Pip Running

Building a community one runner at a time

It's All Aerobic

Has it really been over 2 months since I posted! I've written several blog posts in my mind. Do you ever have those times when you think you're starting to control the chaos only to add more chaos and lose all control again? If you have multiple children this may be a situation you're familiar with. You finally get your first kid potty trained and sleeping through the night then you add another one! Well this just happened to me. I didn't have another baby but I did adopt one. Meet my new chaos Jax.



Jax is a 5+ yr old Chow Mix we adopted over Easter. There is a whole harrowing story with his arrival but that is another blog post I wrote in my head months ago. Jax arrived from Texas which means he barks with an accent and we really adopted him sight unseen. His adoption post had him at 40lbs which we thought would be a good size for our 20lbs 16yr old resident dog. Eventually I do want a bigger running dog but didn't want anyone too big or spazzy active due to our dogs advanced age. Jax was listed as being good with kids, snuggler and good listener. He seemed like a good in between dog. When he showed up he was 65lbs! That's 25lbs more than expected for all those too lazy to do the math. We have never owned a dog that big and with his big furry coat he seems even larger. Even though his size was under reported his demeanor was right on. He is a chill, sweet boy and a pretty good listener. 

With his large size, playful attitude and younger age I automatically thought he could be a running dog afterall. I am was still doing HR Training so there are lots of walk breaks. I figured I could kind of Couch to 5k him. The first run went pretty well but I could tell that he was a dog that needed to drink water often but since we were only going 2-3miles I didn't bring any. He did well on the leash and waddled by my side so I thought it went well.

 The next time we went out not so good. Still HR Training so lots of walk breaks but it was actually warm that day. First "warm" day in months and Jax is a dog in a permanent yeti outfit. I made sure to bring water this time and we started out ok. We ran to the park about 1 mile away and I gave Jax some water there. We then ran down the road another half mile and started back to the park. Jaxy was kind of starting to lag. Once we got back to the park I gave him more water and was going to head back home. Jax had other ideas.



Jax found a mud puddle and stayed there. When I finally got him up he circled around and plunked himself right down again. Eventually I got him out of the mud puddle and promised him we would walk home. We finished our last mile with a gentle walk. It's all aerobic anyway right? I then realized Jax was probably not going to be my running dog. My husband tried again one morning but he didn't do run/walk and Jax couldn't make it a mile. 

So while Jax is not a runner (he's a lover) he does still need exercise. We do now have to walk him twice a day and carve that time out. Courage, our resident old man, is benefitting from this new schedule as well. He sleeps most of the day now but he gets out everyday also. Before, if we ran short on time, it was easy to cut his walk because he didn't seem to care at this age but with Jax having to get out means so does Courage. Another side benefit of having Jax is that we have to let him in and out (since he doesn't fit through our doggy door) which has caused the kids to go outside in the backyard more and play. 

Now this new chaos has just become a new normal and you adapt. There are running metaphors in there for sure. 


Rolling Off

Today finds me writing another blog post with yet another child at home. Maybe I'm finding time to write since I am housebound due to illness. My run for this morning and my Costco trip have been waylaid along with my workout at my ninja gym.

Things have been kind of weird over here. I have been very much enjoying most of my evenings at home these days. I can't believe I am saying this but cooking for my family in the evening has been rewarding (or maybe it's that little glass of "cooking wine" I discovered) and being here all the hours with them has been fun. Every day isn't a party but we have found ourselves having impromptu wrestling matches and family games develop like "Ball Face". I said Family Fun!  Get your mind out of the gutter. Anyway. this game is literally trying to hit the other person in the face with a ball. My kids found it so ridiculously fun my daughter deemed Monday nights "Ball Face Night".  Even though I would only be gone an hour or two several evenings out of the week guiding my running groups it was enough to miss out on these little things. So when I was asked recently to run a Jeff Galloway training group this summer I was caught a bit off guard. My first thought, of course, was definitely NO!

I know about Jeff. I know about his system but I don't know his system. I have since decided it would be a good learning experience and could actually fit in with my HR training so I said Yes. The commitment is only one day on the weekend. Of which my kids don't miss me too much those mornings, if they even notice I am gone at all. So a fun new adventure is in the works for Pip Running.

My running. What has been happening with my running? I have been working on the sub 127 HR for a few weeks now. I did my first MAF Test on March 6th. I got a 9 or 10 on my HRV that morning so I said let's do it. I started out with a 1 mile walk to my starting point then did a 5 mile jog (which actually turned into a 6 mile jog) as a warm up. I came back to the soccer fields did a 2 mile MAF test there running laps then a 1 mile walk/jog warm down home. I felt pretty good through the whole thing although I seemed to run through every type of weather system. There was sun, wind, snow and ice rain. My times weren't great but hopefully with dropping my HR 5 beats I'll start to see more improvement.

I was pretty happy to see that my HR stayed below 150 even when it spiked up a bit. Those spikes were very short and the intervals are getting closer together (run/walk) in which I hope they just become run. With the take off and landing in running causing the HR to spike up I try to keep my take-offs to a roll-off. If you've ever taken a Chi Running class you may be familiar. I try to keep my cadence high so my feet are off the ground as quick as possible with trying to keep the impact as minimal as possible. The test went as it should with the 2nd lap taking a slight bit longer than the 1st. If I went on to do more laps each successive lap should take a little bit longer than the previous.

Here's a graph of my HRV for the week of the MAF Test.

Here's a graph of my HRV for the week of the MAF Test.

