Monthly Archives: March 2012

Ice cream ride

My weekend started bright and early on Saturday morning when my alarm so rudely woke me up at 5am. Why? I had a 50k training run on the agenda. It was a trail run to benefit MS Run the US, and it ended up being an awesome day. I ran with a few different people throughout the day and finished with 31.6 miles in around 5:30. The run must have taken a lot out of me, because for the rest of Saturday, all I did was nap and eat, on and off. The only reason I got up off the couch was to get food. Seriously, bottomless pit.

I woke up this morning feeling much more rested, but my legs still felt tired so I knew I didn’t want to run today. I contemplated what my workout would be over some blackberry pancakes topped with sunflower seed butter, bananas, and maple syrup.

It was pretty nice outside, so I asked Steve if he wanted to go on a really slow bike ride around the lake with me. It was my first outdoor ride this year, and that combined with my tired legs and a super-hilly route made for slow travels. We both overdressed a little bit and were feeling quite warm in the sun, so we were forced to stop for ice cream to cool off.

Trust me, it was totally necessary. And delicious.

Weekly totals:

52 miles running

14.25 miles biking

I cut back on the running miles a little bit this week because of the 50k, and will likely do the same this coming week with a marathon on the agenda for next Saturday.

What is the best thing you ate this weekend?

Me – Wisconsin cherry walnut cranberry fudge ice cream, even though I didn’t find a single walnut in there.

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Filed under Food, The bike, The run

Spring has sprung

Happy Spring! Admittedly, I am not usually the biggest fan of springtime. It is windy, rainy, cold, and I just want it to be summer already. This year I will take spring all year long if it stays like this. We have had near record high temperatures for the last week in southeastern Wisconsin. It is March 20th and I wore shorts to work. Life is good.

I am amazed at how my energy levels correspond to the weather. In the winter when it is cold and dark, I get home from work and all I want to do is lay on the couch, watch TV, and eat ice cream. The thought of doing anything productive is pretty much out of the question, and I have trouble keeping my eyes open past 9pm. Oh wait…that part is still true.

When it is warm and sunny, I can’t help but go, go, go. Take this past weekend for example. I started off St. Patty’s Day with a 25 mile trail run at my favorite running spot, Lapham Peak. I broke the run into 4 sections to make it more manageable mentally, and it went great. I experimented with eating more than usual and it paid off. Throughout the run I had 4 gels and a chocolate coconut chew Larabar. Even with the nearly 2500 ft of elevation gain throughout the run, I never felt bonky. It was around 60F when I started and 78F when I finished.

After the run I immediately refueled with a green smoothie for St. Patty’s Day.

Then it was off to my aunt and uncle’s house for a family birthday party. I love when we have family parties on the same day as my long run, because I get to eat good food all day long. My aunt prepared a traditional Irish feast of corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and even a vegetarian shepherd’s pie for me! It was all capped off with a DQ ice cream cake. The best way to celebrate a birthday if you ask me.

Hi Collin!

I hit the hay around 11pm on Saturday, and then was up at 4:40 am on Sunday to coach my TNT group. I covered 12 more miles (half running and half walking), and then went to a cookout that one of the teammates was having.

When I got home Sunday afternoon, my mom came over and helped me clear out our garden beds for a couple of hours. I also did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and made a new tofu recipe for dinner. Who am I? I don’t even recognize this productive person. My point is this: my mood and energy level are very much affected by the weather. During the winter, I normally do my long run on the weekend and then need to take a nap and lay around for the rest of the day. I have exactly zero motivation to do much of anything. When the sun is shining, it is warm out, and it is light when I get home from work, I find myself getting stuff done like crazy.

To celebrate the first day of spring, I got a pedicure.

I wanted to apologize to the poor guy for the disgusting factor of my feet. Let’s just say with all of the running I’ve been doing it wasn’t pretty.

I also made myself a tropical smoothie bowl for breakfast this morning in honor of the warm weather.

The smoothie contained greek yogurt, coconut milk, a mango, a banana, chia seeds, maca powder, vanilla and cinnamon. I poured it into a bowl and topped it with Kashi GoLean cereal, tropical trail mix, and shredded coconut. It tasted like the Caribbean in a bowl. Yum!

How are you celebrating the first day of Spring?

Is your mood affected by the weather?

 

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Filed under Cooking, The run, weather

On slowing down

I have spent the past few years developing myself into a faster runner. I shaved 18 minutes off of my marathon time, ran Boston, and completed some speedy 5k and 10k races. I was able to hit paces that I never thought possible. I found myself wondering how much faster I could be, and excited to find out.

