Busy, Busy, Busy

The past two days have been crazy.  My old roommate, and good friend Allyson came into town last night right after I got done run group and is only staying here until tomorrow.  So sad.  On top of that, I have my first practical exam for my Neurological rehab class tomorrow.  It was supposed to be today but the whole schedule got shifted back a day (even more stressful!).

I did manage to get a work out in today, I didn’t want to get off track on my lifting days on the second day I was supposed to go, so this is what today’s workout looked like.

workout

I hit the treadmill for about a 4 mile run first and then dove right in.  A few of these I feel I should define so here they are.

  • Arm Burners: dumb bell in each hand, curl then palms down raise arms in front of you, then palms down raise arms straight to side (be sure not to hike your shoulders!)
  • 2 step push ups: lower down half way, pause, then all the way, pause, half way up, pause, all the way up.  these help you be more stable and really use your muscles to control your movement
  • Core Alphabet: lay on back and draw the alphabet with your feet; for this work out I did A-M then N-Z then A-M again; 3 full alphabets would be really really hard!
  • If anything else is foreign to you, drop me a comment or email and I’ll explain!!

Gotta get to studying for this thing before everyone comes home.  Please pray for me between 12:30 and 1 tomorrow!

Back in the Gym

Every time I decide to return to lifting, I am always blow away by how weak I have gotten.  I was struggling to curl a 10 pound dumb bell today, it was so sad.  That did show me how much I needed to be in the gym.

I was planning to run on the treadmill and then go lift but it was 75 today and beautiful so I just couldn’t bring myself to run inside with those conditions in January.  So I hit the road for about 4 miles and ended at the gym.  I like to lift in sets of different exercises like small little circuits so I don’t have to waste a lot of time resting in between sets.

workout

This hits arms legs and core pretty hard.  I am expecting to wake up pretty sore tomorrow but we will see.

Yay for lifting again!

Being Goal Oriented Without A Goal

So begins the return to regular running but without any training goals in mind.  I have been training almost non stop for one race or another since last September.  It is a glorious feeling, but I feel so aimless.  I am Type A to the max so even though I’m not training, I will still have to have weekly goals.

To stay on track with my 1500 miles for the year goal, I need to run at least 29 miles a week, so this is my major goal each week.  I am also going to start a very basic strength training program to prevent injury and my goal is to do this 2x/week, most likely Tuesdays and Thursdays.  My last one is to go to a yoga class once a week which was another one of my goals for the year.

Meeting major goals like my yearly ones can only really be managed when broken down into tiny bite sized pieces.

I enjoyed my run so much today.  I didn’t look at my watch once for pace, I picked a route I wanted to go on and whatever distance it was, it was; however fast I was going, that was it and, ironically, I ran faster than I have in a long time.  I also, in a very silly way love that my runs have been ending in .93 or .24 or .49 instead of always being dead on a mile.  I had found all through training I was so focused how how to create my route to be the exact distance that I didn’t just use the time to think and relax and be calm (in my mind anyway).

Do you set small goals each day? Week? Month?

Swap It Out Sunday

In my excitement about the race last week, I forgot to do a Swap It Out Sunday (whoops).

This week I wanted to look at lunch.

lunch

An easy to pack, popular lunch item is the default sandwich.  But I know very few people that just have a sandwich and call it a day; usually there are chips, yogurt, pudding or other items involved to round out the meal.  A sandwich with wheat bread, ham, american cheese and mayo packs in 350 calories.  This was calculated with much smaller portions than most sandwiches I see too, so I think this may be a low ball estimate.

One great alternative could be to make a smoothie.  The smoothie I made most recently with spinach, greek yogurt, skim milk, strawberries, blueberries and pineapple had just 229 calories in it.  It was huge and I was full for the rest of the day.  I also usually eat/drink these a lot slower so I don’t get brain freeze.  If your office has a break room, you can buy the ingredients and store them in the fridge/freezer.  That way you don’t even have to pack food every day.  I also have a small blender that is easily stored and cheap.  Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender.  Note: It gets a little upset if you don’t put enough liquid in with the frozen ingredients so make sure to add enough milk.

