Thursday, August 22, 2013

adventures in cooking.

ahhh cooking.  i'm doing some cooking.  it's going okay.  here's the thing: i used to like making elaborate new things.  but money is tight [not like, omg we can't pay bills tight, but more like, oh let's not shop at whole foods and spend $1,000,000 on groceries tight] and scott does not have very adventorous tastes.  plus, i'm busy.  these factors have all contributed to my kitchen being a little.... boring.

okay, let's be real, it's mostly scott's lack of adventorous tastes that's driving this.  everyone shake a finger at scott and tell him to start eating more vegetables.  and fish.  and beans.  so, it's hard to make food that is simultaneously healthy and interesting and meets scott's culinary tastes.  thus, our average meals tend to be baked chicken, rice/pasta, and a side of steamed green beans for him + a side of steamed whatever type of vegetable i feel like.  or a casserole.  there are a handful of veggies i can sneak into casseroles without getting into trouble, so i go that route sometimes too.

speaking of casseroles, i recently made a major life discovery.  this will PROBABLY not be new news to any of you, but i learned that you can put rice, water, a can of cream of soup, and chicken into the oven and out will pop a casserole.  let me rephrase that.  you can put UNCOOKED rice and UNCOOKED chicken, in a casserole dish, with water/cream of whatever, and the rice and chicken will come out done.  MIND. BLOWN.  [thank you campbell's for teaching me new things.]

okay, i knew you could put raw chicken in the oven and it would come out baked, duh.  but i seriously just never knew i could BAKE my rice like that.  do you know how much time that saves? am i the only person on the planet who was unaware of this magic?

unless of course, you leave your husband in charge of the baking part.  i made the above-linked recipe on tuesday, and i pre-made it at home before i left for spin class.  i told scott to bake it covered at 375 for 45 minutes.  when i got home, it was just about ready to come out of the oven.  perfect.  i had time to shower real quick and then get dinner on the table.  except the rice was only sort of done.  parts were fine, but parts were still a bit crunchy.  [luckily, the chicken was plenty cooked].  so while we are eating our half-cooked dinner i remark that i guess it needs more than 45 minutes, maybe i needed to use a shallower dish or something.  and scott goes, "well, did i need to pre-heat the oven first, and then bake it for 45 minutes?" ...uhhh, how ELSE would you interpret "bake at 375 for 45 minutes"!?!?!?  apparently, he turned on the oven, put in the casserole, and set the timer simultaneously, rather than letting the oven preheat..  no, dearest husband, that is not correct.  LE SIGH.

luckily, this was easily remedied by an additional 5-10 minutes in the oven.  the casserole was much less soupy and the rice cooked quite nicely.  but y'all, be careful when you instruct your kitchen-illiterate husbands [or wives or friends] to help with dinner.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

training update: week of 8/11-8/17

Thanks for all of your suggestions about future posts.  I'll try to incorporate everyone's suggestions!  I think I will also try to keep a "diary" of how much runs/workouts are going.... so here's last week:

I meant to run before work, but, well, I like to sleep.  So after work I checked the weather and with a heat index OVER 100, I headed to the gym.  My plan was to walk for 5ish minutes to warm up and then run 3 miles, with 1 minute walking breaks between each mile.  After walking I started off at what I thought would be an easy running pace - 5.5 or 11:00ish minute miles - and OMG it was hard.  I think the gym was hot. And humid.  Or [insert some other excuse for why it felt so hard].  I did manage to run 3 miles, but I let myself have 2 minute walking breaks in between each mile.  I varied my running pace from 5.2-6.2 throughout, but mostly stayed in the 5.5-5.7 range.  I'm pretty sure every single minute was hard, but luckily I had an entertaining podcast about the season finale of the Bachelorette to listen to (courtesy of Jamie Golden and Knox McCoy).
When I got home, I did a little bit of strength: a front plank, side planks, leg lifts, leg circles, bridges, and pushups.  Not a million reps or anything, but hey, I did it!

