Notables

July 29, 2010 at 11:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Training Calls For: 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 110

Days Left: 74

The past couple of days have been a little hairy with work and school and preparing to go on vacation (YAY!), so blogging got a little lost by the wayside.  I thought I’d just take you through some of the more notable moments :).

Tuesday’s weather was notably flawless.  It was a cool 63 degrees when I woke up to run at 5:30 (well, I got out of bed at 5:30 — running didn’t really happen until 6ish).  Sam and I made it a technology-free run and just enjoyed the great weather.  No humidity, no sun beating down on us, no suffocating heat.  It was an AWESOME run.  I really tried to push myself and even though we don’t have the splits to prove it, Sam estimated we ran a 9:30 pace (a good clip for me :)).  It’s not always about pace, but when you push yourself and you feel like you succeeded, it is so sweet.

Some notable noshes from Tuesday:

A strawberry Green Monster Smoothie taking part in a backyard photo shoot.

Lunch with a special someone and his giant lunch box:

I told Sam he looked like a doctor on his way to a heart transplant.  He proved to me how valuable his large lunch box is by displaying its contents:

Impressive.  And finally the most notable nosh….

Zucchini boats!  Inspired by a recipe I saw over at The Front Burner, I decided to whip up my own boats.  I’m on a boat!  I boiled the zukes for about 8 minutes to soften them, sliced then lengthwise and scooped out the seedy innards.  In a frying pan, I cooked three strips of turkey bacon, removed it and chopped it up.  Back in the same pan, I sauteed onions and garlic with some cumin and red pepper flakes sprinkled on top.  Brown rice cooked away in the microwave and when it signaled it’s readiness with an ear-piercing beep, I mixed the rice, onions, garlic and bacon together.  I spooned the mixture into the boats, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and baked for about 15 minutes at 350.

I was surprised how filling these babies were for being zucchini.  The rice helped bulk up the filling and the bacon (three strips used for 8 boats) gave a good smoky, salty flavor.  I’d make them again.  I’m always trying to incorporate more veggies where I can and this baby fit the bill!

Wednesday’s run was fabulous.  It wasn’t quite as cool as Tuesday (about 68 degree) and we definitely felt the difference 5 degrees makes (!!!), but my 5 am run was totally worth it when I completed 6 miles at a notably nice 9:29 min. pace.  Again, I want to stress again, pace is not the most important thing (if you’re a beginner runner, I suggest focusing more on increasing your distance before you try and improve your pace), but I really wanted to push myself and do those 6 strong.  I smoked my 10K time from the 10K I ran with former roommate Rachel and I was really proud of myself.

Not bad for a run that started off with a notable bit of nature: I saw a skunk!  I have never seen one before in my entire suburb-dwelling life, but there he(she?) was in all his (her) striped glory.  Obviously, I couldn’t take a picture, but it totally looked like this:

source

But in the grass and minus the confused little boy walking it.  Just focus on the skunk.  Forget the boy.  It’s just a funny picture ;).

I almost screamed.  Fortunately, there was about 25 feet of neighbor front yard between me and Petunia.  Otherwise, a tomato bath might have been in order post-run.

That’s a stank you can’t just Old Spice away.  Or can you, Old Spice guy?

Yesterday night was a lazy night.  After notably ignoring it for three seasons, I finally decided Sam and I could not continue in our lives without experiencing Mad Men.  In the media gear up for Season 4, I became convinced we were the last two people stateside to not experience the world of Sterling Cooper and Don Draper.  Onto the Netflix cue it went and we watched two episodes from Season 1 last night.

The verdict?  I liked it.  I’m a sucker for period pieces and  Sam’s got a flare for the old school style (think bowties, fedoras, dressing well, treating your wife right and drinking two fingers of  scotch to unwind after a hard day — that’s my hubby) so I knew he’d appreciate it.  Season 1 will be coming along on our road trip this weekend :).

Here’s what stands between me and vacation: 10 hours of work, a smidge of homework, a 3 mile run tonight and some packing.

I. Can’t. Wait.

The Spirit of the Marathon

July 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Training Calls for: Rest (yogAHHH)

Miles Run So Far: 101

Days Left: 77

I’m finally at the point with my schedule this summer where I will openly admit it: I over-scheduled myself.  Oops.  (Yes, you were right, Mom.)  I’m not usually one to bite off more than I can chew because I always find a way to balance all of it, but right now, I’m choking.  Just a little.

It’ll be okay.  No need for the Heimlich yet.

I’m balancing two online summer classes, a full time job and marathon training.  Add that to a normal life where I normally want to spend normal time relaxing and hanging out with my husband and friends and things are getting a little tough.  The thing is, I can’t really let go of anything just yet.  I’m past the point where I can drop the classes and there’s NO WAY I’m going to stop training, so I just have to keep plodding along, doing what I’m doing to balance it all.  I will be very excited once these two classes are over…and even more excited when I can call myself a marathoner and just run whenever I feel like it and for how long I want and not adhere to a schedule.  Yay.

