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April 28, 2013

race report: get in gear 10k

As of yesterday, my official 10k PR is 45:45, a 7:22 pace, which, incidentallly, happens to be my half marathon PR pace. 


Yesterday I woke up feeling the worst I have in days. Without going into too much detail, it was clear my cold had turned bacterial. Lots of nose blowing, phlegm coughing, and water guzzling. 

I got to the race around 8, found parking a few blocks away and got the lay of the land. With twenty minutes until the gun, I went out for a warm up jog. When I got back, the corrals were packed and I tried to work my way up to the front but stopped when it got too crowded to move forward without pushing people. 

(source)
I spent the first mile bobbing and weaving through a ton of people. (My stats show I passed 498 in the first four miles.) I kept telling myself not to panic, that I had the whole race to make up for it. Besides, I wanted my first mile to be my slowest anyway. It was. 7:34. 

The road began to open up and I got a little over-zealous. I don't think I've ever been this happy to be racing. I forgot how much I loved the camaraderie of runners, and hearing the cheers of spectators. 7:07- or "making up for lost time."

After mile 2 (I think) I saw Colleen, Julie and baby Mae and caught a few strides with former TCM coworker Molly, who was running the half. We wished each other luck before I kept moving, settling in to a pace that felt good (without looking at my watch). 7:20

Between miles 3-4, you hit a hillier portion of the course. I did my best to stay relaxed and focused on keeping my stride short and using my arms to propel me. It helped knowing I'd be rewarding with a downhill after I made it up. 7:25 

Just after mile 4, two guys passed me that were talking about going sub-7, and one said that they'd have to go now to make it. The other replied that he was feeling okay as they were, but the pace they were moving was faster than what I doing. I debated if I should try to move with them but decided to hold where I was. 7:17

It was at that point that I was comfortably tired and began to dread the minimal, though very real, incline up and over the bridge. It's also the point on the course where the half marathon splits off and continues for their additional miles, and I began to think about my experience last year. 7:20  

I actually don't remember passing the 6 mile mark, or really anything besides seeing Colleen, Julie and Mae and seeing Colleen raise her phone to take a picture of me and knowing that it would probably be pretty terrible. I concentrated on moving my feet as fast as possible, and began counting down from 10 in my head, knowing that when I hit zero, I would be done. 6:50 (last .2). 


  
please notice that a 45 yr old is pretty much stride for stride with me

Some thoughts on my first 10k:
  • I thought this distance would be terrible but I really love it. It's not as hard as a 5k and not as draining as a half.
  • This is the most evenly paced race I've ever run. Aside from my first two miles, and  my finishing kick, my miles were all within 8 seconds of each other.
  • I'm happy with where this puts me at, fitness-wise. With only five weeks of dedicated training under my belt, I feel like this was a solid effort.
So there it is, the story of my first- though not last- 10k. 

April 24, 2013

race week fever and some running talk

Fact: I "raced"once last year, my slowest 5k in years.

This weekend I'll race a 10k where I'll consider it a massive success if I can even hit my half-marathon PR pace for 6.2 miles. I say race because I plan on giving this my full effort but know I will not be able to run at the same level as two years ago. There is a little comfort that no matter what my time is, it will be my 10k PR (this being my first 10k and all).

The last few weeks of running have gone really, really well. I haven't missed a mile, which is huge. No skipping runs or cutting them short. And for the most part, I feel good, aside from a few sassy remarks from calves that haven't seen this much work in a while.

*not my calves (source)
Awkward side note: If you Google "women's calves" you will find that there are WEB PAGES devoted to them. Weirdos. 

Despite the snow we woke up to yesterday, 60's are predicted for the weekend. Don't worry, I'm compulsively checking the weather, which is a symptom of Race Week Fever. Other symptoms include obsessive use of race predictors, littering your floor with options for race day attire, religious study of course maps, and planning pre-race nutrition down to the last ounce you'll take in.

I'm currently exhibiting a few of these symptoms.


April 21, 2013

a new reality

Boston was all I could think about this week.

On Tuesday morning, the sky still dark, I left my house for an easy four miles. It was terribly windy around Calhoun and I only saw one other runner braving the elements. This surprised me, though I don't know why. 

Later that day, and throughout the week, people would be posting meeting locations for group runs to "run for Boston" in a show of solidarity. I didn't go to any of those runs. 

It's not that I don't feel an especially big pull on my heart for Boston. As a human being, what they did was pure evil. As a runner, you can't stop your mind from going to That could have been my family, my friends. I could have witnessed that.  But could have quickly gives way to what is and I begin to think about the people and families affected, and what is to become of them after the cameras turn off, after #BostonStrong stops trending on Twitter. 

My mind goes further when I think of the reality of what is for other parts of the world, where what happened in Boston is a daily occurrence. Daily

All week I've heard various race directors answer the What will you do to make [insert name here] marathon safer this year? And they'd give the cookie-cutter Safety is our top priority answer. Because it's true.

But the unspoken truth is that there is nothing they can do. No amount of police-patrolling, bag-banning, body-scanning will prevent something like this from happening in the future. Evil people will always find a way to hurt others. That's the truth. 

It's not an exaggeration to say the reality we knew yesterday no longer exists today. It's heavy, heavy stuff that, for me, can only be worked out through a lot of conversations with God and a lot of solo running.

April 15, 2013

a conversation with god

Are you kidding me right now with this? 

(silence)

How does this happen? Why didn't You stop this?

