Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday love

Pre-workout breakfast: Cinnamon raisin English muffin with apple butter

Workout: Ran 5 miles; average pace, 8:48.

I have to be honest. I haven’t found my love of winter running.

In the mornings, I sit around on the couch and see how long I can wait before I absolutely have to leave. I resent later sun rises and wind chills. I dread the cold air in my lungs, the heavy feeling of so many layers, the 22 degrees outside.

And then, as it always is, something running happens. I find myself feeling hot after a mile. I get into a rhythm. I even laugh (out loud, sadly, at stop lights) at the sweat turning my hair into little icicle daggers.

Then I come home, take a nice bath and flip through the J. Crew catalog and decide that winter is awesome because you need a flannel shirtdress because flannel is warm; a bonfire cardigan for all those bonfires you’re not invited to; an orange Coletta coat for funsies; and a pair of black boots because you only have one pair.

shirt dressbonfire cardigan coat boots

And now that we’ve all sufficiently drooled, let’s get to some Friday love.


Food. Carrot cake is yummy. Especially with gobs of cream cheese frosting. Unfortunately, it’s more of a treat kind of thing as opposed to an “eat for breakfast” kind of thing. Sad, really. And all though there’s no substitute for that frosting, I did get a flavor similar to the cake in Kroger’s store brand Carrot Cake yogurt. It was creamy, spicy and had just a bit of an aftertaste but I’ve come to expect that with some of the lower-sugar yogurts. I wouldn’t eat it all the time but I do think I’d buy it from time to time.

Fitness. For a good two months, maybe more, I was all about following someone else’s routine for strength training – OnDemand instructors, Jillian Michaels, Jackie Warner. And while I’m not abandoning them, I have enjoyed doing my own thing this week, usually as a supplement to one of those routines. It gives me the chance to focus on my favorite muscles (bis and tris) and use heavier weights.

Life. Our refrigerator was a sad state of affairs yesterday. Our milk was spoiled, eggs were gone, orange juice was low, the bread was down to the heels that I never eat and usually give to Denali. Mark was out of cookies, cereal bars and ice cream, and he was down to one beer. Rather than tough it out till the weekend, we opted to go to TCBY after dinner and head over to the Kroger in the same shopping center. I wouldn’t advocate Thursday night shopping but it was nice. Nice to have some fro-yo. Nice to have a helper at the store. Nice to have the shopping done before the weekend.

After all, you have to have time for those big plans. We’re going to do some holiday shopping, maybe stop by a party (if I can stay up past 9 p.m.) and try to see a movie. Who’s doing something fun?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Things Thursday

Pre-workout breakfast: PB&J
Workout: 20-minute OnDemand selection (toning), 15-minutes upper body while watching "Top Chef: All Stars" and 2.2-mile walk with Denali

1. I've decided that I'm not going to do my Jackie Warner DVD until I get 3-pound weights. I feel like such a wimp that I can't handle some of the moves with my 5-pounders but when you're doing a move for a minute, they can get heavy. Especially when some of the upper body moves are actually done two minutes in a row if you have to switch legs on a lunge.

2. Yesterday, I wrote about some winter must-haves but I missed an item: Shoes. My Nike Triax, which barely have 300 miles on 'em, have an actual hole in the toe box of my right shoe. I've noticed that my shoes "thin" there but never a hole. It's either Nike or the way I run, and I never blame myself for anything. I do know that it makes for some cold toes on a run.

3. I'm in serious negotiations with myself (and the checkbook). You see, I want a stationary bike. In my house. For me to ride. Maybe while watching "Biggest Loser," which would be far superior to the current routine of "let's eat ice cream and watch people exercise" that Mark and I have going on. The hang up is that people always buy pieces of equipment and fail to use them. I don't want to drop some cash on a piece of cross-training equipment if it will later serve as a coat rack. Yet, I want another option if - gasp! - I ever choose/need to reduce mileage or go from 4 days running to 3.

Do you have exercise machines? And, more importantly, do you use them?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get in gear

Pre-workout breakfast: Peanut butter and jelly

Workout: Ran 4.71 miles; average pace, 8:54.