Above is my HRV graph for the week I did the MAF Test. March 5th I received a reading of 3 so I took that day as a recovery day. On March 6 I received a 10 on my HRV so decided this was the day to test. I should note that I got my period later that day which may account for the low HRV the day before. I think the same thing happened last month which is something I will keep a watch on. March 10th was another day that I received a 10 on my HRV. I have been chomping at the bit to do some intervals. It has been a long time, months, since I've done any type of speed work. Since I was training at too high of a HR I was going to wait another 8 weeks at the lower HR but I just felt the need. So I went out on Friday 3/10 and did 5 sprints across the soccer field. I walked a mile first, than ran 1 mile at a tempo pace which maybe I shouldn't have done, did some drills and dynamic stretching before going into my sprints. They felt good. I took some video so I could analyze form but I wasn't happy with the quality. Maybe something not to be done by yourself. Hopefully I can coax one of my friends out there next time to grab video for me. Here are the results:

The 3rd sprint took longer because I went to turn off the camera before stopping my watch.

The 3rd sprint took longer because I went to turn off the camera before stopping my watch.

First of all I realize now these sprints weren't long enough. I needed to go about 30 more yards. Man it felt long though! I also was only planning on doing 4 but I was trying to get a side view video which of course I didn't think of until after I did 4. Work in progress.

I've been cooking up a storm over here lately and trying to toggle meals around to keep my carbs below 30g (20g ideally) and my protein to around 70-80g. Carbs not so much of an issue but there is protein in everything! I have had the most problem keeping that in check. I've done more intermittent fasting over the last week and did both my MAF test and sprints fasted. I did not feel any energy drain before, during or after. Here's a couple pics of the fabulous meals we've been eating (well Mike and I- The kids barely try any of it):

Brussels Sprouts and Hamburger Gratin via DietDoctor.com

I'll have to tell you about my awesome Chocolate Avocado smoothie next time. Well I got most of the recipe elsewhere but I have tweaked it to be my own. I'm a bad Keto-er with my lack of avocado eating. I try to add it in here and there but there is such a small window on when these things are really ripe I tend to miss it. Anyway I think these avocado smoothies have helped and man do they keep you full!

Slowing Down

I seem to have some kind of cold. Early this week I noticed my throat a bit sore (or more dry?) and what I can only call a tightness in the base of my throat. It has been so subtle that I hardly want to even acknowledge it as a sickness. As in the previous post I have been diligently checking my HRV every morning (more on this later) and nothing has shown up there. I have been trying to run/workout as I normally would (more on that later too) and despite the kids having half-days all week I've been doing my usual business during the day. I haven't felt particularly run down but there are moments where I cough up phlegm (where'd that come from?), or I feel nauseous for a spell and one day I even had a sinus headache! What the hell is going on inside me?!? I have no explanation but with my half marathon in Phoenix next weekend I hope it works itself out.

So yeah I'm taking a little trip. I'm excited to see my best bud Katey but kind of dreading this half. It is not really the race itself. I'll just be plodding along anyway. I think it's just all the nonsense surrounding the race. I hate flying. I find it stressful. Even a short trip like Seattle to Phoenix becomes a whole day event that is exhausting although all you're doing is sitting. Maybe it's the constant "hurry up and wait". Katey is running the marathon while Emily and I run the half. Good god this race starts at 6:30am. Katey wants to leave her house at 3:30am to get to the shuttle buses! More hurry up and wait. We take the shuttle buses to the start where we do even more hurry up and wait. The lack of sleep on Friday night, coupled with the exhaustion of traveling and the early morning start on Saturday, in a unfamiliar place, is making me think I must really love Katey! Which I do but remind me that the next visit I make should purely be social.

A couple days have past since I started this post. I still have something going on but whatever it is really hasn't reared it's ugly head. Yesterday my morning readiness HRV score was a 7 so I decided to go for a little jog. I have also decided it wouldn't hurt anything and probably only helps things if I lowered my heart rate training. I was previously trying to keep my HR around 132 but decided to drop it down 5 beats more to 127. I've done a couple runs at this HR and strangely enough, maybe not, my runs weren't any slower.  I have already come to the determination that I needed to warm up more so I set my mind on a 1 mile walk to the park. I was going to run laps around the soccer field for 2-3 miles then do a 1 mile walk home for warm down. I knew it was somewhat rainy but I didn't realize until I was outside that it was really coming down. I didn't think it was particularly cold so I just went with a vest. I did my 1 mile walk to the park and GD it if there wasn't a GD soccer game going on! Are those kids always there? It was President's Day, shouldn't they get that off?!? I changed plans. I ended up starting my run from the park and ran a mile up a long , gradual hill. I'm being very generous when I use the term "run" because it was mostly a walk up. I was able to keep my HR pretty low but not low enough to start jogging. It spiked a couple times in the 140's but I was overall happy. I was able to jog down the hill for most of it and added an extra mile running to and fro Lake Youngs Trailhead. The 1 mile warm down was a little interesting though. I noticed my HR jumping around a bit and getting into the 150's. I didn't feel like I was under any stress other than my left foot was bugging me a little.  Couple that with the realization that it was a bit colder than I originally thought (my arms were pretty chilly) and whatever I have still lingering my HR was probably being affected. 

I've talked a bit about my HRV and have been taking morning readiness readings every morning for the last 3 weeks. The readings tell me about changes in my Autonomic Nervous System (the balance between my Sympathetic and Parasympathetic systems). My scores have generally been pretty good 8's, 9's and some 10's but I've had a couple 3's and a 4. This morning I got a reading of 3 and was told parasympathetic activity was abnormally high. I did the run yesterday and worked out at the gym last night. I might have overdone it so I decided to take today off. By off I mean do errands and deal with child not in school. Not exactly low stress but what are you going to do? I'm not sure what all this is telling me yet and I'm still wading through all the information of slowing down my running and taking HRV readings. I am also going to start adding tags about sleep quality and exercise done the day before. This is something I really wasn't logging on the HRV readings.


