Saturday, June 30, 2012

Groundhog Day


Thanks to the fact that my kids are obsessed with catching crawfish in the creek, I feel like I’m in the movie Groundhog Day. It seems like I’m writing the same things over and over again. I may end up taking a break from blogging this week (especially since I’m taking a running break) so that it doesn’t seem so monotonous.

That said, I bet you can’t guess what the boys and I did today...
This time I let them bring a friend. They asked if they could bring Brendan, and I said sure, but let me take a shower first. When I got out of the shower, Noah told me that he called and talked to Brendan’s mom, and told her that we’d pick Brendan up in a few minutes. I didn’t even know that he knew their phone number! Hahaha, so I threw on some clothes and we headed out.

I brought the boys to the creek and  Listening to the boys talk was cracking me up. I was sitting in a lawn chair watching them play, and they were having conversations with each other. At one point, Brendan (7) said to Eli, "I know what you mean, I feel your pain, Eli, I feel your pain." Bahahaha! A couple of times, I heard Noah say, "O-M-G!" I know for a fact that he didn't learn that from me!

I wished I had a book to read or something. All I had with me was my iPhone, and I got bored with that quickly. However, I AM getting caught up on my Google Reader. I’ve been about a month behind on everyone’s blogs, and even though I was reading a little every day, it wasn’t enough to catch up.
 
Right now, I am only about a week behind. I hope to get it all cleared out within another week or so. I’m kind of bummed that I missed so many cool giveaways! By the time I read about each giveaway, it was over—by about 3 weeks, lol.

Tonight we are going out in the boat with my parents to watch the fireworks show put on at the Metropark. Every year, for as long as I can remember, we've gone on the boat for the fourth of July fireworks show. I can't say I enjoy it, but I know that the kids love it, so that's why we go. I am just not an outdoors-person in the slightest. My brothers sucked up every last ounce of that gene.


I really need to come up with plans to keep myself busy all week. I know that I don't run for hours on end each day, but it takes up a good chunk of my morning--between dressing to run, then actually doing it, and following it with a shower and getting dressed, it takes 2-3 hours. Since I'm taking the week off of running, in the hopes of healing my knee, my days are going to seem very long. Especially if they only consist of taking the kids to the creek! 


I supposed I could be productive and get my house uber clean... but that's no fun! I really want a good book to read, but I'm at a loss. I've started and stopped dozens of books this year, and haven't gotten interested in any. Yes, that includes the 50 Shades series... I'm probably the only person on the planet who thought it was lame and didn't even finish the first book. It's not that I'm a prude, either--I love a good smut book! ;)

I have a couple of books on request at the library, but I'm third in line, so it will be a while. Any suggestions? I like easy-to-read fiction novels, as well as memoirs. On second thought, maybe I should just give up on books and work on clearing out my Google Reader first!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rip Van Winkle

It was another early morning for me today. Yesterday was pretty hot--hot enough that my boys' baseball games were canceled last night! So I wanted to make sure and get my 10-mile run out of the way early today to avoid a heat stroke ;)

Ty was coming to meet me from Ann Arbor (about a 45 minute drive) at 6:30. So I got up at 5:00 to get ready for our run. We met at a gas station, and then I drove from there to the park that Jessica and I used to park at for our long runs. I had mapped out a 10-mile out-and-back route that went to the tip of the Metropark and back.

It was pretty hot outside. At just 6:30 AM, it was already in the 70's, and it was 81 when we finished. It was extremely humid--the air felt really thick, which made it harder to breathe. We saw quite a few people out running, though, which was really surprising. I never see other runners! But I counted at least 6 or 7 today.

My knee was holding up pretty well, but at mile 4, we decided to do a short walk break every mile (the 9:1 thing Jess and I did). Ty is coming off of a hip injury, so we took it easy. When we got to the bridge at the Metropark, we stopped for a quick picture:
My knee pain got worse at around mile 9, and I decided to listen to my body (like my doctor told me) and walk the rest of the way back to the car. I stopped my Garmin, of course ;) Ty said that taking a week off of running really helped a lot with her hip injury, and I think she has me convinced to take a FULL week off of running. If I'm going to do it, the best time would be NOW. I don't have any races lined up until September 1, when I'm running a half-marathon in Minnesota.

