Saturday, March 31, 2012

Magic Mile in 8:10

I got to the school a little early before my 11 mile long run this morning to time my magic mile. It was brutal! I was trying to get under 8 minutes, but a 15 second improvement is great, specially since it was really humid this morning and I only had time for a 1/2 mile warm up.

I set my watch to beep at me if I went slower than 8:15 and it was beeping the whole time. I think I can get under 8 under better conditions and with a better warm up, but I'm thrilled with this time. I have to admit, I was petrified of running a magic mile this morning because if it was slower than my previous one of 8:25 it would shake my confidence for my upcoming 5K, but this was just what I needed to help get me pumped. 

This MM predicts a 27 min 5K on an all out effort under perfect race conditions, so sub-30 should be no problem. It will probably be warm, and crowded, but I'm going to give it my all and see where the chips fall. I'm excited!

Previous Magic Miles:
  • 3.31.2012 - 8:10 (-0:15)
  • 5.16.2011 - 8:25 (-0:39)
  • 5.10.2010 - 9:04 (-0:11)
  • 9.13.2009 - 9:15 (-1:02)
  • 9.26.2008 - 10:17
New Race Predictions:
Per the Galloway predictor formula; assumes proper training and optimal race conditions (60º or cooler, no crowds, hills, etc)
  • 5K Race Pace - 8:43 - 27:01
  • 10K Race Pace - 9:23 - 58:13
  • Half Marathon Race Pace - 9:48 - 2:08:22
  • Marathon Race Pace - 10:37 - 4:38:09

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fitdeck Workout

This morning I finally got back to some strength training with a Fitdeck Bodyweight workout. It was only 16 minutes, but it packed a big punch in that time as I cycled from one card to the next with little rest. I've mentioned these before, and I own several physical decks, but today I want to talk about the iPhone app version.

The app currently only has the Bodyweight deck, but that is still 50 cards divided into 4 categories: upper, middle, lower, and full body. You can configure a workout to focus on one or more areas by turning on and off the related set of cards. You can then configure a workout to just shuffle the deck and go, or for a specific number of cards or minutes. Each card has a picture and a description of the exercise along with suggested reps based on your level of fitness (beginner, intermediate or advanced).

The thing I like about the app vs the physical decks, specially once they add more decks, is that I don't have to figure out how to carry all the cards (I have 4 decks) with me to be able to do a workout anywhere I go. The app makes shuffling or isolating an area (upper, lower, core, etc) easier than me sitting there sorting the cards, which I often did. It also has a built in timer for the entire workout as well as the exercises that are based on time instead of reps, such as a plank or bear crawls.


Today I configured the workout for 20 minutes for 34 cards; I turned off the lower body category since I have a long run tomorrow. I figured I would reshuffle the deck if I got through it all before time was up.  I finished one pass of the deck in about 16 minutes (I skipped a few other cards too), but I just called it quits after that because I forgot how intense this is and I wanted to have a little time for a yoga cool down. Since it had been a while, I stuck to the beginner reps for each card.

Here's a summary of roughly what I did.

  • push ups: at least 40 of various types: standard, negative, wide, narrow, staggered, spades
  • planks: 2-30s side planks, 2-20s tripod hold (one-arm plank), and 45s forearm plank
  • cardio/full body:  50 jumping jacks (20 full; 30 half), star jumpers, squat thrusts, 8-count body builders
  • core: all kinds of other core exercises, including a few crunches
I plan to do this again on Sunday, but using the full deck. I often skip some exercise that I think are too hard or that I don't have room/time for but I am going to give each of them at least 1 shot.

Now it's time to wind down and get ready for bed in the next hour because I get to run double digits tomorrow morning with my Galloway. I'm so excited! :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Things Thursday

#1 Running Buddies - The dynamics of running alone vs a group vs just one person are fascinating. When running alone, it's easier to lose motivation and give up, but at the same time is easy to push too hard. Running with a group, specially on long runs, is a way to get distracted and maintain a conversational pace. Running with just 1 other person is a whole other story and a hell of a lot easier to push each other without realizing it because there is just the one person to match pace. I Ran with just Jimmy this morning, and for some reason (maybe my 1.5 mile warm up) we started lighting fast with a 9:44 mile. We were both struggling a little of the other 3 miles even though they were all above 11, because it's hard to recover from that. What's really amusing is that we both kept pushing to keep up with the other even though both of us wanted to slow down. I've noticed this phenomenon happens a lot.

#2 Plank a Day - I'm doing this 30 day challenge again because I've been neglecting my core and I know it needs to be super strong to support my attempt at a sub-30 5K. When I need to dig deep is my core that matters because I know that my legs can handle it. So far is going well, and I plan to add push ups other stuff tomorrow. Now that I'm not logging so many miles, is time to crank up the intensity on this other stuff for a little while. This will mean less yoga too, but that's ok because I find I need that more when I am running more. I'll still be doing yoga, but focusing more on strength and toning poses and less on relaxation and stretching, but still maintaining some balance.

#3 It's not friday? Today really feels like a Friday. I think it's because we drove to work and we usually do that on Fridays. It's also been a really weird and busy week with attending First Aid training in the middle of the week. I just wish it was Friday already so I can run my 10 miles the next day already. I'm a bundle of energy today with nowhere to direct it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Fun & Hard Work

Kicking ass, looking good, and having fun are not mutually exclusive :)

Playing Tag with Stephanie Manny ;) (Really, we were on a walk break when we saw Jason so ran for the camera)
Stephanie and I at Winter Park 10K
See more photos

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Endurance Junkie

It has been 6 weeks since I ran my last marathon, and only 2 weeks since I ran my 2nd half marathon in a row, but those races feel like forever ago. You would think that after running 3 marathons this season, 5 if you count my 26 & 31 mile long runs, plus 3 other long runs of 20+ miles, I would welcome the break for low mileage and shorter races. But these past 2 weeks of 6 mile long runs have not been enough. I know my body needs the break and I'm glad to give it, but my mind needs the stimulation.

The truth is that I feel a little lost without a big training goal. I have no real training schedule for the next 2 months, and the lack of structure is driving me crazy. I do have a maintenance schedule, but really I'm just winging it as I train to PR at these shorter races and maintain some of the endurance I built. I'm pretty confident I'll meet my goals on my extra endurance alone, as long as the weather cooperates and I am willing to push myself on race day. But speed is not what I really crave, and meeting these goals leaves me a little empty.

I've come to realize that I'm an endurance junkie. I'll take a slow 20 mile long run with friends any day over a 5K PR. 5K races are over far too quickly and the amount of effort I have to spend for 30 minutes of work is so not worth the reward for me. A gut wrenching effort for a 5K is over in the blink of an eye, and I often feel defeated when it's over even if I gave it everything I had. But finishing a marathon is always rewarding, even when things don't go as planned. I always feel accomplished no matter the outcome.

