Sunday, September 30, 2012

Twitter You-Call-It

I'm stuck in the car so I sent this tweet & here's the response:

Since I have zero in-law gift ideas, I'll answer the other two. Or at least try.

Easy/Lazy meal option: Sloppy Joes. We usually have hamburger that's been cooked up in the freezer. Thaw it in the nuker & put in a skillet. Add ketchup, mustard, minced onion, brown sugar & chili powder & cook until bubbly. Voila - sloppy joes.

**edited - you also need 1/2 to 1 can of tomato soup - missed that the first time I posted!**

Favorite out of the ordinary drink is hard since I'm mostly a beer girl. But, I like microbrews that you can't get everywhere, so I say pick something you haven't tried & give it a shot. I also used to love midori & sour mix. That's sorta weird.

There you go Brooke!

Ok, now the rest of you can call it. Give me a topic & I'll blog about it.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fitness Friday: #Fear

You know, Eleanor Roosevelt was a pretty smart lady. (I believe she is also credited with one of my favorite quotes, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent," but that's a topic for a different post.)

Today I'm writing about FEAR. I'm going to be the first to admit that I'm pretty much a chickenshit when it comes to a lot of things. I've been known to have full-on panic attacks at the most irrational moments (a ride on a VERY TINY sailboat most recently comes to mind).  But today I'm feeling fear about something I shouldn't be afraid of.  I'm putting it out here to get it off my chest and hopefully out of my mind.

I'm scared for my first double-digit run tomorrow since getting injured back in April. (Has it really been almost 6 months??)

I'm not exactly sure WHAT scares me though. I've done that distance dozens of times. I'm running with an organized run & I know friends will be there. The course is familiar to me.

So what has me scared?

I think, at least for me, 10 miles is my half marathon barometer (for lack of a better word). If I can run 10, I know I can finish 13.1. So maybe I'm scared because this is like my midterm exam. This run will show how far I've come (and ultimately how far I have still to go).  I won't lie.  My legs are tired and sore this week. I've pushed them to paces they haven't consistently run before and tomorrow I'm going to push them to run a distance they haven't run since April 1st.  I want to be successful and finish with a smile on my face.

Wish me luck & think good thoughts for me (and all the other people running the Grand Rapids Marathon 10/20 training run). The weather looks absolutely beautiful for the run (sunny, high 40s and light wind).  I'm hoping the run turns out just as sunny.


What scares you? What leap are you going to take?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 27, 2012

3 Things Thursday: Randoms About Me

I've been slowly plugging along at answering some of the questions readers have sent my way (thanks guys, keep 'em coming!).  I have a 20 questions page here and I'm working on answering more questions.  There are posts with other questions here if you want to go back and check them out.

So, without further ado, here are 3 more random tidbits about moi:
  1. Meg (who is a new mommy) asked, "What are the ups and downs of parenting twins?" I think one of the biggest ups is the fact I got the perfect two-fer!  I only had to be pregnant once (which I really liked, so I'm also a bit sad I'll never have that experience again) and I ended up with a girl and boy as a result.  The first 6 months were pretty much zombiemom hell as no one slept, but after that it's been pretty smooth sailing.  Both kids are very independent and have completely different interests. K (my girl) is into sports and has excelled at everything from gymnastics and diving to volleyball and track.  D (my son) is into theater and music. He loves acting and is a great trombone player.  Not having them both in sports is nice since there aren't as many conflicts.  Right now, they are both working on accruing their hours to get their driver's licenses, which is a total PITA.  Not sure what we will do when they start both wanting a car.  I think that's probably the biggest downside is double cost for everything.  We're going to be hit with cars at the same time, graduation parties at the same time, college at the same time.  *runs off to start looking for a second job*
  2. Ellen  asked, "Hobbies outside of running".  I'm not really a "hobbies" person - mainly because I don't have time.  I've never been into scrapbooking or crafts.  I do like to read - mostly mindless stuff like Janet Evanovich novels or crime/detective novels, think John Sanford and stuff like that.  I watch far too much television and my DVR is always full.
  3. Jen  had a great question.  "Are you planning to get a tattoo to celebrate your tri?" For those of you who don't know, I have 2 tattoos - one on my wrist that says "believe" and a firework on my ankle/calf with the words "strength" and a 26.2.  I'm sure somewhere on this blog are pictures of them if you search hard enough :) As of right now, I have no plans for a triathlon tattoo.  That doesn't mean I don't want another tat, however :)  One of my friends said they are kind of like an addiction and she was right.  I'm definitely thinking there will be more, but right now the design and placement are undecided.  
There you have it - three random things about me.  Now a question for you: Do you have any hobbies you'd like to share?  I'm also open to more questions if you want to throw one out there in the comments :)

(also - somehow my "follow me" widget broke and I don't know how to fix it. HELP!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wine and Dine Half Training: Week 6

I can't believe I'm half-way through my training for Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon and in just over 6 weeks, I'm going to be earning my Coast-to-Coast medal :))))

This week the miles ramped up quite a bit and I'm feeling the effects.  It's all good though. Just means I'm working hard.

Monday 9/17/12 - Run: 4 treadmill miles (2.5 mile tempo). Kept my tempo pace at a 10m/m (a few seconds slower than last week). Tempo felt good and I can feel my endurance and strength coming back. Had another appointment with the chiro & massage therapist again after school.

Tuesday 9/18/12 - XT - 2 mile, easy walk.  Checking out my route for neighborhood 800s.

Wednesday 9/19/12 - Run: Yasso 800s around my neighboorhood. 1.5 mile warm up/cool down in 17:00 (11:20 pace), then 2 miles of 1/2 mile repeats (4x800) with a 4:30 rest in between sets. Averaged a 9:04 pace. This was a huge test for me. I've only ever done speedwork on a treadmill and it was a huge boost to know I could maintain those paces outside as well.  I was sore for days.

