Race Report: The Costume Party Run. Mission Accomplished (almost)

costume party run

What if you planned a race that would take place in the summertime. It would be a half marathon (with a 5k alongside) that would start at 6:00 in the morning. The course would be a huge loop through a parking lot, then out on a boring street for several miles, a turnaround to head back along that same bland route. The last three miles or so of the half marathon would again be through the parking lot. Instead of a t-shirt or tech shirt, you gave out trucker’s hats. You’d hand out no other swag, you’d offer only water and green Gatorade on the course. Oh, and no age group prizes, just over all trophies for each race.

But let’s say you have a concept. Two really. The first is to call your race the Costume Party Run and encourage everyone to dress up. The second is to offer what may be the world’s largest, blingiest finishers’ medal. Ever.

Having experienced this I can tell you. You would have the MOST AMAZING RACE EVER! Or close, anyway. You would have about 2,000 runners, the majority in costume, out there mainly to have a good time, celebrate running, and to get their picture taken.

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have already seen the costume that I chose. I know I’ve been teasing you with it for weeks. I decided on the Shoe Dog, the mascot from Road Runner Sports, both because he is a Dalmatian, and you all know how much I love my spotted running partner, and because as a sponsor and host of the race expo, Road Runner Sports and the Shoe Dog seemed appropriate and fun.

After stopping by the expo on Saturday to pick up my race bib (and trucker’s hat), I found the Shoe Dog and threw down the gauntlet.

costume party run

costume party run

He didn’t seem too concerned.

After the expo, we headed to Encinitas to check into our hotel. We almost always stay in North San Diego County no matter where our event takes place. The race was at Qualcomm Stadium, very close to my son’s house, but about a 20 minute drive from Encinitas (that’s at 5:00 in the morning, probably twice as long any other time of the day). It’s just our favorite place to be.

We walked to lunch (full vegan food report coming in a day or so…we ate at some of our favorites, including Native Foods, the Roxy, and the Lotus Cafe), then down to the beach to see the renovations that Encinitas has made at Moonlight Beach. This sounds like a lot of walking, but it was probably about a mile. Not too bad for the day before a half marathon.

When we finally settled in for the night, I laid out my costume (for the photo op of course). Since I couldn’t stand the idea of wearing an actual collar, I had decided to wear a bandana around my neck. I did want the tag though, so I took it off of the collar and tied it into my shoelaces. It is an old one of Sydney’s (my Cattledog), that has the wrong phone number.

costume party run

With the race starting at 6:00 am, we set the alarm for 3:30. That gave us an hour to drink coffee, have a bite, get the bodily functions out of the way before heading south. I am saying “we” even though I was the only one running the race. For the first time that we could remember, Alan was the official spectator, cheerleader, and cameraman. In the past, he has either run the race or announced it. I kind of liked it!

As I set about putting on my costume, I dug through my suitcase for my sports bra. Uh oh. I’m not sure exactly how I managed to do this, but I forgot to pack one! Not a lot of choice here, I ended up running the race in a lightly padded sweater bra. If you look closely at the pictures, you can probably see my bra straps. Um, if you really wanted to.

We arrived at Qualcomm about 5:10 to see a long snake of car taillights streaming into the stadium parking lot. Fortunately, it moved quickly and it was easy to find parking. I added the finishing touches to my costume, grabbed my bottle of InRefresh, my inhaler, and my Huma gel, and we headed toward the sound of the music. It was pretty easy to see we were in the right place.

costume party run

costume party run

costume party run

costume party runcostume party run

costume party run

It wasn’t long before they called us to the start line, though I noticed the deejay had a few folks still moving on the dance floor (yes, there was a deejay and a dance floor). As I got into the chute, they were just taping down the timing mats, which kind of worried me since it was about 10 minutes before race time, but I needn’t have worried. The race started exactly on time, after instructions that the half marathoners were to follow the cop on the motorcycle, and the 5k-ers to follow Michael “Blackson” on a bike.

