Saturday, October 29, 2011

Egg Muffin Cups

Since I've postponed my long run until tomorrow due to the weather and my back hurting (more on that later...), I thought I would share a recipe!  This a very yummy and easy recipe that is great for "breakfast for dinner" nights.  Or breakfast for breakfast mornings.

I usually eat 2 egg muffin cups, just to give you an idea. You can make as many egg muffin cups as you would like, but here are the ingredients needed for one egg muffin cup:
  • cooking spray
  • one slice of bread
  • one whole egg
  • 2 pinches of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 pinches of "real" bacon bits ("real" as in the softer kind, not the crunchy kind)
  • a few dashes of pepper

To make, spray a muffin cup with cooking spray and press a piece of bread down into the cup. It doesn't have to be pretty, just make sure it covers most of the cup and be sure to really squish it down.

Put a pinch of cheese and bacon bits into the cup and season with a few dashes of pepper. Push this down too so that the egg has plenty of room.

Crack an egg into the cup.

Top with another pinch of cheese and bacon bits as well as a few more dashes of pepper.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. I like my yolks a little runny, but my husband doesn't. I guess I'm more of a Salmonella risk taker. So I take mine out at closer to 16-17 minutes and leave his in a little longer. They will continue to set a little bit once you take them out of the oven.

I wish I would have taken a picture of one after I had cut it open, but I didn't so you'll just have to make them for yourself to see :) Enjoy!

Do you ever fix breakfast for dinner?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

3 New Things I Love Thursday!

1. My new iFitness Gel/Bib Holder

You may remember my previous review of the iFitness Ultimate Race Belt. I still love this belt very much and I wear it on all of my runs so that I can carry my phone and gels with me. But I saw a picture of iFitness's gel/bib holder and I really wanted one to wear during races so that it would be less bulky. Since I don't need my phone during a race I don't really need anything with a pouch. This belt is great and it holds up to 6 gels and it also has toggles for holding your bib numbers so that you don't have to pin up your nice running tops and you can make a last minute wardrobe change with ease.

They aren't available online right now, but you can call them and order one very easily (866-334-3960...they are super nice!). They also come in blue, yellow, and black. The cost (when I ordered it) is $10.95 + shipping.  Not a bad deal!

I wore it this past weekend since my husband was riding next to me and had a phone. It was very comfortable and it did a great job of holding my gels!

2. My new Amphipod Xinglet

It's starting to stay dark for longer in the mornings and get dark earlier in the evenings. I bought this for my last 20 miler (the good one!) when we had to start in the dark, but I know I will get a lot more use out of it. I wore it on a weeknight run in the neighborhood and I noticed that cars were giving me more room than usual. Maybe they can't see me as well as I think?

I like this because it's not like the unfashionable huge mesh vests that I usually see. The straps around the middle and over the shoulders are fully adjustable. It has a plastic closure in the back (or front...depending on how you wear it) that makes it very easy to put on and take off. I found it very comfortable to run in and I didn't even notice it was on! After I got this I started to notice many other runners with the same thing, so I guess I'm one of the cool kids now. It's very bright and very reflective, which I guess is what we're going for here, huh? They also make another model that has a little pouch on the front to put things in.

You can probably pick one up at your local running store (and if not I know they sell them online) for about $25. Anything that makes running safer is worth every penny to me.

3. My new Moving Comfort Juno Bra

No modeling pictures here, but I am pretty impressed with my new sports bra. I went to my local Fleet Feet and got fitted, which is really good because I probably would have ordered the wrong size if I had tried to take my measurements myself and didn't try anything on first. I used to wear (and still wear when this one is dirty) just a normal Champion compression bra, but I felt like they stretched out too much too soon and didn't do that great of a job holding the girls in place. I am short, so I feel like bra straps are always too long for me and therefore the bra never provides the support I need it to.

What I love about the Juno Bra:
  • It has an adjustable back closure (like normal bras) but it is still a racer back bra.
  • The shoulder straps are adjustable, which is great for short people like me :)
  • It has some slight padding, which is great for when you're sweaty and cold if you know what I mean.
  • Since it's so adjustable, you can make it as tight as you need it to be, and that means less bouncing.
  • It comes in regular bra sizes (34B, 36C, etc. vs. S, M, L), so you are actually getting a bra that fits right!
The only thing I don't like about it:
  • it costs $52. I don't even spend that much on regular bras.

