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Showing posts from October, 2013

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…