Monday, January 31, 2011

Beaten with the tired stick

That's pretty much the only way I could describe how I felt after the half marathon on Saturday. The only thing that kept me from sleeping all day was the constant getting up to get more food.

I got an email inviting me to game night, which I was super excited about for several reasons.

1. I love board games
2. I could drink wine for free (note - if I don't pay for something the moment I use it, it's "free". Example: $6 for a glass of wine at a bar - not free. Drinking wine I purchased two weeks ago: free.)
3. I could wear sweatpants, my race tshirt, and my medal.
4. The email said there would be more food there.

This is basically my ideal social event. It includes only my close friends, aka no annoying random people you might encounter out in public, it involves no beauty rituals other than showering, its cheap, and it was guaranteed to be super fun.
 It got even better once I arrived and found out that Casi had brought one of my favorite wines that I didn't even think was sold around here, and that all three girls had provided a dessert, which meant I got three times as much sugar. Heaven.

However, eventually I fell asleep on the couch, despite awesome entertainment such asJenga, Scribblish, and Taboo. And this:
That's right. On demand karaoke with a self inflating whoopie cushion.

The beating continued Sunday morning, but after a ridiculous amount of coffee I managed to bang out a 10K (6.2 miles) and Jillian's 6 Pack Abs, level 2. It was 37 degrees with no wind chill, practically summer! I got to run with no gloves, ear warmers, and only one layer of clothing, it was so freeing.

After that, my annoying normal energy was back and the night got really awesome, but more on that later.

This is the point when marathon training gets super scary. All the runs are at their longest points. I just did a 5 mile "easy" run, which didn't feel so easy, followed by another round of Jillian, which was definitely not easy. Not going to lie, I'm really glad this is the last week of the challenge! This week's tempo run is 8 miles - AHHHH so frightening! But if I can power through February I get to start tapering in March.

My ankles are still really sore, and Amanda suggested trail running to strengthen them, so I think I might look into that.

Do you like game nights ? What's your favorite game?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I survived!

I ran the super scary Cloud Snapple Half Marathon this morning through the snow, ice, and fallen trees, and lived to tell about it! Thanks for all the words of encouragement!

The race wasn't until 9, but it was in DC (over an hour away) so I was up at 5:50 to get ready, throw back some coffee & grub, and head over to my friend Mike's house to carpool to the race (good thing because he got the LAST parking spot!). 

We picked up our bibs, pinned them on in the car, cried and moaned about how our toes felt like blocks of ice, used the portapottie (only like a 2 minute wait - apparently running in sub freezing temps has a perk!) and headed to the start.
Here's me, Lily, Mike and Conor, freezing our behinds off and ready to start running/shuffling!
A picture is worth a thousand words, so just check out what we were running on! 13.1 miles of pure white.  And this is the packed down stuff at the start - way easier than what we encountered later on!
 Here's the gorgeous view. Too bad if you took your eyes off your feet for a millisecond to enjoy it you risked falling in.
 So running on all those bumps and pits required a ton of ankle strength which I don't really have, plus probably a lot of other muscles I don't even know about. It's a good thing I left the Ipod touch at home because all my mental energy was going towards where to put my feet and trying not to either slip and fall, or lose my balance when my foot hit a deep pit.
 They weren't kidding about the downed trees!

So the finish line wasn't exactly similar to a big race, with the balloons, announcer, music, etc. You basically run over a giant blue mat in the snow and you're done.
 But we did it!!!!

 So, I ran/shuffled/slid for 13.1 miles. I also tripped over a tree branch and bit it hard, but snow is soft so my biggest concern was that Mike brushed the snow off my leg before I could get a picture. I would say that other than the full marathon, this is by far the most challenging race I have ever ran. It was like running on sand that's covering a mine field, not that I would know. But I did the whole thing for some Bruegger's bagels. So you can imagine my shock and horror when, after I jumped for joy and Mike stuck an entire bag of bagels under his fleece for me, I saw this hidden away

 Einsteins Bagels is a (local?) chain that has a location 2 miles from where I live and I can basically have any time I want (but I don't, because it's not Brueggers). LAME. Also there were only plain left and no cream cheese. I tried to wait until I got home to get some cream cheese to eat it with, but I was starving and shoved half of it down my gullet before we even got back to Mike's house.

I've gone to Panera after running my two other half marathons as well as the full marathon so apparently I'm just trained like Pavlov's dogs that when I'm wearing a medal I must have black bean soup and greek salad. So I did. Even though I was exhausted and nauseous and literally couldn't stop shivering, and it was totally worth it.

