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.