Friday, December 14, 2012

Where have I been?

It has been a month since I posted.  And a lot has happened in that last month, much of which I can't or don't really want to talk about right now.

I am still running and it is the only thing really keeping me sane.  There's not a plan or a schedule - I just get out most mornings and enjoy the quiet and coolness.

This morning especially I needed a run.  I needed to get outside and run and just forget about what has been happening and enjoy the outdoors.  As I ran along I caught the end of the meteor shower and saw over 12 shooting stars.  It really made for a very special run and lifted my spirits.  Just beautiful to see flashes of stars falling in the sky - truly amazing.

I will say that I am ok, Brian is good, everything is really ok.  Just dealing with a lot of things right now.

Almost at the same time my life got slightly crazy, I realized I had run out of space on this blog for pictures. So I am a crossroads.  Do I continue with the blog and upgrade for more storage OR do I change over to wordpress?  When I started this blog over four and half years ago I never knew it would help me to meet so many great people and inspire me to run faster and farther than I had ever before.

So that is what is happening over here.  I might be back soon with a new blog, or I might not be back. I am not sure yet.  It is all up in the air for right now....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Frozen Tempo

Sunday and Monday I was in shorts for my runs and today I am bundled up and freezing!

This morning the temperatures were super cold - 28F and there was a nice layer of frost of the grass and cars.  I usually don't like to do my tempo runs in the cold mornings but today I didn't have a choice due to after work social obligations!

Running in the morning cold is bad enough but running tempo paced miles before dawn can be even worse but there are ways to make sure you run the best tempo you can.

Take an extra long warm up - In the summer I can often get away with doing only 1-1.5 miles for warm up but once the temperatures dip below 40F, I have to extend my warm up to at least 2 miles.  I also try to add in an uphill (followed by a downhill) during my warm up because that really helps to get the legs warmed up.

Expect to be slower - The morning tempo runs are usually slower than if run in the evening.  When its really cold, I can run my tempos  about 10 seconds per mile slower.  It helps that it is dark out so you can't see your watch and see the difference in pace.

Wear a headlamp - I find that I can run faster when I can see where I am going.  Its hard to do a tempo run in the dark so don't forget the headlamp (and the reflective vest).

Know your route and mile marks - It is easy to get confused in the morning and the dark so I try to keep my tempo route pretty simple.

Run a time based tempo - Often during training I run 2x2 mi tempo runs or something similar, but when it gets dark and cold out I try to switch it up.  Instead of having to do math on my garmin (because I keep my garmin mileage to total and not lap), having a total tempo time you are aiming for makes life much easier.

This mornings run actually went pretty well.  My hands were cold for most of the run but after my warm up, my legs seemed to feel pretty good.

The workout
20 mins @ Easy
10 mins @ Tempo
5 mins @ Easy
5 mins @ Tempo
5 mins @ Easy
5 mins @ Tempo
25 mins @ Easy

Based on my recent 5ks, my tempo pace is supposed to be about 6:47/mile but there is no way I can hit that pace in the mornings.  My goal was to try and get close to 7:00/mile and I came in on all my tempos at 7:04/mile.  I will take the consistency over meeting my desired pace.  This turned out to be a good workout.

I think running tempo workouts based on time (instead of pace) is a nice way to switch things up.  Plus it is way easier to keep track of things when running a tempo based on time.  I am not very good at doing addition while running so having a time goal is an easy way to get in a tempo run in the morning.

Happy Tempo Thursday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where do the hours go?

A few weeks ago I was reading a post on the Healthy Tipping Point blog entitled "Where does the time go" and it was all about the book 168 Hours: You have more time than you think.  The post sparked my interest because I really wondered where my time went during the week.  I always find myself saying "There isn't enough time in the day" but maybe I have more time than I think.

For the past two weeks I did my best to keep track of exactly what I did each day.  I tried to be as descriptive as possible and then when I was compiling the hours, I broke it down into eight broad categories - sleep, exercise, work, leisure, household, TV, driving, miscellaneous.

I think the first few categories are pretty self explainitory.  For work, I counted every hour I was at work because often I eat at my desk.  I did record my "lunch" time and it averaged to be about 30 minutes per day.  For leisure, I included all tasks such as reading my book, blog reading and writing, internet browsing, facebooking, etc.  For household, I counted every hour I was making dinner, cleaning the house, doing laundry, etc. The categories for TV and driving are pretty standard and then lastly I created the miscellaneous category to include things like showering, a running club meeting I attended, and just random time that I may not have been doing specific.

And here is how it broke down for last week...

