Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another "Which Would You Do?" Race Question

Please Note: This post is totally being filed under #firstworldproblems

So a few weeks ago I decided I was definitely, 100% sure I was going to run the Savannah Rock and Roll Half Marathon on November 5th. The RnR series is running a promo tomorrow for National Running Day and the registration is discounted to $72. Tomorrow I was going to pull the trigger and register.

Then I was looking at upcoming races on active and rungeorgia.com to map out the rest of my fall racing schedule. I see the local road race I did last year and the year before is also on November 5th. Frowny face. Even Mr. Blondie was a bit disappointed when I told him this. This would be my third time running it since we moved here. It's a big neighborhood event and everyone comes out to volunteer and cheer.

If I did the local 15k race on November 5th, then I would also run the Silver Comet Half Marathon the weekend prior to it. I already ran it two years ago, so I know the conditions would be right for a PR race. It's a flat, fast course. About as good as it gets here in Atlanta. I could probably place in the top 3 for my age group, if not win it. (It's a smallish race, they cap it at 2000 runners).

Still with me here?

Savanah RnR Pro's:
  • Inaugural year- cool to be part of that
  • Always wanted to visit Savannah, we'd make a Bed & Breakfast type weekend out of it
  • Flat course, cool temps that time of year- potential to PR
  • A Team MARATHON Bar event. Good opportunity to represent the brand and meet fellow teammates.
  • I'd be a Heavy Medal Groupie
Local 15K Pro's:
  • Big neighborhood event
  • Has sentimental value, haven't missed a year since we moved here
  • Could run the Silver Comet Half the weekend before
  • Flat course, cool temps that time of year- potential to PR
  • Less expensive
The Miami RnR Half in December would be another option if I didn't do Savannah, but I've done a ton of races in Miami and feel kinda meh about traveling there to race.

There's my lame-o dilemma. Now that I'm sharing this with the universe something is going to happen and I won't be able to either. Just you wait and see.

Remember the bread machine post? Yep, life can be tough sometimes :)

Anyway....given the above, what would you chose?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Potassium Soup

Let me start by saying I'm not a fan of the green monster movement, or smoothies/shakes in general. Meals were not meant to be consumed with a straw. I just don't find them as satisfying that way.

When I do make them, I put them in a bowl. Eating them like a soup makes them feel more substantial to me. I don't know why, it just does. A little Kashi Go Lean Crunch on top for a little chew helps with the satiety factor too.


So why'd I break out the blender? This is the best method for getting mass quantities of spinach, strawberries, bananas, and cantaloupe into my system.

My leg cramps have been CRAZY all week long. I don't know what the deal is. In bed, sitting at my desk, walking down the street...the charlie horses have been bad.

I gave myself a few days off after last Sunday's race to recover. My lone workout for the week was on Friday. I jogged for 20 minutes outside (with a couple stretch breaks along the way) then came inside and did 30 minutes on the elliptical.

I've also been doing some light stretching and foam rolling (You want to wait a couple days after an event before doing this, so your muscles can repair themselves. You don't want to further break down muscles that have just been damaged. Be especially careful with those post-race massages for the same reason.)

I've been guzzling a lot of this all week, along with a lot of plain old H2O.


I also bought some Nuun. It was the deal of the day on Schwaggle last week, and I've read good things about it online.

I wish I'd read the ingredients list closer before purchasing it. It's sweetened with Sorbitol. That's typically what sugar-free candy is sweetened with and I've learned the hard way those do a number in my GI tract.


I've only tried a tab of the Fruit Punch flavor so far, but faired ok. I disolved it in my water bottle and drank it while I was on the elliptical. It reminds me of Airborne, but tastes even nastier. It was has a weak fruit flavor, a slight efferesence, and tastes very salty to me.


I'll test it out more this week to see how it treats my tummy. If it helps with the cramps, it presents another dilemma. You're supposed to dissolve it in water, and I won't be racing with a water bottle next week. Do you think I can just chew the tab and wash it down with some swigs of water at an aid station? Can't be much nastier than drinking a full water bottle of it. Know anyone who's done this?

