Runner’s World Challenge

A Bump in the Road

I’m kind of at a loss and not sure what to do. My left knee is confusing me. About a month ago when it started hurting after a particularly jump-y, hard bootcamp class, any pain subsided within a few days of rest and I ran my half marathon a couple weekends ago pain-free. I honestly haven’t done much in the way of running since then (almost two weeks) except a couple shorter runs and one long run last weekend. It’s not that the pain is severe and causing me to limp, and it’s not always there. It occasionally hurts when I stand up if I’ve been sitting for a long time, or randomly throughout the day. I’d say 60% of the time there’s no pain. But it’s that 40% that has me pretty worried. I tried to think about things that have changed over the last month or two that could have caused this, and over Christmas there was a month-and-a-half-long period of time where I didn’t do any strength training. But after almost a year of strength training, I don’t think that too much muscle would be lost just in that time. I’ve given myself plenty of rest, I eat very healthy, I recover properly. I don’t eat meat (except seafood), but I make sure to get enough protein. I had blood tests last year and they came out stellar. This is why I’m confused. I’ve gained a little weight since I got married in June (about 6 pounds) and maybe that has something to do with it, but it’s not a huge amount. Maybe the muscles in my quads/glutes aren’t as strong as they should be and there was too much pressure on my knees. Maybe my form wasn’t perfect when I was doing all those jumping/burpee exercises over and over in bootcamp. Or maybe I’m just overthinking it.

I have the San Diego Half Marathon on March 9, that I really want to run. We have already gotten a hotel room downtown SD and my mom is going to drive down to watch me race. It’s still two and a half weeks away, and even after resting a week, I should still be able to do it. I’ll play it by ear, but I’m remaining hopeful.

I’m also supposed to be training for a damn marathon. These weeks are base-building weeks in my training plan and since I have a pretty good base built up, I hope it’ll be fine, but the more I don’t run, the more I know I shouldn’t push it and try to run my first full marathon (that my entire family has planned a trip to Ireland around… ugh).

Sometimes I honestly feel like crawling in a corner and crying; it’s just so frustrating to work hard and see yourself improving, only to have a setback. It’s okay though, I’m trying to stay positive and work on strengthening my leg muscles and glutes, ice, foam roll, stretch, etc.

My knee was feeling okay yesterday morning so I went out and tested out three slow miles. Sometimes I would feel the pain, sometimes I wouldn’t. Around mile two it pretty much went away completely. I did some stadium stairs at the local city college, with no pain going up, but with pain going down the stairs.

Not a bad place to do stadium stairs.

Not a bad place to do stadium stairs.

Other, Better News

I finally got a hair cut! I hadn’t cut it in a year, and it was definitely time. My hair stylist cut off a little more than I was expecting, but I’m so happy with it. All in all, there’s about 7-8 inches gone. It is thrilling to know that I can wear a tank top to run and not have the hair from my ponytail get caught in the FRONT of my armpits.





Short ponytail!

Short ponytail!

I also had a pretty exciting mail day the other day:


I ordered the Mizuno Wave Creation 15 and the Brooks Glycerin 11 to see which ones I liked better. Well, I tried on the Glycerin in size 10 at the local running store and they were too small so I ordered them in size 10.5, which is waaay too big. I had this problem with the Brooks Adrenalines in the past, which is unfortunate because I hear Brooks shoes are great. I wore the Mizunos yesterday and I really liked them. They fit perfectly, they are light, it’s a bonus they are cool-looking, and I am happy with them. I need to test them out more (whenever my knee feels better) to really get a feel for them, but I was happy after yesterday’s trial. Like I said in an earlier post, I’ve been told to get stability shoes for pronation the last few times I’ve gone to the running store, but I went on Friday and the lady working told me I tend to supinate and need neutral shoes. I’m hoping this is a breakthrough because I have never loved any pair of shoes I’ve worn in the past; each one has caused me problems.

Maybe, just maybe, a match made in heaven.

Maybe, just maybe, a match made in heaven.

Has anyone had knee pain in the past and can offer up some advice? Thank you!

Runner’s World Challenge


Well, I officially completed my first week of marathon training. My plan called for short runs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then a long run yesterday and a short one today. Since I ran a half last Saturday and was sick in the beginning of the week, I took it easy and didn’t do all the runs on the plan. I think this was a smart decision on my part. Yesterday’s ten-miler began a little rocky, and by mile four I was thinking maybe I would turn around and only do eight miles. I continued on, and when I got to five miles to turn around, endorphins kicked in and I felt really great. I tried a new gel – Clif Shot mocha with caffeine – at mile five, and ate the whole thing. I drank a little too much water and got a bit of a stomach cramp, but it went away quickly, and the rest of the run was issue-free. Mile nine was even my fastest. I have been reading a bit about running cadence, so I experimented with counting my steps, to see where I was at. I was running at about 160 strides per minute, which is pretty common. Lots of articles (here’s an example) recommend 180 steps per minute, so I tried to increase my strides to hit that. Counting my steps was actually pretty fun and a great distractor. I usually am only thinking about what my arms are doing, so it was a nice change to focus on something else.

There’s one thing that worried me on my run yesterday. My left knee pain has come back some, and it bothered me a bit in the first half of my run, but then I felt nothing the second half. It’s a little tender today, and I iced it and foam rolled yesterday. It started hurting me after a bootcamp class a few weeks ago when we did a lot of jumping, so I stopped going to bootcamp for the time being, and I realized that I haven’t gone to yoga in a couple months. It could just be that I wasn’t stretching some of the muscles in my leg enough and it put a strain on my knee muscles. It could also be my shoes, I went and tried on some new running shoes on Friday at the local store here, and the lady working told me that I supinate, and need neutral shoes. This is different than every other time I’ve been fitted at a running store, and that’s why I’ve been wearing stability shoes. I ordered two pairs of neutral shoes online and will test them out next week. I’m just hoping so badly that my knee issues will go away soon, I’m looking forward to getting into full-on marathon training mode.