Because of all this, yesterday, when I felt tired and lazy, I went with it.  I took naps, watched a movie with Sam and generally did nothing productive except grocery shop.  I needed it.  It felt good. 🙂

I hope I don’t come across as a whiner.  That’s not my intent.  I just sat down to sum up yesterday and thought, “how do I explain I did NOTHING?”  With a little background info, I guess ;).

It was back to the grind this morning!  I hit the snooze just once and made it down to my own personal yogAHHH studio (the basement) by 5:45.  I was surprised when Sam joined me for about 15 minutes.  YogAHHH is not his thing.  It was cute.  After only about 20 minutes myself, though, I turned it off in favor of some deep stretching and foam rolling while keeping one eye on the Today Show.

Breakfast this morning:

Behold!  The return of Oats in a Jar!  This peanut butter jar has been patiently waiting on the counter since the middle of the month.  Since I swore off all possibly-portable breakfasts after having to eat so many at work, it got lost in the shuffle.  Today’s mix was the fabulous cottage cheese oats (equal parts Trader Joe’s Steel Cut Oats, water, soymilk and cottage cheese — to protein it up!) and blueberries.  See the berries peaking out from under the oats?  Hello, blue!

Berries also populated my salad today:

This is one of my favorite salads, ever.  Period.  Spinach, strawberries, feta cheese, walnuts.  Dress in EVOO and balsamic vinegar.  Inhale.

A sidekick bananner also contributed to lunch:

And an apple and four o’clock yogurt round out the meal.  Sam and I have a date night planned tonight (BBQ!) and I want to save my face stuffing for later ;).

The movie we watched was a documentary called The Spirit of the Marathon.  Wow.  It came highly recommended from a new friend who has run several half marathons and multiple marathons.  She said it was incredibly inspiring, and she was dead on.  If you haven’t watched it yet and you’re a runner, I think you’ll appreciate it.  If you aren’t a runner, you’ll probably just think all the people are crazy.

The Spirit of the Marathon follows six runners as they prepare for the Chicago Marathon: two are elite runners (world record holders or Olympians), two are already established marathoners (one who is trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon) and two who are running a marathon for the first time.

I was in tears by the finish line.  It was so neat to watch the culmination of those peoples’ efforts and it gave me a boost and re-invigorated me for training this week.  I’ll probably be a wreck when I cross my own finish line, judging by my reaction to these strangers’ stories.  Really great movie.  The best part?  They interview Hal Higdon, who’s training plan I am religiously following.  He’s such a nice guy ;).

The movie served as a wonderful way to pass a day when you just needed to do nothing and rest AND revved my running engine for training this week.  Go rent it!

She Sells Seven Sea Shells

July 24, 2010 at 11:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Training Calls For: 7 miles

Miles Run So Far: 101 miles (!!!)

Days Left: 79

I have never appreciated a shower so much before.  Phew!  7 miles + yard work = stank.  There simply is no other word to describe how I felt and smelled.  Stank.

Rewinding back to Friday (remember how almost all rental VHS had a sticker that read, “Be Kind and Rewind”?  Oh…the good ol’ days!):

I whipped up a batch of Protein Pancakes to fill my belly right.  I had a statistics midterm on the agenda and needed the right brain food.

I can’t speak highly enough of the Protein Pancakes.  Simple ingredients, great taste, mega staying power.  You know those traditional ‘cakes are torched in about an hour in your belly…even though you stuffed yourself.  Not these babies, they go the distance.  I mixed 1/3 cup of each: cottage cheese, oatmeal and egg whites plus a dash of vanilla.  I wanted Banana Walnut PP, so those joined the party.  So incredibly delicious.  It made 3 good sized pancakes, which I topped with more banana.

Obliterating that exam felt so good.  I knew most of the answers and was able to slog through the ones I didn’t, so I was feeling great when I turned it in.  The feeling of having a weight lifted off your shoulders should be bottled and sold.  Priceless.  I treated myself to an iced coffee while I walked back to work.  I love that we don’t have a Starbucks in town (well, we do, but it’s in the grocery store — so kind of doesn’t count).  Only at a locally owned cafe would you find this:

Those would be the cream options.  Skim Shady, David Hassolhalf and 2 Pac-cent.  Sam told me they change them up every once in while.  Glad I could catch this run of current creativity ;).

Lunch was kind of blah:

PB and J (crunchy PB, look out!), blackberries, an unpictured apple and some chips.  Chips every once in a while won’t hurt ya.  These are all natural, Cheddar and Jalapeno.  Be still my heart.

