Friday, December 19, 2014

See you in 2015!


Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I'm taking some time off to travel with the family and visit friends.

Oh, and run another half marathon :)

See you in 2015!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

TBT: First races!

Thanks to the beauty of the TimeHop App, I was reminded that today was my girl's first 5k!  It was very cold, very snowy, and very icy.  She complained the entire 3 miles until she saw the finish and turned on the sprinter legs.  Freaking SMOKED me.



I also decided today that a little redemption was in order after running the Jax Bank Half last year in the pouring rain.
 
I'm gonna run it again this year :)  Hopefully in much better weather.   Nothing like planning a half marathon with 10 days notice to motivate you to run!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Training Tuesday: back to double digits

With numbers like this, you would think the scale would be moving in the right direction, but sadly, no.  Le sigh.

Yes, I know there are other ways to measure progress - like being able to run a 10 mile long run and feel ok afterwards, even if it took 8 miles to find my groove.  Or getting in all your strength workouts and feeling like you've kicked your own ass.

I like the strength training I'm doing and the spinervals make the bike work go faster, but overall I just feel like I'm literally spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.

Running: 15.5
Biking: 39.26 miles
Strength: 4 workouts

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meal Monday: Not So Chunky Monkey Smoothie

I discovered something this morning that might be my new favorite thing ever.  

PB2 - powdered peanut butter!

At only 45 calories for 2 TBSP, it comes in a couple hundred less than the alternative natural peanut butter or nut butter.  I'm not sure how healthy it is but the only ingredients are peanuts, sugar and salt, so I'm going to keep trying to find ways to use it.

Today, I made a *not so* Chunky Monkey smoothie in my Ninja.


1 frozen banana
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 Tbsp PB2
a dash or so of cinnamon

Throw it all in the Ninja or blender of your choice and enjoy.  

Calories: 171
Fat: 4g
Carbs: 27g
Protein: 7g

I could probably add some protein powder to up the protein but today I just paired it with a scrambled egg and my usual coffee with SF Coffeemate.  I'm afraid the protein powder might make it too sweet, but I'm definitely going to give it a try sometime.  Total calories for breakfast came in around 270.

So far, aside from my yummy smoothie, Monday has kicked my ass.  I missed my workout because I just couldn't get up so now I need 3 workouts tonight instead of the 2 I already had planned and my van keeps finding ways to break and ruin any plans I may have because I keep having to sink money into the dumb thing. 

I know they say that your day is determined by your attitude, but I'm having a hard time being positive and not giving up.  Tell me something good that has happened to you recently and maybe I can live vicariously through you for awhile.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thankful Thursday: progress in a reflection

I've been very discouraged lately by the lack of progress on the scale despite 2-3 workouts a day and tracking my eating again.

Then yesterday morning I caught a glimpse of myself reflected in the window while I spun at 6am.

I wasn't going to post this because it's a really crappy picture and I'm not wearing a shirt, but the mug covers most of me up and I thought it made a good point.



Is that the hint of triceps? And maybe shoulders? I get so wrapped up in the number on the scale that sometimes I don't notice those little things. Just proves sometimes you find progress in the most unlikely places.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WIAW: A @ninjakitchen Nutri Ninja Pro #review


Way back in June when I attended the FitBloggin 14 conference in Savannah, I chatted with the good folks at Ninja Kitchen about their great blenders.  They had samples everyday and OMG they were so tasty.  (Now, if I can only find the recipe cards they handed out!) A couple weeks later, one of their reps reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in reviewing a Ninja Pro.  Of course I say "YES!!!"

Long story short - it took a lot longer to get one into my hands, but here it is!  The Ninja Kitchen social media person on Twitter was very responsive in figuring out the hold up on my Ninja.
I couldn't wait to start trying it out, so my girl and I tried a couple experimental smoothies with stuff we had in the house.  It's going to take some more experimenting before I'm ready to Ninja all the things because the first couple tries were sorta flops from a flavor standpoint.

After hitting up the store for ingredients - we had a little more success.  The Pro comes with a small recipe booklet and so far so good!  Yesterday morning I made the Bright Side Mocha Shake and at only about 200 calories for a HUGE serving, this was a winner.  I only used coffee that I pulled out of my regular cup of morning joe in the recipe and there wasn't a ton of coffee flavor, so I'm thinking next time some espresso might work better.  Even so, it was still delish.
So yummy and FILLING

The Top 'O the Morning Smoothie was FANTASTIC.  It made a huge amount with a big calorie punch (at about 370 calories) so my girl and I split this one.  Please ignore the super messy counter top.  Just keeping it real, folks.
Breakfast Success! 
My next attempt did not go as well.  I tried the Tabbouleh and instead of the nice dip pictured, I basically ended up with parsley soup. Kind of reminded me of those Pinterest Fail pictures - Nailed It! The recipe said to blend for 15 seconds and mine was liquid in about 5 seconds.  They aren't kidding when they say the blades will crush through ice and frozen fruit.  It also pulverizes anything else in the container.