As I mentioned, the first two or so miles were around the stadium parking lot, but I didn’t mention that there were two bands and a music station out there. That helped a lot. Since it was a big loop, you passed them twice on the way out and twice on the way home.

As for me, I was a little concerned during the first mile. I felt like my heart rate was too high, and I felt a little shaky. Fortunately, I settled down, pretty close to my goal of about nine minute miles. I drank a little bit at each water station throughout the race. They were available every mile, stocked with water and Gatorade, so lack of fluids was never an issue.

I did notice one little mix up (that didn’t matter to my race). At the point where the 5k was to split off, there wasn’t a sign, just Michael “Blackson” standing there telling the 5k runners to head right. The problem was that a few got by, I heard one ask a photographer as we headed out of the parking lot where was the 5k supposed to run. Oops! I set him straight, but I’m afraid he got an extra 1/2 mile in his race.

The weather was perfect. Starting at 6:00 is a great idea, it stayed cool (around 70 degrees) and cloudy the whole race. Heading out onto Friar’s Road, which fronts the stadium, there is a slight uphill. I should point out that this course is really, really flat. Basically the only hills were when we’d run over a freeway, or the slight undulations of the road. In fact, it was so flat it was pretty boring. It is on the outskirts of San Diego, not downtown, not walker friendly, so there was nobody on the sidelines. There were a couple bands, which helped.

I hit the turn-around at about mile 6.5 and that is when the race started to get fun. Not because I was feeling so wonderful. I had to use my inhaler shortly after the turn-around, but because now I could see all the runners, in costume, coming behind me. It was great! So many people had really taken the time to be creative and have some fun with their costumes. I would estimate at least 75-80% of the runners were in some sort of costume, and as you can see, some went all out.

Right about that time I took my first Huma gel (review coming soon), and I began to feel better. I was on pace for my goal time of two hours, my asthma seemed under control, and I was having a good time. What more can you ask from a half marathon?  Doesn’t the timing seem ripe for a “but then…?”

Meanwhile, Alan had taken a short run, then placed himself at the finish line both to support me and to take pictures of the crowd (blogger’s spouse duty). He got some good ones.

costume party run

Okay, here it comes. But then…I got to mile 10 and I could feel the asthma. As I’ve said before, it’s not a full-on asthma attack. I can just feel it coming. I feel like my extremities aren’t getting enough oxygen, I start to slow down, and I know if I keep going my airway will close. So before that happened I started walking, took a puff on the inhaler and, after about 20 seconds, got started again.

I felt pretty good. With about 2.5 miles to go I was running close to race pace. A lady bug pulled up alongside me and recognized me as the Shoe Dog. I ran with her for a bit, the she slowed down at a water station. I kept plugging along, trying to do the math in my head. If I could hold this pace, I could make it. Could I hold this pace?

About a mile from the finish (I could actually see the finish line because of the looping parking lot course), I saw Alan cheering me on (and taking pictures, of course). He said he’s see me at the finish line and I went on. I again could feel my body starting to slow, wanting to slow. Right at that time three young men came running from behind and encouraged me to keep going. Which is all fine and good, and I really tried, but, you know you have to breathe to be able to keep going. Another short walking break, inhaler use, then back at it. Now I was worried that I would miss my goal.

When I finally got to the last third mile or so, I was able to pick up the pace (I looked at my Garmin and saw 7:38! Kind of scared me!). I wasn’t sure if my lungs or my legs would last, but I was going to give it everything I got. I could see the finish clock ahead of me. Would I make it?

costume party run

costume party run

I told Alan to “get my tail” in the picture!