All day, I was daydreaming about dinner.  I had an almost full tub of Ricotta cheese in the fridge, spaghetti sauce in the pantry and a half box of jumbo shells from month ago.  When these powers combine, you get:

Stuffed (sea)shells.  I loooove this meal.  I didn’t even follow a recipe for this one.  Into a bowl went the Ricotta, an egg, mozzarella cheese, chopped baby spinach, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.  Mix, mix, mix and fill, fill, fill.  Don’t feel thwarted by a lack of a recipe.  If you know basically what’s in a dish, you can figure it out, I’m sure.

After 7 (sea)shells, I was the one that was stuffed ;).  Good thing I drank my “It’s Friday, Heck Yeah!” beer-fore I ate.

Coors Light.  That’s why it looks transparent ;).

Sam got home late (he was on a business trip this week) and after some rental car wrangling, it was time to hit the hay.  After last weekend’s Teachable Ten, we’re sticking with the improvements we talked about making, starting with: heading out earlier.

Early to bed (10:30PM) early to rise (6:30AM).

Like the library book you drive around in the back of you car for months on end, I was overdue — overdue for a good long run, that is!  I reminded myself I needed to focus on form, stay hydrated, start slow and build strong and decide when I would walk BEFORE fatigue set in.  The walking thing is mental.  If I know I told myself I can walk at X miles and X.Y miles, I can power through.  If I let my legs and my huffing breath do the talking, I’m never going to make it.  I’m not in charge anymore — the fatigue is.

Even at 7:30AM it was hot and stuffy, but it was only going to get hotter, so I’m glad we set out early.  The first 2 miles went really well: I was able to build my speed and by 3.5 I felt good and comfortable.  I set a realistic goal (read: easy to obtain) before running and I was well on my way to reaching it.

A little walk break at 3.5 and some Clif Blok shots (strawberry…mmm) and before I knew it 7 miles had come and gone!  That’s the best feeling!

Can you see Sam in this picture ;)?

Grr 7 miles!  I DOMINTATED YOU!  Warrior Bethany.

A little victory photo shoot in a field of flowers.  Okay, in the flower bed of the reception hall near the bike path.  Whatever.  I was elated to have a good run.  FINALLY!  YAY!

Thanks to everyone who gave me a little pep talk after last week’s crummy run.  You guys were right — the bad ones make the good ones so much sweeter. 🙂

My refueling breakfast:

Kashi Go Lean with agave nectar and light vanilla soymilk + nectarines.

That, plus a protein shake, was just the right amount to get me back out into the heat and mow the lawn.  What a jungle.  I am so ready for fall/winter.  Stop growing, grass!  At least it’s over now and I can relax and enjoy my weekend.

Have a wonderful Saturday!!!

The “W” word

July 22, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Training Calls For: 3 miles 5 miles

Miles Run So Far: 94 miles

Days Left: 81

A fair warning: no pics in this post.  Trust me, you’d be bored by them anyway. 😉  Same old same old.

But my train of thought is always fresh and new, so buckle up and let’s talk about the  “W” word.

Walk.

There, I said it.

Let me ask you: runners in the “room”, raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like you were cheating by walking during a run.  How about…you felt like it totally defeated the purpose of your run if you walked?  Uh, huh.  Now, what about if you ever felt like those miles walked “didn’t really count”?

Wow.  It’s worse than I thought.

I did a lot of thinking about the “W” word tonight on my five mile run.  “W”hy? you ask.  I thought about it often because I did it often.  Over the course of a five mile run, I walked three times…for a good while, too.  None of that 30 second bull honky.  No, no.  I walked, caught my breath, drank some H20 and hit the pavement again when I felt a little rested.

Ain’t no shame.

I think running can feel like this “elusive” activity because so many non-runners are thinking, “oh, no, I could never do that.  I could never RUN for miles.”  Um, no, you’re right — not in the beginning.  Running is an activity that builds on itself.  Your running mileage will increase little by little, but it certainly won’t happen overnight.  Because non-runners often look to runners for guidance and then hear, “my pace was sub-8min/mile for my 15 mile run”, they think, “well, back to the couch for me.  I can’t run.  I’d have to walk.”  It’s intimidating.

Walking breaks in running offer several advantages:

🙂 An opportunity to assess how you’re feeling.  If this is a longer than usual run, you can listen to your body and see how things are going.

🙂 It can be a bridge to a farther distance.  If you can run 1 mile without stopping and you really want to get to 1.5 — take a little walk break.  You might find you can power through another .5 if you give yourself a little pep walk.

🙂 It’s easier to drink water when you’re walking.  Enough said.

I used reasons 1 and 3 for walking tonight.  It was murderously hot and humid, I need to drink water often and I’m just starting to feel back to 100% after being sick, so I didn’t want to over-exert.  The fine line you have to walk when it comes to walking breaks is to know when you’re using them to advance your progress or protect your body and when you’re using them because the lazy bug bit your behind.  Uh huh, you know what I’m talking about.  Always use them to move yourself forward.