The opinions expressed above are my own. I purchased all of these items myself and I was not asked or compensated to say such nice things about these companies' products.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Marathon Training: Week #15

Sorry for the delay in getting this posted! I started on it on Monday and didn't have time to finish. It's sort of long, so I apologize in advance.

This ended up being a tough week for me. In case you missed my rant on Saturday morning, I started feeling like I was coming down with a cold on Monday and Tuesday. The person in the cubicle next to me at work has been sounding like he's been coughing up a lung for 2 weeks now, so I'm pretty sure his germs jumped over the wall and attacked me. Honestly, I'd rather have this happen now than right before the race. I'm trying to find the silver lining of getting sick!

Anyways, my cold hit me the worst on Wednesday. I couldn't breathe through my nose and I just felt icky. Thursday I wasn't feeling so great either but I at least managed to get in a short run. Friday was a rest day and I was more than happy to take it. I actually got a decent night's sleep on Friday night and I was able to breathe through my nose.

On Saturday morning I was coughing a little bit but I thought I'd be okay. I ate breakfast and immediately felt like I was going to throw up. What the heck? I started to get dressed for my last 20-22 miler, and my body was just revolting. I felt terrible, but I had to bail on my running partner. I went back to sleep for a few hours and then we took care of our Sunday errands on Saturday so that I could try to give it a go again on Sunday. Sunday didn't go quite as I had wanted it, but I got my run in.

Okay...that was the short version, now for the long:

On the schedule: rest or cross-train

On The schedule: rest or cross-train
Rode on our indoor trainer for 48 minutes (not sure how far I went but it was an intense ride!).

Side note: If you're like me and too cheap to download the latest hits and you're looking for some good beats to listen to on your iPhone, check out "Spin Cycle Radio" on the I Heart Radio app or website. I listen to it while I'm on the trainer and it's pretty good. It has nothing to do with spinning or cycling, but it has a pretty good beat for it.

I wore my heart rate monitor just for fun. I haven't gotten into heart rate training, but I would like to one day. This is what it looked like:

My average heart rate was 145 bpm (78% of Max) and my max was 178 bpm (95% of Max). I tried to do some intervals with increased intensity, so that's why it looks a little jumpy. I checked out this little chart below and that seems about right for my age and intensity of the workout.

Has anyone else ever done anything with heart rate training?

On the schedule: Run 5 miles
I participated in the Cupcake Classic 3.7 Virtual Race put on by Jess from Run With Jess. It was in celebration of her 37th birthday and this was my first virtual race! I decided to have fun with it...since I was running with my Garmin, I "drew" out "JESS" with my run. Yes, I planned out my route in advance.

Have you ever "drawn" anything while you were running? I previously posted about drawing out my initials.

My route just happened to take me by out local cupcake shop, so I snapped my race photo with the sign so that I could get a bonus point for having a cupcake in my picture. It's not a real cupcake, but trust me...I would definitely have gotten one if I could! Happy Birthday Jess!

I finished the 3.7 miles in 36 minutes. Since I was supposed to run 5 miles, I tacked on another 1.35 miles in 13:45, for a total of 5.05 in 49 minutes.

On the schedule: run 5 miles
My cold was hitting me hard. I didn't run at all on Wednesday. I didn't do much of anything actually. Sometimes it's best to listen to your body.

On the schedule: run 5 miles
I still wasn't feeling so great, but I felt like I had do to something. I recruited my husband to go on a walk/run with me and we went 3 miles in 33 minutes. Andrew used to run cross country in high school, but now he prefers being a cyclist. I really appreciated him going on this run with me and he did great! It was nice to spend some time together, too.

On the schedule: rest
Rested! And prayed that I would feel okay for Saturday's 20-22 miler.

On the schedule: Run 20 miles (we were going to attempt 22 just to feel better about ourselves)
If you read my post from Saturday, you'll know that this didn't go as planned. I was freaking out about missing this run and I was trying to figure out what to do. Should I try again tomorrow? What if I can't do this tomorrow? Should I try it next weekend or will that totally mess up my training by having only a 2 week taper instead of a 3 week taper? I was frustrated and worried, and this was not helping me to feel any better physically.

