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Posts tagged ‘treadmill’

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.

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.

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.

A one-day weekend

I once heard that one in every four women sweat more profusely than the others. I’ve always been one of “those” women. I sweat pretty easily. I’ll start shooting video on a relatively nice day and within 20 minutes beads of sweat will be rolling down my back. This is probably too much information, but it’s true.

In nearly every race photo, I look like a sweat factory.

The photo above is my shirt from today’s run. (No, I didn’t run the marathon last year, only the half, but nearly ALL the apparel for the Nike event is “marathon” related. I only ran five miles too.

Today is Sunday. It’s also my one-day weekend.

Yesterday I had dreams of relaxing and even going wine tasting with my husband. He mentioned it last week. Last night he sent me a text saying his family was having lunch for his nephew today. I didn’t go.

I can count pretty high up on the things I haven’t gone to lately. Ask my parents. Ask my grandmothers. They haven’t seen me in what has been months. Why? I’m tired. And I stay home when I get the chance because every single day Monday through Friday I’m working nearly 12 hours between my two jobs.

What’s that you say? I did this to myself. Yes. And I should be thankful to even have one job let alone two? I am, believe me I am. My second job helps pay for races. And let’s face it, that’s really important to me. Seriously.

But I flat out refuse to do ANYTHING on my days off sometimes. I mean, outside of doing the laundry because if I didn’t no one would. (One time, I’ll tell you about when I went out of two for nearly a week, came home on a Sunday and my husband didn’t have any clothes because he didn’t do his own laundry. It happened.) I’ll be fair, he did vacuum yesterday.

I worked on Saturday launching an annual project at work. I’ll end up switching my day off for Tuesday, which I would have taken as a vacation day otherwise to teacher. So on weeks like this, I do a day switch that results in me having one day off in a 13 day period, because on my day off from my full-time job, I’m at my part-time job all day.

Understand? Yeah, my husband gets lost with my schedule too.

I ran eight on Saturday before work. Today I got up, showered and went to Target early. Because Target early is better, when no one is there. Also because something amazing happened at Target today.

The Shops at Target debuted. It’s like a mini boutique collection. Items from five different shops were put out today. I love it when Target gets fancy.

I score a great navy eyelet skirt for $29.99 from The Webster collection. (No photo because it’s in the washing machine since it’s a very shrinkable 100-percent cotton).

And candy.

The tragedy is that the candy assorted is available in San Francisco, only about 60 miles from me. Not even a long drive considering I lived in Oakland, right across the bay, for two years.

Then I started watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Both movies. One right after another.

I realized a couple hours ago it was time to get my run in. Usually if I wake up, take my shower and start my day, I forget the run. It’s a success when I come back to it and do it.

It was also the perfect time to test out two new items to make my left IT band, the one that rages at me (I imagine it giving me the middle finger when I run), a more happy IT band.

Look! My carpet isn’t a disaster! And I had to tighten that band up quite a bit to prevent it from slipping down over my Nike retro capris, which are longer than most of the capris I’ve been buying lately, a good thing if you ask me. One day I’ll write a side-by-side of the Nike retro capris and the Lululemon Run: In the Sun capris. Same premise, different execution.

I hoped on my treadmill. Which is right next to a window. Which was receiving the bulk of the sun. At nearly the hottest time of the day. Fail.

But I pushed through, watching “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark” with Katie Holmes. I’m usually not a fan of her. I became less of a fan when she married Tom Cruise. Because I’m really not a fan of him. But it was a decently scary horror movie.

I’ve been picking up the pace lately, turning the treadmill to a higher speed. So I averaged a 10:54 mile.

At 54:34 I hit five miles. And, rather than pushing it for a couple more, I decided that was enough.

Then, I tried out my second new running-related item.

It’s the Trigger Point Quadballer. And it’s a little like Heaven.

I immediately rolled out my left IT band, which didn’t have any pain  probably thanks to the new band. It’s much firmer than the Trigger Point Grid roller that I love as well. This puts nice pressure where I need it.