Finally, diet is going well. Really trying to keep my protein intake in line. Strangely enough it hasn't been as difficult keeping my carbs low. For the most part they are always under 30g, closer to 20g, but I find myself going over the 95g of protein several times. I definitely try to keep it under 120g and have even gone over that on occasion. So once again I am trying to figure out what works for me in my daily life. I have been doing intermittent fasting and I feel I've been pretty successful at that. If I'm really hungry I might go 15.5hrs instead of 16hrs before I eat but I'm generally in the ball park. When I do have breakfast I've fallen back to what I should have been eating probably all along... bacon and eggs.  I add a little heavy whipping cream to the eggs along with some extra sharp cheddar and scramble in Kerrygold butter. Yum, yum!



As I've been listening more to The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing I realize I need to make some changes. I already discussed before that I need to actually run more. That has been challenging over the last few weeks, especially this week, because the kids have barely been in school. With late starts, teacher workshop days and now 3 days of snow closures it has been difficult to get any running in. Next week the kids have half days all week due to teacher conferences so I foresee some days of being in running clothes all day. Sigh.

Some additional changes I plan on making are:

1. Dropping my max aerobic HR down 5 points. I had issue with the deduction of allergies plus allergy meds from the 180 formula and felt one deduction was enough. Now I think I need to take that additional 5 points since I am not seeing the improvement I had hoped to by this point. Granted I have not been running enough I still think it's worth a try.  

2. Warming up longer. I think I discussed this before as well. 

3. Stop the gym workouts for 8 weeks while I really base build. I just learned that all strength training is considered anaerobic even if you wear a HR monitor and try to keep below Max HR. This one will be tough.  

4. Continue yoga, maybe do 2 days/week and roll shit out. I've been negligent with self care and that can be hindering my progress. 

Now when do I start? I have a half marathon at the end of the month- Phoenix Half so I think once I am done traveling and kids breaks are over will be a good time. I have eliminated one hinderance this year with putting my business on hold. Trying to eliminate unnecessary stress is very beneficial. In addition I'm trying to reel in the chaos I felt my house was in. If your sanctuary is in disarray just think how out of whack everything else is going to be! I think it's working and I'm enjoying my time. Once I get the monkey of this year's taxes off my back I'll be on track. 

Nutrition has been going better as I've been tracking my macros better. I use MyFitnessPal to build the recipes and MyKeto Log to work out the macros. Now that I'm getting all these recipes built logging is much easier and quicker. Last night I made Blue Cheese Cabbage Stir-Fry. That was a big dinner and now a big lunch today. Helpful that lunch yesterday and dinner tonight are going to be on the lighter side. One cup of heavy whipping cream plus 1/3lb of butter in that baby! 


My Left Foot

The trials continue. Yesterday I set out to do what I thought was my 3rd MAF test. As I usually do I run a mile from my house to the park as my warm up, 8 laps around the soccer fields for my test then 1 mile run home as warm down. The warm up mile was a little rough. I didn't feel bad but did not feel GREAT. I was a little worried about my left foot. It has been giving me a little grief lately. As a matter of fact I did not run Tuesday morning because it was a little sore and I wanted to give it an extra day. So 1:45 on Saturday (30 min longer than planned), 2:30 on Sunday, Monday off and Tuesday off. My foot felt OK Wednesday morning, a little sore, but not too bad.  

Yesterday (Wednesday) the weather was what I would normally consider perfect running weather. Overcast, no rain but the threat was there, and cool but not windy. As I was doing my laps I realized I might be enjoying this more if it was sunny and cold. Not sure if that was just reflective of my mood or if it was true. The first 4 laps seemed a little slow to me especially compared to how I feel I have been running. On the second mile I decided to open up a little knowing that my HR would go up corresponding to the faster pace. There goes that MAF test I thought but I was interested in seeing how fast my recovery was comparatively. As you may have guessed it took longer. The mile run home was my fastest. 

As I was reading more on ther Maffetone website last night about MAF testing and the comments section on training I found out my splits are expected to get slower! If my first split is the slowest than the idea is I haven't warmed up enough. That's something to think about. I also thought about making the test longer. I also read it is recommended to run 5 days/week. I have cut down to about 3-4 plus gym due to my foot issues. I almost feel like I'm back to square one but I'll just keep moving forward and really make some decisions after Seattle Quadzuki.

Speaking of quadzuki...that's coming up soon. Yikes! 4 days of getting up at the crack of dawn. Ugh. By the way from a coach's point of view this is kind of a dumb thing to do. I agreed to it well over a year ago. A lot happened in that time but it is an experience and coaching from experience can be tremendously helpful. My plan? Run it slow of course. I'm not really that worried about the mileage other than the flare up with my foot.  I'm a bit concerned by day 3 that I'll barely be able to walk. I'm rolling, doing rx'd exercises and wearing my Strassburg sock. Trying to get in a little ankle mobility as well since I'm pretty sure that is in which the problem lies. I'll keep you posted.

Lately, eating has been the easiest thing going on but as with my running I'm still working on it. Last post I talked about adding some fat bombs which definitely got my fat % up there. The problem I'm having right now is logging. There are lots of apps out there but none of them really do exactly what I want. MyFitnessPal is the closest because it has a huge database and barcode scanning. However, it doesn't calculate Net Carbs. I can add the food as a modification but it is time consuming. I wish there was a setting to do this for you automatically for database items and for added foods/recipes. If only I was married to some kind of developer...wait a minute...