I woke up with some sore hamstrings and shoulders.  Nothing too terrible, but I definitely felt it, and was somewhat surprised... that isn't normally a place I feel sore after running!  Today, I went to spin class for cross training. The gym has new bikes which track more stats on your workout.  I was on the bike (moving) for 68 minutes, during which time I went 22.1 miles and burned 751 calories.  I totally do not buy that calorie count - I didn't enter my height, weight, or gender, so who knows what algorithm they are using.  Still, I bet I burned over 400 calories (maybe 500+) and that's pretty good in my book.  Also, I'm not sure how they determine distance (it tracks RPMs?), but that seems more straightforward and more likely to be accurate.   Anyway, the class was pretty good.  It's a teacher I've been to before.  She does a lot of mini routines that she repeats 3-5x in a row, usually making them a bit harder each time.  It's not my favorite, but I don't mind it and she plays decent music.  So, overall a good class!  Afterwards, I was tired and a little sore, but not TOO bad, and I made sure to stretch extra when I got home.

It magically cooled down here, enough so that I thought running outdoors was a good idea today (it was in the mid 70s, somewhat humid).  I was super excited to listen to Jamie and Knox's new podcast, the PopCast, so so I got my iPhone & arm band and started with a 5-ish minute walk up a hill before I got to relatively flat terrain and started my run.  All I can say about this run is UGH.  My plan was to run 3 miles, with 1 minute walk breaks every mile, but I think I probably walked on average 1-2 minutes every half mile.  It was SOHARD.  WTF running!?  I also felt achey - my calves were super tight, and my anterior tibs were not feeling 100%, so I was super nervousabout pushing myself.  So, I managed to run/walk around 3.2 miles, with an average pace somewhere in the 11:00 minute mile range (including the walking). Man, I hope this running thing gets easier soon.
sweaty, but apparently still able to smile about it.

Thursday, I was going to play kickball, but instead I went to happy hour for 4 hours.  Friday, I was going to run, but instead I worked on my dissertation proposal.

I wasn't really in the mood to run Saturday, but I really wanted to run at least 3 times during the week, so Saturday afternoon around 4pm I forced myself out the door.  It was raining a little, which I thought would help to keep me cool.  Notsomuch.  It was sooooo humid.  My first mile, I managed to only stop to walk once for 1 minute, but my second mile was much harder, and I ended up doing 1/4 mile run/walk intervals. It was partially due to humidity, but my calves were also really tight and I was worried that was a sign of my lingering injury.  I was feeling better for my last mile and managed to run all but 2-ish minutes.  Seriously, when did running get so hard?  When I got back, I wanted to collapse, but I managed to do a plank and some pushups.
no smiles left in me after this run.  collapsed on my bedroom floor.
I was hoping that my "long run" this weekend would be 5 miles, but I really was barely up for 3.  I also thought I would aim for 4 runs, but, only managed 3.  So, I need to work on a training plan for the next twoish months, and I'm trying to decide what makes sense.  One current debate: I'd like to cardio 4-5 times per week.  This could be: 4 runs, 1 spin class; 3 runs, 2 spin classes; 3 runs, a spin class,and something else.... maybe Zumba?  Thoughts anyone?

My other debate is about strength training - I'd like to do strength training more consistently.  In fact, I NEED to, because it's the only way to prevent myself from getting injured again.  One option is to pick a very small number of things and try to do them every day (e.g. a plank, side planks, pushups, and squats).  The pro here would be that maybe I could get in a routine (do it first thing every morning) and actually get moreconsistnt.  The cons are that some people say you shouldn't strength train EVERY day, and that if I am going to do something daily it's going to only be about 10 minutes of work - maybe not enough to reallly make improvements?  On the other hand, isn't something better than nothing?  I guess I could create a longer routine to do at home and do that 2-3x per week to give myself breaks.  I've just been SO BAD at staying consistent in the past.  I could also try to start doing Jillian DVDs again.  Also, Duke's gym has pilates, yoga/pilates, power yoga, core blast, and HIIT classes that I can take.  I'm not sure I'm up for HIIT - people tell me they are sore for DAYS after... like, too sore to run.  That doesn't sound enticing, but I guess it could be worth trying?  Any advice here would be welcome!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

NWM Half DC recap

In April, I ran my 5th half marathon - the Nike Women's Half in Washington, DC.  Here is my long overdue recap!