Now I feel really wiped and sore like I ran a full, instead of a half. (Um, didn't I just run 17 miles last weekend?). I'm also eating like I ran a whole marathon, I can't seem to get full, which is unfortunate, because I'm pretty sure I only burned the calories for a half. Although, I realized around mile 8 that I never put the ice cream maker in the freezer, so that's out. Sad.

I'll spare you the picture of my blister, but just know that its intense!

I forgot to stop my garmin right away and I can't find the times online but it said 2:35 when I did remember to stop it. Even though that's more than a half hour slower than my slowest half mary time, I still feel pretty good about it!

Pretty sure this recap is far from my best work but I am having a real problem with when I had a whole "conversation" with Lily after the finish, except it was actually some girl who looked nothing like her trying to ignore the crazy lady talking to her....or when I had to call my husband to ask which exit to get off at to go to the Panera 3 miles from our apartment that I've been to about 900 times.

This thinking problem needs to end or I am totally going to bomb at game night tonight. I'd really love to zone out to some TV but Eric is sleeping with the xbox controller in hand and swearing he's playing every time I try to change it.

What was your biggest fitness challenge?

Friday, January 28, 2011

I'll do anything for a Bruegger's Bagel

I've been looking forward to tomorrow's half marathon like it's my first trip to Disney World for a few weeks now. Here's an excerpt from the email I just got about the race. I've highlighted a few key ideas.

The towpath is covered with 4 to 6 inches of snow, ice and slush.  It is slippery and wet.  Temperatures will be below freezing at the start of the race and are only forecasted to reach a high in the forties all day.  At the start the hard freeze tonight will make the course slippery but you may be able to run on top of the snow.  Once the temperatures rise the snow will become soft and more challenging.  Watch for the slush bogs especially on the lower part of the course from milepost 6 to the turn around.  There are a few down tree limbs but you can maneuver around them.  BE CAREFUL, if you are not accustomed to this type of course be careful not to turn your ankles in the ruts.  If you like a challenge, come on out. 

I guess I must like a challenge because I'm going out. 

I mean, its better to run in dangerous conditions in a race where there is tons of people and medical support then just on your own, right?  Plus I already got the stuff to make ice cream tomorrow so I need to burn the calories somehow.

The email said there will be Bruegger's Bagels at the end, so there's no backing out now. For those of you not lucky enough to have experienced this fine cuisine, they are the world's greatest bagels. They are all over my hometown but the closest one to me now is over 90 minutes away. 

I'll admit I'm a bit nervous and my friends are starting to back out but if I could run in the snow and freezing cold I should be able to do this....right?

In other random craziness I made the best batch of coconut butter ever - the secret is filling the magic bullet with coconut almost all the way. If you haven't tried this stuff, you should! (Basically the same idea as peanut butter, but with coconut).  

MMMM coconut yummy.

I also came across this recipe for nut milk. Once I stopped laughing at the phrase "nut milk" I decided to try it. 
I love this stuff:  
but it is a bit pricey, so why not try to make my own?

I went with pecans since I figured I wouldn't have to soak them. Its pretty good, but not sure I'll be giving up my beloved Silk anytime soon.

Eric and I actually left the house on our 3rd snow in a row and actually put on real pants and exposed ourselves to people other than each other. We went to see True Grit.

It was really good, and I am NOT one to like Westerns, movies with violence, or movies in general. 

CONFESSION: I didn't even know Matt Damon was in it until Eric told me after, and Matt plays one of the main characters. AND I didn't even fall asleep so I can't blame it on that. I pretty much suck at celebrity stalking. I've never even been to Perez Hilton's website.

Get ready for one serious recap tomorrow if I survive! And if you don't see it, send help to the C&O Canal trail....

I seriously love Lauren for this game.
And Danielle for introducing me to it.

Its especially perfect since this is a rest day for me so I really have nothing else to say.

1.   If my house was on fire and I could only grab 3 things I would grab something tells me its better to just go with my gut on this one, sooo my laptop, my camera, and my box of photos. 

2.  A smell I really like is I first read this as "a smell you smell like" and I was going to say that since today is Friday, based on my big reveal of last week maybe I shouldn't answer that. Seriously, anything chocolate baking in the oven (or actually any dessert baking), or fresh coffee brewing. I like a lot of smells. I'm the weirdo that goes into Yankee candle just to smell everything (and buy nothing).

3.  Something you might not know about me is I played the trumpet from grades 4-11 and I was in Jazz band in high school. 

4.  Some of my favorite websites to putter about on are I pretty much get sucked in to any fitness blog that has race reviews, I can also get really addicted to textsfromlastnight and everyone who knows me knows I am a huge facebook stalker.

