Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Day

Well, Mother Nature must have not taken kindly to my last post about the weather. I woke up Saturday morning to 6" of fresh powdery snow covering the roads and sidewalks. Our Saturday group run was canceled, and the roads weren't clear enough to get to the gym. I didn't want to turn one of my longest distance workout days into a rest day, so I decided to put some time in on the trainer. I had an 8 mile run scheduled, which I figured would take me between 1:10 and 1:20. I figured that 1:45 on the trainer would be a decent substitute.

After a small breakfast of Cheerios with a banana and coffee, I hopped on the trainer and spun away. I really thought the time would absolutely drag on, but it actually went by really quickly. I stayed in my 2nd gear on my chain ring (out of 3) and alternated between the 3rd, 4th and 5th gears in the rear cassette. So, I started out in the 5th gear (out of 7, counting the smallest gear as 1, and the biggest gear as 7) and spun easily for 10 minutes. Then I shifted down to the 4th gear for 10 minutes. Then to the 3rd for, you guessed it, 10 minutes. Then back up to 4th, then 5th, then down to 4th, then 3rd, etc. on and on throughout 1:40. I spent the last 5 minutes spinning easily to cool down and stretch. The longest I had been on the trainer up until yesterday was 45 minutes, so it was a physical and mental challenge to stay on for 1:45. I never wanted to get off due to physical or mental fatigue, but my legs did really start to feel it after 1:15.

I'll back up here to describe my dinner on Friday night, because I really think it helped to fuel the ride. Chad was out of town in Michigan for a conference on Friday, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out a new recipe. I love to cook, and there are a few things that I can cook really well, but overall I am not the best in the kitchen.

It's hit or miss when I try a new dish. Some things have turned out really well, and some things have just been absolutely inedible. A run-in with a Rachael Ray "stoup" recipe specifically comes to mind. And a chicken and dumplings attempt where I (heavily) seasoned the chicken with cumin instead of poultry seasoning. So, in order to reduce the number of potentially massacred ingredients, I decided to try a new recipe for one. We had shrimp, pasta and spinach on hand, so I Googled those three things and found this recipe from Cooking Light magazine.

It looked good to me, and we actually had all of the ingredients on hand - other than the capers. I decided to halve the recipe, but I tend to get kind of frantic while I cook, so I ended up halving some of the recipe while forgetting to halve other parts. For instance, I halved the shrimp, pasta and spinach portions, but did not reduce the red onions and lemon was quite tangy! But, it was also really good and filling, but not too heavy.

I think the next time I make it I will make some slight variations, like adding zucchini, grape tomatoes and maybe some Parmesan cheese.

I have several pictures to post of my pasta creation and of Emma playing in the snow, but we are having a time with our card reader. Once we get a new one, I'll upload the pictures!

Lastly, here are my workouts from the remainder of the week:

Thursday 1/28/10
Trainer: 45 minutes
Notes: 5 minute intervals

Friday 1/29/10
Scheduled rest day

Saturday 1/30/10
Trainer: 1:45
Notes: 10 minute intervals, ate 2 GU Chomps every 40 minutes

Sunday 1/31/10
Rest day due to snow

Saturday, January 30, 2010

One World Against Cancer

Due to some technical difficulties with some photos I want to post, I will have my regularly scheduled Saturday post up tomorrow. But, today I wanted to post this chilling video about the global fight against cancer that was posted on the LIVESTRONG blog today.

LinkPlease help LIVESTRONG in the global fight against cancer by making a donation to my Team LIVESTRONG page here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Weather Woes

First, training so far this week:

Sunday 1/24/10
Rest day

Monday 1/25/10
Distance: 3.3 miles
Time: 29:42
AP: 9:00

Tuesday 1/26/10
AM Run
Distance: 3.28
Time: 28:53
AP: 8:48

PM Trainer
45:00 minutes
5 minute intervals

Wednesday 1/27/10
Distance: 6.23
Time: 56:15
AP: 9:01

So, it was a brisk 24 degrees on my run this morning. But, it wasn't too bad. Surprisingly, I'm actually starting to enjoy the cold weather. Maybe because I know it will soon be gone? I really can't wait for 60/70/80 degree weather, but for now I have 20 degree weather so I may as well make the best of it.

In the most recent Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcast, Brett talks about accepting things as they are. For instance, if you are out on a training run and it is rainy, cold and windy and miserable, you can spend all of your time complaining about it and wishing it were dry and warm, but that won't change anything. It's better to just accept it, prepare for it, and enjoy it. I'm not into Zen thinking or Buddhism or anything like that (I'm a preacher's wife for goodness sake!!), but Brett does have a point here. I've been taking this mindset into my training runs this week and it has had a positive affect on my attitude and performance. I'm lucky enough to have an able body, able mind, and the time and resources to run, bike and swim on a weekly basis. Why waste any time complaining about something as arbitrary as the weather?

