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?

Remote Location

June 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Training calls for : REST!

Miles Run So Far: 9

Days to Go: 123

Bojour, mon petit chous!  (that’s about all the French I know ;)).  Hope you’re having a slammin’ Friday!

I’m blogging to you from a remote location this afternoon…

My dad’s study.  Yup, I’m at the parental casa this weekend for a very special occasion, but more on that later.  In Dad’s office, I feel very educated.  In that leather chair, I feel like I should be smoking a stogey, discussing the current events of the nation with my fellow ex-pats, Ernest and F. Scott.

I’m home for a weekend of women…more specifically, the weekend of women in my family.  A couple of months ago, my Aunt Sarah suggested a weekend of the women on my dad’s side of the family.  We’re all getting older, the cousins are all growing up (*ahem* some of us are already grown up ;)) and life is taking hold.  My extended family has never been the kind of all live in the same city/town/state, so it’s hard to spend time together often.  This weekend offered a chance to bring us together.  It’s going to be a good time.

Before heading to my parents’ side of the state, I had to battle through a work day.  A Green Monster Smoothie helped:

Followed by some fruit…

And a scone + coffee Sam brought to me later in the morning.  He’s been on a business trip (you guys know I don’t mention that kind of stuff until after the fact for creeper reasons, right?) so I had been missing him somethin’ fierce.  It was good to see that handsome face.  I was too busy talking and flirting to take a picture of the scone.

One of the best side effects of Sam being home was the fact that we could take our scheduled 3 miler together!  Yay!  It wasn’t nearly as humid and we ran along the shady part of the bike path.  3 miles in 28:30.  Not too shabby.  I really love having a built-in running partner.  About a half-mile left, Sam asked, “wanna pick it up?” and we pushed ourselves to the very end.  It felt great!

I’m not kidding when I say this heat is zapping my appetite.  It’s something I think I’m really going to have to work against.  I ate a banana after my run for starters:

Noshed on some chocolate Sam brought back from his trip…

and re-fueled again with a LaraBar (Key Lime Pie) while I buzzed along the highways.  The flavor was okay…I was kind of disappointed.

An Asian-inspired dinner was waiting at my parents’ house.

And I had a beer to kick off the start of my 3-day weekend.  Yay.

So let’s talk for a minute about how this puppy is helping me think about adaptation:

Oh, Zora, one of our little monster.  Zora is a Lab/Husky (or Shiba Inu) mix…either way, the girl is covered in fur.  Fur upon fur.  While most of this fur ends up on our couches, bed and floors, miraculously, some of it stays on her four-legged body.  With the weather heating up, I’ve noticed her changing her ways a little to adapt.  I’m taking my cues from her as I experience running and training in the summer heat (yikes).

Adaptation #1:  The monsters’ water bowl is constantly empty.  I cannot keep up with them.  I’ve seriously considered SkyMalling one of those pet auto-water stations.  Srsly.  Zora sucks up the agua like it’s her job — so I’m following suit.  I’ll be hydrating all the time, especially in the hours before running.  The weather is causing me to sweat even more and I do NOT deal well with dehydration, so H2O is my best friend.

Adaptation #2: If you pet Zora now, you will undoubtedly unleash mounds of hair from her adorable body.  Shedding is in full swing in our house and I recognize this is Zora’s way to cooling her coat so she can survive in this heat.  I’m taking a cue from this and changing what clothes I’m running in.  Lighter colors and more dri-weave are at the top of the drawer now.  I’ve switched out my socks, too, because I’ve noticed my feet swell a little bit in the heat.  Thinner socks = happier feet.  I’m even going to *gulp* run in just my sports bra on occasion.  I’ve done it twice already and honestly, I’m not as self-conscious as I thought I’d be.  I basically reason it this way: um, I’m out in the heat, workin’ my bod…if someone has a problem with how I’m dressed or thinks I’m being a floozy, they can stuff it or run in front of me with an air conditioning unit the entire way.  Up to them.

Adaptation #3: This pup-princess is currently worshiping the air conditioning vents in our house.  No kidding.  I’m not even sure Zora knew we had AC before this, but now, she not only knows the location of each vent in every room, she is permanently stationed in front of them (see above picture).  Unless, of course, she’s lounging on the bed with me, in which case, she’s expressing her love for the tower fan.

She knows she’s hot and she needs to remedy it.  My similar adaptation will be to appreciate the breezes when I feel them, love AC when I’m inside and most importantly, listen to my body.  Heat stroke is fo’ real and I don’t feel like playing that game.  It is always important to listen to your body for health reasons, but especially when you’re pushing it in extreme weather.

So there you go.  While I’m not crazy about training in the summer time, I AM crazy about running a marathon and it’s more important to me than a little sweat.

Now, pass the water, please.

Do you adjust your routines according to the season?  How do you adapt?  Do you have a “monster” at home ;)?

“Did I stutter?”