5.  This weekend I will be seeing True Grit, running a half marathon with some awesome runner friends,  hopefully attending game night if its moved to Saturday night, possibly trying out my friend's crazy boot camp like kickboxing class, and celebrating restaurant week with some good friends and delicious food!

6. Nothing makes me happier than being with my family or close friends. But seeing that we have a snow day on the news and turning off the alarm is a close second.

7.  A bad habit I have is well this is unknown to me but according to my husband taking up the entire bed.

I'll leave you with some pics of Dance Central from last night. The reason Eric has his shirt off is because I'm the coldest person ever and we have to keep the apartment at tropical temperatures. No lie, when we watched Biggest Loser on Tuesday the heat was at like 72, and I had on thermal pjs, a superwarm robe, thick socks, and a snuggie, and I was freezing. Eric was in shorts sweating.

 Eric insisted this one be moves are lame :(
 Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I love you, snow

So we got like 10 inches of snow last night, and since Maryland has approximately 13 plows for the whole state, we had another snow day today. 

Life is good.
My day has involved a lot of this.
And even some of this.

 Report card comments - yuck.
 Look at that focus! I was so proud of myself at 9am I had three kids done already. Unfortunately its now 5pm and I'm only up to like 10. But I promised myself a dance battle break when I got to 12.

I told Eric to take a picture of me pretending to do my report cards, and he took his role as photographer very seriously and took about 10. On 6 or 7 I decided to actually work on some since I was sitting there and those are the ones you see.

The YMCA opened at 12 so I headed over a little after that to do my tempo run on the treadmill due to the major lack of plowing in this state. I immediately stepped into an ankle deep puddle of ice slush with both feet. I now know what it feels like to get into an ice bath, and that's been officially moved from "no way I'll ever do that" to "no way in HELL i'll ever do that" in my book.

I'm supposed to run a half marathon this weekend and if it gets canceled due to weather I'm punching the snow in the face. To prepare for the race, I shortened today's run from 7 miles to 5, but if we don't end up racing then that was totally pointless and I half assed it for nothing.

I actually felt really good and did three miles in 24:09, which is an average of 8:03 per mile, which is waaaay faster than my normal tempo runs. I got totally into my music and kept turning up the speed, all the way to 8 at the end. I also did a ten minute mile warm up and cool down, rode the bike with my book for about 15 minutes, and did a little hip strengthening (a very little).

Then it was time for some strength training, so I headed home to tackle digging out my car.
If you don't get this picture, you are clearly not from a snowy climate.

Of course, I have a wonderful husband who would gladly have done it for me, but I decided on a halter bridesmaid dress this morning for my BFF Nicole's wedding in May, so anything I can do that can get me from looking less like this

to more like this
 is welcomed. 
I heard on the today show that shoveling burns 400 calories an hour so I put out my heart rate monitor so I could figure out what I burned. In 25 minutes here's what I accomplished all by myself! And the car even officially left the spot!
 So I couldn't wait to see my calorie burn, but then I got the bad news. Turns out the HRM only works when you actually push the start button. FAIL.

This question + my answer will probably have the feminist police knocking at my door.

 Are you a do it yourself kind of gal, or do you let the men in your life (husband, BF, dad, brother, random hot guy, etc) do the heavy lifting jobs?

I'll admit, I'm a total wuss. I'll do the grocery shopping gladly but I always call Eric to bring them in from the car - we live on the third floor with no elevator and I eat a lot!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

5 Packs Short

 WARNING! This post contains really really unattractive pictures of me!

So I just have to say, thanks so much for all the comments about being impressed that I run in the cold - being able to brag on this blog is serious motivation to get out of bed and get out there.

Today was Week 5, Day 2 for Jillian's 6 Pack Ab challenge. I wore my heart rate monitor just for fun and I burned 245 calories (or, as I like to think of it, two servings of ice cream)
in the approximately 35 minute workout!  That's a huge jump from about 150 for level one.  Here's what I looked like when I finished. Please note that my hair was completely gelled down when I began.

You can't see it but I was really sweaty, and you also can't see my tank top straps....

I'm getting a bit concerned. Since I had some extra time, I decided to check out my progress. I didn't even see ONE pack, much less the five that should have been there. (6 weeks to 6 pack abs = 1 pack per week, right?). I know I haven't been doing it five times a week, but shouldn't training for a marathon count too? Like I said before, I'm not posting pictures, so here's a conversation to illustrate my progress, or lack thereof.

Me: I don't see anything even close to resembling a six pack.
Eric: You definitely have some definition at the top!
Me: Ok well look at just my midsection and tell me if you think that anyone looking only there could confuse me with Gwen Stefani.
Eric didn't care to comment on that. He's no fool.