After I crossed the finish line, it took me a few moments to pull myself together, catch my breath, and walk it off. Then I looked at my Garmin: 2:00:10. So. Freaking. Close. Less than a second a mile. The time I spent walking. (My official time is 2:00:11). More on my feelings about that later, but first:

costume party run

Bah-ling!!! Seriously this baby is six inches in diameter, and weighs a ton! The disco ball is suspended in the middle, and the outside looks like a vinyl record. They kept their promise. This is the biggest, coolest finisher’s medal I’ve ever earned!

costume party run

costume party run

I met a couple other Dalmatians:

costume party run

I also got to meet Melissa, a fellow Fitfluential and Sweat Pink Ambassador! Fortunately she “spotted” me and asked it I was Debbie. She had seen other Dalmatians, so it wasn’t as easy as it sounds (I think I saw about a half dozen other ones). As you can see, she is proudly sporting that Disco Ball Medal too! I’m looking forward to reading her race report.

costume party run

I came prepared to hand out some information about KindRunner, but the opportunity just didn’t arise. As you know, I’m a KindRunner Ambassador. I thought it would be a great idea to bring some little flyers or a card to give to runners who expressed interest in KindRunner. I mean, free 3-way shipping, a custom fitting process, a huge selection, personal service, plus the chance to give back by returning your old shoes (and receiving $10 Kindness Cash Rewards when you do), what’s not to love? I still think it is a good idea, and I’m going to hand out some of the flyers to my cross country team at our first practice this morning.

costume party run

After we got back to the hotel, I fixed up another bottle of InRefresh Electrolytes, took a short nap, showered (tried to dry my bra over the air conditioner), then we checked out and met my son and family for lunch (more on that later). I wore compression socks, keeping them on all night, so my legs felt pretty good the next morning. Actually I felt good all over except:

costume party run

My second toe is sore and swollen, and, I’m pretty sure, black under that polish. I haven’t lost a nail in years, so I’m kind of considering this a badge of honor! In the meantime, though, it just hurts.

What’s Beautiful, Goals, and Accomplishments

As you know, the Costume Party Run was my goal race in the Under Armour What’s Beautiful program. My goal was to run a 2:00 half marathon for the first time since I turned 50. I trained very hard to achieve that goal, and in the end missed it by 11 seconds. Less than a second per mile.

You know what? It doesn’t bother me at all. Not a bit. I did the training, I worked hard, I accomplished what I wanted to do. I ran the very best that I could. As my friend Jody would say, I am Enough. I am completely happy and satisfied with my race.

costume party run

A little disclosure here. I am an ambassador for the Costume Party Race. I received a free entry, and in exchange I wrote about the event in my training recaps and race report. My opinion is my own.  I also chose to dress as the Shoe Dog on a whim, I have no relationship with Road Runner Sports (except as a customer). Although, I think they approved:

And I impressed them with my time:

Oh, and while they had no age group awards, and many people were there just for fun, they did keep track of the finishing places, and, this Dalmatian just happened to WIN HER AGE GROUP!

Whew! Sorry for the long post. I hope I kept you amused! How was your weekend? It was a long one, wasn’t it? I hope you had great summer fun! Tell me about it!

Two Weeks Out. I am (pick one) Tired, Ready, Strong, Excited

With less than two weeks until the Costume Party Run, where I will attempt my What’s Beautiful goal of finishing a half marathon in under two hours for the first time since I turned 50, my mind and body are exhausted, so if you picked Tired, you win. I am tired of training, I am tired of long runs, I am tired of trying to run fast, I am even tired of writing my weekly recap posts. I can’t wait until this race is over so that I can go back to just running, as opposed to training. I might even ride my bike again.

two weeks out

Today’s long run in which I take almost any excuse to stop, rest, and take a photo. Horse statues, check, bird flying, check, flower, check check.

I did my final long run this morning, a day late because of spending family time on Sunday. In spite of the caption above I felt pretty good. I am Ready, so if that was your choice, you were right too. I ran 14 miles today, the longest I’ve run in years. I wanted to go beyond the distance, something I used to always do in marathon and half marathon training.

two weeks out

This is what I was doing instead of running long on Sunday. Much more fun and a lot easier on the body (except the hair pulling and nose grabbing).

I have done all my training, in spite of a few hiccups here and there. I’ve done my long runs, I’ve done my intervals and tempo runs. My last speed workout will be on Wednesday and I hope to make it a good one. I complain endlessly some about the weather heating up in the desert, but overall, I have been very fortunate. As an example, I got out late (again) for my long run, which could have been disastrous. Instead, it was in the low 70s when I started, and only 81 when I finished about 9:00. I even had some cloud cover for a significant portion of the run.

two weeks out

I actually didn’t check the weather until about an hour into my run, so it may have been even cooler at 6:00 when I got started.