M and I drove up to DC on Friday night and headed to the "Expotique" on Saturday morning.  I feel a little bad saying it, but my reaction to the expotique was "ugh."  First, it was on the water in Georgetown - highly inconvenient to get to.  Second, the expo seemed to be geared towards girls who happened to be running, not runners who were majority female.  The booths seemed to mostly have hair and makeup stuff - not running stuff!  And, because it was a Nike race, there wasn't really any running gear - just signs directing you towards the Nike store a few blocks away.  I guess this just demonstrates that I am not a huge fan of "women's races."
Saturday was a busy day. We had the puppy with us, and lots of people to go see.  Also, Isis has some difficulty sleeping in new places, so we really didn't sleep much on Friday night.  We did manage to carb load a decent amount with Sabrina and Mike, who we stayed with on Saturday night.  Saturday, Isis was even WORSE about sleeping, despite having a full afternoon of playing with her new friends, Titus and Frankie (Sabrina and Mike's dogs).  Thanks to the puppy, I probably slept less than 5 hours pre-race.  Ugh.
Isis wants to play, Titus wants to sleep
Frankis is slightly more willing to play with Isis
Morning of
Despite being extremely tired, we made it into the city in plenty of time.  The setup was great: the bathrooms and pre race hydration (water and Nuun) was available right when we got off the metro, which was only about 1/2 a block from the corrals.  We got a pre-race ADPi photo, which I was super excited about, and then warmed up with some jogging and stretching.  When it got closer to start time, we tried to head into the corral... but it was full!  What the heck?  There were easily over 100 people standing at the corral entrance unable to get in.  So, we basically had to stand on the sidewalk and wait for everyone in front of us to start before we snuck in the back of the corral.
Pre-Race ADPi Photo!
With 3 Duke ADPis I advise!
And we're off!
Given how crowded the corral was, you can imagine that the first mile was crowded - but not so terrible. Shortly into mile 1, we headed into the E Street tunnel.  In theory, it was kind of fun that we ran through the tunnel... but in practice, it. was. AWFUL.  It was so hot and sweaty and disgusting - packed with thousands of runners - I literally felt nauseous while I was in there.  On top of that, there were two musical groups playing drums, which echoed like CRAZY in the tunnel.  I'm sure plenty of people thought that was a cool effect, but it just made the hot sweaty mess even worse for me.
Despite jogging to warm up and attempting to stretch, my calves felt tight almost immediately.  Then, by 1.5 miles in, my RIGHT anterior tib started hurting.  SERIOUSLY?  Because, people, it was my LEFT anterior tib that was injured, and that I had been rehabbing for about a month.  AND NOW MY LEFT HURTS? Damn.  Knowing it would probably just hurt worse and worse until I stopped to walk, I took the first water break as my cue to walk/stretch, and Marissa said goodbye.
No idea how I managed to smile for the camera all morning.
During miles 2 and 3 I tried to walk and stretch a lot to ease the injury.  Honestly, though, I was just pissed. I had a GREAT last long run the week before, completing 8 miles at a pretty good pace, with no pain!  It seemed totally unfair that this was happening to me.
Luckily, somewhere around mile 4 or 5 the pain started fading and I was able to get some decent miles in.  I don't have much to comment about on the actual race for the first 5 miles.  The first 10 miles are nearly identical to the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, and I love that course... so no complaints there.  One thing I didn't like: they had Nuun and water instead of Gatorade at the aid stations.  I know Nuun is great for you, but it's kind of fizzy and does not sit well with my stomach DURING runs.  So I had to stick to water, but that also meant I was taking in significantly fewer calories than I usually would during a race.
