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Showing posts from 2013

Clearwater Bridge Run

I'd been wanting to do a long run run out in Clearwater for some time now, partly because of its three bridges, and I finally did it last weekend. I say "wanting" with the caveat that I knew it would be good training for me; I did not think it would be particularly fun. And aside from the fact that I had good company and decent weather, I was right.

Because Clearwater is a foreign land to me (and a mere 25-minute drive from home), I contacted my friend Beth, who runs in the area frequently. She gave me very detailed directions for where to run--so detailed that I was afraid I wouldn't remember and printed them out on a piece of paper I carried with me on the run. Her route would have incorporated the three main bridges: Sand Key, Bellair, and Clearwater; but because that particular loop would have put us back at our parking spot with only 12 miles, which meant we could have been tempted to not run the four more miles we needed, we decided to just run an out-and-back,…

A Turkey Trot, Stress of the World, and a Moment of Peace

It's three-subject blog-post time. Which means I've fallen behind. First things first:

Turkey Trot
Last, last week, on Thanksgiving morning, Tim and I went to Clearwater to run the Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot 10k race. I understand my northern family and friends will likely scoff at what I'm about to say, and they may feel free to do so, but it was freezing! It was about 31 degrees (with wind chill) during the race. That is cold for Florida, especially when it's been in the 70s and 80s in the weeks surrounding that one. It's difficult for me to know what to wear for a cold-weather race, because I know I'll get warm quickly, and I hate being hot during a race. So I wore shorts (which I swear are under my sweatshirt in the picture below), a tank top, arm sleeves, and a headband to cover my ears. While it may seem silly to wear a tank top and full arm sleeves (why not just wear a whole shirt?), I don't like to get sweaty under my arms, and this is a good soluti…

Race Report: Women's Half Marathon - St. Petersburg

Yesterday morning I ran my first big race since the marathon. It's a special race for me, because this particular race was my first half marathon, in 2009. Originally called the "Women's Running Magazine Women's Half Marathon" (yes, a redundant mouthful), and then the "Lady Speed Stick Women's Half Marathon" (can you guess the sponsor they gained?), and now simply the "Women's Running Series Half Marathon," the race has changed quite a bit over the years. It began as a local race, which initiated from what was then a local publication, Women's Running Magazine(now owned by Competitor Group--the same company that owns the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, Muddy Buddy Series, and Competitor Magazine, to name a few). Perhaps you can already see where I'm going with this. The race series has branched out to Nashville, San Diego, and Scottsdale, in addition to St. Pete. It's becoming another big-name race series, designed t…

Oh My Aching Arms / Back at It! / I Feel Weak

Clearly I've gone through a decent range of physical/emotional feelings the past few weeks.

Oct. 30: I went to Crossboot, as I usually do on a Wednesday night, and, like usual, I pushed myself through a tough workout. When I woke up the next morning, I could barely bend my arms because it was too painful. Washing my hair, brushing my teeth--everyday things I never think about caused tear-inducing pain. (I didn't notice any particular moment of pain during the previous night's workout, but I did push hard to get through some plyo-push-ups and did about a ton of dips.) I went to work but then scheduled an "emergency" massage to have the upper backs of my arms worked on--my triceps, but also down to my elbow. That helped a little bit, but when I woke up the next morning still in significant pain, I began to get a little worried. This was beyond sore-muscle pain. When Saturday came and I woke up for my first long run since my marathon, I got about a mile in and couldn…

Gratitude and Loss

Yesterday I turned 33. Aside from being the alleged age of death of both Jesus and Alexander the Great, this age is rather unremarkable. Yet, over the past almost year, some remarkable things have occurred that have made me feel so much gratitude that I want to give the world a giant hug. I met my wonderful boyfriend, went on a family beach vacation and a family trip to Ohio, I PR'd in all the race distances I ran, I got to meet my newest niece, and I ran a successful marathon. Thirty-two has been a good year.

But a recent event has sort of tempered my celebratory mood. I learned that a woman I knew when I was a teenager passed away. My twin sister, Anna, and I babysat for her kids on a regular basis in our high school years. Marla was her name, and she had found our babysitting ad in the small community newspaper called the Treasure Chest, which was hand-delivered door to door in several adjoining neighborhoods. She was sweet, bright, and energetic, and she seemed to adore the id…

My Surprising Sub-4 Marathon

Race: Steamtown Marathon (Scranton, PA) Date: October 13, 2013 Clock Time: 3:57:21 ChipTime: 3:55:23 Average Pace: 8:59 Overall Place: 871 Age Group Place: 47
It's taken me some time to sort out all of my emotions from the Steamtown Marathon, now over a week ago. All of the feelings I've had (except the physical ones) have been purely positive. I was trying to avoid the long blog entry that'd been brewing in my head for over a week by offering you a sort of time-elapsed recap of my experience--but I realized that just because I made a numbered list didn't mean I wouldn't ramble. My apologies anyway.
A last-minute decision.
My initial goal was to finish under 4 hours and 30 minutes. Then, when I posted my last blog entry before the race, I made a daring decision to change my goal time to 4:15. And then, while at dinner in Scranton the night before the race, I overhead a friend say that Chuck, a longtime (and fast) runner, would be pacing another friend to help her finish he…

Pre-Marathon Week

How I thought my week would play out:
Spending time with my already-born nieceGetting ahead on work and school before my "vacation"Finishing up training with a few short and easy runsTaking extra care of my body with stretching, rolling, and relaxationMentally preparing with messages of affirmation to myself
How my week has played out: Anxiously awaiting the late birth of my niece, fearing she might not arrive before I left for ScrantonTrying to be there for my older niece while my sister and brother-in-law prepared for their new baby, which inevitably meantNeglecting work and school and deciding to postpone my grad school application purely out of stress and anxietyDreading my last few runs, which were a mixed bag of slow, a little less slow, and drainingGetting too little sleep because my niece decided to arrive in the wee hours of the morning, mid-week, which meant taking care of the older niece during the labor and delivery (which I absolutely do not regret)Perpetuating neg…

Kale and Salmon Salad (GF)

Monday night's dinner was inspired by a Pinterest recipe from Mind Body Green, called "Autumn Kale & Quinoa Salad." It looked delicious as soon as I saw it pop up in my Facebook feed, so I went to the recipe to check it out. 