Epic Lunch Fail
A few product details:

  • 900 Watts Professional Power
  • #1 Most Powerful Nutrient & Vitamin Extraction the power to unlock the natural benefits of fruits & veggies
  • Ninja® Pro Extractor Blades crush through ice, seeds, skins and stems for a smooth, even consistency
  • Sip& Seal™ Lids for healthy, personalized drinks on the go
  • Frozen Blending crush through ice and frozen fruit for cold, healthy drinks and smoothies
  • 18 and 24 oz blender cups with 2 sip and seal lids.  The lids are awesome but the cups are probably a little big to use with a straw - mine didn't quite reach to the bottom.

I was impressed with how smooth my drinks got in only a matter of seconds, even with using the entire fruit like the orange in the breakfast smoothie.  The husband has also started using it to blend his protein shakes after the gym.  I'm not sure this will replace my other blender or my food processor, but it's definitely a nice addition to my gadget lineup.  

Do you have a favorite smoothie or Nutri Ninja recipe?  I think my next experiment is going to be making my own almond butter - maybe with some honey or apple.  

You can find Ninja Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube!

(Ninja Kitchen provided me with a Nutri Ninja Pro without charge in exchange for a product review.  As always, the opinions are all my own.)



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Training Tuesday: trying to get my groove back

I still have no real purpose for training other than to try to get my pants to fit better again.  I guess that's good enough for now.


Running: 4 runs for 16.37 miles (all in the 10:40ish range)
Cycling: 3 spins for 34.12 miles
Lifting: 5 workouts

I started a new lifting plan mid-week and I could barely move by the weekend, which is why Sunday was a big, fat ZERO.  I guess one day completely off per week isn't the end of the world, although it makes it very difficult to stay within my calorie budget.  I didn't even eat much and I was over by 200 calories :(.

Monday, December 8, 2014

30 years

How has it been 30 years?

I was 14 when Mom died.  A freshman in high school.

I didn't even realize what day it was until I was watching the Broncos game last night (sorry, Mom, I know you were a HUGE Cowboy's fan) and saw the date on my phone. It hit me that Monday (today) would be 30 years since skin cancer took my mom.

December 8, 1984

She never got to see me graduate. 

She wasn't at my wedding. 

She wasn't there when her twin grand babies were born. 

She won't see them graduate in May.

Cancer fucking sucks.

I miss you, Mom.



Friday, December 5, 2014

Fitness Friday: and so it begins??



To run the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25k in 2015 wasn't in question when they unveiled the new medal.  Isn't she pretty!?!  Finally, a re-design after using the same medals year after year after year after year....you get the idea.

What's in question is whether I'm ready to start training for another big race.  I got a little burned out training for Detroit but the payback of a nearly 35 minute marathon PR was worth it.  I'm wondering what I could pull off for the 25k in May.  How hard do I want to work?  My PR is a 2:41:33 (10:25 pace) and that was pretty tough.  Think I could go sub 2:30?  That would be around a 9:30 pace.  I think that's probably a big of a stretch carrying the extra weight I have and seriously lacking in speedwork, but May is a long ways off.

I haven't registered yet because there's rumor that they are partnering with another race and that could mean special bling to sign up at the same time, so I'm going to hold off for now.

In any case, the first official "long" run is tomorrow morning.  It's a whopping 5 miles but since I'm still toying with the idea of a winter half, I'm planning to run an extra 3.  Anyone want to join me in 8 frigid miles tomorrow morning?  At least it's not supposed to snow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

WIAW: an apparently all the things weigh-in




And just like that, I'm up 4.4 pounds and the heaviest I've been in over 6 months.  Great freaking way to finish up 2014, don't you think?

I don't even think I went all that nuts over Thanksgiving either.  I had a very small serving of stuffing and stuck to my paleo dessert.  Filled my plate with lean turkey and sweet potatoes. My veggie dishes were paleo (although the carrots did have a ton of butter and bourbon so maybe not quite paleo).  Other than the stupid zucchini and banana breads that were made this weekend, I've stayed away from wheat.  Since the weekend, I'm back to paleo-ish except for that damn bread.  It needs to be removed from the house.  I've even been drinking water like it's my JOB to try to get rid of any of the crap from the weekend.