The Mad Bomber that bombs at midnight

Oooo I had a whole bunch of runs and InstaPot experiences to write about but all that running, Instapotting plus mothering got all of my time. I was set to do my 3rd MAF test in the last 2 weeks but that is really something you should be feeling really good before you do it. You want to go in feeling fantastic but one week I wasn't physically feeling fantastic (non-running related) and this week the election really had me stressed out so I wait.

Last night the Pip Running Badass Membership had our workout at the track. While Coach Dave handled the circuit training workout I ran laps. Earlier in the day I returned to seeing Dr. Stephen for maintenance on my left foot. Ankle mobility/non-glutes firing...nothing new here. I did ask him for one exercise (so that I would do it!) and was pleasantly surprised and somehow vindicated that he gave me an exercise that the awesome Travis and Meghan from DOS Performance had already given me. I probably should have been feeling sheepish and embarrassed. I'll let you know how that progresses. One day my butt will work but until then I wanted to let you know that I went into last night's laps feeling pretty good. My times have improved but I really need to work on keeping it level. I'm still stopping to walk to let my HR come down but I am running must faster in between those walk breaks. It definitely felt good to run but I need to work on keeping that run pace slower to be able run longer in between the breaks. I will have to look at my data but it did seem that my HR would not spike nearly as high as in the past so that's something.

Looking at Max HR: I'm pretty happy with how even this is starting to become without big spikes.

Looking at Max HR: I'm pretty happy with how even this is starting to become without big spikes.

As you may remember I noted that I felt I was not getting enough fat in my LCHF diet. I am definitely eating more but I am trying for 70%. I am really now looking into Fat Bombs. Mike and I tried a few previously but they were not good. Not good at all. I found a recipe yesterday, made them and tried it out last night. I felt it was pretty good and may add a little sea salt on top next time. Looking into savory bombs too. If I find a good one I'll post that too.

Here's what I made: 

Click on the picture for the recipe. I used ice cube trays to make the bombs so my qty was 16 not 24. I also added a macadamia nut in the middle and sprinkled with unsweetened flaked coconut. When I worked out the nutrition info it worked out like this:  Cal 194, Total Fat 20.8g, Net Carbs 1.5g

Click on the picture for the recipe. I used ice cube trays to make the bombs so my qty was 16 not 24. I also added a macadamia nut in the middle and sprinkled with unsweetened flaked coconut. When I worked out the nutrition info it worked out like this: Cal 194, Total Fat 20.8g, Net Carbs 1.5g


This morning it poured rain. When you are snug in bed drinking your coffee leisurely going out in that mess may be are hard fight. Thankfully that is not a fight I had to fight today because tonight was my strength training night at Ronin Training.

I have to tell you I ❤ this gym and my 6pm crew. Strength training while HR training can be a little complicated and while I'm still base building strength training really might not be the best idea. Like I said I ❤ this place and did not want to give up strength I had built or miss out on fun workouts with vaults so I have to be careful. When at the gym I make sure to wear my HR monitor and try to keep a very careful eye on my numbers. It's funny because some of the things that I think are going to shoot my HR up there really don't but lifting heavy? That is out...for now. I will add a period of heavy lifting without HR monitor a bit later.

If this was running I would be all over this form. It's been a little while since I've done Turkish Get Ups. Most important piece of equipment right now is on my other arm.

If this was running I would be all over this form. It's been a little while since I've done Turkish Get Ups. Most important piece of equipment right now is on my other arm.

While in the base building stage I am keeping with light weights and stopping when I need to stop to let my HR come down. That means I am generally walking any laps around the building or have to set the bar down halfway through a front squats set. It can be annoying to have to stop but the coaches have been awesome and even with my trip to HawaiiI and working on my HR for a couple months I came back able to broad jump further, still do some pushups and maintained the black band in pull-ups.

Breakfast: Kirkland Protein Bar 

Grande hot SF Coconut Americano w/Heavy Whipping Cream

Lunch: Tostada salad w/steak, guacamole and no beans (did not eat the shell)  

Dinner: leftover Butter Chicken w/cauliflower rice

Plus grazed on macadamia nuts and Dubliner cheese. 


And we're back

This morning I was able to get out and run the 3 miler I had planned. It felt good to be out running around mid-morning. I missed the bulk of the rain and just ran in some sprinkles but it was still cool and not humid feeling. I normally like to set out late morning for my runs from home. This still gives me time to ease into my day with leisurely coffee drinking while the kids gets ready and ship off to school. I can then get my run in, still have time to shower and do a few things around the house like laundry or dishes before all hell breaks loose when the kids come home.

This morning's run was fairly uneventful which is good. I spied some dropped candy on the ground and thought about the little kid that dropped it. I wondered if they would be pissed to know they dropped their precious cargo. I didn't see it on the way home and then wondered if an animal got to it. Often during the week when I do my short runs I run to by the local elementary school and park. I like to hear the kids playing outside and hope to maybe catch a glimpse of one of my kids. When I pass the school I run laps on the soccer field of the local park and eventually plan on doing sprint workouts there when I feel I'm ready. Really a perfect park for fartlek, speed and small hill workouts. Today I only ran 4 laps and noticed on my warm up mile run over to the park that my HR was spiking but seemed to recover pretty quickly once I stopped to walk. I think when I physically running my run time is actually faster than I have been running previously. I am trying to remain as even as possible and breathe through my nose. I notice when I start to let my mind wander I either miss HR monitor beeps, start running too fast and then I notice my HR really jump. I have to remember to stay in the moment and focus on how my body feels, breathing, being as relaxed as possible and just settle in. When you finally let your body settle in it is kind of like you just let out a big sigh and you relax. Additionally, my HR spikes might have something to do with my period so I'll just note it and look for any trends in the upcoming months.