We'll see how I make out on my run today. I'd like to get in at least an hour. I'm planning to go once Mr.Blondie gets home this afternoon, so I don't have to push the stroller. These leg cramps are so weird. I have no idea what's causing them all of a sudden.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Don't Go Cramping My Style (Race Recap)

O hai there!



Thanks for bearing with me as I play catch up on everything after being away for a few days. If you haven’t read it yet, Natalie got her ODDyssey race recap post up in record time.

Getting ready to leave the house. I carried my tutu so it wouldn’t get crushed in the car. I was going for "Black Swan", maybe it was more like "Ugly Duckling".


It was really easy to get the race and there was plenty of parking near the start/finish line at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park. I arrived there nice and relaxed, and figured if I finished in 1:45 it would be a good day.

The lines for the porto-pots were too long before the race, so I didn’t get to go before the race started. The starting official gave the 5 minute warning to all the racers in line and assured everyone there were plenty of pots along the course. Balancing pre-race hydration with bathroom opportunities is always a tricky proposition.

I didn’t have big expectations for this race, thus I didn’t have the typical surge of raceday adrenaline catapulting me off the starting line. This was to my advantage since I’d normally want to take off like a bat out of hell. The first few miles were nice and controlled.

By mile 4 those promised porta-pots still hadn’t materialized, and I said screw it. I had to go. I ducked behind a bush and instantly felt 10 times better. When I jumped back onto the course, I received round of applause and a thumbs-up from a group of guys running by. Leaping on and off the course like that could only mean one thing.

Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go. At least I looked for ample coverage first!

Aside from that, the first 8 miles felt surprisingly comfortable. The flat course, cool breeze, and overcast skies really made a difference compared to what I’ve been training in. I was thinking to myself hey, you’re actually doing this! Everything was going well until mile 9. The out of nowhere came the calf cramp of death.

Still feeling good

I can’t think of a single race where I’ve had a muscle cramp so bad I couldn’t work through it. I stopped, stretched, massaged, walked, repeated….again and again. After about half a mile of this I began to lose my composure. What the hell was I going to do? Take a DNF and ride the SAG wagon back? No I’d come too far not to finish. Walk it to the finish? Walking still hurt and meant another hour on the course wallowing in my misery.

As I watched my time go down the drain, of course I did the smart hard-headed, stubborn thing. I started running slowly with this weird, choppy stride. It still hurt, but at least I wasn’t seizing into Charlie horses anymore. By mile 11, I realized I still had the chance to squeak in under 1:40, and that finally got the adrenaline flowing. It blunted the pain enough that I was able to lengthen my stride and pick up the pace again.


I knew it was going to be close. I held my breath as I looked up my official time at the computer kiosks they had set-up in the finish area. 1:40:24. Bummer. My garmin must have auto-paused somewhere along the way without me realizing it. I don’t know how I ended up with such a big discrepancy.

Boo


1:40 is now the benchmark by which I judge a half-marathon to be a success or not. So yeah, it dills my pickle I came that close and didn’t break it, but it was still a much better race than I anticipated.

Mmmm beer. Toasting with Natalie


Like Shelby, I learned there’s always a first time for everything. I did a lot of icing on Sunday, and wrapped my calf tightly in an ace bandage for compression. It’s still sore, but feeling much better. I’m going to give it couple more days of rest before I try to work out on it again.

Flight back to Atlanta. The kiddo was spent after the weekend too.


Nothing seemed out of the ordinary before the cramp started. My first sips of carbs/electrolytes weren’t until mile 8 (I’d had some water, but didn’t see Gatorade at any of the aid stations prior to this). However I never eat/drink during training runs and it wasn’t particularly hot out, so that didn’t strike me as being potentially troublesome. I don’t want to repeat this next weekend in San Diego.

Hit me with your advice. Has anyone been plagued by random cramps like this? How do you handle it during a race?