I don't think that taking a full week off will harm my fitness level, so I am going to try it. My next run won't be until a week from Monday--so I'll be skipping all three scheduled runs next week. I'm going to go for walks instead, as long as my knee feels good about it, and I will continue my strength training, stretching, and foam rolling. Let's hope that the time off helps my knee!

Anyway, we got back to the car, and I was drenched in sweat. When it's that humid outside, the sweat is just ridiculous. But here are our splits:
Stupid Garmin is all screwed up. I just spent about an hour trying to upload our run, and it wouldn't work. It STILL won't work. And even when I look at the Garmin itself, it's only showing one lap (the first mile). Oh well, at least I can get the final stats of the run:
My iPhone takes terrible pics of my Garmin,
but I'm too lazy to get my real camera.
After the run, we headed to breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Ever since I had the pecan pancakes when Jennifer and Angela were in town for the documentary, I've been craving them again. They are probably going to be my go-to meal after my long runs during marathon training. They did not disappoint me today:
I ate all three pancakes, but I really wish I'd just had two. I felt comfortably full after two, but they were just so good I couldn't stop! Then Ty headed back to Ann Arbor, and I went home to shower. I've been extremely stressed and anxious for the last couple of weeks, and it's causing physical symptoms that are really bothersome (lump in my throat, eyelid twitching, etc). So I took a Xanax to relax a little. I don't take it very often, but when my anxiety and stress gets really bad, I might take one.

Then Jerry and I took the boys to the creek to catch crawfish again, since he was off work today. He waded through the creek with the boys.
I was really starting to feel the Xanax, which was making me incredibly tired. That's why I don't take it very often, because it puts me to sleep. Jerry took a picture of me, which looks really pathetic:
When we got home, my kids called my parents to ask if they could spend the night over there, and of course my mom said yes. I was excited to be able to hang out with Jerry, and possibly even go out somewhere. I wanted to lie down for just a couple of minutes, so I laid on the couch and watched Tosh.0 with Jerry... and I actually fell asleep! I never, ever take naps--I was willing myself to keep my eyes open, but I just couldn't. Jerry thought it was funny, and actually took a picture of me sleeping. I can't believe I was so out of it that I had no idea he took this:
I am so not attractive when I sleep, haha! Anyway, I didn't sleep very long--just a few minutes--but then my eyes shot open and I panicked that I had fallen asleep. I know a lot of people like naps, but I hate them--I feel like it's such a waste of my day.

So now Jerry and I are trying to figure out what to do tonight--whether we should go out or stay in. I'm leaning toward staying in. ;)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Things I have been enjoying lately...

This post is not sponsored in any way... I just thought it would be fun to share some things that I've been enjoying recently:

These MorningStar Farms burgers are so good! I accidentally bought this kind (the "prime" ones) instead of the original grillers, of which I had read a good review. I was bummed when I saw I bought the wrong ones, because I've never really found a good veggie burger that I loved.

I've been putting them on a regular hamburger bun, then adding a little mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickles, and a slice of cheese. It is delicious! Not super low-calorie (422 calories total), but very good and filling.




This Michelob ULTRA Light Cider has become my go-to summer drink. You can read my full review (FYI, it's a sponsored post, but the opinions are my completely honest ones).



Baked beans. They are such a summer food, and I've been obsessed with them lately. I've been eating them as a side dish with something just about every day. I think I'll start experimenting with homemade versions in the crockpot, but for now, Bush's will do just fine.



My iPhone. I never realized just how much I was missing out until I got this! I've never been much of a phone person, but I get excited every time I get a text message or Tweet or even just a phone call ;)



I cannot believe my treadmill is making the "things I've been enjoying" list... because you know how much I hate running on the treadmill! But since I haven't had a choice lately (with my kids being out of school, I have to be home with them), I've had to do my running on the treadmill. And I have to say, setting up my laptop to watch movies or TV shows right in front of my face has made it totally bearable (and dare I say a little enjoyable??)



source
The TV show on Lifetime called Drop Dead Diva. I started watching this from the very first episode, and despite the fact that it sounds completely lame, it's actually really good! It has held my interest for four seasons now. The whole concept of the show sounded stupid, but when the first episode aired, I was too lazy to change the channel... and I got hooked in!