The bottom line?  I obviously still ate too much and too much of the wrong things.  One of my friends suggested it's the amoxicilan and high calorie stupid yogurt I'm eating (because the antibiotics hate me) causing me to puff up or something, but that doesn't seem right either.  I know I haven't worked out enough because of whatever stupid bug I contracted, although the past 3 days I've done pretty well.  I got on the scale this morning and wondered why the fuck I even bother to work out because it's obviously not doing anything.

It really sucks and I'm pissed at myself for blowing any bit of progress I ever made.  I can barely remember anymore what it's like to be in the 140s, much less how great it felt and looked to be in the 130s. At this rate, I should be well up over 160 by the new year.  Happy 2015 to me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Training Tuesday: When is a fail a not fail?

I was having a discussion with a couple of my friends on Twitter this weekend.  We were talking about how many miles we each ran in 2014 and we all had an impressive number of miles.  1500, just shy of 1000 (and she'll hit it by the end of the year) and then my 771.  Now, 771 miles running in the first 11 months of the year is nothing to sneeze at - that's like running from my home in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Atlanta, Georgia.

But when you realize you're so close to hitting 1000 miles and knowing there is no way you can get there, it stings a little.  It doesn't help that I only ran 34 miles in November and 8 miles in January.  Looks like both ends of this year are going to suck because I'm not running 229 miles this month.


They were both quick to point out my killer marathon PR this year - I'm very proud of that - but I also set a goal to run a sub-2 half.  I never even came close and didn't even try.  I only ran 3 half marathons this year and my best was 2:17. It wasn't even close to a PR.

So, was the year a fail?  I only met 1 goal - going sub-5 in the marathon. I crushed that by going 4:52.  Hitting 1000 miles running was never written down as a goal, but that's always a good number to shoot for.  I didn't even come close to my sub-2 goal.  I have friends who believe I have it in me but setting both goals in the same year was probably a really stupid idea.  I didn't do nearly enough speed work because I spent half the year training for distance.

This is supposed to be week 1 of River Bank Run 25k training but since I haven't registered yet and I've been too sick to run, no training to report.

Maybe next week or next year.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Motivation Cyber Monday and Giveaways!




My friends at Momentum Jewelry wanted me to pass on their Cyber Monday special.  I love my Motivate Wrap and Foot Notes so I was more than happy to help out.  They would be perfect for the runners and non-runners on your list.

Speaking of gift lists - have you seen the MASSIVE giveaway we have going on at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans?  This is probably my favorite post of the entire year - so you must go check it out and enter.  You do NOT have to be a runner to love what we have in our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide.

What's on your Christmas list this year?  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Training Tuesday: sick sucks


I've been trying to get my 2-a-day workouts in but it's getting harder and harder.  I've been sick now for over 2 weeks and I'm finally admitting defeat.  I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon.

Running: 3 runs for 12.25 miles (paces ranged from 9:56 inside to 11:19 in the snow)
Cycling: 2 rides for 19.5 miles (averages around 15-15.7 mph)
Lifting: 4 30 minute sessions.

I hope this week is better (so far it's sucked - I lifted yesterday but only lasted 4 miles on the bike).  I need to get my workouts in or I'm not going to be eating anything I'm making for Thanksgiving on Thursday.  Plus, I challenged my friends to a virtual Turkey Day 8k Thanksgiving morning - I can't very well not participate in my own challenge.  Suck.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fitness Friday: winter came too early

Grand Rapids, Michigan just broke its 1895 record for the snowiest November on record, and we still have 9 days left.  The last total I saw was 28.5 inches, which is still about 56 inches less than Buffalo, so I guess I can be thankful I don't live there.

Now they are predicting a warm-up this weekend with freezing rain to go on top of all this snow.





I'm really not ready for this.  I'd wave the white flag but I'm afraid no one would see it behind the mounds of white crap we already have.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Thanksgiving Plans


I'm thankful that next Thursday I'll be cooking the majority of Thanksgiving dinner.  This means I can control somewhat the offerings and make them a bit on the healthier, less gluten-laden variety.

Now, that doesn't mean things like stuffing and pies won't also make their appearance, because they will, but hopefully some new foods will get the seal of approval as well.

If anyone has some tried and true paleo side dish and dessert recipes, I'm all ears!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Weigh In Wednesday: up down up




By all accounts, this shows a 0.4 pound loss this week, but if you were to expand that out to show the last year, you'd see I've basically maintained with a hell of a lot of up-down-up-down.  A year ago, I was 150, so over the past year, I've made no progress whatsoever. What frustrates me is that I stepped on the scale yesterday and was 148 even - so I "gained" .8 pounds overnight.  Now, I know I didn't eat enough to gain almost a pound in 24 hours so it's water or maybe my coffee hadn't fully kicked in yet.  Whatever.  It's still frustrating.  I know I shouldn't care and 148.8 is a weight that many people would probably celebrate, but I do care and it frustrates me.  Have I mentioned I'm frustrated?