Stats:
Time- 1:40:24
Pace- 7:40
Overall- 118/1538
Gender- 30/943
A/G (30 to 39)- 7/302

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Caught Up in the Rapture

I didn't know if I should blog or not today, being that the end of the world is upon us and all.

As I write this at 9:48 est, CNN is reporting that the world is still in existence, so here you go.

Speaking of hell...

Emily and I were on the first flight out of Atlanta yesterday morning. If you've ever flown into PHL International, then you've got a pretty good idea of what the 9th circle looks like.



We landed around 10:30, then drove straight to Center City to pick up my race number at the ODDyssey Expo.



It's a smaller race, so it wasn't much of an expo. There were just a few informational tables set-up and one running store was there selling clothes and running gear. It looks like there's slightly under 2,000 runners registered. I didn't mind since I was able to get in and out really quick.

Later in the day I stopped at a craft store to pick up supplies for my costume. Tulle and glitter will also be involved. Any guesses about what I'm going to be?
 



My motto for tomorrow.... "It is what it is." I'll do the best I can on my current training base (not the stuff PR's are made of) and not get too anxious about it. You can't be in top notch racing shape year-round, so I might as well have fun with it. I'm excited I'll get to meet Lil Runner tomorrow too!
 
We spent today relaxing at Long Beach Island with my parents. Emily made a new friend at the beach.




I just ate my standard pre-race dinner, a small salad and a couple slices of cheese pizza. Now it's off to sleep. The race starts at 7 am, which means a 4 am wake-up call.

Hope y'all are enjoying your doomsday. Mine was pretty nice.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's in a name? And other fun updates

Were you wondering where I went?

My timing was impeccable as always, and I decided to purchase a custom domain name this weekend just in time for the great Blogger meltdown. Did you know you could purchase your own domain name through Blogger and they’ll do all the work to transfer the site over for you? In theory anyway. I think all the kinks have been worked out now, and I’m glad to be back!

AtlantaRunningMom.com is much more indicative of what I’m about. Life in the ATL was a generic name I chose when I first started blogging and was unsure of the direction I wanted to go in. It didn’t take long for my true passions to emerge.

If you’re interested in running, healthy eating for an on-the-go lifestyle, and can tolerate all the gratuitous photos of my (awesome) kiddo…well then you’ll want to update your blog reader with my new URL :) 

I also got more exciting news today. I was selected to be part of Snickers Team Marathon Bar for 2011! I look forward to meeting some of my new teammates at the upcoming San Diego RnR, and representing the Marathon brand at my races this year. Biggest perk…tons of free Marathon Bars! I love these things.


Be on the lookout for some sweet giveaways coming your way soon!

And please excuse my abundant use of exclamation points in this post!!!! It's been a good day!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I'll pay you $20 to get my rear in gear

It was really nice having my mom here for a few days. She flew back home yesterday. My grandmom was released from the hospital which is a great news, so my mom had to leave earlier than planned to help at her house. My mom claims she's not exhausted. I'm not sure how she's not.

Emily had the time of her life going to story hour, the movie theater, and the playground during the week.


I was able to have some down-time after work and get to bed at a decent hour each night. Being well rested allowed some ambition to sneak back into my running. I woke up early on a precious Saturday morning and decided to run the 6k race taking place just a few minutes from our house.

It's been awhile since these legs have seen sub-8 minute miles, so I thought it was a good idea to test out what they've got. I'm treating the ODDyssey Half Marathon next weekend as a fun run, but I still wanted to gauge where I am after taking a step back with my training these past couple months.

What better way to run fast than to have someone chase you. I'm willing to pay 20 bucks for that.


I started towards the front, but off to the very edge of the road. I know from previous races that's the best strategy. I'm out of the way of the fast runners, but don't have to weave around a bunch of people to get moving. As soon as we got going I realized I forgot to lock the front wheel of the stroller, so I pulled onto the grass and quickly locked it. Then it started raining, but it didn't last very long.