My Under Armour Perfect Pants... again, I know that I did a sponsored post for UA, but I am truly in love with these pants!! I wear them way too often because they are so comfortable. My only complaint is that the legs are a kind of long, but the comfort level totally makes up for that. And I just discovered that they have a hidden pocket in the waistband--I have no idea how I missed that!



Twitter. I still don't understand it completely, but I am starting to see the appeal with Twitter. I still get super nervous every time I tweet something, though--lol. And I don't know if I'll ever understand the Twitter "language", but I am having fun trying to figure it out.




This blog. Melisa's use of *disclaimers* makes me crack up when I read. I really enjoy the way she writes, like she's having a conversation with the reader.




Watching my boys play baseball in the evenings. They are at the age now where they really love to play, and they are learning all the rules. The games (well, Noah's games, anyway) are actually exciting to watch, because they keep score at this level, and they play by the rules. (Eli is still playing t-ball, where they don't keep score or follow baseball rules). Eli's games are funny to watch because a lot of the kids are clueless, but they try so hard!



And, I will leave you with that. The boys have a game tonight, so I've got to get ready to watch (in 100 degree heat!).  If you enjoy this kind of list, please make one of your own and link to it here in the comments--I love reading about what everyone else is enjoying, because it gives me ideas or products to try. I got the idea from SUAR.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A new incentive


Another gorgeous day in Michigan today! Check out my view as I type this:
The boys begged me to bring them back to the creek today (this time with their little nets) so that they could catch crawfish. I really needed to catch up on e-mail, but I figured I would just do that at the park while they waded in the creek… completely forgot that I need internet to do e-mail ;)  So I decided to just get a start on my blog post in a word document.


This morning when I woke up, I made some Banana Cranberry Oat Bars. I wanted them to be done baking and ready for eating after my run. I had another great treadmill run today. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m enjoying the ‘mill, but it hasn’t been all that bad.

I set up my computer so it’s right in front of my face (perched on the cat tree) and I watch a show online to pass the time. Today, I watched The Bachelorette, and I really enjoyed the episode (it was the one that just aired Monday). I’m terrible with the guys’ names, but there is one guy that actually caught my attention this season.

Normally, I think ALL the guys seem super fake and obnoxious for one reason or another, but I really like the guy she did the marionette puppets with (just looked it up, and his name is Jef). He is so funny in a very real way, that seems to be his real personality. I loved when they were lying down kissing and it seemed to be a super corny moment (per the usual Bachelorette stuff), but then he said, “...I want to date you so hard and marry the (bleep) out of you” (not sure what word he used there, but whatever it was, it made me laugh and I almost fell off the treadmill). I’m not a fan of his hair, but his personality totally makes up for it. Maybe because he's goofy just like my husband?? ;)

Today’s run was the same as last Wednesday—run 15 minutes easy; then do 4 repeats of: 5 minutes fast, 2 minutes easy; and then a 10 minute easy cool-down. It ended up looking like this:
That little jump in the beginning was when I hopped off the treadmill for
a second to adjust the fan behind me.


I just realized that with an 8:40 pace, if I had gone just another tenth of a mile, it would have been a 10K PR for me. My 10K PR right now is 55:05. But again, I'm faster on a treadmill than I am outside.

The longer intervals like that were tough, but I felt good when I was done, and I was drenched in sweat. I’m really looking forward to Friday’s long run! Ty is actually coming down here from Ann Arbor to run 10 miles with me. And the best part is, we are going to Cracker Barrel afterward ;) I have pecan pancakes on my mind!


Confession time--I hate writing about this, but I have to for my own peace of mind. I was not at all happy when I got on the scale this morning and saw the biggest number I've seen since my surgery in November--148!! Granted, I felt puffy and I ate quite a bit of sodium yesterday, but I still shouldn't have seen that number. That is a full 10 pounds heavier than I was when I started marathon training in January. And I can see the extra weight in that picture I just posted above.

I was 150ish all last summer, and it bothered me, because that is technically "overweight" again. And I knew it was because of my diet (tons of flurries from the ice cream shop near my house). I have been really slacking lately on my diet, and just saying, "Well, I had a hard run today, so it's okay to eat ____."