June 15, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Training calls for: 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 3

Days to Go: 125

Whoohoo.  Day 2 of the marathon training (and the first real run day) is behind me.  I’m on my way!  I struggled a little to get my motivation up for today’s run.  In fact, my feelings toward training in general are a little shaky.  It isn’t so much that I don’t want to do this or that I’m unsure, it’s that I’m a little bit scared.  Every time I think about training, in my head I hear myself say it “m-m-m-marathon training”.  Just like that.  Nervous little stutter.  M-m-m-marathon training.  It’s going to be a long 18 weeks if every time I think about training I’m mentally stuttering.

So I gave myself a little pep talk…drawing on one of my favorite scenes from The Office (you guys know I love that show :)).   Michael is pestering Stanley and pushes Stanley to backtalk him, saying, “did I stutter?”

In my version, Michael is my uneasiness at taking this m-m-m-marathon training on.  It’s the part of me that thinks I can do it, but isn’t really sure.  It’s that little voice going “c’mon, doubt yourself, c’mon, worry about it”.  I need to be all Stanley with that voice and say “it’s MARATHON training.  Did I stutter?”

Nope.  I did not.

BTW, I dominated those 3 miles.  Even in the heat and humidity.  BOOM!  The secret weapon?  This run was powered by pigtails.

Obviously, I took this picture pre-run.  Puh-lease, I definitely do not look that perky after a run in 88* heat with 100% humidity.  I’d like to meet the woman who does.

After a weekend of many indulgences (hello, beer, massive snacking and mindless eating) and straying from all natural eating (oh, it’s you, sugary birthday cake!), I’m ready to clean up my eats.  I did a pretty good job for today, if I do say so myself.

Breakfast at home:

Green Monster Smoothie, clearly.

Breakfast at work:

Fruit salad.


Plain all natural yogurt with Trader Joe’s granola.

Lunch was a little random: Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch Cereal.

Not exactly an adult meal, but the nutrition stats aren’t terrible, so I’ll give in to the craving.

However, the cereal doesn’t have much staying power, so a little later, a random piece of string cheese  came into the picture…

…and half a Chocolate Coconut LaraBar.  Surprisingly, not my favorite flavor.  This was the first time I tried it and I should have known the deck was stacked against it because I rarely like anything chocolate flavored that doesn’t actually contain chocolate.  People, please, let’s leave well enough alone in that department ;).

I’m trying to use up all the leftover food from the party (that’s why you’ve seen so much fruit!!!) so I chopped up some of the veg from the veggie tray and sauteed it in a pan with a little EVOO.

I threw those veggies in a multigrain wrap (from Aldi ;)) with a little cheese and scrambled eggs (two eggs, one egg white).  I obviously mis-judged the veg-to-wrap ratio, so I ended up with auxilary vegetables.  What can I say?  It’s a tough formula.

I’m pretty stuffed from dinner, so I’m thinking dessert will just have to wait.  Good thing, too, because there’s leftover birthday cake staring me down and I need to trash it or take it in to work and force my co-workers to deal with the temptation I obviously can’t.

What?  You know you do it, too.

Chain chain chain….chain of fools

March 23, 2010 at 7:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I woke up this morning feeling incredibly triumphant!  Why, you ask?  Oh, we’ll get to that…

First, lunch yesterday (for accountability’s sake — we’re coming down the home stretch with the “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March challenge, now is not the time to start slacking!):

Salad (romaine lettuce, avocado, cucumber, carrot and tomato with EVOO and balsamic vinegar), apples, strawberries, Aldi brand multi-grain chips (natural — I checked the label!) and…

My tra-dish-ional 4 o’clock yogurt with some organic flax seed pumpkin granola (now that sounds SUPER crunchy-granola, no?).  See the pumpkin seed?

So far, so good.  Everything either has a mama or grew in the ground.  Check check check.

We had dinner plans with a friend and would be eating a little late, so I munched on a cashew cookie LaraBar between work and dinner.

Ew, blurry picture, sorry!  And please ignore the monster toy in the background.

Some men, when given the green light to take a last minute trip to see their college friend and take in a NCAA tourney game bring their wives flowers as a thank you gesture.  My husband knows better.  A bouquet of LaraBars was my thank you gesture.  What can I say?  Sam knows the way to make me happy.  Um, it’s usually food.

We were meeting our friend, Gifford, for dinner and he asked us to pick a restaurant.  Sam deferred to me since I’m the one with the self-imposed odd eating this month and I boldly chose a CHAIN restaurant.  Yup, a chain.  *duh duh DUHHHHHH*  Remember how earlier this month, I basically swore off chain restaurants because I thought it was a doomed mission to eat at one and honor the “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March rules?  I stared that chain restaurant in the face and laughed.  I am 22 days stronger and wiser.  Hah hah haha, chain restaurant.  Bring it.

How did I manage?  Well, I took control.  I’m the consumer, I should be able to make the changes I want.  So what if they charge me a “substitution” fee (bull! do they NOT have all the same food back there in the kitchen?  is it THAT troubling to heap something different on my plate?  did they have to travel a great distance to accommodate my wishes? whatevah!), I’ll pay an extra $2 for a different veggie as long as I can leave with my conscience clear.  I did just that.