Another great option is soup.  Especially in the winter, I love a good bowl of soup for lunch.  Progresso has a line of soups that I love that come in light options.  Even the cream based soups only have around 200 calories in the whole can; broth based have as low as 120 in the can.  These usually keep me full for a few hours, but I often will need a banana or apple around four to keep me going.

So if once a week you subed a:

  • smoothie for sandwich: save at least 121 cals, 6,292 cals/year –> 1.75 pounds
  • Soup for sandwich: save at least 150 cals, 7,800 cals/year –> 2.25 pounds

Now, if you are someone that buys lunch out every day at work, the savings there would be even more noticeable (and would help that wallet as well!).

So get out of your “sandwich for lunch” rut and try some of these substitutes tomorrow!

Camaraderie of Running

I love how much running can bring people together that would have never otherwise met.  Today on my jog around , toward the end I passed a man I had been following around the battery quite a while.  I ended up getting stopped at a red light and he caught up.  While we waited for our turn to go we chatted about race we have run and his gradual return for an injury.  The light turned green and we both continued on our way.  It was a fleeting conversation, but it was our common love of running that brought it on. There are so few times in life that you just strike up conversation with anyone on a street corner.  I find that runners are especially prone to this, we are quite a friendly group if I do say so myself.

Two pictures I had to snap along the way today.

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Other than that, I finished my book today, The Beach Trees by Karen White, and I would highly recommend reading it.  It is pretty long but once I got into it, I got sucked in (which was bad because I have quite a bit of studying that absolutely needs to get done!).  The story follows a few families and a couple of different story lines that of course all come together in the end.

The Beach Trees

So now I will try to delve into my neuro notes to prepare for my practical Friday which I should have been doing all day instead of reading this book, whoops!  Unfortunately (although I am stoked about it) the next book in the Divergent series came in today, Insurgent, and I am so excited to read it.  I may have to read just one chapter before I start studying.  Famous last words…

Gotta Love a Puppy

We had some minor drama this morning that could have been quite major.  From pretty much the time we got up, Scarlett threw up.  Then she threw up again, and again, walked around crying.  She sat down, laid down, got up walked around, cried some more.  After like 3 hours of this we finally called the vet and they told us we should come in and have her checked out.  Right as we were getting ready to leave, she had one last big throw up, including the round black plastic bumper pad that is on the bottom of mac lap tops.  She was like a whole new dog once she got that out.  We still took her in but she was fine at that point.

That whole experience broke up the day pretty much but I was still able to get a good amount of school work done, read some of my book (I have to finish it before Sunday before it goes off my kindle).  I went for a short run and did some yoga, still working off some soreness from last weekend’s race.  I have really been enjoying yoga a lot lately and have been really making an effort to work some amount (even if it is just 20 minutes) into every day.

I made Shepherds Pie for dinner from this recipe.  It is pretty good and we have used it quite a few times before.  I use this recipe pretty loosely.  I always favor veggies in meals like this, so we only used 1 pound 93/7 ground beef and I increased all the veggies (except the peas).  I do my mashed potatoes quite differently as well.

2.5 lbs skin on red potatoes

2 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup skim milk

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella

This amount of ingredients makes more than enough every time and it a little healthier with less butter and no heavy cream.  Procedurally it is the same though!  I will add the whole recipe with changes at some point this weekend because now as I read this I can tell it is pretty different.  The basic framework is here though if anyone is dying to make it now.

We are staying in and laying low this Friday night, watching Safe House and hanging out on the couch.

Have a great start to your weekend everyone!!

 

Baking Again!

I realized today I hadn’t done very much baking an a while.  I always take a bit of a hiatus after the marathon baking day I do with my mom at Christmas.  I also had some bananas that were past my ability to eat, meaning perfect for banana bread.  I love a healthy alternative to banana bread that can be a not so guilty pleasure!

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1 cup whole wheat flour

 ½ cup white flour

¾ cup white sugar

4 medium bananas mashed

1/3 cup apple sauce

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mash bananas in large bowl.
  3. Add all other ingredients and stir until combined.  It will be closer to a cake/brownie batter consistency rather than true bread dough.
  4. Add nuts or chocolate chips as desired.
  5. In loaf pan, add non-stick spray.
  6. Pour batter into pan.
  7. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until knife can be inserted and removed cleanly from the center.