Somewhere around mile 7 or 8, the bottoms of my feet started hurting... kind of like they do after a full day of walking.  You know when your feet are really wrinkly from being in the pool for too long?  And then it kind of hurts to walk on them?  That's exactly how I felt.  Which made me think - are my feet sweating so much that my socks are soaking wet?  Gross.  Also, I'm wearing Brooks socks that I thought were made for running, so why is this happening to me?  SIGH.  The only thing that helped me push through was that  the bottoms of my feet hurt equally running and walking... so I figured, might as well run and get it over with sooner, right?
Sabrina's husband is a fantastic photographer
It was also around the 8 mile mark that we ran around Hains Point.  Hains Point is nice and flat, but also a spectator deadzone, so it can get pretty boring during a race.  To compensate, Nike decided to have a bunch of "encouraging" signs.  Although I'm sure many participants loved the signs, and some of them were fine, I was not a fan.  Now, I was already pissed about my feet hurting and my bad time at this point, so I think I was primed to spin down into a hate spiral.  But one of the signs said "Run faster than your mascara." Not a fan.
Although I was totally prepared for having 3ish miles to go after Hains Point, it still hit me hard when I got to the end of it.  The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler ends about 1/4-1/2 mile after Hains Point so I FELT like I should be almsot done.  But I wasn't.  Womp. Womp.  I was really struggling with my hate spiral, when somewhere around mile 10 I spotted one of my sorority sisters Justine!  Justine is a few years younger than me and was there supporting one of the girls from her class, but had been watching for other ADPis.  It was SO great to see her - she actually jogged with me for 5ish minutes before turning back to watch for other sisters.  RACE SPECTATORS: BEST IDEA EVER.  Having someone jog with me for a few minutes to help my morale was amazing.
Excited to see my cheering contingent
The last few miles were pretty - we ran down Pennsylvania and right by the Capital building.  I was really trying to push myself to finish in under 2:20, but it was too late.  I think I finished in 2:22, but I honestly didn't care how bad my time was.... at least I finished!  I crossed the finish line and got my Tiffany necklace and finisher's shirt.
Let's be real, this is the REAL reason I kept going.
Post Race
I knew so many people who ran this race, so we had a pretty big post-race meet-up party.
fake cousin Katie, Sabrina, Marissa, Kimmy, and I - all finished!
I also had quite the cheering crowd - Karilee was with Scott and his mom.
MIL and husband, #1 fans of my running 
Diamond Sister love - Karilee cheered for us both!
My uncle and dad actually came too, but they mistimed their travels and only made it to the post-race meeting area to see me afterwards.  It still was awesome that they came though, and I am so grateful for all of the support!
My dad and I!
Overall, the course was relatively flat, which was a plus.  The entry fee was pricy, but I love my necklace.  I learned that I probably want to avoid "women's races" in the future.  I think of myself as a runner and a woman - and the race felt very much geared towards girls who happened to run.
Showered, in matching finishers shirts & Tiffany necklace's.  BBQ Time.
Also, after this race, I knew I had to take some extended time off running to really rest and rehab.  Back to physical therapy I went... but I'll save that for another post.

