Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guest Posting today at In My Tummy

My Atlanta blogging buddy Lee is actually letting me take up space on her blog while she's off frolicking on the beaches of Cancun. Can you believe that?

Don't worry she'll be back to sharing her yummy recipes and running adventures very soon. In the mean time, I hope you'll stop by and say hi today!

Check it out here: Atlanta Running Mom Guest Posting on In My Tummy

Friday, June 24, 2011

Seeking Ideas and Finding Alternatives

I’m putting a call out to y’all. I’ve been feeling rather uninspired lately, so maybe you can tell me what you’d like to see more of here on the blog. Have any questions/ideas for me?


We’re going on a month now, and my calf issue still hasn’t resolved itself. There’s also pain radiating down into my ankle now, so I guess my Achilles wanted to get in on the action too.

Scaled back running hasn't done the trick, so it’s time to seriously explore some alternatives. The elliptical is easier on my leg, but still engages my calf. Since I’m not a swimmer, biking and strength training are probably my best alternatives. It also means I need a gym membership again.

Conveniently, there’s a tiny gym in a strip mall just up the road from our house. I tried negotiating with the sales guy earlier today. However he wouldn’t let me buy a month pass, even at a slightly higher rate, without paying the $69 “initiation fee”. I’m not dropping 100+ bucks for one month of usage. Considering there are a few gyms in the area that are much nicer, you think he’d be willing to work with me here.

I did take him up on his offer for a week-long trial pass. I may or may not do the same thing at the other gyms in our area for the next month :)

This is what I’ve been doing at home for the past week:

Monday: 45 min run (@7.0, 0-.5% incline), 20 mins elliptical, various planks (5x30 secs each)
Tuesday: 30 mins Yoga X
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 30 mins elliptical, 30 mins Yoga X, various planks (5x30 secs each)
Friday: 20 mins easy run outside (testing out my new 2XU compression sleeves), 30 mins elliptical, various planks (5x30 secs each)

Surprisingly I haven’t gone into freak-out mode over this (at least not yet). I don’t have anything looming on my race schedule until a 5k at the end of August, so if I need to nurse an injury then timing isn’t so bad right now.

Tomorrow night is going to start a crazy week here at the Blondie household. We’re having a LOT of houseguests who'll be staying with us. Off to go inflate some air mattresses…….

Monday, June 20, 2011

Flashback

Oh the wonders of Facebook. Someone recently posted this gem.

Demasi Middle School Cross Country Team - circa 1994
I'm in the 2nd row, 3rd one in from the right.

The cool part is I'm still with friends with many of the people in this picture. Almost all of us continued running cross country and track together through highschool, and a few even continued on to college on running scholarships.

Cross Country and track are both individual and team sports at the same time. All the afterschool practices, weekend long runs, traveling to meets, and team dinners build camaraderie. It also leaves you little time to get in trouble. I strongly believe getting your child involved in sports at a young age sets them on straight path. It fostered a good work ethic which also spilled over into our academics.

I think we ran 3k's in middle school at cross-country meets? I fondly remember a bunch of us traveling to Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia on Saturdays throughout the fall to participate in a youth series of 5k's there. I know those were longer than our regular races.

Later that same school year I also did the Broad Street Run with my friend Jamie (1st row, 3rd from the left). Her older brother was running the race, so we thought we'd try it too. We finished in just under an hour and a half. You better believe we felt pretty bad-ass telling everyone how we survived running a whole 10 miles that week at school.

Drinking and drugs were never on our radar. We were friends on and off the track and that just didn't fit our style. We had bigger adventures to tackle :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Quick Glimpse of Asheville, NC

This was a super-light week of workouts. Still feeling on high on the results of last weekend’s race, I was ok with that. One of my most important projects of the year was due this week at work, and that required more of my attention.

Wednesday: 30 minutes treadmill (6.7, 1% incline), front & side planks (30 sec x 5 each)

Friday: 40 minutes treadmill (6.7-7.0, 1% incline), 20 mins elliptical, front & side planks (30 sec x 5 each)

This e-trade commercial always crack us up. Unfortunately the overhead PA sounded about as clear as it would at a McDonald’s drive-thru, so Em didn’t recognize her daddy’s voice.

popout


I’ve heard nothing about good things about Asheville, so I was very excited to join with Mr.Blondie for a long layover this weekend. It's been awhile since we tagged along on one of his flights.



We strolled through the galleries downtown, had a nice dinner, and did some swimming at the hotel pool. It’s very a hippie-chic area. I can’t wait to go back there again when we have more time to explore and hopefully tour the Biltmore Estate too.