Maybe I'm just not working hard enough.  I've definitely been more "ish" than paleo lately.  Damn you, Udi's, for making such good gluten-free bread and Bell's brewing for making such good beer.  Maybe adding lifting nearly every day to my cardio isn't doing what it's supposed to be doing.  Again, maybe I'm just not working hard enough.

It's ironic that 2 of my friends posted yesterday about ditching the scale.  I wish I felt like I could step away from the scale like Mindy and Katy have.  I know I'm much more than that number, but right now I'm not seeing progress in any other way either, so it's all I've got.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Training Tuesday: mixed bag


Nothing much to report this week. I'm just trying to maintain fitness while fighting off what is probably another sinus infection.

Runs x 3 for 13.6 miles
Strength workouts x 4

Never biked or swam.  Oh well.  Better than nothing I guess.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fitness Friday: 2015 Race Calendar


As of right now, my 2015 plans are a big, fat question mark.  I'm trying to keep some running fitness up, but currently I'm sick and haven't run more than 5 miles since the marathon about 4 weeks ago.  I don't know if I want to train for another full next year, focus on halfs again, or work on speed for shorter distances.

I know I have at least a couple longer races on the distant horizon, plus a race I really hope to travel for, but this is looking like a pretty empty calendar so far.

February 15, 2015 - The Donna Breast Cancer (Half) Marathon in Jacksonville, FL (cautiously optimistic I can work this out since so many of my southern friends are running and it falls on the weekend I have a break from school.)

April 19, 2015 - The Gazelle Girl Half Marathon in Grand Rapids, MI.  I worked the expo last year for Another Mother Runner and then decided at the expo to run the half. I hadn't run more than 7 miles since December, so the half was a tad rough. I'm hoping to plan a bit farther ahead and actually register and train this year.

May 9, 2015 - 5/3 River Bank Run 25k.  This is basically a home-town tradition that I wasn't going to participate in again because it never changes, but they revealed a new medal that is freaking AWESOME, so the bling whore won.

August 2015 - The Fred 200 Mile Relay.  Provided I don't have to move kids to college the same weekend, I'll be back as a member of the Screaming Thunderboxes.

So, 4 races I've identified and none I've registered for.  Pretty lame if you ask me.  Any suggestions of races I should consider?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Weigh In Wednesday: progress-ish




I am down 1.8 pounds this week, which is about what I gained last week.  It could be worse I guess.  I've been trying to stick with the 2-a-day workouts (strength plus cardio) and most days I've done that.  I haven't gone so far as to start tracking my food again since that only makes me stabby and I have enough shit going on as it is.

We are hosting Thanksgiving in a few weeks so I can have a bit of control over the menu.  I'm trying to find some paleo/healthified versions of some of our standard Turkey-day fare and if I come across anything great, I'll make sure to share it.

What I haven't found is a good paleo pie recipe that doesn't have a bazilionty ingredients and take 2 weeks to make.  If anyone has a good dessert suggestion, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Training Tuesday


The picture makes this week look better than it really was.  I had an incredible run on Monday, where I ran a 28:32 5k (9:12 pace) and then on Tuesday and strained my right quad.  It's still not totally ok and it's pissing me off.  No sooner do I feel like I'm back to "normal" after the marathon and even thinking I should sign up for a Turkey Trot and see if I can set a new 5k PR, I fuck things up.

Running: 1 run for 3.1 miles
Walking: 2 walks for 9.5 miles
Biking: 2 sessions for 14.5 miles
Swimming: 1 session for 1/2 a mile
Lifting: 2 abs, 1 legs, 2 arms/shoulders

Monday, November 10, 2014

Meal Monday: Carnitas Tacos #paleo


Today's blog post comes courtesy of last night's dinner.  This dinner was sort of contrived while sitting in my car outside the grocery store.  I knew I wanted to make a pork or beef taco type thing in the crockpot, so I hit up trusty Pinterest for ideas.  This is the result.

1. Take a 3 pound pork loin and cut off some of the big fat piece.  Rub with cumin, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Brown on all sides in a skillet with olive oil for a few minutes on each side.

2.  Put into a crock pot with 1/2 an onion quartered and a couple spoonfuls of minced garlic.  Add a 16 oz jar of Salsa Verde.  Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.  Mine was taking a long time so with about 1 hour to go, I chopped the pork into smaller hunks and turned it up to high.

3.  When the pork can shred easily with a fork, shred it in the liquid and add a handful of fresh cilantro.  Stir and let it sit for a few minutes while you get everything else together.
4.  Remove meat to a bowl using a slotted spoon to drain off most of the liquid.