Monday, August 12, 2013

i'm back [again]. [maybe].

hello, readers!  ...errr, reader? is anyone out there?

it's been quite some time since i blogged... but i miss it! so, this post is just to tell you that i plan to resume blogging.  i owe you a recap of the nike women's half, and i have an outline of a post to tell you about my injury and recovery.

i think i am finally healed enough to legitimately start training again.  too bad it is 100 degrees and i'm woefully out of shape.  today i ran 3 miles on the treadmill - with 2 minute walk breaks between each mile - and even an 11:00 minute mile felt hard.  yikes!

given how out of shape i am and how nervous i am about re-injuring myself, i haven't yet signed up for any fall half marathons.  i think i'm going to take my training nice and slow, and then decide in october if i'm up for any longer races.  i have one potential november half in mind, but i don't want to sign up until i'm able to be more consistently pain free.

instead, my friend allison convinced me to sign up for a 5k with her.  scott signed up too! that's in mid October, and seems much more doable right now.  so for now i'm going to try to run 3-4 times per week, without any speedwork, and with weekend long runs in the 5-6 mile range until it cools down at least a little. i also REALLY REALLY need to keep up with my core/hip/leg exercises that my physical therapist has instructed me to do.  if in a month i am feeling pretty good, i might start some speed once per week and start increasing my long run distances.

so, i guess if i manage to get back into blogging i will keep you updated on my training... but what else should i blog about?  cooking [assuming i cook]? redskins? fantasy football? whatever television shows i am watching? my puppy?

leave a comment and let me know what you'd be interested in reading!

we got a puppy in January.  her name is Isis.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Recap 2013, or how NOT to run a 10 miler.

I told myself I would write race recaps for all of the races I ran this spring, and I was doing alright until I got to the 10 miler.  I think that's because I didn't really approach the 10 miler as a race, and I certainly did not make any effort to "race" or even run fast.
First, it was the morning after my husband's birthday.  So we went out on Saturday night.  Late.  I made that decision fully aware of the consequences, but MAN, only sleeping three hours is rough... as is being hungover.  I couldn't really eat my breakfast because I was naseous, so I ran on a mostly empty stomach.  We also got to the corral way too early (probably with 40 minutes to spare) and it was FREEZING, so by the time the race started, I was: sleep deprived, hungover (and dehydrated), without breakfast, and numb in most parts of my body.  Oh, and I was still injured.  And I forgot my Garmin.  And my knee brace.

This, my friends, is how NOT to start a 10 mile race.

Anyway, as my race MO goes, I ran for about 1.5 miles before the foot/ankle pain kicked in, so I decided to walk and stretch over the next 1.5 miles or so.  Then, by around mile 3 I started feeling better/warmer and decided to just run at a nice, easy pace.
Although I was still hungover (thank goodness there was Gatorade at water stops and I had chews to get some calories in me) and I was definitely not going to get a great time, I was genuinely happy for most of the next 7 miles.  I love the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  It is my favorite race.  I love the crowds, I love the course, and I love seeing the blossoms (this year, they were just starting to come out).  The last three years, the weather has been brisk, yet comfortable.  So, although I wasn't running well, and I'm injured and out of shape, I have to say, I really soaked it in and enjoyed myself.
Also, I got some of the most attractive pictures of myself running to date.  Apparently, I'm photogentic when I don't care about my time and I'm hungover?

Anyway, despite my pesky foot pain, I finished in 1:51:32, avaerage pace 11:09.  And only 10 more days until my first physical therapy appointment!
Oh, also, Marissa ran it.  Way faster than me.  GO Marissa!
And Scott was there to cheer me on, even though he was also out all night drinking (happy belated birthday!):

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tobacco Road Half Marathon Race Recap

My new shoes from Disney!  They solved my foot pain!  The race was pain free!  When I got home, I was so pumped to run again.

And then it came back.  New shoes, same pain in my foot.  Damn.  I got an appointment with an orthopedic doctor, but I couldn't get in until after the Tobacco Road Half.  So, I skimped on training (who wants to run 20ish miles per week when it's painful and when it's cold out?) and kind of fought through.  Then, as a last effort for TR to not go terrible, I bought KT Tape and taped myself up.  I told myself "even if it really hurts, I'll just tell myself, this pain is temporary and a PR will outlast it!"

Spoiler alert: It didn't work.

Marissa and I foud the 2:10 pacers and decided we would try to stick with them for at least the first half of the race, and our first two miles clocked in sub-10:00 pace... but only 2 miles in the pain in my feet was so severe I *had* to stop and walk and stretch.  My third mile, betwen stretching and walking, clocked in on my Garmin at over 13:00 minutes.  Not a good look.