(Suddenly my mind is filled with vivid memories, when in anger or sadness, I've said things or done things with the intention of being hurtful to someone else.)

I didn't stop you then... 

That's not the same!

But you see how it can start. The biggest acts of anger, hatred, bitterness, evil... they all grow from somewhere. 

(And now it's my turn to be silent.)
____________________________________________________

Praying for those affected by what happened in Boston today. And for our world, really.

April 12, 2013

happy weekend

What a week! It went by quickly but I'm very, very glad it's over.

Last night the weather was terrible and I thought up about 100 reasons why I didn't want/need to go running. But I went. And I had a great run. It felt like it was a turning point in my training, or maybe just my attitude toward training. Attitude really is everything, isn't it?

Tonight is yoga, which I desperately need, for my hips' sake as well as my heart/head.

But for now, links!
my fave (source)
  • 44 Healthy Foods Under $1. Take that, Dollar Menu!
  • I need an occasion to wear buy this dress.
  • What does 2000 calories look like? (And is it bad that I consider that much bacon to be an appetizer?)

April 11, 2013

throwback thursday

Circa 1995.
i specifically got this outfit for track & field day





I think we can all agree that this picture is the true definition of runnerd.

April 8, 2013

do the work (and pudding that will change your life)

I think the hardest part about eating clean/unprocessed is the prep that goes into it. Unless you have a personal chef or money to hit up the Whole Foods salad bar every day, chances are you’re making your own meals. And that takes work. 



So after enjoying a nice run outside yesterday (which was great since winter is apparently returning to MN this week), I spent some time searching for recipes and creating a list of things that I'd need for meals for the week.

Then this happened:

bacon is the center of everything

 Groceries magically appeared on my table! Or I went grocery shopping. One of the two.

While making dinner last night, I simultaneously cooked the time-consuming stuff.  I baked spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes and pork, then stored it all for fast reheating. It was so nice coming home tonight to a fridge stocked with ingredients that were easy to throw together. 

So anyway, now Sunday afternoons have become Meal Prep Time (MPT because I like acronyms).

And now this, which is My Favorite Discovery: I had a major frozen yogurt craving tonight. Instead of finding myself face down in a bowl of empty calories and regret, I decided to experiment with what I had on hand and created a blend of avocado, chocolate, banana, coconut milk and honey (a take off a recipe I had read). I put it in my freezer to chill and then enjoyed a delicious chocolate "pudding."

take that, craving!
Seriously so good. I may have licked my blender (carefully!).  

QUESTIONS:
  • Do you cook meals in advance? 
  • What's your favorite healthy snack? Or a weird food combination that actually works?

April 5, 2013

happy weekend

As luck would have it, yesterday was a gorgeous day in MN and I went home sick from work and spent the entire afternoon napping. No after-work run in the sunshine. Sigh. I will make do with a cloudy run this evening, since I am protesting our freezing spring (28* this morning!) by refusing to get out of bed for morning runs (but mostly I just didn't want to push my luck, being ill and all).

I made plans to run with a new group tomorrow, then go to a "Stability for Runners" weight training class with them after. Lord knows the only time I pick up a weight is if someone makes me.

Links for your weekend:
  • A song I can't stop listening to.

  • No doubt you’ve heard of Team Hoyt, but here’s a new video Dick’s Sporting Goods released as part of a series. If you can watch this without tearing up, you’re probably dead.



QUESTIONS:
  • Did anyone get pranked on April Fools' Day? 
  • What are the main "fun" things you spend your money on?

April 3, 2013

unprocessed

Last fall, inspired by the October Unprocessed challenge that many bloggers were writing about, I decided to make a conscious effort to cut the amount of processed food, white starchy carbs, and dairy I was eating. My general rule: If it has more than one ingredient, don't eat it.

Although that might sound severe, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I felt great and to my amazement, I dropped six pounds without trying. I was eager to stick with it through November. I didn’t even falter on Thanksgiving, loading up my plate with sweet potatoes, turkey and salad instead of cheesy hash brown potatoes and cranberry fluff.

But then Holiday Treat Season hit and my office became booby-trapped with plates of cookies, chocolate-covered everything and those big tins of popcorn. I allowed myself to indulge a little, but the number of handfuls I would sneak significantly increased as December progressed. Soon enough, my diet looked much as it did prior to my attempt to eat unprocessed.

my december diet (source)

The thing is, since returning to my “normal” diet (which is still much better than the Typical American Diet), I feel pretty terrible. I find myself with less energy, more pimples, and a regularly upset stomach.  And those six pounds? Yep, they came back, too.

Over the past few weeks, I've been more intentional about what I'm eating. Since declaring April alcohol-free, I've begun thinking about what I can do to clean up my diet even more. I've found some great blogs, books and websites that have delicious recipes using whole, natural foods. (Since paleo has kind of become The Thing To Do, there's no shortage of resources out there.)

So the goal: Eat whole, natural food as much as possible (which pretty much equals "make time to cook" and "stop Googling pictures of Christmas cookies").

Sounds simple, right? We'll see...

 QUESTIONS:
  • Have you ever tried eating unprocessed before?
  • How does your diet compare to the "Typical American Diet?"  

April 1, 2013

alcohol-free april

(source)

Beginning today, I have decided to stop drinking for the next nine months.





April Fools!

But seriously, I am going to give up alcohol for the month of April.

That's all.

(Editor's note: To the individual that laughed when I told him I was going to do this, FACE PUNCH.)