I was watching the Rockefeller Center tree lighting last night, irritated that “The Biggest Loser” was delayed an hour so I could have Annie Lennox scare the Christmas out of me, when I realized I needed to laundry. The running tights, worn twice, were in the laundry basket. The Brooks Nightlife half-zip – in there, too. Along with two of my (three) sports bras, two (of three) long-sleeve compression shirts and some socks.

Although I contemplated skipping a run and going naked, I peeled myself away from the flat-screen, stumbled over Denali and walked the five feet to the washer (it’s in the hall closet). I opened the top and, lo and behold, Mark had already started the load. Hot damn! I have a great husband. I threw everything in the dryer and went back to my spot to catch a Filipino girl sing the only English she knows - “Jingle Bell Rock.”

I lucked out - for sure – but I couldn’t help but wonder whether it’s time for some more winter running gear. It didn’t make sense last year as we didn’t know whether the running would “stick” but I’m out there still. In the “sun doesn’t rise till 7:45” dark. In the snow. In the “it feels like 16 degrees” wind chill.

(God, I’m such a whiner. Feel free to come to Indiana and smack me. Then run with me and Denali. We’re lots of fun, I promise!)

If Santa reads my blog, or you need to make a winter running wish list, here’s some ideas:


Wigwam socks to keep my ankles warm. Moving Comfort No Chill Pant Brooks Utopia Thermal Tight

From left, Wigwam socks to keep my ankles warm; Moving Comfort No Chill pants to wear over the Brooks tights.

A Pearl Izumi thermal hoodie (I love hoods) would also be nice, along with the Asics Thermopolis jacket. Of course, additional long-sleeve tops, sports bras would be worn.

And wouldn’t I look fantastic in this:

MZU34-BKWhat are your winter running essentials?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sweet November

Pre-workout breakfast: Whole-wheat waffles with sliced banana and honey (far, far too much)
Workout: 2.2-mile walk with Denali, 20-minute OnDemand boot camp and 10 minutes of weights to round it out

So, November. It's time to say adieu.

Sure, we've had some good times. There was the 15.9-mile W.O.O.F., where I placed first in my age group. I won't quickly t forget the rainy 101st annual Thanksgiving Day 10k with the family, either. We celebrated the winter harvest with a POM Wonderful party and took things to the Xtreme with Jackie Warner.

We covered 92.43 miles over the course of 19 runs. Our farthest distance was the W.O.O.F. and our fastest run was a short Sunday jaunt with Mark (8:25 pace). We even hit the 1,000-mile mark.

But that's all you get, November, as we say say goodbye. It's time for December and its snow-covered sidewalks, icicle eyelashes and Christmas break jaunts with Mark. There will be 10K-shape maintenance and more QT with Jackie Warner. Maybe I'll even try an ab challenge (I saw Jillian Michaels' 6-pack abs on On Demand this morning) ... or not.

How was your November? Any goals for December?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Run worth a thousand miles

Pre-workout breakfast: Cinnabon Cream of Wheat with sliced bananas
Workout: Ran 4.27 miles; average pace, 9:01.

Somewhere between Covington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium, I ran my 1,000th mile of 2010. My first real year of running and I ran a 1,000 miles. Well, 1,006.5 so far if you want to get picky.


I never set out to be a member of the 1,000-mile club. As others pledged such goals, I'm wouldn't even consider joining the club. My mileage - not even 60 miles in January or in February - would get me there. March was just shy of 80 miles. I was a novice, struggling to train for my first half-marathon, the Flying Pig. I just needed to get there, to 13.1 miles. A thousand miles wasn't for beginners like me.

And though I'm still a beginner, somewhere along the way I became a runner. A girl who heads out in the dark, desolate cold to log miles. A girl who finds satisfaction in the sound of her feet underneath her. A girl who looks up at the pink feathery clouds and thanks the powers that be for the chance to see things she wouldn't have seen otherwise.