And while I have not been back to the gym as planned (yet!), I have been keeping up with my strength training through the classes that I teach, so I know I am Strong. If that was what you picked, you win too! My classes focus on total body training, so I know I get a balanced workout, even if I’m not lifting at the gym. I am really missing yoga too, it seems to have been totally pushed out by my running training. That was brought home once again when I got this Foursquare notification:

two weeks out

If nothing else, this may get me back to my yoga studio!

As you know, I joined the Under Armour What’s Beautiful campaign as a FitFluential Ambassador, declared my goal for this race, and have been training hard to achieve it. I have never been so public about a running goal, but the What’s Beautiful campaign encourages women to do this, set a goal, share it and all the challenges and triumphs along the way. I am very Excited that I have come this far, and I feel that when I toe the line on race day I will have the support of all the readers of my blog, as well as other participants in the What’s Beautiful program. So, if you picked Excited, you were right too.

two weeks out

My “work in progress” costume. Who knew that cutting felt circles was so time consuming?

Here is what I’ve been up to in training, two weeks out from the Costume Party Run.

Weekly Recap:  Week 7: June 17-23
Monday  Rest
Tuesday Ran 3 miles, easy, with Alan and the dogs.
Strength: Superball Class
Wednesday Run/Walk (bad day, I wrote about it here)
 4 miles with Penny.
Thursday Strength: Superball Class, the 
One Set Workout.
Friday Rest
Saturday Ran 5 miles, four of them with 
Alan, Penny, and Buddy,
 then one more with Lily and Olivia.
Sunday: Before driving to San Diego to visit 
Samuel, I ran 6.4 miles.
Monday Not really in the same week, 
but I ran 14 miles. I’ll probably count
 it in next week’s post too, because 
it is, after all, 14 miles.
Total Miles: 18.4 or 32.4, depending on how 
you do your math.


While this was my last long run, I will still continue to train pretty hard through the rest of this week. I have one more speed workout scheduled on Wednesday, which will be half mile intervals, and a moderate distance of about eight miles next weekend. Then the real taper will begin. In the meantime, a few pictures from the run today.

two weeks out

two weeks out

two weeks out

Post run smoothie: Banana, peaches, strawberries, coconut milk yogurt, almond milk, and frozen mango.

How did your training week go? Any races, competitions or other events?

What’s Beautiful: 4 Weeks to My Goal. Plus a Friday Workout!

If you will recall, I joined the Under Armour What’s Beautiful campaign as a FitFluential Ambassador a little over five weeks ago. Well, I am a little past the halfway point in my training program to achieve my goal of completing my first sub-2 hour half marathon since turning 50, and I thought this would be a good time to check in and review my progress. Have you joined yet? It’s still not too late to get started conquering your fears, completing challenges, and achieving your goals (and possibly winning some cool stuff along the way!).

Underarmour Collage2

The Goal and the Training

Obviously, in order to run my sub-2 hour half marathon, I needed to create (and stick to) a training plan. I’ve been pretty good about following the program, with just a few setbacks caused recently by the increasing heat in the desert. That being said, I feel good about my training and think that my goal is within reach.

I am training for the Costume Party Run, which is on July 7 (you can see my most recent training report here). As the name suggests, I will be running in costume, so in order to have fun dressing up and still achieve my time goal, I needed to figure out a costume that would be both fun and functional. With my readers’ help, I decided to create a Dalmatian costume, basically in homage to my running partner Penny. I also thought it would be fun to take it a little farther and dress up as the Shoe Dog, the Dalmatian mascot of race sponsor Road Runner Sports.

