Cookies burned per mile.

I have been back in my running routine for a few months now. Its great when waking up earlier than the sun becomes a habit again. Recently I have been challenged (by myself) to step it up. Distance is great, but even my usual 6.25 mile route has been too comfortable. For whatever reason, I feel lame coming back from a run not dripping of sweat. Maybe its a misconception maybe not, but I equate sweat to a valuable workout and how many cookies burned.

It’s easier for me to reference the foods that I love to miles I must run to burn those foods. I am a sucker for sweets! Cookies, yum… Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, yum… cake, yum. I rarely have Dr. Pepper and Cokes anymore and I only have my mom-in-law’s bomb sweet tea on Sundays. Some people think calories (typically 110 calories per mile depending on heart rate, sex, weight), I think food and beer.

Example:

  • 1 bottle of Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat… 2 miles!
  • 3 of the Dixon famous chocolate cakies… 2 miles!
  • 1 can of  DP… 2 miles!
  • 2 chunks of momma Clark’s sopapilla cheese cake… 4 miles! etc.

Anyways, I have determined that the speed needs to increase because I LOVE TO EAT. Does anyone else think like this?

This weekend in Austin.

Friday we left town to head down South to the great land of Austin. We stayed with Traci’s brother Kelly and his family in Georgetown. While there we enjoyed pit fires and conversations in their backyard and laying in the sun Saturday on their trampoline. Very relaxing. The weather was perfect! Our main purpose for going there this weekend was to run in the Austin Capitol 10K which was this morning (Sunday) at 8:45am. Traci’s dad Kip and brother Jeff strolled Addi and Kam around the race start and finish as Traci and I ran the route. Up to the capitol, around the down town area and back around by Town Lake trails. 6.2 miles. Traci and I ran together through the drizzle and mist, finishing at a 9 min per mile pace. We quickly changed clothes and made it to the 11:15 service at the Austin Stone for yet another incredible message and worship session. This evening we were able to hear Kelly speak at this church in Georgetown at TXT3 and then a 4 hour trip back to Tyler. We had a great time this weekend despite Addi being sick with a cold and fever. I love Austin!

Spring Break 2010… Mid week synopsis.

It’s Wednesday and I’m loving this week! At home we have been doing some rearranging and switching some accounts around of services such as DirecTV and Suddenlink high speed so we have actually been in the dark since last Friday or so. No satalite till this morning and no high speed till tomorrow afternoon. Retrospectively, It actually has been nice, relaxing and seems to slow down time when you are not always checking sites or having TV on all evening. Refreshing. I actually had to come up to my studio just to get on-line to surf for a few and make this post.

Already this week I have seen Alice in Wonderland (Ok if you ask me… a bit underwhelming), did some yard work, took Traci to Dallas for a meeting with a client, ran, took care of some around the house chores, painted, read, and journaled a bit. I still have some more things on my list but for the most part I’m on track. I still plan to take my beautiful girls our of school early this week for some fun times (hopefully and totally up to the emotional coin flip of my oldest) with daddy.

I am feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and relaxed. I have lived a good percentage of the weekend and week inside of my thoughts and earbuds, listening to podcasts and music galore while reflecting of how fantastic our God really is. I am learning that time to my self for “rest” is a much needed thing for me personally. I love to paint, run, listen to music and just drive around which all in some mysterious way have a sense of healing my inner “up-tightness”. I am enjoying the time and feel that as a result I am able to spend more valuable and engaging time with my family. Now I need to focus on how to get this my needed “Ryan Time” in the midst of a normal crazy week. ?

One thing that I began this week and I would highly encourage you to do is journal. Seriously. I really want to gain form my quiet times. I want to learn, to grow and to make significant steps to put those thing that I gain into practice. I have a hard-bound sketch book that I bought from Hobby Lobby a few months ago that is perfect for jotting down thoughts as I read. I am currently reading the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. I really enjoy the writings of Paul. Hardcore for sure. If a verse or passage sticks out to me I write it down, word for word, and then the thoughts and prayers that these verses stir in me. It has been really good… already! I would encourage you to do the same, but only if you want help and motivation in reading and memorizing scripture, retaining what you have read and growing in your relationship with Christ.