When the downer thought process starts about walking (I can’t believe I had to slow down, I can’t believe I can’t keep going, other people can do this — what’s wrong with me, etc.), I remind myself:

Before you could walk, you had to crawl.  Before you can run, you have to walk.

It’s as simple as that.

Ain’t no shame, peeps.  If you’re a newbie runner, walking can help you feel like you’re making some progress.  Just ask my sister, Lisa, who went from a run for 3 minutes/ walk for 1 minute routine to completing her first half marathon just about 6 months later.  She’ll tell ya ;).  So will running experts like Jeff Galloway.

If you need any more encouragement next time you feel like a goon for taking a “W” break, let the monsters’ excitement over walking convince you:

Of course, they’re a little biased.

Bag Lady

July 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Training Calls for: 5 miles 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 86 miles

Days Left: 82

Sometimes I measure how busy my day will be by the amount of bags I haul around.  On a carefree Friday, it will just be my purse.  On a day like today, there will be four, moderately heavy baggagettes hanging off my limbs.  Purse, school bag, workout bag, lunch bag.

*sigh*  It’s okay.  Come Friday, I can be carefree again.

If you’re looking at the stats up top, thinking, “why didn’t she run 3 miles yesterday?”, here’s what I’ll tell you: 1) you’re paying too much attention 😉 2) I was sick yesterday and flip flopped swip swapped my days.

Monday after work, Sam and I grocery shopped (which is intense and requires two full-grown adults on their A-game).  Afterwards,  I came home and fell asleep on his shoulder.  Hard.  I might have drooled.

Off to bed I went, hoping to rest up.  When the alarm went off Tuesday morning for a 3 mile run, I felt like I actually couldn’t get out of bed.  I was so tired.  My throat was sore and I felt feverish.  I turned it off and slept for a couple more hours.

No improvement.

Sick day.  Boo.  My day went like this: sleep/study (midterm on Friday, double boo)/sleep/study/sleep/ study.

Since I had a sore throat, I had little interest in breakfast, but I foraged on.  I pretended I was making Sam breakfast instead, to “trick” myself into getting hungry.  Sometimes, I’m not hungry until the food is right in front of me.  If I am the appointed food-giver, this can be problematic in that I don’t want to make anything.  I survive on popcorn when this happens.  Bad bad.

Here’s what I scrounged up:

Cinnamon French toast triangles (shapes make food fun, take notes, moms) with all-natural syrup.  Not REAL maple syrup, but this stuff:

A little cheaper, less sugary and just as tasty.  I’ll take it.  I still put it in a bowl for dipping (and portion control) because it has almost as many calories as the REAL stuff. I created a little fruit salad on the side for some vitamins I’m sure my body needed:

When I was in college, my dad once told me (jokingly…I think): “Just study for your exams whenever you’re awake and you’ll do just fine.”  Um, that was yesterday for sure.  I definitely needed rest and I definitely needed to get my rear in gear to ace this test, so both took over my day.  I babied myself with a little tea service while camped out with my books:

Two tea pots!  Shout out to my mom for the tea set.  The woman knows her perfectly themed birthday gifts ;).

Lunch (eaten at 3:30, because I didn’t get hungry until late in the day):

You know that’s a PB&J, why spell it out for you?

More sleeping, more studying.  Mostly sleeping at this point.  The monsters were annoyed.  They looked at me often, seeming to say, “why aren’t you playing with us?  take us OUT.  W-A-L-K, woman!”.  Yep, all that translated from one, wide-eyed head tilt from Ruby and a “yeooooow” yawn/howl from Zora.  I speak monster fluently.

Finally feeling human, I made the easiest chicken dinner on the planet:

Broiled chicken with green beans and dark cherries.  This is the easiest dinner because it requires three ingredients (lemon juice, oil and salt) and the ability to push broil and walk away.  Dear Grandma, Thank you thank you thank you. It’s her recipe.  You can read how I feel about handed down recipes here.

Today, I was back to normal — still a little tired, but ready to slug through a work day.

Green Go Power:

Plus coffee (of course!).

Lunch…sadly, was nothing spectacular.  A reheated bean enchilada from Monday night.

It was more appetizing than it looks, I promise.

I’ll spare you all the gory side dish details, except for one:

That would be a slice of a plum that came off the tree in my front yard.  We planted a plum tree this year and were pretty surprised when the little baby started producing fruit!  These are the best plums I’ve ever had, even if they are teeny tiny.  Petite plums.

I busted out my I.O.me. 3 miles after work tonight and tried to focus more on form and hill training than pace.  I get awfully wrapped up in pace sometimes (am I alone, runners?  I think not) and I need to remember that my form (i.e. NOT slouching) and trucking up hills are more important elements.  I covered 3 miles in a little more than 31 minutes, but those 3 miles were hilly and it was hot.