Penny Shoe Dog

Workout - What's Beautiful

I am gathering supplies for my costume. I ordered ears and a tail (though my brain can’t quite wrap around how the tail attaches yet), I bought some multi-colored felt, and I finally bought a white running skirt. Now I just need to find a white top and I’ll be ready to add my spots! Of course, I had to take the skirt out for a trial run and I’m happy to report that it fit well and the under-shorts stayed perfectly in place.

workout - What's Beautiful

While the running has been going well, my strength training has been limited to the classes that I teach and the workouts I create (see below for a Friday Fast, Furious, and Functional workout!). My goal is still to get back into the gym, and I will. Soon, very soon.

What’s Beautiful Challenges

One of the fun things about joining the What’s Beautiful program is conquering the challenges. These involve things like making a video to state your goal, trying a sport you don’t usually do, write an inspirational quote, all the while taking photos of your progress and uploading them to your page.

Workout - What's Beautiful

I have done many of the challenges. Really, I have. But if you check my What’s Beautiful profile page, you will see that I have been a bit lax about photographing, videoing, and uploading them. In fact, I have only recorded one of the challenges. One of my goals for this post is to get going and and complete those challenges.

What’s Beautiful: Getting Stronger

While I haven’t been to the gym for my strength training (yet), I have been teaching a variety of classes, including my Fast and Furious class, which is a high intensity workout done in a circuit format. Many of the workouts use little or no equipment (the one below requires only a medicine ball), and can be completed in less that half an hour.  Remember to do an appropriate warm up of five to 10 minutes before starting the workout, and as with any form of exercise you should check with your doctor before starting a new program.

Fast & Furious Total Body

If you have any questions about the exercises, watch my video for demonstrations and form tips.

So, what do you think of my costume? I’m going to pin the spots on as someone suggested, because I’d like to use the skirt again. Is there something else I should add?  If you are participating in the What’s Beautiful program, how are your goals and challenges going? Feel free to share a link in the comments.


Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Coach and Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Coach or Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Costume Party Run: The Week in Training

With just over a month to go before my target half marathon, the Costume Party Run, my training should be heating up. Instead, the weather is. As I type this it is about 107 outside (fortunately I am inside). I’ve been very fortunate the last few weeks that the mornings have been cool and lovely. That seems to be over now. This morning at 5:00 it was 81 degrees. And warming up. Quickly.

Still, I am excited about my training and about the race in general. Remember the date…July 7 in San Diego. The Hilarious Half and the Wacky 5k both start at Qualcomm Stadium, and promise to be an insane combination of warm weather, costumes and crazy runners. Plus, remember the half marathon has what may be the biggest medal EVER!

Half Medal

I plan to get started on my costume this week. You guys gave me some great suggestions for turning a white running skirt and top into a Dalmatian costume, now I need to get going. A few felt circles, ears, tail, and I’ll be good to go!

I’ve been pushing in my training this week, in spite of the heat, but it has been challenging. I’ve had some asthma issues, some achy knees, and just a general feeling of, well, of feeling my age. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the weather, and I know I’ll adapt, but it’s been tough. Okay, enough of the excuses. Here’s my Week in Training.

Strength Training

Now that my Fast and Furious class is finished for the summer, I’ll either have to do it on my own (fat chance, though I could possibly handle the Seven Minute Workout), or get back to the gym. Finally. My “excuses,” my dear clients I see after my regular work day on Mondays and Thursdays, are leaving for the summer, opening up some time that should be put to good use.

In the meantime, I taught two Superball Classes this week. On Tuesday we did “Student’s Choice,” where each member of the class takes turns picking from a list. I love my class, they always pick the hardest exercises! On Thursday, I planned a circuit where the class goes from station to station. I usually keep the time and watch their form (everybody is doing different exercises, so you have to pay better attention). But when only three people showed up, all longtime students, I decided to join in, so I got my workout too.

On Wednesday I filmed the Seven Minute Workout and did the whole thing all the way through. Judging by my heavy breathing in the video, I was working pretty hard, so it counts.

seven minute workout - week in training


I already wrote about Wednesday’s workout. In a nutshell: Intervals. Heat. Asthma. Kick Ass. Done. If you want to read the details, click here.