On the schedule: rest or cross-train
I decided to attempt my 20 miler again on Sunday. I woke up at 5:45 to try a repeat of how Saturday was supposed to go. I fixed the same breakfast and a cup of coffee and sat down to eat. Two bites in and I started feeling nauseous again. NO! This CAN'T be happening. I gave it 10-20 minutes and tried a few more bites, then went back upstairs to seek comfort from my still sleeping husband, who is always amazing at telling me that everything is going to be okay. I crawled back into bed and slept off and on for a good hour. I decided that I would try to eat breakfast again and I was successful, except that it took me about an hour to do so since I still felt sick.

I researched online whether it was okay to do a 2 week taper instead of a 3 week taper (thinking that I could push my run off until the next week). Apparently if your training plan doesn't call for one, you shouldn't try to do a 2 week taper. I came to the conclusion that I should at least give it a try. I'm not going to run any miles while I'm sitting at home. If I have to stop after 5 miles, well, I tried and I would figure something else out.

After I decided this, I started to feel better. I got ready and I asked my husband to come with me on his bike in case I needed anything or started to not feel well, and just to keep me company since I was in this by myself. He willingly agreed and I love him SO much for this. I kind of figured he could ride his bike about a mile or so ahead and turn around to check on me. No, he ended up staying by my side the entire 3 hours and 42 minutes and I couldn't have done it without him because I totally would have given up on myself. Now that's some love right there :) He's pretty awesome.

Anyways, back to my run. I didn't get started until 10:00, which is usually about the time I'm finishing. This threw me off and it had started to warm up considerably. The first 6 miles went really well. I stopped at the hospital to use the bathroom then made a stop by the car to refill my water bottle. The next 5 miles were okay but I remember looking at my watch at mile 8 just dreading however many more miles I was going to run.

At mile 11 I refilled my water bottle again and told my husband that my "goal" was going to be 18 miles. I thought that if I could make it to that then I would be happy, but deep down I knew I wouldn't feel okay about it. Off we went in another direction for 5 more miles.

At mile 14 I just had to stop and stretch for a little bit, and at mile 16 I stopped again to refill (I was drinking a was a little toasty). During this pit stop I didn't feel very good and almost called it quits. My husband supported me either way, and reminded me that only I knew how I felt! I decided that I could "run one mile that way and one mile back" for a total of 18 miles.

So finally off we went again. I was pretty slow by this point but I was still moving forward. At my one mile turnaround point, I didn't turn around. Maybe I could make it to 20 after all. I ended up turning around at the 1.5 mile point, which would put me at 19 miles at the car. When I was running towards the car another runner (a complete stranger) ran past me and told me that I was doing a great job and to keep it up. Obviously he could tell I was struggling but I doubt he knew that I was nearing the end of a 20 miler. Hearing that was very encouraging and motivating! Then my dad rode past me on his bike and told me how proud of me he was, and this also meant a lot to me and helped me to keep going.

Back at the car I was at 19 miles. Was I hurting? YES! But was I going to stop? NO! So I kept shuffling for another .5 miles and turned around again. My watch beeped for the 20th time and I have never been happier about finishing a run!

This 20 miler was way worse than the last 20 miler, but at least I have reasons. I was fighting a cold and nausea so my body was already working hard at combating that. It was *ahem* about to be that time of the month the next day. We all know our bodies pretty much revolt when you ask them to do anything during that time. I started my run nearly 3 hours later and it was hot. I didn't have my running partner with me. Of course Andrew was on his bike next to me and I could NOT have done it without him, but he was going at my pace and not pushing it. I feel like I run faster when I'm with my running partner.

I guess that's what I get for having such a spectacular 20 mile run last time? Let's just hope the marathon is better :) My time ended up being 3:42 (11:08 average pace), which is 5 minutes slower than the last 20 miler. Not terrible, I guess!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fuel Sampling Giveaway!

Over the past few months I've been trying out a few different types of energy gels. If you missed my previous reviews, you can check them out here:

Fuel Sampling #1: Clif Shot Energy Gels
Fuel Sampling #2: Gu Energy Gels
Fuel Sampling #3: Chocolate #9 Gels
Fuel Sampling #4: Carb BOOM! Energy Gels

I know I have only scratched the surface in the world of fueling, but it's a start! I have definitely come a long way from my first half marathon when I fueled with absolutely nothing and drank only water (and felt like dying afterwards). There are definitely other brands that I have wanted to try (and attempted to try...) and I am so thankful for the companies that were generous enough to send me samples to test.

