snapped a picture of my yet-to-be-disassembled partial setup.


Both of those fans were on. And the sun was the opposite direct this morning so the treadmill didn’t get that much heat.

There are multiple heat warnings going out today from municipalities, including my small 80,000-person city of Tracy. Officials took to Twitter today to encourage people to go, of all places, the cool mall. Or the local transit center on the other side of town.

If local officials are encouraging people to seek shelter from the heat, I’m keeping my two-fan, Netflix setup for my shorter run tomorrow. At least inside I don’t have to worry about reapplying sunscreen.

Especially considering this is just the beginning of the heat streak.

Yes. I’m totally good with my treadmill right now.

Working, but not working out


You know when you go on a work trip and take your running clothes because you are convinced you are going to run? And then your scheduled becomes so packed that you can’t?

I’ve been in Sacramento since Thursday afternoon for a community college journalism conference. I have six students with me. We leave late tonight, after a fancy dinner where I’ll be wearing a dress and heels.

My students have been scheduled with back to back breakout sessions.  I’ve been running around trying to keep track of money, hotel reservations and making sure everyone gets fed.

And now we’ve checked out of our hotel rooms and deactivated our room keys, right when I could have had a chance to check out the hotel treadmill. I don’t know the area well enough to not get lost on a run.

It’s a good thing I ran a marathon last weekend. I’m just going to call this “recovery” time.

This is going to be harder than I thought

I’ve run all of six miles since I got cleared to officially run. Six miles. And the first two were slow-as-molasses miles. I’m talking 12-minute mile zone. That’s usually my warm-up pace for the first half mile.

Yesterday, it was a nice comfort zone that took me two miles to break out of.

Let me explain.

Today, I was supposed to pumping out a record-fast 10K at the 2013 version of this race:


Instead, I’m trying to find my balance again running, literally.

A week ago, after looking at my half marathon plans for Feb. 17 I realized most of my workouts were going to be treadmill activities. Not because I’m so in love with my treadmill I don’t want to leave the house. It’s because I’m still having some balance issues from the gallbladder removal surgery.

My surgeon said the issues will go away within a month. And while I could just say “oh well, no running for a month,” I can’t do that if I am really adamant about running Rock ‘n’ Roll Pasadena.

To be fair, anyone can walk/run a half without a ton of training. I want to do better than I did last year.

Basically if I get deep into a run, I start to feel as if my head is spinning. Then I wobble a little bit. Then my balance goes right out the window. It sounds really dangerous, yes. You’re thinking: “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU RUNNING?”

I sound naive, but it’s not as bad now as it was on Monday when I ran four miles. I’m hoping if I hit the treadmill today it would be as bad as it was yesterday. It will wear off, I was assured. So when I hopped on the treadmill for my six-mile run yesterday, I spent 24 minutes over two miles making sure I didn’t lose my balance.

I also ran later in the day.

Being without the dread of my full-time job means I can be creative again (not even kidding). It also means I can take on freelance assignments. I’m lucky enough to have a friend I greatly admire, who is sending some awesome coding/web building assignments my way. So I woke up at 7 a.m. Friday, put on my running clothes and then proceeding to alter alter CSS for five hours before deciding it was time to run. (My husband probably shouldn’t know that.) The good news is, the website I’m working on is starting to look like the mocks up. And I ran with only one short dizzy spell.

I WANT to be ready for Pasadena. I WANT to do better than last year. But right now I’m having some serious doubts in my capabilities to run a half. That gives me serious doubts in running the April 7 marathon too. (I hate even writing that because I’ve already paid for it, we already know we are going and I know I WANT to do that race too.)

Maybe this is still the post-operative fog talking. After a similar surgery in 2010, I only took a week off work. I ended up taking nearly six weeks off running. I don’t want to do that again. That was also a planned surgery. The gallbladder removal was an emergency. I can’t imagine what I’d be feeling, the back and forth thoughts and all, if it had happened closer to the Oakland Half Marathon, closer to the San Luis Obispo Marathon. I’d be devastated.

