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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Personally I like Pi Day, March 14 (3.14, get it?):

Chocolate meringue pie that I baked for the 6th graders to celebrate Pi Day

Chocolate meringue pie that I baked for the 6th graders to celebrate Pi Day

But National Running Day is also a day I can get behind. I celebrated it today with Rice Krispies Treats. No, I’m only kidding, I celebrated it with a whopper of a speed workout (and then I ate some Rice Krispies Treats).

I budgeted an hour for my run this morning, not realizing that this was the King of All Speed Workouts:

1 mile warmup

(400m, 800m, 1,200m, 800m, 400m) times 3,
at 10K pace (7:41, 7.8 mph)

rest interval of 400m jog in between each repeat

1 mile cooldown

= 12.25 miles in 1:55:45.

So, I celebrated National Running Day twice, running the first 6.25 miles in the hour I budgeted before my youngest daughter’s swim lessons, and running the last 6 miles after we got home from getting frozen yogurt. (Yes, fine, I had frozen yogurt and Rice Krispies Treats today, but only because the girls got Yogurtland coupons from the summer reading program at the library and this is the Summer of Yes, as in “Can we get frozen yogurt at Frozen Yogurtland?” (that’s what my 5-year-old calls it). Answer, “Yes.” (Within reason of course. “Can we watch eleventy billion hours of television?” Answer, “No.”)

What’s up with the 12.25-mile speed workout? That’s a long run by most people’s standards. But I’m following the Smart Marathon Training intermediate marathon training plan, and I think it called for the King of All Speed Workouts because this week’s “long run” is replaced with a “long bike” of 60 miles. That will be a new personal distance record for me on the bike, by the way. Just a few weeks ago I did 50 miles in 3 hours 15 minutes. I confess that during that time there was never a moment that I said, “Gee, I really wish I were running 20 miles instead of biking today.”

If I prefer biking to running, then why do I run?

National Running Day I Run

Did you celebrate National Running Day? Why do you run?

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My next big race on the calendar is the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon on May 10th. I figured it was totally fair to make Mother’s Day weekend all about me and my race, right?

That means I’m in the thick of training for that half, which then rolls right into my training for my fourth full marathon, the Santa Rosa Marathon at the end of August. I ran my longest run on the half marathon plan — 12 miles in 1:56 — last Sunday. For my current plan I’m running four days a week and cycling two days a week (once on my own and once at spin class). I also incorporate strength training two to three days a week for about 20 minutes each session. Pushups and I are still acquaintances but planks are my new best friends.

My training plans are my own personal mash-up of the Half Marathon Finish It Plan (free to download from that link!) from Train Like a Mother and the Intermediate Full Marathon plan from Smart Marathon Training:

    

Crossing off each workout on the training plan gives me a lot of satisfaction, and having a plan keeps me accountable. I can tell you there have been a few days recently where I would have opted not to work out had I not had a solid plan to stick to and a serious race looming on the calendar.

Do you have any races coming up? What training plan do you follow?

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The winner of last week’s giveaway of the book The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table is Kim from Day With KT!

Screen shot 2014-04-01 at 9.21.21 PM

I admire Kim’s daily commitment to fitness and enjoy her blog very much! You should check her blog out for daily strength training moves, honest and inspirational living, and to watch her as she trains for an ultramarathon!

That doesn’t mean you should ignore the other blogger who entered the contest — my longtime friend Geli who writes for the Run Oregon blog and recently posted a preview of the Vancouver USA Marathon and Half Marathon. I seriously considered that race before I settled on the Santa Rosa Marathon but the timing didn’t work out. Sometime I’m going to get up there to meet Geli in person. I would love to do the Hood to Coast relay with her someday!

Kim, please send me an email at fitfunmom at gmail dot com with your mailing address and I’ll get the book out to you ASAP!

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A long time ago in a land far, far away (London to be exact), Donna from Beating Limitations wrote a review of the book The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table by Tracie McMillan.

In her review, Donna wrote:

I enjoyed the way the author extensively researched and footnoted throughout the book. This is not a flippant piece of work – but a very well thought out journey from farm to table – including thoughts on public policy evolution and the agricultural technology revolution.