With the whole What's Beautiful Challenge by UA, I really wanted to get down to goal by the end of summer. But instead, I've gained weight. The weigh in today was very scary though--enough to scare me straight, hopefully. I am back to counting every calorie I eat until I can get back down to my maintenance range. This seems to be the pattern I follow in maintenance--gain to a certain point where it scares the shit out of me, and then stay on the straight and narrow until I get back down to where I am happy. I still haven't figured out how to STAY where I am happy ;)

So anyway, Jerry suggested that I reward myself with a new laptop (something I desperately need, as mine is old and having more and more problems lately) IF I reach a goal that I set for myself. I would like to be back down into my maintenance range (133-137) before August 31st--9 weeks and 2 days away. That is certainly do-able. I will post my weight every Wednesday for accountability.

However, since the best part of marathon training is refueling after long runs, I am going to allow myself one meal per week (following my long run) to indulge, regardless of calories. I'm not calling it "cheating", because I hate that word. I just don't want to feel like I'm punishing myself by being super strict 100% of the time. So I can enjoy my pecan pancakes after our 10 mile run on Friday without guilt!

Does anyone else tend to gain weight in the summertime? I do just fine over the holidays, and usually December is when I'm my lightest (in 2010, I was 128; in 2011, I was 134). But during the summer, I am always my heaviest. I would love to break that cycle.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Candy Heaven

What a boring day! Yesterday went by so fast, and then today was just the opposite. I was actually pretty sore when I woke up this morning--I think those super fast intervals I did yesterday may have done my muscles some good. I love that hurts-so-good feeling in my muscles after a tough run.

After lounging in my pajamas for way too long this morning, I did the leg exercises that the doctor gave me yesterday. It actually took much longer than I thought--about 45 minutes--to get through all the exercises. Most of the exercises require me to do 3 sets of repetitions on each leg.

After I showered, I knew I was going to go stir-crazy sitting in the house, so I asked my friend Amber if she wanted to meet us at the park so the kids could play. She has a boy a few months younger than Noah and a three-year old little girl. The three boys together (my two and her's) are completely rambunctious. I don't know where they get all that energy!

They had a blast at the park looking at crawfish in the creek.
Eli kept begging me to go buy him some salt water taffy. Stupid Food Network... he was watching it last night and they showed how the salt water taffy is made. I thought he'd forget about it by morning, but he has a crazy-good memory when it comes to reminding me to buy him things. But the last thing that boy needs is more candy, so I told him not today.

Speaking of him and candy, yesterday we stopped at Party City to get invitations for Noah's birthday party. Eli's face totally lit up when we went by the candy section. I bet this is what Heaven looks like in his dreams :) I took his picture in front of all the candy:
To prove I'm not a totally mean mom, I did let each of the boys pick out 15 of the 15/$1 candies. I wish this store was closer to us, because it would be awesome when I just want to buy one small piece of candy. If I have a craving for licorice, for example (confession: I may have a bag sitting next to me as I type this), I have to buy a big pack of it. But at this store, you could buy each piece individually (for 7 cents each).

But I could totally get carried away there, too...

Speaking of cravings, I had a totally random craving today for my cold "almond joy" oats, so I went to Kroger to buy the stuff to make them for lunch tomorrow. This is the ONLY way I will eat yogurt. Yogurt is my very least favorite food I've ever tried, but this is one way that I can eat it.

I mix 6 oz. of Dannon plain, fat free yogurt with 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, 1 tsp. maple syrup, 1 scant Tbsp. mini chocolate chips, 1 tsp. shredded coconut, 1 tsp. sliced almonds, 1/4 tsp. coconut extract (the extract is a MUST). I just stir it all up and eat it that way. I know most people like to let their cold oats soak overnight in the fridge, but I think they get too mushy that way. So anyway, I am excited to have this for lunch tomorrow--it's probably been a year since I last made it.

Today is the day that the Fitness magazine is technically supposed to be on shelves (although some people have seen it earlier, even before me!) My Ragnar team cracks me up... they posted these pictures to the wall of our Facebook page:
Rik, our team captain, at the airport in Phoenix
Jennifer and Linda in New York
I absolutely love my team! I know I say that at least a couple of times a day, but they are so much fun. Rik was actually in Alaska running a (very tough) marathon on Saturday! And Jennifer was in NY interviewing Linda for the From Fat to Finish Line documentary.

Well, I've got to get the boys' stuff together for their baseballs games tonight. I'm looking forward to going--it's gorgeous outside today!