Peace!

Confession’s of a true Slacker

Dear friends-

I have a confession to make. I’ve been such a slacker since my last 1/2 marathon in mid December. I took a week off post race to rest, then there was Christmas, then it was too dark in the morning, then it was too cold, then raining and cold. I have dropped my average miles to an all time low of 10-15 miles per week. Gross! I have to get back on track! Geez! I love the way I feel while running, the therapeutic time inside of my thoughts and release, relaxation, and accomplishment I feel post run. I’ve just gotta get my butt back in gear and wanted to make that confession. My minimum weekly mileage 2 months ago was 18-20. Now you can hold me accountable. Thanks.

Patiently Running.

I’ve heard from a lot of people recently, well maybe over the past 6 months or so, who have started running. I love to get emails or Facebook messages from friends saying they have started running and what programs they are following and what goals they have set for themselves. Its inspiring! It makes me feel so honored when someone asks me for advice or tips to get started…I feel all legit & like a real, true runner!!!

Something that I have shared with a few of these friends who are just starting out is this tid bit of advice: HAVE PATIENCE. This might be the most important advice I could give.

When people begin running, they usually have a goal in mind – a certain amount of weight they want to lose, a certain distance they would like to achieve, 5K race they want to run in, etc. Its so easy to run a few times – not enjoy it, struggle through it, not lose 5 pounds off the bat, and just want to give up. Here’s the deal, when I first started running about 5 years ago, I could honestly barely make it 1/4 mile before I felt as though I would pass out and/or die. I was training for a 5K, that was my goal and why I started. So, what I had to do is slowly (and I mean, s-l-o-w-l-y) work my way up to 3.1 miles. I ran 0.25 on the treadmill several times & then I would just go a little farther each time. And now, 3 miles is my normal week day run! With 3 half-marathons under my belt, I tell people – ANYONE can do it. If I can, anyone can. For real.

Also, don’t try to do too much too soon – because there is a good chance you could cause an injury. So, be patient. Start slowly, add to your miles slowly, give your body time to rest, and be patient with yourself. Pounds will come off in time and you will be able to achieve your goals in time.

If you choose to train for a longer distance run – like a half marathon. Patience comes into play a lot as well because running for an hour to two hours at a time can be daunting. You have to let your mind escape from your body and not dwell on the time it takes. This is where good music on my ipod helps me SO much.

So if you have just started running or are considering it, awesome! I highly recommend it. But remember, patience is key. There’s my little piece of running advice for you today. For what its worth! :)

Run on friends.

My new workout routine.

I’m trying something new. Whoa nelly! As most of you know, I’ve been running for several years. On occasion, I’ll do crunches, lift some free weights here & there, and take stroller walks with my baby girls. But nothing too consistent, other than running. I think I’ve reached a plateau – a comfort zone if you will – and need to start pushing myself harder. Not to mention the 7.8 pounds I think I’ve gained over the past couple of months filled with turkey-eating, face stuffing, pie eating goodness.

Well, I’m turning over a new leaf…I’m going to really try to incorporate some cross-training into my running regime. I want to run AND lift weights AND do some form of cross-training (i.e. yoga, swimming, or cycling) each week. I’ve been recording a yoga show called Inhale that comes on the Oxygen channel every morning at 5 a.m. (thanks for the recommendation Hallye).  I’ve done it twice now and wow – its kicking my butt! But I really think all of the stretching will really help my running. I think that’s one of the main reasons I’ve had IT band issues the past couple of months…my hips and leg muscles are not stretched out properly. Honestly, I can’t even touch my toes at this point!

I also have no excuse not to lift weights or do lap swimming. We have access to a nice gym & pool at the college where Ryan works. So, my plan is to add some of these things into my weekly workout routine that will help me as a runner…and help me to hopefully get super buff & totally ripped. Ha!

Several people have asked me what my normal routine is, what time of day I run, etc…well, below is what I’m thinking it will be for the next few months…at least until training for my next half marathon begins. Note: this is always subject to change due to unexpected mommy duties – which does & always will supersede.