Here is how it broke down hour wise...
Sleep - 52:45 hours
Exercise - 11:15 hours
Work - 47:30 hours (45 hours without lunches included)
Leisure - 7:15 hours
Household - 19:15 hours
TV - 9:00 hours
Driving - 7:45 hours
Misc - 13:15 hours

For the first week that I tracked my hours, things were pretty much the same.  I did spend an hour more on leisure items and A LOT more time watching TV (~7 hours thanks to watching Hurricane Sandy coverage and Sunday NFL Football).  Everything else was very similar - about the same amount of time sleeping and working and exercising. 

This is just a very rough estimate of how I spend my week.  But after tracking for the first week it really opened my eyes to how much time I actually spend in front of the TV.  Sometimes the TV is on and I may be "multitasking" but I still counted that as TV time.  There were many nights where I made myself go to the bedroom to read instead of sitting in front of the TV. 

I spend at least 10 hours a week just on exercising which does not include the time it takes me to drive to the gym for yoga or drive to meet up with my running group.  It really is a big time commitment to run but I think that is one hobby that I wont be giving up anytime soon. 

As you can also see I am a bit of a workaholic.  I honestly love what I do but sometimes I wish I had a less demanding job.  Some weeks (Monday thru Friday) all I feel like I do is eat, sleep, work, exercise, do laundry and clean the house.  But I work in an area where 50 hour weeks is normal and often expected, so unless I plan on changing companies or careers, I think my 40+ hour work weeks are here to stay.

After doing this little experiment, I realize that I do have a lot of time that I could be using more efficiently.  I generally think I watch too much TV although the national average is 33 hours so I guess I am not as bad as I thought. This really was an eye opening experience to how much time I spend on everything in my life and I hope I can start to fit more and more things into my day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The secret to amazing quinoa

I made the best dinner ever on Monday night.  I had seen this recipe on another blog and decided that I wanted to give it a try because it had two ingredients that I don't cook much with - Kale and quinoa!

After arriving home from yoga I was starving but determined to try this recipe because I wanted to see how it would come out.

Sausage and Quinoa One-Pot Supper
4 sausage links cut into cubes (I used Johnsonville New Orleans Andouille Sausage)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup water
1 cup apple cider
2 cups kale leaves (or spinach leaves)

In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook sausage and onion until just browned (5-10 mins).  Add cider, quinoa and water to pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for about 25 minutes or until liquid is just absorbed.  Add kale, cover and cook for about 5 mins, to warm kale. Remove from heat and then serve!

OH. MY. GOODNESS.  This was the best dish ever. SO easy. SO good.  And the best part was that Brian loved it.  He was apprehensive at first because I had made quinoa mac and cheese last winter and it was a little different for him.  But after one bite he was hooked and even went back for seconds!

The secret is the apple cider! It made this dish (especially with the andouille sausage) taste so, so good.  I don't think I will ever cook quinoa in just water ever again because this came out just so delicious.  I always thought that quinoa was similar to rice, it tasted good when made with water but was just a little bit more flavorful when made with broth.  Either way you can't tell the difference when cooking rice.  BUT with quinoa, there is SUCH a big difference.  Cooking the quinoa in cider (or broth) just makes this dish out of this world good!

I definitely plan on making this again (and again!)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The right to Vote

This is not a political blog and it never will be.  But there is something that is very important to me and it is the fact that as Americans we have the right to vote.  The right to vote was a hard fought battle for freedom and for woman it was barely 100 years ago that we gained this right.  Throughout history, so many people have been denied the right to vote and sometimes I think we forget that there ever was a time when there were restrictions.

We are very lucky to have the freedom that we have today and often it is taken for granted.  And so today on election day, I encourage you to go vote.  Take the time to fit it into your schedule and usually they give you a nice little sticker too!

This morning I ran past my polling place at 5:30am and it was completely deserted and quiet.  When I arrived back an hour later to cast my vote, the place was packed with people.  There was a long line of people waiting to sign in and vote.  A nice man asked me my street address and I gave it to him, and he directed me to an open table to sign in based on where I live.  I guess none of my neighbors are early risers or early voters.

As I was leaving the polling place, I was passed by a runner coming in.  It looked like he had stopped in on his run and I smiled to myself.  It made me so happy to see people voting and to see other runners voting!

Also if you haven't seen it already, check out Runner's World for their take on the election and "What Kind of Runner are you??"

 I don't think I really fit into any of the categories that RW wrote about.  I think the best fit would be THE PROGRESSIVE - You run 30+ miles–dedicated miles–per week.

What kind of runner are you??

Monday, November 5, 2012

The spandex are out

I resisted as long as I could.

But finally the spandex have made their first fall/winter appearance.  I pushed it as long as I could. I wore my capris and shorts throughout October but in the last week the temperatures have taken a turn toward COLD!

Long gone are the days when my running bag will be light.  Now it will be packed to the brim with long sleeved under amour shirts, long spandex, a coat, a hat and gloves. 