We’d planned on flying back to Atlanta on Mr.Blondie’s plane too, but twas not to be. It was a calculated risk we took. We knew if nothing worked out, then we could always drive back to Atlanta. A tour group of 12 missed the first flight of the day, thereby jacking up the standby lists for the rest of day. grrr…

After watching 4 planes arrive and depart without us, and Emily on the verge a nuclear meltdown, it was time to throw in the towel. I walked over to car rental counter and got hooked up with a sweet sub-compact. It was a scenic drive, and we were back in the ATL in about 3.5 hours. It would be much easier and almost as fast to drive there next time, rather than deal with the airports. Oops, I mean Fly Delta Jets!

source

Do you have a favorite destination for a quick weekend getaway?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

San Diego RnR 1/2 Marathon Recap

Forget the Golden Rule of racing. After blowing up at my last race, and spending the past 2 weeks trying to recover from it, I figured I had nothing to lose.

I was going to do EVERYTHING new for this race.

Here's how it all went down:

The race expo was our first stop after arriving San Diego. It was epic. We were there from about 2:00 until closing at 6:00. Yes, there was that much to try on, test out, and taste. My wallet really got a workout too.


Following your advice, my first order of business was to buy a pair or compression sleeves for my calves to help with the muscle cramps. I ended up getting the full length 2XU compression tights (new thing #1). I promise you…you’ll want to keep checking out your bum in the mirror when you have these pants on. If nothing else, at least they’ll make you look sleek and fast. They felt equally as great on my legs.

Next, I visited the KT Tape booth and had them apply tape to both my legs in a way meant to alleviate calf muscle strains (new thing #2).


After the expo we walked over to Petco Park to watch a Padres game. Elijah has some pretty sweet season tickets.

Our lucky night. It was Padres garden gnome giveaway night :P
Elijah and Adelle were great hosts as always. We had a delicious pizza dinner back at their apartment, then they set us up with a place to sleep. We were out immediately. Before we knew it, it was 4:30 and our alarms were going off.

Along with my standard PB sandwich, I followed Elijah’s advice and enjoyed a can of FRS (new thing #3) with my breakfast. I also stuffed a couple of the FRS chews in my pocket in case of emergency.



After a group photo, we embarked on our 1.5 mile walk to the starting line.

I'd been free of calf pain for the past couple days, but they still felt very tight. I really had no idea what to expect. My mantra for this race was "stay in control." I didn't travel across the country to DNF.

Along with staying in control of my pace, staying ahead of my hydration/nutrition needs was critical. I was really afraid of repeating ODDyssey all over again.

I didn't share this with y'all, but this is what my calf looked like after the ODDyssey Half Marathon. I had a nice little bruise that was rather painful. I've secretly spent the past couple weeks freaking out about how I was going to handle this race, or if I was even able to race it at all. My only workouts between these races were three 30 min runs on the treadmill, 30 mins on the elliptical, and a couple sessions of Yoga X.

We arrived at the starting area around 5:50. The conditions were just right with a starting temp in the high 50's, a light breeze, and no humidity. The first wave of runners started at exactly 6:15. I was seeded in corral 2, but decided to start in corral 4 instead so I wouldn't be seduced into taking off too fast. At 6:19, I was off.

Normally I’d get frustrated with the congestion at the beginning of a large race, but I didn't attempt to bob and weave around other runners to get ahead in the opening miles. There was no point in expending that extra energy and adding extra distance to my race. I settled into a rhythm with the runners around me, and gave my calf a chance loosen up.

At mile 3, I saw my first aid station and grabbed a cup of Cytomax (new thing #4). Normally I’d wait until mile 6 or 7 to grab some water and maybe some Gatorade at miles 8 and 10. This time I wanted to start taking in sports drink as soon as possible. From miles 3-10, I alternated between Cytomax and water at each aid station (new thing #5). I also chomped on 3 Clif Shot Bloks and a couple FRS chews in between miles 4 and 10 (new thing #6).

We ran on some major highways and through Balboa Park. Although the course was flat for the most part, it had it’s share of sneaky hills. You know, the low grade variety that look innocent enough in the beginning but seem to go on forever. I tried to run based on feel and not get trapped by my Garmin this time around.


The RnR people know how to put on a good event. The post race party was fully stocked with goodies.