Thursday 9/20/12 - Nothing, nada, ziltch 

Friday 9/21/12 - Again, nothing. 

Saturday 9/22/12 -  Run: 8.17 miles in 1:30:58 (11:08 pace but ran awesome negative splits - starting at 12:05 and ending at 10:41 or 10:10 if you count the last .17 miles). I keep hitting longer and longer runs and this one felt really good.  I met a friend at 0 dark:30 and had a great run.  The conversation made the miles go faster and the company made the dark less scary.  I only tripped twice. Or maybe 3 times. Never actually fell down though :)

Sunday 9/23/12 - Recovery walk while taking in Artprize (a huge art competition here in town for the next couple weeks). Very slow walk but I think we covered about 2 miles and it helped with some of the kinks from the week.

I'm extremely proud of going outside my comfort zone and completing those 800s outside.  That was probably one of the hardest workouts I've ever done (and will only get harder since I have 5x800 this week).  I see some speed peeking through here and there and my endurance keeps getting better.  Sadly, I'm now fighting a cold and I hope it doesn't frak up my remaining runs this week (I did my tempo yesterday before the cold knocked me on my butt).

Did you do any workouts (or anything else for that matter) that put you outside YOUR comfort zone this week?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Move-it Monday: Sick?

If you get up at 5:30 am to get a run in (even when you're sick & should've stayed in bed), you might leave the gym & realize you got 3 miles in before the sun even came up.

Now excuse me while I head back to my pj's, warm bed, and the chicken noodle soup I made yesterday.

I could tell I was sluggish during my run but I didn't feel that bad. Now, 4 hours later, I can't get warm & just want to sleep for a week.

Where do you draw the line at working out when sick (or getting sick)?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flashback Friday: #Fitbloggin Edition

This weekend, many of my bestest twitter/blog (and IRL) friends are descending on Baltimore for Fitbloggin '12. I'm so heartbroken I couldn't go this year. I had the best time EVER at Fitbloggin '11, as these flashback pictures show.

I miss these girls so much! Have a great time, ladies! Someone get pics of Thea at Zumba, m'kay?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Tomatoes 3 Ways

Remember last week when I asked what to do with all of these?

I ended up making 2 batches of salsa & another batch of spaghetti sauce.

All soooo good & we put fajitas on the menu for Monday & spaghetti on deck for Tuesday to use them up.

I loosely based the chunky salsa recipe on this recipe (but I omitted the season salt & used lime juice, 1 jalapeno & 1 serrano) and the smoother, roasted salsa on this recipe. (I used 2 jalapenos and 1 serrano & it was HOT.)

Last week I posted the spaghetti sauce one :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ironman Wisconsin 2012: A Guest Post from Angie!

I am SOOOO proud to introduce you to my dear friend, Angie.  She is one serious rock-star mother runner and triathlete, not to mention the first person who suggested to me many years ago that I could run a 5k (and then a 10k and a half marathon and a marathon and a get the picture).  This year she took on the task of training for and COMPLETING a full Ironman - all while also working full time as a special education preschool physical therapist & taking care of her 8th grade and 10th grade uber busy boys.  So many of you cheered her on via twitter as I posted her progress in Madison and then asked over and over if she was going to write a recap.  Angie doesn't have her own blog or twitter so she was awesome enough to write a post here (and also on her tri-team's page, but I got her pictures! SCORE!) Enjoy!

Ironman Wisconsin 2012

In 2009, I did my first sprint tri (Tri del Sol).  This was no easy task.  I had quite a bit of work to do in order to successfully swim ½ a mile.  I did it, and I was hooked.  The following year I did a couple more sprint triathlons and ended the summer with an Olympic Distance Tri in Chicago.  The next year I was looking for my next challenge and my friend and teammate, Jane G, talked me into doing the Half Ironman at the GR Tri.  I had a great time and signed up for another Half Ironman in Racine 6 weeks later.  Last fall, September of 2011, I did Reed’s Lake Tri and again began to ask myself, what’s next?  I got up early on that Monday morning and had made up my mind, that if I could swim 2.4 miles, then I could do the Ironman at Wisconsin.  That morning I swam at the Y Center before work, and did 4,400 yards.  That day at lunch, I signed up for IMWI 2012.

Once I committed to the feat, I knew that this would be a huge time commitment.  Between September and January I just worked out doing whatever, whenever.  Beginning in January I started following an online free training program.  Everything was going according to plan, but when I started trying to plan summer races, I realized that I needed some help.  I hired Kattie to write my training plan, incorporating the Fisk Knob Time Trial, the GR Tri HIM, Racine 70.3, Tri Allegan, among other events.

I spent many long hours training this summer, but I really did enjoy it.  I was able to do a lot of training with Carol, who was a great training partner and friend.  Marianne kept me company, and gave me great coaching on my swimming.  Jane V escorted me to Grand Haven for a beautiful 100 mile ride.  My teammates were all encouraging along the way.

World's Coolest Race Swag Backpack!
The IMWI was on a Sunday, but athlete check-in was on Thursday and Friday only.  So I left GR around 7 am on Friday, picked up my parents in Holland, and off we went.  We got to Athlete check-in around noon and I got right through.  The highlight was getting the coolest backpack ever.  Also, while shopping in the IM Store, I ran into 3 people from the GR area.  I overheard one guy say that he was from GR.  Another guy I talked to because he had a Reeds Lake Tri t-shirt on and the other guy was wearing a GR Marathon jacket.  Wow- GR was well represented.  They were very thorough and even weighed you in case you ended up in the Med Tent.  After getting all checked in, we headed back to the hotel and got checked in there.  That night, we went to the Welcome Dinner hosted by the Mike Reilly.  The food was average…spaghetti, salad, breadsticks, potatoes.  But, seated at our table, we met 3 more guys all from Holland, MI.  The dinner was very inspirational, and the reality of what I was about to undertake sunk in.  They announced that this IM event had the most women, but I was surprised that it was only 27% of the field.  They said that there were athletes there from all 50 states and the youngest athlete to compete was 18 and the oldest was 73. 