Then I signed up for a 50 mile race. I am finding day by day that high-mileage training and speed do not go hand in hand, in fact quite the opposite is true. Last week I hit an all-time high of 67 miles. That’s not a lot for some serious runners out there, but it is for me. Broken down:

Monday – easy 7 mile trail run on a snowy trail

Tuesday – group run, 6 miles easy

Wednesday – 8 miles hilly, faster pace

Thursday – 10 miles flat, faster pace

Friday – rest

Saturday – 15.5 miles very slow with the group I coach

Sunday – 20 mile trail run slow and incredibly difficult

Come Monday, I ran a 5 mile recovery run and couldn’t even break a 9 min mile. My body was tired, my legs exhausted. Could I get by with running fewer miles? Yes, I’m sure I could. But I am experimenting right now to find out what my body can handle. If I continue to feel abnormally run down, I will cut it back. I have a feeling that after a couple of weeks I will begin to adapt. In any case, I have learned to embrace the slow.

During my 20 mile trail run on Sunday, I knew from the beginning that I would be out there a long time.

It was a beautiful day with temperatures warming into the 60’s, so I decided to take my time, walk when I felt like it, and enjoy the run. When I took the pressure off of myself and ignored my pace, I felt freedom. Though I had my ipod with me in case I needed a little pick-me-up, I never took it out of my pack. I took in the scenery,

made friends with some giant birds,

scared them away by getting too close,

and finally ran into a snowy/icy section of trail that forced me to turn around a little early.

By the time I returned to my car I had been out on the trail for 3 hours and 40 minutes. That is 20 miles at 10:50/mile average pace. Translation: it was a long run. But it actually went by faster than some of my 20 mile road runs at nearly an hour faster. I am loving the trails, the time to myself, the scenery, the animals, even the mud. Something about the woods just makes the miles pass by without much thought. I know that someday I will be itching to get my speed back, but this is what feels real to me right now.

“The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside.” -Unknown

 

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Filed under Nature, The run

Winter wonderland

I can’t believe I almost didn’t get out for a run yesterday. Despite feeling indifferent about it, I decided to stop being lazy and hit the trails.

 

It was stunning. Dare I say that if the entire winter would have been this beautiful, it would have been ok in my book. A few times on the trail yesterday, I looked up and everything was so brilliantly white and crisp and soft and peaceful all at the same time, it took my breath away.

It was a true winter wonderland, even if it took until March to arrive. I finally got to try out my Yak Trax, and they were awesome. No slipping around in the snow, and they stayed put the whole time.

I am planning to go again tonight to enjoy the beautiful snow one last time. It is supposed to be 50F tomorrow, so it will be bye bye beautiful snow and hello melty muddy mess.

I want more snow yet am so ready for spring all at the same time. And more importantly, I feel the running funk lifting day by day. Yes!

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Filed under The run, weather

Random wrap-up

Ready for some randomness? Ok, here we go.

Remember when I said I was going to my Wednesday night trail run? Like for sure? Well my cousin Kelly called and invited me over for dinner. I could not pass up an opportunity to eat Mexican food and hang out with these munchkins.

Can you tell they just got back from Disney World? I did manage to hop on the bike trainer for 45 minutes beforehand, so that’s something.

Thursday I forced a double treadmill run, 7 miles in the morning and 3 after work. The morning was horrible, the after work was pretty decent. One out of two is ok. Friday morning I went back to basics. I ran 8 easy miles outside, no music, no checking my pace. It was refreshing. Then snow happened.

It is pretty, I will say that. However, we were forced to move Saturday’s Team in Training practice to the indoor track. I ended up with 13.7 miles of running in circles. Um, fun?

And that brings us to Sunday. I have tentative plans for a snowy trail run sometime today. On one hand I don’t really care if I get out and run today, but on the other I know it will be a beautiful run and I’ll probably feel better afterwards if I get it done. This coming week I will really start ramping up the mileage in preparation for the 50 miler. I feel the funk starting to lift, and I am excited to begin to like running again.

Enough about running. Yesterday I tested out my new jumbo muffin pan by whipping up some chocolate chocolate chip muffins.

I used this recipe, but with quite a few changes. I subbed 3/4 cup ww flour, 1/2 cup coconut milk & 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt for milk, 1/4 cup coconut oil & 3 TB applesauce for veg oil, added 1/2 tsp salt & 2 TB hot cocoa mix, and reduced sugar to 1/4 cup brown, 1/4 cup white. I also added extra chocolate chips (regular and mini) because there is no such thing as too much chocolate. They are delicious, especially warmed up and slathered with peanut butter.

And one last bit of randomness. Every day my cat can be found sprawled out over the floor heat register. Such a glutton for warm and cozy comfort.

Oh, to be a cat…

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Filed under Food, Miscellany, The cat, The run, weather