And just because I'm curious... what is your favorite penny-candy? (These days, they are more like 7 cents, but you know... the tiny little pieces of candy). I think my favorite is probably a Tootsie Roll Midgee. Love Tootsie Rolls!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sports medicine doctor's appointment


I had to wake up to the alarm again today--this time at 5:00 a.m. I think Jerry was relieved that it was my alarm, and not his--so he could sleep in today :) I had my sports med appointment today at 7:00, and it takes about 45 minutes to drive there, so I had to leave at 6:00.

I had a quick cup of coffee before heading out. When I got there, they gave me the usual forms to fill out, but I hadn't even completed the front of the first page when I was called in to see the doctor. Then the doc came in almost immediately--awesome! That's a bonus to having a 7:00 appointment, I guess.

I explained to him all that was going on with my knee: when I first had the pain (April 5th), exactly where it was and what it felt like, and anything else that I thought might help. I even brought my Adrenaline shoes with me to make sure I was wearing the proper shoes for my feet. He watched me walk, and then pushed and prodded my knee and leg, maneuvering it in all different directions to see where the pain was originating.

In the end, he said that I have BOTH iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) and patellofemoral pain syndrome ("runner's knee"). The runner's knee is what is causing the most pain, however. It's funny that he diagnosed me with both issues--because when reading about each syndrome online, I couldn't decide which set of symptoms described my pain better--they both sounded like what I had going on. It never occurred to me that it could be both!

He suggested I take 4-6 weeks off of running and do something like biking or elliptical instead. I told him that I had just started training for another marathon, and I told him about the training schedule. I asked if I could still do it, or is it uber important to take the time off completely. He said it depends how much this particular race means to me, and that I should listen to my body.

I can run, but if my knee starts to hurt, I should stop. I shouldn't run through pain. He also said I should do treadmill or track running, since the surface isn't as hard on impact. He gave me a script for physical therapy, as well as a packet of exercises and an elastic exercise band to use to strengthen my leg muscles. He also ordered x-rays, which I had done before I left the building.

All-in-all, I am glad I went. I didn't really learn much that I didn't already know, but it was nice to confirm what I believed. And I am glad he gave me the option to still do the marathon if I listen to my body and take it easy as needed. I'm going to try and continue training, but if it gets horrible like it did before, I'm going to take the recommended 4-6 weeks off of running, even if it means missing the marathon. Luckily, it's been getting better recently, so with the additional exercises he gave me to do, hopefully it will continue to get better.



After my appointment, I came home and did my scheduled run for today. Even though it was gorgeous outside (not too hot), I did it on the treadmill as the doctor suggested. Today's run was 50 minutes easy running, with 6 pick-ups (fast 30-second intervals). I did something I've never done on my treadmill before--I actually pushed a double-digit button. The one that pushed my speed into double-digit miles per hour!! I've never ventured into that territory before. My splits:
If only I could have such consistency when running outside!
My intervals were only 30 seconds each, but that was about the maximum time I could hold a 6:12/mi pace before feeling like I was going to fly off the back of the treadmill. In retrospect, I should have worn the little emergency stop clip! My knee felt good, though--maybe the treadmill is good for something after all ;)

While I was running, Jerry went and got doughnuts for breakfast. He's been working a lot lately, so it was good to be able to have breakfast together, especially a treat like fresh doughnuts! I already explained that there is a new bakery near us with amazing goodies. When they first opened, I bought some for the family, but I passed one up. Today I felt fine about eating one because I had a good run beforehand.
I told Jerry I wanted something with frosting--like a frosting-filled one. He said when he got there, there was one that was peanut butter cream filled, so he picked out that instead. He knows me SO well--if I had known that was an option, I totally would have picked it!

It's kind of funny, I was never a doughnut fan until April of 2011. Even at my heaviest, I would pass up doughnuts in a heartbeat because I just didn't like them. But when I was on vacation in Tennessee, I tried a Krispy Kreme, and it was all over from there ;) Anyway, Jerry and I sat on the porch with coffee and our doughnuts, and had a nice chat over breakfast.