Saturday I had a 10 minute run, 20 minute bike and 10 minute swim on the schedule and I had to check in my bike and transition bags.  I started with a 10 minute jog and then ate a big breakfast.  Joe and I then headed to Monona Terrace for a quick bike ride and then to get the bike and bags checked in.  Next was a quick dip in the lake.  I was feeling very comfortable and just ready to go and get this done.  I was not hungry, but decided that I should eat.  We stopped at Q’dobas for lunch.  We headed back to the hotel for an hour or so, where I got a nice massage from the hubby and then we were off for our pasta dinner.  Took some Ambien and it was off to bed.

Transition area set up on the roof of Monona Terrace
Sunday morning at 4 am, the alarm went off…show time!  My first task of the day, attempting to get in 1,000 calories at 4 am- yuck!  I didn’t quite get all my calories in.  I think I managed to get down a banana, orange juice, bagel with peanut better, and a protein drink.  When we got to the race, I had to stock up my bike with all my water and drinks and check the tire pressure.  I’m glad that I brought my own pump, because there was a long line for Trek to do it.  It was a little chilly out (maybe 50 degrees) so we hung out for a while inside the convention center.  I was able to visit the bathroom, inside, without a wait…in the world of triathlons; it doesn’t get any better than this.  It wasn’t until about 45 minutes before the start of the race, when I started freaking out.  I was so nervous about the swim.  The convention center was crowded with a ton of people, most of whom were significantly bigger than I am.  The thought of 2,800 people all swimming 2.4 miles in a mass start was daunting.  I was not nervous about the distance, I was nervous about the chaos that would ensue.  When I had done the Madison Open Water Swim just 3 weeks earlier, I had to start with about 200 swimmers, and I thought that was bad.  My husband, who is not a swimmer, actually gave me good advice that helped me in the swim.  He told me that I did not need to worry about the thousands of people who were not in my immediate area, that I only needed to worry about the 10-20 people in my personal space.  I also contemplated how/ where to line up for the swim.  Before the race, I heard conflicting advice.  Some said to just wait until most were taking off and then leave from shore and work my way in.  The theory was that although you may have to swim further, you would not get caught in as much traffic.  Others said that I should go out early and start up front.  The idea here was that I am nowhere near the slowest swimmer out there.  I did not want to get stuck behind so many people that I would have to pass and work my way around thousands of them.  I decided on the second, more aggressive option.  I got out there about 15 minutes before the cannon went off and was able to float in my wetsuit and hang on to a kayak, so as to not waste too much energy before the race even started. 

Sea of Swimmers - or are they Piranha?
The cannon went off and the pack of anxious swimmers did too.  I would be lying if I said that it was not a mad house.  People were jockeying for position and there was a lot of contact.  Instead of spotting every 4-6 strokes, I was spotting (polo swimming) almost constantly at the beginning.  It seemed as if every time you thought that you were about to get into a groove you were running into someone.  If people grab my feet, it doesn’t freak me out nearly as much as if they are on my head, arms or back.  For the most part, there was a lot of grabbing and hitting of my feet, which only encouraged me to kick harder.  When we got to the first corner buoy, which required a 90 degree left turn, there was a traffic jam.  The people in front of me were all slowed or stopped and the people behind me were all still trying to swim…over me.  I let out a scream of panic and then took a deep breath and rode it out.  You only need to stay on the outside of the corner buoys, not the markers between, so I did find myself on the inside of some these buoys so that I could find some calm waters.  After about ½ through the swim, I realized that I had this.  The congestion had cleared to a tolerable level and I was able to actually “swim”.  I came out of the water in 1:11 and saw Joe there cheering for me.

To get from the swim to T1 you have a long run, but it was awesome.  First of all, I felt so relieved that the swim was over and that I was still alive.  I thought to myself, the hard and scary part is over, now it’s just for the long part of the day.  I had no doubts that I couldn’t ride 112 miles and at least walk 26.2.  The transition area was inside the convention area, which was cool.  We had to run up the parking structure, several levels, which lead us round and round.  The structure was lined with cheering fans and for the first time I got teary-eyed as I thought, “Holy Crap, I’m really doing this”.  Everyone was running into one room where all the T1 bags are placed.  As you are running down the hall, volunteers are already shouting your number out.  When I got to the room, someone handed me my bag and then I ran to the changing room.  In the changing room, there were even more volunteers to help you.  I felt really well taken care of.  You run out of the building and have quite a long run from one end of the parking structure to the next in order to get to your bike.  Because it was a long run, I carried by bike shoes until I got closer to my bike.  Again, as you were running through, people were calling out your number and they were handing me my bike.