So now here's the fun part: a giveaway!!

Here's what one lucky reader will win:

  • 1 24 pack box of Carb BOOM! Energy Gels
  • 3 Gu Gels: Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Outrage, and Jet Blackberry
  • 2 Gu Roctane Gels: Blueberry Pomegranate and Pineapple
  • 1 Clif Shot Energy Gel: Razz
  • 3 Chocolate #9 Energy Gels
  • 1 coupon for a free PowerBar product

And here's how to enter:
Note: you must leave a comment below to enter. Please leave a separate comment for each entry for them to count!

  • You must be a follower of this blog (hit the "join this site" button under "follow me" on the left). Let me know if you're already a follower!
    (+1 comment/entry)

Bonus entries:

This giveaway will go through Monday, October 31, 2011, and the winner will be chosen using and announced thereafter! And since running is actually not a cheap sport, this giveaway is only open to those who have a mailing address in the US. Sorry non-US readers - sending things to other countries is expensive!

These products were provided to me free of charge in exchange for a review and giveaway on my blog. The opinions expressed in the previous reviews are my own.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

22 Miler DNS...yet.

I need to vent. Scream in my pillow. Throw a little temper tantrum. Punch something and cry.

Today was supposed to be our last super-duper long run. We were planning on running 22 miles. Earlier this week I began developing a not-so-lovely cold. I could feel it coming on on Monday. It hit me the worst on Wednesday so I didn't do anything. Thursday was better but I took it easy. Friday was another rest day. Last night I was actually feeling okay and I got a good night's sleep actually breathing through my nose.

This morning I woke up and I felt like I was almost over my cold. My plan was to go forward with my long run for as long as I could stand it. After I was done with breakfast, my face started to feel really hot (even though I wasn't overdressed), and I started to dry heave. Well, crap.

I don't know if I was nervous about running the distance with a cold, or if this was actually from my cold, or if something wasn't right about my breakfast (but how can you mess up an English muffin with peanut butter, banana, and honey?). I tried to take my temperature, but I'm pretty sure our thermometers aren't working correctly and I had just eaten breakfast and drank coffee, so I didn't trust whatever number showed up. I would feel fine for a minute, so I would pretend to run around...and then I would have to run to the bathroom because I felt like I was going to lose my breakfast.

I didn't know what to do. I knew I could run tomorrow, but I knew my running partner couldn't. I really didn't want to bail on her for our last long run. I also really didn't want to vomit on her. What if I end up not being able to run tomorrow? And running tomorrow by myself is going to be booorrring. What if I feel this way on race day?

I ended up bailing and I feel terrible for doing so, although I would never expect anyone to run with me when they feel that way and I know my running partner understands because she's awesome. I slept from 7-10. I feel a little better now, but the thought of running right now just makes me feel uncomfortable. So please pray that I'll feel better and I'm able to run tomorrow.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fuel Sampling #4: Carb BOOM! Energy Gels

For my final Fuel Sampling, I'm reviewing Carb BOOM! Energy gels. I'm sorry for the delay in reviewing my final brand of energy gels...let's just say that marathon training has kept me busy!

I had never heard of Carb BOOM! until I was actually searching for different types of energy gels to try out. I came across it on the Road Runner Sports website and then I did a little more investigating on their site.

Here's what I found out about Carm BOOM!...

Carbohydrates: Carb BOOM!'s carbohydrate composition consists of a special blend of 22-25g of complex carbohydrates and just 2-4g of simple sugars to maximize energy delivery to working muscles.

Electrolytes: Two essential electrolytes (sodium and potassium) are present in Carb BOOM! to effectively assist rehydration, aid in key metabolic reactions and help replenish electrolytes lost in sweat.

Real Fruit. Real good: Carb BOOM! is a great tasting energy gel made from super concentrated complex carbohydrates and flavored with real fruit.

Nothing Artificial: No artificial flavor, color, or sweetener

Carb BOOM! energy gels come in six different flavors: Raspberry, Strawberry Kiwi, Vanilla Orange, Grape Pomegranate, Apple Cinnamon, and Banana Peach.