I never thought I would run a marathon because the training seemed like too much work, but now I miss it. There is something truly special about training for a marathon and nothing else compares. It requires everything you have; you dig deep within yourself and come out the other end a new and better person. I think it's time to seriously venture into the realm of ultra marathons.

Oh how quickly the post-marathon amnesia sets in. :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Recap: Week 12 2012

A solid week and I met all but one of the goals I set last week, including a new 10K PR :) The only area where I felt short was yoga, and I really need to get back into it but lately I've really been wanting the extra sleep instead. I really need to work on my core again, so I'm going to do the plank-a-day challenge again starting right after I post this. This week I'll be taking it easy on the pace, but plan on an easy 10 miler on Saturday to maintain my endurance. 

Week 12: March 19 - 25
  • ran 16 miles
  • walked 15 miles
  • biked 10 miles
  • 15m of yoga
Week 13 Goals
  • run 20 miles
  • walk 15 miles
  • bike 1 day
  • plank-a-day
  • yoga 3 days

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spectating a Race

Today I went to support some running buddies at their first triathlon and duathlon of the year. It was great seeing their smiling faces and capturing the event in photos for them. I always have so much more fun, and thus perform better, when Jason comes to watch and take my photos. There is just something about having someone point a camera at you that you can't help but smile. I eventually run out of things to do and start laughing and it makes for great photos. I didn't really realize that until today when I was on the other side of the lens. At first they just smiled when they saw me, then they started making faces at the camera or giving me thumbs up, then they just start laughing. It's infectious! I'm glad I was able to be there for them as many have been there for me. So a very heartfelt thank you to all who have cheered for me and supported me in all my races. Here's a few of the smiling faces I captured today from some amazing women athletes. Great job ladies!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Race Report: Winter Park 10K 2012

Sole Mates! (some not pictured)
Sole Mates
This was way too much fun, but also a lot of work. Let's get the stats out of the way:
  • 7th 10K
  • Chip Time: 1:03:28 @ 10:14
  • Clock Time: 1:05:04 
  • AG: 121 / 296 (41%)
  • Gender: 662 / 1730 (38%)
  • Overall: 1434 / 2877 (50%)
  • Intervals: 2:30/1
  • Garmin
    • Time: 6.29 in 1:03:31 @ 10:05
    • Mile Splits: 10:58 - 10:04 - 09:41 - 10:11 - 09:42 - 10:13 - 9:15 (.3 in 2:42)
    • Half Splits: 10:15 - 9:55
Ok, I'll share. (I LOVE this photo) I didn't break an hour, or even a 10 minute mile, but I did PR by almost 3 minutes and worked my ass off for it. It was a lot hotter and more humid than in years past, and that really took it's toll. I'm really glad I opted not to wear knee high socks. The course was also very crowded, probably because of all the extra bling they were giving out for their 35th anniversary, which is why our first mile was so much slower than the rest. It didn't really get better until at least mile 3. Oh, and I guess I never noticed before but this race is kind of hilly by Florida standards, which explains my inconsistent splits as I was taking advantage of those downhills and stopped at every water stop -- walk break or not -- to drink and pour water all over my head, neck and face. Considering all these things, I'm thrilled with my time because I gave it all I had and still managed to enjoy it. 

Yup, he just got chicked =PWe biked 5 miles there, and I also ran a slow mile with a few strides to warm up; I think both of these really helped my performance. I started the race with Stephanie and Todd, who ditched us as soon as he saw Chris--he was only using us for our beeps! Stephanie and I stuck together and pushed each other the entire race, until she pulled ahead during the last 1/2 mile when I couldn't push any more. t tried to catch up to her, but I was spent. I barely had anything left for a finishing kick, though I dug deep enough to at least chick some guy. I'm glad we stuck with 2:30/1 intervals instead of 3/1, because that would have been too much. Considering how hot it was, 2/1 intervals may have been even better, but we survived. Jason didn't run this race, so he was our photographer and got lots of awesome photos. Of course, we were always on a walk break whenever we saw him so had to fake it, which made it even more fun! Check out all the photos on Flickr

We hung out at the finish line for a while cheering on our other runners, then caught up with Laura and more Galloway runners on our way out. I was there for so long that I missed out on all the food :( But we biked over to La Empanada Truck and it was so yummy: Curry Cauliflower, Southwestern Scramble, Banana/Nutella, and Salted Dark Chocolate. Oh man, it's a good thing this food truck is not near me often! =P

Friday, March 23, 2012

WP 10K Pre Race Thoughts

Race Swag!
Tomorrow I'll be running my 7th 10K. (Side note: Wow, I just realized I've run twice as many half marathons as 10Ks.) This will be my 3rd time running this particular 10K race, and I always enjoy it. This year is extra special because the race is celebrating it's 35th Anniversary and we get extra swag:

- Custom medal with spinning peacock.
- Commemorative Tech Tee
- Collectible, Souvenir Glass (I'm most excited about this!)
- $5 Track Shack Cash

As usual, we'll bike there which serves as a nice warm up, but I hope to have time to also run a warm up mile. My goal for this race is aggressive, although within what my Magic Mile predicts: I'd love to break 1 hour or at least a 10 min/mile avg pace (1:02), but ultimately I just want to PR (<1:06). I am not printing a pace chart, but I'll run with my Garmin (Jason fixed it!) and just keep an eye on my average pace. As long as it's under 10:40 I'll PR, which shouldn't be hard since my half PR is 10:32. I'll be pushing to get it under or as close 10 as I can :)

Many from my running group and other running friends will also be there, which always makes racing a lot more fun. Jason will also be out there taking photos, so shout his name and smile if you spot him! However, what I'm most excited about is that I remembered that La Empanada Food Truck is at the Winter Park Farmer's Market on Saturdays! Maybe it will make me run faster now that a post-race empanada is in my future :)

The menu is here: I have my eye on these 2:

Roasted cauliflower, potatoes and chickpeas with golden raisins, green peas and tahini-curry sauce.

Dark chocolate with a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt.


PS - Name Steve's Shorts - Steve in a speedo posted a pair of plaid pink swim jammers he just bought and asked his readers to name them. I suggested "Great Scott!"and my suggestion is among his top 6 favorites! This cracks me up! He now has a poll up for his readers to choose. Check it out and vote for it if you feel so inclined. And you might as well follow his blog because it's awesome. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Anniversary Edition

Photo Booth Fun #1) 8 years: Today Jason and I celebrated a new PR :) We've been putting up with each other for 8 wonderful years. Before we found each other, the longest relationship either of us had was 3 years, so we have staying power. I attribute it to having so much in common, yet being independent enough to have our own interests. We are each other's Ying and Yang. I love how if one of us is in a bad mood, the other will immediately compensate to make the other feel better. It's like an unwritten rule that we can't both be upset at the same time. We always bring the best in each other and inspire each other to do great things, such as swing dancing, photography, cycling, and marathons.