It is kind of sad to have to pack up most of my little tank tops and shorts and not see them again until Spring.  Of course they wont go completely unused for the next 4-5 months because I will be making regular appearances at the gym now, but it wont be the same.

Yesterday was my first day in spandex and although it was quite chilly out, I warmed up pretty quickly and enjoyed my 6.5 mile run on the country roads.  I ran my normal route backward and got to actually take in the scenery since it wasn't dark out.  Plus it snowed a little bit while I was running.  Just a few flakes.

This morning I was again in spandex and long sleeves.  It was chilly.  My iPhone app told me it was 36F feels like 28F. Brr. 

But there is something about being out in the cold. Its almost refreshing (and it helps me wake up pretty quickly).  The air just smells clean when its cold.

It was actually a bit easier to get up this morning thanks to the daylight savings time.  My body felt like it was 6am even though my alarm was blaring at 5am. 

Oh yeah and I ran a 5k race on Saturday.  It was quite miserable.  It was cold and rainy and just gross outside. And to be honest, I don't think my heart was in it.  My legs didn't have as much pep as I thought they should have.  My original goal was to try and run all three fall 5k races under 20 minutes but that was  just not meant to happen.  I ran my race Saturday in 20:03 which was still good enough for 4th place woman and first in my age group.  I am pretty sure that will be my last race of 2012.  I have thought about running a Turkey Trot but seeing as I am hosting my family for Thanksgiving, I am not sure if that will actually workout.

Now I am not sure what lies ahead for me and running. Of course I will not stop running.  I just don't know what's next. I don't really have any desire to start training again for anything right now.  I have even contemplated not racing at all in 2013. So for now I will continue to log good base mileage each week and hopefully make it through the holidays without gaining weight!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Food Comparisions

When it comes to food, I can be pretty boring. I usually buy the same thing every week at the grocery store and I often eat the same thing for lunch throughout the week.  But recently, something has come over me and I have had the urge to try new things.  I have been on a mission to find new favorite things that I can enjoy each week! 

Pumpkin Spice Latte: Starbucks vs. Tim Hortons.  A few weeks ago, I decided to try the Tim Horton's PSL.  I made a special trip to Tim Horton's before work and picked on up.  And it was gross.  Ugg.  Disgusting.  I guess nothing beats the Starbucks PSL.

Granola Bar: Larabar vs. Odwalla.  I have tried a few Odwalla bars and I love them.  LOVE. They are delicious.  But I wanted to give Larabar a chance.  I can actually read and understand all the ingredients listed on the package and so I thought it might be a good idea.  Well turns out, I don't really like dates that much.  And the bars kind of look like poop.  The only one I can stand is the Chocolate Chip brownie, maybe because it has lots and lots of chocolate it in it cover up the taste of the dates.

Oatmeal: Instant vs. Homemade oatmeal.  I have long been a lover of instant oatmeal especially the brown sugar kind! Yum! But my running buddy said its not really that healthy for me since it seems to be packed with sugar. So I decided to try making my own oatmeal from scratch.  And although it takes about 5x longer than the instant, it actually turns out to be pretty good and pretty filling. 

Coffee Creamer: Regular vs. S'mores.  I have always been afraid to grab a new and different coffee creamer because what if I don't like the flavor? Then I am stuck with this giant thing of creamer I wont use.  Well I decided to try the S'mores flavor in hopes that I couldn't go wrong with that?! Well it turned out to be a win because I LOVE THIS STUFF. LOVE. It is almost like putting a hot chocolate packet in my coffee. Almost. So good. 

Have you tried any new foods lately? Love or Hate??

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cost per Mile

Thanks to Running Ahead and its handy equipment tracker/calculator, I can keep track of how many miles are on my shoes.  Because I run in a lot of different shoes.  And by a lot, I really mean A LOT!  Right now, I have 6 pairs of shoes that I could wear on any given day. 

Each shoe has its purpose though.  I have two old pairs of shoes - they are my old orange Brooks ghost 3 and old blue Brooks ghost 3s.  They each have 483 and 529 miles respectively and I don't wear them much at all.  I go to the orange pair first if I need to and will only wear these shoes on days when I am running speed work and its going to be rainy.  If those two conditions aren't met then they just sit on the shelf.  Soon both these shoes will be out of rotation.

Next there is my purple Brooks Ghost 5.  These are my marathon shoes and although they have 527 miles on them, I am finding it hard to give these shoes up.  For all the miles they have taken me, these shoes have lasted a pretty long time.  I also have my pink Mizuno Wave Rider 13 which I originally bought to use as my cross training shoes but somehow managed to put them into my running shoe rotation.  The mizunos are only used for easy morning runs and can be interchanged with the Ghost 5s if needed.  The Ghost 5s can be used for long runs but will be soon out of rotation.