I really liked most of the flavors. My favorite flavor was the Apple Cinnamon because it tastes like apple pie filling (amazing!!!). The only flavor I didn't really like was the Banana Peach because there was something weird about the texture. Since it is made with real fruit, I'm assuming that the banana made it a little chalkier than normal. The rest of the flavors had a nice taste. They seem a little on the sweet side, even though they aren't loaded with sugar. I think it's probably the fruity flavor that makes them seem sweet though. I've come to find that I personnally enjoy chocolate flavored gels better than fruity flavored ones, so this is really just a personal preference.

Nutrition facts: each gel has 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 27 carbohydrates*, 3 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 50 mg of sodium and 50 mg of potassium. Carb BOOM! gels are gluten free and vegan, but not kosher at this time.

*Just a note: Carb BOOM! lives up to their name - this energy gel has the most carbohydrates of all the gels I have reviewed.

Ingredients: each gel has slightly different ingredients since they are different flavors and made with real fruit. I won't list all the ingredients for all of the flavors, but just so that you get an idea, here are the ingredients listed for the apple cinnamon: maltodextrin, filtered water, apple puree, apple concentrate, citric acid, potassium citrate, sea salt, cinnamon, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (preservatives).

I did not experience any stomach problems with these gels, likely thanks to the low amount of simple sugars in them!

The consistency of the gels was a little thinner than most of the other gels I have tried. If you've had problems with eating some of the thicker gels then maybe these would be an option for you to try.

The packaging was slightly larger than a Gu gel is (only comparing it to that for comparison's sake since most runners probably know how big a Gu is). It was a little hard for me to get it into my gel holders on my belt, but I did get it to go in. The gels were easy to open on the run, too.

Carb BOOM! is available at many GNC stores and is also available online. On the Road Runner Sports website, a 24 pack is currently selling for $26.99.

Bottom line: I like the nutritional aspects behind Carb BOOM!'s gels. The fact that they are more natural and contain the highest amount of carbs without being loaded with sugar is definitely a plus. However, I wish they had non-fruity flavors as all fruity flavored gels (any brand I've tried so far) seem a little too sweet to me!

The folks at Carb BOOM! were nice enough to send me a whole extra box (24 pack) to give away.

For now, this concludes my fuel sampling reviews. There are others that I want to try in the future, but I think I've been a guinea pig for long enough (for now anyways)!

If you missed my previous Fuel Sampling reviews, check them out here:
Fuel Sampling #1: Clif Shot Energy Gels
Fuel Sampling #2: Gu Energy Gels
Fuel Sampling #3: Chocolate #9

The opinions expressed above are my own. I was sent Carb BOOM! Energy Gels by request to try out and review on my blog.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Marathon Training: Week #14

I can't believe I'm almost done! I have only one more 20-22 miler left, then it's taper time. This past week was pretty good. I felt a little sluggish on most of my runs during the week and I'm pretty sure that it was because my legs were tired from running 20 miles (I mean, I don't know WHY I would be tired...). I felt recovered before Saturday's long run, so that was promising.

Before I get into the weekly recap, I feel like I need to say I'm sorry for being such a bad blogger. I have so many things to write about but so little time to actually sit down and write about them. Maybe this will be better after the marathon...or maybe not? Not only do I not have a ton of time, but I sit in front of a computer and type all day long, so sitting in front of the computer and typing isn't really what I want to do when I get home. Okay, enough of the mopefest. On with the recap!

On the schedule: rest or cross train

On the schedule: rest or cross train
Enjoyed a short/slow ride with Andrew through a really nice neighborhood (where I would really love to live one day but could never afford it). We rode 9.36 miles in 49 minutes (11.4 mph pace).

On the schedule: run 5 miles
Ran 5.03 miles in 56 minutes (11:01 pace) in the rain! I love running in the rain!

I ran slowly because there were wet leaves everywhere and I didn't want to slip and face-plant or break my tailbone or something. There were also a lot of hills and my legs were still feeling Saturday's 20 miler, so I probably would have gone that slow even if it wasn't wet.

On the schedule: run 8 miles
Ran 7.5ish miles in 1:25? (11:20ish pace?) I forgot to wear my Garmin but I was running with my running partner. Her Garmin didn't get a signal for a while so we just (generously) guestimated how far we went while it wasn't recording. I was still feeling the 20 miler and I had to pee for most of the run. I was really glad that this was our last longer run during the week. I really don't like running 8 miles on a weeknight.

