6'0 tall, former athlete, mother of 3, struggling to keep up on the RUN of daily life.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Feathery Five

Stats for 3/31:
5.01 miles
8:43 pace (8:35 and 8:51 splits)
Run along the river path with Shelby

At about 9:45AM the rain outside the office windows was pouring buckets, puddles filled, rivers swelled and trees rejoiced. My mind slowly shifted from Tuesday run to hmmm maybe Wednesday run. Thankfully at 11:25 there was not a drop in sight so we got in gear. While stretching the sky dropped some sleet/rain balls on us. I began to question the choice to go outside. Shelby chose the path to the right along the river, I am guessing the pesky sleet/rain cloud pestered the runners to the left.

One of these days I will get a photo of my darling and dedicated running buddy and me. Today Shelby was more than adorable, a few things I will keep confidential (some things on the trail should be left on the trail) but her fear of Canadian Geese is too precious not to share. The path on Interurban passes an area ruled by Canadian Geese and their droppings. Generally the path is clear (not clear of fecal matter) but today the feathery friends were gathered ready to pounce. Our pace slowed then sped up, I could tell something was up, come to find out Shelby has a fear of Geese. My Mama bear instincts kicked in and I tried to scare the goofy geese away. They weren't budging. With some positive and distracting chat and a speedy pace we made it through without being flogged by our feathered foes.

Five miles in the books and nary a rain drop in sight. BONUS! When I logged my mileage to my 2009 Excel sheet I passed a milestone over 200 miles run. To be exact 200.93 miles in 2009!! And 30,155 calories burned. Thank you Garmin for helping me to rejoice.

Hubby texted dinner tonight will be Turkey Burgers on Wheat buns, Yam fries and broccoli. Yum, YUM, YUMMERS!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

3 for 3

Stats for 3/30:
3.01 miles
7:40 pace
Solo run to Rite Aid

While at the beach I relaxed from my usual "healthy eating" and consumed far more calories than someone trying to reach her "goal weight" should. I indulged in sloppy cheese burgers, fried seafood platter, finger licking Doritos, rocky road ice-cream, salty french fries, and 1/2 a scrumptious chocolate shake. And the result.. as you can tell from the Blog title, I was up 3 pounds. My wonderful hubby gained 3 as well :) So today I laced up and set out for a calorie burning 3 miler.

As I approached the door our imaginative 3 year old Anakin (aka Blaine) said "Bye Bye Queen Amidala," (giggle giggle dimpled grin) nice to be a queen for a change instead of Jabba, Jar Jar Binks or Darth Vader. Inspired to hang with my adorable Star Wars fanatic, I decided to try for a PR pace. Looking back on my 09 training log, I had run a 7:51 paced 3 miler, so internal goal set and GO!!!

The route was my usual to Rite Aid and back, a few small hills, mostly sidewalks along the road and ending with the hill of dead legs. The first half of the run was great I felt the speed and as Raegan once said "You were creating your own wind," which was true because the trees weren't moving but wow did I feel air resistance. As I turned my head to check for traffic before crossing the road I felt a TWINGE…OUCH!! I think I tweaked my neck blocking Mighty Mouse in my Volleyball game last night. I call him Mighty Mouse because he is 5 foot nothing, has oversized ears, jumps so high he appears to be flying and can accomplish amazing feats for his stature. I touched, slowed down and blocked a few of his powerfully pounded spikes. My poor neck was now paying the price. Note to self: ask Hubby for a neck and shoulders workout before the fall Volleyball season. We took 2nd in the co-ed Puyallup Parks and Rec competitive division so it was worth the Batman neck. Turning my whole body to check for cars I crossed for the last 1/2 mile.

The end of my runs at home are the WORST. There is a .10 hill that KILLS me every time. I have avoided hill training thus far but know I will have to defeat that giant soon. Today I took long strides and worked my way up, 7:30 pace. When I got to the top I pooped out!! Quick recovery at the top and sprint to the finish. New personal PR in the books and hopefully the scale Gods will reward me. In the mean time it is Tuna, veggies and water for lunch. Don't be too jealous..


