Today is Jack’s 3rd Birthday so this is dedicated to him!  I love ya buddy!

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In 2000, I read an article in either Self or Shape magazine.  The story was about this woman from New York who, with minimal running experience signed up for and ran a marathon with Team in Training.  I remember clearly finishing that article and thinking to myself, interesting.  I didn’t sign up for a race, begin running more or plan anything.    I didn’t do anything with the article itself, didn’t save it or read it again, I just noted it.

It was not much later that I was chatting with a girlfriend down the hall in my office building and she said to me out of the blue that we should sign up for a Team in Training event and run a marathon.  I gave it some thought and agreed to go to an informational meeting with her.  I went, she didn’t.  I signed up on the spot for the program and in December 2000 began to train for the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN.  Less than four months later I finished my first marathon at 5 hours, 31 minutes.  I cried like a baby when I crossed that finish line.  Never had I done something so hard and so rewarding at the same time (at least with childbirth I had good drugs!)

Flash forward to the end of 2008.  I’ve been running on a regular basis since that first week in December, 2000 and have completed six marathons and a bunch of 10K’s, 5K’s and half marathons.  Not bad if I do say so myself.

I have only taken time off from running during the time I was pregnant with Jack ( I really tried to run past the 4th month, but it was just too much on my bladder!)  Once he was born (at 11 pm on November 30, 2005) I began running again, slowly.  Those early runs were the worst and I vowed then never to stop running for the simple fact that I never wanted to have to start again!

I run about 3 or 4 times a week now.  It’s part of who I am, what I do.  I like to be a runner.  I feel better about myself, stronger.  It’s not easy to stay on track,  sometimes life gets in the way.  But I know how I feel when I don’t go out for a run and I know how I feel when I do and that’s why I choose to run.

Run strong and remember to have fun.

Keli

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Today’s Your Day

Today I would like to remind you that the next 33 days will be filled with temptation.   You’ll be tempted to eat more and move less.  Christmas shopping, late night cookie baking sessions, office parties, school potlucks and a variety of other holiday activities will crowd your already long to-do list.

When schedules get hectic, the first thing to drop off of is exercise.  After that is healthy eating.  Quickly an “oh well” attitude sets in and you decide you’ll get back on track January 1.  Which realistically turns into January 15 because it takes a while to get into the new year before changes can be made.

I’m going to suggest something radical. Don’t wait until January 1.  Start now.  Here’s how to do it.  Go get your calendar out.  Go now, I’ll wait.

Ok, look at tomorrow’s page and pick a reasonable hour and schedule in a workout for at least 30 minutes.  Go for a run, a walk, a bike ride, whatever.  Write it down.  Now go to Sunday and do the same thing.  Now Monday, and Tuesday and so on.

Be sure to schedule a day or two where you do something other than your run or a trip to the gym.  Plan a trip to the park to run around with your kids or shoot hoops at the school playground.  A ‘hood walk is popular with our family.  We stroll the neighborhood in the late afternoon with the kids on their bikes or scooters.

Every day, do something that takes you closer to being the fit person you want to be.  Set your intention each day and you’ll see that it gets easier.  And by January 1 – you’ll be well on you way.

Run strong and remember to have fun.

Keli

Shake Your Tailfeathers, It’s Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving, it is my favorite holiday.  When I was a little girl I would get up early (even then) and come into the kitchen.  My mom would be doing the early stages of cooking so the warm smell of onions and butter wafted through the house as she would wrestle with a gigantic turkey.  I would sit and chat with her in the kitchen and then mosey off into the living room to watch the Macy’s Thankgiving Day Parade.

Now that I have a family of my own, I have my own traditions that I’ve created and added to the ones I loved as a child.  I am now the one up early (still) and creating the lovely onion/butter perfume of the house.  I now wrestle with the large turkey (22 1/2 pounds this year) and try and catch the parade in between cooking periods.

About 7 years back I started another Thanksgiving Day tradition.  Each year, our running group gathers at Rush Creek in Novato and do a 4-mile loop through the marshland.  Being November, it’s chilly in the morning and the combination of cold temps and marshland creates an ethereal, magical sight.  Steam rises from the earth and we run towards to sun, warming our faces as we run and chat.