On the schedule: run 5 miles
Rode on our sweet new indoor trainer for 46 minutes (11ish miles?). This is definitely a much harder workout than riding outside and you don't need to ride as long to feel like you've gotten a good workout. I'd equate it to a spin class. I'm currently waiting for it to be my turn on the trainer so I snapped a picture of Andrew riding on it.

I love seeing my husband in cycling clothes :)

On the schedule: rest

On the schedule: run 12 miles
Ran 12 miles in 2:11 (10:54 pace). It was a beautiful morning out and we finished our run before it got too windy. 12 miles felt really easy compared to last week's 20. We spotted lots of spectacular Halloween decorations along the way, too. I did attempt to roll my ankle twice during our run though. Thankfully it wasn't as bad as when I did it the week before and I was able to run right through it for the most part, but it still made me nervous. What if I do that on race day? Clearly running on roads can be dangerous for me this time of the year because of so many acorns and leaves all over the place just waiting to sprain my ankle or make me fall on my face! Everything is so gorgeous out so I hate to continually look down at my feet.

After my run, I spent the rest of the day with Andrew and my in-laws. We went out to lunch at Panera then went to the Peaks of Otter, which is about an hour away with views like this along the way:

I love the fall and where I live!

That evening we ate at our favorite local barbecue place then indulged in some of our favorite (locally made and most delicious) ice cream. I got pumpkin flavor and it was amazing. I'm pretty sure I consumed more calories than I burned on my run.

Okay, I think it's my turn on the torture machine indoor trainer. Less than 4 weeks to go!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

Only one more month until I become a marathoner!

Freak out mode = engaged

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Marathon Training: Week #13...the big 20!

This was a big week for me! This week was my first ever 20 mile run...definitely a big milestone for anyone training for their first marathon. Hitting this milestone once again made me realize that nothing is impossible!

On the schedule: rest or cross train

On the schedule: rest or cross train
I actually decided to swap my schedule for Monday and Tuesday so I ran on Monday instead. The weather wasn't so great for biking (cool and cloudy) but great for running! I had a really great 5 mile run in 51:20 (10:15 pace). I really enjoyed myself on this run. The best part: I found a quarter.

On the schedule: run 5 miles
Rode 14.8 miles in 1:00 (14.8 mph pace for those of you who can't do math) with Andrew. It was still pretty cool outside so I'm glad I wore my long sleeves! I liked cycling on Tuesday to break up the three days in a row of running. Maybe I will keep this up.

On the schedule: run 5 miles
I got a late start on this run so I probably should have eaten more than a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie before starting. About 1.5 miles in, I my stomach started to growl, I started feeling a little lightheaded, and my legs felt like they could give out. I could have pushed through, but I knew if I did (based on past experiences...), bad things would happen (migraines, vomiting, etc.). So I decided to walk another 2 miles and call it a day. I ended up going 3.48 miles in 45:47 (13:08 pace). As I was walking I remembered my no pressure revelation from last week and told myself that it was okay. I mean, I really should practice for when I'm going to have to walk during the marathon, right?

On the schedule: run 5 miles
It was a perfect day for a run. Beautiful blue skies, perfect temperature, low humidity...just perfect! I was also excited to try out my brand new sports bra (Moving Comfort Juno = AMAZING!). I was one mile into my run and I had just finished running up a hill. I had turned around to come back down and I was catching my breath and looking up at the pretty blue sky when BAM! I totally rolled my right ankle on an acorn. It hurt. So. Bad. It took my breath away and made me say bad words it hurt so bad. I walked limped for about 100 yards then was able to walk normally for a little bit. I slowly began to run on it again (surprisingly without too much pain) and then I had to make a decision: go back to the car or finish my run? Being the extremely stubborn one that I am, I decided to finish my run. After all, my run the day before wasn't so great. I decided that I would run back and forth closer to my car instead of going on a loop farther away just in case. The rest of the run wasn't terrible, but I went slowly and was really concerned about being able to run 20 miles on Saturday. I ended up running 5 miles in 56:56 (11:22 pace). When I got home I immediately iced and elevated my ankle and popped some ibuprofen.

On the schedule: rest
Rested! I totally babied my ankle all day. I wore my compression socks to work and took my ice pack along too. When I wasn't at work I was at home with my leg elevated and iced.