In other news, I'm thinking about maybe starting a podcast. Chad has all the necessary equipment, so that helps with a lot of the logistical issues. I'm thinking of calling it "Tales from the Trainer" and recording it during one of my weekly trainer rides. I love listening to podcasts about running and triathlon, and it might be kind of fun to throw my hat into the running/training podcast genre. I already have a few episodes mapped out! I actually "tried" podcasting yesterday evening while on the trainer and the time FLEW by. Anyone who has ever run with me knows that I love to talk while running. I guess I love to talk while spinning away on the trainer, too!

What do you think? Think anyone would listen?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekly run-down:

Thursday 1/21/10
-45:00 on the bike trainer
-5 minute intervals

Friday 1/22/10
-Distance: 3.35 miles
-Time: 29:21
-AP: 8:45

Saturday 1/23/10
-Distance: 9.41
-Time: 1:33:05
-AP: 9:52 per mile

We had a great group run in Wilmore this morning, finishing a 2.66 mile run in about 28 minutes. After this run, Kelly and I headed out for another 6 more around Wilmore. We ended up doing 6.75 miles in 1 hour and 5 minutes, making it a total of 9.41 miles for the day. It was pretty cloudy out, but it was a blissful 45 degrees. I never thought I would be saying that 45 degrees feels warm! But it did - it was great! Unfortunately, I think we are going to be hitting the 20's again for lows this week, but it does kind of feel like winter is almost over.

I stopped at the store on the way home to restock our apples, bananas, chocolate milk and toilet paper...pretty much four essentials for a runner! I then took Emma for a long walk (she is loving the warmer weather, too!) and then got cleaned up for the day.

Chad and I went to Zaxby's for lunch and I pretty much inhaled their grilled chicken "zalad." I mean I was practically licking the bowl. After lunch we stopped by Bruster's for some ice cream (we are really living it up today!) and I got a sugar cone of "birthday cake." Pretty much inhaled that, too - it was so good.

After all of that eating, we came home to snuggle with Emma and watch "Julie & Julia." Now, that is a great movie! I've heard from several people that it is very cute, and I agree. A nice, feel good movie. I watched "Food, Inc." last week and it was both very convicting and very depressing. "Julie & Julia" made me feel good about food again - and made me think about how much love and life that can be with food that is made by hand.

Chad's mom recommended the movie to us over Christmas, so while we were watching it I texted her to say how much we were enjoying it. She asked me if I wanted Julia Child's cookbook, and I said that it might be better for me to start with an easy-bake oven cookbook! Luckily, Chad knows his way around the kitchen pretty well and I'm not too terrible.

This evening I'm pretty sore from the run this morning. I didn't take a rest day this week, and I think that has something to do with it. Which also got me to thinking, is it better to take Friday (the day before my long run) as a rest day, or Monday (two days after my long run) as a rest day? Looking back on past training plans, I've always used Friday as a rest day. For this plan, I'm using Monday. I'm going to do some experimenting over the next few weeks to see what works best, and then implement that into my plan.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Trainer

I love my bike trainer. I bought it (an Ascent magnetic trainer) from a friend of a friend this past fall for $100, and I think I've already gotten my moneys worth out of it. I've incorporated three training rides into my 2010 marathon training plan. Last summer and fall I found that riding and swimming really helped with my running, and so I want to utilize the bike as much as possible in my marathon training.

On Sunday I was scheduled to run 4 miles, but it was raining cats and dogs. So, I hopped on the trainer and busted out 45 minutes of intervals. I was absolutely drenched in sweat by the end, and I felt like I got a great work out in. The time flew by, too - thanks to podcasts and my Girl Talk mix. I did the same workout last night on the trainer, but this time I incorporated some time pedaling with only one leg, as recommended in the latest issue of Triathlete Magazine. Ay yi yi, that is hard! It was so hard to pedal with one leg. But, I could feel that it was really workin my legs and my core and by the end of my one-legged time I could tell that I was improving. So, those one-leg spins will get thrown into the trainer rides as well!

I am going to shoot for bi-weekly blog posts on Saturday and Wednesdays. In each post, I'll post my workouts for the week and other training news, plus life updates and any crazy stories that come along, too.