We call it our Turkey Trot – and while that conjures us a Thanksgiving Day race for most runners, this is an opportunity for our group to run at a nice easy pace, chat and catch up.  We all realize how grateful we are to have each other as a running group and as friends.  I look forward to this event every year.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, whether you trot or not, enjoy the day.

Run strong and remember to have fun.

Keli

Gadget Girl

I’m not too technically advanced.  My cell phone is usually at the bottom of my purse either turned off or with a dead battery because I forgot to turn it off.  I can text, albeit painfully slow and I barely know how to IM through Gmail.  I have an Ipod shuffle that I use for short runs only and finally learned how to delete songs so I’m feeling pretty savvy!

When it comes to running, however, I love having a gadget.  For years I ran with a Timex contraption – a pod strapped to my arm and a nice fat watch that linked with the pod to track mileage, pace, run time and about a dozen more things that I never learned.  My group would inwardly and outwardly groan when I stepped out of my car for a run and I was “wired”.  That usually meant a longer run or one that was in the hills and thereby not easily measured by a simple watch.

The Timex had its advantages, namely it was accurate and the watch was simple to use.  The disadvantage was that the batteries burned out quickly and I would have to stand around waiting for a satellite to sync up with my watch.  Many runs started with me holding my wrist to the heavens waiting for a signal.

Sadly, I left the pod on the bumper of my SUV one day because the battery died and forgot about it.  I most likely obliterated it while backing up or it held on until I hit the freeway – regardless I was adrift for a few months.

A friend of mine had a new Garmin 405 that I became enamored with.  This beauty came in a pretty lime green color and most importantly, had the GPS inside the watch so no need to strap on a pod or other piece of hardware.  It came with a hefty price tag as well, they retail for about $350.  But I was in love and shelled out the dough.

I was told that this was not a simpleton’s gadget.  It had uber-advanced technology and wasn’t what one would call user-friendly.  At least not right away.  And as one who does not follow instruction booklets very well, I did find it  a challenge.  After multiple failed attempts to go for a simple run using the darn thing, I relied on fellow Garmin users, strangers and friends alike ( thank you  Elisabeth who taught me how to freeze the bezel).

The advantages of this watch for me are that it’s cute, easy to read and once you get the hang of using the touch screen, easy to manipulate.  You can also track runs online through a sync funtion.  The few things I don’t like about the watch are that you have to remember to charge it or else it can die on a run,  the watch itself is big for my wrist so I can’t use it like an everyday watch.  The old Timex still gets the call for that.

One tick that has me stumped is the pacing portion of the watch. Like my Timex, at times during a run, the pace that I’m running is not the pace that is shown on the watch.  I don’t know if it’s a dropped satellite connection or what, but the pace bounces all over the place during my run.  I’m a consistent runner with my pace so to see the watch show 10:32, then 9:04, then 9:30, then back to 8:45 in two minutes can be frustrating.  Being the problem solver that I am, I simply focus on my time and the distance portion of that screen and disregard the pace.

Other than that, it’s a great product and if you like to know how far you’re running or you care about your pace, I’d recommend it.   And if you figure out that pace issue, please let me know.
Run strong and remember to have fun!

Keli

Fake It Til You Make It

I don’t feel like running this morning. I would rather sit in my jammies, drink coffee and read my book. I would also rather wave a magic wand to clean my house but we know that that’s just not gonna happen.

Not wanting to get out the door for a workout on a given day is pretty normal. Some days you are tired or cranky or your to-do list is long and getting longer. You have company coming, you have to put the turkey in the oven, you have to clean the litterbox, it’s too cold, too hot, too wet or just too much. I get it and I’ve been there, I am there.

But those are the days that you need to do it. You have to do it. Lace up those sneakers, put on your yoga gear, pop in that Tae Bo DVD, but do something. Tell yourself you’ll just do a mile or two, or 10 minutes on the elliptical or you’ll spend only the warmup with Billy Blanks.

If, after your loop around the block you feel strong and in the groove, keep going. If however, you still feel the call of your jammies and the Today show, then use that as your body’s way of saying you need a break and enjoy your day off.

After using this trick many times, I can confidently say that 9 times out of 10 you’ll keep running, spend another 30 minutes on the elliptical or kick Billy Blanks’ butt for the whole hour. I know there is a lot of scientific reasoning behind this – endorphins, etc. but all I know is that when I start to move, I feel better and want to move more.