5.  Serve on corn tortillas (not totally paleo) with whatever toppings you'd like.  Mine had sour cream, lettuce, tomato, homemade guacamole, more salsa verde, more cilantro and a squeeze of lime.


Totally delish and everyone in the house loved it.  Tacos are great like that because the family can top them however they want.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fitness Friday: The @shrinkingjeans Holiday Gift Guide for the Runner is coming!


I think many of you know I have this great gig where I get to write about running (or whatever else is on my mind) over at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  Right now, we are gearing up for my favorite post of the year - the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide For the Runner (or non-runner because seriously, you don't need to be a runner to love this stuff).

This week, Lisa and I have given readers a little sneak peak into 3 products that will be featured and ultimately given away when the Gift Guide comes out during the week of Thanksgiving.  So far, we've profiled Momentum Jewelry: Designs that Move You, Armpocket, and New Balance and there is so much more coming.  I have to tell you, it's going to be FREAKING AWESOME!!!

So, go check out The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to the blog so you don't miss out.  This is going to be our biggest and best gift guide for the runner EVER!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

#TBT : Race Shirts

Took a little stroll down memory lane last night as I chopped up race shirts for my Project Repat blanket.  There were a few shirts that I really had a hard time cutting but I'm sure I will get much more use out of them as a quilt this winter than I have running.  I'm also thankful I had enough shirts that I still have ones to wear for running :)
ignore the random computer parts on the floor
I really don't know how I want them organized.  Right now, they are roughly in order by year, starting on the left and going down but I don't like how the first 3 shirts (River Bank Run 2006 5k, 2007 5k, 2010 10k) are all white.  Obviously, the shirt quality and color selections improved from 2006 to 2014.  The sizes also got smaller :)

The only ones I know I would like together are the runDisney shirts.  Tinker Bell, Wine and Dine and my Coast to Coast shirts are sort of a set, right?  Maybe if I request that, they'll be cool with it.  I think I'm going to let them have at it for the rest of the design.

What do you do with your old race shirts?  Every made a t-shirt quilt?


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Training Tuesday: what should I post?


Since I'm not currently training for anything - other than to continue to fit in my "skinny" jeans throughout the winter - I'm not really sure what to post here.  All of my workouts are on DailyMile (see the widget to the right) so it seems a bit silly to rehash them here.

My current plan is to work on some speed and strength and hopefully lose about 12-15 pounds in the process.  These are two areas I can focus on when the weather starts to go to shit because I can either lift at home (which I did all week), run either inside at the gym or hit the trail, and I have my bike on my trainer at home.  If they translate to some weight loss, that's great.  If not, I won't be devastated since my body seems pretty content to hang out right around 148-150 pounds right now.  More than that would be a problem.

The goal is two-a-days most days - not two runs, because that would be dumb, but a strength and a cardio workout everyday.  There will likely be at least 1 rest day per week as well.  Since I'm just getting back into running after my marathon, the runs this past week were all pretty short - with my longest being a whopping 5 miles.

Weekly totals:
RUNNING - 3 runs for 11.2 miles
BIKING - 2 spins for 19 miles
SWIMMING - 1 swim for about .7 miles
LIFTING - 3 sessions abs, lower body, upper body

Crowd sourcing - What would you like to see here? More specifics, less details, help me out.  I like to look back and see what I've done on a weekly basis but I also want to provide content that is helpful and interesting to you guys.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

#guestpost Really Horribly Terrible Marathon-Training Advice from Jack Sh*t

You say you're going on Hiatus  because you need a little blogging break and don't know what to write about, and a blogger you greatly admire comments, "Maybe write about bloggers you admire.  *hint hint*".  You find this really funny and reply back, "Or maybe get one of those bloggers I admire to write a guest post? *hint hint*"

Wouldn't you know it, a really awesome guest post showed up!  I had the pleasure of meeting Jack Sh*t way back at FitBloggin11.  He's just as funny in real life as he is on his blog and the fact he took the time to write a guest post for my readers here (when I wasn't expecting one) shows what a stand-up guy he is.  Since it's Thursday and I usually post something thankful, I think this really fits because I'm thankful to know bloggers like Jack.

Without further ado I give you...

Really Horribly Terrible Marathon-Training Advice

A Guest Post by Jack Sh*t

• If you’re planning to run a marathon right after going to the restroom, make sure you don’t have toilet paper stuck in the back of your pants. A 26.2-mile stream of toiler paper is extremely wasteful!

• If you put a treadmill in the back of a pick-up truck and have someone drive you around while you run on it, it feels just like you’re running outside. Try it yourself if you don’t believe me!

• It’s important not to get dehydrated on long runs, so consider wearing a hydration pack or carrying a bucket of water balloons.

• Running’s easier if you’re as light as possible so before you head out, send me all the cash out of your wallet.