I have two pairs of shoes that I use solely for racing and speed work.  These pair of shoes are my Brooks Pure Flows and my Adidas Adizero shoes.  I bought the Flows in order to make the transition to a more minimalist shoe and I love them.  I ran my last half marathon race in them and have done all my speedwork in them since the summer.  I have been racing 5ks in my Adidas shoes for over a year and I love them.  I bought them because I had a gift certificate from winning a race at a random local triathlon store.  They are very light and I love racing in them.

This is the most shoes I have ever had in rotation and I can still remember (~ 2 years ago) when I only had one pair of running shoes at a time.  It may seem like a lot of shoes but in fact, I have only bought two new pairs in 2012 - the Ghost 5s and the Flows.

I seemed to have gotten a little off track there - back to the original point of this post - The cost per mile of my shoes.

Each time I get a new pair of shoes, I enter the name of that shoe into the equipment on Running Ahead.  I label my shoes by their brand name plus color.  I started this when I had my blue Ghost 3s and my orange Ghost 3s otherwise I would have confused them.  After naming the shoe, I then enter in how much each shoe cost. And then the calculator does the math as I enter in my miles each day.

My  most expensive shoes have been the Brooks Ghost series. And although I have spent the most money on those shoes, all four pairs that I have owned (3 pairs of Ghost 3 and 1 pair of Ghost 5), I have run over 500 miles in each of them and my average cost per mile is 18.5 cents.    When broken down like that, spending the money on the shoes doesn't seem all that bad.  And I really always try to get my monies worth on everything I buy.

How much do your shoes cost per mile???

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Running streak - In all the choas of the past two weeks, I didn't take a rest day from running.  Today will be Day 15 of my running streak and Day 25 of my exercise streak.  So....should I take today off from running? It is supposed to be unseasonably warm today with a high of 78F this afternoon.  It's going to be hard resisting heading out for a run after work.  Either way the running streak will end tomorrow but the exercise streak/not taking a complete rest day will continue!

My Brooks Ghost 5s have 515 miles on them!
2. Compression socks - During the summer I always kind of forget to wear my compression socks because it is so warm out.  This week has been the return of the socks under the work attire.  Love being able to hide my pink socks!

3. The garden - We have had a few cold nights so I went out and picked the last of the vegetables from the garden.  I actually got a lot of green tomoatoes that are now slowly ripening on my kitchen window sill.  We still have a lot of carrots in the ground and it is really awesome to be able to run outside and grab a few carrots when I am making stew or soup!

Happy Thursday!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Two Weekends, Two 5ks

The last two weeks have been quite busy - if you hadn't already guessed that from my recent post on my busy day.  I don't know how I got through it all without losing it. 

Let's start by saying I don't think I will be doing this again.  Two weeks of 50 hours work weeks, two races within 8 days of each other, traveling halfway across the country, and a best friends wedding.

But its over and done with and I finally feel like I can relax.

My first 5k race was a bit of a blur.  The Friday night before the race I was delayed in Detroit and didn't even know if I would get home to race at all.  I finally arrived home at midnight and made it to bed only to wake up at 7am for the race.

The morning was super cold but sunny and throughout the race I was just hoping my legs didn't give out on me.  Somehow I managed to run a 5k PR and earned 5th woman and 1st in my age group.  The course is flat and fast and I love racing this race even if I was very tired.

My running buddy even came out to the race to cheer me on (and even held my sweat pants for me too).  She is the best supported anyone could ask for.

First 5k finish time: 19:43

I felt really good during the race but I was tired.  Tired from flying, tired from working a lot, and tired from running a lot.

The next week, I continued to run a lot and work a lot and not get much rest.  I had a tough interval workout on Tuesday and then followed that with a mini tempo workout on Thursday morning.  I really don't know why I pushed so much during the week when I knew I had another 5k race coming up the following weekend.

I think I push myself to run more when I am stressed. I know it may seem weird but running more while I am stressed I think actually helps me to deal with the stress.

My best running friend was getting married on Friday but I still made time to get up and run.  I knew it would be a long day but I needed to clear my head and a good day (for me) usually starts with a run.  During my run I saw two shooting stars which I thought was a very good sign since I haven't seen any shooting stars during my dark morning runs.  I usually see a great deal of shooting stars during my August morning runs because that is when they are most common but not this year.  Seems October is the month of shooting stars.

The wedding went without a hitch and I was so honored to be a part of my running buddy's day.  We looked quite different in dresses than in running clothes.  Here we are with our running coach...

Saturday I made sure to sleep in late, drink plenty of water, and rest on the couch to hopefully be ready for the 5k the following morning. 

Sunday dawned a little chilly but sunny again and I actually wore shorts since it was supposed to be over 50F by the start.