#2 Melting Pot: This is one of our favorite places to celebrate our anniversary; I think we've gone there the past few years and it never disappoints. They always give us a Happy Anniversary card signed by their staff, which is such a simple thing to do but a really nice touch. We started with the cheddar cheese fondue because it is our favorite. For the main meal, we kept it light with their house salad so we could fully indulge in the dessert because we usually are too full and end up skipping it. Boy am I glad we did. They brought us complimentary raspberry champagne, and we chose a dark chocolate fondue with bailey's. Yum! We savored every morsel and even had room for seconds of a few things.

#3 Bowfire: Earlier in the week, I found a Groupon for this show at Bob Carr and we grabbed two tickets. The show was amazing! The violins were incredible, but that wasn't enough. They also sang and tap danced. The tap dancing was insanely cool on it's own, but then they tap danced while playing the violin -- so impressive! I just wish it wasn't a Thursday night because we were getting sleepy at the end since we're usually in bed long before 10 p.m. It was totally worth it!

Happy Anniversary Jason! I guess I'll put up with you for another year ;)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yoga Vs Sleep (Plus Bonus Ice Cream Recipe)

I haven't done much yoga this week because my body seems to want the extra sleep instead. I'm ok with that :) I do wonder if this is why I've felt so lethargic and moody all week. But who am I to argue when I my body wants me to sleep until 6 am instead =P Since I have a race this Saturday, I'm letting it get away with it for now.

I do want to start a core/strength routine again this summer, but I think I'm still in a bit of recovery from all the racing. I still have 3 races left - 10K this weekend, 12K on 4/21 and 5K on 4/28 - so I'll make this the focus in May. It will be a great way to prepare for the beginning of next season that starts June 9. Well, I'll try to get a routine established by then, but I'll try to start toying with it a little next week. Maybe I should do the plank-a-day challenge again to get in the mindset. 

And now for something completely different ... 

I've taken our homemade ice cream making to a new level with homemade mix-ins! It's so much fun watching the toppings swirl around the ice cream in the machine. Now I can just scoop and eat! :) 

Here's the recipe for what I made tonight: 

Coconut/Cinnamon/Honey Ice Cream 

  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Stir the cinnamon into the honey; this will make it easier to mix with the half and half or else it will just want to float. 
  • Pour in the half and half and stir until the honey dissolves completely. 
  • Pour the extracts and combine well. 
  • Place in the freezer to chill for a few minutes (10-15, but set a timer so you don't forget). 
  • Pour into your ice cream machine per it's instructions. 
  • Once the ice cream starts to solidify a bit, after 15-20 minutes, pour in the toppings a little bit at a time to give them a chance to get mixed around in the ice cream. I sometimes take a spatula and help it along to ensure even distribution. 
  • Let the machine run for another 5-10 minutes until you get the desired ice cream consistency. 
  • My ice cream is always a little on the softer side, but it firms up nicely after I put it in the freezer for a bit or you can eat right away too! 
  • Yummy! Enjoy!
  • vegan: sub coconut milk & coconut cream instead of half and half; sub honey with agave or maple syrup. It may freeze a little harder because of the lower fat content, but just a few minutes outside the freezer sbhould thaw it enough to be spreadable. 
  • different flavors: use your favorite extracts and toppings, keeping all other ingredients the same, for endless combinations of flavors. Experiment!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rare Solo Run - 10K Tune Up

My group couldn't make it this morning, so I took an early bus to work and ran around Research Park instead. Looking at the bus schedule, I was set to arrive at the office by the time twilight began, and the sun would rise during my run. It was still darker than I expected when I started, but it was cool seeing the sky change colors and it was a nice change of scenery. Since I was running alone and had my phone, I decided to run with music for a change, and I didn't forget my water bottle this time.

I wanted to do a short speed workout as a tune up for Saturday's 10K race to remind my legs what that speed feels like. I initially planned to go to the track, but I could not decide what intervals to do. Logic would dictate that I run 400s or 800s at 10K pace, but I wanted to practice hitting that pace using the run/walk ratio I plan for the race, so I settled on running the middle 2 miles at 10K pace.

After walking 15 minutes from the bus to my office to drop off my stuff, I started with an easy mile @ 12:40, picked up the pace for the next 2 miles @ 10:25 average pace, then ran 1.5 mile @ 12:20 pace back to my office as a cool down. I was hoping the 2 miles would be closer to 10-10:15 pace, but I don't think I was warmed up enough to jump to that pace from 12:40, and I probably held back a little because I didn't want to overdue it before the race. I used 3/1 intervals for all 4.5 miles, and those 2 miles left me exhausted, but 2 miles is not really long enough for me to ease into a pace. I'm used to easing into a pace with negative splits, but today I basically kicked it into high gear as soon as the first mile was over.  I took it real easy after those 2 miles were done and that felt pretty good but I was when I was done. 

I think I'll do much better at the 10K, specially after a better warm up. I'll be biking about 30 minutes there as my warm up, and if I get there early enough I hope to run a slow mile before the start. I also think I'm going to start with 2:30/1 intervals instead of 3/1 to further help me ease into; I can always adjust later. I know I have it in me to average at least 10:15 pace, since I did that during the 2nd half of the Orange Blossom Half 3 weeks ago, but even if 10:25 is all I can manage on Saturday, that will still be a PR so that's ok. 

The run did leave me a little deflated, but I always seem to have a crappy run the week before a race and I am still fighting this funk from yesterday so I wasn't in the right frame of mine. I also think it's time to retire these shoes, at least for speed work and long runs, because my feet were really sore all day after the run. Thankfully, I cashed in on a foot rub Jason owed me and they feel much better now. Going to rest up now and just see what Thursday brings, do what I can Saturday and hope for the best. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Recap: Week 11 2012 & Case of the Blahs

Last week was a great week of recovery, culminating in the fun and effortless St Patty's run yesterday. However, this week did not start out well today. I went to bed last night with a migraine and opted to sleep in today instead of doing yoga. I briefly contemplated calling in sick and staying in bed because I woke up with my head all fuzzy still as if a headache was brewing, but got up and got ready to see how I felt. I felt ok, so I went to work, but I've been blah all day. Nothing really wrong, just not feeling much of anything. But little by little, things started looking up: 
  • I got my refund gift certificate from Skirt Sports this morning, for a return I just mailed back to them Friday afternoon! I was not expecting to hear from them so soon because I didn't think it they would even receive it until later this week. 
  • As luck would have it, Skirt Sports just posted a huge March Madness Sale today, so I may be cashing that in sooner than expected and finally get to try one of their running dresses (although I'll probably wear it to bike).
  • The bus home arrived early for a change, instead of 20 minutes late.
  • While on the bus, I received an email back from Orbitz confirming that the crappy hotel that we did not stay at in Bradenton approved the refund and it's being processed. I was really worried I was going to have to eat that cost or dispute it through Discover Card, but things are working out nicely. 
  • The refund for the April half I planned to run that got cancelled got processed Friday and I should see it in my account this week.
  • My coaching test is done and passed, and I even heard from the instructor about what I can do if my First Aid certificate doesn't arrive on time.
  • I have a race this weekend, so I should be excited about that instead of feeling unmotivated because of not having an upcoming race.
So I really have no stressors, yet I feel super stressed and overwhelmed. I just get this way sometimes (maybe once a month?). Jason greeted me with a yummy dinner of stuffed acorn squash and the smell of fresh bread, followed by our homemade ice cream and a really productive evening, so I'm feeling better. Hopefully tomorrow morning's speedy run will pull me out of this funk for good. 

