Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mmm Mmm Good

The best lunch you can buy for $1.25!

I am really into Campbell's Select Healthy Request soups. It's cheap, it's relatively healthy (note my "healthy request" and "low sodium" choice) and it is very filling.

I usually go with the savory chicken and long grain rice, but the mexican tortilla soup is another fave. With some crushed up tortilla chips and a little cheese - it is a fiesta of flavor.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Destination Procrastination

What is it about procrastinating that is so appealing? I find myself procrastinating more and more lately, even with things I really enjoy. Chad is always telling me to relax and slow down, and maybe I am unconsciously heeding his advice. However, I've found that I don't feel more rested, I just feel lazy. I've noticed that I procrastinate with my running a lot - not so much throughout the week, but every Saturday before my long run. I always take Emma for a walk before I run, and I find myself walking her a few extra blocks, or letting her play in the big open playground at the nearby elementary school. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, I know she needs her exercise as much as I do. But I always set my goal running time for 8:00am, and yesterday I didn't get going until 10:00am. We've been lucky to have cool temperatures (in the 70s!) so it wasn't so bad to get a late start. I follow a pretty regimented routine throughout the week, so maybe it's ok to kick back on the weekends. As long as I get my miles in, I guess that is all that matters.

Well, speaking of relaxing, Chad and I are getting ready for a vacation. We are heading out next Saturday morning to do another Tour of the South (similar to what we did last summer). We'll visit his family in Alexandria, LA, and then we'll head to Shreveport, LA to see more family and to be a part of my cousin Amy's beautiful wedding, and then we'll swing through Jackson, MS to see some friends we've really been missing. I've re-worked my running schedule to accommodate the traveling (ie: I did not want to do my 12 mile long run on the day of the wedding) and I am really excited about getting the opportunity to run in different places. I'm also very thankful that we will get to see so many family members and friends over the next week. Also, we'll get to see my precious niece and help her celebrate her 9th birthday (even if it is a few days late). We are really enjoying our time in Kentucky, but there is no place like home.

My niece - I can't believe she will be 9!

Emma will be making the trip with us, and I think she is excited about it as well. She loves to travel - her primary mode of transportation is in her bed (complete with blankies and toys) on my lap in the passengers side. Here is an example of her from last summer - who wouldn't want to travel like this?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kentucky Experience

Chad and I had a true Kentucky experience last night We went to the Jessamine County Fair Demolition Derby. Oh, it was an experience. This was my first demolition derby, and I was not disappointed. Our friends Tony and Melissa saw it advertised a few days ago, and immediately thought of Chad. We arrived at the track (or mud pit, rather) just as the firefighters were hosing down the dirt. I later realized that this was to enable full "mud slinging into the crowd" capabilities. It was actually pretty fun watching the cars slamming into each other, hearing the hoots and hollers from the rowdy crowd, and gasping at the occasional flame shooting out of an engine.

After watching a few matches (again, I'm not too familiar with the DD lingo) we headed over to the fair. We didn't ride any rides - but we definitely hit up the funnel cake stand. I was in full fair-mode and I ate a funnel cake, part of Chad's chicken on a stick, and drank a coke. This was all about 9:30pm...after I had already eaten a full dinner. I thought for sure I would struggle through my run this morning with oil and sludge and powdered sugar flowing through my veins, but I actually ran at a faster pace and felt really good at the end. Maybe I've found a secret source of electrolytes tucked away in fried carny food.

Here is a picture from the night (sorry for the blurry cell phone camera shot, that me on the left and Melissa on the right)

And another Kentucky experience...when Chad killed this snake in our backyard by hitting it in the head with a brick.

PS: Sorry for all of the template changes on the blog. I saw a lady at the fair last night with an argyle sweater that was to die for, it was kelly green, white, and light pink - my favorite colors. It inspired me to jazz the site up a little bit!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

10 Miler

Yesterday morning I knocked out an easy 10-miler. It's weird how earlier in the year I had to train for three months to be able to run in the Papa John's 10 Miler race, and now I can just go out on a Saturday morning and run 10 miles. It was a great feeling to finish the first long run of my training comfortably and confidently. Not that it was necessarily easy, but it was enjoyable - which worries me because I just finished "Ultra Marathon Man" and as Dean Karnazes' coach told him, "If it felt good, you didn't push hard enough. It's supposed to hurt like hell."

One thing that I've decided to do with my long runs is to chart out my fluid and calorie consumption. So, adding yet another sheet to my marathon training Excel file, I planned out how much water and/or Powerade I would take in at specific miles. I'm still struggling with what to eat while running. I wish I didn't have to eat, but it really becomes necessary once you've been running for more than an hour. Since the marathon will probably take about 4:00-4:30 hours, I need to figure out what works while training. I've tried gels, beans, and bloks, but they all are pretty rough on my stomach. So yesterday, at mile 6 I ate a peppermint. It was easy on my stomach and actually kind of refreshing. I tucked it away in my cheek and let the calories seep in. I know that the beans and the Clif Shot Bloks pack a lot more punch (calories, sodium) than a peppermint does, so I still have some testing to do. I wish someone would make a hard candy thats packed with electrolytes. Hmmm...I smell a business opportunity.