Now I’m rounding out my one-day weekend by watching Netflix on the couch while waiting for clothes to dry for me to fold.

And hanging out with Beau.

Who needs to be brushed. Pretty badly.

A good day? Yes. I know I still need to/want to run outside and not resort to my treadmill. I really want to hit the trails and sidewalks of Mountain House, but my schedule has prevented it lately.

I only have two more weeks of teaching for the semester. Then I’m planning a summer of running. Lots and lots of running.

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.


Treadmill troubles

I have a confession to make: I love my treadmill.

It’s something of a sin as a runner to say that, though. I’m supposed to love running outdoors. Feeling the breeze through my hair. Enjoying the sun beating down on me. Blah, blah, blah.

The truth is, running outside is sometimes not very glamorous. I’ve had guys yell at me from cars. I’ve nearly been hit by cars. I’ve had to make unexpected pit stops at not-too-pleasant park bathrooms.

I only really like running outside in Mountain  House. My long runs in Tracy have a tendency to be incredibly painful at times.

So I turn to my treadmill.

I do it often. Sometimes it’s a mid-length eight-mile run. I’ve done as much as 15 miles on my treadmill before.

Why? Because, unfortunately, my treadmill is always ready. It gets dark and my running buddies are unavailable. I don’t want to run alone, for the reasons I mentioned above.

And I love my treadmill. I can put on Netflix on my iPad and watch crazy programs such as Destination Truth or Ghost Adventures. I just kind of go on automatic and push through. I’m admitting now, much of my marathon training was done on the treadmill.

So when it started acting up about four weeks ago, I panicked a little, but didn’t overreact too much. My treadmill is four years old. I’ve never had is serviced.

And it needs to be serviced. But I kept going on it. Why? The marathon was only weeks away. And it’s been getting cold here.

I know “cold” is a wussy reason to not want to go running outside, but my last long run before the marathon was a 10-miler through Tracy and I was cold and tired all 10 miles of it.

I took a week off after the marathon.

To be fair, my legs are still tired. But they are also itching to run. And I’m overeating. Bad combination.

So I readied myself to hop on the treadmill earlier this week.

The belt was slipping before. When I hopped on this time, it WOULD NOT MOVE.

Yep. It was stuck. And I haven’t gained THAT much weight not running since the marathon (I’m still swimming and I’ve gone to another fitness class with Sam twice).

I turned it off. And on.

Started with a walk (rare for me).


Well there goes that.

One of my running club buddies wrote on my Facebook wall that it was pretty badass to run down my treadmill.

And that’s essentially what I had done. I’ve run a ridiculous amount on my treadmill this year staring down this marathon. It fits in with the two-jobs, multiple responsibility work environment I’m in. It fits in with my lifestyle.

So I placed a call to the treadmill repair folks who hold my warranty. They said they’d send a kit out to my house. Then I’d have to call another number.

This is a dumb process to say the least. Shouldn’t the repair person come BEFORE to diagnosis the problem? I’m so glad they take my word for it.

I was expecting a large package (maybe a new belt?), but instead, I got a small brown envelope with two items:

In this bag is a new drive belt. I’m not 100 percent sure the guy knew what I meant when I said my belt was “slipping.” He should have. But I got this nonetheless. I’m a little confused by this.

Oh, and they sent me lube. I thought this was kind of funny. It even came with a “lubrication pattern” diagram to make sure the person who eventually comes to fix my treadmill knows what he or she is doing.

I called the number back for treadmill repair and was told someone would be calling me within 48 hours to schedule an appointment. That was Friday afternoon. I haven’t heard yet and it’s Sunday night.

I’m assuming I’ll get a call at some point Monday. I better. I’m a little annoyed by this not-happening-quickly repair so far.

And I’m worried that once someone comes, it still won’t be right.

I just want to run again. I know I can open my door and move outside, but right now my treadmill feels comfortable to me. Maybe it’s post-marathon anxiety, but my treadmill is where I want to be.