I realized that I didn't like looking at the DARK BLACK face of my Blog. So with a quick look through some websites I found a new one. The Daisy reminds me of my Mom and I am sure I will see more than a few on my runs. I did not realize that by pasting the code I would lose everything.. SUCKY!! So after a few tweaks and re-writing my bio, instant face lift!! I have a book I frequent called "Treasury of Women's Quotations" this quote jumped out at me this morning:

"What really matters is what you do
with what you have."
Shirley Lord

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hubby on the Run

Stats for 3/28:
2.01 miles
8:36 overall pace
Run with Hubby (Dave) wind and rain storm

Saturday the boys woke us up at 7:25ish and our Ocean view condo quickly buzzed with activity. My parents and 8 year old nephew were asleep in the living room, but not for long. Mom, bless her heart, offered to watch the little ones while I took the big guy on a run. Nice for hubby to be on the run without pushing 80+ pounds of kiddo. WOW was it cold, rainy and windy. The favorite spandex were in the laundry at home. Windbreaker pants do not live up to the title, AT ALL, my knees were freezing! Our plan was to find a path with a beach view and run 3 miles. We were not successful on either plan. Not knowing the area we travelled on a low traffic road which ran parallel to the beach, no view and TONS of puddles. Not quite the pretty and peaceful run we had envisioned...Oh well! Hubby asked how far we had gone and I said .89, he grimaced and I could tell that he was internally plotting an exit strategy. I could hear the words "I think I will walk, but you can go on ahead and I will catch up."

Being with a man for over 7 years you learn a thing or two. What I know about my husband and his running:

1. He is a fair weather runner. He does not like cold, wind or rain. The fact that he even left the warmth of the condo was amazing.

2. 3 miles is about his max with the best of conditions.

So I said, "We can do 2 miles if you want?" He quickly agreed and we turned soon after. I had completed my training plan mileage for the week, fearing that this would happen..it pays to be a planner. The run was not what I had been hoping for, maybe we will find the peaceful beach run in Hawaii this month!!! Below are a couple shots from the trip, even with clouds and rain the beach is BEAUTIFUL.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Stats for 3/27:
4.05 miles
8:47 overall pace
Run with Shelby

After a speedy pace yesterday Shelby and I went a little slower today. My knee ached a little when we first started, probably because I need to warm up better. I was worried until we got going and I was pain free. The trees near the train tracks and along the path are starting to bloom. The white and pink buds make me smile. Although my never-ending headaches are caused by allergies to all the budding trees. I'll take the good with the bad.

Our run was easy and I completed my training mileage for the week. This weekend we are going to the Washington Coast with my family, so I may run to enjoy the view but no pressure. My hubby texted me that he dead-lifted 305 pounds, JEEPERS!! Not to be outdone, I looked at my (anal) excel sheet today and saw that in 2009 I have run 190.9 miles and burned over 28,619 calories. WOWEE!! Could be the reason my Asics are DONE, since I purchased the shoes in August of 08. OOPS! My goal for April is to get fitted for a new pair, just in time for the mileage increase.

Happy Running this weekend!!


I was chatting with Tanna (fellow runner and co-worker) about Boston Marathon qualifying times, yes I am obsessive. She said that some races have a division for Clydesdale's or larger men. My mind immediately went to my 6'9 little (OK younger) brother Jonathan. Images of his size 14's clamouring down the road. Arms and legs for days. Strides equal to multiple turnover for the "average" road racer. I think I may find a local 5K and ask him to join me for the pure joy of watching others oogle at him. Keeping an internal count of how many times I hear "How tall is that guy?"

I digress. Curious if there is a division for females, I quickly googled and found the Athena's category. Not having hours to research I concluded that the group is for women above 160 pounds. Hey, that's me!! At 6'0 tall and 187.2 (to be accurate) pounds. I found an article written a year ago by Dimity (Article), I do not 100% agree with all of her thoughts but it is an interesting debacle. Do I compare myself to those who are in my "above average" size range? Or should I stick it out with everyone and see where I stack up?