Overall I felt better than I anticipated. I picked up some runners along the way and was only passed once......by a dude pushing a jogging stroller. It was pretty funny because we know each other from previous races and usually finish close together. He got me today.

There were only 170 runners, so I ended up second Overall Female with a time of 27:56. This was my first 6k race with the stroller, so let's hear it for an insta-PR! The awards were these dogtag thingies. Em's been wearing it around the house all morning.


Once we got home I put her in the stroller and we did 4 more miles around our neighborhood.


Hopefully I'll be able to run 13.1 next weekend without dying.

Not much else going on here at the Blondie household this weekend. What kind of shenanigans do you guys have planned?

Stats:
Time: 27:56
Pace: 7:29/mi
Gender: 2/?
A/G: 1/?

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Little Bubbly on Mother's Day

First, let’s recap last week’s workouts:

Monday: off
Tuesday: 50 mins outdoor run (~6.5 miles)
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 35 mins treadmill (@ 6.8, 2% incline), 35 mins elliptical
Friday: 30 mins outdoor run (~3.75 mi)
Saturday: 9 mile outdoor run (~8:20/mi pace, wore the garmin)
Sunday: 45 mins treadmill (7.0, 1% incline), 25 mins elliptical

How was your week?

Since last year's gift was the treadmill, that means Mr.Blondie has a free pass for the next 10 years or so when it comes to Mother’s Day. All I wanted this year was a couple hours to myself on Saturday morning to go for a nice run outside and get some stuff done around the house.

One of my good pilot-wife/mommy friends came over for lunch later that afternoon with her snuggly little baby boy. Emily was totally enamored with him. Maybe we’ll give her a little brother or sister to play with soon…or her maybe we’ll just have to have baby Conner over a little more often, teehee.

Mr. Blondie surprised me with flowers, and the three of us went out for a casual dinner on Saturday night. He also bought all the ingredients to make pancakes with fresh raspberries and whipped cream for breakfast on Sunday. However we slept in a little too long and were short on time, so I ended up preparing them while he got ready for work. I appreciated the thought, and the fact that he negotiated his way through a grocery store all by himself. I’ve got a keeper :)

My mommy is on her way down to Atlanta later today. She’s staying for a few days to help out, since Mr. Blondie will be out of town a little longer than usual this week for some airline stuff. Even though I’m now a parent myself, I still enjoy being a kid sometimes. I’m so excited to see her!

While I wouldn't have minded a having a flute of champagne in my hand too, I certainly enjoyed this type of bubbly yesterday

(video popout)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

(Faux) Mozzarella Sticks for Dinner

Since it was just us girls last night, I made another meatless meal that doesn't go over so well with Mr.Blondie. He's missing out. We think it's delish.


Biting into the crispy, seasoned crust that's been dipped in warm marinara sauce will make you think you're eating a mozzarella stick. They may not be as ooey and gooey as the real thing, but you can feel good about not eating sticks of fat that have been deep fried in fat :p

Tofu is already an inexpensive protein source, but if your supermarket carries Nasoya brand, get an even better deal on it with this coupon.

Here's is all you need to do to make these "mozzarella sticks":

Press a block of extra firm tofu for 30 minutes to drain the excess liquid, then slice it into sticks. Combine breads crumbs and grated paremesan cheese in a bowl along with some italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic. Lightly whip 3 egg whites in a separate bowl. Dip each stick in the egg whites then dredge in the breading.

Place the sticks on a foil lined baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray. Spray the tops with extra cooking spray before putting them into the oven. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Turn up the temp to 475 and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until tops are browned and crispy. Serve with a side of warm marina sauce.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Running ODDyssey

I’m supposed to be in my “off-season” now, but new stuff seems to be creeping into that little “Upcoming Races” box on the side bar.
<--------



I’d been corresponding with Natalie over at Lil Runner about doing the ODDyssey Half Marathon in Philadelphia but was nervous to commit. Well, I just couldn’t resist the quirky nature of this race.

It's an addiction quite frankly.