This morning for breakfast: Kirkland Protein Bar

This afternoon for lunch: leftover Butter Chicken w/Riced Cauliflower

Soon to be had snack: Iced SF Coconut Americano w/Heavy Whipping Cream

Dinner: TBD (uh oh, maybe leftover Chicken Jalapeno Popper Chili)

Some of the Pip Runner's with me at Captain Jack's. I may have turned down candy yesterday but I couldn't turn down the free beer at the race.

Some of the Pip Runner's with me at Captain Jack's. I may have turned down candy yesterday but I couldn't turn down the free beer at the race.

I am adding a couple of split reports. The times are not great if you are looking on the surface but I am pretty pleased with the Captain Jack's splits. They were all sub-15min/mi and working their way pretty closely to sub-14min/mi. I know that does not sound impressive but considering my times we more 15-16min/mi previously I am happy to see the results and know that times are headed in the right direction. I even stopped to talk to some people so that's good to keep in the back of my mind too. I came out of this race not breaking a sweat and feeling pretty awesome afterward.

Saturday's Long Run was an out & back. The out was a slight downhill until almost 3 miles.

Saturday's Long Run was an out & back. The out was a slight downhill until almost 3 miles.

Halloween Treats

With all the Halloween craziness going on today I decided to take today as a rest day. It seems we all overslept, undoubtedly due to the coziness of our beds complimented by the sound of pouring rain and dark morning skies. This dreary weather (which I love by the way) kind of makes you yearn for comfort food. I have some troubles with food in the morning and often just choose black coffee but this morning I was hungry so I decided to try the baked egg frittatas I made and froze last week. 

Last week sometime for dinner I made Stuffed Peppers for dinner (I substituted ground beef with chorizo). I decided to double the filling mixture for the kids to use for tacos, burritos and these egg frittatas. To make the eggs frittatas I greased a muffin tin with butter and added a spoonful of the chorizo filling. I then mixed 6 whole eggs with a bit of heavy cream in a bowl until they were blended well and pour the eggs into the muffin tin cups. I should have left a bit of room at the top but unfortunately I filled them to the brim. Then I topped each egg cup off with shredded sharp cheddar and scallion. With a little bit of maneuvering and lots of mop up I got the tin into the oven and baked for 25min at 325 degrees. I did not try them the day I made them so today was the day. They were pretty good. Eggs are not my favorite food but I really like the chorizo mix and the frittatas are a good thing to have on hand for a quick on the go breakfast.

My lunch was definitely more deconstructed. I had a Kirkland Protein Bar at 12:30pm (4 Net Carbs) then a iced sugar free coconut Americano topped with heavy whipping cream about 3 hours later. I really shouldn't be having the artificial sweeteners of the sugar free coconut syrup but I'll deal with that at another time. This drink is absolutely scrumptious by the way. Maybe I will switch it up and add Whole Earth sweetener instead of the SF Coconut syrup in the future. I'll let you know if I go that route.

I had some Kerrygold Dubliner cheese for a snack (and maybe a glass of red wine) while I cooked dinner in my InstaPot tonight. Traditonal Halloween dinner is pizza. Since Mike and I are not partaking in pizza I made Chicken Jalapeno Popper Chili. Verdict=delicious. Instead of tortilla chips as a garnish we used chicharrones. They are a pretty good substitute if you need a little crunch. The IP was perfect to use on a night like tonight since everything cooked quick and unattended while dealing with kid chaos trying to get out the door for trick or treating. Plus the IP switches over to warming mode in case I miss the beep.

No candy consumed this Halloween. It was a little tempting due to the open bag of candy corn right under my nose but I got over it and managed to send that bag home with someone else. 

I will add links to recipes when I'm on my PC. Tomorrow I plan to run 3-4 slow miles in the morning. Hopefully I can get my 3rd MAF test in this week as long as I'm still feeling well and sleep well.

This is what I am doing

I have been conducting some experiments on myself over the past several months. My husband and I began trying to eat LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) first starting with the 2 then 4 week challenge on the Diet Doctor website. I have been trying to keep a strict low carb/ketogenic diet with my macros in the 5/20/75% ratios. Key word here is "trying". It is amazing where you find carbs so it has been a process filtering out the small products you don't ever think much about. I am also finding it difficult to consume as much fat as I need but I can go into more trial and error later as I am playing catch up on this blog post. I have not had weight pouring off of me like many people but I feel I am definitely leaner and my skin is better. My main goal is really to become fat adapted and a fat burning machine.

The next experiment I have been running on myself is HR training. This has also come with many trials and is an ongoing learning process. Using the Maffetone 180 Formula (180-age plus some additional factors) I came up with my number (I talked about it a little bit here in a previous post). Here is where some learning curves have come in. First I started with just 180-age but after reading the additional factors I realized it should be lowered. I had settled on trying to keep my HR below 133 but lowering it again may be an option if I am not seeing progress. I will probably get into why I am doing this more in later blog posts but for the most part I felt after 10 years of running and 4 years of coaching/running group runs I was overtrained and in the black hole. I am currently reading Primal Endurance (and listen to their Primal Endurance Podcast) and so far have found many similarities between Mark and Brad's ideas on training and Lydiard training.

I am a "trial by fire" kind of person so this will be a work in progress and I something I have committed myself to do over the next year. Results so far, I am now slow as shit which tells me my aerobic system was really suffering. However, even though I slowed to a near walk I am seeing improvements in my HR training times and even better than that I feel awesome after my runs. I can do my 2-2.5 hour runs and feel refreshed without aches/pains afterwards. Part of coming out of the hole was finding the joy of running again and I definitely am. I will post MAF tests results in a future blog post as I get into more daily posts about my progress.