6 a.m. Workout Schedule:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: run 3-5 miles & lift weights

Tuesday: yoga & abs

Thursday: swimming or cycling & lift weights

Saturdays: run long run (6-12 miles)

Sunday: REST!

Also, when the weather gets nice again, we’ll start taking our nightly family walks through the neighborhood.

So wish me luck on my new routine! Gonna try it out for a while & make the necessary changes as I go. Now, let me hear from you…what do you do to change up your workout routine every now & then to push yourself? I’d love to hear what works (or doesn’t work) for you!

New shoes!

For Christmas, Ryan & I bought each other new running shoes & socks. We both desperately needed new shoes. My last pair ran in two half marathons and all of the training runs in between. It was time. We went to a local running store and tried on several pairs and finally decided upon these…

Mizuno Waver Rider 12. I’ve ran in them twice thus far and I have to say, I am loving them! Very light, yet supportive. They just feel good. I’m excited about the miles I will put on these new kicks! With a new year approaching, I’m trying to set some running goals for myself…including some new races and new pace times. This morning, Ryan & I ran 5 miles (in the frigid cold wind) on our trails and I was reminded,yet again, why I love to run.

Shoes

I have 2 shoe options. Work or running. Work shoes are lame. Running shoes are super cool. Very important and versatile. New running shoes instill mystery and increase my motivation to run. Trust-worthy, broken-in and familiar shoes give me security on long runs. Old running shoes are slid on bringing back many great memories of miles and are typically super comfy and are great for trips to the store or loafing. The eldest are used for stomping through the yard while mowing or on muddy work days. I love running shoes. Traci and I bought each other new ones (Mizuno Wave Rider 12) for Christmas. Yippie!

White Rock

Its Sunday evening and I am whooped and about to head to bed as soon as possible! We had such a great weekend. On Saturday, we met up with Matt & Rachel at Starbucks in Mequite. It was so great seeing them…they are such a sweet couple! Rach & I have been great friends for a very long time. She just found out she is expecting her second child and Matt just took a new job, which will allow them to move to Dallas within the next two years, which I could not be more excited about!

After a yummy Peppermint Mocha,we headed to the Race Expo to pick up our packets. Such a cool experience to be surrounded by thousands and thousands of other people with the same hobby & passion for running as you. Our big purchase here – $1 energy jelly beans for the race. It was cool to walk through and check out all of the vendor booths, find out about upcoming races, and do some shoe shopping.

That evening, we chowed down on some pasta at Spaghetti Warehouse, which was quite tasty! Part of the fun of participating in races is the food you eat prior to the race and post-race. My Dad joined us, along with Jessica Smith (from Quitman) and her family.

This morning was RACE DAY and it was amazing. The course was great, the weather was perfect, and we achieved our time goals! Such an enjoyable run. Ryan was blazing & ran faster than he ever has on a long run…I was so proud of him. You can read all about his run here. And as always, I get so proud of my Dad when I see him crossing the finish line! I mean really, not many people can say that their dad runs half-marathons with them! Me? Well, I finished at 2:06, about 9:30 pace, which was what I hoped for. My IT band hurt for the first couple of miles, but then let up & I felt no pain from it the remainder of the run. Such a blast! This is a race I would highly recommend! Its so cool that its one of the top half-marathons in the U.S. and its so close to us. We loved it & will cherish the memory of this day. I am also so proud of our friends that accomplished White Rock too…great job guys!

Here are our posted results for those of you that want the details…


White Rock 1/2 Marathon. AWESOME!

Today’s 1/2 was a personal best for me at the ever popular Dallas White Rock 1/2 marathon. The conditions were great. 50 degrees and misty/cloudy. I was a bit apprehensive since I haven’t been eating as lean nor running as much as I have been wanting to the last couple of weeks. The bigger, more organized races have a new “wave” start which is fantastic. Basically when you register for the race, you state what your average pace will be then on race day they set you up in large groups or “waves” with runners of a similar pace. This is great because you don’t have to spend the first 3 miles dodging walkers which is a BIG PEEVE of mine with more community type events such as the Turkey Trot.