I took ibuprofen every 6 hours and tried to gently massage my ankle and stay off of it. I really do think that all of this babying helped my ankle feel better so quickly. I had my doubts about running, but I wasn't limping so that was a good thing. My backup plan for Saturday was to run as long as I could with my running partner then I would hop on my bike and ride next to her for the rest (I would feel terrible if I had to abandon her!).

On the schedule: run 20 miles
Even though this was only 2 miles farther than my longest distance, I was still nervous about this run, especially with my ankle. We started out earlier (6:15) so it was still dark out. I had never run in the dark, but I actually enjoyed it but I wouldn't do it by myself though. And also I think my headlamp bobbing around and not being able to see everything around me made me a little nauseous. Thankfully that feeling passed as it got light out. I was definitely feeling very superheroinesqe in my attire.

Don't mind my morning face here at 5:20 AM.

The first 4.5 miles were in the dark. I was going a little slow on purpose just to be extra careful with my ankle. It was surprisingly feeling okay but I didn't want to roll it again since it was probably a little weak. After 4.5 miles, we made our first pit stop to refill our water bottles and use the bathroom. Then we went in a different direction for another 6 miles and stopped to refill again. Another 4 mile section in a different direction, and we stopped to refill again and use the restroom (yes, least we were properly hydrated!). After the last stop we only had 6 miles left, so off we went in another direction for 3 miles and turned around and came back. My knees and feet were achy when I was done, but my first 20 miler went way better than I expected! I felt that it was better than my 18 miler and I could have gone farther if I had to. Being still vertical (and feeling generally okay) when we finished definitely gave me the confidence that I can do this!

Seeing this on my watch made me so happy! I hate to be boastful but I am really proud of myself (and my running partner) for successfully hitting the 20 mile mark. Later in the afternoon I took a look at our splits and I was even happier to see that they were fairly consistent! Some walking breaks are longer than others because we're fueling. We didn't start out way too fast and our last mile was actually the fastest (we skipped our last walking break).

Our final time was 3:36:28 (10:49 average pace w/ 1 minute walking break every 10 minutes), and looking at our previous stats we had a slightly faster pace than our 18 miler (10:56 average pace w/ 1 minute walking break every 10 minutes). Woohoo!

Only two more weeks and then we start to taper! Yikes!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Cook Running Chicken

Apparently that's what someone searched for and came across my blog. Gotta love Google Analytics!

Since I clearly have nothing better to do with my life besides analyze my blog stats (oh, don't act like you don't do it too), I was curious to find out exactly what else you would find if you searched for "how to cook running chicken". My blog came up as the 4th result with this post, which included a chicken recipe. Most of the other results were about cooking chicken at the correct temperature and building chicken runs and coops.

Just for fun I clicked on the images tab and found this picture that I thought was worthy of sharing:

So, just in case you're ever wondering how to cook running chicken, apparently my blog is a good source.

What's the strangest thing someone has searched for and landed on your blog?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Marathon Training: Week #12

After experiencing some pretty bad foot pain during week #11, I took it pretty easy last week. I needed it physically and mentally, and right now I'm so glad I decided to cut myself some slack. I'm feeling much better now (physically and mentally) and I'm feeling pretty good about taking on the rest of marathon training.

I realized last Thursday what had been getting me so down about marathon training. Weeks #10 and #11 were kind of rough, and it took an ugly little bruise to get me to slow down enough to realize exactly what was bugging me:


Pressure to run X number of miles on this day. Tomorrow you have to run X number of miles. The next day you have to run X number of miles. On Friday you can take a rest day. On Saturday you have to run X number of miles. Then you can have a rest day and a cross-training day. Then you have to start it all over again.

I had gotten to the point where I didn't want to be told exactly how far to run because it wasn't making it any fun and I wasn't enjoying it! It's like when I was younger...I really wanted to clean my room because I liked the way a clean room felt and I knew my mom would appreciate it. When I would get started on it, my mom would peek her head in and ask me to clean my room. Ugh, Mom, can't you see I'm already doing that!? Now I don't want to clean my room because you told me to do it and now I'm only doing it because you told me to!! (okay, please someone tell me I'm not the only one like this...).