After making the big decision to register for a full marathon, and then spending two weeks obsessing about which one to choose, the next step was deciding on a training plan. I have used Hal Higdon plans for past half marathons, and considered using one of his marathon plans, but I wanted to try something new. I saw a screen shot on STUFT Mama of the Runner’s World Challenge plan, and it included an email sent out every night with a detailed description of what the next day’s training consisted of. I really liked this, and thought it would be a great motivating tool over the next few months. After a little confusion about how the Runner’s World Challenge worked, I finally have it all sorted out. Once you purchase a plan (there are lots to choose from), this is what is included:

  • Four months access to the RW Personal Trainer interactive training log
  • Personal coaching from RW’s nutrition, training, and injury-prevention experts
  • Motivation e-mails from Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso
  • Runner’s World Challenge technical T-shirt
  • RW’s Complete Book of Running
  • A watch
  • Online access to the Runner’s World Challenge community, where you can connect with other runners who are taking the Challenge

I didn’t realize that in order to receive the daily emails and have access to the training log, I had to create an account on Training Peaks and load the plan into the calendar. Luckily, the person I was emailing with at RW did that for me and got me all set up.

I received my shirt, watch and book a few weeks after purchasing the plan.

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As far as choosing which marathon plan, I had to decide between these two:


Ideal candidates: First-time marathoners, and runners who have at least one year of experience, and run three to four times per week on average.
Weekly routine: 3 days of rest, 4 days of running
Weekly mileage: 18-36 miles
Long runs: start at 8 miles; peak at 20 miles
Speed work: strides, marathon goal-pace runs (MP)


Ideal candidates: First-time marathoners, and runners who have at least one year of experience, and run three to four times per week on average. For more experienced runners who have completed at least one half-marathon.
Weekly routine: 2 days of rest, 5 days of running
Weekly mileage: 25-42 miles
Long runs: start at 10 miles; peak at 20 miles
Speed work: Yasso 800s, marathon goal-pace runs (MP)

I like only taking two rest days per week, so the First-Timers plan sounded good to me. After looking at the long weekend runs on this plan, however, it has three 20-mile runs included, the first one being in about four weeks, which I think is a little too soon for me. The Beginners plan gradually works its way up until 20 miles, and the 20-miler happens three weeks before the marathon. I think I may follow the First-Timers plan for the weekday runs, and then the Beginners plan for the weekend long run.

All in all, I’m happy I chose this whole system, and look forward to getting into it!

Sisterhood of the Bloggers

So, I finally got an email back from Runner’s World Challenge after I emailed inquiring where my training plan was, since I was supposed to start on Monday. When I first registered in November, it asked me what plan I wanted and what the date of the race was, so that the emails could automatically start coming in four months before the race. I didn’t see anything in my inbox on Monday, so I emailed them. I finally got a response asking which marathon training plan I wanted to sign up for. Which is frustrating because I already chose one when I paid for the plan and told them in a separate email after that! I responded, and was sent the training plan I requested. I guess this is my mistake, but I could have sworn I read that it was one of those plans where they email you every day with details about training for that day. That’s honestly the only reason I paid so much for it. But this is one of those printed-out plans, which is okay. I’m resting up this week for my race this weekend, so I’ll start next week. Anyways, I hope it was worth it to buy the plan, fingers crossed.

Last night we were at work late and Chinese food was ordered. I just had a taste since I had already eaten soup for dinner, but I did eat two fortune cookies, and the fortunes inside were very appropriate:

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On a side note, I don’t know if anyone has had either of these from Trader Joe’s, but they are SO GOOD. Especially together.


Sisterhood of the World Bloggers


Cori over at She’s Going the Distance was so sweet and nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award! I have seen this one floating around, and am excited I get to fill it out now. You’ll find out that I’m super indecisive and can’t choose just one thing, hooray!


1. What is your favorite color?

I don’t think I have a favorite color really, but when it comes to real people’s clothes, I pretty much wear charcoal/black/other dark colors. But when it comes to running clothes, I LOVE bright colors, and don’t have enough.


2. Favorite animal?

As a pet, a dog. Other than that, anything miniature, like a hummingbird for example. And these micro pigs:



Or anything on this list: 24 of the Smallest and Cutest Animals in the World.

3. Favorite non-alcoholic drink?

I’d have to say it’s a tie between coffee and the Greens and Ginger juice from Juice Ranch.


4. Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook is great for keeping up with old friends and posting pictures. I’m just now getting more involved with Twitter again, so maybe that’ll change.

5. Favorite pattern?

I love stripes and plaid, but like I said before, I pretty much only wear greys/charcoal/black.


Stripes and plaid all in one outfit! (Portland, 2013)


Fifty shades of grey.

6. What is your passion?

I have a terrible fear of looking back at my life when I’m old and realizing that I didn’t do everything I wanted to do (I think about it all the time, it’s really healthy). My passion is to not let that happen! Traveling is a huge part of that passion, and I’m so glad that Jeremy and I have made the time in our lives to make this dream come true. I can’t wait to experience new cultures, talk to people from other countries, get to know customs, etc. I think that it’s so important to experience things like that, and I can’t imagine how enriched we’ll feel throughout the process.

It's a big ol world out there (Switzerland, 2009)

It’s a big ol world out there (Switzerland, 2009)

My nominees (my apologies if you’ve already done this!):

For Each Wind That Blows

Girl Runs Wild

26.2 x 2

2 Cups ‘N Run

Running Southern

Tartan Jogger

Single-Tracked Mind