With every mile that my legs carry me, it's a lesson to never underestimate yourself. To never limit yourself. To always look down the road and look past the stop sign.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Off to trot

Pre-workout eats: Cinnamon raisin English muffin with apple butter
Workout: Ran 5.5 miles; average pace, 8:58.

Good morning, turkeys! I hope everyone had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Mark and I had quite the weekend in Cincinnati. And though it was a happy time, it wasn't quite the healthiest. Lots of food. Lots of ice cream. And not a lot of running.

Well, except for that whole wet and wild Thanksgiving Day race.

My cousin, who was also running the 101st annual Thanksgiving Day race, called me Wednesday afternoon with a warning: It was raining in Cincinnati. Not just raining but pouring. The rain continued as Mark and I made the 3.5-hour drive down and throughout the night. Restless on the uncomfortable couch bed, I listened to the steady stream of rain on the windows. It seemed Mother Nature was trying to make up for a dry six months in one day.

The rain became intermittent when Mark and I snap, crackled and popped our way off the mattress and through our pre-race rituals. I held out hope that the rain would stop just so that we could run the race. But as my cousins pulled up to pick us up, it started to teem. I was going to run in the rain.

I will say that things could have been worse. We were lucky that it was in the 50s - even at 7 a.m. - and the warmer temperatures made the rain not so bad. Two of my cousins who ran are older and wiser than I and thought to bring extra ponchos. Oh so grateful on Thanksgiving Day.

We got to the race with plenty of time and were able to take cover in Paul Brown Stadium until the race was close to starting. With about 10 minutes till the start, we braved the outdoors and pushed our way to the middle of the pack.

And just as the countdown began, the rain stopped.

The race
I had initially thought that I would stick with at least one of my cousins throughout the 10K but everyone seemed content to run their own race. My cousin S, who is a varsity football player, took off like a bat out of hell and Mark and I knew right away there would be no hope in keeping up. The others took off at a more moderate pace and we quickly lost sight of them.

So there Mark and I were, running the streets of Cincinnati just as we had at our first half-marathon just six months ago. The course takes runners through downtown, across a bridge to Newport, Kentucky, through Newport, across another bridge to Covington, Kentucky, through Covington and finally across a third bridge back to Cincinnati. The last mile or so is in downtown.

I felt pretty good - fast, even - as we ran the first mile, weaving through runners and walkers. There were pace signs helping people to place themselves at the start but I guess people were too busy getting in costume to care. Around mile 2, my stomach started to cramp up and I decided to slow down a bit. How slow - I'm not so sure. Though I swear that I charged my Garmin before making the trip, it gave me a low battery warning at the start and turned off before I could cross the mat. I did my best to stay steady and comfortable, reminding myself that this was about fun and family - not breaking records.

Around mile 4, I saw my football-playing cousin walking off to the side of the course. I yelled at him to pick up his feet and trying to push him to do well helped me push myself. Or maybe, just maybe, I wanted to show off. He hung with us for a half-mile or so and then fell back. I offered to stick with him but he urged us on.

Once we crossed the third bridge and lanced back in Cincinnati, I hit that point in a race where you want to be done. A guy near us mentioned that we had just a mile left and I knew it was time to go. At the 6-mile mark, I gave it all I could just to be done.

Results - 53:06*; average pace, 8:34; overall place, 2,352/10,743; age group, 115/996; female, 571/5,481**.

*A PR by over 5 minutes.
**I should have actually been No. 570 out of the ladies but I accidentally registered Mark as a female. Oops.

Let's talk about awesome - chocolate milk, water, flavored water, Crystal Light, Sunny D, ice cream, granola bars, apples, cookies, peanuts and Larabars. I went a little nuts, taking an empty Sunny D box to stock up on Cascadian Farms Harvest Spice Bars and mini Larabars. Let's just say my snack drawer at work will not be empty for a long, long, long time.

While we waited for my cousins, I drank a chocolate milk, picked off Mark's bagel and ate some Apple Dippers (courtesy of McDonald's). Despite 11,000 runners, we were able to find each other, celebrate two first-time racers and make it back to the car.

This race was a lot of fun and it was even more fun to share it with my cousins. I definitely hope to do it again.