So this past week I told myself I would take it easy. I took two rest days after my long run (instead of a rest day and a cross-training day). On Tuesday I rode my bike. I was going to bike again on Wednesday but I decided to go for a walk/run instead. My foot was feeling okay and I didn't feel like I had enough time to get a good bike ride in. I didn't really care how far I went or how long it took me, and I took my time and walked up all of the hills. It was a no-pressure run and I really enjoyed it

On Thursday I went for another run. 5 miles was on the schedule, but I told myself I'd only go as far as I felt like going and I could stop at any time I wanted. I walked up some hills, but this was seriously a great run! I completed all 5 miles because I wanted to, not because it was on my schedule. It was on this run that I realized it was the pressure of marathon training that was getting to me. It was making running into a chore, so I didn't enjoy it. Realizing this, I told myself I'd try not to let the pressure get to me too much and I reminded myself that I really do love running!

Another thing that got me excited was when I looked at my calendar at work, which has all of my scheduled miles written on it, I realized that I only have 3 more weeks of training before we begin to taper! Seeing that was definitely like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. 

 Last week after I had my "no pressure" revelation, I was considering only running 2 days during the week and doing 2 days of cross-training (instead of 3 days of running and 1 day of cross-training). But after seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I think I'm going to try my best to get my miles in like the schedule calls for. If I'm feeling fatigued (as I likely will after my 20 miler this weekend), I won't pressure myself into running and I'll reassess and decide what's best for me at that time. Regardless of what I decide to do, I won't pressure myself (or try not to anyways)!

An update on the foot: it's feeling much better! I changed my lacing to completely skip the second eyelet on my shoes. I did it on both sides because I'm OCD so that it would be even. I also made sure to not tie them too tight.

The spot below my big toes on both sides still hurts sometimes, but I have had this pain off and on ever since I trained for my first half marathon, and I think it's just something that happens to me when my mileage increases. It usually goes away and it doesn't hurt the entire time I'm running.

Now that I've written a novel of an introduction, here's how training went last week:

On the schedule: rest or cross-train

On the schedule: rest or cross-train
Rested! Yes, again! Sometimes you need 2 rest days after a really long run. I was going to ride my bike, but the weather was bad. I had told myself that if the weather was bad I'd just go to the gym, but the thought of that just made me want to cry! So I stayed home :)

On the schedule: Run 5 miles
Rode 21.38 miles in 1:23 (15.5 mph). I had a great ride! I usually like to ride with Andrew, but he has been swamped with meetings after school recently. It's kind of boring riding by yourself sometimes.

On the schedule: Run 8 miles
Ran/walked 2.41 miles in 28 minutes (11:40 pace). I went with Andrew to my parents house so that he could practice shooting his bow (opening day of bow season was this past Saturday!). While we were there I did the hilly mountainous loop near my parents' house. 383 feet of elevation gain over 2.4 miles = beast. Yeah, I was walking most of the uphills.

On the schedule: Run 5 miles
Ran 5 miles in 54 minutes (11:40 pace) and enjoyed it! I did walk a bit of the uphill (514 ft. of elevation gain), but this was when I had my no-pressure revelation, so clearly I wasn't trying to pressure myself into getting a fast time. I also stopped to snap this picture. It was a beautiful day and I love seeing my mountains in the distance!

On the schedule: Rest
Rested! I also ate pizza and cupcakes for lunch. We had a party at work. I regretted it later. But it was so good! I was hoping that my body would forgive me later and allow me to run 13 miles the next day. I would have never done this before if I was running a half marathon the next day!

On the schedule: Run 13 miles
Ran 13.11 miles in 2:19 (10:36 pace). I needed this cut-back week so bad. I ate terribly the day before so I was a little worried that my stomach would misbehave (I wouldn't blame it if it did!), but thankfully I was fine. It was no 1/2 marathon PR or anything, but it was still a good run. I realized that I have definitely come to a new level in my running because I thought running a half marathon was "easy". If there is one thing I have gained, it's a different perspective on that distance. I think after my first marathon I'll be running in more half marathons because they will seem so much easier! This is not to belittle any of you who are training for your first or subsequent half marathons - they are certainly no walk in the park and I once thought running 13.1 miles was impossible.  But as I'm setting new distance PR's every other weekend, I'm realizing more and more that nothing is impossible!

Thanks again to all of you who read my recaps and leave such encouraging comments.  I really do appreciate it and I hope these are helpful to at least one of you!

Things to remember: 
1. No Pressure! 
2. Don't forget why you're running.
3. Don't let numbers on a piece of paper make you hate running.