Chicking guys left and right
The bike started off down the opposite side of the ramp, going down and around the helix.  I tired to take it easy on the bike.  I knew it was a hard course and I needed to save some energy for the run.  I had to stop to pee a couple of times while on the bike and this was taking just too much time.  So I decided that it was time to be a real Ironman and just start peeing while riding.  This was a huge time saver as I ended up going about 3 more times during the course of the ride.  My parents drove out and met me at a couple of different spots on the course and Joe took the shuttle bus out to Verona.  It was a 2 loop course, so I got to see my family quite a bit.  I pre-rode the course a few weeks before the race, and I was a little worried about the big hill on Old Sauk Pass.  As it turned out, there were lots and lots of crazy fans in this area, which made it fun!  I was actually looking forward to tackling this for the second loop.  Some of the fans were running up with hill next to the cyclist.  Several had megaphone and awesome signs.  Some of the signs that I read in this area were. “Smile if you’ve peed on yourself today”, “Your bike is your toilet”, “Embrace the Suck”, and my favorite was a bunch of young rowdy teenage-20-something guys that had a sign saying, “Tri girls have the best butts…and this is why”..  The ride was fairly uneventful and I suddenly realized that this was the furthest distance I have ever ridden.  But, it went well.  I did feel like I had enough left for just a little marathon to round out the day. 

Dude is totally agreeing with the sign
"Tri girls have the best butts!"
The bike ended by riding up the parking structure.  When you get to the top, there were volunteers that take your bike for you and re-rack it.  That was so cool.  I felt like a VIP.  Again, there were lots of crowds cheering when you dismount and run into the building to grab your T2 bag.  Again, off to the changing room.  I decided to just stay in my tri clothes.  I took off my helmet and bike shoes, put on my visor, sunglasses and running shoes and off I went…again!  My right hip was a little sore, but it didn’t last long.  My running plan (that I decided upon pre-race) was to take the first 5-6 miles extra slow, like a 10 minute pace.  My first mile was an 8:40, so I really had to reel it in, but I just could not believe how good I was feeling.  I did the next 3 miles around a 9:15 pace and it felt pretty comfortable.  This really was my dayJ.   Unfortunately, things went from good to bad in a hurry.  All of a sudden, around mile 4, I started having stomach cramps and diarrhea.  The cramps and diarrhea continued for the remaining 22 miles- actually getting to the point where I could not take anything in, not even water.  Between visiting the porta-pottys and the woods, I was able to maintain a decent pace.  The course was a double loop again, so I was able to see my mom, my dad, or my husband about every 2 miles.  The course was beautiful, including running through Randall Stadium (where I yelled “Go Blue” at the top of my lungs) and a nice trail along Lake Mendota.  I was surprised that I was still able to run, considering that nothing was staying in and I was surely dehydrated by this time.  About mile 20 I really just wanted to be done.  I had decided that I would not be stubborn and that I would visit to Med Tent as soon as I crossed the finish line.  It was only about 6 pm and I had until midnight to finish.  I was definitely going to make it.  I walked for just a short bit, but noticed that my stomach didn’t really feel any different whether I was walking or running.  And since I really wanted to be done, I ran it in.  I was able to talk to a few people out on the course, and again the fans were great.  Coming into the home stretch, running around the capital building and into the finisher chute was surreal.  I heard what I had been waiting to hear for a whole year, ”Angie O’Brien.  You.  Are.  An.  Ironman!”.  Hell ya!  Now which way to the Med tent? 

I visited the tent and I can’t say enough good things about the staff there as well.  They were all amazing!  After briefly passing out, coming to with the sounds of someone saying “80/40” I knew that we had some more work to do.  They checked my electrolytes and I received 5 bags of IV fluids.  They were not going let me leave until I was able to keep something down.  They had the nerve to ask me if I wanted Gatorade- oh hell no!  I managed to get down a small amount of chicken broth and a couple of pretzels, before having to visit the bathroom yet again.  I left there after about 3 hours.  I really felt okay, except my stomach was still very angry with me.  I guess that was from all the calories and sugary crap that I ingested while on the bike.  Learning Opportunity

It took a couple of days for my stomach to act normal again and about 3 days for my quads to like me again.  Oh, and after about a year of losing toenails after all of my long runs, I will be getting those taken care of later this week.  All things considered, it really was an amazing experience.  I am trying to decide where/ when my next Ironman will be and I’m having my tattoo designed.  

To say I'm in awe of this woman would be an understatement.  Leave her a comment and I promise to forward every single one of them to her.  Let's blow up her phone today :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Training: Week 5

Normally I post these recaps on Tuesdays, but tomorrow I have a very special guest blogger (hint-hint: she just became an Ironman!) so I'm posting W&D stuff today.

Monday 9/10/12 - Run: 4 treadmill miles (2.5 mile tempo). Kept my tempo pace just under a 10m/m. Still not convinced I could keep that pace outside.  Saw the chiro & massage therapist again after school & I'm making good progress getting healthier.

Tuesday 9/11/12 - Strength: 40 minute arms and abs circuit.

Wednesday 9/12/12 - Run: Yasso 800s. 2 mile warm up/cool down in 22:06 (11:03 pace), then 2 miles of 1/2 mile repeats (4x800) with a 4:30 rest in between sets. Averaged a 9:09 pace.

Thursday 9/13/12 - Nothing, except that planking vlog :)  

Friday 9/14/12 - Biking: 10 miles in 42:40 (14.1 mph).

Saturday 9/15/12 -  Run: 7:03 miles in 1:18:33 (11:10 pace but ran a negative split). Longest run since injury.  I still think my long runs are too slow (they are a full minute longer than what I want my 1/2 marathon pace to be). Hopefully the speed work and tempo runs will help come race day because I can't seem to hit the 10's much at all on these long runs.

Sunday 9/16/12 - Biking: 22 miles in 1:44:27.  Biked from Riverside Park in Grand Rapids, north through 2 towns and all the way to Rockford on the White Pine Trail.  The trail was a little congested in spots, but overall this was a nice ride.  I'm looking at a 25 mile group ride next month & wanted to make sure I had the distance in me.  I might need some cushier bike shorts by then, though.  The tri shorts left some serious chaffing, even with the use of my Hoo-Ha Ride Glide.  