We took the kids out to get new bedding (theirs was a couple years old and pretty ratty looking). The kids have been begging to go out to a restaurant again (we've been taking them once a month, and we still hadn't gone in June). So we went to a place that is kind of like a Coney Island. They actually had a vegetarian section on the menu, which made me happy. I ordered a sampler plate of spinach quiche, sauteed vegetables, rice, and hummus with pitas. It looked fantastic:
Everything was delicious, but when I tasted the rice, I was positive it tasted like they cooked it in chicken broth. I asked the server, and he confirmed that it was cooked in chicken broth. They definitely shouldn't have put that on the vegetarian menu! I didn't eat it, and they applied a $2 discount to the bill, which was cool of them. I hope they amend the menu for other people who may think they are eating vegetarian rice.



It was so nice to spend the whole day with the family today. It definitely felt like a weekend, with the doughnut-breakfast, shopping, and eating lunch out. Then we cooked on the grill for dinner. The day totally flew by!

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider Review


I've mentioned a few times now that my very favorite thing to do in the summertime is to sit on the back deck with Jerry, chatting over cold beers, while the kids play in the backyard. We get to talk without distractions and just enjoy each others company.

Jerry is definitely a beer connoisseur, trying every different beer he can get his hands on, but I always stick with a light lager. I don't like anything heavy, or dark, or "hoppy" or any of that mumbo jumbo that Jerry talks about when he talks beer.


It would be nice to change it up once in a while, however. So when I was asked to review the new Michelob ULTRA Light Cider, of course I jumped at the chance! When I was in college, I didn't like beer, so I used to drink hard cider--but it was hard to drink more than one, because they were so thick and almost syrupy.

From the first sip of the Michelob ULTRA Light Cider, I knew that "thick and syrupy" wouldn't be a problem. It was very light, crisp, and "sparkly". Even though it's an apple cider, it tasted very summery to me. It almost reminded me of a sparkling white wine, only with a crisp apple taste.

It definitely fits into my daily calories--it's only 120 calories per bottle, so about the same as a light beer. It's actually gluten-free, too, which surprised me. I don't know much about gluten, but it seems like it's in just about everything. It's sweetened with stevia, which I liked--I'm not a fan of artificial sweeteners (I don't like the taste)--and stevia is one no-cal sweetener that I actually don't mind.

So anyway, the Light Cider is definitely a nice change of pace to the beer I'm used to in the summer. It kind of reminds me of a girly drink, but not as "foo foo" as, say, a wine cooler ;) (Not that I really care what people think about what I drink--hello, boxed wine!) But I honestly really liked it, and would certainly buy it again.

De-stressing on the deck with Jerry on summer evenings works for me... Which favorite summer meal or activity do you think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Light Cider? One of the serving suggestions is to pour it over ice--I bet that would be good too!

You can check out the Michelob site here:
Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on BlogHer.com
Sponsor's site

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Reader Questions & Answers #18

On Sundays, I will answer some readers' questions in a post. If you have a question that you would like me to answer here on the blog, just send me an e-mail with the subject "Q&A", and I may include them in a future Q&A post. They don't have to be about weight loss or running--anything is game!  (Remember, I'm not a doctor or dietician, or any sort of medical professional--I can only answer questions from my own experience).

Q. I'm a new runner who is up to running about 5 miles. I'm already finding it difficult to run that distance without water. I've read that you use a waist band for your water on long runs, but a friend, and fellow runner, said that it pulls your pelvis into an alignment that is slightly different than what it would be without the waist band. I was wondering if you had any advise on this, and/or what your thoughts were on the camelbak brand, that you wear like a backpack.

A. Very interesting! I never gave much thought to the belt changing my form while I run. I don't know how much truth there is to that, because I have no information to back it up. However, in my experience, I don't feel that it has harmed my running stride at all. It probably depends on where on your body you wear it, also. Some people like to wear the belt down over their hips, but I find that uncomfortable because it bounces too much. I wear mine up high, around my natural waist. It looks a little dorky, but it doesn't bounce that way ;)  I actually find it comfortable to wear, and it makes me feel like I have better posture.
I haven't tried the Camelbak backpacks. I would love to try one, because I've heard great things about them, but they are expensive--and my belt does the job for now, so I probably won't get one. But if the belt changes your form, I imagine that the backpack would a little as well. I think the best thing to do would be to see if a friend has one you can borrow to try out before you buy? I wore Jessica's belt before I bought one, just to see if I liked it. Or check to see what the return policy is--if you don't like it, can you return it? Doesn't hurt to ask!