Week in Training - Exercise Induced Asthma

My inhaler is my friend.

On Saturday, Alan and I ran our regular trail run with Buddy and Penny. It’s a little over four miles, and we got out much too late. It was 6:30 when we left the house and already pretty warm. I worry more about the dogs than us, but we give them lots of breaks and water, and they seemed fine. It was probably in the high 70s when we finished, so it wasn’t too bad, just felt warmer in the direct sun. Then I took Lily and Olivia out for a one mile run. I also did some runner’s selfies with them, but I couldn’t decide which one I liked best. What do you think?

Costume Party Run - Week in Training

 On Sunday for my long run, I knew I had to get out earlier. Even so, it was 81 degrees at about 5:00. I finally got rolling about 5:30. Since this week was a cutback week, I planned to do a negative split run. I still need to run with Penny, so after two miles with her, my plan was to run the next mile about 30 seconds below my race pace of 9:07 per mile. Then,I would run at race pace for the next three miles, and finally pick it up once again, to faster than race pace for three miles. Then I could take it easy the last mile, which is good, because it is uphill and always feels like a long, hot mile anyway.

Week in Training - dogs

Here’s how it actually went. Penny and I got out about 5:30 and ran two miles. I dropped her off, then headed out, down the hill at this point. Right on schedule, I picked up my pace to race pace. It was pretty warm and it was tough, but I stuck it out. Then, about 2.5 miles into it, I could feel my stomach rumble. Uh oh. I made it to my turn around point, which was also supposed to be where I would pick up the pace again, but all I could think about was finding a bathroom. I had a choice between heading toward home, where the park was three miles (!) away, or running a half mile out of my way, adding almost a mile to my run, where I could get into the bathroom on the golf course (providing of course, that it was open).  I chose the latter.

I couldn’t really even run. I jogged a little, walked a little and finally made it to the golf course. I actually entered through the back, climbing a low fence (it’s a public course so I don’t think I’m breaking any rules or laws). Fortunately, the bathroom was unlocked. Even better, they had a little machine that provided cold, filtered water! A win/win!

Week in Training - Silverrock

After I got back on the road, I had a hard time getting going again. It was really getting warm now, my stomach was still not great, and I was getting tired. I made myself pick up the pace though, but all I could handle was one more mile at about race pace. It would have to do. I ended up running 10.35 miles, which actually shows how much I walked, since my detour should have added almost an extra mile.

Week in Training - Silverrock

I took this picture on the way out. It is really a beautiful scene, but if you look closely at the rocks, you will see the reason that I stopped for a photo.

Week in Training - Silverrock

Week in Training

I didn’t spend the whole weekend running (or recovering from running). On Saturday Alan and I went to the movies for the first time in ages. We saw Now You See Me. It was very far fetched, but extremely entertaining. The real reason I mentioning the movies though was that when Alan was buying his popcorn I was excited to see this:

Week in Training - Go Picnic

Yes, I was way more excited that I should have been about a processed food snack at a movie theater. But, and it’s a big but, the movie theater is a world filled with tons of junk, from popcorn coated in highly saturated gunk, to candy, to huge sodas, so to find a practically healthy, not to mention vegan snack, thrilled me. Once in the theater though, I saw one of the drawbacks of crackers with hummus at the movies: it’s hard to see while you put the hummus on your cracker in the dark. No matter. I will keep buying this snack, so hopefully the movie theater will keep stocking it.

So, that was my week in half marathon training. How did your week go? Any races, competitions, or other training you’d like to share?

What’s Beautiful: Getting Faster. Costume Party Run Training, Week 3

Underarmour Collage2

I just wrapped up week three of my training for the Costume Party Run. I am working hard each week, trying to elevate my training even more than I did during my last half marathon training cycle. One of the reasons for this is that I am participating in Under Armour’s What’s Beautiful campaign, which is sponsored through my relationship with FitFluential. The What’s Beautiful project is a competition with the goal of redefining the female athlete. Women are invited to set goals for themselves and then go out and achieve them.

weekly training recap

As I’ve mentioned (and you can see if you follow my progress), my goal is to run a sub two hour half marathon for the first time since I’ve turned 50. I’m notching up my training this time around, plus I will have the advantage of a fairly flat course (unlike the La Jolla Half Marathon course). I am also seeing the doctor for my exercise induced asthma, something I haven’t bothered to do in years. There are some great medications to help prevent the asthma, a big advantage. I’ve been depending on my rescue inhaler, not exactly an optimal situation for racing faster.