Other than my return to baking I went to running group and lead the five miler and we went to the grocery store, so nothing super exciting.  But we are all over the hump yet again!

Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

 

Recovery. What’s best?

Standing on a street corner wearing my most recent race shirt, waiting to cross today while I was out for a jog I saw a man on the opposite corner also rockin’ the same shirt. He yelled across the street

“Full or half?”

“Full” I said.  “Pretty good race huh?”

He simply replied, “You’re crazy!”

We both laughed and I continued on my way.

For the rest of the way home, I thought about all of the different ways I have gone about recovering and how it is such an individual part of training and racing.

After my first marathon, the best my memory can recall is that I did absolutely nothing.  Going to class seemed an olympic event to me I was in so much pain.  Likely due to the fact that the day of the race I crossed the finish line and sat/laid around for hours.

Since then, I have learned that pretty much for everyone it is a good idea to do some walking around the day of.  But where to go in the following week or two is totally up to you and your future goals.

Today, I went out for a short, slow, easy jog with no distance in mind just to get myself moving and kind of assess where my problems lie and how to progress from here.  I have always in that active recovery camp.  Be it biking, swimming, yoga, pilates, walking; for myself, getting moving is the best way for me to get back to moving.

I think the most important thing in these first two weeks is to do what you want to.  You have to give your brain a rest from the constant scheduling of certain distance runs and speed work and the obligation of running.  Take some time to remind yourself why you love it.  Even though I certainly didn’t feel even close 100% (my toe is going to be an evolving problem for a little while), today was one of my best runs mentally in a long run.  I was running because I wanted to!

So for the next few weeks I will be here in Charleston, falling in love all over again with running just to run!

Marathon Story: Charleston Edition

Another marathon in the books and it was a pretty good race.  The course was changed up quite a bit from last year (although I did the half last year so I am not sure how different the second half of the course was).

This was the first race since I started doing distance races (half and full marathons) that I didn’t PR.  Going in to the start I knew that I was not facing optimal conditions upon toeing the line.  After being sick for the week leading up to the race I woke up not able to breathe through my right nostril, at all.  Just a little important and since I had just run a marathon 2 months ago I knew the chance of a PR was much lower.

I decided at the start I would try to maintain my 8:12 pace for as long as I felt like I could and then reassess the situation.  The girls that work at Lululemon, many of them that I run with on Wednesdays, were at mile 4ish which was great motivation (although I could have really used them at mile 22).  I got to about mile 14 before I started to doubt I would make it at that pace, which was way longer than I thought I would be able to sustain that pace given the circumstances.  At that point, I decided just to run how I felt comfortable and not look at pace.  Without trying to I maintained about an 8:20 for miles 14-18 then my right big toe started to bother me.  By mile 19 I knew I was about to face a major problem.  I don’t know why but my toe must have been jamming in my shoe (which has never happened before in these shoes).  At 22, the pain had moved from my nail to my toe joint and I was fairly certain I had broken my toe or at least done some serious damage.  I was able to keep it moving through the end of the race but ended up finishing in 3:47:20, 4: 39 slower than Savannah.

race results

Even without a PR I feel completely content with my results.  I couldn’t have hoped for any better after the series of stupid decisions I made and the illness I had been fighting.  I am now sicker than I had been yet, which I should have expected after running a marathon sick, that certainly wasn’t going to make me better.

Celebration!  Im sure that didn't help my sickness either.  No regrets though!!

Celebration! Im sure that didn’t help my sickness either. No regrets though!!

When I got home, I showered, took Scarlett for a long walk so that I didn’t just sit down and get all stiff and sore.  I got myself a delicious treat, Crepe with nutella, banana and crushed pecans.  The picture doesn’t even do it justice.

So delicious!

So delicious!

Saw this on a car after the race, thought it was too hilarious not to share.

Saw this on a car after the race, thought it was too hilarious not to share.

We went for dinner with our friends that came for Savannah.  I love that on marathon day I can let myself eat whatever I want and not even feel a little bit bad about it.  I took full advantage of this at dinner.

Straight up southern food for dinner.  Fried chicken with gravy, mac and cheese and home fries! YUM!

Straight up southern food for dinner. Fried chicken with gravy, mac and cheese and home fries! YUM!

