Weekly Workout Recap

Why, hello, Monday.  I see we meet again.  I’m feeling fresh and ready to tackle whatever this week may throw my way.

This weekend was particularly hard to say goodbye to.  It was filled with fun, food, and of course a bit of running.  Saturday was my last long run which means I’m officially tapering now.  I had 20 miles on tap so I woke up early to meet my running girls.  It was a bit chilly but it warmed up quickly and turned into a gorgeous morning.  The run felt seamless and I was able to talk one of my running girls into going an extra mile with me.  So 20 miles turned into 21.  BOOM!

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And because I’m masochistic, I have to share this photo fail with you.  How many fingers do I hold up to make 21? Luckily, I figured it out on take 2 (see above picture).

miles

I have a bad habit of adding miles to my runs.  I don’t do it often, but there are just some runs where I don’t want to stop.  I adore those runs because it reminds me why I run in the first place.

After the run, I showered and then met my stepsister for some carbo re-loading.  I was in a sweet mood and ended up getting some fat free peanut butter frozen yogurt and topping it with peanut butter chips and crushed oreos.  Not clean at all, but life too short to not treat yourself occasionally.  Also, I might be slightly addicted to peanut butter…

Peanut Butter froyo, will you marry me?

Peanut Butter froyo, will you marry me?

Sunday, the hubs and I went for a pre Suber Bowl stroll on the beach.  It was such a lovely day; Spring is definitely on its way to South Mississippi.  Then we came home and I made some eats for the big game.

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Steak and caramelized onion pizza on garlic rosemary crust from the farmer’s market. mmmm-mmmm!

So how did I do on my workouts last week?  Linking up with Kat from Sneakers and Fingerpaints to bring you my workout recap.

workoutroundup

Monday: 4 mile run with 4 strides, kettlebell workout, 12 pushups.

Tuesday: (AM) yoga – Sun Salutations, (PM) 7 miles of Yassos at 3:54, 45 pushups.

Wednesday: 15.29 miles of cycling, kettlebell workout.

Thursday: 6 mile run, 50 pushups.

Friday: NOTHING!!

Saturday: 21 mile LSD (long slow run) at a 10:15 pace, 55 pushups.

Sunday: 3.5 mile walk on the beach with my love.

Looking at last week’s workouts, I should be pleased but I really don’t feel like I got everything in I wanted to.  I only did yoga once and I didn’t use any of the weight machines at the gym.  I think it’s just nerves kicking in for this weekend.  It’s so strange that I’m more nervous for this 1/2 marathon then I am with my upcoming marathon.  I guess it’s because I’ve set a goal I’m not sure I can achieve.  Oh well.  I guess we’ll see on Saturday. 😉

Question:  How did you do on your workouts?  Do you ever set goals you may not be able to achieve?

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Marathon Plans and Vegetable Chicken Soup

Ah, Wednesday, how you tease me being the middle of the work week.  Yet, I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things from my mini-vacay with the hubs.  You gotta love extended weekends, right?  So this weekend we went a couple hours north to visit some family.  I got in a lovely 7 mile run and then Jody and went on a leisurely bike ride.  It was so pretty!

One of the gorgeous views from my run.

Since I’m still on the no sugar detox I was pretty nervous about leaving the security of my pantry; however, it turned out to be fine.   It was definitely an inconvenience but I stuck to my guns.  Saturday night we went out to swanky restaurant and there was so many yummy things on the menu that I wanted but I settled for chicken and vegetables.  Safe.  Not much processed crap goes into chicken and vegetables.

nommmmmmmm…

Before coming home we made a detour to my favorite duck pond.  I’m such a big kid at heart and love feeding the ducks/geese. It’s the little things in life that make me the happiest.

Duckzilla likes to eat clean. He says gimme more organic, whole wheat croutons now before I peck your toes off!