• Find what motivates YOU to run; for me, it’s when somebody says “I think the security guard saw you shove that down your pants.”

• Spend at least one day per week practicing carbo-loading.

• If you’re a barefoot runner, refrain from training in a field of broken glass and rusty nails.

• You shouldn’t run if it’s rainy, or looks like rain, or if there’s a chance of rain, or if it’s too sunny, too cloudy or too plain-looking.

Remember:  it’s all about putting one foot in front of the other (never – and I mean never – put one foot in front of the same foot!).


Jack Sh*t is a blogger that blogs his blog at Bloggityblog.blog, where he goes on and on and on about weight loss and explores the lighter side of lightening up. A Google search of the term “Jack Sh*t: America’s Greatest Hero” produces zero results.

Thank you, Jack!  You really put a smile on my face this week :)

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hiatus

If there's anything I've learned over this past week of post-marathon "rest", it's that it would be very easy for me to fall back into old, lazy habits.  I've worked out a little (if you count walks and one 40 minute trainer ride) but for the most part, I've sat around and eaten too much.  Exactly what I did not want to have happen.

Part of the break was definitely to heal physically from the marathon.  I came away from the race with a nice PR and no new injuries, but I wasn't 100% healthy going into the training in the first place.  The other part was mental.  I needed to turn off my brain a little - now I'm just afraid I can't find the light switch to flip it back on.

Now, with no new training plan in place, I'm not really sure what to do next.

Taking A Chic Little Break
I think this translates to my little circle of the interwebs as well.  I write a lot about running and training, so if I'm not running or training, what do I write about?  My cat?  She's cute and all, but hardly the topic for a blog day in and day out.  (My apologies to any crazy cat ladies out there.)

I'm open to suggestions.

In the meantime, I'm going to take a little break from blogging here.  Who knows, I may be back tomorrow or Friday or maybe it will be next week.  I still want to tell you all about my training plan for Detroit, because a few people have asked, but other than that, I feel like my brain has gone into recovery mode as well.  

Mostly, I'm just still really tired.

See you all later.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fitness Friday: what's next?

After coming off my awesome Detroit Marathon PR, it's hard to think about goal to chase next.

Do I work on increasing strength?  I'm notorious for not seeing lifting programs through to the end.

Do I focus on increasing speed at a shorter distance?  Perhaps that elusive sub-2 half?

Do I get back to focusing on getting my weight back down where it should be?  Because losing 10-15 pounds would really help with all these other ideas.

Or do I set my sights on another marathon?

I know I don't have to decide today, but this "not having a plan" plan really isn't working for me.  I've been on the scale more this week than I probably should be in a month.  


I do have one little race on my schedule for 2015 (although I won't register until after the new year).  This year, the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25k FINALLY revealed a new medal!  They put it up to a community vote and my choice won.  Isn't that one of the prettiest medals ever?!?  For a race that is the 25k National Championship and a huge draw for Michigan and the city of Grand Rapids, it was about time they showcased what GR has to offer on it's medal.  This one will definitely be hanging around my neck come May of 2015.  Anyone want to run it with me?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Race Photos That Don't Suck!


How in the heck do I choose????  Anyone want to vote?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#racereport: 2014 Detroit Marathon

In case you missed yesterday's blog post - Spoiler Alert - I set a huge PR on Sunday in the Detroit Marathon!!! But, let's back the bus up a little first.  Marathons are long and this report might be too :)

Expo - I was shocked at how big the expo was.  Tons of vendors that you needed to snake through to get to packet pickup (an annoyance).  I got suckered in right away by the race merchandise.  If the expo is selling pint glasses and magnets, you must buy them.  It's the law. I actually worried that buying these things would jinx me (like wearing the shirt before the race) but I bought them anyway.

That glass worked great for my celebratory beer.
Sadly, I did not buy the 2014 Corvette Stingray, nor did I stand in line to sit in it.  Very cool that they had the car on display though since it was this year's featured USA muscle car on our medals :)

Isn't she pretty?!? 
Pre-Race:  I drove down Saturday morning, stopping for lunch at a Red Robin on the way (grilled BBQ chicken sandwich as a lettuce wrap and fries with tons of RR salt, plus a very nice pumpkin porter) and then hit the expo.  I backtracked to the Courtyard by Marriott in Dearborn, but it was only about 20-25 minutes from downtown and a nice, quiet and newly renovated (or at least some of the rooms were) place.  There was an Olive Garden right around the corner for dinner (chicken marsala with most of the sauce scraped off, roasted potatoes and salad, plus lots of water).  Early bed around 8:30 with my friend, Ambien.  The alarm went off at 4 am but I was awake around 3:30.  I had time to get ready and eat my 2 pieces of Udi bread with butter and jelly and have some coffee.  TMI alert - my coffee never really kicked in but it turned out ok.