Here are my workouts so far for this week:

Sunday 1/17/10
  • 45 minutes on the trainer
  • Five minute intervals on the trainer: five minutes spin, then five minutes in a bigger gear at a faster pace, with a 5 minute warm-up and 5 minute cool-down
Monday 1/18/10
  • Distance: 4.38 miles
  • Time: 39:34
  • AP: 9:02
  • Notes: Mondays are normally rest days, but since I didn't get my 4 miles in on Sunday due to the weather, I decided to get the miles in on Monday.
Tuesday 1/19/10

AM Run
  • Distance: 3.27
  • Time: 27:24
  • AP: 8:22
  • Notes: After 1 mile in, I ran the remaining miles at 5k pace.
PM Trainer
  • 45 minutes on the trainer
  • 5 minute intervals again, plus 5 minutes (2:30 for each leg) of one-legged spins
Wednesday 1/20/10
  • Distance: 4.66
  • Time: 43:09
  • AP: 9:15
  • Notes: This was a scheduled 6 mile run that I had to cut short due to major GI issues
As mentioned above, my run today had to be cut about a mile and a half short due to some stomach issues. The problems plagued me during the whole run, which accounted for my slower pace. I kept thinking things would get better, but no. It finally became an issue of turn around and get home as fast as possible, or find a shrub. I didn't want to risk getting arrested for indecent exposure, so I hightailed it home, which was a feat in and of itself. That's probably TMI, but it can be a reality for runners! Now I know to make sure certain things have taken place before my mid-week longer runs!

Also, just another plug for my LIVESTRONG fundraising site. I encourage you to make a donation in honor of a loved one or friend who has battled with cancer. It is an awesome way to honor that person, and to help out other who are dealing with cancer!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


When I saw that LIVESTRONG was going to have a team at the 2010 Country Music Marathon, I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of it. My sister Megan has been a huge Lance Armstrong fan for years, and I remember watching the Tour de France with her in 2003 and being absolutely amazed by Lance's story. I knew he was an incredible cyclist, but I didn't know about his passion for fighting cancer. After reading two of his books, It's Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts, I able to wrap my mind around the steeps odds that Lance overcame with his diagnosis, and why he has made LIVESTRONG his life's work.

You may be asking "well, what exactly is LIVESTRONG?"

"LIVESTRONG unites people through programs and experiences to empower cancer survivors to live life on their own terms and to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer. LIVESTRONG focuses on cancer prevention, access to screening and care, research and quality of life for cancer survivors. Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, our organization has raised more than $285 million for the fight against cancer." -taken from

I was lucky enough to be selected as a member of Team LIVESTRONG for the 2010 Country Music Marathon. I have committed to raising $500 for this great organization, and I hope that you will help me. I am asking for 26 donations of $20, which will equal a donation for each mile of the marathon.

As I am running the marathon on April 24th, I know that my training should be enough to carry me physically through each mile. But, I want this marathon to be about more than just finishing a 26.2 mile run. I want to run 26.2 miles to honor and support those who have recently been diagnosed with cancer, those who are currently fighting cancer, those who have survived cancer and those who have succumbed to cancer.

My family and I are incredibly fortunate in that we have only had two family members who have fought with cancer. My father-in-law is a skin cancer survivor, and my Grandma Jo was a breast cancer survivor. But, I know that cancer is a far-reaching disease that strikes at will, not caring who it ensnares next. Since 2006, LIVESTRONG has raised more than 10 million dollars through their marathon fund raising program.

If you would like to make a donation (any amount is greatly appreciated), please click here:

Let's help LIVESTRONG raise $500 more as they work to empower survivors further cancer research!

What A Difference...

...a week makes! I am feeling back in the groove with work, running and life in general. The winter storm loosened its grip on Kentucky this week, allowing for sunshine, temps in the 40's and 50's and melting snow and ice. It has been wonderful being able to get in morning runs and evening walks with Emma.

My first week of marathon training went pretty well! Since I didn't run hardly at all last week, I cut back my mileage a little bit this week. Here is my "run"-down for the week (ha):

Mon 1/11/10
  • Scheduled rest day
Tues 1/12/10
  • 30 minutes of intervals on the trainer
  • Then 15-10-5 (CF style, Megan!) of squats, sit-ups and push-ups
Wed 1/13/10
  • Distance: 3.83 miles
  • Time: 33:35
  • AP: 8:46/mile
Thurs 1/14/10
  • Distance: 2.57
  • Time: 22:53
  • AP: 8:54/mile
Fri 1/15/10
  • Distance: 3.31
  • Time: 29:28
  • AP: 8:54.mile
Sat 1/16/10
  • Distance: 6.13*
  • Time: 59:01
  • AP: *2.03 warm-up run with Sarah and Angela in Wilmore @ 10:30 pace, followed by 4.10 miles at 9:08 pace
Sun 1/17/10
  • 4 miles scheduled

This morning's long run in Wilmore was great. My mileage for the week seems so low (will be 19.83 after tomorrow 4 miler), but I keep telling myself that this is the first week of 15 weeks of training. My total mileage will stay in the 20's for the next 3 weeks, then will jump into the 30's, then will peak in the 40's in March. In April I will begin my taper, and my mileage will trickle back down through the 30's and 20's.