Week 11: March 12-18
  • ran 18 miles
  • biked 13 miles
  • walked 18 miles
  • 75 min yoga
Goals for week 12
  • run 12-15 miles
  • walk 15+ miles
  • bike 1 day
  • 1 hour of yoga
  • 62min 10K or PR (< 1:06)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St Patty's Themed 10K(ish) Fun Run

Sole Mates Photo Break during run - LOVE this photo!
See More Photos
Since many of us didn't run yesterday because of the Victory Breakfast, I scheduled a themed fun run today near my apartment on a 10K(ish) route through Downtown Orlando. A route I like to call the "Tour of Downtown Orlando Lakes." Is the same route I used for our Christmas Eve Fun Run. It's really pretty and has several fountains along the way, which was great because it's started to get warm and muggy already. There were 8 of us total clad in green, except for Chris that didn't get the memo, from 2 different Galloway pace groups. We enjoyed a leisurely run around the lakes, watching the sunrise as we ran over the bridge, and stopping for a photo at a lovely tree along the way. After the run, we had breakfast at Panera and got to know the other group a little better. It was nice to get the two groups together and I hope to do more often on our OYO weekends.

After I got home and showered, I spent the rest of the day completing and triple checking the answers, to my RRCA Coach Certification test and finally submitted it. I passed with a score well above what I needed to pass and I'm relieved to have that weight off my shoulders. Now I just need to renew my First Aid Certification, send that in, and then I'll be official!  I was pretty anxious until I got that score, so we went for a walk to Publix and enjoyed this gorgeous day outdoors. Then we made a yummy dinner and homemade ice cream. Now I'm ready to relax. It's been a great Sunday and the perfect way to end this great week. Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Galloway Victory Breakfast

Today was our Galloway Training Program's Victory Breakfast, where we celebrate our accomplishments during the season we just finished. It is always a fun time filled with laughter, sharing running stories, and even some tears of joy. Everyone gets a chance to show off their bling and we leave with sore necks from wearing all those heavy medals. We had a great turned out today, with way more food than we could ever eat, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Jason came along to take photos, which we'll post later when we have a chance to go through them, but you can see a sneak peak throughout this post.

As part of the celebration, we acknowledge our runners for their accomplishments, including fastest marathon and half marathon finish times, outstanding rookie and alumni, as well as silly superlatives like fashionista and inspector gadget. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I won the "Data Geek" award, because I'm always logging all my work outs, crunching the numbers, updating our website, and making spreadsheets to share all the data I've collected.

What did come as a pleasant surprise was that they honored me with the Inaugural Lee Strickland Award. Lee Strickland was one of the first group leaders who contributed tremendously to the program. He passed away in Haiti during the earthquake, and this award was made in his memory. As stated in the nomination form, this goes to a runner who exemplified courage, kindness, and made his/her season less about running and more about overcoming obstacles and helping others. 

For once I was speechless, and I could not hold back the tears. I was so caught up in the moment, and trying to compose myself so I could say a few words, that I didn't even realized I got a standing ovation until I saw the pictures later. I was truly overwhelmed with joy and it was so nice to hear Laura's kind words when she introduced the award and everyone that approached me after. Even though I ultimately accomplished my running goals this year, the biggest reward by a long shot came from seeing the runners in my group and throughout the program accomplish their goals. There is something really special about seeing a new runner accomplish something they never thought they could ever do, and then hearing them plan to do it again :)

A million thanks to everyone in the Galloway Program who touched my life this year. I truly carried each and everyone of you with me when I ran my PR marathon race this year and no way could I have done this without you. 

But enough sappiness, here's a sneak peak at some of the photos from today's event, and a video one of our runners put together to promote our the Orlando Galloway program.

Group Leaders
Laura and Ric
Sole Mates - My Group

Friday, March 16, 2012

Photo Friday: Happy Birthday Alex!

My handsome nephew Alex turned 1 year old today! 

His big sister Isabella wanted a piece of the cake action

"Rio" themed cake my sister made

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Thanks to the Daily Challenge, I finally gave a try. On Feb 25th, I requested to send a postcard and Jason mailed it for me that following Monday. My postcard traveled 13,583 km (8,440.08 miles) to Taiwan in 11 days. Once I received an email notification that my postcard had been received, I knew it wouldn't be long before I received one of my own. This week I received it. It traveled 7,293 km (4,531.66 miles) from the Netherlands in 8 days (I think it was closer to 5, I just forgot to log it until today). It was of lovely tulips, which are apparently typical there. Now to go find more postcards to send and see where the end up!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Celebrating π Day with 3π Run/Walk

I am seriously loving the Virtual 12athon Challenge. The main challenge is to run or walk 12 miles on the 12th of each month, but there are tons of ridiculous bonus challenges and I love to see everyone's creativity. We just finished the first quarter and the rules have just been changed to give newcomers an equal chance, so read up and hop on board the crazy train next month!

In addition to the 12 miles on the 12th, she has bonus runs here and there and today was one of them. Today's bonus challenge was to run any multiple of 3.14 miles (3.14, 6.28, 9.42,…) and get that many points. Get π bonus points if your running clothes or person displays the symbol π.

I figured I could easily cover 6.28 miles between my morning run and the walks to/from the bus. I wrote the π symbol on my hand with a sharpie this morning before my run and left it on all day. Since I was up and ready earlier than planned, I headed out for an easy warm up before meeting Todd for this morning's run. I got in 1.5 miles and was glad for the extended warm up since Todd is faster than me. The pace we ran was just right for another 4 easy miles and the run felt great. The cooler air may have helped, but I am sure the high humidity nullified that. I was just glad that all the soreness I had felt on my shins the previous day was gone and it was a wonderful run.