My friend, Molly, and her husband were staying at the same hotel and she rode into Detroit with me so Mark didn't need to be there so early.  I had pre-booked parking through ParkWhiz for a lot on the race list of spots and we left at 5am, so we figured "no problem" getting there. WRONG.  Streets were already closed at 5:20 and we got very lost trying to find the place we'd paid for already. We were both pretty unhappy about being told the roads would not close until 6 to find them closed at 5:20.  Not cool, Detroit.  Not cool.  Luckily, some wrong turns and driving around barriers got us to the MGM Grand parking structure. AWESOME parking. I'd park there next time.  We walked the 1/2 mile or so straight shot to the starting line, found gear check and hit the portapotties.  There were TONS of them. We also ducked into a People Mover station for awhile to stay warm.  It was freezing out - about 35* and I was glad for my throwaway old PJ bottoms and hoodie.  I ended up keeping my arm warmers on the entire race because it never got much warmer than the mid 40s and the wind would pick up here and there.
International race! 
I was very glad to have Molly with me before the race started because she kept me calm. We walked up and down the starting line to stay warm, but first had to take a selfie :)  We split about 30 min before the start so she could get into her uber-fast pace corral.

Cheese!
Because this race goes into Canada and I didn't want ginormous roaming charges for broadcasting data, I decided early on that my phone would be in airplane mode for this race.  I used my phone for my intervals (Runmeter) and music.  On a training run I learned that taking photos would cause Runmeter to stop, so I started everything about 15 min before the gun and then tucked my phone into my fuel belt.  I just listened to my music and the music at the start line.  I was getting pumped with everyone around me but it felt weird to not take a starting line photo.

A woman sang the Canadian and then US National Anthems, which was very moving, and then the handcycles (the winner set a record of 1:09:48!) and elites were off. There was a countdown clock for the wave starts and  I was in corral K (but inadvertently put myself in J because I couldn't see the signs) so it was about 16 minutes before I made it to the start.

Race strategy: (this is more for me so I don't forget - remember to do what works for you.) Stopped drinking water about 1 hour before the start. Chia bar 30 minutes before the gun (turned out 45 min before I started).  5 minute runs/ 30 sec walk breaks starting around mile 1.5.  Salted caramel gu at the first walk break in miles 5, 9, 13, 17, 20, 24 (this last one I took early - around mile 23).  Nuun in my 2 bottles and sips of water at aid stations.  (There was a panic the night before when I read border patrol could stop you and ask you to dump your bottles but no one got pulled out for that. Wearing your bib on your back was a huge no-no as I saw a girl get pulled out and yelled at to move her bib to the front.) I refilled my bottles with water when the Nuun ran out just after the 1/2 way point.  I wore a pace bracelet and it was a lifesaver.  I knew exactly what pace I needed to be at each mile marker to stay on goal pace.  I wasn't sure what would happen with my Garmin in the tunnel.

Race goal:  I never really talked here (or anywhere) what my race goal was going to be, partly because I didn't want to have to explain if I failed. Lack of confidence, much? A few people knew that I set a Fellow Flowers Declare It Day goal back in February to run a sub-5 marathon at Detroit, but then I didn't talk about it again. My PR from Grand Rapids in 2011 was 5:27:15.  My training had been going quite well so I knew baring any disasters that a PR was within reach.  I wanted much more than "just" a PR, though.  I wanted to beat that by 30 minutes.  This made my super-secret HUGE goal as 4:57.  I wore my Fellow Flowers turquoise Believe flower on my hat and painted my nails turquoise to remind myself to believe it would happen. I also wrote "you are stronger than you think", "keep moving forward" and "own this race" on my hands.

Miles 1-8: The start was quite crowded and there were areas that were pretty congested because the almost 4000 marathoners and 12000 international half marathoners started at the same time.  I hit the Ambassador Bridge just as the sun was rising over Windsor, ON and it was breathtaking.  I hated that my phone/camera was tucked away.  Running over the bridge was fun but didn't like having to slow down with the number of people. I had decided to keep my hoodie at least through the bridge and I'm proud to say my old purple hoodie is now Canadian :)  I tossed it right after the Canadian flag at the top of the bridge. The crowd support in Canada was awesome and even the border patrol guys were really cool, cheering and high-5ing runners.  We hit the Windsor Tunnel around mile 7 and I realized I was FLYING through the tunnel.  Didn't know the first half of the underwater mile was downhill but duh, how else are you going to get under a river?!?  I struggled to reign it in and when I hit the incline to come back out, I lost what little time I'd gained.
Splits: 10:56, 10:48, 11:44, 10:53, 10:52, 10:51, 10:51, 12:06 (probably long with the tunnel)