I’m glad I followed through.  I gave a nano-second’s worth of thought to skipping it, but I followed the “I can do anything for five minutes” rule.  If you start working out and you don’t really want to, just give yourself five minutes.  You’ll find your groove ;).

I love running around the campus.  I work at a beautiful, red-bricked, cobble-stoned, tree-lined classic American campus.  Since it also happens to be my alma mater, I know the area like the back of my hand.  I go on auto-pilot and just run.  So nice.

I was pretty excited about tonight’s dinner, but it ended up a disappointment.

I tried to make the  Hungry Girl recipe for crispy white pizza.  It doesn’t look very good and it didn’t taste very good.  Bah.  I didn’t even take a picture.  It just looked like a white blob on  a tortilla.  No one needs to see that.  I have a reputation to uphold. 😉

I think I’ll scrounge up some dessert to make up for it.

Nighty night!

Through the Viewfinder

July 19, 2010 at 11:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Sunday…through the viewfinder:

Yup.  That pretty much sums it up. 🙂

Back later…with more words.  Lots of ’em.

A Teachable Ten

July 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Training Calls for: 10 miles

Miles Run So Far: 86 miles

Days Left: 86

Well, hello there!  Good to see you again ;).

We traveled far and wide (really just across the state) to spend this weekend with Sam’s family.  His sister just took the MCAT and we are ALL celebrating the fact that part of her journey towards the M.D. is OVAH!  The amount of effort that goes into becoming a doctor makes running a marathon look like something you could do at the drop of a hat.  Serious determination and dedication, friends.  Fortunately, my sister-in-law is made of tough stuff!

The only meal worth blogging about from yesterday was dinner:

We each made our own shish kabobs (or in Sam and my dad-in-law’s case man-kabobs) and enjoyed them alongside wild rice, mixed berries and a great tossed salad.  I love shish kabobs because A) everyone can format them they way they want B) you get a power pack of veggies C) you can still enjoy your meat without over doing it.  Next time you’re grilling, consider shishing your kabob ;).

Since I knew we had 10 miles staring us down the next morning, I practiced some hydration responsibility and only had one small glass of wine and a ridiculous amount of water.

The alarm went off way too early this morning (well…not that early, but does anyone ever feel like it goes off at just the right time?).  Heading downstairs to eat a light breakfast, I heard thunder in the distance. Boo.

I munched on a well-rounded breakfast of a toasted sandwich thin with PB and leftover mixed berries while waiting out the rain.  The storm passed relatively quickly and we were off!  My dad-in-law gave us a pretty good route that would cover 10 miles without forcing us to loop around or re-track our steps.

While running the first 5 miles, I came up with several blog post titles for this post:

Soybeans to the Left, Corn to the Right

Hills, Hills, Hills

Maybe You Shouldn’t Try to Run Me Over, Truck

Thank Goodness for Shade

And on and on and on.  It was a toughie, that’s for sure.  We don’t often run many hills, though it is something Sam and I both know we need to work out.  I feel like this run might have covered us for a while ;).  It was good, though, that we challenged ourselves and kept a pretty good pace while trucking it up and down all those inclines.

It did feel a little defeating, though.  After 5 miles, I started to feel really low.  I would look up and see another hill and just feel like I was never going to make it through 5 more miles.  We ended up walking quite a bit for the remainder of the run and finished up, pretty exhausted.

I decided after a bout of negativity (mile 7.5) and a slew of defeatism (mile 8.25) that I needed to turn this whole attitude and run around.

We sat for a while on the front porch, stretching and cooling down.

Check out those sweat marks we left behind ;).

As we chatted, Sam and I decided to list some victories from the run.  These include:

🙂 Running 10 miles for only the third time.  Ever.  Go us.

(That’s my best Zoolander face)

🙂 Taking on a smorgasboard of hills and doing really well with our pacing.

🙂 My IT band felt great and I know the strategy I’m taking with stretching and yogAHHH will help me complete training, injury-free.

🙂 We used a new water bottle system (the kind that slips on your hand) and this really helped.  (So did my dad-in-law driving to meet us at the halfway point with more water bottles — Thanks, Dad!)

We also talked about where we could learn from this run and how we’ll implement this from now on.

🙂 Working on pacing — starting slower, increasing speed for a stronger finish.

🙂 Running earlier in the day.  We wrapped up at about 11:30 and it was really hot and really humid.

🙂 Tackling more hills.

🙂 Stretching — Sam said he didn’t feel he had stretched as much as he needed for this bad boy of a run.

Here’s the point: when you have a run that leaves you less than pleased, when you feel like it’s a miracle you slogged through it, you need to learn from it.

This run was a very teachable ten for me.