Having 5.5 miles done already, I knew I could easily get another 4 to make it 3π (9.42 miles) if I just extended a few of the walks and took a short walk at lunch. I did just that! I kept the Garmin on for my cool down walk and wore it the rest of the day any time I went for a walk to keep a running total. I got off the bus one stop early in the morning, walked a half mile loop at work during lunch, and walked to next stop on my way home. I paused the watch when I got to exactly 9.42 to take this photo, but since I still had to walk home the grand total of miles walked or run today was 9.62.

Bring on April 12th! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Race Report: Sarasota Half

Warning: this report for some reason is a bit all over the place, much like my race was :) But it's still fun!

When I first registered for this race, I wasn't really that excited about it; I was mainly doing it because I'd already be in town for running coach training,  and I was trying to run 6 half marathons in 6 months. I kept hearing great things about it though, including the course and medal, so I finally started getting excited. After last week's hard effort though, I was thinking it was probably not the best idea. I had toyed with trying for the 2:15 goal with help from the pace groups, but I knew I was not recovered enough for that so I just focused on having fun. Instead of my iPhone, I ran with my camera because I can take photos with it one-handed while running.

It was warmer than I'd prefer, but there was a chill in the air when we got to the race start. I knew it wouldn't last, but I'd enjoy it while I could. I didn't bother with knee high socks this time because I knew I'd need all the help I could get staying cool. I didn't even wear a race belt so my singlet wouldn't be constricted. There was a line to park, but once we got into the lot there were volunteers directing traffic a la Disney and we scored a spot right next to the start line. At the last minute, I decided to wear my Garmin but set it to a screen that only showed the time of day.  I of course switched to the other screens from time to time to check my average pace during the race, but it kept me from checking my pace every few seconds because it required more effort :) We found the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs photo, and I recruited Jason to take a zillion photos with everyone's cameras, then we walked to the start. We were still toying with how to run this race, so we lined up behind the 12:00 min/mi pace marker together.

My pace and intervals were all over the place, because I was running by feel in every respect. I started easy with 1:1 intervals, walked up most of the first bridge, then ran down the other side and a bit of the flat to make up for it. It wasn't a particularly steep bridge, so I could have ran 1:1 up it, but it was long and I just didn't feel like taking any chances. I was a bit annoyed at myself for walking so much at the start, especially when I completely lost the 2:30 pace group, but I got over it quickly and focused on enjoying the gorgeous views. I kept my gym boss on 1:1 intervals, but I started doing 2:1 until I hit the bridge again after the turnaround. I once again walked up that bridge, then coasted down the other side and started looking for the 2:30 pace group. I knew I wasn't going to PR, but I at least wanted to finishing sub-2:30. They were quite elusive and I didn't spot them until at least mile 7 or 8. It took me until mile 9 to pass and stay ahead of them for good, but I still wasn't pushing the pace that much because I didn't want to get injured. I was walking 1 minute for every 2-3 minutes at this point because I didn't feel like pushing the speed, and I just wanted to coast along at a steady pace for a few minutes at a time. I adjusted as needed for water stops and the various little hills along the way.

As I mentioned, and you will see from the photos, the course was gorgeous with breath taking views of the ocean. We got to see the sunset over the bridge. The on-course support was great with plenty of aid stations offering water and gatorade. They even handed out some GU around the half way mark, but I wish I'd known when it was coming. I only brought with me 1 pack of shot blocks and I didn't fuel as well as I could have because I was afraid of running out. It worked out fine in the end though. The volunteers were great, though apparently not everyone thought so. As we approached the aid station near mile 8, the woman in front of me reached it as the volunteers had just turned around to reach for more cups to hand out. She began screaming "WATER!" and "COME ON!" in a very rude tone. Really? I couldn't believe her. Is not like she was setting any world records or wining any awards. We were in the middle of the pack at best. I slowed to a walk behind her and gladly waited the 2 seconds to get my cup of water and exclaimed to the volunteers, "Geez, there's no need to be rude." They appreciated my acknowledgement of her inappropriate behavior and I was sure to thank them extra since she didn't bother. I then started running quickly passing her and leaving her in my dust. Yeah, how did those extra seconds you save work out for you?

I was starting to push the pace a little here, but really it was more about pushing to keep a steady run for longer than running fast. It was really hot now and my legs were achy, but I felt pretty good; I wasn't dreading the beeps to run again. I again took the time to take in my surroundings, take photos of the views and funny signs along the course, and thank the volunteers and spectators. Somewhere along the last mile or 2 I ran into fellow Half Fanatic and soon to be fellow running coach and we chatted for a few minutes while on a walk break before we each began running again towards the finish line.

I took one last walk break, then ran the last 1/2 mile to the finish. The stretch along the 13th mile marker and the finishing shoot was lined with people cheering. I kicked it up one more gear and finished strong, passing this old guy that I almost felt bad about. I was thrilled that I had finished with my 3rd fastest time, specially considering the hills and warm weather. I love that a sub-2:30 half is something I can easily do now. When I crossed the finish line, I made a conscious choice to wait a few seconds to stop my watch and I'm so glad I did because I had an amazing finish line photo. I'll post them later this week because I think I'm going to buy them. I love how the pink skirt with the blue half fanatic singlet looked, except at the end when it had a weird sweat pattern, but it's all good. I felt great after I crossed, and had caught my breath in no time. I made my way to get my medal, found some water, and finally found Jason who had actually seen me finish but I totally missed him. I was really impressed with this race; it was well organized, the course was beautiful and the medal is absolutely gorgeous. We took some more photos, changed out of the smelly sweaty clothes in the car, then headed to Sweet Tomatoes for post-race brunch.

  • Chip Time: 2:26:47 (3rd fastest time)
  • Pace: 11:12
  • Clock: 2:29:17
  • Overall: 1333 / 2108 (63%)
  • Gender: 712 / 1301 (55%)
  • AG: 103 / 162 (64%)
  • Official Splits
    • 5K in 0:36:23 @ 11:43
    • 10K in 1:11:05 @ 11:26
  • Garmin: 13.11 in 2:26:52 @ 11:11
    • Mile Splits: 11:52 - 11:54 - 11:55 - 10:56 - 11:38 - 11:08 - 10:59 - 11:08 - 10:39 - 11:26 - 11:24 - 10:43 - 10:20 - 0:50 (7:24 pace)
    • Half Negative Splits (6.55 mi): 11:29 - 10:52
    • Quarter Negative Splits (3.28 mi): 11:43 - 11:16 - 11:01 - 10:43

Monday, March 12, 2012

"The Health Nut" Cookie Recipe & March 12athon

If you could design your very own Girl Scout Cookie, what would it be called and what would be in it? 

One of the 12athon challenges including creating your own Girl Scout cookie. Below is my creation. It's a healthier cookie with whole wheat flour and oats, and the only sweetener is honey. Other than butter, the other ingredients are pretty good for you. And it just occurred to me that maybe I can use almond butter instead, so I'll experiment with that next. I love the taste as is, but on my next batch I think I'll experiment with adding a bit of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Yum!