Q. How did you learn to start your blog?  I'm thinking about starting one (not at all related to weight/fitness!) and don't know where to start.

A. I've been asked this question quite a few times recently. I'm certainly no expert on this! Everything I know, I learned from Google ;)  When I first started using Blogger, I was clueless. "Signing up" and creating the blog is pretty easy and self-explanatory (just go to Blogger.com and follow the prompts to set it up). But changing things around and making it more creative was the hard part. I would keep it very basic to start with, until you get more familiar with blogging. 
One of my original banners, created in Photoshop ;)
Once you create the blog itself (which just takes minutes), you can start posting right away. From your "dashboard" (the screen you see when you sign in), you just click the orange button, which is to write a new post. Type out what you want to say, and you can add pictures if you'd like (just by clicking the little photo icon above your post). When you're ready for it to be published, you just click the orange "publish" button. 

After you get the hang of writing and publishing posts, you can start to get creative with the look of your blog. You can add "widgets" to your sidebars (I had no clue what a widget was, but I learned quickly). Blogger makes this VERY easy, because you don't have to know html or anything to do it. You can just click "add widget" and then choose from a list what you'd like to add (an archive of your posts? Links to your favorite sites? A search bar? etc). 

I know this is a cop-out answer, but you really should just play around with it. That's how I learned everything I know! I tried stuff out, and if I didn't know how to do it, I just Googled the answer :) Good luck!

Q. Would you ever consider doing a run like the Color Run or Run for Your Lives? Run for Your Lives is one reason I want to start training for a 5K. Running from zombies=FUN! :-) Then, I saw the Color Run on Pinterest, and it looks like it could be lots of fun too. Just wanted to know if you'd ever do something like that.

Warrior Dash 2010
A. There are TONS of "fun" runs like these now, which I think is great--it's getting a lot of new people into running! I did do a Warrior Dash (mud run with obstacles) and learned that it just wasn't "my thing" ;) I don't like to get dirty when I run. I've heard amazing things about The Color Run, but that one doesn't really interest me either. I know, I'm a total dud! The Color Run isn't timed, and it's all about getting colorful (read: dirty) while you run. I've never heard of the zombie one--that sounds like something Jerry would be totally in to!

I'm not totally against running in these novelty races, however--if one pops up that interests me, I would love to do it! I think these kinds of races are really great for people who aren't really interested in how fast they can go, but want to have fun and be active. And it makes for some great photos to post on Facebook! ;)  I think you should definitely train for that zombie 5K if it interests you. And then e-mail me some pictures!

Bonus Question: Since last night, I've gotten a few e-mails and comments about how I "accidentally" posted my last name on yesterday's post with my race results. I've always been VERY careful to leave my full name out of my blog, but it was actually intentional to leave it there yesterday. I had no idea that Fitness was going to be publishing my full name in their magazine until I saw it in print. I was a little freaked out at first, but I know that if someone really wanted to find out my name, they could. Actually, some people have said they found it by looking up my bib number on races (a little creepy, now that I write that!). So anyway, I totally appreciate your looking out for me!!
Speaking of Fitness, I finally got my copy in the mail yesterday...
 I have to say, it was VERY humbling to be on the same page as the "cool kid" bloggers like Skinny Runner and The Fitnessista! (Although I do kind of feel like the nerdy girl at school who was just asked to eat lunch at the cheerleader table, lol).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Solstice 10-Miler race report

I am going to start by saying WHAT A FUN RACE!! I absolutely loved everything about it.

I woke up to the alarm going off at 4:00 a.m. Good grief, that is early. I don't know how my husband does that every day! I will not complain about the kids waking me up at 6:00 ever again. Jerry and I both got up and had a cup of coffee together. That part was pretty nice, actually.

I got dressed in my little outfit, and French-braided my hair (which took forever). Sat around waiting for a little bit. Then I met Jessica at Kroger at 5:30 so we could drive to the race together. I felt like I was still half-asleep. We picked up our shirts, which were inside of a mall--awesome, because we could use a "real" bathroom instead of porta-potties.