Right now? I’m mildly disappointed. I don’t think I’ve ever written a letter as sad for me as the one I did to the Brazen race director two weeks ago. I really just wanted to be there today. And not sitting at home wondering what might have been if my gallbladder had decided not to, for lack of better visual, explode on me.

About that heat

It’s been a tad warm lately. And by warm I mean, “it’s not hot enough to not run outside from time to time but let’s be real and stay on the treadmill.”

I know my limitations. The hooter temperatures make me not want to run. I get cranky. I want to quit. I basically start out hoping for seven to 10 miles and then stop at four.

On the treadmill, I know I get the distance. And, lately, I’ve been upping the resistance to simulate outdoor running.

The problem with treadmill running is the monotony. I’ve let my mind wander enough times and nearly fell off the deck to figure out some time back that I needed to do something to keep my mind occupied.

I started with music on my iPod.

Then, last summer, I got an iPad for teaching. And we got Netflix. And Hulu Plus.

And now, I spend most of my treadmill runs watching videos. Usually two, which gets me anywhere from eight to 10 miles.

My latest obsession as the mercury rises is The Walking Dead. Netflix has the first season available on instant streaming. I got through the first six episodes pretty quickly during my runs this past week. Having something I’m interested in to watch even helps with mileage, which stands at 33 miles this week, though I’m hoping to hop on for some more after I’m finished cleaning my house and blogging.

Plus, I’m waiting for season two to download onto my iPad.

Believe me, the distraction makes the runs go by faster. It also helps me keep pace. I know I’m at my goal pace if I can finish a certain number of miles before the episode is over.

Of course, the treamill makes Netflix a little wonky from time to time. That means the first four minutes of my run I’m trying to get Netflix to reconnect to the Internet, despite the fact that I’m only 40 feet from the router.

The mill runs are also helping me train for the event I’m doing this weekend: the Brazen six-hour endurance run.

I logged 117 miles for June, which I figure is a good base to run six-hours straight. I’m looking forward to it, to test my endurance, but to also see how far I can get. If I can run a marathon in around 5:20-5:30, I’m hoping the event will be my first ultra. That’s pretty exciting to me, considering I’m using it as a “training run” for the San Francisco 1st Half Marathon later in the month. (I’m not nearly crazy enough for the 12-hour race.)

So I’m beating the heat, staying indoors and keeping cool on the treadmill, with a little help from The Walking Dead.

My hope is that those three words aren’t needed to describe me during my six-hour run on Saturday. After the disaster in San Diego, I need a good run.

National Running Day 2012

Happy National Running Day!

I’m still recovering from the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon, but I wanted to partake in the experience so I ran two miles on the treadmill. Only two because my ankles are still ridiculously swollen. I’m sitting in bed icing the ankles right now because they are all puffy. That’s part of the reason I’m still wearing my compression sleeves three days after the fact.

But the run went well enough.

And I got nice a sweaty.

I’m still planning on writing my race report from the marathon-turned disaster. I’m just trying to let it all sink in and be a  little more OK with the whole “gone wrong” part of it.

Back to (somewhat) normal

I have to admit, after the California International Marathon I wondered if I’d ever have the desire to run again. I spent a lot of time on my couch, in the pool and getting steady on my bicycle.

And I ate. A lot. Lots of Chinese food. Specifically sweet and sour chicken. So good.

Immediately after the marathon, my treadmill decided to fail. I had to wait a week to get it fixed. Then I hopped back on and didn’t want to run.

My first run outside in a nearly two-week period was a four-miler with Thomas following on my bike.

I like to keep my “typical” runs between six and eight miles. My long runs while training for a half marathon are 10. I worked up to the long 20-miler when training for the marathon. My goal, typically, is to run about 25-miles a week. But I struggled through the month of December.

I didn’t want to run. I didn’t make it to 1,000 miles for the entire year. I contemplated why I even bothered booking more races into 2012.