I am not a foodie, food blogger or even a person that likes when people post pics of their food but I will do it here because part of the challenge/experiment with changing our eating style is that we have to cook a lot more often. We are discovering new ways to cook, what to cook and new things to eat. The last thing I made was Primal Butter Chicken from the Primal Desire website. I recently purchased a InstaPot pressure cooker and have been having some fun finding new recipes to cook for my family. This was one of them. I am not a huge Indian food person but this was delicious and we got 7 servings out of this recipe. Once I worked out the #'s this is actually higher in carbs than I would like (almost 15g/serving) so something to think about in the future if I make this again.

Puppies, Pis and Pip

I enjoy teaching people to run. I love when there is enthusiasm after someone runs their first mile or being there with them when they complete their first 5k or PR a race. As a running coach these are exciting moments that, to me, are akin to being a mom and your child reaches a new milestone. Chest puffing pride abounds. So what happens when you are a mom and a running coach and you try to get your kids to love running too? There has only been a modicum amount of chest puffing in my house in this regard but I've found the secret.

Kids run. Sometimes they run a lot. Kids enjoy running most of the time when they don't realize they are running. Make kids run for any reason other than fun and you are asking to get an earful of whining. Maybe deservedly. I have tried to get my 2 kids, ages 5 and 9, involved in running. They have had some desire but I almost squashed it when I tried to make them do it,  even when I thought what we were doing was fun. So I eventually learned after some tears and a lot of "why are we doing this?" and I backed off. The kids seem to like that I run. They know I am a coach and often accompany me while I water stop my runners. They always seem to enjoy when I come home with a new medal and they have spent countless hours on the race course cheering mom on. I thought I could lure them into running races with the promise of a medal but it seems most kids races either don't give a medal (a big mistake in my mind) or they are clearly inferior. I know there are arguments to be made about the value of medals, who should get them and when but when talking about kids and racing, especially younger kids, I feel they are a great incentive to get them involved. Since they are hard to come by in regular races I have turned to virtual races.

Virtual races are great to do with kids because you can run them anywhere, at any time of day, you generally have a few days to complete them and you more often then not get a medal. Score, score, score and SCORE! The last virtual race I did with my kids was the Pi Day 5k created by Gametiime. Since I knew my kids could not run a 5k all in one shot my plan was to run one mile a day over 3 days with the last day adding a little extra 0.1. The kids were so excited to earn their Pi Day medals and schwings that they were rearing to get out there (our neighborhood) and run their distances. I let them run/walk when needed and the beauty of doing it anytime really helped them complete their goals. My daughter was able to finish up her last mile with me and my running group (they were running our planned Pi Day 5k group run) and eat pie! My son had a previous engagement so he ended up running his last mile, by himself, in the pouring rain. But he did it and he was very proud of himself. I was proud of him too with plenty of chest puffing that morning.

Join team Pip Pup (password PIXIES) and use Promo Code SUSAN10 to save 10%

Join team Pip Pup (password PIXIES) and use Promo Code SUSAN10 to save 10%

Now Gametiime has a new virtual race, The Puppy Run, and when I showed my daughter the awesome puppy medal her head nearly exploded. If you were to know my daughter (and Pip Running namesake) you would know that she loves dogs and cute, fluffy puppies are the bees knees. The Puppy Run medal with the dogs feet forming a heart was really too much for her and we were doing this race. The medal is to be hers. The bag and Frisbee are great too but the medal, and the race name of course, is what is getting her and my son excited to do this. Our 2 dogs are too old to run this with us but I'm sure the medals will be named Courage and Rocco and we'll notice lots of other cute dogs on our runs that remind of us Courage and Rocco. I am planning to have the kids run this race similarly to the Pi Day 5k. I'll have them break up their runs if they need to, run/walking is allowed and mom will give them subtle tips to help them run longer. The time doesn't matter at this point so much as completing their goal, earning their medals and participating in something as a family.

Virtual races are awesome.


I have had a pretty good couple of weeks lately. Well, couple of months really. I have been working with my coach on helping me get back my running mojo. We meet once a week and I have to say having someone force you to do things you should do but don't do is really helpful. I'm getting that left arm to cooperate and hills are still evil but I can tackle them now. I'm really trying to remember my stride and breathing to keep things coming together. That makes me feel good and feeling good about my running makes me feel confident as a coach.

Many things lately have been going on with my coaching. Not so much that I've picked up tons of new clients but I had 3 certification classes scheduled for this year that I've been pretty excited about. The first class was through Rocktape to become FMT Level 1 certified. I've been having a ball taping up my clients (and myself). So far, so good with the reviews of my tape jobs. I feel it's just something a little extra that I can give my clients. The taping this picture is for one of my clients Katey. She has problems with edema in her knee and calf after running. I was excited to learn about this edema taping in class because I immediately thought of her. After she was thoroughly examined by a couple of doctors she was given the all clear of any medical issues and the taping seems to help keep her swelling down. Now I am only taping her knee because the calf swelling seems to subsided after the 1st application.

The next certification class I just took over the Mother's Day weekend. I went through the Lydiard Foundation's Level I&II Certification Course. This was a really educational, interesting and fun course. I'm still waiting to do my final test to receive my official certification but I cannot wait to explore this method of coaching and hopefully start implementing it next year when I am done with my races. We got to meet Lorraine Moller who was the Bronze medalist in the 1992 Olympic Games. She and Nobby Hashizume were really fun and of course gave us a ton of information and Lorraine brought her bronze medal for us all to see. That is one heavy metal! I met many great people and I hope I get to work with many of them in the future.