"The Health Nut" Cookie Recipe
(makes about 1 dozen large cookies)

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole white wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (or more to taste) total of at least 3 different nuts (I used peanuts, almonds & walnuts)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place parchment paper on cookie sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, honey, and milk. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, baking power, and salt (and other spices you feel like adding such as cinnamon or nutmeg); stir into the honey mixture using a large spoon.
  4. Mix in the nuts until evenly distributed.
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned.
  7. Cool for a minute on the cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
March 12athon Report

Boy am I glad this is over!

Ok, I may have overdone it this weekend and today. I was exhausted and felt like crap last night, so I took a sick day from work today. I slept until 7:30 am, instead of the usual 5 am, and I could tell I really needed it. I felt ok after breakfast, so I thought I would try to tackle the 12athon challenge to help me recover from yesterday. All I needed to do was cover 12 easy miles somehow, and I knew that running was out of the question so I did the "tris this" challenge which would let me cover them via 3 different sports, 6 miles of which had to be walking/running.

It was really tough. I spent 9 hours each on Friday and Saturday in RRCA running coach training, then ran my 14th half marathon yesterday, which was hot and somewhat hilly with 2 bridge crossings. I didn't PR, but that's because I was still recovering from the hard effort the previous sunday where I PRed big at HM #13. So I played it safe and took it easier yesterday, but I was still exhausted after the crazy busy weekend. Needless to say that running 12 miles today was not going to happen.  I figured my best bet was the "tri this" challenge, and I wanted to attempt the "cookie badge" since I had been saving cookies for the last week.


  • Tri This Challenge:
    • 1 mile on roller blades
    • 5 miles on bike
    • 6 miles on foot (walked)
  • Cookie Badge Challenge:
    • 1 tagalong
    • 4 caramel delights
    • 2 (stale) shout outs
    • 4 thin mint
    • 1 health nut homemade cookie
Details Mile by Mile:

  • mile 1: tagalong - I completed this mile in roller blades that I have not worn in years, and the rubber on the wheels started to fall apart within the first 1/4 mile. I had no other sport to attempt, so I just pressed on and hoped they would hold up. Thankfully I was only doing 1 mile. Needless to say, I can walk faster than this but 1) I had to remember how roller blade (I was never that good anyway), and 2) I was afraid to go too fast for fear they would fail and I would fall, and 3) without the rubber on the wheels they had no grip and all I could do was walk them across anything other than concrete and we had to cross a few streets that were brick or rough asphalt. I ended the mile at my trash can and promptly threw them away.
  • mile 2: - caramel delight - this is my favorite cookie! this was mile 1 of the bike ride into the wind, of course
  • mile 3: shout out - it was stale :-/ mile 2 on the bike
  • mile 4: thin mint - 2nd favorite cookie - mile 3 on the bike and heading back home
  • mile 5: caramel delight - mile 4 on bike with a tailwind
  • mile 6: shout out - mile 5 on bike and back home
  • mile 7: thin mint - mile 1 of walk - it was hot and the cookies were starting to melt!
  • mile 8: caramel delight - mile 2 of walk - what a mess melty cookies make!
  • mile 9: thin mint - mile 3 of walk. I stopped at home for a bit after mile 2 because I could not bare to walk 6 straight miles and Jason was going to do some with me. So I put the cookies in the fridge to unmelt, and then the thin mints got stuck together!
  • mile 10: caramel delight - mile 4 of walk - I got Jason to do miles 9 - 10.5 with me as he had to run some errands close by. We walked to the bank and as he took care of his business there, I walked some more around the parking lot. I brought along some cookies for him and that sealed the deal. This took longer than the rest because he had to stop to take photos along the way, so I just walked circles around him until he was done.
  • mile 11: thin mint - mile 5 of walk - finishing the last 1.5 miles alone and ready to be off my feet. Shins and ankles were killing me!
  • mile 12: -health nut - this was my homemade girl scout cookie, which was awesome and a great reward to end the challenge. mile 6 of walk. Yay all done! :)
Photo Evidence



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recap: Week 10

This was a very busy week, an even busier weekend. I'm exhausted, and not feeling so great, so I'll post my race recap for half marathon #14 later in the week. This week I'm going to focus on some serious recovery, and look forward to only running at most 6 miles this weekend. This Saturday is also our Galloway Program's Victory Breakfast and I'm really looking forward to catching up with everyone and checking out all the bling they've earned this season.


Week 10: March 5 - 11
  • ran 20 miles
  • biked 3 miles
  • walked 12 miles
  • 71 min of yoga

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sarasota HM Pre-Race Thoughts

Busy Weekend
I'm exhausted, more mentally than physically, but I'm still exhausted. I've spent the past 2 days in a room with 30+ other runners for 9 hours learning how to be a running coach, and my brain is about to explode. But at least I got lots really good information that I hope to apply during my next training cycle, so that's really exciting. I'll post more about my experience later.

Expo / Race Outfit
After today's training session, we went to the expo to get our race packets. The shirts are really nice and I was happy they let me try it on and change sizes. Both the race shirts and bibs are gender specific, which is nice, but why do the women have to get the pastel blue color? What amuses me though is that the bib matches my race outfit. I didn't actually choose it for this reason, although I had seen a photo of the bib and my subconscious must have remembered it. I just thought a pink skirt with flowers would be fun with my half fanatics singlet :)
Race Shirt and BibRace Outfit
My main goal for tomorrow is to have fun and finish half marathon #14 with a smile. Having just raced a half PR a week ago, and with the forecast calling for warmer weather, I don't think it wise to push tomorrow. I plan to bring my camera to capture the gorgeous scenery, and I am seriously considering leaving my phone and watch in the car so I can just run by feel and see what happens. We'll see if I go through with it tomorrow :)

Track Me
Since I'll likely not run with my iPhone because I don't want the added weight if I run with my camera, I signed up to have my splits posted to Facebook through the race. I have no idea how often those will post, but my guess would be every 5K. You can also subscribe yourself to receive my splits via text or email during the race at

Friday, March 9, 2012

Running Limerick

Today's Daily Challenge was to write a limerick. I suck at poetry, so this took forever because I kept getting the rhythm wrong, but then laughed out loud when the last line finally clicked into place. It makes no sense, but that's the point, right? ;)

There once was a girl who would run
always having far too much fun.
She wore a short skirt,
and she liked to flirt.
It's clear that she wasn't a nun.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Three Things Thursday

#1 Postcrossing: I got an email yesterday from that my first postcard made it to it's destination in Taiwan. This means I'll be getting one myself very soon! I'm very excited. I need to buy or make some more soon so I can send them off and see where they go. 