I can’t wait to have it back functioning.

Things to catch up on

Over the next couple days I need to blog about several things: swimming, biking, a broken treadmill and pole dancing class among the topics.

I need to get on this.

And I need to start running again.

Finally 15

I was supposed to wake up this morning and head to Mountain House for a 15-mile run with Jennie. That didn’t happen. Instead, I woke up at 2 a.m. with a bloody nose. I didn’t think much of it outside of it being annoying. When I woke up again at 5:45 a.m. I sneezed and my nose started bleeding even more. Then it didn’t stop.

Well, crap.

Sorry for the graphic nature, but the blood was running down my throat. I held my head back. I tried to make the nose bleed stop in the bathroom so that I’d still be able to run. Nope. I texted Jennie. We were a no go on the run.

I got the nose bleed to stop, temporarily, and went back to bed. I didn’t wake up again until after 10 a.m. and the nose bleed came back, a little. Great. It was turning out to be a not-so-great morning.

I put away my hopes for a 15-mile run. I decided to just relax.

By 2 p.m. I was feeling A LOT better. But it was past the point I like to run outside. If I venture out at 3 or 4 p.m. I usually end up being held up by traffic lights and not-so-nice motorists who refuse to wait for me to cross.

So I opted for a treadmill run.

Yikes. I’ve done 10-mile treadmill runs. Never 15.

So I prepared.

First, I found the non Band-Aid brand band-aids. I know there’s another term for them, but it escapes me. I still have a bad blister injury from last week’s half marathon. So I wrapped my toe.

I prepared for a slowish run because I wanted to make sure I could last the whole 15 miles. I aimed at 12-minute pacing. I started quick, though, under a 10-minute pace.

I loaded up my 20-ounce Amphipod water bottles with a mix of 50/50 water and Gatorade.

I have two because one typically has a sleeve to keep the water colder. I use the sleeve more during the winter so that my hand doesn’t get as cold. I took it off today so it was easier to hold on to mid-way through my run.

I kept one bottle in the refrigerator. During my long treadmill runs I usually get off the treadmill a couple times. I do that for necessity rather than a real want to get off and start over.

My treadmill maxes out at 99 minutes or 999 calories. After 99 minutes the treadmill shuts down. Everything stops.

That’s part of the reason I invested in a Garmin foot pod for my Garmin 405CX.

This way I can use my Garmin to accurately reflect how far I’ve gone. It’s funny, though, even though I have the Garmin calibrated with the foot pod, my 12-minute miles were coming up short in the beginning and long at the end. It’s likely because I slow down as I run longer distances.

So I use the Garmin and have to get off the treadmill about 7.5 miles in just to reset the treadmill. I usually take this time to also grab the second water bottle, go to the bathroom, give my dog a hug, etc.

It’s always the time I want to stop as well.

I finally didn’t today. I just kept pacing through, usually doing miles under 12 minutes. I just kept moving along.

By mile 14, I was starting to get tired. This is why training runs are so important. I’m not convinced it’s about the mileage I am racking up, but rather about the time I am running. I need to be able to run 4-plus hours in order to run the marathon in less than two months. Whether it was a good idea in between two half marathons is another question.

Either way, I finally hit the 15-mile mark in slightly under three hours.

I know treadmill training isn’t the best for marathon training, but I know it can be done. I’ve read a lot about busy people who only train on treadmills, so I never feel bad running on mine. In fact, it helps my joints and is really better for me in general. So I’m slightly more back on track for this marathon.

It was really starting to worry me, not  getting in the 15-mile run. Now that I have it’s a huge weight off my chest.

On to the Nike Women’s Half Marathon next week. I’ve decided, particularly with the running of three half marathons this month, that I’m going to approach this race as a good opportunity to pace myself and really enjoy the whole 13.1 experience. I’ll be with two friends and my Team Somersaults teammates and I just really want to finish strong and have an awesome time.