After the weekend fun ended I still had all of Monday to piddle around be completely productive.  It turned out to be a really rainy and fairly cold day which meant a trip to the gym to get my miles in.  After that I met my running girls for lunch at Newks so we could discuss our Rock-n-Roll marathon training plan.  This week started week 2 of training.

I printed my Marine Corps Marathon training plan which was geared to for a 4:30 finish.  My goal for Rock-n-Roll New Orleans is 4:30 or better so my running girls and I tweaked the plan just a bit.  It focuses more on speed and building up strength to get me to the starting line injury free.

I’m excited about running RnR New Orleans (NOLA) again.  I ran the 1/2 marathon last year and suffered quite a bit of marathon envy watching all the marathoners continue on as I headed towards the finish line.  Did I mention that last year RnR NOLA was my very first 1/2 marathon?

It’s crazy to me that in the period of a year I will have run 5 half marathons, 2 full marathons and countless other races.  1 1/2 years ago I was still nursing my ‘I can’t do that because I injured my knee’ mentality and letting it dictate my life.  I’m so glad I threw I can’t out of the window.  Never under estimate what you can do when you kick the ‘I can’t’ mentality.   So now less then a year later, I’m planning my second marathon and this time I will not have marathon envy, I will enjoy marathon glory! (Side note…I’m not telling you to ignore an injury.  Listen to your Dr., let yourself heal, and then keep going.  Don’t stop what you love out of fear of re-injury.)

And now the part of the post that you’ve all been patiently waiting for….the recipe. I mentioned earlier that Monday was a terribly dreary day which means one thing to me….SOUP!  I went to my pantry and fridge to see what I had to work with – looked like a chicken soup sort of day.  So I visited my favorite clean eating recipe site, The Gracious Pantry, and found a recipe that worked with what I had; I was only missing a few ingredients.

After tweaking the original recipe just a bit, this is the hearty deliciousness that happened: Clean Vegetable Chicken Soup (it would also taste great if you used beef instead of chicken).  This recipe makes a large amount so if your crockpot is on the smaller side, I’d cut the ingredients in 1/2.  I wouldn’t want you crying over spilled, err, broth.

Nothing says fall like eating soup out of a leaf shaped bowl. YUM!

Clean Vegetable Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1.5lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, thawed
  • 12oz frozen sweet corn
  • 12oz frozen sweet peas
  • 1 15oz can black beans, undrained
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 15oz tomato sauce
  • 3.5 cups organic chicken broth

Instructions:

Place all ingredients (in the same order they are listed) into a large crockpot, set on low and run away! Ha, just kidding. Don’t run away, you still have to come back and eat it.  Instead of running away, cook on low 4-6 hours or until the chicken falls easily apart.

When making this soup, pay attention to the labels on your produce, especially the canned and frozen vegetables.  You want to get organic and make sure that there isn’t any sugar hiding out.

Don’t forget today’s the last day to enter my Vega Energizing Smoothie giveaway!

Question:  What’s your favorite type of cold day comfort food?

Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap

In Wednesday’s post I recapped my weekend fun around DC and at the expo but I left you hanging for my race recap.  Sorry, that wasn’t very nice.  Forgive me?  Since this was my first marathon and because I ran it in memory of my brother I really wanted to put some serious thought into the recap; he deserves it.  So bear with me, this is going to be a long post and have lots of pictures (you’re welcome Mom & Dad).

In the interest of making the recap easier to read, I feel like I need to introduce you to the two names you’ll see the most.  1.) Mary – She’s like a mom to me.  2.) Stacey – My die hard training buddy and constant race partner.  Now that you know these girls I can just call them by their first names. 🙂  So here it is – the good, bad and the ugly from the MCM.  (Ok, there really wasn’t any ugly.  I just like being dramatic.)

Sunday morning started with an early wake-up call.  Mary’s alarm went off at 3:45a.m. (which is really 2:45 my time).  I had my alarm set for 4:12 but once I heard her alarm go off I was wide awake.