#2 Recovery/Taper: I ran 4.3 miles (including the warm up) at an easy pace this morning as my last run before Sunday's Half. I can tell I'm not fully recovered from last Sunday's hard effort, so I'm glad we took it easy with 1:1 intervals. My right hamstring is a little cranky, so I'm icing, stretching, and rolling it. I'll be bringing The Stick with me on the trip to give it some more TLC. No worries, I'll be smart and not push at all on Sunday if it still feels that way. I just want to finish without getting injured because I really want to PR at the 10K at the end of the month. 

#3 Car Trouble: Of course the car would have issues right before we go out of town. It's overheating and Jason thinks its the thermostat, but with no time to fix it this week my parents came to the rescue and we're driving my mom's car to Sarasota. I actually wrote this on the bus on my way to pick up the car. 

It's been a long day of trip prep and driving, and after fixing a snafu with the hotel, we're finally ready to call it a night. So good night!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Sarasota Bling

I don't usually run for the bling, I much prefer to collect PRs or run with friends, but this is truly a beauty. At 4.5 inches wide, it's apparently the largest finisher's medal in Florida. I can't wait to have this around my neck on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Recap: February 2012

February was of course a great month because I finally met my marathon goal and it was just amazing. I don't have much else to say that I haven't said already, so I'll just let the numbers speak for themselves.

Stats & Goal Progress (16%)
  • Run: 74 miles; 175 / 1000 miles (18%) - I took it easy on the milage as I recovered from the marathon and tapered for the March races, but that's still a lot of milage for me. 
    • time: 14.5 hours
    • avg pace: 11:47
  • Walk: 83 miles; 137/500 (27%) - Wow! I am pretty sure this is another monthly walk PR, almost 30 miles more than in January. It is great recovery, and I'm enjoying it so much that I often find ways to add more walking to my day.
  • Bike: 70 miles / 6 days; 10/52 (19%) - Instead of "times" per week, which I was having a hard time counting since some days I would bike a few times or wasn't sure if to count roundtrips as 1 or 2 since they are logged separately, I decided I'm going to count days I bike. So the goal is to bike at least 1 day per week. 
  • Yoga: 6 hrs; 16/120 (13%) - I fell a little short here, but I took some time off because of my wrist and because I needed the extra sleep on some days. 
  • Drove: 638 miles; 1260 / 6500 (19%) - a little over my goal again, and even more than last month, but this included the trip to Jacksonville for the marathon, so it's not that surprising. 
  • Dinning Out: 11x; $85 / $80; restaurants: $71 / $60; snacks/sweets: $14 / $20 - I thought I had gone over budget much more than this, but I made up for it by not buying as many sweets. Again, this was mainly due to our trip to Jacksonville where we had no choice but to eat out. I'm hoping on our trip to Sarasota this weekend we can have access to a fridge and maybe a microwave, but we'll at least bring a cooler to keep a few things on hand. 
Feb Accomplishments
Goals for March

Monday, March 5, 2012

Recap: Week 9 2012

This was another great week, ending with a 6 minute PR at half marathon #13, which I got to share with lots of friends. It hit me last night that even last year averaging under 11 min/mi for 3-4 miles was a struggle, and now I can run 13 at that pace! I can't wait to see what I can do at shorter distances this year. Sub-30 5K, I'm coming for you! :) Now I wonder if I can run a 10K in under 1 hour. We shall see in a few weeks.

This week I'm going to take it easy as I recover and taper for half marathon #14 in Sarasota, so that means lots of walking, lots of yoga, and 2 very easy runs. We'll be spending the weekend there from Thursday to Sunday because I have training all day Friday and Saturday, so it will be a very busy week as we get ready for an even busier weekend, but we are prepared. We spent the weekend cooking up a storm and have a ton of leftovers in the fridge and frozen for later. This weekend was just awesome in every way.

Week 9: Feb 27 - Mar 4
Goals for Week 10
  • run 19+ miles
  • walk 10+ miles
  • 1h yoga
  • Sarasota Half #14

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Race Report: Orange Blossom Half Marathon

Half Marathon #13 done with a 6 minute PR and too much fun! Let's get the stats out of the way:
  • chip: 2:18:03 
  • pace: 10:32
  • overall: 188 / 279 (67%)
  • females: 82 / 147 (56%)
  • age group: 17 / 25 (68%)
  • garmin: 3.14 in 2:18:04 @ 10:30
  • mile splits: 11:04 - 11:00 - 10:46 - 10:38 - 10:30 - 10:31 - 10:18 - 10:21 - 10:16 - 10:25 - 10:42 - 10:05 - 10:11 - 8:05 (.14) -- I love that all but the first 2 miles were under 11 min/mi and many of them under 10:30! Even with the headwind, I had overall negative splits. 
    • half splits: 10:43 - 10:17
    • quarter splits: 10:56 - 10:29 - 10:20 - 10:14
Weather/Outfit: The forecast called for cold rain, but all the rain passed about 1 hour before the race leaving us with a nice chill in the air. I chickened out and put on my tough girl skirt (the one with full length pants) and windbreaker jacket. Under the jacket, I wore a short sleeve shirt and arm warmers. I also wore gloves, a skull cap, and headband to cover my ears. Most of that was too much, but with the wind chill I was afraid I'd be too cold otherwise and the forecast said it would only get colder. I shed most of this and had the jacket wrapped around my waist by mile 5, but it didn't really bother me because the race belt was holding it in place.

Course: The course is a little weird with a short 4-mile out and back loop followed by a bigger 9-mile out and back loop, but I actually like it because it gave me a ton of chances to see and cheer on my friends who were running it. It also makes it seem shorter because after the last turn around point we only had 4.5 miles to go. The 2nd loop is gorgeous all along Lake Dora, which of course means the wind was worse here but I didn't mind it. There were plenty of water stops every 1-1.5 miles.

Orange Blossom Half Marathon Race Strategy: Since I thought the weather would be miserable, I had abandoned my goal and was just going to run by feel and have fun. I started slow as usual while I warmed up, but my pace hovered just under 11 min/mi by mile 3. That was already PR pace, and I was feeling really good. Once we started the 2nd loop, I decided to go for it and take as much advantage of the tailwind as I could and just hope I could maintain it after the turnaround into the headwind. I knew 2:15 was out of the question, but sub-2:20 (10:40 pace) was very doable.

As soon as we turned around, and even a little before, the brutal wind hit but I just kept pushing. My pace was under 10:40 by mile 8, but I kept pushing to get in a bit of a buffer to ensure sub-2:20. Even against the wind, I kept speeding up and then I wanted to hit 10:30 pace. I came so close! The last 4 miles were my favorite as I distracted myself cheering on everyone heading to the turnaround point, then I began picking people off as I pushed to the finish.