So, overall a really good training week for me.  My shin is barely noticeable anymore and my knee is doing much better as well.  Crossing fingers and praying that I don't end up with any other stupid injuries between now and November 10th.

How was your week? Run any cool races this weekend?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ten Running Questions

On Monday, SBS over at Another Mother Runner posted her answers to 10 Running-Related Personal Questions and then Thea went ahead and played along yesterday.  
I loved when Thea wrote, "I still (still) struggle with whether or not I’m a “real runner”. But as I was looking back over my completed races over the past 3 years, I’ve decided that yes, I am a runner. Do you hear that Inner Mean Girl?? I AM A RUNNER!! Now shut up." I think a lot of us struggle with the concept of what a "real runner" is.  I know I have.  I still get caught up in thinking I need to go a certain pace or something to be a real runner, but basically, if you are getting out there and your feet are leaving the ground, I'd say you're a runner.  So feel free to play along with us :)
(Feel free to cut and paste from my post if you don't want to retype the questions - it's totally what I did. Just make sure you come up with your own answers! LOL)
1. Best run ever: This one is hard for me to answer.  The obvious choice would go to the 2011 Bridge Run 10 Miler.  I completely CRUSHED my previous 10 mile race times and ran the fastest race by pace (10:05m/m) of ANY distance. EVER. This was probably when I felt the strongest I've ever felt.  But not all great runs are in races.  Some of my favorite runs have been the relaxed, easy runs I've done with friends or in new places.  Running along the Potomac in DC this summer and out in Nevada with Kirsten last year come to mind.
2. Three words that describe my running: Recovering, improving, frustrating
3. My go-to running outfit is: Tech gear all the way.  I'm partial to Nike's longer shorts (hard to find) and capris, Ella Sport capris, Nike long bra tops, running hats, Zensah compression sleeves, and my Asics 2170s.  For big races, there's usually some Team Sparkle involved. There's much more and because of where I live (West Michigan) I have running gear for all seasons (yes, I run in the snow).  I wrote a post about my favorite running gear awhile back if you're interested. 
4. Quirky habit while running: This is really embarrassing...I count. Repetitively. This is especially true if I'm not running with music for some dumb reason.  I'll count to 60 or 100 over and over again until I'm done.  It keeps me out of my head.
5. Morning, midday, evening: This also depends heavily on the time of year.  I guess the majority of my running right now is midday (after school around 4-ish) or evening.  I've been trying to get in some early morning runs too.  In the summer, all of my running is done as early as freaking possible to avoid as much heat and humidity as I can.  I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to running in the dark, especially alone, so there are very few outdoor, after dark or before sunrise, runs for me.  I'm going to need to practice some very late night running for Wine and Dine, so if anyone wants to run 8-10 miles with me at 10 pm some day, let me know.
6. I won’t run outside when it’s: ICY or storming! I'll run in pretty much everything else. If I wasn't willing to run in heat, snow, rain, wind, etc, etc, 100% of my running would be on a treadmill at the gym.  Let's face it. That would suck big, green donkey d*cks.
7. Worst injury—and how I got over it: I developed a significant stress reaction (like a stress fracture but doesn't actual infiltrate the bone - just *thisclose*) this past spring.  Running a full and then 2 half-marathons within 6 months was apparently not in my best interest.  I took most of the spring and early summer off from running, was in a boot for 6 weeks, and rehab'd by swimming and cycling.  I've also been getting a ton of ART from the chiro and started sports massage.  I decided to put all that cross-training to good use by completing my first sprint tri this summer.  I'm still not 100% back to "normal" and I have to really watch the tightness in my calves, shins, feet, and ankles (turns out being in a boot for an extended time will really frak up your ankles and feet), but I'm getting there.    
8. I felt most like a badass mother runner when: I completed the Grand Rapids Marathon in October 2011 and my kids hopped out of the crowd to run the last .2 miles with me :)  
9. Next race is: The Grand Rapids Marathon Relay on October 21st.  This will be my first relay and I'm hoping our team "All About the Cupcakes" has fun and earns a few cupcake calories. Then I'm finishing the year with Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November and earning my Coast-To-Coast medal.
10. Potential running goal for 2013: I have several...the main goal being to be healthy and still running come January 2013.  I plan to add a few more triathlons to the schedule next year, would KILL for a sub-30 5k or sub-60 10k.  I'm not sure if I'll do anymore distance races, but if I do, a killer 1/2 marathon PR would be awesome.
This was actually a pretty fun activity - If you’d like to play along, make sure you link back up to the original post on Another Mother Runner and then also tell me so I can go back and read your responses!

And for those of you who missed this yesterday....A vlog of me PLANKING! WTF was I thinking? I also apologize for the weird vertical orientation and the still that youtube decided to attach to the video.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Planking Vlog!!

Read the most awesome post from Tara
today about always having time to move. She inspired this little vlog (excuse the vertical orientation - my bad)

YouTube Video

If that doesn't work, you can watch my vlog here too I think (I've never blogged a video from my phone)

Bottom line - no excuses! You always have time to move & do something healthy for YOU!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday Three: Tomatoes & Social Media!