It was race day! The day that I had been prepping for for the last four months.

I got up, got dressed, ate some breakfast and of course snapped a few pictures.  Mary surprised me with her shirt which read on the front, “I’m with the birthday girl”.  I loved it!!

After we put our shoes on, we (Mary, myself and our hubbies) walked a few blocks to the race shuttle.  I chatted with a lady who was running the marathon and told her this was my first one.  Have you ever noticed that people always have input when they find out something is your first? She immediately likened running a marathon to giving birth.  It’s long and painful but 100% worth it at the end.  Sheesh lady! I didn’t need to hear that – I don’t have kids for a reason and labor is one of them.

After we made it to the starting area we were surprised to find that the military chaplain was just starting a prayer service.  This just made my day.  It was amazing fellowshipping with other believers right before the race.  Definitely helped get my mind right.

After the prayer service ended Mary and I said goodbye to our hubbies and then huddled together to try to warm up.

It was cold, humid, and I kept getting splattered with random drops of rain.  I said a quick prayer that Hurricane Sandy would hold off long enough for the race to be done with.  We hit the port-o-potties a few times and headed off to the official start line where we heard the National Anthem and watched the flyover.  It was incredibly moving.

Right after the flyover we met up with the girls I trained with.  It was so great seeing everyone’s smiling / nervous faces!

Just a few minutes to go.  The atmosphere was electrified; the excitement and tension almost palpable. Veteran marathoners encouraging the newbies, newbies nervously watching the actions of the veterans.  25,000 sets of feet with the same goal to accomplish.

I was too busy soaking in the atmosphere that I didn’t hear the howitzer blast which signifies the start of the race.  However, I felt the crowd start surging forward, pressing me towards the start line.  No times for nerves now.  This. Was. It.  I crossed the starting line and embarked on my journey through the 26.2 miles of the course.  (This is where I put my camera away so there aren’t many pictures until the finish.)

The first few miles of the course were gorgeous, winding through the outskirts of the city.  It was completely picturesque with vibrant golden, cardinal, and amber colored leaves floating around us as we ran.  It was very overcast but the temperature was perfect and there wasn’t any rain.  The only downfall was the fact that the course was so congested it was hard to get up to speed without literally running into someone.

At mile 5 I opted for a potty stop; I knew the lines would be shorter earlier in the race verses later.  It was around this point that I happened to look over into the woods and BAM hello naked booties.  Apparently some runners didn’t want to wait in the potty line.  My mom taught me better.  I tried to not look over into the woods again.

Everything was going  flawlessly until the water stop around mile 7.  This is where Mary and I got separated; thankfully Stacey and I were able to stay together.  I stopped a few times to look for Mary and I kept thinking I would be able to spot her and reconnect.  After about 2 miles I knew that wasn’t going to happen so I did something most runners would never do.  I pulled out my cell phone and started making calls in hopes of locating her.  I called my husband to tell him I what happened and kept my fingers crossed that he and Greg (Mary’s hubby) could help us reconnect.  I managed to keep my pace but I never imagined I’d be talking on the phone during my first 26.2.

I was so upset about loosing Mary that I didn’t notice a lot of what was going on around me between miles 8-11.  Around mile 12 a guy behind me decided to try to use me as a speed bump.  Not on purpose; the race was just so congested with runners that this was almost inevitable.  I felt what was about to happen as his shoe brushed mine and I was able to dodge him falling on me.  I turned around just in time to see him writhing on the ground clutching his elbow in pain.  I felt terrible but there was nothing I could do.  It was also around this point in the race I noticed someone had put large pictures of Marines that had been killed in action.  This was a much needed reminder as to why I was running this race in the first place.