So, today. 8am. American Airlines Arena, Downtown Dallas. Exciting and almost overwhelming. I started at a super comfortable pace, slowly increasing my stride and the next thing I knew, I pass the 3 mile marker. I couldn’t believe  how fast the race was feeling. A few miles of Dallas downtown. A handful of miles of swanky neighborhoods. Then it was time for the last 3 miles.

This last, downhill stretch was on one of our favorite running spots in Dallas, The Katy Trail. Awesome. I spent a solid 2 miles of this trail on a “runners high” which for those who have not experienced it, is when your focus is on only the good things of running. The pounding pain of your joints induced by your hour-plus run on the wet and damp concrete goes away. The chill that has caused your muscles and tendons to be tighter than normal over the 10 miles becomes irrelevant. It’s as if all negative aspects of running subside as your adrenaline makes your heart smile and your steps feel as light as air. Not to mention a mental block to increase my pace as I flash by people I’ve only seen the back of during the previous miles. Seriously awesome.

Mile 12. My right calf quickly tightened mid stride causing an instant back-to-reality smack to my run. I caught the cramp before it rooted by extending my right leg with an obvious stretch to keep the muscle loose. Whew! All good. Then again. No way was I going to have the best race of my life only to end up with me curled up on the side of the trail rubbing out a calf cramp. No way. I began to pull back a bit as I felt it twinge again, only now from the left leg. Boo. With even more determination to finish the last 1/2 a mile, I ran with the least amount of calf muscle force as possible using mostly my momentum and straightened legs. Silly for sure. At 1 hour 40 minutes and 48 seconds, I finished. Average pace, 7:33 minutes per mile. I surpassed my goal of 7:45. A great and surprisingly memorable race day for me. I loved it.

To achieve a goal, set one.

So I’m sure you all know that my fam and I are way into running. My wife Traci speaks often about her running struggles and successes on her blog. Today we had the opportunity to run together while the girls napped (thanks Jen!) at the South Tyler Trails. We ran 5 miles and the weather was perfect. Overcast with a slight chill in the air. [SIDE NOTE: It is really weird to me to see people running in sweatpants and sweatshirts when the weather is 65!… thats just not right. If you do that, please quit.] After the run which was one of Traci’s fastest paces yet, I told her that I’ve determined that if you make pace goals (average minutes per mile) it really helps.

Distance has been our thing for a while now and has become a bit routine and might I say boring. It’s very typical to set a distance goal and achieving it is great. A few months ago my goal was 8 minutes per mile for both of my 3 times a week 6.25 route and weekend 8-12 mile run. This was a good goal and easily achieved but I was becoming a bit lazy because of it. I ran the route and felt a bit guilty as my heart rate was rarely above a nap’s. As of lately I have set a new goal of 7:45 per mile which I can tell has really helped me feel more of a workout with each run. I will keep my goal here till the new year and then bump it to 7:30 as I want to continue to become faster.

So with that, I recommend that you set goals that are more and more uncomfortable. Set distance AND pace goals. It really helps. That’s really the only way we get better at anything. The brain is seriously the biggest obstacle to overcome in running. Push or be pushed.

10 Reasons Why I Love to Run

my friend ashley posted this blog the other day about her new venture into the running world. she asked for some reasons of why i love to run and so it got me thinking. why do i run? why do i love it so much? so here goes…this is for you ash!

1. I love food. I love cooking and I love to eat. The Food Network is constantly on at the Dixon casa. Running allows me to eat what I want without blowing up like a blimp. Don’t get me wrong, we try to eat healthy for the most part. But I love pasta and I love chocolate – so running helps me to burn those calories! 10 miles of running usually burns about 1,000 calories.

2. Running is an awesome stress relief. If you haven’t noticed – life is crazy. Running is a good, beneficial addiction that soooo helps my stress-level and makes me an overall happier person. Endorphins baby.

3. I love that Ryan runs and a lot of my family runs…its great to have this hobby to do together! When my sister Jen is home, we usually run together. So much easier to get through a long run when you have some running partners cheering you on! I am so proud of my running buddies and love to see them meet their goals too. Plus, Ryan is a hottie and I enjoy seeing him run (wink).