Picture from Molly
Miles 9-19: I don't have much to report here.  Lots of cool neighborhoods and some straight boring sections.  The crowds really thinned out after the international half marathon runners left us at mile 13.  I picked up the pace here because the crowds were great.  I kept up with my intervals and fueling strategy and it felt really good.  There were even some neighborhoods where people were handing out beer (I didn't not take any) and the party atmosphere was really fun.
Splits: 9:46 (I think this mile was short because of the tunnel), 11:21, 10:57, 10:52, 10:53, 10:34, 10:51, 10:54, 11:06, 10:56, 11:05

Miles 20-26.2: Mile 20 took us over the MacArthur Bridge and out onto Belle Isle.  It was nice to know where I was again because unless I was on the bridge, in Canada, in the tunnel or on the island I had no clue :)  I could feel myself starting to fade, but I knew based on my pace band that I was a good 6 minutes ahead of my ultimate goal time, which was reassuring.  I still didn't want to slow down as much as I did, but my calves were starting to cramp and so was my left ankle.  I'd never had my ankle cramp before.  Maybe if I'd put more Nuun in my bottles it would've been better.  Hard to say.  On the way back over the bridge I met up with a first time marathoner (their bibs were green) who was really struggling. I tried to give her a pep talk and get her running again. I'm hoping she finished.  Knowing I only had about 4 miles to go after the island spurred me on but my legs were really feeling trashed.  I started counting down the run intervals.  It helped knowing after each 5 minutes I could walk for a few seconds and then regroup.  The last few miles are along the Riverwalk, which provided some nice scenery, but also a lot of turns and a headwind.  So many people were doing the death march at that point that I passed a lot of them on my run intervals. I saw my friend Maureen cheering at mile 25 and that was a nice boost.  I didn't know she'd be there.  The end of mile 26 is up a hill and I'm sad that my body said "walk" and I did.  I should have straight run the last 1.26 but I had nothing left to give going up the hill.  I at least tried to push it a bit on the last .2 but looking at the splits it's pretty clear I was done.
Splits: 11:22, 11:14, 11:28, 11:34, 11:10, 11:36, 12:53, 3:19 (11:50 pace for last .28 on my Garmin)

Seeing the race clock and knowing I'd completely crushed my PR and my huge goal left me finishing with tears in my eyes.  I was crying when the volunteer hung my medal around my neck and when another gave me a shiny blanket.  I snapped a selfie and then wandered aimlessly trying to keep my legs from cramping up completely. I wanted to sit down so badly but I knew I'd never get up again.  I got a banana, water and chocolate milk but didn't have any of it for quite a while.  A really nice guy took my picture at the finisher backdrop and I repaid the favor for him.


After getting my sweatshirt from gear check, I tossed my blanket (mistake) and headed to the afterparty area.  I got a nice post-race massage but passed on the $8 crappy Redd's Apple Ale.  I also didn't feel like eating so I didn't visit the food trucks but I hear the hot dogs were amazing.  Instead I made the slow trek back to my van.  At one intersection, I was literally shaking from being so cold and a very nice guy (a first time marathoner) took off his space blanket and wrapped it around me.  Never underestimate the kindness of strangers.

I'm absolutely thrilled with how this race turned out.  It was a little hard not having anyone physically with me at the finish line, but based on the texts, tweets and facebook messages that came through when I turned my phone back on, I had so many people cheering me on from all over the country and your support meant the world to me.  It was disappointing to fall off so much in the last 6 miles and especially the last mile since I'd been doing great pulling out strong finishes, but in the end it didn't matter.  I crushed my goal and that felt amazing.

2612/3993 overall, 965/1740 women, 134/258 AG
Takeaways: If you put in the work - you will get paid.  I think the training plan my friend and I came up with was a definite winner.  (I'll talk about it in a future blog post.)  Having a cold temperature and light breeze certainly helped make this my race, as did the use of that pace bracelet!  I would most definitely consider running this one again - although maybe only the international half next time.  26.2 miles is a long way but sometimes it takes training for and executing a race of that distance to believe how strong you really are.
Hate the color but love the back of the shirt - it's all the landmarks we passed.
Thank you first and foremost to God for giving me the ability to run and keeping me healthy through training and the race.
Thank you to my family for putting up with long training runs, fend-for-yourself nights, and me sleeping in on Sundays because it was my only day off.  
Thank you to my friends who helped me come up with a training plan that worked and gave me results (even when I didn't believe it was possible to run the prescribed paces).  
Thank you to all of you.  Everyone who has read, commented, encouraged me here or on Daily Mile/Facebook/Twitter.  
Each and every one of you helped make Sunday a success for me and for that, I am forever grateful.