I triple puffy heart LOVE social media!
I posted this picture this morning to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the caption "WTF am I going to do with all of these?" and in no less than a few minutes, I had more ideas than I knew what to do with.  Here are just a few of the ideas from my three favorite social media sites :)
  1. Instagram: Jaime says "make sauce and freeze it". Jess wants me to send them to her :)
  2. Facebook: holy crap the thread exploded like my garden! Jill and Michele suggested salsa. Laura said to freeze some (and then I got into a discussion with Jill and Laura about canning - which I refuse to attempt), Angie wants bruschetta. Laura also gave me a great recipe for a cherry tomato salad (halve them and toss with provolone cut into a similar size, drizzle with balsamic vinegar - 2 parts tomato to 1 part cheese). Richie said soup. 
  3. Twitter: Rob sent a bunch of great recipes (a macaroni/tomato/chorizo/parm casserole, chicken drumsticks/tomato soup/mushroom soup/diced tomatoes/corn, egg muffins with tomatoes, pork chops/tomatoes/cream, and then just the idea to dice them and add herbs and garlic and freeze them).  Brooke said to freeze some for soup and chili this winter and even sent me a link on how to do this. She even suggested throwing in a jalapeno or two to give a batch some extra kick.
I guess I'll be busy this weekend since there are probably even more tomatoes out there ready to be picked. If you have any other awesome tomato recipes - please leave them in the comments for me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: believe this

I saw this on FB one day - I wish I knew who (whom?) to give credit.  All I know is that inner mean girl and her little voice inside me is constantly telling me I'm not brave/strong/smart/beautiful and that little voice is a f"ing liar. We all need to remember that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Training: Week 4

I wish I had more to report.  This last week pretty much sucked out loud for running.  My knee is getting MUCH better though, so next week should look a little brighter.

Monday 9/3/12 - Biking 7.8 miles in 34 minutes.  13.7 mph wasn't too bad.  Biking hurt a little, especially whenever I had to stop and restart at a cross street because I always start pedaling with my right leg.  The knee/quad didn't like that very much.

Tuesday 9/4/12 - Biking 12 miles in 50 minutes.  Holy hell is was hot out but I really pushed and averaged 14.5 mph - even with all the street crossings!  I was one hot, sweaty mess when I got finished.

Wednesday 9/5/12 - Saw the sports chiro today and he adjusted the frak out of my knee, tibia and ankles and did some ART on my shin/calf. Didn't really address the quad issue. Decided with as sore as I was from the adjustment that I'd call that my workout for the day.

Thursday 9/6/12 - Swimming 1000 yds in about 33 minutes.  The time was great today considering I did a ton with just the kickboard to work on my legs.  

Friday 9/7/12 - Massage - one of the most painful, deep tissue massages I've ever had.  In the therapist's words, I was a "train wreck" and she said I was lucky I didn't tear my quad with as tight as it was wound.  Lots of work on my quads, planar fascia (yes, I'm dealing with that too), calves, shins and glutes. This was definitely a workout even though I didn't do any of the work.

Saturday 9/8/12 - "Long" Run 2.9 miles in 32:37. Had to take my car in to the shop (where they found NOTHING wrong with it even though it intermittently won't start - so frustrating).  I ran home from the shop as a test for my knee.  It felt OK. Lots of stretching, rolling and icing later, followed by lots of beer while we watched football.

Sunday 9/9/12 - Core and stretching for 40 minutes. Range of motion in the knee is much better.

A disappointing week as far as running goes, but part of training is listening to your body and taking care of it when it's injured (or taking care of it to prevent further injury).  I'm definitely feeling better today, so my next week of training should look up. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Motivation Monday: Morning Workouts

This is when I got to the gym this morning (I woke up at 5am):

I knew today would be crazy after school & I wanted to get in another run to test my knee before this afternoon's chiro & massage appointments. My girl needed to be at school at 5:45 for swim/dive practice so I figured I could take her, get to the gym, get in my 4 mile run & be back home in plenty of time to shower & get to work on time.

That didn't exactly happen.

The coach was late so we waited in the parking lot of the HS for awhile before enough kids showed up & she was willing to wait outside with them. By the time I got into the gym & onto a treadmill it was almost 6:10 (I'm supposed to do some rolling/stretching before I run). My workout took 45 min & then I forced myself to do a little bit of foam rolling & stretching before I headed back home.

Needless to say, I BARELY made it to work by 8:10 and I didn't have time to eat breakfast (thank God for click protein drinks). I'm not sure I want to try & pack clothes, hair stuff, makeup & deal with all that to get ready at the gym.

I think morning workouts could work if I'm in at the gym by 5:30/5:45, otherwise I feel too rushed. This will definitely be the case as my mid week runs get longer. Maybe hubs will be getting K to morning practices after all. I have to admit, though, getting my run out of the way before most people were even awake for work felt pretty darn good.

Are you a morning/before work exerciser? How do you schedule the morning?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fitness Friday: Fitting It All In

I won't lie. The start of the new school year (and now this dumb knee issue) have put a serious kink into my Wine & Dine half marathon training. The kids are busy with sports (3 dive meets already!) & friends (plus already a ton of homework that I can't help them with anyway).

Today I'm getting a massage in the hopes it helps my knee feel a bit better. My workout plan for tonight was to bike afterwards, but there's a home football game & the kids have to march. It's also supposed to rain. There goes my biking plans since I don't have an indoor trainer yet.

My bigger dilemma is what to do tomorrow. The chiro wants me to try & run a short, easy run & see how the knee responds. Here's what is happening tomorrow:
7:30 drop off K in the next town over for an invitational meet.
8:00 drop off my van at the dealership because it's dying a slow death.
9:30 Head back to the town where K's meet is taking place
All afternoon - CMU/MSU football game & party at a friend's house.

When do I run? My thought is to run home from the dealership - it's 3.2 miles. This would be no problem if I trusted my body to not be broken. The sad fact is that I don't.

Do I risk it? Do I run home from the dealership & hope my knee cooperates for 3.2 miles?

I can just keep repeating that to myself for the 40 min or so the run will take me. Right?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday: September

Today's thanks comes in the form of a month. As sad as I get to see summer go, I'm also happy to see the return of fall.