I ran/walked from miles 3-4.  I saw Scott around mile 4 and wanted to cry.  I thought about quitting.  Luckily, soon after that I started to feel better.  That is the weird thing about my foot pain - it flare somewhere between mile 1 and mile 2, but if I stop to walk and stretch for a good while, then I can continue running -- relatively pain free.  What is that about?

Anyway, once my pain subsided (around mile 4-5) I was able to keep a decent pace... not great, but decent.  I think I could have pushed harder, but I knew there was no way I could PR, so it was hard to stay super motivated to push through.  It was an out and back course with a turn around exactly at the halfway point, and my next three miles (4-6) were almost exactly at 10:30 pace.  On the turn around, I picked it up a bit (10:21), and then mile 8 was pretty hilly so that slowed me down (10:40).

Around that time I started to think about what a realistic finishing goal could be.  I reall didn't want to PW (personal worst), which meant beating 2:27, and at the same time a PR (sub 2:13) was out of sight.  I settled on sub 2:20 as my goal, and perked up in mile 9 after the hill (10:05 pace).  Then, my knee started to hurt for miles 10-11... stupid tendonitis!  Those miles were relatively slow (10:36 and 10:55), but I was pretty sure I could still come in sub 2:20.

I started to really push myself in mile 12 and clocked in at 10:09.  My knee was still hurting, but I was able to push it out of my mind and just focus on running the best I could.  During mile 13 we were turning back into the park, so there were more spectators, and I was able to speed up (9:41).  I'm pretty good about really pushing at the end of races, so my last 0.1 (or, according to Garmin, 0.2) was at 8:19 pace.

I ended up finishing in 2:18:39, around 6 minutes short of a PR.  Pretty good considering at least one mile took me over 13:00 and I was in pain/injured!
finished half marathon #4!
new medal!
After the race, I showered and then put on my race shirt and medal to meet some friends out for St. Patrick's Day festivities.
well deserved Bloody Mary
So, although I personally did not have a good race, I will say that I mostly liked it and would recommend it to others.  It's relatively small and running on the trail is nice.  It's flat (other than a bit of an uphill at mile 8) so it's a great course to try and PR on (Marissa KICKED ASS, but I'll let her tell her own story if she wants to blog about it!).  The post-race celebration was great - free beer and pizza (and oranges/bread/etc.).  On the flip side, since it's out and back there are relatively few spectators which makes it less exciting of a race.

After the intense pain of the race, I decided I REALLY needed to do something.  On Monday I got a sports massage and was able to talk with the massage therapist for a while about what she thought was going on and what types of stretches/exercises would be helpful.  I also had my appointment with an ortho doctor, who was unfortunately useless (I won't even bother going into that), but afterwards I was able to talk with a friend who is a physical therapist here and he referred me to a friend who was a physical therapist and marathon runner.  Unfortunately her first available appointment was nearly 4 weeks later, but I put it on my calendar and tried to follow the massage therapist's advice in the meantime.  I'll save my post about what's wrong with me according to who / etc. for another day!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Nike Women's Half Marathon Goals

I'm running the Nike Women's Half Marathon on Sunday, so I figured I would put my goals out there for all to see.

My dream would be to run sub 2:10.  This is around 9:55 pace, which is probably pushing it for me, but maybe race adrenaline, etc., will make it possible.  I would be ECSTATIC.

If that doesn't happen, I would so love to beat 2:13:14 and PR.  That would mean running even a few seconds faster than 10:10 pace.  I think if I'm feeling good, I can pull that out.  We'll see.

If I can't PR, I think I would like to finish in under 2:20, or under 2:18:39 (my Tobacco Road time), because although I am still injured, I was able to run 2:18:39 at Tobacco Road and I am hopeful that I can at least do that.

You can track me live on Sunday!

Wish me luck :-)