Donna offered to pass along her copy of the book to an interested blogger in the hopes that that person would then review the book and pass it along to yet another blogger. I was the lucky recipient of the book, and while it took me a long time to wade through the detailed information it presented, I am glad I read it all. McMillan spends several months working in the farm fields of California, stocking produce at Walmart in Michigan, and in the kitchen of Applebee’s in New York, all while trying to feed herself on the minimal salary those jobs provide. The insight she is able to gather while undercover in those jobs is fascinating and informative. But she doesn’t just leave it at that. She backs up her experiences with extensive research and insight into the food industry in America. This is one of those books I wish everyone would read. If you want the chance to read it, leave a comment to this post. On March 31st, I’ll pick one commenter at random to receive the book. If you win, you’re under no obligation to post your own review and pass the book along, but I hope you will!

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At this point — a week into November and NaNoWriMo — I suspect some readers of my fitness-related ramblings now shout at the computer: “Stop writing about writing! Stick to your theme! You’re not allowed to write about anything other than subjects covered in your tagline: Fitness, Fun, Family, Food. Notice the absence of another F: Fiction!” (I kid. Generally I find readers to be exceptionally kind and generous people, as most runners and triathletes happen to be.) However, at the end of the day yesterday, I found myself shouting, “Enough!” I crashed from the high of hitting 10,000 words in my novel-in-progress, and I burned out big time. I didn’t want to write any more of the novel, write yet another blog post with strained analogies between writing marathons and running marathons, read about writing (I’m currently reading Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within and I recommend it), or even think about the plot of the novel.

So what did I do? I picked up Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by elite athlete and vegan, Scott Jurek. He talked about how he started to get more and more involved in long distance running as a way to train for competitive cross-country skiing. His friend Dusty took him out for long runs on animal paths that made great running trails. Just as I thought what a nice diversion this book was from all things writing-related, on page 50 Jurek described the experience of trail running with his friend:

I know a novelist who says he was never happier than when he was working on his first book, which turned out to be so bad that he never showed the manuscript to anyone. He said his joy came from the way time stopped and from all he learned about himself and his craft during those sessions. Running with Dusty that spring — not racing, running — I understood what the writer had been talking about.

Alright, Universe! I get the message! I will write! And furthermore, I will embrace the analogies between writing and running, just like ultrarunner Scott Jurek did!

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42 Years Young

Yesterday I celebrated my 42nd birthday. It started off the way all good days should, with an awesome, super-sweaty workout at the gym, followed by a protein bar and later, whole foods served on plates. One of those plates included a slice of this birthday blueberry pie:

Blueberry pie

Isn’t that just the most gorgeously wonky lattice top thrown together by me and pin-pricked with forks by 8- and 5-year-old helpers? At any rate the pie tasted delicious (as any pie with $12 worth of organic blueberries had better taste!)

In addition to edible birthday treats, there were many lovely gifts. Among other things, my parents got me this:

I rarely buy books (Cheap! Cheap! Libraries are the best invention ever!) but none of my local libraries carry a copy of Iron War and I’ve wanted to read it for a long time. My sister made me this darling shoulder bag (and when I opened the present, all three of my girls exclaimed, “I want one!”):

crocheted purse

And my husband took my camera in to be fixed so I can stop taking semi-blurry cellphone photos of myself! All in all a great day!

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Calling all cyclists of all levels to check out a great new book that comes out today: Bicycling Magazine’s 1,100 Best All-Time Tips: Top Riders Share Their Secrets for Maximizing Performance, Safety, and Fun. For the list price of $12.99, you get 224 pages packed with advice on a wide range of subjects: bike set-up, maintenance and repair, cycling safety, racing, nutrition, riding positions, training techniques and skill building. The book is bound to please every kind of cyclist, from mountain biker to road racer to distance rider.

I learned a lot from the book and I know it’s a resource I will consult again and again as I grow my skills in cycling. Right now I’d say I’m a beginning intermediate rider (as in, I am a newly intermediate level rider who can stand to learn a few things). I road a mountain bike for several years on the trails in Michigan and got to the point where I could handle the bike pretty well. Now I mainly ride my road bike to train for triathlons — two sprints and two Olympic distance races so far where I averaged up to 19.6 mph on the bike — and to cross-train during marathon training. I especially appreciated the tips on road safety, riding etiquette for group rides, and training techniques. I hope to put to good use many of the tips on maintaining and repairing a bike as well.

Disclosure: Same old same old. I received an advance digital copy of this book for review. I did not receive other compensation. Will someone please use the Amazon affiliate links in this post to buy me a print copy of this book? Thanks.

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