My stomach usually won’t allow food after the race. Instead of waiting around for an hour or two this time, I knew it was important to get some carbs and protein into my system for muscle recovery, so I forced some in anyway (new thing #7). I downed a full bottle of Cytomax and a Marathon Energy bar.

I found Mr. Blondie and some other friends with the help of some very kind person who let me use his phone. We gathered back around the finish line and cheered for Adelle as she finished her first half marathon strong in 2:31.

Then the waiting began. I’m very glad I grabbed my hat at the last minute. I would have been baked to a crisp in the bright sun without it.

Around 11:00 it was time for me to walk back to Fiesta Island to pace Elijah through the home stretch. You have to really dig deep into your soul to survive the last few miles of a marathon, so I don’t know if my upbeat chatter was annoying or helpful. I’d like to think it was the latter.



His longest run leading up to the marathon was a 10 miler. Not gonna lie EJ, I choked a little when you said that. But in true Elijah fashion, he set his mind to doing something and he made it happen. Congrats EJ! You’re totally in for RnR Miami now right???


Now to the part you really want to know about….

The result of trying all this new stuff?

A new PR!

After 2 months of weak training, I finished 30 seconds faster than my previous best with an official time of 1:36:09. Plus, I woke up feeling great the next morning and barely had any soreness.

Here are my splits:


The more hydration/fuel stuff is a no-brainer, I should have been doing that all along. I really liked the taste of the specific products I tried and how easy they were to digest. The compression tights and KT tape made my legs feel great, and I think they made a big difference in my recovery too.

I’ll definitely continue to experiment with everything and figure out how to best incorporate them into my running.

Sub 1:35 half…I’m coming for you this fall.

Stats:
Time: 1:36:09
Pace: 7:20/mi
Overall: 335/17152
Gender: 60/11538
Div: 14/2313

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Golden Rule of Racing

Do NOT try anything new on race day.

San Diego RnR Half Marathon recap coming soon...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Now boarding all rows, all passengers

San Diego here were come!

I'm ready to rock out with some of the Team MARATHON Bar goodies that came this week.


We'll be staying our friends Elijah and Adelle. Wish them luck as they'll respectively be running their first marathon and half-marathon this weekend too.

Our friend Ryan will also be running the marathon. He's a seasoned marathon vet who's been chasing 3:59:59. Tell him he can do it.

Hopefully my legs will cooperate and I won't have any cramping issues this time. It'll be a fun weekend no matter what, but a decent race would be the icing on the cake.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Racing Decision & Going Sugar-Free

Thanks for all your input on my racing dilemma. I was already leaning in one direction and y’all helped me topple over. I decided I’m going to keep it local after all and skip the Savannah RnR Half Marathon in November.

This Saturday will be my first time running an RnR series event. If it lives up to all the hype (being how $$$ the registration fees are), then the Miami RnR Half will be added to the race line-up for December instead.



I signed up to participate in the 10 Day Sugar-free Challenge being hosted by Amanda from Run to the Finish.

Well it started yesterday, and my first meal and snack were a fail right out of the gate. I had my standard breakfast.

recycled picture

And snack
 

Could be worse I guess, but still added sugar...


But I rallied back for lunch

Baby spinach, mixed greens, broccoli, carrots, tuna mixed w/ spicy mustard, LF Spicy French dressing

I’m an everything in moderation type of gal. I don’t have the want or need to eliminate all refined sugar from my diet. It tastes glorious and keeps me happy in the right amounts.

However, my 2-3 dark chocolate Hershey Kisses after dinner have turned into 5-6 plus, a homemade muffin or two, plus some crackers with PB (the good ol’ processed Skippy kind)…..

Evening has turned into a sugar buffet at the Blondie household.

Hopefully this challenge will help me to reign in the sugary snacking. Want to join in? Here’s what to avoid:
  • Syrups (cane syrup, rice syrup, corn sryup, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, sorgam)
  • Refined and processed sugars (cake, cookies, candy)
  • Look through your cabinets, unexpected things like tomato sauce, ketchup and peanut butter can contain sugars we are trying to avoid or just excess sugar. Avoid: Fructose, Maltose, Sorbitol, Evaporated Cane Juice, Xylotol and other sugars end in “ol” or “ose”
  • Sugar substitutes (Aspartame, Sucralose, Nutra-sweet, Stevia)
  • Fruit juice: Yup that's right you need to nix this because of high sugar content
Advanced: If you already have a very low sugar diet or want to see what a complete sugar detox feels like you will also remove “sugar forming foods”. This includes: all starchy root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, quinoa millet and buckwheat.

Also check out this page for more resources.