The beginning of September symbolizes this return (even though fall doesn't technically start for a few weeks).

1. I'm thankful for the start of school. Even though my life is crazy & it's hard to connect with my friends (hello - I've barely even been on twitter lately) it's nice to get back to a routine. Seeing my students again also makes me smile. I got hugs from no fewer than 10 of last year's kids Tuesday morning. I really did miss those little munchkins.

2. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Nuff said.

3. The weather WILL start to cool down. Eventually. The past few days we've still been in the throws of a heat wave, but the weatherman swears cooler temps are coming.

What is your favorite part of fall?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

NotSo-Wordless Wednedsay: marinara sauce

We had an abundance of tomatoes this weekend so I decided to experiment and attempt to make pasta sauce.

I didn't have a recipe but this is basically what I did:
1. Sauté 1 onion & about 5 garlic cloves (diced up) in olive oil.
2. Boil a little water to remove the tomato skins. (Score each tomato skin & cut them in half. Scoop out some of the seeds then drop the tomato in the water. Let it boil for a few seconds & when you take it out of the water the skin will come right off.)
3. Add the tomatoes to the onions & garlic & mash them up a bit.
4. Add some diced green pepper, a shredded zucchini, and fresh basil.
5. Add salt, pepper & oregano.
6. Let it simmer for an hour or two, stirring occasionally, until it's reduced by about half. Taste it. Add 1-3 tsp of sugar if it tastes bitter or acidic & simmer a bit longer.
So good & healthy.

Do you have a favorite pasta sauce recipe you'd like to share?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Training: Week 3

My training took a serious hit this week with my official start of school this past week and being out of town for my Dad's surgery (thank you for all the prayers - he's actually feeling some pain relief even though the surgeons were unable to complete the surgery/fusion because his vertebrae had too much scar tissue).  I got my runs in (sorta) but there was no cross training or strength work to speak of.  

Here's how the week played out (I'm not going to show plan/actual since I don't really have a "plan" at this point:

Monday 8/27/12 - Run 3.1 miles in 36:14 along the bluff and beach in St. Joseph, MI (the course where I set my 5k PR of 33:40 back in 2006). After getting up around 5 and spending the day sitting in a hospital waiting room, I managed to get a run in before I went home.  As far as training runs go (this was supposed to be a tempo) it really sucked, but it was also exactly the type of run I needed.  One of the reasons I run is to let out emotions that most of the time are bottled up tight.  They came out BIG TIME during and after this run.  I was very hard on myself for not running well but someone several people who love me reminded me that we don't always run to hit a certain pace. Sometimes we run just because we need to and this run was a huge success for that very reason. The scenery was beautiful and I was able to get out what I needed to get out.

Tuesday 8/28/12 - NADA, ZIP, ZILCH, NOTHING. This was my first day of work, plus open house, plus K's first dive meet of the season.  I left the house at 7:30 and didn't get home until about 9:30 that night (other than a short break to run home and eat a little bit of dinner). Workout was NOT going to happen.

Wednesday 8/29/12 - Another day of nothing.  I saw my sports chiro after school and he worked the bejeezus out of my foot and calf.  I spent some time at home stretching, rolling and doing ankle mobility drills (think - writing the alphabet with your foot). No real workout again though :(

Thursday 8/30/12 - Yasso 800s - 3x800 at approx 9 m/m pace. Total 3.1 in 31:20.   I wore my old orthotics for this on advice of my chiro.  I didn't really notice a difference and my legs pretty much hated me afterwards.  I feel like I should be getting stronger and I'm not - I'm only getting more sore.

Friday 8/31/12 - Rest day

Saturday 9/1/12 - Long Run 6.2 miles in 1:08:19 - SURPRISE! I ran a race today.  You can read the race report here. By far one of the hardest runs I've ever done and my right knee is completely fucked from the hills and not knowing the correct way to run down them you mean you aren't supposed to fly down them at a 9:xx pace???

Sunday 9/2/12 - Lots of stretching and rolling to try and save my knee. So far it isn't working. Back to the chiro this week Wednesday.

Aside from setting a 10k PR on Saturday, the week was pretty unimpressive.  I didn't bike or swim at all, no strength training, and I'm completely wiped out.  Being plagued by a new injury isn't improving my outlook much either.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Milford Labor Day 10k - a stealthy race

This past Friday, I posted some goals for my Saturday "long run".  What I didn't tell y'all was that I was planning to run a 10k race over on the other side of the state as my training run for the day.  Right around the day I decided to bag the idea of another triathlon this season (since I really wasn't ready for the one I wanted to do) I received info in my email about the Labor Day 30k race series over in Milford, not too far from where good friends of ours live.  Now, obviously I wasn't going to consider the 30k (that's about 18.6 miles for you non-metric folks and there were running and mountain biking events), but I saw there was a 10k race and wouldn't you know it - I needed to run 6 miles this past weekend.  It seemed like fate. A relatively inexpensive race, the distance I needed to run, and a place to stay the night before! Even so, I waited until the week of the race to register.

Friday afternoon, we loaded up the family in the van and headed to the world's smallest race expo.  There really wasn't anything there except for some drawings to enter, so we just grabbed out packets and headed out to meet our friends for dinner. I ate a amazing pasta with mushroom sauce, which I would later regret when I couldn't get to sleep because it was tearing up my stomach.  I really need to ask what's in stuff that I'm going to eat the night before a long run. After dinner we all headed back to Fabulous Ferndale where we enjoyed some MSU football and Tigers baseball.  Since it was also the night of the Blue Moon - I had to enjoy a beer too.

Saturday morning I was awake around 5 to get ready. This was a race, but my full intention was to run it slow & easy like a Saturday long run. I knew from some info I'd found online that this would be a very tough, hilly, 1/2 dirt road course. If you know me at all, you know I don't train hills and I don't train on dirt roads.