This second race was held at my college and is basically a race for students and alumni.  I try to run this race every year since I get to see my college track coach as he is the race director.  I wasn't sure how the race was going to go this year but hoped that I could pull out a time under 20 minutes, just like the week previous.

I started right at the front of the race and when it was time to go all the men flew past me.  I knew most of them wouldn't be able to hold on for the whole race.  The wind was brutal for most of the first mile and then again at the end of the race.  I was regretting that interval workout from the previous Tuesday during the second mile but hung on to come in just under 20 minutes. 

Second 5k finish time: 19:53

It is a pretty small race and I ended up being first female which was an added bonus.  After the race I chatted with my college track coach.  He asked how my marathon in the spring had gone and I told him I didn't think I would run another marathon again.  In response he said that he had only run one marathon as well and it just wasn't the thing for him.  He then said that he thought that 5ks were my best race distance.  I am not so sure he is right about that but I do love 5ks.  They are just so fast and fun!

Only one more 5k to go in two weeks.  That will most likely be my last race of 2012 so I hope it is a good one!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A BUSY day in my life

I have seen these posts done by over bloggers and I really wanted to share as well.  I picked an especially busy day (part of an especially busy week).  This is from last Tuesday, October 9th and here is some background.  First, Brian was away Sunday to Wednesday on a boys getaway.  While he was gone, I was working a lot and also trying to clean the house because I was going to be gone from Wednesday to Friday for a business trip.  On my return from the business trip, that following morning (Saturday), I was running a 5k race, going to a baby's first birthday party and having people over for dinner. So everything has to be done and ready by Tuesday night because I was going to work Wednesday then boarding my plane right after work.  Somehow I got through last week without any major problems.  On Sunday, I slept in late and finally got to relax. And now, here is a day in my life (from last week)....

4:52 AM - Alarm goes off. I always set my alarm for the last possible moment that I have to get up.  Two extra minutes of sleep really does help (I hope).  Before I know what is happening I throw off the covers and get out of bed.  Head to the bathroom, pee, brush teeth and change into my running clothes. Walk downstairs, grab sneakers, reflective vest and headlamp.  Walk back upstairs to grab coat (that I forgot to grab) then head out the door to run.

5:03 AM - Outside in the cold, waiting for garmin to get satellites then start running an already planned 4 mile route.

5:25 AM - Pass another runner on the road, she sounds out of breath, she doesn't say hi so I don't either.  I see her out a lot in the predawn mornings. She always looks angry and upset. Can't tell this morning cause its dark.

5:36 AM - Arrive back home, take a picture of myself, take off headlamp and reflective vest.  Grab purse, lunch, gym bag and running clothes bag and head to the gym.

 5:40 AM  - Leave for gym.  See signs for road closure from the direction my running buddy is coming from.  Know she will be a bit late.  Make note that I should take an alternate route to work to avoid road closure.

5:53 AM - Arrive at gym.

5:55 AM - Walk into gym, talk a bit with girl at the counter (she is so nice!) then walk into Total Body Conditioning class, set up bench, weights, mat and balance ball. Set up same stuff for my running buddy since I know she will be late because of road closure.

6:00 AM - Instructor walks in followed by my running buddy.  We start class.

6:30 AM - Half way through class - so far we have done pushups, lunges, bicept curls, squats and one legged squats.  Soon we will start the abs portion of class.

6:42 AM - Instructor has us doing inner thigh exercises, makes an obscene joke that I don't really get. Its too early.

7:00AM - Class is done, put away stuff and head to the locker room.  Put my stuff in a locker then hit the showers.

7:30 AM - Finished showering, dressing, blow drying, straightening and doing makeup.  Leave gym for work.  Forget about road closure and quickly detour away and take a long way to work.

7:44 AM - Realize I should have gone a different way  - too many stop lights and children walking to school. I know I will get to work later than I wanted.  Stop at Tim Hortons for a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Tim Horton's guy at the window tries to hit on me - I am too tired to realize.

7:55 AM - Arrive at work.  Feel slightly frazzled since I am late but sit down to eat my two hard boiled eggs.  Heat up my pumpkin muffin in the microwave and enjoy it with some pumpkin butter on top.  Sip Pumpkin Spice Latte - Does not taste that great, I think the Starbucks one may be better than this Tim Horton's one.

8:30 AM - Check emails, respond to emails, eat more breakfast, talk to my co-worker in the neighboring cube.  Tell her about my crazy morning.

 8:55 AM - Leave desk and go to lab bench to continue working on project that I started yesterday.  Retake data I found was bad at the end of the day yesterday because I forgot to change the settings on my measurement equipment. Wrestle with stupid software, take more data, analyze it, think about it, continue taking data.

10:15 AM - Mom calls to confirm plans for weekend (its her birthday Sunday and she and my dad are coming over for dinner).