My height was an advantage in basketball and volleyball. Long limbs aided with my shot-put (2nd in state my senior year in HS) and discus tosses as well. But running?? Hmm... My strides are longer, but I have to pull around more weight and the wind resistance....hehehe.. Anyway, no deep thoughts today. Simply stated my take is this: I think it is fun to give us "Big gals" a pretty name like Athena to glamorize our efforts keeping pace with those in X-Small spandex.

Athena defined....Large spandex and proud of it!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


“Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."
Winston Churchill

The Pace

Stats for 3/26:
3.03 miles
8:23 overall pace
Run with Shelby

Shelby and I went for another (Easy) 3 miler today. Funny story Shelby forgot her long sleeve shirt and brought a t-shirt from college with beers on the back, not very work lobby appropriate. So we swapped, she wore my Nike dry weave long sleeve to stay warm and I sported the bright green size medium t-shirt under my jacket...problem solved!!

There was no rain, and very little wind. Thank Heaven!! So nice to have a dry day. The Boston Marathon qualifying time is posted on a pink sticky note attached to my Runners World Calendar (FYI if you don't have this calendar go get one it is awesome). The pace is 8.23 for my age group. So when I plugged in to get our stats, I was pleasantly surprised to see that exact pace. OK that was 3 miles, which prompts the question: How do people run that pace for 26.2 miles? Up & down hills, in rain, wind, heat, with blisters, stomach aches, blackened toe nails, stopping to use the port-a-potty, gulping down water, squeezing gel packs for nourishment and RUNNING without passing out. AMAZING!

Yes it may be a far fetched goal, especially for my first try at a long race, but what harm is there is having my goals set high? We did it today!!! Only time will tell what pace my body can handle, I may even surprise myself. I have not gotten where I am today by limiting my potential...

Until tomorrow... Happy Running!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Easy Three

Stats for 3/24:
3.02 miles
8:34 overall pace
Slight wind, run with Shelby

My co-worker Tanna (who has run 3 marathons) offered simple advice when I started my training. She said to follow the mileage plan 100%. Before my "official" training started I had been running 4-6 miles each run during the week and longer runs on the weekend. So the 3 milers sprinkled throughout the first 5 weeks of "The Plan" feel like rest or easy days. My work-lunch-running-partner Shelby seemed pretty happy when I told her that I would be scaling back and doing 3 milers for a few weeks. She calls me "Coach," although she has never fully explained the nickname my gut tells me it is because our workouts push her to her limit. Oops, guess I am not a very good running buddy.

On our quick run today Shelby talked almost the whole time, which was GREAT! I got to go on autopilot and not reach for conversation. The first half of our run we were against the wind, thankfully at 1.5 the wind was aiding our progress. The trails near my office are level, paved pathways, much better than the sidewalks near my house.

The run was a breeze, which made me think back to the "Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure" 5K that I did last June. I remember being soooo excited to finish the 5K in under 30 minutes, my time was 29:33. It was a struggle to run and I felt like walking a few times. Amazing what a difference 8 months makes. I am tempted to sign up for a 5K race to get a PR on the books. For now I will enjoy the low mileage and test the limits of my speed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Filling the Tank

Stats for 3/23:
7.07 miles
8:22 overall pace (8:07 and 8:38 1/2 split times)
Windshield wiper on fast mode rain

Looking at my training plan for the week this weekend is a 7 miler....we are going to the beach with my parents and nephew. My husband, bless his heart, said that he would run with me, which is GREAT! However, Dave is done at 2 miles, so I highly doubt that he would make the 7 mile treck. So I opted to start my week with my long run.

I laced up, stretched and mentally planned out my run. The last time I did a 7 miler I had an out and back. I prefer out and backs, there is something about knowing I have made it half way. This time I was making up a route as I went. I will talk a lot about my "Tank." My tank is my mental and physical capacity to reach higher. On this day my tank was not full. I work from home on Mondays so I did not follow my usual snacking routine. I play volleyball on Sunday nights so I was tired. And with layoffs and stresses at work I was not 100% there mentally. Since I am a "no excuses" type of person I figured I would work it out on the pavement.