I was nervous to run this morning because I was here in W-town (Sam’s parents’ hometown) when we ran that last 10 mile training run for half marathon training.  We all remember how stellar that was *sarcasm*.  I felt so much trepidation between my IT band and the memory of a crummy run that I was pretty psyched out about this.  It wasn’t a good run, but I’m going to learn from it.  I’m going to have to run 10 miles again, and more than 10 miles again.  And again.

I can’t move forward if I’m not armed with a plan.  Negativity and defeatism doesn’t move you forward, it stalls you out and freezes you in place.  A plan and a positive attitude will help push you even when you aren’t sure if you can make it.

So I’m working on it.  Boy, am I working on it.

I ate a recovery breakfast of oatmeal (made with water and milk), a spoonful of PB, and a banana.

I had lovely company.

Zora.  Puppy <3.

We ran some errands and I snacked on a Clif Bar (Dear Clif Bars, Please find LaraBars and make bar babies) and drank a Vitamin Water Zero for some electrolyte replacement.  It was necessary, even if it wasn’t all that natural.  *sad face*

I picked the least un-natural I could find.  I was shocked that the second ingredient in one of the Powerades was high fructose corn syrup.  What?!

It’s time for a little relaxation and family time…and more celebrating.  I love my sister-in-law and am so proud of her for all her hard work.  She’s been studying for almost a year for this test.  Now that it’s behind her, she’s on her way to being Dr. Sister-in-law.  Even though it won’t be her specialty, I’m totally going to call her in the middle of the night when our kids are running fevers, instead of our GP.  🙂  She’s been forewarned, it’s cool.

How do you handle a crummy run or a less than stellar workout?

Foggy Morning Foggy Headed

July 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Edited to add: This was supposed to publish on Thursday…um, what the heck?  My apologies.  Enjoy this, consider it an appetizer while I’m off preparing a more substantial post ;).

Training Calls For: 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 76

Days Left: 88

Anyone else just working for the weekend?  Me!!!  I have a half day coming my way on Friday, so my weekend will start a bit early and then we’re heading to visit family :).  It will be a good time and it is what is motivating me to keep chugging along until I get to Friday afternoon.

My 3 mile run was just kind of “meh” today.  I hit the snooze button (gotta knock that off!) once and got up a little later than I wanted.  It’s probably better that way, though.  The fog was so thick this morning, visibility was probably 20 feet — no bueno if you’re a runner on the side of the road.  You could actually see the fog in the air, and I’m not talking, “oh, it’s foggy out”, I’m talking, “oh, look, individual particles of foglettes”.  Whoa.

I kept up a decent morning pace, in spite of my foggy surroundings and foggy head.  I’m a better afternoon/evening runner and you can totally tell in my pace.  Morning pace is a full minute slower than evening pace.  Too bad I have yet to find a race that starts at 5pm!

This is the part of the blizog where I would show you a picture of breakfast (a Green Monster Smoothie and coffee), however, when I went to photograph it, my camera let out a little sigh and went to sleep.  Dead battery.  That’s what I get for not taking all those “low battery” warning seriously.  In addition to “low battery”, I need a warning that reads, “no, for real.  I’m not joking around now — LOW BATTERY!”.  I squeaked this one out, just in time.

Blurry is all get out.  Whoa.

Lunch is a little more exciting, though.

Take a peek under the wrap ;).  VEGGIES!  I once had a co-worker see me eating a veggie sandwich and say to me, “I never thought anyone actually ate vegetable sandwiches.”  Me neither, until the healthy living bug bit me and made a home in my brain ;).  On an Aldi brand multigrain wrap, I smooshed some avocado, added chopped carrot strips, tomato and green pepper and then sprinkled a little Salad Supreme (a mix of spice intended for pasta salad — by McCormick??).

Oh, so good.  If you’re dabbling in healthy alternatives, I encourage you to try swapping mayo for avocado.  That bumpy beauty has the same creaminess, but packs healthy fat.  If you add a little seasoning, like I did, then you get even more flavor without the unwanted calories/ingredients.

Alongside my wrap, I munched on some black, seedless grapes.

There’s an apple hiding in my lunch bag (camera shy) and of course (!), some 4 o’clock yogurt chillin’ in the fridge.

In other exciting news, I realized today makes one month I’ve been training for the marathon.  Whoa!  In 30 days, I’ve covered 76 miles.  That’s more than 2.5 miles EVERY DAY.  Whoa.

Major whoa.

I have to go wrap my mind around that, friends.  Check ya later!

Darn you, Housewives!

July 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Training Calls For: 5 miles

Miles Run So Far: 73

Days Left: 89

I almost, almost didn’t make it out of bed this morning when the alarm went off for my 5 miler.  Why?  Oh, I stayed up too late watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

*face palm* Somewhere along the way, during those 6 weeks I was working the early morning shift and had my afternoons free, I developed an odd interest in that show because it was always on when I ate lunch.  Is Bravo powered by anything other than Housewives, Kathy Griffin and wanna-be chefs?