10:30 AM - Team meeting, supposed to be an hour but drags on to 70 minutes.  Lots of talking, I am getting hungry for lunch.

11:40 AM - Mini meeting outside of big meeting as I walk back to my desk.  Discuss problems as my stomach grumbles.

11:55 AM - Answer emails.

12:15 PM - Go grab lunch from refrigerator and sit down with three coworkers to play cards (which is what we do most days).  Eat, talk, play, de-stress.

1:00 PM - Back to desk to answer emails.  Send text to Brian since I have not heard from him.

1:30 PM - Continue to work on project.  It is pretty boring to explain to people what I do but I love it.  Its all about problem solving and figuring out the answers. Recieve quick text back from Brian, he is having fun.

2:10 PM - Coworker I am traveling with for business trip on Wednesday thru Friday sends me an email asking for a ride to the airport.  I let him know that I can and we arrange details on where and when I will pick him up. I feel bad saying no even though it will be a little out of my way to go get him.

3:00 PM - Afternoon drags on, not much happening today.  No meetings to go to, office is pretty quiet.  Spend some time figuring out some software and how to use it.  Finally get it to work! Success!

4:57 PM - Leave cube, change into running clothes in the bathroom then leave work and head to running club meeting place.

 5:13 PM - Early as usual, Take a moment to just relax in the car and listen to music. My running buddy arrives shortly after me.

5:18 PM - Stand around for a bit waiting for other people from the running club to arrive, decide not to wait and head off for a 3 mile warm up.

5:25 PM - I am a bit chatty and talk about my day with my friend.  The warm up flies by and we discuss many different things, including her wedding which is NEXT week! (I am a bridesmaid in said wedding!)

5:48 PM - Finish warm up (3.1 miles) and wait for the rest of the group to arrive.  Continue to discuss personal matters and of course talking with her makes me feel better.

6:03 PM - Main group of running club does a XC style workout but I hate XC so my running buddy and I hit the road for some intervals.

6:05 PM - Start first interval, feeling slow and hands are freezing! The temperature is about 60F which is almost 30 degrees warmer than this morning.

6:13 PM - Finish first set (of three). That wasn't so bad.

6:15 PM - Continue with second and third set of intervals.  Todays workout is 3x (1000m @ interval pace + 200m rec jog + 400m @ rep pace + 200m jog + 200m @ rep pace).  I went out slower on the first one to make sure I did a negative split workout and also to ensure that my running buddy did the same.  I know her so well, I know she will pace off me. As we round out the last set, the sunset is beautiful.  Wish I had my camera.

6:49 PM - Finished with intervals, calculate how much more mileage we need to reach 8 miles then set out on a short cool down

6:57 PM - Finish workout earlier than expected! Since Brian is away, my running buddy invited me to dinner with her and her fiance.  I am excited to have someone to talk to.  We drive together to the restaurant.

7:18 PM - Arrive at restaurant and see lots of people waiting.  Realize that everyone is trying to use their groupons that expire the next day!  Get a table fairly quickly and wait for her fiance to arrive.

7:50 PM - Order food (we are at a Korean Restaurant - really good food).  I get the stir fried vegetables with chicken.  Very hungry after that running workout.

8:16 PM - Food arrives and I start scarfing it down as fast as I can with chop sticks (which slow me down a bit) and forget to take a picture.

8:33 PM - Finish food and feel full but not stuffed! It was so good.

8:47 PM - Leave restaurant and head home.  Need to pack my suitcase for trip the next day.

9:00 PM - Arrive home, throw a load of laundry in the washer, then head upstairs to shower/rinse off.  Pack suitcase, pack clothes for spin class at the gym in the morning, pack breakfast and lunch for Wednesday.

9:35 PM - As I am making hard boiled eggs, one cracks so I have to boil another one.  Laundry still has 13 minutes left.  Decide to upload garmin data and post to Dailymile.

9:55 PM - Laundry is done, move it to the dryer.  Finish packing food for Wednesday.  Start post for Wednesday on the blog, will finish it in the morning.

10:10 PM - Check personal email and facebook, but don't have time to respond to emails, will have to wait until the morning.

10:28 PM - Finally ready for bed.  Climb into bed.  Double check my alarm for the morning. Then fall asleep.

Wow.  It sure was a busy day!  And that was just one day of a very busy/crazy week!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dailymile Commenting

I am a pretty active member of DailyMile.  I post every workout on there from my running to my spin classes to yoga and pilates.  I like how I can keep track of everything I do each week.  Plus I like to comment on other people's workouts and see how their training is going.

Click on photos for a larger view
Every day I see people's workouts and I try to comment in a genuine way. I try to be encouraging and nice.  But often I feel like I sound fake.  I feel like I say the same thing every day.

