Race Report: Happy Girls Half-Marathon Spokane


Volee at Happy Girls Half-Marathon

Oiselle Volee represent!

Yesterday, I ran the Happy Girls Half-Marathon in Spokane, Washington as part of the Another Mother Runner: Run + Refresh retreat and as my goal race in AMR’s heart rate training coaching plan (on trainlikeamother.club). I had never run a trail race before, and must say that I was really unprepared coming into my taper; because that’s when I finally decided to look at the course map. FYI, I wouldn’t recommend that strategy. Continue Reading…

Bring on Race Pace


It’s been a few weeks and work/back to school has gotten the better of me.  As I’m preparing for the Happy Girls Half Marathon 1 week (!) from today, I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned about race pace.  In training, anyway; the real learning will come next week 🙂

Race pace: that thing that I forgot about while comfortably running at my new EE (easy effort) pace and EE-2 minutes for speed bursts for most of this heart rate training cycle. Read more »

E.A.T. – Enhanced Anaerobic Threshold – is no Joke


Up until a couple weeks ago, I’ve been cruising along on the Heart Rate Training plan, enjoying all the freedom to run slower/easy and then add in some “free pace” to run whatever pace I wanted. Then came Week 12 and sh*t got real. Enter the E.A.T. – Enhanced Anaerobic Threshold. The idea is to get your heart rate up to that place where you can really only hang on a little while longer, like at the end of a race, and see where your limits are to find your RP (race pace) for upcoming workouts. Continue Reading…

Vacation’s over and HRT week 10

Vacation is over. 🙁   It hit me Monday morning when my alarm went off at 4:45 and I soooo did not want to get out of bed.  I still had a headache carry over from the day before and I was just not feeling the desire to do my run.  My shoulder muscles hurt, my hamstrings were tight, etc, etc.   Luckily it was a work at home day – so I got myself together and decided I’d allow myself a slower start to the day.  I made myself some coffee (I could hear Coach MK in my head saying “Do you think caffeine affects your heart rate, did you really just ask that?”) and drank that while I foam rolled.  Not both at the same time mind you Continue Reading…

Fourth of July Weekend 2016

It was a fun Fourth of July weekend in our household.  I’m still recovering from all of the time on my feet yesterday!  While I really wished I could’ve made the trip to Eugene and hang out w/ some birds – all the Instagram pics made Track and Field spectating look like so much fun! – me and the kids are doing the “staycation” thing instead.  Hotels in that area looked next to impossible.

After Saturday’s long run we headed over to our neighbor’s “pond” (looks more like a small lake) for a pre-Fourth party.  It was a little on the chillier side for summer but the kids didn’t care.  They swam and played in the sand…


went tubing…

a little blurry but in my defense they were going by kind of fast :)

a little blurry but in my defense they were going by kind of fast 🙂

and learned to fish Continue Reading…

HRT Week 8: Is it working yet?


Yes, I think it is!  Over the last eight weeks, I am surprised at how my mileage is getting better and better even while keeping my pace “easy” (HR < 140, < 120 – recover, < 130 – build engine) for the most part.  At the end of this week I have 31.3 miles, which has been typical of the middle of a marathon training cycle, not necessarily a heart rate half-marathon cycle.

Lots of time on my feet is a good thing since it means by the time I do my race, I’ll have loads of mental toughness from all these slow, long runs to get me through.  Flash forward to the peak long run time of the plan, and I’ll be on my feet for 3 hours – there are at least three of these runs as well.  My half-marathon PR is 2:07 and my goal is just to beat that time.  After spending so much time running well over 2 hours, that 2 hour race is going to feel easy!

The runs are getting more interesting now and incorporating HR friendly speed work too.  This week included PUOS (pick ups on steroids) which is a pick up pace every .25 mile during the 1:15 run, easy effort with surges, and 40 minutes of “free run” (whatever pace you want) in the middle of the long run.  Good thing, because otherwise I’d have to suscribe to Netflix or something to keep me going if it was all just easy effort pace!


Free run with surges – just a little hilly

The plan generally works in twos – so it changes up every two weeks (sometimes a little variation between the two), which makes it easy to compare performance between the two.  Comparing my long run between last week and yesterday, I improved my overall pace by 30 seconds.  And last week I had a 5k in the middle of that run!  In my free run with surges I got just over 1/2 mile extra in the same amount of time AND I had incorporated uphill burpees – this week’s workout of the week – in this week’s run.  It’s exciting to see things finally click.

Though I’m seeing progress, I know I’ve just scratched the surface and have a long way to go.  For example, last week in my 5k my heart rate got up to 198 during the race.  This wasn’t even my PR pace, however I had run for an hour right before and it was pretty hot outside.   I don’t know enough about max heart rates (other than the traditional 220-age formula) and the effects of running at or above your max for a period of time, but 198 certainly seems pretty high.  It felt like it too; I wanted to walk so bad but didn’t, and this is what always derails me during a marathon – that incredibly strong urge to walk near the end.  I also kept myself from pushing a little harder because I saw that HR.  How long can I keep up that HR?  What would happen if I tried to keep it up?  I’ll need a field test probably to know for sure, but I’m hoping by the end of this plan my 5ks will either be at a much lower HR or I will be at a much faster pace for that same HR.