So the next time you just don’t feel like running or exercising – try it for 10 minutes. That’s what I’m going to do as soon as I finish my coffee.

Run strong and remember to have fun!

Keli

Sunny Side Up

The benefits of running first thing in the morning for me are two fold.  I get it done before I’m awake enough to realize I should still be sleeping and secondly, it’s off my to do list and don’t have to find a way to fit it into my day.   Working sixteen years for a hedge fund primed my body clock to wake at 4:30am naturally (or unnaturally, if you ask Brad) so an early workout is better for me than one during the day or evening. 

 

During the late fall and winter, running early in the morning poses it’s own set of challenges.  The sun might not be up yet and baby, it’s cold outside.  With a bit of planning, both challenges become obsolete and running early in the morning will seem almost normal. 

 

Brrrr

I run a bit on the hot side so no matter the season, I run in shorts.  Most of the people in my running group think I’m crazy so I’ll use their layering techniques as a better example for you.  Long pants, short sleeve top with long sleeve over it, jacket optional.  Running hat and gloves.  That should cover it.  The rule of thumb while dressing for the cold is that you want to wear enough to protect you, but not enough that you feel cozy before the run starts.  If you’re cozy before the run starts, you’ll be shedding layers quicker than a stripper in Vegas. 

 

Shine On

If you’re running in the dark you want to be visible to traffic.  Invest in a reflective vest or snap a few blinking lights on to the front and back of your shorts.  They come in handy while camping as well – I snap one onto the back of my toddler so I can see him running around the campsite at night. 

 

Lights Up

Uneven pavement that you are so used to in daytime running can be dangerous before the sun is up.  Bring a small flashlight or purchase a runners headlamp.  The headlamp is great because you can run hands free and it really lights up the ground. You can find these at REI, Road Runner Sports (www.roadrunnersports.com) or any running store.  My good friend Barbara used to run carrying a Maglite.  It weighed about 4 pounds so she had a weapon for self defense as well.

 

Buddy System

When running in the wee hours of the morning (or evening for that matter) please be wise and hook up with a friend.  There’s safety in numbers and besides, by having a friend you can run with increases the odds that you’ll get up and out for that early morning run. 

 

When in Doubt, Don’t

If your buddy can’t join you for a run one day or you’re feeling uneasy about a run in the early morning hours, be smart and trust that instinct.  There are a few times where something didn’t feel right and I skipped an early run.  There’s always tomorrow!

 

Hopefully these tips help.  Get up and at’em!

 

Run strong and remember to have fun!

 

Keli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taste of Fall

I love the fall.  I enjoy running on a crisp fall morning up and around Phoenix Lake (like Lisa and I did this morning).  Today the leaves lining the street up to the park entrance were that spectacular combination of dark yellow, orange and red.  Many of them littered the path and cushioned our footfalls.   On the trail around Phoenix Lake itself, the ground was moist and the air was cool.  Ducks landed on the lake and we enjoyed their quacking.  At least I did, Lisa was plugged in to her Ipod so all she heard was Keith Urban.  Regardless, we enjoyed the views.

One other thing I love about the fall is a big pot of soup.  On the weekend, I normally make a pot of vegetable soup or chili.  Today I made a recipe courtesy of my friend Linda.  She guaranteed it was a filling, delicious soup and she was right!

Pumpkin Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients

1 large onion, chopped coarsely

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ tsp. Ground cumin

1 ½ tsp. Ground coriander

1/8 tsp. Ground red pepper

1 can (29 oz) pure pumpkin

1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth

6 cups water

2 T olive oil

2 sweet potatos peeled and cubed

1 T sugar (optional)

1 ½ tsp. Salt

1/8 tsp. Ground pepper

Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

 

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. 

Add onion and cook 20 minutes until tender

Add garlic, cumin, coriander and ground red pepper, cook one minute, stirring

Add pumpkin, broth, potato, sugar and salt, black pepper and water

Heat to boiling over high heat

Reduce heat to medium/low, cover and simmer for 20 min until potatoes are fork tender

Remove pan from heat

(Following manufacturer’s directions) use electric hand blener to puree pumpkin mixture in pot

Ladle 1 ½ cups of soup in bowls, garnish with pumpkin seeds if desired

Run strong and remember to have fun!

Keli