This week I’ve seem to have found my mojo again. So far, 24 miles. I’m planning a trail run tomorrow with Jennie. Even if that doesn’t happen, I’ll probably at least get in six on the treadmill, maybe eight. Either way, I found my stride, in the bigger picture again.

And I’ve developed my training plan for the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on June 3. I’ve even factored in some longer races to keep me motivated.

My first official race of the year with be the Brazen Racing Coyote Hills 10K on Jan. 29.

I signed up for the race via snail mail because I had a Brazen credit because of an injury in August where I couldn’t run the company’s Summer Breeze race. So I signed up for this race (and even got a tech shirt upgrade!) for $26. I loved this race last year, despite the fact that it’s the only race so far where I’ve thrown up at the end. Sorry, probably TMI. I ran myself silly with that one. It was a solid race. I had a good time in general.

It was a nice, intimate setting too. So I’m stoked for it.

The rest of my race schedule so far:

Feb. 18: Rock ‘n’ Roll Pasadena Inaugural Half Marathon

March 25: Oakland Half Marathon (This holds a special place in my heart because it was my first. It will be my ninth overall.)

April 29: Big Sur 21-miler (I loved the half so much, I’m trying this one. Plus it’s a great addition for marathon training.)

May 12: Mermaid Series East Bay Sirena 18

June 3: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon

July 29: San Francisco Marathon First Half Marathon (To complete the Half it All Challenge.)

And then…who knows. Last year I hit an injury in August from upping my mileage too much that basically took me out of racing for August and September. I didn’t race again until my half marathon PR at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon.

I’m glad to be back to a somewhat normal running routine. I’m glad to have some of my race schedule figured out so far. I’m still hoping to knock off some pounds with increased training. And I still want to increase my speed. I have so many goals for 2012.

We’ll see what happens.

Like the first time

On Wednesday, the treadmill repair guy came. I expressed some hesitations about my dealings with the warranty company before.

How can you diagnosis a problem without, first, seeing the treadmill?

What if the fix isn’t as simple as you think?

Turns out, at least in this case, my fears were unwarranted. The repairman was highly knowledgeable, cordial and funny. He didn’t take too long. And the best part? He got my machine back up and running.

The culprit behind the nasty belt slip wasn’t the “walking belt” as they call it. (Serious? It’s a “running belt” in my house. I NEVER walk on my treadmill. Ever. The idea is ridiculous.)

The problem was the drive belt and tension coil holding on to it. Turns out I actually did run my treadmill into the ground, via a very worn, but not mangled, drive belt. The repair company also sent lubricant for the deck. Apparently I needed that too.

The fix was quick, but I didn’t get to take my treadmill on a “maiden voyage” per se until my Friday off from work. I’ve been really busy with the holidays. To be fair, I wasn’t even sure I could make six miles.

I’d only run two and four since the marathon (recovery took more time for me than most people). Nonetheless, I hopped on Friday morning. And set the speed for a slow 12-minute pace. That’s my most common beginning setting since my shin splints earlier this year.

And I ran. And ran. Six miles later I’d reached my goal for the day.

Today I hopped on for an eight mile run.

Oh treadmill, I missed you so. I stared at my frozen duck pool outside and said: “This is why people buy treadmills. So they don’t have to run in that.”

I should mention the ride is smoother than I remember too. I had no pain. The belt was running good. It was like a new treadmill. Like the first time all over again.

I’ve run a total of 18 miles this week so far. I’m considering a four or six mile run for Christmas morning on the treadmill. Why? I’m considering it a Christmas miracle that I WANT to run again. I WANT to run far. No “I’ll do three.” I want a 10-mile run sometime soon.

Two weeks ago I was wondering if I’d ever run again. That thought did cross my mind.

Now I do. I even signed up for one last 10K for 2011. More on that later.

Fixed treadmill and 18 miles so far this week. A minor Christmas miracle for this runner and her tired legs.