I ran with 2:30/1 intervals until mile 11 or so, then I started walking for only 30s, slow jogging for the 30s, then pushing for 2:30. After mile 12, I ran 6 minutes, took a 1 minute walk break, then pushed as hard I could for the last half mile or so. I felt really strong throughout the whole and wasn't even that tired, but the wind wouldn't let me push any harder. The wind was so brutal at some points that I felt like I was running in place. I clearly had a lot left in the tank, because I had a hell of a finishing kick and barely felt winded after I crossed the finish line. Having just done a marathon 3 weeks ago, I had endurance to spare. I didn't tape my foot or IT band like I usually do, but neither protested even a little bit. The only thing that was a bit achy when I finished was around my hips, but even now I feel amazing.

Post-Race: I was starving, so I was glad to see the great food spread of pizza, pretzels, cookies, donut holes, bagels, grapes, bananas, and oreos! Yum! I cheered on everyone else I knew, then waited around in the cold for the awards because Jason placed 2nd in his age group. It was a fantastic day of racing and yet again proved to myself that I can work hard and still have fun. Sommer Sports put on an amazing race as usual. Can't wait until next year! :)

Jason with his award

Saturday, March 3, 2012

OB Half Pre Race Thoughts

Kitzzy's Bubbles Busy Saturday
Today was so busy that I barely had time to freak out about tomorrow's race. We got to sleep in for a change, and as soon as we got up we sprung into action. We organized Jason's office, did laundry, changed bed sheets, went grocery shopping, had some old time fun blowing soap bubbles, and cooked up a storm: granola, chili, white bean veggie mash, mini quiches. I probably shouldn't have spent so much time on my feet, but oh well.

Today was a beautiful day, but a nasty storm is approaching and tomorrow will be quite the opposite. So far, I've run in scolding heat, pouring rain, gusty winds, and freezing cold. After running for hours in the rain, I don't mind it at all because you barely notice once you are wet and it's refreshing when it's warm. Cold rain is another story and it looks like I may find out what that feels like tomorrow. The forecast so far calls for cold, wind and rain. I just gotta laugh because really it's the only thing left. I'm up for the challenge and just grateful this is not a full marathon.

My initial plan was to leave everything on the course as I attempted an aggressive PR of 2:15.  But a lot depends on the weather we get, so I'm just going to do my very best with whatever I get. I just want to have fun and stay injury free because I have another half next week, so I think I may just take it easy tomorrow and try for the goal next week.

I'll likely not be running with my phone if it's pouring out, but I'll post to Facebook as soon as I'm back in the car. If the forecast changes and we get dry weather, I'll run with my phone and Runmeter will post my splits as usually. Check my page after 7:30 am to see. Now to finish packing and get some sleep.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Five: Real Food Homemade Indulgence

I try to eat mostly "real food" that follow these guidelines: This means we cook most of our meals so we know what ingredients go into them. Where we often struggle is with sweets. I still eat plenty of candy and other sweets that do not follow those rules, but we're trying to make our own version of many of them so we can keep those to a minimum. Below are 5 of my favorite recipes for homemade sweets that (mostly) meet the "real food" rules.

#1 Carrot Cake

Without the frosting, this is actually very wholesome. I cut the recipe in half and baked it in a loaf pan instead of a sheet or layer cake. The times I tried it, I used a whole apple finely chopped instead of canned crushed pineapple, but I think I want to try it with fresh pineapple sometime for comparison. Since this was my first time baking a cake from scratch, I used store-bought frosting but plan to make my own in the future.

We just found this recipe, and it is amazingly delicious and ridiculously easy. Jason made the version with agave nectar, which comes out a bit soft and fudge-like, but that's fine by me. We just ordered stevia drops and can't wait try that verstion because that's supposed to make them firmer/crisp. I don't think we'll ever buy chocolate bars or chips at the store again! :) 
  • Bonus - Chocolate Syrup: combine 1 part cocoa power with 2 parts maple syrup, mix vigorously until it combines. Keep it in the refrigerator and give it a quick stir before pouring over ice cream or other treat. 

This is the same recipe for homemade granola that I have shared in the past, but usually we make the cereal-like type. When made with steel cut outs, these hold together really well and you can cut them into bars. I usually only add the coconut to these and we've been using a bit less butter too. I added peppermint extract to the last batch, and I'm in love! Next I'm going to try spreading a thin layer of the homemade chocolate on top to recreate luna bars.

#4 Ice Cream

Ever since we got our ice cream maker, we never went back to store-bought. We will occasionally eat frozen yogurt by the ounce, but it's a rare treat and we still prefer our own. Our favorite recipe is absurdly easy and delicious: 
  • Ingredients: 2 cups half and half, 1/3c honey, 1/4c tsp peppermint extract (sub with your favorite flavor). You can also flavor with cinnamon, cocoa powder or other spices. Get creative! 
  • Directions: Mix all ingredients well, until honey dissolves into half and half. Put the mixture in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to chill, then put in ice cream machine for 20-25 min. It will be soft-serve consistency when it first comes out. We usually scoop it into a container and put it in the freezer to enjoy when its a little firmer, but sometime we dig right in! The honey helps keep it at a spreadable consistency after frozen. This makes about 4-6 small servings. We use our homemade granola and chocolate for toppings. 

This is the best and most flexible smoothie recipe I've found because it's really a formula where you can mix and match your favorite ingredients. I don't even measure most of the ingredients anymore.

  • My favorite version: apple slices or apple sauce, frozen berries, spinach, oats, coconut oil, honey, lime juice, pinch of salt

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Three Things Thursday

#1 - Taper Run: Last run before Sunday's race this morning went well. I ran 4 miles again, in almost the exact same time as Tuesday, but it felt much easier and it was a bit more consistent. It wasn't foggy, so the humidity wasn't as bad, and the slight breeze helped. It was a great last run and now I just want Sunday to be here already and see what I can do.

#2 - Spicy Indian: We went to an impromptu lunch with my team to an Indian restaurant we frequent often. Since Jason had already had lunch part 1 and we always have leftovers, we split a meal. He chose the meal and I agreed to tried it medium spicy instead of my usual wimpy mild. Oy! That was not enjoyable lol I just don't get the appeal of spicy food. It wasn't awful, but I can't even tell you what it tasted like right now because all I can remember is the spiciness in my throat.

#3 - Date Night: We had a Groupon to see a play at the Orlando Shakespeare theater. We rode our bikes there since it's only 2.5 miles, and I'm glad we did because the ride home with the crisp air was the best part of the evening. It was still warm and humid for the ride there, but not too bad. The play was twice as long as I expected and just seemed to drag. The theater was really warm, and it was a struggle to stay awake. It finally ended and that was the best part, both because it was over and because it was a funny witty ending that made more sense than the entire 2.5 hours prior.
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