I then decided to use my snow day to do something I've meant to for a long time - go swimming! Since I'd run 33 miles in the past 4 days, I figured this was the perfect cross training. Plus, it would force me to wash my hair, no small feat, since I'm on Danielle's plan.
Oh look how happy I am here. Things went sour pretty quickly from there. I didn't even make it one length of the pool before my googles filled with water and my swim cap came off. I tried to fix them a few times but then finally relegated myself to burning eyes and hair all over the place. Pretty much after about 30 seconds I mentally shortened my workout, especially since I was planning on vacuuming and french braiding my hair when I got home, which are totally forms of cardio and strength training, respectively.

In the pool, I just kept telling myself this was good for me, because I didn't want to be a marshmallow runner. That's what Runner's World calls runners who don't do any cross training so all their non-running muscles are like marshmallows. Apparently I currently am one since I can run for hours but 35 minutes of swimming makes me feel like I am going to die.

You can sort of see how red my eyes were, that was like 10 minutes after getting out when the burning had died down.

If the calculations I did in my head during my shower were correct, then the distance I swam today (about 1km) is close to the distance I'll have to swim in the triathlon. Which means I really have my work cut out for me, since I took lots of breaks and also did not exactly feel like hopping on a bike and then doing a run afterwards.

I'd like to leave you with a picture of me from my birthday, that proves I can actually do my hair, put on makeup, and dress myself. This is the one I'd like to pop into your mind when you think of me, which I know you all do, all the time.


I've been on a little break from blogging for the past few days for three main reasons:
Reason #1
 I'm not real into watching movies, as I've mentioned before. If I made a list of all the cult classics that, when I tell people I haven't seen them, causes them to react like this:
I could probably fill a book. Back to the Future was one of them. I have some friends that found that unacceptable. Here they are.

so we planned a Back to the Future themed party where we watched all three movies back to back. I love my friends and we had a great time, but let's just say when we enacted the rule during the second movie that you had to drink every time you heard "Great Scott!" or "Back to the Future" was when the movies really started to improve for me.

 Reasons #2 & #3

I'm not going to discuss the ratio of these two items have affected my life, but lets just say they have both played a large part. But, good news, due to this:
I have the day off and plenty of time to really write some insightful report card comments and deep clean the house play dance central and blog all day.
(Potential Stalkers - please note that none of those cars belong to me, so I'll save you the time of blowing up the picture and figuring out the license plate).

Oh wait, isn't this blog supposed to be holding me accountable for training for a marathon, not just bragging about how glamorous my social life is to make you all jealous?

Well after I defrosted from Saturday's run and returned from the Back to the Future party (oh yes, this was an overnight event!), I absolutely couldn't wait to get out the door for my 6 mile recovery run - don't you love when you look forward to runs like a kid waiting for Christmas morning? 
Yes, I did say 6 mile recovery run. I remember when 6 miles was my long run while training for my first half mary. I flew to Toronto to meet my mom and my sister later that day and remember being like "I can't believe I am going to walk all around this city after I just ran SIX MILES!"
My sister and I at the shoe museum (isn't she so cute?). If you ever go to Toronto, I highly recommend it. I tried to find a pic of all 3 of us, but my mom sometimes tries to be sneaky and offers to take all the pictures so she doesn't have to be in them.....

Whoops, this is what happens when I blog on snow days - I get off on tangents. Anyway, the run was great and when I got home I did Jillian's Six Pack Abs. This was my third time during week 4 of the challenge.

Monday morning I woke up for my run and saw this - check out the temperature.

9 degrees was the actual! The feels like was 3 degrees! Somehow I banged out 4 easy miles. I did Jillian again when I came home - Day 1, Week 5 (I'm trying to only do it on my easy run days.) We had no kids on Monday - does anyone else LIVE for times you can go to work wearing sweats? Because I do.

 Check out that sexy hair! Pantene is just begging me to do a commercial!

Last night my training group met to do our track workout. I was already nervous because we were supposed to do 5 one mile repeats, which is tough. We found out the track was iced over, but, great news, we could still do our repeats on the hilly roads! Hurray! Nearly 6 miles of hilly speed work - WOW. No joke.

Other big news of this week: I finally made my own hummus, and it's amazing. I used this recipe and subbed arugula for spinach.

 I think I am going to go practice a new song on dance central and then challenge Eric to a dance battle as soon as he wakes up and act all like "wow, I'm doing so good, and I never even tried this one before!"

What is your favorite thing to do on a snow day?