Oh the rain! The Rain!! THE DARN RAIN!!! Cars driving by had wipers on full blast, that is how hard the rain was coming down. Thankfully I put on a hat, but I still had to wipe drops from my face the entire run. At about mile 4.7 I noticed a little pocket runner coming up behind me. No offense to my little friends, but if I weighed 112 pounds I would be running 7 minute miles too.. Anyway I tried my darnedest to speed up and keep my pride. After a slight incline she had me. BUMMER!! So I kept a close distance curious where she was headed. This was a blessing because she took a left where I usually go strait and cross traffic. I would have never gone the way she went but once I followed I found it was EXACTLY the mileage I needed. Thank you mini runner!

When I got home I was anxious to plug in my Garmin, yes I am addicted!! The stats were great for a low fuel day. Before my shower I hopped on my scale. WHAT??? I weighed 184.6!!! OK my goal weight since college has been 185, I never NEVER thought I would reach it. I knew it was lack of water but seeing the number totally refilled my tank. I did a victory dance and warmed up in the shower. Long run down, now I have easy runs the rest of the week!! More later..

Monday, March 23, 2009

First time off plan

It was bound to happen eventually...life got in the way of running. My hubby and I set out with the double jogger and our boys to go for a jog/run. I planned to run with them to the park then leave to complete the planned mileage for the day- 4 total miles. Once we got to the soccer field after 1.5 miles at a slow pace I decided I wanted to watch my son play, BIG MISTAKE. The field was sopping wet and my sneakers were quickly water logged. Running was not an option because I did not want to add to my collection of blisters.

SOOOO.. I was hoping I would make up the mileage this week but it won't happen because we are going out of town with my family this weekend. My friend, and fellow runner, Angie told me once not to stress if I miss a day. So I am taking that advice. We did complete 2.86 miles with our stroll through the woods.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Switch, Survivor and Shopping List

Stats for 3/20:
6 miles
8:32 overall pace (8:06 and 8:59 1/2 split times)
Slight incline, rain and wind

This morning I was mentally preparing myself for a 4 mile run with my work-lunch-running-buddy Shelby. At 10ish she sent me an IM that she could not go. OK..hmmm. Running alone, no problem. My weekend is going to be BUSY to spend more time with my boys maybe I should do my long run today. I had an hour and a half to change my brain to prepare for a 6 miler in the rain. It was worth it to me to get to spend 16-20 more minutes with my kids and hubby.

On my second week of 4 day training I don't have my laundry schedule down. Today I was VERY aware that I had put on the wrong gear. My jacket had a hood, drover me crazy and a zipper that bounced on my chest the entire run. I LOVE to run, however I can be easily taken out of my euphoria by annoying gear. I also realized at mile 3.73 that I had worn my 3 mile socks. Good moisture wicking running socks are expensive so I only own 2 good pairs. Today I put on my cotton socks, EVIL fabric to wear for running. I could feel the blisters forming, FABULOUS. Then the wind and rain picked up, LOVELY. Just then my friend Beyonce joined me and "Survivor" blared in my ears. The tough woman in me was inspired!! I have been through the birth of 2 babies, 2 knee surgeries, countless pre-season workouts and played through illness and PMS…this 6 miles was not going to beat me, "I'm a Survivor!!!" I was much faster the first half of the run, which could be wind aided/resistance, but I made it and in a pretty good time.

As I approached my last mile I was mentally creating my running shopping list. Running is expensive, but I figure I have not joined weight watchers or a health club, so I am saving us money.

Below is what I need to buy:
Moisture wicking socks (3 or more pairs)
Spandex and under spandex in a smaller size (who knew spandex could get baggy)
Waterproof hat
Headphones that don't fall out of my ears
Shoes or at least new arch supports to get me through
A massage (OK that one is a wish list item)

27 miles down 393.2 more to go...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pace, Puddles and IPod

Stats for 3/19:
3.03 miles
7:51 pace
level run, slight drizzle and wind

As a fairly new runner I realize on every run that I have NO IDEA what pace I am going. If my Garmin did not guide me I would be across the board with times ranging from 6:30 minute miles to 10+. I am hoping that through training I can develop the internal gauge necessary to run 26 miles without going too fast or too slow.