The miles were flying by. 12…13….Half marathon….15…and before I knew it Stacey and I passed mile 16.  I looked over at her and said, “I hate to be the one that points out the obvious, but we only have 10 miles left!’  I was feeling great and our pace wasn’t too far off from what we trained for.  I passed Mary’s husband at mile 18 who told me I was about 10 minutes ahead of her.  I ran backwards for a little bit (I got some crazy looks from other runners) and then made the decision to stop and wait for her; it was much more important to finish together then worry about time.  (I looked at my splits and my time for mile 18 was just short of 21 minutes.) Stacey was sweet and hung back, too, and as soon as we saw Mary we took off.  I had never been so happy to see her face!

The miles kept ticking by and before I knew it, I was looking at mile marker 23.  We passed my hubby on the sideline and it gave me such a boost to see him cheering us on!

This is a really awkward shot of mile at mile 23. All smiles after seeing Jody.

By mile 24 my body was starting to fatigue.  I was having some fairly intense GI cramps (I broke the cardinal ‘don’t ingest anything new on race day’ rule) and I could feel my right IT band starting to get tight.  The wind picked up (thanks Hurricane Sandy) and I was starting to slow down.  It was right around this time that we were treated to Dunkin Donuts on the course.  They were stale but gave me the sugar kick I needed to finish. I need to mention that the crowd support was amazing during the entire marathon but especially encouraging during the last few miles.

The last part of the race ended with a killer incline leading up to the Iwo Jima Memorial.  This was a tough way to finish but I really wouldn’t expect anything less from the Marines.  Stacey, Mary and I crossed the finish line together and I just remember giving both of them a huge hug.  I had become marathoner!

*MARATHONER*

The sweet Marine that placed the medal around my neck.

I had anticipated bursting into tears as I crossed the finish line but I was surprised to realize that I didn’t shed a single tear.  As we stood in line to collect our medals, my calve muscles and IT band on fire, I couldn’t help but think about how excited I was to already be signed up for my next marathon.   I think I’m officially hooked.  Admittedly, one of my character flaws is that I’m always thinking about what’s next, instead of basking in what just happened.

We got disposable jackets instead of space blankets.

Me being silly showing off my medal and Semper Fi socks.

Hands-down, the best athletic supporter ever!

The official chip time was 4:55:47 (only one second different from my Garmin) and the actual distance was 26.75 miles (I guess that’s what happens when you run backwards for a bit).

This was such a huge accomplishment and even though I didn’t run it in the time I trained for, I have no doubt that I can run a 4:30 marathon.  It’s important to remember that some races aren’t about time but merely the journey itself.  Preparing for this race was very cathartic and really allowed me to work through some residual issues with my brother’s death.  I miss Roger terribly but I feel like I have more closure and I’m so blessed to have run this race in memory of him.

It was humbling running side-by-side with amputees, men in wheelchairs, and seeing all the pictures pinned to people’s shirt.  The race was not nearly as physically or mentally exhausting as I thought it would be and I think it’s because I kept thinking about everything that Roger, his brother’s-in-arms, and all of our deployed soldiers went/go through.  If they can fight to keep me free, I can run 26.2 miles in honor of them.

As for how I felt physically after the marathon, I was {pleasantly} surprised at how little I hurt.  I was pretty stiff Monday but was back in the gym Tuesday for some easy cycling and upper body strength training.  And since my next marathon is in 3 months I’ll be getting up early tomorrow for a 10 mile run.  If you have ever considered running a marathon, I urge you to do it. Don’t let fear, hesitation or self-doubt get to you.  It takes grit and determination but if you can commit the time, you can accomplish it!

Question:  What’s your proudest accomplishment in life? A PR? An award? Children? College Degree? Tell me, I love hearing about your achievements!

MCM Training Recap: Week 15

For some reason I had the hardest time writing this post.  I don’t know if it was because I didn’t feel like I had a lot to report due to the reduced miles, or if my reluctance to write this post reflects the fact that  by writing it, I’m actually acknowledging the fact that I’m officially in my last week of training and will be running a marathon in 6 days.  Either way, this post was hard to write (hopefully not hard for you to read).