I'm always looking for new and healthy meal ideas, but they also have to be pretty filling, as I'm feeding two marathon-trainers. This one actually fit the bill. It's hard to see, but the salad does have a decent amount of quinoa in it, so it's not lacking the important carbs that give us energy for training. But of course, as with any recipe I see online, I have to make my own modifications. 
The first one actually came about because, in the picture above, I thought I saw (and still think I see) salmon in the salad. However, salmon is not listed in the original recipe's ingredients. But it seemed like a good addition anyway, so I added it. I also decided to add some chopped red onion, for a bit of a punch. And rather than u…

Final Long Run before Steamtown

For weeks and weeks I had been looking forward to doing my last long run of training before the Steamtown Marathon, just six days away now. It was only 12 miles, and compared to all the other runs I'd been through, it was sure to be a breeze. I was looking so much forward to it, in fact, that I slept right through it Saturday morning. Heard the alarms, but just didn't feel compelled to get up. So I didn't. By the time I actually arose, it was close to 9:00 a.m. Whoops. So I was left with the dilemma of whether to run the next morning, or to try for a long evening run (isn't that how everyone wants to spend their Saturday night?) I opted for the evening run, because I was afraid I'd have the same problem getting up the next morning, and I also just wanted to get the dang thing over with. It would mark a very significant point in training, or rather, the end of training.

Plus, there was one more thing I wanted to do for this round of training that I hadn't done. …

Vegan Taco Lettuce Wraps (GF)

Last week I made a meal I'd created before but never written up, so here goes.
For some people, lettuce wraps are a great way to cut the carbs from their diet. But for me, because I love those healthy carbs, it's just a way to add more veggies to a meal. 
Choosing the lettuce is the biggest obstacle in making lettuce wraps. You want something sturdy, but not too tough and bitter. I've used Romaine before, but it's not as flat a I'd like; it can break easily when you try to wrap it around the stuffing. The butter lettuce worked pretty well, I think. I almost went with lacinato kale, but I think it would have been to tough to digest raw.
These wraps have a taco-inspired mix inside, consisting of quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, green peppers, and onions. It's seasoned with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Because I almost never measure anything, I'm going to guess at the amounts that went into this meal:
2 c. cooked quinoa 1 can black beans, rinsed …

Hills of San Ann, Wine & Cheese, and a Return to Yoga

Last weekend felt sort of like a real weekend--like one that didn't revolve solely around training, or rather, like one that didn't start with a long run that drained the life out of me.

Of course, it still started with a long and hard training run, but the training burden had been somewhat ameliorated since completing my last 20-miler the weekend prior. I still wanted to get another hill run in before the marathon, so Tim and I woke up at our usual 4:30 a.m. and grumpily drove about 45 minutes out to San Antonio, Florida.

We met up with a few friends and started out in the 68-degree weather and darkness. The guys went off ahead of me and another friend, Cathy, and I was hoping to be able to see them long enough to know which way to turn onto the main road. I brought my handy flashlight that I'd bought for the Longwood run, but it only shined 10 feet out, and the guys were much farther ahead than that. Luckily, one of the guys stopped at the turning point and yelled back a…

Kale and Cannellini-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (V/GF)

This is one of my favorite meals. It's easy, it's beautiful, and it's full of so-called superfoods. The most taxing part of this meal is baking the potatoes. It seems to take at least an hour at 375 for two medium potatoes. The rest is easy: 
Over medium heat, toss in olive oil, chopped garlic, spices (I like cayenne and cumin), then kale, and let the kale sort of wilt, but not for too long. I like to add in the can of beans at the last minute, as they're already cooked and only need heating. All of this takes 5-10 minutes. 
Once the potatoes are full baked, cut in half and add in the kale/cannellini mixture. I have never been able to properly stuff my potatoes, mostly because they're too hot for me to slit and then squish open with my hands. An obvious solution would be to use a towel to do it, but I figure it's all going to get mixed together either way. So my picture is not as neat as it would be with a proper stuffing, but I still think it's lovely wit…

Final 20-Miler: North Is South and Maps Are Useless

Yesterday I ran my final 20-miler of training for the Steamtown Marathon. I knew that if I could make it through that run without injury, I'd be good to go for the race. And I'm happy to report that I did! But the run wasn't without some folly. 
Because my youngest niece was having a birthday party on the same day I was scheduled to do this training run, I'd planned ahead for Tim and I to spend the night at my dad's house in Longwood (which is close to where my niece lives). I knew my dad lived very close to the Seminole Wekiva Trail, so I planned the 20-miler on this route. Or so I thought. We knew my dad lived 2.5 miles from the trail, so we would just need 15 miles on the trail, or 7.5 out and back. I used someone's Map My Run route to get an idea of how many miles we'd be able to get at the entrance point from my dad's house. I even "enhanced" the map with my own notations, for Tim's benefit.

Clearly we'd get more distance going n…