Spring is nearly here and the Seattle drizzle will be every present. Today I felt like I was puddle hopping to avoid soggy sneakers. I am due for a new pair. Ironic that my Gel Nimbus shoes, named after a cloud, seem to soak in the water from the grey puffs dripping above. I am hoping to make it to the local running store to get fitted for a good pair of water resistant shoes.
I LOVE to have music on my run.

I realized that the play list that I selected, with the help of my best friend, is not running quality. During my short 23:45 I must have skipped about 10 songs. Imagine the distraction as my training mileage increases. My iPod is a tiny shuffle with no option for sophisticated play lists for speed, cool-down, etc. A few months back I asked some fellow runners and friends to send song ideas for running. I think I am going to have to pay for a few and load tunes worthy of joining me on my training.

6 runs down 58 to go….

1st Week of Traning

Last week was my first official week of my 16 week "Rookie" marathon training. Yes I am a Rookie with only 3 road races under my belt: a local 5K in Bonney Lake, which I won for the Women when I was 20. My time was amazing, but I cannot for the life of me remember. Ran the 10K Bloomsday while in college. And last year I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. I digress...

My plan was to start training on Monday, but Mother Nature had other plans. I am not a fair weather runner, but large snow flakes, wind and COLD made a Tuesday much more appealing. With my work-lunch-running buddy Shelby in tow, and the Garmin ready to capture our every step, the journey began.. Internally a switch turned on and I questioned my choice, " Am I really going to do this?". My obsessive mind keeps struggling "1/2 Marathon or Marathon??" UGH!! With the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon 16 weeks away I plan to decide on my goal distance at week 8 of training. And now my current obsession is time, "If I do a Marathon why not qualify for the Boston Marathon?" So I have the 8.23 pace posted on my Runner's World Calendar.

It may be a stretch to believe that my post 2 knee surgery and 2 kids body can travel over 26 miles in one day. Now I am adding the pressure of time, what am I crazy?? Most would say yes, but as I Blog hop I realize that I am in good company. SO week 1 is in the books and my average pace was 8.27, SWEET!!! For a week wrought with stomach issues, cold and wind that is pretty darn good. I opted to traverese a few big hills on my 5 miler, painful but necessary. Hills, hills, evil hills. If anyone has tips for hill training I would love to hear.

Today is training day 2 for this week. It is raining, but it is Seattle so what is new??

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Start

There are about a MILLION running blogs. When I Blog hop I am overwhelmed by the vast number dedicated to running, training, diet, inspiration, etc. The names of the various Blog are pretty creative everything from 'Happy Runner', 'Jogger's Life', 'Skinny Runner', 'Run to Finish' and one of my favorites 'Marathon Mommies'. There are a bazillion people who post, follow and comment on the running Blog universe. I started a Blog about my running a few months back, then quickly stopped because I was trying to create something too difficult for the amount of time I had to put into it. So this Blog is going to be different.

'Tall Mom on the Run' will have no frills, just basic writing about the 16 weeks of running leading up to Seattle Rock & Roll Marathon (not sure if I will run a half or full yet, stay tuned). This is my journal of the journey and those who help me along the way.

So who is Tall Mom???

My name is Melanie and I live in Puyallup, WA. In high school I was a 3 sport athlete in Volleyball, Basketball, and Track & Field (Shot put and discus and the occasional 4x200 relay). I would run 3 miles for fun in my neighborhood to clear my head and stay fit. At 6'0 Basketball was the clear choice so I hooped it up for Gonzaga University. GO ZAGS! My senior year I tore my ACL, I call it my "lucky knee injury" because I met my husband Dave (aka hubby and muscle man) the year I stayed in Spokane and red-shirted. Today I am happily married with 2 amazing boys (Blaine 11/05 and Easton 1/08).

To lose the baby weight I took to the paths around my work on my lunch break. I have lost over 70 pounds and am down to less than my college playing weight.I registered to run the Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon in Seattle on June 27th. I started training ages ago and felt great...so as an athlete my internal dialogue says "Can you do more?" On March 9th I started a 16 week Marathon training plan and if my knee holds up I will change my registration to the Full Marathon.

I love running and pray that I can stay injury free and meet my goals. I am new to road races my short list includes: Bloomsday and the Race for the Cure Seattle. This is my no frills journey of each step