4. Running is a peaceful time to myself  – it doesn’t matter what I look like, if I have makeup on or not, & my hair is a complete mess – who cares. I just crank up the ipod shuffle and hit the pavement…love that.

5. I enjoy participating in races…such a blast. From local 5k events to the Dallas Turkey Trot 8 miler to the 1/2 marathon in San Fran…its awesome to get together with other runners, usually for a good cause, and run the neat courses in neat places. Its also great to have a race on the calendar – helps to keep me motivated! Just finished the San Fran 1/2 and already have plans to do the Tyler 1/2 in October, the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and then the White Rock 1/2 in Dallas in December. Plus, races give you a good reason to get out of town for a mini vacation!

6. I love to set a goal and achieve it. I love the feeling that running gives me – such a sense of accomplishment. Its something you have to do by yourself and for yourself. No one can run for you. When I first started running a few years ago, I honestly could not do 1/4 mile. I registered for the Race for the Cure 5k in Lubbock and decided to train & get myself ready. That’s where it all started for me. Then, after I had Kamryn, our second child, we decided to train for a 1/2 marathon. A lot of running is a mental game. You just have to tell yourself – I will run __ miles today & then just do it. Its addicting & I love it! Nothing beats the feeling you have crossing the finish line after 13.1. Maybe I’ll shoot for a full marathon one day? NYC?

7. I love the time running gives me to think. Sometimes I spend the time planning. Sometimes I pray. A lot of times I think of my two beautiful daughters and how I want to live a long healthy life and be the best mom I can be to them for many, many years to come. My dad inspires me in this regard too.

8. Running is a good full body workout. It uses a lot of muscles in your body – not to mention all the cardio! Because of this, it gives me more energy to keep up with our two little girls!

9. It is just down right fun. Its fun to go shopping for running gear – socks, shoes, shorts, etc. Its fun to read Runners World and Kristen Armstrong’s blog. Its fun to put new music on your ipod & check the stats on your Garmin watch. Its fun to run on new trails in new cities. Its just fun.

10. I thoroughly enjoy the places we run. You really can experience a lot of God’s beauty when you take time to notice the beauty of nature all around us. Its amazing. Here are a few of my favorite places to run thus far: The Golden Gate Bridge, Town Lake in Austin, White Rock Lake in Dallas, Mineola Nature Trail, and here lately – the South Tyler Trails.

So there you go. Running is awesome – its not always easy and its not always enjoyable when its 156 degrees outside – but its a great hobby. So Ashley…keep it up! Run on. Love you. :)

Today’s 10 miler @ White Rock

Last night, the girls spent the night w/Grandma so they could sleep in. So Ryan & I enjoyed the evening ALONE in our house.  We actually watched some of a movie before we went to bed…soooo relaxing!  This morning, my alarm went off at 3:30 a.m.  Yikes – I was so out of it…I’m pretty sure I was in the middle of some serious REM sleep.  Ryan, my dad, and I left Quitman at 4 a.m. to drive to Dallas to pick up my sister, Jen, at DFW airport.  She flew threw the night…she travels for her job & was returning from California today. We then proceeded to go to White Rock Lake to run our long run for the week…10 miles.  It was awesome!!!  I thoroughly enjoyed the different, beautiful location.  The weather wasn’t too bad either.  It was overcast most of the time & a little cooler than it has been.  And afterwards….Einstein’s Bagels – YUM!  Here are a few pics from our day….before & after shots…

 

San Fran here we come!

 

On August 3rd, myself, Ryan, my sister, my dad, and my brother in law are all running in the San Francisco 1/2 marathon (www.runsfm.com) & I could not be more pumped about it!!!  Only 7 weeks left of intense training & we will be flying out.  I absolutely can not wait.  We have been training now for a couple of months and are up to 9 miles thus far.  Tomorrow, we go to Dallas to run at White Rock Lake 10 miles.  It will be challenging, but a beautiful setting!  Its always good to change up the routes you run.  Running the long runs in Quitman every week gets a little boring.  Part of this San Fran race runs across the Golden Gate Bridge…how stinkin awesome is that?  Woohoo…its gonna be a blast!!!  If you have any tips on running long distances or advise, I’d love to hear about it.