I had a good training week. After last week, I was feeling a little bit like I wasn’t making any progress. Training went much better this week, thank goodness. Here’s my training recap.

Strength Training

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but I didn’t make to the gym again this week. Things are slowing down, but I still have my Monday/Thursday clients, our usual gym day. After an 11 hour day, I just want to go home and veg out. They will be leaving for the summer in about a week, which will free up some time. I will get back to the gym!

I did get in four (!) workouts this week. Monday and Friday, I taught my Fast and Furious Class. Monday’s class even included some running. On Friday, we did a seven minute workout that one of the students had clipped from the New York Times. It was tough, but in spite of the evidence cited in the article about the quality and benefits of such a short workout, it left me feeling like I needed more.

What's Beautiful - Training Recap

On Tuesday and Thursday I taught my Superball Class. On Tuesday we did the Balls Only Workout, which is a lot of fun. Even the class thought so (we don’t always agree on the definition of “fun.” Thursday’s class was more basic. Three sets of each exercise, with a core exercise between each set. Example: Chest Press on the ball, Crunch on the ball, Chest Press, Crunch, Chest Press.  Lots of core training in that one, because we change it up from crunches to twists to planks to hip extensions. Good stuff.


Good running week. I ran a little over 27 miles, which is a lot for me. I completed all my planned workouts, though I did switch my long run to Sunday again. I’ll probably keep this up, because I love running with Alan and he is running (shorter) on Saturday and riding his bike on Sunday. It works out well. So perfectly that we both arrived home from our workouts on Sunday at the exact same time!

For my speed training this week, I scheduled a three mile steady tempo run. This was the longest tempo run I’d planned for a long time, and I was a little scared worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace. Not entirely without reason as it turned out. I started by running two miles with Penny. She’s getting pretty slow now, so it involved some walking, but I just can’t not take her for a little run. Even at 12 she loves it so much. Anyway, I dropped her off then took off right away at my tempo pace, hoping to take advantage of the downhill portion of the run. That worked quite well, and I ran the first mile in 8:28. Mile two was more level, and I ran it in 8:33. Then, I needed to take a break. I took a short break, then got rolling again. For another half mile, when I needed to stop again. I kept that break short, then finished up mile three in 8:34 (obviously not counting my break times).

While it wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for, I am still pleased with my workout. I know that I will see improvement next time I run this type of tempo run, and I’m excited to give it another try.

weekly training recap

 I don’t usually write up my slow/moderate/recovery runs, but the trail run on Saturday was so much fun that I want to share. Alan, Penny, Buddy and I ran the first four or so miles together, out on the trails. It was so beautiful and clear, plus the weather was cool, always a bonus in late May in the desert.

weekly training recap

Then I took Lily and Olivia out for about a mile and a half. They love to run too. So much that I created a little video of my little dogs running and put it to music. Check out their shadows. You can see their smiles.

On Sunday, I was schedule to run 12 miles. Before the run, I grabbed my hubby and had him take a few photos of me in my Under Armour gear.

What's Beautiful - Training Recap

What's Beautiful - Training Recap

Then I grabbed Penny and we ran two miles together. I experimented by leaving her off the leash on the way home. It was early, with no cars around, and she just followed along behind me. Much better solution that my trying to pull her along (then suffering intense guilt because she’s 12 and even though she runs great on the way out, no matter how far, she slows down to a crawl on the way home (and I still think it’s because she doesn’t want to go home, but still…)).