I mean, how many times can you say "Great run today!" before it gets old.  I really apprecaite the people who comment and say something nice and thoughtful.

Sometimes I try to think of creative titles for my runs in an effort to get out of the monotony because basically I do the same thing every week.

But what if you don't know what to say, is it worth just posting "Good Job"?  Or do you need something more, something more substantial?  What if you don't support their training or think they should be doing something differently? Is it ok to say that in a comment?  Will they get offended or not? It is hard to find the line between a good commenter and a bad one.

In the end, maybe it doesn't matter what someone comments on your dailymile workout as long as they comment in a nice supportive way.  Because they took the time to read your little summary of your workout and then comment.  And in the end, that really is enough.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Judge a muffin by its batter

You know that saying "Don't judge a book by its cover"?

Well....I do that all the time.  And it doesn't just apply to books.

I also judge how my muffins (or cake or cookies) are going to come out based on the batter.  This past weekend was a true test because I was baking a brand new recipe.  I had some leftover shredded zucchini that I needed to use up.  And as I mentioned yesterday, I have been on a bit of a pumpkin kick. The best part about these muffins is that you could omit the zucchini.  I made these and the batter tasted so good - I was so happy it turned out so well and the muffins didn't disappoint.

Pumpkin (Zucchini) Muffins

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1-2 cups shredded zucchini (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Add eggs and sugars into a stand mixer and combine.  Add pumpkin, butter and vanilla and mix together.  Add in dry ingredients and combine with mixer.  Add zucchini and walnuts if desired and give the batter one final mix.  For muffins, grease muffin tins and fill about 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes.  For bread.loaves (didn't try this yet), bake for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean.  After taking out of the oven, let cool (5 mins for muffins, 10 mins for loaves) then remove from muffin tins or loaf pans and place on wire rack.

All week I have been enjoying these for breakfast at work.  I heat them up in the microwave and then spread some pumpkin butter on top.  Delicious.  But there is a better way to enjoy any kind of muffin...

The best way to eat a muffin - Grilled Muffins

Cut muffin in half and spread butter on each side.  Turn on stove to medium heat and place buttered muffins into frying pan.  Let cook for about 3-5 minutes until toasted.  Spread on cold pumpkin butter and enjoy.
Hands down the BEST way to eat a muffin! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's has finally come to my town!

After going to my usual Monday afternoon Yoga class with my running buddy, we decided to venture across the street to the new Trader Joe's that opened last Friday.  It is very convenient that it happened to open just across the street from where I go to yoga!

We browsed the aisles of fresh produce, frozen foods, cheese and chips.  I was amazed at all the different kinds of foods they actually had. AND I was amazed at how empty a lot of the shelves were - the place was so picked over.  Guess it is quite popular in this town.

Found some fun new foods I would be wiling to try and did some price comparison shopping to other groceries stores in the area.  Found that some items were cheaper at Trader Joe's and some were not.  Loved seeing the "Reduced Guilt" packages, especially this Mac & Cheese!

The one thing I remember to really look for was Almond Butter and they didn't even have any! So I was a little bummed about that.  Seems like they just don't stock it at this TJs.  I did end up buying a few items though. 

They even gave me a bag to put my stuff in!  Seems I may be on a little bit of a pumpkin streak as I bought Pumpkin Spice Coffee, Pumpkin Spice Tea and a can of Organic Pumpkin to compare to Libby's Canned Pumpkin.

I doubt that Trader Joe's will become my sole grocery shopping place - it isn't exactly close to my house, there is a grocery store much closer that I will continue to use.  But it is nice to have options for food. And now when I see all these recipes online that call for Trader Joe's ingredients, I might actually be able to include them if I want.

Monday, October 8, 2012

First 30 degree morning

Well it appears that the warmer weather has left and the cooler fall temperatures are here.

We had our first FROST advisory last night.  And I was planning on running like usual at 5am this morning.  The outlook for the rest of the week doesn't look much better with few morning temperatures above 42.

I kept adding layers as I got dressed this morning because I knew I would be cold.  I had originally planned to tough it out with just a shirt and a long sleeve but that idea went out the window when I woke up to a cold house.  I put on a light jacket, grabbed my gloves and headlamp and headed out into the cold.

I forgot that it takes longer to warm up when its colder out.  It has been a solid 5 months since I have had to deal with cold and I rather enjoyed the warm summer mornings.  My legs felt sluggish and tired but eventually I woke up enough that I started to enjoy my the run.

Most mornings I see the paper boy out delivering papers and he must think I am so crazy.  Unlike me, the paper boy always takes the same route so I always try to guess where I will see him during my run.  This morning he was quite late (maybe he overslept) and I saw him on a road I didn't expect.  These are the silly games I play in my head while running in the morning half awake.