Ty from "this is how ty runs" sent me a text. We had talked about meeting up and running together, so I waited for her before going to the starting line. We'd never met in person, although I read her blog and she reads mine. She was with her husband (who was running the 10 Mile also) and her friend Irina (who was running the 10K). I sent her pictures of what Jessica and I were going to wear, so they picked up the same goodies from the dollar store as well. We looked very festive!
Irina, Ty, me, and Jessica (pre-race)
And apparently, we were the ONLY ones who looked this festive, because I only saw a couple of other people dressed up. We walked by a man who was filming the race, and he asked if he could film us yelling, "Welcome to the Solstice Run!" So we stopped and did that. Then there was a random guy who was running the 10-Mile who stopped us and asked if we'd get a picture with him. We were quite the attraction, which was fun ;)

The 10K'ers went first, and then we lined up to start at 7:30. I planned on running slow and easy, about an 11-minute mile pace. I was afraid of running too hard and messing up my knee again, so this was a "fun run" for us. Thankfully, the weather was actually pretty nice! It was a little hot at times, but nothing like the marathon was a month ago.

I always get cotton mouth the first mile or so of a race. I think my adrenaline just gets going full-speed and coupled with nerves, I get a dry mouth. The first few miles are always the worst for me as I find a good pace and rhythm. Jessica, Ty, and I all ran together and chatted. The skirt and seashell bra didn't bother me one bit! But the lei was really hot and sweaty on my neck. I left in on, but Jessica gave hers to a little girl who was cheering. I would have done the same with mine, but it was really sweaty and gross.

There was a monster of a hill 3/4 of a mile into the course, but we did good with it. If it had been at the end of the course, I for sure would have walked it. We walked through the water stations, but maintained a 10:40 ish pace. My knee started to bug me a little at about mile 5, but it wasn't bad. Just a little irritating. It stayed like that through the rest of the race, which bummed me out, but it never got to the point where I had to walk. It was more irritating than painful.

I was surprised at how hilly the course was! I am used to running on totally flat ground, so the hills were tough for me. My legs felt good, but it was hard to catch my breath at the top of each hill. The course was difficult in that sense, but not horribly so. It was a great course, in my opinion.
At mile 7, Ty decided Jessica and I were holding her back ;) so she took off ahead of us. I was actually feeling pretty good at that point, but Jessica had a rough couple of miles (usually she starts out strong, when I'm not doing so well, and then vice versa later in the race). We slowed our pace a little, and then the last mile was a blast.

There were tons of people around, and we ran through where a festival was set up for later. Then the last half-mile was AMAZING. I just kept saying, "I love this!" because we ran a loop around this field, where the finish line party was. There was music, and tons of people cheering, and I felt like a champion, haha. We sprinted the last little stretch to the finish.
Not last place, but pretty damn close ;)
Our splits
The finish line had Panera bagels (yum!) so I grabbed a whole grain one, which is my favorite kind. I drank a bottle of water and we found Ty and Irina, who tried to convince us to dance with the "real" hula dancers on stage. Um, no thanks. I am waaaay to shy for that! Jessica danced a little, and then a woman asked if she could borrow my grass skirt so she could do it. The real hula dancers wanted a pic with us, but I wasn't able to get my skirt back on in time before they took the picture... bummer.

Jessica and I took an "after" pic at the car before heading home...
Showing off our surf board medals
I'm not thrilled with the shirts, but the medals are cool--they are shaped like surf boards. And we also got a hat!

Notice the pink stain on the ribbon of my medal? Yeah, that's from my shirt. My skin was stained pink when I took it off! I didn't wash the shirt yesterday after buying it. After seeing the stain, I figured I'd better hand wash it for the first time so I don't stain a whole load of laundry. Look at the water!
After my shower, I had the BEST post-race lunch ever. I made smashed chick pea and avocado salad and spread it on my whole grain Panera bagel. It was heavenly. And really tempting to go get another bagel tomorrow so I can have the same thing again.
I was shaking from hunger at this point, so apparently,
I was unable to take a non-blurry picture!
I loved this race, and would totally do it again next year. It's definitely one to do with friends! And dress up for sure. The course was great, even with the hills, the volunteers were awesome, the race was very well-organized, and best of all, SO much fun!

Running races for fun rather than for time makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable. I would still love to get my sub-26:00 5K and my sub 2:00:00 half-marathon, but after I do that, I would love to run races just for fun, without a time goal.