Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Run of 2010

We used to rent a 3 story rowhouse with a rooftop deck in downtown Baltimore. We could see the fireworks from the roof and had a party each year for New Year's Eve. Here's a little peek of some past parties....
NYE 2006 - it all begins ( I think I was taking this picture?)

2008 - The year of the face touching (sadly no pictures exist of 2007 - that's what kind of party it was)

2009 - we moved so we went to NC to a friend's party.

Who knows what 2010 will bring?

I didn't realize until I just saw a facebook post that not only is the year ending, the decade is ending! Right? Or was that last year....very confusing.

My friends Lily and Mike came over this morning to do a 15 miler. Our training group is running at 10am tomorrow morning, and after about a week of convincing myself I'd be able to make it (I ran last New Year's Day!) I finally faced the truth that there was no way and texted my fellow partier/runner, Lily, to see if we could move it to New Year's Eve. (Believe it or not, a lot people in marathon training weren't planning on drinking tonight? Weird.) We had to run at 630 so Lily could go to work after - can't imagine doing that! I guess there are perks to being a teacher. We ended up just doing the same route Mike and I did last week, luckily I like it. We changed it a bit to a 12 mile route because that's what Lily was planning on, but she ended up sticking with me for the whole 15! After 12 we were back at my apartment, and thought a 1.5 mile out and back seemed so easy. Um, wrong. It was a bit tough. I forgot that marathon training is hard. But, we stuck with it and, as always, it was worth it at the end. I really want to focus on keeping the majority of the long run at a good pace. All of the miles that didn't include walking breaks were under 10 minute miles (my goal marathon pace) so I felt good about that.

Funny how your perception changes - when Lily showed up wearing her face warmer I told her I bought one just like it and loved it. She asked why I wasn't wearing it and I said because it wasn't cold enough - it was a balmy 28 degrees! I didn't wear my new gloves either (did wear the old, crappy ones) because I thought it was too warm. After 3 runs and 5 days in Rochester I appreciate the Baltimore weather quite a bit more.

2010 probably won't bring any wildness like the above pictures, we are just having 4 friends over for game night - but we have a ton of wine and beer! Really glad that long run is out of the way so I can drink my fair share.

I need to get to the grocery store for some goodies for tonight, the dollar store for some New Year's stuff to wear, plus figure out how to set up my new bread maker and make some pizza dough, make some seriously ridiculous calorie bomb amazing brownies, do laundry, and walk about a mile and a half to pick up my car! Eric was going to take me but he's sick and totally strung out on sudafed....he tried claiming he could drive but pouring a bowl of cereal seemed to be a bit of a challenge for him. I think I'll just do the world a favor and head over on foot.

As we like to say in the Lindsey household: I better get my ass jigglin'. Goodbye 2010, see you in 2011 for some New Year's Resolutions!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas workouts

It's not even 2011 yet, and I am already signed up for:
  1. Two marathons - Shamrock in March and Baltimore in October
  2. Two half marathons - The Cloud Snapple in January and The Maryland Half in May
  3. A triathlon in August
  4. A marathon relay in February
I am also planning on signing up for a 5K soon. So, while I completely ignored my normal healthy eating rules during holiday break, I stuck to my training plan without slacking. I really want to PR in the Shamrock marathon. My first marathon time was 4:41:52, which I am very happy with, since my only goal was finishing. I paid no attention to time whatsoever. At Shamrock, I am really hoping to get under 4:30. The course is flat (quite the opposite of Baltimore) and I am actually going to pay attention to timing, but I don't want to just rely on those factors. While I did some speed working when training for the Baltimore Marathon, I mostly focused on increasing my distance, as it should be for a first marathon. Now that its my second time around I want to really focus on speed work. Sadly my lame grad class is on the same night as track workouts, but I have until February before it starts and I am really going to have to push myself to get them done on my own after that. I also made a slight change to my tempo runs. We are supposed to do a half mile warmup and cooldown, and all the miles in between are tempo. For example, a 6 mile tempo run (what we are at right now) would be all tempo miles from mile .5 to mile 5.5. For some reason the half mile thing was throwing me off mentally. When training for the Frederick Half, where I knocked 14 minutes off my time, I did shorter tempo runs, but they were always faster than my Baltimore marathon ones. So I made the executive decision to change my warm up and cool down to a full mile. I think it helped. According to McMillan Running Calculator, my tempo runs should be between 8:18 and 8:39. On my last two tempo runs, my mile splits were:



8:33 (these look like I actually learned some pacing or something!)