The final certification course for the year should be Newton Level II Cert. I am taking a Healthy Running course this summer and after some procedure and video taping I can apply for my cert and pass muster. I am pretty excited about this course because there is a large section of form which has become very important to me as a coach. Also, there is a section regarding shoe wear (go figure) and I will get a new pair of Newton's out of the deal. Plus the kids are getting another trip to Portland and they have been dying to go back.

Finally, some of you may have noticed a couple of Learn to Run Clinics/Meet the Coach events. This is something I am trying to get going to help all those people that are on the fence about learning how to run.  Many of us have been that person that is interested but too scared to join because we think we are too slow, or to fat or are all Phoebe running through the park. The goal is that interested people can see that we are normal people in this group that look like them and have/had all the same concerns. Everyone is welcome to come to this event so even if you've been through one of my classes I would love for you to be there!

WTF just happened

The last month or so have really been a whirlwind full of ups and downs for me. I have had a lot going on with creating and launching my new website, Pip Running , setting up a Groupon campaign, setting up classes at Renton Community Center, reformulating my run schedule/pricing, launching my newsletter, scheduling coaching workshops for myself and starting my own marathon training! Phew! I'm tired.

The website is something I have thought about doing for awhile. I wasn't sure if I would try to hire someone to design it for me or just try to wing it myself. I have winged setting up sites before so I knew how daunting it could be especially with no actual coding knowledge. I was lucky enough to be listening to Mark Maron's WTF podcast when I heard the ad for Squarespace and remembered to check it out. I thought the websites looked nice and it seemed doable. I spent a week solid working on it and fixed bugs and stuff a long the way. It's not perfect and on the backside for setting up the calendar and store things could be easier but I'm pretty pleased with it especially with my limited website building capabilities. Check it out and let me know what you think.

The whole reason I really sat down and built the website was so that I could start doing Groupon or Groupon type campaigns. Obviously I wanted to attract more runners to Pip but I really want to start building up the trainings so that all the mid-week stuff could just be free, fun, maintenance runs. That is my plan and hopefully the little community will start to grow and Pip Running shirts will be seen all the local trails. After I complete some of these workshops that I have scheduled I think I would feel more confident exploring more online coaching as well. The Groupon campaign is launching in 10 days and fingers crossed it all goes well! There is a lot of satisfaction in getting people to run and having them fall in love with it. It won't be everyone but that handful that does it is really fun to watch and be apart of it. Spread the word!

All of this was going on and when I would do my solo runs something was off. The runs seemed to be a lot harder than they should have been. Things weren't moving right and I was getting pretty down on myself. The coach needed a coach. I started working one on one with my Flash and Dash Speed/Form class coach Ben Rixe. Seems like I was running into a common problem (no pun intended) that my own workouts were suffering. Let me tell you seeing yourself on video can not only be very frightening but pretty eye opening! This is something I want to start doing more myself as a coach. No one wants to see themselves but after a few dozen times of watching yourself you will get desensitized to how your ass looks in those tights and will be able to focus on things such as arm swing, foot strike and forward lean. I'm feeling better these days and started seeing improvement immediately. Now about my ass in those tights...

Did I Really Just Agree To Do Another One?

When I finished the Portland Marathon in October I felt great. Other than my calves being ridiculously tight I had very little in the way of soreness. I never hit a wall when we were out running and it seemed the farther we went the more upbeat I felt. We were getting closer to the end and I was getting closer to accomplishing this goal. It was a pretty great high especially coming of a month of injury and another month of trying to build my miles back. So immediately I thought I will need to do this again, without injury, so I can experience a full marathon training and one where I aspire for more than just finishing. I've ridden that high and that thought for many months. Eventually I decided with another friend to try to run the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon. We have talked about it for months and any thoughts of my running Ragnar this year I put aside because this was the race. One problem. The race sells out every year, the number of runners is very limited and we had yet to sign up. It's hard to plan your training for a big race when you are not even sure if you would be able to run it. Not to be deterred we continued to plan as if we were in like Flynn.

March 2nd! March 2nd was the first day released for registration. Promptly at 7pm we could try to register online. Only 200 runners would gain entrance. By this point my first running partner had to drop out. She is on the indefinite injured list. While I was sad to hear she would not be able to run, and all our training prior to the race was out, I am happy to report that another was foolish enough to take her spot as my training partner. What are we getting ourselves into?

March 2nd has come. We ran Hot Chocolate this morning and I cannot tell you how tired I am. The last stupid hill in the 5k wiped me out! How am I going to run 23.1 more miles in July?!? Granted this lovely marathon is a gentle downhill for most of the way and I will go through 20 weeks of training from now until then but it freaks me out a little. I'm not too disappointed in my Hot Chocolate time either. Could have been a PR I think if not for that last long hill up Denny (or maybe it was another street they all have hills).  So 7pm had come and Emily and I were feverishly trying to register online. I was just checking out when I got a text from Emily that said she was in. Just as I got Emily's text something crashed on my end. I was out! I tried refreshing several times and opening another page. I was texting Emily that I had crashed! I had crashed! Time was slipping away and I had crashed and might not get registered. I was freaking out a little. Emily texted that she was still in and she would try to register me.

Just as Emily got me registered my page came back up. I would have had to go through all the steps again to register but I was already in. I decided to poke around a little at who got registered when I received notice that the race was sold out. Minutes is all it took. I was only of the lucky (that remains to be seen) few to make it into this race.

Now I've got to run it.