The race was very small & informal, but also had the perks of chip timing & a great post-race party. We got there early because the 30/30 challenge (where you bike 30k and then run 30k) and both 30k races started before the 10k. I didn't want caught in closed roads. We (hubs also ran but we didn't run together) lined up at the start and the announcer just counted down and said "GO!"

Mile 1: (split 10:59 with a best pace of 10:01) The race started on the road and up a bit of an incline. Not a true hill but I could feel it. I had to work very hard to keep my pace slow I still couldn't stay over an 11 minute/mile pace. The road was closed for the first 1.5 miles or so which made it easier to spread out a little.   M passed me about .4 in and it took everything I had not to close the gap. This first mile was pretty flat and there was a water station around mile 1.5 where I grabbed a cup of water.  (I did not carry water with me for this race - I will in the future.)

Mile 2: (split 10:40 with a best pace of 9:24) Most of the 2nd mile was flat with a downhill at the end.  I felt like I was in a pretty good groove and even passed a few people.  Remember I wasn't trying to race, but this pace felt really natural.  My shin/injury site wasn't bothering me at all and my calves even felt pretty loose.

Mile 3: (split 11:27 with a best pace of 9:16) Holy Mary Mother of Hills.  About half way into the 3rd mile we hit our first hill.  I really had it in my head to run this entire race without walking, but this first hill basically slapped me across the face.  I made it about 1/2 way up the hill and walked for a few seconds, then kept plugging along.  There was a couple pushing a jogger stroller - I'd have died. At the 5k mark, I was right around 34 minutes which is close to my 5k PR (33:40).  I started thinking I could maybe pull a 10k PR out of this race if I continued to run smart.  Well, "smart" is a relative word.

Mile 4: (split 11:38 with a best pace of 9:45) The dirt road started at about the 5k mark and I knew I was in trouble.  This mile started with a steep climb & then leveled off but the dirt road was really rutted & uneven. The dirt was packed hard here though but I still slowed way down. I was also wishing I had my water bottles & inhaler. I think I walked again on this hill.  I was really bummed that I didn't hit my "run without stopping" goal.

Mile 5: (split 10:42 with a best pace of 9:03) There was another steep but short climb at the beginning of the 5th mile, then a really steep downhill. There was a woman run/walking who I walked with for a few seconds here and then passed when I started running again.  On the downhill I think this is where my knee started to hurt. Have you noticed all those "best pace" times in the 9s?  I'm sure ALL of them were on downhill sections.  When people tell you that downhills will tear you up more than uphills they are 150% correct.  My quads couldn't take the pounding.  I was definitely running too fast and probably a little out of control on those downhills.

Mile 6: (split 10:47 with a best pace of 8:52) The last mile was mostly flat but then had another steep downhill at the end. The dirt here changed to sand & gravel & was really hard to run in. My knee was hurting and I was pretty sure I was going to not PR. I walked again here I think, trying to get my knee to cooperate, but I realized it hurt whether I ran or walked and I just wanted to be done at this point. There were 2 more aid stations on this last road (in miles 4 and 5) but I skipped them. With about 1/2 a mile to go, we were back on the main road & it wasn't closed. Cars coming up behind me at 50 mph with just some cones between me & certain death was not fun.

Mile 6.2 (split 2:11 an 8:39 pace with a best pace of 7:50!!!!) There was a tall, young blond girl who had passed me at some point & I caught & passed her at the 6 mile mark. She sped up too but never caught me :) I sprinted most of that last 1/2 mile and definitely the last 1/4 mile. The final .25 came in at an 8:39 pace with a top pace of 7:50. I don't think I've EVER run a 7:50 pace before, and certainly not after having run 6 miles of hills.  I crossed the finish line and I literally could not breathe. I left it all out there. My family was there with "good jobs" and "are you ok?" but mostly I just was fighting the urge to throw up.  I've never felt that close to puking at the end of a race before.  After I got some water and my bling, I had to look up what my previous PR was because my brain wasn't working and I knew I was close. I couldn't believe it when I realized I'd beat my previous PR by over a minute and a half! My breathing returned to normal pretty quickly and I really felt good other than my knee feeling a little sore.

As you can see from my runmeter app, the elevation changes were crazy for this runner who prefers nice, flat courses :)  My pace was all over the place, too.  I need to get MUCH better at tackling the uphills and controlling the downhills.

Even so, in the end I finished with a shiny new 10k PR on one of the hardest courses I've ever run, after suffering a pretty severe injury this past spring. I'm pretty freaking proud of myself for that.

There was even a great after party, with burgers & Fat Tire beer! I might have had a beer (or two).

This was a small race.  Only 175 finishers in the 10k run Overall, I finished in 1:08:19 (11:01 pace) which was good enough to tie for 5th out of 9 in my age group and 54/87 women and 135/175 overall. It definitely could have been better, but I'll take it.  This bling whore is pretty happy with her medal too.

In hindsight I probably ran this race/training run too fast.  I really didn't intend to go for the PR - it just happened, but pushing at the end and not having control of my pace on the downhills is definitely causing some pain now.  It's a learning experience though.  I KNOW I need more hill training and I need to figure out what's going on with my knee.  I still have some lofty goals for my half in November and it's only 10 weeks away. (Which makes me both SQUEEE and say OH SHIT!)

Have you ever decided at the last minute to run a race or used a race as a training run? How did that work out for you?  Were you able to keep it slow and easy or run it like I did and almost blow up?

Happy New Year 2020

It looks like my M.O. is to open this blog when I get the notification the domain name renewed. LOL oh well. I hope everyone is having a n...