The first run was in a hilly area near my apt and the second was in 22 mph winds (gusting to 31mph!). The second was also with a super fast friend who qualified for Boston (it was her easy run day, haha) which was great because without her I can guarantee those would have been much slower. I feel pretty good about those times, now I want to try to make sure my easy and long runs are a little quicker. I tend to really take it easy on those, which is ok to an extent, but I want to push myself a little and do some long run miles at marathon pace. I haven't done a single track workout yet but I am attempted to get over my fear/hatred of the treadmill on Sunday to do an interval workout! On Christmas Eve Mike came over and did a 14 mile run with me. I felt really good and stuck with my pattern of negative splits so that is a good sign. Tomorrow morning we are doing a 15 miler. I also am really loving this long run on Friday/sleep in and rest on Saturday deal. Sadly once break is over work is going to put a stop to that.

This time around I am really trying to stick with at least some strength training in addition to running. I didn't cut it out completely last time but I slacked for sure. I've heard how a strong core can make you a better runner and help avoid injury, so I asked for this for Christmas.
My good friend Marc got it for me. I don't actually hope to achieve six pack abs, because I love chocolate too much for that. But I do hope for some stronger abs, so I decided to actually take the challenge. Jillian says do the workout at least 5 times a week for six weeks, level 1 for three weeks followed by level 2 for three weeks. I've done level one three times so far this week and lets just say I am terrified of level 2. Jillian stays true to form and works your core like crazy, but also works upper body and has cardio intervals built in. I seriously love/hate her DVDs, they are always an amazingly tough workout. The workout is 35 minutes including warm up and cool down, so it's a substantial time commitment because I am not using it to replace anything, its an addition to my regular workouts. I am hoping by starting it before grad class starts again, during the early part of marathon training before the workouts get really long I can stick to it.

I also got this little baby......
can't wait to try out some recipes! They'll go great with some homemade bread from my new breadmaker :).

Eating and Laughing

I think those two words pretty much sum up my entire Christmas vacation at home (even though I've lived in Baltimore for 5.5 years now, I still refer to the house I grew up in as "home"). Spending time with my family results in near constant laughter which is why I love it so much.

My sister and I, trying to make funny faces for a picture but it took like 7 tries because we kept hysterically laughing.

Going through all the many kinds of delicious food I ate during Christmas break would take an entire novel, so I'll just mention some highlights.

  • Christmas Eve dinner - we just do appetizers in my family, which is awesome. My mom's spinach/artichoke dip is just basically heaven. In addition to eating my weight in it that night, my lunch for the following five days was pretty much broccoli + copious amounts of spin dip. At least I got the broccoli in there (plus spinach is good for you, right?). She made a huge pan of it and I'm pretty sure I demolished at least 97.4% of it over a five day period. We have a family tradition of forgetting to take a picture of the spread, but just picture a huge table full of all your favorite appetizers. New this year was three kinds of stuffed mushrooms (brought to us by Vince & Darcy) and that was a fantastic idea. My contribution was mainly ourselves (we had to work a full day the 23rd so we arrived in Rochester just in time for dinner on the 24th) but I did bring all my leftover cakeballs. I had about three huge tupperwears full of them at my house and did not eat even one Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. You can just mail me my trophy, thanks.
  • Christmas morning quiche with homemade crust (by Mom). I'll let the picture speak for itself.
  • Christmas dinner - the star was roasted brussel sprouts with homemade pomegranate molasses and vanilla pecan butter (again by Mom). Um, ridiculously good.
  • Another Christmas tradition (and we have a LOT) is forgetting to put out at least one present. This year it was the lottery tickets that Santa always leaves in our stockings. He put them in my mom's purse by mistake so after a boys/girls movie night (Tron for the boys, The King's Speech for the girls) she found them at dinner. Santa gave her a BIG WINNER! Not enough to go shopping for a BMW, but more than a traditional lottery winning and more than anyone I know ever one. So, we celebrated with this:
Shortbread topped with raspberry filling and chocolate ganache on top. From Wegmans. Even better than it sounds. Darcy and I had small pieces combined with pieces of leftover pumpkin cheesecake with cinnamon whipped cream (our homemade, again by Mom, Christmas dessert) which basically equals a plate full of heaven. Plus a glass of milk. MMM I wish this was in my life again. We even got a little baby one for my grandma.
  • My dad is Jewish, so we didn't get to celebrate Hanukkah with him, as it fell really early this year :(. Sometimes it overlaps with Christmas, not this time though. We met him for a belated Hanukkah/birthday (his, Dec. 12) dinner at The King and I, an amazing Thai place. It's right by the Starbucks I used to work at and I miss going to dinner there with my old coworkers. Our appetizer was crispy squid tentacles. We all laughed when he suggested it, but then it turned out to be pretty good! I'll try almost anything once.
Eric ordered a dish called "Evil Jungle Prince Chicken" - we all thought it would be super spicy, but it wasn't at all? It was some kind of creamy coconut sauce though, and I really wish it didn't have the chicken, I would have stolen way more than I did!
All in all, a delicious, wonderful, stay in Rochester and a great Christmas - as it always is.