New Beginnings

What's been going on at Pip Running? Lots! In January I started a Slug to 5k Training Group. This was a small group of 4 ladies plus one current client who was rehabbing. By the 3rd week I lost 3 (one transferred to later class, one wasn't ready & one moved to the class below). The class was small but we were progressing.

A few weeks later I started another training group. This one was a Half Marathon Training Group with the goal race being BMO Vancouver on May 4th. I have 3 ladies in this group. They are a fun group of very motivated women. For reasons I'm still not sure of I decided to schedule these 2 groups on Saturday morning. For a few weeks there I was doing double duty. Eventually it just made sense to move everyone to the same flat, trail. Hello Ron Regis Park!

8 weeks later Shannon graduated from the Slug to 5k. The other lady never could make it to class but fortunately we've been able to keep in contact. I am always so proud when someone goes through the training and reaches their goal and I always especially enjoy being there for people when they do their 1st's. While all this was going on I was also working with the Renton Community Center to have a training group through there. The goal race for this group was the Seahawks 12k/GLOW 5k coming up in April. The Seahawks had just won the Super Bowl and I thought this training would be really popular. We missed being published in the RCC guide and the only offering I could do was a morning class and of course of those that inquired they wanted evening. Doh! Unfortunately while this was going on with the community center I did have my own Seahawks Slug to 5k evening training starting the same day but no one who inquired knew to look into Pip Running for evening classes and I didn't know who inquired. However I did speak to one lady and now the current Slug to 5k is made up of refugees from previous classes.

So now there are two classes going plus all the usual runs. Somewhere in all that running around I have been planning on running another marathon. I'm sure that's why I scheduled everything on a Saturday. There had to have been a good reason.

New Pip Running Merchandise!

I finally got the order placed today for the new Pip Running tech shirts. These are the shirts that are being given to the new Slug to 5k and Half Marathon Training clients. They are also available for sale. $20 per shirt/Unisex sizing. The quantities are very limited. You can use the PayPal button the the rights to order.

2014 Will Be Quite A Year...I Think But I Haven't Planned Anything Yet

Well now it's January. Now I suppose I am to make some kind of resolution for the new year. Lose 10lbs? Eat healthier? Hit the gym more? I don't know. I really don't believe in making New Year Resolutions. Not because none of these things don't need focus because they probably do.  I want to say more so because I am lazy but that is not really it either. I don't like to make insincere goals for myself and I definitely don't like to make public insincere goals or resolutions. Once I decide that something is a goal or resolution then it becomes a personal challenge to me. It just takes me awhile to work it out in my head, make my plan and figure out how I am going to coordinate what needs to be done. A date on a calendar does not make that goal/resolution happen I make it happen.

Which leads me to what I've been mulling about. I am not one to come up with a list of things that I need to complete by a certain time. I have a loose idea of things that 1. I know I can do 2. Someday would like to be able to do 3. There's a snowball's chance in Hell it's going to happen but...then along with that loose idea of things I also have a loose idea of how loose item 1 can happen but this loose list only goes to a looser idea of how item 2 can possibly happen. So for running, which this blog is mostly about, I have loosely thought about expanding Pip Running. I have run an ad in the neighborhood flyer and I am collaborating with a few people on a few things. I have loosely thought of getting a legitimate website and the wheels are starting to spin on possible future training groups. Ahhh. That is already a lot of work on inside my head. Then I am supposed to think about, formulate a plan and then execute a plan on the 2 half marathons I have committed to running in 2014? My passport renewal is still in flux but it is getting there. Maybe a 3 trip to a government office will be my lucky day. I should really get down there. My marathon "plan" is even more loose because...well that date has not been released yet. I had a personal goal to run a 1000 miles in 2013. The number wasn't a hard number necessarily. I just wanted it to be over 1000. After tallying through 10 spreadsheets I figured out I ran 1303.96. Another person may have ran that 0.04 when they saw that number but I like to play it fast and loose.  Beyond those "goals" I have no idea what I am doing.

As a running coach I often talk to my clients about setting goals for their running.  It is a great motivator to have this carrot of a race dangling out there and the races with the training and group runs really help keep you focused. On a personal level I really work best off the outline.  So no New Year's Resolutions for me. I am still going to eat carbs, curse like a sailor and drink wine. I would like to resolve to become more organized and get laser-like focus on my goals. But that seems like a lot of work so I think I am just going to loosely decide to just run.

A Christmas Story!

For December I decided to do something I have never done before. I decided to run a Virtual Race. You may be asking what is a Virtual Race? A Virtual Race is a race that you can basically run anywhere you are and sometimes at whatever time you want. The distances vary and the length of time you have to complete them varies as well. The fees are small compared to regular races and they generally go to charity. It seems like many of the Virtual Races offer medals and to be honest it was the medal that convinced me to do this Virtual Race: A Christmas Story 30th Anniversary 5k/10k Run. 

I worked with a friend named Melissa to create an event for Pip Running and our friends. We had a group of 9 or so people running between both distances and Melissa already had a pre-run route that started from her house, through Downtown Renton, past Boeing along the Cedar River Trail then back up to Melissa's house where we had a wonderful pot luck brunch and running clothes swap. 

As I said before the fees for Virtual Runs are generally pretty cheap but this race was not. The starting price was around $55 and then jumped up to near $75 with shipping. Yikes! That was a hard race entry to swallow because I, of course, waited too long on the early bird pricing and paid the $$$ pricing. I set up the event though what else could I do. Of course we did not expect everyone to pay that high fee so Melissa made medals for all the runners. I know many people scoff at race medals and they don't run for them but I ran for this one and got a super unique bonus medal in the deal.

Both of them are hanging proudly on my medal rack.  They are both a Major Award after all.