Like I said a minute ago, I had reduced miles this week.  Only 24 miles to be exact.  A year ago I would have died laughing at the idea of me complaining about only running 24 miles but now that I’ve been running in between 30-40 miles for the past few months that number seems foreign.  So how did it break down?  Well, Monday was a short 3 mile run with strides.  This was the day after I ran the Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon in Mandeville, LA, and it was nice to shake the legs out.  The professional race pics from the 1/2 are finally up so I thought I’d share one with you.  Proof that I did actually run the 1/2 and not just douse myself with water and steal a medal. 😛

It’s like Where’s Waldo? I’m even wearing a striped shirt….

Cheeeeezzzzzze

Wednesday was another short 4 mile marathon pacing session. Boring.

By Thursday I was beyond ready to move and I knew I’d get the chance during the 7 miles of speed work that was on the calendar.  However, I spent the first 4 miles feeling sick to my stomach and wishing I could hurl.  It was bizarre but I pushed through it (after stopping several times) and got the speed work done at a faster pace then was on the plan.  I think I just wanted to be done.  I was worried I was getting sick but I’ve felt fine ever since.  I guess it was just one of those freak runs.

And then finally it was time for my final “long” run.  It was 10 easy miles .  I got up at 4am to meet a couple of my running girls.  It was a chilly morning (temp was 53* – don’t judge, I live in MS) but it was absolutely gorgeous.  The stars were out for the first hour and then I got to see a gorgeous sunrise.  It was strange stopping after 10 miles.  My body was confused and then I had all this pent up energy the rest of the day.  Grrrrr….

Random big fish right before the sunrise.

These girls stuck out the entire training with me! ❤ Stacey (L) is running the MCM and Lorena (M) trained even though she’s not running the race.

So now I get to play the waiting game.  I have 3 easy runs totaling 10 miles before next Sunday.  I guess my legs will be good and rested but I question if they’ll remember how to run or not.  Either way, functioning legs or not, I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon in memory of my brother.

Question:  What is your favorite time of day to workout? Do you ever get to see amazing sunrises or sunsets?

MCM Training Kickoff

16 short weeks from now I will be a lean, mean, Marine Corps Marathon running machine.  Or at least that’s the goal.  In the next 111 days I’ll log a total of 430.2 miles and if that doesn’t get me ready then there’s really no hope for me.

Monday was the first official day of training and my training plan called for an easy 3 miles.  Sah-weet! This is something my running buddies and I can knock out in our sleep.  Speaking of sleep, the night before training officially started, I had a dream the world was ending.  I can’t figure out if the dream was coincidence or if my sub-conscious really believes that this training is going to be the death of me…

First training run done! I can do this – I think…
Thank you instagram for making this picture easier on the eye.

Either way, my Team Awesome girls and I met in Ocean Springs and decided to get a celebratory post-run daiquiri. (Not clean; I know.  But it was yummy. Please don’t hate me…) I really wanted to make the first day of training a positive experience and not one of “oh crap, what did I get myself into”.  The celebratory daiquiri was just what was needed! 

My gorgeous training buddies! Stacey, Karla and Lorena. We missed sharing a daiquiri with Mary, Peggy, & Donna who are also running the MCM.

I’m fortunate to be training with several awesome women and I can’t wait to run side-by-side with them in DC.  These women will be a support system for me when, not if, I hit a rough spot in training and I hope I can be equally supportive to them.   Since I’m running this marathon in memory of my brother I know there will be some rough spots both physically and emotionally; I would be fooling myself if I thought these next 16 weeks would be a piece of cake.  mmmmm…..cake….  Sorry I got side tracked.  With training in the South Mississippi heat I’m sure I’ll question my sanity at least a few times -heck who am I kidding? I’ll probably question my sanity daily- but I’m excited to see where this crazy journey takes me in the next 110 days!

P.S. I have the most amazing and supportive parents ever! (Sorry for the fuzzy picture quality.)