Random ending note: This lady was at a Sheetz on our way up with this bird just perched on her finger like that, which we found hilarious.

My Triumphant Return!

So apparently I decided during the month of December to take some time off from some things. I don't really remember making this decision, but my actions reflected it pretty clearly. With Christmas shopping, wrapping, baking, and all the things that all Americans were crazy busy with that month, something had to go on the back burner. I couldn't really choose exercise, what with a marathon coming up in just 3 short months. I couldn't really choose grocery shopping and cooking healthy meals either, because that could lead to me not fitting into my pants, and I am way to lazy and cheap to go buy new ones. I was tempted to just stop showing up to work, because that would have freed up a ton of time, but apparently that's "frowned upon"- you can't take a leave of absence for a month to wrap Christmas gifts???

After - but still before I got a ton of other gifts that needed wrapping

Grad school was also a non - negotiable and our broomball team was counting on me! (They need a certain number of girls to be allowed to play, they weren't exactly counting on my amazing ball handling skills). So, since something had to go, it seems that option was all the other little tasks I normally do - returning library books, going to the bank, getting gas before my car running on fumes, cleaning the house, and writing in this blog. Which is a bit sad because I totally failed on documenting training for marathon #1, and now I'm 2 weeks in to training for marathon #2 without a single post about it! Luckily new years is right around the corner, which means that you get to just make some resolutions, do whatever the hell you want until Jan 1st because whatever grand ideas you have (eating healthy, being responsible, etc) don't take effect until then! Then, on January 1st, all those bad decisions don't count because you made a NEW YEARS RESOLUTION, so it all changes completely! I love our system :). One of my several new years resolutions is to post at least three times a week (and one of those posts will be about all my resolutions) so if you are on of my two readers (Hi Vince & Erin!) and I don't, feel free to harass me nonstop about it. This is kind of long so I feel like I am going to do a few different posts about the holidays to break it up a bit.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My lack of immunity

So I am constantly reading articles at the gym in women's magazines with tips to avoid getting sick, improve your immune system, etc. Usually they include things like exercise regularly, eat lots of vegetables, get enough sleep, keep your stress level down. All things that I ALREADY DO (except for the low stress thing). But they really don't seem to be working because I seem to catch every bug or virus that goes around. Yesterday I woke up feeling fine and went for a five mile run with my friend. When I got back and got ready to take a shower I started feeling a little nauseous. When I couldn't drink my coffee I knew that something was not right. Long story short, I made it through the morning only to have our school social worker take me by the hand to the nurse when the smell of elementary school taco meat hit me as I tried to pick up my class from the cafeteria. It was all highly melodramatic, but I appreciate my coworkers' concern for my well-being. It's nice to be taken care of sometimes. I went home, got directly in bed, did not pass go or collect my $200. I woke up three hours later, took my temperature and was shocked to see it was 100.6 - even when I had swine flu last year I never had a fever! I basically slept on and off until it was time for bed around 8pm and slept until 9:30 the next morning. Highly unlike me! I can NEVER sleep more than 8 hours even when I try to force myself to. Today my fever has been gone so I am feeling much better, but still spent the day in bed. I am really hoping to be well for my big holiday party tomorrow - I'll be wearing an ugly Christmas sweater with a plate of homemade cookies come hell or high water!