Why I Run

Cross country camp wrapped up today for my eldest.  It’s been a busy two weeks with “camp” in the evening 4 days each week.  Seeing my daughter back in the game, combined with one of the “asks” from Coach MK as part of my training program, got me thinking about “why” I run.


  1. Running is for me.Whether I run solo (often the case), in a race, or with my running group, I still get to do this for me.  It’s on my terms, something I can control and do to better myself.
  2. Running is for my kids.
    I know, I just said it’s for me.  But really, it’s both.  Just like working helps my children to see that women can have career ambitions and spouses can share the load, running models a healthy example for them.  My children have become athletic now too – even my son, who couldn’t care less about football/basketball/soccer, loves doing gymnastics.    My eldest asks me for advice when it comes to cross country season just like she asks my husband for advice in soccer season.  And every time I hear my almost-four-year-old Cecy ask “can I watch you run?” (on the treadmill) or “I want to run like you, mommy,” it makes me feel proud.


                                                                                                                  Is there anything better after a run?

  3. Did someone say “Stress”?
    Running does the endorphins good.  Some days when I am having a bad day (or heck, bad week) it helps immensely to be able to get out there and sweat away the stress.  Feeling “strong” isn’t too bad either.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              WP_20151011_13_43_55_Pro
  4. Competition – with myself
    I’m a goal-oriented person who always needs something new to strive for.  As I an nowhere near elite level I’ve got loads of room for improvement.  This means lots of goals, lots of “wins” as I try to meet them: tackling a new distance, setting a PR, completing a challenge such as the “Run the Year 2016” challenge I’m currently in.                                                                                                                                     20160619_104425
  5. My Health
    One day soon I hope that I’ll eventually lose weight due to running!  Running is funny like that – your body adapts and when you train you feel like you need to eat ALL THE FOOD, so it’s hard to really lose weight.  That said, I’ve lost about 10 lb since I got serious about running a couple years ago.  10 lb weight, but muscle and strength aren’t included in that number so I’ll take it.  I get my biometric screening each year for my health insurance and my results are consistently good.  Despite a family history of health issues and my own asthma I have low cholesterol, low blood pressure, a healthy weight, and asthma completely under control.  Running definitely plays a part in all that.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there – especially this one!


My Heart Rate Training Goals – Five Weeks In


Graph from today’s free run – HR way above 140

Week 5 of HRT (heart rate training) is coming to an end.  In this week’s podcast (I’m on the Train Like a Mother half-marathon HRT plan) Coach MK and Dimity talked about goals.  Not the “I want to run a 9:00 pace for my half” type of goal, but a “this is what I want to get out of running/this plan” goal.  I am so used to picking my goals based on a race finish time – often kind of a random, maybe even unrealistic time – or a pace I think I should be able to do.  It’s become clear to me in these past five weeks that I really am a beginner when it comes to knowing how to run.  Sure, I know what the guidance is on nutrition, form, stretching, proper gear; but with the exception of when I very first started with a couch to 5k program, I’ve never prepared my body to run efficiently.  With that in mind, these are my goals as I continue on the next 15 weeks of this journey: Continue Reading…

Global Running Day and End of School Year


I had high hopes for getting a great pic for #GlobalRunningDay this year, and also for getting up early to get in my run.  Neither of those two things happened.  First, I turned off my alarm when it went off at 3:35 am and then promptly fell back asleep for 45 minutes.  45 minutes takes quite a big chunk out of one’s time for a 1 hour run. Continue Reading…

The Big 4-0 Weekend

Friday is free run day with this training plan and boy do I look forward to it!  Chuy had the day off which means I got to run outside in the sun on a Friday – woot!  I chose a hill work out – 1 hour run with 6×30 sec hill sprints in the middle, walking the straights at the top of the hill and shuffling down.


Pace was in the mid 6s up the hill and I got my HR way up in the low 180s for those, spending a good majority of the time in the 150s.  Now that I know my aerobic zone is < 140 it’s interesting to see the heart rate chart and see just how high up in the “zones” I was judging just by heart rate.  Obviously you can tell I have loads of HR improvement to make.


I got to spend some time hanging out with my Cecy while the big kids were at school.  We played with puzzles, read books, and ate our lunch in the garage (with the door open… rain put a damper on our plans to eat out on the back porch).  I fit in a trip to the chiropractor and to get my hair done while my husband picked up the big kids from school.  Time to myself = priceless.

Friday night is also movie night so it was Zoolander 2 w/ the kids – borderline “kids cover your eyes”. Our zoolander faces – really bad picture quality, not sure what happened with my camera.


Saturday long run Continue Reading…