When I saw that the episode where the biznass went down between Teresa and Danielle was going to be on — ooh, I couldn’t miss it.  I find that flavor of crazy so intriguing.  What has become of my moral compass? 😉 It’s okay, we all like a little trash tv now and then.

So back to this morning: I’ve heard the hardest part of a run is the part where you get out the door.  Boy, I subscribe to that idea.  I hit the snooze button once, spent about 8 minutes checking my Google Reader, made a piece of PB toast, took my sweet time eating it, considered making a cup of coffee,  stretched, and finalllllllly, laced up my shoes and left the house.

Finally.

I looped around our neighborhood for two miles then trotted over to the next neighborhood for another two and finished up my victory lap back near our house.  The weather was humid but slightly cool.  I am really digging these morning runs…even if I do still end up sweating like it’s going out of style.  I was little nervous about these 5 miles — not because of the distance, but because of my ITB (iliotibial band).  Since it irritated me on Sunday (9 miles), I’ve been adopting a more proactive approach to treating the situation.  Left untreated, I could injury myself to the point of not being able to train.

Not an option.

Proactive approach to my ITB problem: constant daily stretching, rolling after longer runs, yogAHHH on rest days.  All elements in harmony should produce a nicely stretched IT band and carefree running.

Reactive approach: Run until it hurts and be forced to take days (or maybe a week) off from running.  Fall behind in Hal Higdon’s novice marathon training schedule.  Cry.  Worry.  Stress.

I think we all see the benefit in being proactive vs. reactive.  Yes? Yes.  Proactive > Reactive.

Even though I’ve been a good girl with stretching, rolling and yogAHHH, I ran with a little trepidation this morning.  Had I done enough?  Would it make a difference after just two days?  If my band started to hurt, I was going to really have to evaluate my plan.  Each mile passed and I kept checking in with my body: “does anything hurt?” Nope!

Hurray!

I rewarded myself with a gold star for my efforts:

Well, ish.  I know you can’t tell, but I used a star shaped cookie cutter to gut the all natural whole wheat bread for my toad in the hole breakfast.  Fancy, I know.  Too bad it didn’t work out according to plan — instead all you see if a big, eggy center.  Ah, well.  A for effort.  S for strawberries (which I ate a few).

My morning productivity levels continue to soar, which I am loving.  I took care of all sorts of things around the house, walked the monsters (which they appreciated) and high tailed it to work.

Just 15 minutes in to my work day, my stomach started to rumble.  I guess a starry-eyed toad in the hole wasn’t enough breakfast.  Dangit.  Finally, the lunch hour arrived and I met my hot-hot date (Sam) for a mid-day rendezvous.

Subway!  I don’t really count Subway as fast food, in case you’re wondering.  Subway and Chipotle.  I feel comfortable eating at an establishment that assembles my food right before my plexi-glass shielded eyes.  Yes, I’m sure technically, they are fast food restaurants, but they don’t fall into the category of freaky fast food places I avoid.  The kind that are red and yellow themed, offer kids toys relating to the latest summer flick and have ball pits.

*shudder*  I have yet to see a ball pit at a Subway.  I feel like if a restaurant is offering so much more than food, it’s probably trying to distract you from the food.

Look!  A clown!

I got one of my favorites: a BLT on 9-grain wheat with extra spinach, lettuce, tomato, red onion (love!), pickles and a light serving of the regular mayo.  Bueno.  I love that Subway serves yogurt as a healthy alternative to chips.  Double bueno.

I’m not sure what it is with my stomach, but it was like that sandwich was made of air.  An hour later, I was back to grumbling.  Luckily, I had popped into CVS during the lunch hour and picked up an emergency Clif Bar.

I’m not a big Clif Bar kind of girl — I find them lumpy and very dense…but I might just be a convert because this flavor was awesome!  Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch.  A looksie over the label tells me Clif is doing things right by this naturalist — all recognizable products.  High five!

Phew!  I slogged through the remainder of my day (darn you, Housewives!) and then made a quick trip to Tractor Supply Company.  *she thinks my tractor’s sexy…anyone? anyone?*  We don’t live on a farm, I promise, but we do buy the monsters’ food there — it is soooo much cheaper!  Every time I go, though, the “gentlemen farmers” try to carry my 44 lbs. bag of dog food.  I always tell them I can manage.  They always end up doing it anyway.  This time, the clerk actually called an associate to load it into my car for me.

Hilarious.  Where was said associate when I was hauling buns around the neighborhood this morning?  I could have used the help then!