After the run, I laid on my living room floor with Emma the dog for about 15 minutes, then I got cleaned up and we went to see Transformers with some friends. I had no idea what to expect from the movie, and Transformer guru Adam kept telling us to go in with low expectations and I was actually pleasantly surprised. It was funny and entertaining, and pretty interesting. I asked Chad a few questions about the robots and it was very cute when he started explaining about the Autobots and Deceptacons. I thought Shia LeBouef had peaked with Even Stevens, but he was actually really good in this movie.

Last night we went into Wilmore for a pizza and chocolate cake fest with our dear friends. It was just what I needed after a long run. I conked out around 9:30 while everyone was playing Tiger Woods golf on the Xbox. I've read about how much marathon training can affect your social life but perhaps I have an advantage in that department because our friends are used to me wanting to go to bed at about 9:00pm anyway.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Training Favorites

Well, marathon training has officially begun. My training plan covers 16 weeks, and I am still trying to wrap my head around the 4 month daily commitment that I have made. I am very much a creature of habit, and I love a good routine. I've already found a few things that I really enjoy in my training.

1. Cereal and fresh fruit. I get my runs in at 5:00 each morning, and I come home from the gym ravenous. I love the summer season - there are so many fresh fruits to choose from. My favorite breakfast now is either Cheerios or Rice Chex with blueberries, sliced strawberries, and a sliced nectarine. It is a little bit of fruit overload, but I love it. On my drive to work , I get some protein in with a slice of cheese toast and my electrolyte boost with a Powerade/water mixture.

2. Wilco's "Sky Blue Sky". This is absolutely the best cd to run to. There aren't many albums I enjoy from start to finish, and I normally favor a playlist over an album, but there is just something about this cd. One of the things I really enjoy about Wilco is the progression in their songs - they usually start out slowly, build to a crescendo, and then settle back down. This is perfect for running - just enough to keep me interested, but not enough to wear me out. Also, it is a great record to sing a long to. Some of my favorite tracks: "Side with the Seeds," "Hate It Here," "Shake It Off," "You Are My Face," "Impossible Germany," and "Walken." (Megan - I don't think you are a big Wilco fan, but I think you would really like this cd.)

3. Being sore. There is something very satisfying about being sore. I love getting to work and feeling my glutes and hamstring muscles stretch as I get up and down from my office chair.

4. Phedippidations. This is a running podcast that I am practically obsessed with. It is produced by a guy named Steve in Oxford, Mass. He has completed 15 marathons (including 6!) and produces a weekly podcast about all things running. I look forward to every Thursday when a new episode is released! It can be found in the iTunes Podcast directory.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Festivities of the Fourth

Uncle Sam, aka Emma, wishes you a happy 4th of July.

It was definitely nice to have the day off work. I ran the Bluegrass 10,000 this morning, a local 10K road race. I really enjoy this distance (6.2 miles) - it is more challenging than a 5k, but not as challenging as a mini-marathon. My goal was to finish in 60:00 minutes, and I crossed the finish line in 58:50. When I crossed the first mile mark, I heard one of the race volunteers shouting the times, "13:20, 13:25, 13:30, etc." I nearly died...13 minutes?!? There were so many kids and walkers that it was really hard to keep a good, steady pace - and constantly dodging around people really saps your energy. I knew that if I wanted to reach my 1 hour goal, I would have to maintain at the most a 10 minute pace.

Luckily, it began to thin out a little bit and I was able to actually run in a straight line. Miles 2-6 went by very quickly and I felt strong through the whole race. And, best of all, I was able to maintain a 9 minute pace for the last five miles. At about mile 3 I caught up with a group of running superheroes - there were 2 people dressed up as SuperMan, 1 person dressed as Wonder Woman, and 1 patriotic Uncle Sam. We were running at about the same pace for the next few miles and while I knew the cheers and claps and shouts of joys from the spectators were for them and not me, it felt nice to bask in their glory for a while. While 9 minute miles are definitely not lightning fast, it's a pretty good clip for me. I did all of my training for the mini-marathon at a 10 minute pace. My goal was to train for the marathon at a 9:30 pace, but 9:00 felt so good today that I am thinking about bumping up my training goals.

But perhaps the greatest moment of the morning came after the race, as I was walking back to my car. I passed a homeless woman on the street who looked harmless, but as I got closer to her she looked me dead in the eye and said, "You're not supposed to run, you asshole." Yes, I was shocked. My eyes widened a little, but other than that, I put my head down and kept walking - I did not want to tango with this lady.

After the race I headed home, took Emma on a leisurely walk, and then Chad and I headed to Wilmore. We had quite a meal with our good friends - smoked chicken, baked beans, potato salad, deviled eggs, taco soup, and some amazing homeade ice cream. Five hours later, I still feel like I could burst.

Well, it's after 8:00pm, it's stormy and my pillow is beckoning me. I want to get my rest tonight because tomorrow will be a late night, as we are catching Into Great Silence, a documentary on monks. It is a 3 hour, near-silent film, and I am looking forward to the part where they observe one of the monks talking fondly with cats.

I just checked the race results page from the Bluegrass 10k and my chip time as actually 56:22! It took a few minutes to cross the starting line, so that's why when I crossed the finish line the time read 58:50. I was happy to beat my goal by 2 minutes (really 1:10), but now I am even more proud that I beat it by 4 minutes!