I ordered the “Chicken Fresco” which according to the menu is:

A fresh, all-natural grilled chicken breast topped with vine-ripened tomatoes, lemon-butter sauce, and a splash of balsamic vinaigrette. With steamed broccoli and white cheddar mashed potatoes.

I made some changes, though.  No lemon-butter sauce, please.  I don’t know if what you consider butter is what I consider butter.  Oh, and while you’re at it, I’d like double the broccoli instead of the white cheddar mashed potatoes — who knows how processed that cheddar is.

It actually came to me the way I ordered it!  SUCCESS!  TRIUMPH!!!

My favorite part was when the server said, “wow, I wish I could eat that healthy all the time.”  Secret’s out, dude, YOU CAN.

Overall, a great night with great company.  Sam met Gifford through work (Gifford is a retired history professor) and we love to spend time together and hear his stories.

This morning, oats were in order.  I whipped up some Trader Joe’s Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats…

Mmm, fiber… 😉

I threw it in an empty PB jar with banana and cacao nibs.  If you’re wondering what cacao nibs are, according to the box, they are roasted cacao bean pieces that have a nutty flavor and crunchy texture.  They don’t really have any astounding nutritional value, but they’re yummy and add a hint of chocolate taste to my oatmeal.

Of course, no morning is complete without a cup of coffee with organic half and half and light agave syrup.

A morning without coffee is like an atmosphere without oxygen — UN-INHABITABLE.

It’s raining here, but the monsters and I are going to brave the drizzle for a quick walk and then I’m off to work!  A 5 miler is on tap for later tonight (maybe the rain will fade by then…?)  Hope you find a little sunshine wherever you are.

Morning Happenings

March 2, 2010 at 9:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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…first, can we just off-road for a minute and talk about The Bachelor?  I don’t even follow that show all that closely and was APPALLED he pick Vienna.  A lot of comments were made last night about her fake blonde hair and seemingly other fake bits ;), but when you get down to it, what bothered me most was her seeming lack of sincerity and genuine maturity.

Wait, what?  Surely not!  On a reality tv show?

Okay, thank you.  Moving on ;).

I cannot believe this, but I got up at 5:05 AM to run.  Good God.  Once a week, I run with Sam in the morning and since he goes into work earlier than I do (8AM vs. 11AM), it means getting up when he gets up.  It was 6AM, but as the runs got longer and more time consuming, he started pushing the wake up call further and further back.  Since I crawled into bed around 11 last night (but it was soooo worth it for all the laughs during The Bachelor) 5:05 came way to early.  I have NEVER met a morning I liked.

I have half a LaraBar (courtesy of my Fitnessista giveaway pack) pre-run as we were heading out for 4.5 miles and I couldn’t run on empty.  I tried the Tropical Fruit Tart flavor.

Ordinarily, I’m not really into fruity bars, but this one proved me wrong.  It was sweet, tangy and reminded me of my honeymoon in Jamaica.  Kind of like a healthy, non-alcoholic pina colada ;).  Wouldn’t every run start off best if we could have a heavy dose of nostalgia and rum?  Kidddddding.

What rocked about the LaraBar was the ingredient list, check it out: dates, pineapple, unsweetened coconut, almonds, extra virgin coconut oil, cashews, orange juice concentrate and orange peel.

I dare you to find something in there you don’t recognize.  I’m making a mental note that the LaraBars are a go-to snack during “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March!

Before we even got running, I saw THREE deer running through our backyard.  I was taking the monsters out when I heard snow crunching.  I panicked and started calculating the best way to get the pups back in the house, assuming it was a mountain lion.  No, we don’t have mountain lions in my neighborhood, but at 5:15AM, that was apparently the threatening animal of choice for my overactive imagination.

It was beautiful to see them (the deer, not the monsters)  run away — so graceful, even in their fright.  I wish I could run like a doe — except for the whole pale tail syndrome thing ;).

My run was very un-deer like, I plodded along for the whole 4.5 miles, keeping a moderately good morning pace and finishing strong.  I’m going to have to eat the bars earlier though.  It gave me the fuel I was looking for, but sat in my stomach like a tennis ball.

Post-run morning eats were pretty much a repeat of yesterday.

A Green Monster Smoothie… (pardon the lighting, it was NOT ectoplasm from Ghost Busters as it may appear)

Coffee with organic half and half and light agave…

And post-monster walk, a bowl of Kashi Go Lean and plain ol’ skim milk.

Check check check.  Everything so far either had a mama or grew from the ground.  I’m going to have to pack lunch soon and I’m realizing our bread isn’t going to make the list.  Sad face.  What will I do?  I didn’t sign up for a NO CARB MONTH.  Bleck.  Carbs are good.  Embrace them — just don’t squeeze too tight ;).

Don’t be dumber than a cucumber!

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