I dropped her at home after the two miles, then headed out for the rest of my run. I felt good through the whole run, a little tired at the end, which is fine. I’ve been using Ignite Naturals InRefresh Electrolytes, which I received for review a couple weeks ago. I’m really impressed with the product,  it tastes good, seems to keep me feeling good and hydrated even through a 12 mile run. I’ve been making an extra bottle when I get home, with a lot of ice, and I think my recovery has benefited. I like it so much I ordered more!

Not too much to report on the run itself. I ran steadily through the whole run, stopping only at the seven mile point to refill my bottle at a fire station. Best water stop ever! Big ice machine, handsome firemen (who I did not ask to pose…sorry), what’s not to like?

weekly training recap

As I mentioned above, I finished my run at the same time Alan finished his 26 mile bike ride. Perfect. I made a smoothie, stretched, foam rolled, and enjoyed the feeling of just being finished with a tough training week.

What's Beautiful - Training Recap

And just because I love you, I want to share two of my favorite pictures from the week that have nothing to do with running or training.

weekly training recap

Taking a selfie with an enthusiastic dog is, um, interesting. He is very photogenic though.

Samuel and Nathan

Speaking of photogenic…my son and grandson, six months old on Wednesday.

Oh, here’s my complete training log if you’re interested.

weekly training recap

How did your training week go? Any races, competitions, events that you’d like to share? Have you joined the What’s Beautiful program yet? There’s still time!

Friday Fitness: The Balls Only Workout.

I love a good, intriguing title, don’t you? Of course, if you know me, you know that the balls in the title refer to stability and medicine balls. No extra equipment needed.

Before we get to the workout though, I want to talk a little about the What’s Beautiful campaign, which is a sponsored program by UnderArmour, in which I was selected by FitFluential to participate. My goal is to run my first post 50 year old sub-2:00 half marathon. On my profile page, you can track my progress, see the challenges that I have completed (so far just one, but I’m working on it!), and send me encouragement.

Underarmour Collage2

Anybody can join, compete, and be rewarded for their efforts.  All you need is to sign up , choose a goal, and share your journey. You can also be a part of a team, either by forming your own, or joining a team of women with similar goals. My first What’s Beautiful post has a ton more details about the program and how you can win cool stuff.

Yesterday I read a post by Lindsay called “Strength is What’s Beautiful.” In her post, she introduces us to the women whose strength and dedication motivate her, talks a little bit about their fitness goals and accomplishments and explains why she is inspired by them. It is a wonderful tribute to a group of amazing women, and she truly shows us that strength is what’s beautiful.

In turn, I am inspired to write about another group of beautiful women, the ones who come to my Superball class. There are a few men in the class, but as with most group exercise classes, it is made up mostly of women. The youngest actually just had a birthday. She is 54. The oldest, well, I don’t ask but upwards of 70 years old old be my guess.

Ball Class

These women come to class for a variety of reasons, but the main one, which I see frequently with people that are a little older, is that they just want to be stronger. They have noticed that they have lost some strength over the years, and they want to turn that around. There are several golfers in class, who realize that the best golf tool possible is a strong, flexible body. There is also a strong sense of community in class, the social aspect of coming together for a class is very strong with this population.

With very rare exceptions, my students don’t come to class because they want to look better. They don’t want six-pack abs, or a rock-hard butt. They want to be healthy, fit, strong, and that is what keeps them coming to class.

Susan Bloom 3

They also love the challenge. These men and women don’t try to do only the easy stuff. They do the exact same workouts that I post here. When given a choice of exercises, as in my “Students’ Choice Workout,” I find that they tend to select the toughest exercises from the list. I frequently tell them that they are who I want to be when I grow up. They inspire me, and I can only hope that I inspire them, too. They are beautiful.

This workout is “Superball Class tested and Approved” for your exercise pleasure. As indicated in the title, you only need a stability ball and a medicine ball.  In the video below I run through a quick demonstration of each exercise, with some form pointers. Enjoy! Or I guess I should say, “Have a ball!”


Balls Only Workout

Have you picked your goal and signed up for What’s Beautiful yet?

Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Coach and Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Coach or Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.