Yes, I did sign up to run in costume too.

I’ll be running this one on pure guts and determination because I certainly haven’t been banking the miles in the past month. I’ve done the Camp Pendleton Mud Run before and that was a blast. I’m not expecting challenges of that caliber, but this race promises some surprises.

Looking at pictures from last year, one of the obstacles appears to be crawling through one of those fabric kiddie tunnels.

That isn't too crazy, but I’ll need to come up with a costume that doesn’t impede doing stuff like that. The bee wings from my Halloween race costume probably wouldn’t fit. I’m thinking about something that includes a modest tutu anyway. Now’s my chance y'all!

Easy costume suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Is anyone familiar with this race? Any thoughts as to what the other “unique obstacles” might be?

Monday, May 2, 2011

All the Singles Ladies, All the Single Ladies

After having a long stretch of time off, the Mr. finally went back to work last week. He usually chooses trips that span over the weekend so Emily spends less time in daycare. I’m not a fan of being home alone on the weekends, but it’s the best we can do for now.

I do enjoy when he's gone on weeknights though. You won’t hear this pilot wife complaining about being a single mom during the week. Quite honestly, I was relieved to have him start back.

During the week, I'm able to have some down time between getting home from work and picking Emily up from daycare. It's just enough time to squeeze in a decent workout.

This was an easy week, but at least I’m getting back on track. I only wore a basic watch so I wouldn’t be overly focused on pace, but I ran familiar routes so I know the rough distance.

Monday: 60 min run outside (~7 miles)
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 35 min run outside (~4.5 miles), 25 min treadmill run (@6.8, 1% incline)
Thursday: 40 min treadmill run (@6.8, 1% incline), 20m min elliptical
Friday: 30 min run outside (~3.5 miles)
Saturday: 35 min treadmill run (@6.8, 1% incline), 35 min elliptical
Sunday: 45 min stroller run (~5.5 miles)

My breakfast, lunch, and snacks were pretty much the same everyday this week.

Breakfast


Mid-morning snack


Lunch
(mixed greens, diced Boar’s Head turkey, pinch of mozzarella, Ken’s FF Raspberry Pecan dressing)


The best part about being single during the week, there's no rush to get dinner on the table.

I usually have a salad and/or leftovers when it's just me and Emily. One night it was curried chicken with brown rice and chickpeas that I had stashed in the freezer. I served it over some additional fresh spinach, and added a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese on top.


Another night it was a salad and a Flat-Out artisan bread topped with reduced-fat cream cheese, smoked wild salmon, and capers.


I made Emily a greek yogurt bowl with sliced strawberries and Kashi cereal. Wouldn’t you know both times she dominated my food instead?

What 2 year-old likes things like curry and smoked salmon with capers? She never ceases to surprise me. Everything does taste better when it comes off mommy’s plate though. That’s a known fact.

What are your favorite go-to dishes when you're eating solo?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Storm Aftermath

I was a little glib in my last post joking about tree branches falling during my run, but I was genuinely worried about the weather on Wednesday. Between checking the weather radar and getting calls from Mr.Blondie to see if we were ok, I didn’t sleep a wink. Fortunately we didn’t experience so much as a power flicker.

When he got home from his trip on Saturday morning, the first thing Mr. Blondie said as he walked in the door was “We need to go for a drive. You would not believe what I saw from the plane.”

He said it looked like someone took a brown marker and drew streaks across the green landscape. You could see the path the tornadoes took across Alabama and Georgia. We were fine, but just 15 miles south of us the storm did claim homes, and even a few lives.

Out of respect to the people who had their homes destroyed, we weren't about to stop the car to oogle and take pictures. It was so sad. However, we did get shots of some wooded areas and a business we saw.


The whole time we kept saying, “Wow, that could have been us.” Nature is so fickle. Some houses were completely demolished and other ones just half a block away were completely fine.

Every day is precious. Be sure you give your loved ones a big hug and kiss tonight. Even if they are a little strange sometimes :)