As convenient as it was to run Charleston, I don’t think I did my best prep for it.  By that I don’t mean training because I was consistent in that.  What I mean is that it wasn’t as much of a production so I didn’t do the things I usually do pre-race.

When I have to travel for a race, I buy food that I need for the car and make sure I have gatorade and water ready.  The expo is such a big deal and I am just overall more excited about it.  For this race since I didn’t have to travel, I didn’t have gatorade (I forgot to go get some), going to the expo was just another chore of the day after going to class.

All that said, I am glad I did this race, I just think I get a lot more out of the experience when it is a somewhat of a trip/weekend adventure.

So whats next:

I plan to run a half or two this spring and run and just keep my miles up.  I am looking forward to not running on a schedule for a few months and just running what I feel like each day.  I am also going to get in the weight room and strengthen up these little legs!  The plan as of now is to run my next marathon in the Fall which will give my body plenty of time to recover and be ready to take on another PR and hopefully a Boston qualifier!

Heading off to relax, revel in my accomplishments and watch this 49ers game!

Marathon Eve

What a long day, and it wasn’t even the day of the marathon.

I got up at 5:30 this morning to be able to do interviews for our local news channel about the race. It was freezing and I was not appropriately dressed, but it prepared me for what tomorrow morning will probably be like. I did 4 interviews and then went home to try and get an hour or two more of sleep before going to lab.  That sleep was fitful and not all that beneficial.

After going to lab, my roommate and I went to the expo.  This was so small compared to the Rock n’ Rolls which I knew from going last year but I was still able to come away with a few things.  I got a race belt for gels and my bib and registered for the Half Marathon in Atlanta I am doing with my friend Lucy in March.

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The race is to benefit the arts so they had a bunch of kids art displayed.  We thought these were pretty cool.

The rest of the day I went for my jitter jog (what I call the run I do the day before the race), did some yoga, hung out with the pup for a while, got some work done and just tried to relax as much as possible.

A lot of what they interviewed me about today is what I do to get ready for a race, especially the day before.  I am by no means an expert but I do have some tips just from experience.

1. Drink water all day! The day before is when you really want to hydrate.  I usually take a liter sized gatorade and dilute it half way with water and try to drink all of that through the day.

2.  Eat your carbs.  I had left overs of the rice dinner we had last night which has great carbs (even though people usually just think of pasta).  I also try to munch on pretzels through the day because they have carbs and salt (which helps you retain water).

3.  Go for a jitter jog.  Head out for a short jog (very short, and I mean JOG).  This helps to keep the dreams of forgetting how to run over night and just gets your legs moving.  It’s also a great way to do a little warm up before getting a good stretch in.

4. Don’t try anything new race day.  This means shoes, clothes, food, NOTHING.  Eat what you have eaten pre race and during the race.  I don’t even like to change up flavor of gels.  I have also read recently that if you are going to drink a sports drink at an aid station don’t try and combine it with anything else other than water.  So if you pass an aid station with pretzels, gatorade and water, either go water and pretzel or just gatorade.  This helps prevent GI problems.

5.  Don’t go out too fast. Don’t run your first ever 6 minute mile in the first mile of a race, you will regret it at mile 18, I promise.  (I have done this once).  Try to run splits within 10 seconds (up/down) of your goal pace the whole race.

6.  Remember to have fun. This is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, don’t forget that even if you are in pain.  Put a smile on your face and know the pain is only temporary, but once you are done, you are a marathoner for life!

7.  Be realistic.  Don’t set a goal that is way out of your reach.  You don’t want to finish a marathon and be bummed about it, you should be proud no matter what.  I had initially planned to run a 3;35 for this race but I have been having knee pain and have been sick with a head cold for the past week so I have readjusted my goal just to finish without injury.  If I run a 3:35 I would be excited, but I can’t say that is a realistic goal for my current state.

8.  Drink water even if you aren’t thirsty.  In winter races when it is cold, it isn’t as easy to know when you need water.  I take at least a few sips at every stop (usually 2 miles apart) so I can stay hydrated.  Just because you aren’t sweating or aren’t thirsty doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink.

I’m sure I will think of 100,000 more things by the time the race is over so I will add an addendum as I think of things.

If anyone is racing tomorrow, have a great time and good luck!  For everyone else, have a great Saturday run!