I avoided all the hills this morning. I just was not in the mood to battle them, it was enough I was battling the cold and the wind.  Most of my usual routes have a least one hill included which makes avoiding them slightly difficult. 

My morning runs have become so routine that often I hardly remember what happened during them just hours later.  Although to be honest, there really isn't much going on at 5am anyway.  Most of the run is spent watching out for cars or watching the ground so I don't step in a pothole.

I finished up the 5 miles I had planned and stepping into the warmer (than outdoors) house never felt so good.  I am not ready for these cold mornings but I think they are here whether I like it or not.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What do I do now?

All those early morning runs over the summer, all those weeks of training to race for 1 hour and 33 minutes.

The race I spent all summer thinking about really did go by fast.  I loved every second of training just as much as I loved running the race.  It's the after race part that I don't exactly like.

Sometimes I wish that training could just go on and on - but of course that would get boring.  But nonetheless (for me) there is just something about training that I love.

I didn't exactly spend last week recovering from this race in the best way since I was traveling for work the day after the race and then camping the following weekend.  I was never more grateful to sleep in my own bed after camping out in the cold for two nights.

Every Sunday I try to plan out my week - and this week was no different.  I pulled up my calender and planned my runs, mostly morning runs and how far each would be.  It is hard not to have a plan anymore and even though I could be completely lazy and sit on the couch, I know that getting in some runs will make my week go much smoother.

But I keep thinking what is the purpose of my running right now? What is the point besides to keep up my base mileage?

There are a few things that stand out - a few reasons why I need to run.

1. 5k races - I have three on my radar right now.  In fact, I am running my first on October 13th and then another on October 21st!  I have a few fall 5k races that I just love because they are flat and fast.  I can't wait to run fast in the cool fall mornings.

2. My running buddy's wedding - I am a bridesmaid in the wedding (yay!) and I have this dress that needs to fit.  No one wants to see me rip my dress because it is too tight!  When I bought this dress back in the spring, I intentionally bought a size that I knew would fit if I remained the same size and so even though I am in post race mode, I have been really watching my diet.  No cookies or cake or candy for me.  Until October 19th!

3. Work stress - I have a huge project at work right now with lots of deadlines coming up.  Maintaining my weekly runs really helps to keep my stress level down and also helps to keep me calm and collected and not totally blow up at my co-workers when things don't go right.

So for now I am going to keep running, add in a little bit of speed work as I get ready for some shorter speedy races and just enjoy October! It is going to be a great month!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Overnight Oats with Pumpkin Butter

Mmmmm....Pumpkin!! My favorite fall treat!

In an effort to switch over from cold smoothies to a more warm and fall type breakfast I decided to give overnight oats a try.  I have eaten oatmeal in the past, it is usually my go to pre long run meal but it has always been from the instant packets.

I know that overnight oats are popular in the summer as a cold breakfast but I don't think I can eat oatmeal cold.  I can barely eat oatmeal warm with some brown sugar or other toppings.  Since my schedule is busy and doesn't allow for a long breakfast making process in the mornings, the overnight oats seemed like a good choice and I would just warm them up in the microwave.

Monday night I prepared the oats with almond milk and old fashioned oats and then set them in the fridge to marinate overnight!  In the morning I was in a slight rush so I just grabbed the jar and headed into work.  They actually turned out delicious and so I made this again this morning.  The thing that makes the oats so good is the pumpkin butter I made over the weekend.  It is just so delicious mixed in with the milk and oats. Plus when I heat up the jar, everything just mixes together perfectly and tastes oh so good!
 Overnight Oats with Pumpkin Butter
1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats (or rolled oats)
1 tbsp pumpkin butter
1 tsp vanilla  extract (optional)

Toppings - fruit, cinnamon and more pumpkin butter!

 Combine oats and milk into a mason jar (or dish with a lid).  Stir ingredients, then add in pumpkin butter (Stir again if desired, or let pumpkin butter sit on top for the next morning when you heat it up!)  Place in refrigerator and let sit over night.  In the morning, take out jar and let sit on counter for a while then heat in microwave for about a minute. Add toppings if desired and ENJOY!  (Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste)

Pumpkin Butter
1 can (29 ounces) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup apple cider
2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional - I did not include)

Combine pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, apple cider, and spices together in saucepan, stir well and bring mixture to a boil.  Be careful because this mixture kind of acts like marinara sauce when boiled and will pop all over.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes (can go shorter or longer depending on how thick or thin you like). Add more spices to taste.  Let cool, then pour into a container and store in the fridge. (Recipe taken from Skinny Taste)

 If anything YOU have to make this PUMPKIN butter.  Best thing ever.  I have been not only enjoying it in my oatmeal but on toast and muffins and basically anything!  It is just so good and it is especially delicious on a warm muffin or toast.  So good.