I'm actually really excited about my training plan, and I feel like it will serve me well for the marathon and the summer triathlon season. The plan incorporates 5 days of running with 1-2 days of swimming and 3 days of riding. I'm going to try to incorporate three (modified) CrossFit style workouts in there, too.

I can't wait until March/April when I can pull the bike off the trainer and hit the roads again! But I actually really like the trainer! When I was home for Christmas, my sister gave me a CD by Girl Talk, a musician/DJ who specializes in mash-ups. His stuff is GREAT to run to, and I love listening to it while I am on the trainer. It makes me feel like I am in my own personal spinning class. Warning though, parental advisory is advised! I couldn't find his stuff on iTunes, but my sister gets his stuff through Napster. I highly recommend it for running.

One of my favorite things about a new year is getting organized for the year ahead. For me, this includes breaking in a new calendar/planner and establishing a system for recording my training for the year. Chad and I love Moleskine notebooks and calendars, and I've been using a Moleskine journal as my training journal since November. I planned to continue using it through 2010, but then I got the Runner's World 2010 Training Log in the mail and now I am torn between the two. I've decided to compromise and use the RW Training Log for recording my workouts, while continuing to use the Moleskine as a food journal.

I want to give a big shout-out and congratulations to my friend Kelly, who finished the Walt Disney World Marathon this past Sunday in 4:19! I am having coffee with her this afternoon to hear all about the experience. She was hoping to finish between 4:30 and 5:00 hours, so I am so glad that she blew her goal out of the water, coming in 20 minutes before her predicted time. And, she did it on a bum ankle! She actually fell down a flight of stairs (ha! what are the odds?) the week before the marathon! But she said her ankle never bothered her enough during the race to make her slow down or stop. Great job, Kelly! You are a marathoner!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Year

Well, it is hard to believe it is now 2010. Chad, Emma and I had a great time in Louisiana and Texas with our family for the last two weeks of 2009. We love the life we have made for ourself in Kentucky, but I think we are both ready to set roots down in Louisiana and settle into less of a transitional time in our lives. We plan to be in Kentucky for another year and a half, but I have a feeling the time will fly by as fast, if not faster, than the past four years have.

I am really excited about my running and triathlon goals this year. My goal is to do one half-marathon, two marathons and at least one (but maybe two) triathlons.

Here is my planned schedule for major races in 2010:
  • March - Lexington Half Marathon (3/28/10)
  • April - Country Music Marathon (4/24/10)
  • August - Lame Duck Triathlon (7/31/2010)
  • November - NYC Marathon (11/7/2010)
I will add in local 5ks and 10ks as well, but the races above are what I really want to focus on. If I am able to add in another sprint distance triathlon in September, that would be great as well. We will have to see how the budget goes!

The first week back to real life after Christmas vacation was wild and disorienting. We left Louisiana in mid-30 degree weather, and as we drove north the temperature continued to fall, landing at 17 degrees when we pulled into our driveway. Brr. As like most of the country, things didn't get better this past week! It has been freezing and snowy here, which has put a big damper on my run. Also, the hot water at the gym went out, so there went my morning treadmill runs or swims. I went out for a 1 mile run on Wednesday morning to test the conditions (and some of my new winter running gear!) but it was too snowy and icy to be safe and/or get a quality run in.

Things were extremely hectic at work as we began classes for a new January term, and wrapped up all of the odds and ends of the fall semester. Between the weather and work, I have been exhausted each day. Chad, Emma and I spent each night at home bundled up and warm and eating gumbo. It was really great to have each evening to recharge before the next day.

Now that newness has shaken itself off of 2010 and I've found some familiarity with a routine again, I am ready to jump into marathon training. I started this morning with a 3 mile run on the treadmill at the gym. It felt great to get a run in, since I haven't run in the past two weeks! Yikes. But, it was a good break and I think that I needed it.

In other news, Chad got a huge tattoo on his arm this week! He has been wanting one for years, and he finally did it this week. It is a picture of the Agnus Dei image (google it) and it is on his left arm. It is way bigger than I could have ever imagined, but I am so happy for him because I know he loves it! It is pretty wild though!