Dinner:

Protein Pancakes.  Not just any Protein Pancakes…

BLUEBERRY!  I think God made blueberries specifically for use in pancakes.  Those little fruit orbs get all warm on the griddle and then blow up inside the pancakes like tiny fruit syrup bombs.

The only kind of bomb there should be, in my opinion. 😉

I’m debating some banana soft serve “ice cream” now…but only if I can turn it chocolatey.  Mmmm.

Veggie Love

July 13, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Training Calls For: 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 68

Days Left: 90

This morning was another early wake-up call, but I actually didn’t mind.  I find it awesome to get 90% of my to-do list ticked off before I head in to work.  Awesome!  Last night, I was able to come home, spend time with Sam and not feel like I had to rush-rush to get something else less interesting and more time consuming accomplished.

We feasted (eh, an exaggeration) on a simple dinner last night: Curried Tuna Cakes.  This recipe was found in a book called the Can Opener Gourmet.  I inherited it from my grandma and hardly ever pick it up.  I think it could use a better title — the current one is a little bit of a detterant.  Might I suggest: Make Dinner?  Sure You Can…haha.  Okay, maybe we all just realized how they ended up sticking with what they had originally.

With a simple ingredient list: tuna, bread crumbs, curry powder, and egg (or egg whites in our case), this baby was a go.   Form the patties, pan fry in a little EVOO to brown up and dinner is served!  Looked pretty…

…plated with a little lettuce and tomato.  It tasted okay — something was missing, something spice wise.   I can’t put my finger on it and didn’t really feel like playing Ingredient Investigator, so I let it go.  I let it go in favor of a night spent reading (Eat, Pray, Love…which is taking me forever to finish!) and hanging out with my husband.  We pushed our plans for Brew Week to another night.

I think it was a good call.

This morning, bright and early, we hit the pavement for our schedule 3 mile run.  Oh, Hal Higdon, you have a love of the prime number 3, don’t you?  3 mile runs bookend mid-week long-ish runs according to his training schedule, so if it’s a Tuesday or a Thursday, you can count on a 3.

I would like to shout from the rooftops: IT IS AMAZING RUNNING IN THE EARLY MORNING!  Oh, me, oh my.  I ran in 70 degree weather this morning as opposed to the 90 degree mid-day heat I had been battling for the last few weeks.  It was great.  I still sweated like a pig had a healthy glow, but at least I wasn’t sweating glowing before the ran even began.

I enjoyed a mini monster after the run…splitting a regular sized Green Monster Smoothie with Sam.

Then got down to biznass making a breakfast that effort.  I’m done with easy-peasy morning meals for a while.  I want the food that takes some work.  Gimme pancakes, homemade waffles, omelets, toads in holes and stovetop oats!  Bring it on!

Yummm.  Behold, this morning’s labor of love:  An egg+egg white omelet stuffed with sauteed green pepper, onion and garlic and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.  I ate the “butt” (heel?) of a loaf of bread alongside with a dabble of REAL butter.  I left it in dabble-form because I thought it looked a little like a breakfast commercial.

In addition to appreciating early morning runs, I am also seriously in love with drinking coffee from a mug once more instead of throwing it back from a travel mug for for sleep-battling survival reasons.  My mug was mega.  I took a picture so you could compare a regular mug to my mug.

Mega mug mega love.  Don’t worry — we’re brewing the half-caf coffee, so I’m not cracking out on caffeine.

Speaking of loves, my love of veg has returned, full force.  Gone are the days of carby cravings and sweet scavenger hunts through the cupboards.  Phew!  Good thing, too.  I kinda felt the difference in my diet in my mood and energy levels.  Crazy.  I followed my veggie inclinations and created a salad out of last night’s leftovers.

Romaine lettuce, tomato, carrots, and celery topped with two two-na patties.  They were better cold and the second day.  Odddd.  Fruit entered the picture in the form of a banana, black seedless grapes and some blueberries (which will take a nosedive into my yogurt this afternoon.  ‘Bout 4 o’clock.   Be there, be square…or round).

My renewed interest in vegetables and my recognition of how poorly I felt eating imbalanced for so many weeks made me wonder:  how would I feel if I ate fast food again?

For those of you who are new (welcome, amigos!), let me explain:  I don’t eat un-natural foods.  If I can’t pronounce it or don’t recognize it, I’m not going to put it in my body.  I wrote about how much power fast food used to have over my lunch hour in this post.  I haven’t had a meal from a yellow and red themed restaurant since December!  That’s almost 7 months, peeps.  I always hear people talk about how much better they feel when they eat healthy (and I know this first hand), but I wonder how quickly it would take for me to feel badly if I ate the fast food.  I wasn’t eating junk for the past several weeks — I just wasn’t eating balanced and I noticed a change in my overall health.  If I noticed a change from that, would a combo meal send me into a coma?

I’m kind of tempted to find out.

What do you think?  Should I hit the drive thru on my way home ;)?

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