Getting Back Into Running

A year ago yesterday, I ran my first half-marathon. I ran it despite battling a colitis flare, and it was a struggle, and it was not an enjoyable run for me, but I finished it and was so incredibly proud.

half marathon

 

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a whole year. It’s also hard to believe that I went from running 13.1 miles a year ago, and today my current mileage is fairly non-existent. This is mainly due to the Insanity program taking over my daily workouts, and I’m starting to get bothered by that.

I’ve never been a “good” runner. You know, those people who can get out there any time of day at any point in their lives, and run hard, far, and fast, and feel great. I am not one of those people. I am one of those people who really has to push through every run, who’s tummy needs to be in the right state before a run, who mentally loses focus, who doesn’t run fast, and like most runners, has “good” runs and “bad” runs and worries too much about the bad run days. But one thing I know for sure, is that after every single run, I feel great. Even if it was a terrible run, I am so happy I ran.

run

I started running back in 2009 to prepare for my first full 5k run, and I will never forget my first bouts of runs. I clearly remember running around my neighborhood for 10 minutes and being thrilled that I ran for 10 whole minutes. I knew I had a long way to go, but friends kept encouraging me to continue adding on time and distance to each run, to not give up, that it will build up over time, and that I will see the progress. And I did. Each time out I added a little more distance and time onto the runs, until eventually I was running for 30 minutes and was ready for my first 5k. I completed my first 5k in 30 plus minutes, and will never forget that first runner’s high. I have been hooked on running and races since then.

A while back, someone asked me if I was a runner. I said ha ha, no I can run but I’m not good at it, so no I’m not a runner. Their response was, “You run, so you’re a runner! It doesn’t matter how fast you go or how many half-marathons or marathons you’ve run. You’re a runner because you get out there and run.” Since then I’ve called myself a runner.  Running to the kitchen from the couch doesn’t count btw. :wink:

run motivation

After nearly no running happening over this past month, I finally got back out there on Saturday morning. I was nervous to run for the fear of all of the running progress that I had lost. It was just in late April that I ran a 10k, but having been out of the running scene for over a month now, I was anxious about it.

Everything was in my favor: the weather was cool, the sun was out, my tummy settled, no body aches, all was good. I set out hoping for two miles and ended up running 3.25 because I was feeling so GREAT. Sure I may have been huffing and puffing a little more than I used to, but I still felt great and I was so happy.

Running gives me confidence, it encourages me to soak in the beauty of nature, it enables my mind to wander freely, it relieves stress, and I need more of it in my life again. 

As for the Insanity workouts, I am not quite sure yet how I want to continue with those. I have completed month one, but there is still a whole other month to go. I love the changes I saw and felt in my body from the Insanity workouts. I would really like to continue with the workouts but I think I will be completing them on my own schedule now, versus the regimented six days a week program. I know this isn’t ideal but it is what will work for me. It was easy to complete the workouts when it was snowy and cold outside, but now that it is starting to warm up (finally) I really want my workouts to be outside whenever possible.  Our summers are way too short around here, and I really want to soak in every second of the beautiful days that I can.

Plus I really miss running.

I am planning on registering for a race sometime in the near future, and will keep you posted on what I decide. It’s time for me to start building up my stamina and seeing my running capabilities again. It is so good for my well-being and I want more of it in my life! Who knows, maybe a half-marathon is in my future again?

I’m so happy that I finally laced up the ol’ running shoes, set my nerves aside and got out there. I’m so lucky that I have the ability to run. I run for those who can’t.

Now, get out there and run!

gs puppies running

man running

 

First Frittata and Team Ortho

Super creative post title today, right? I covered my bases with that one.

I mentioned that I wanted to briefly describe some of the details of the Minneapolis Half Marathon, in relation to Team Ortho’s wonderful organizational job with the race. The day of events put on by Team Ortho included a full marathon, a half marathon, and a relay.

I also wanted to share some of the inspirational and comical signs I saw throughout the run, to help get me through to the finish. So, we’ll start with that…

  • A woman dressed up in a banana costume with a sign that read, “Nipple Chafing Turns Me On.” This one was for the men mostly.
  • “Pain is temporary; Pride is forever.”
  • “Worst Parade Ever”
  • “You’re So Pretty”
  • “It’s okay to go in your pants. Just go.” This one was more geared toward the marathoners.
  • “Run like you stole something”
  • “Beer at the finish”
  • “You go girl”

What I loved about this race

Although, personally I had a very difficult time throughout this run physically, and couldn’t enjoy myself as much as I had hoped, there are still pieces I reflect upon that I am thoroughly impressed by and that I can say I loved about this race.

1. The staff and volunteers were awesome. The people in charge of handing out water were on top of their game; always prepared with handfuls of filled water cups. The medical staff was right there in case of emergency; post-race I was not feeling so hot and immediately a medical staff member approached me to make sure I was okay, and brought me a bag of ice. The pacer’s were incredibly energetic and motivational; they kept cheering everyone on throughout the race and also instructed runners to stay off parts of the course as marathoner’s were coming through at the time.

2. It was so well organized. Packet pick-up was coordinated so that it was quick and easy to navigate. On race day there were so many staff members helping with bag check, water, answering questions, etc. You didn’t have to look far to find someone to help you if needed. They had plenty of Port-A-Potty’s available because we all know how important those are pre-race. The lines were very long right before the race but that is to be expected. Race start was organized into expected pace/mile and groups were set off on the run in “batches” so that a running clog wouldn’t be created. The course was marked off clearly with staff there to instruct as well (turnarounds, water stops, etc.). Post-race bag pick up was set up very nicely and staff were eager to assist.

Photos courtesy of Team Ortho and Minneapolis Marathon

3. I loved certain aspects of the course. Passing the 35w Bridge Memorial Site was really neat. I had never seen it before and what better way to see it than to run by it. The Mississippi River was flowing behind it which was another beautiful site to see. The way the course was drawn out was as such:

You can see that there are two turn around spots. At first I wasn’t sure how I would like this. The idea of retracing my steps didn’t sound too appealing to me.

However, I ended up liking it and here’s why. I knew other runners in this race: my husband, my brother, and a couple of other friends. They all ran faster than me which meant that they were going through the turnaround before me, therefore we were basically running right by each other, just in opposite directions. I got to cheer them all on as they passed me in the other lane! Also, it was inspiring to see the top finishers bolting by. The speed of some of these runners leaves me speechless.

Overall, I am very impressed with this organization. Thank you Team Ortho for all of your hard work in making this day of events such a success. It’s no wonder they always have such high registration rates and such a great rate of runners returning year after year to participate.

************

Dinner

Last night I made a frittata for Dana and I. This was my first ever attempt at a frittata and I have to say I am proud of it. I went with a mushroom, spinach, and onion combo. I used a recipe from Health.com as my guide, and made adjustments as I always do. For anyone unfamiliar with frittatas, it is an egg-based dish which is cooked in a skillet.The first portion of the preparation involves cooking on the stovetop, and the second part involves baking in the oven.  I used our cast iron skillet and it worked perfectly.

Review: We loved it! We ate the entire thing. If anyone is interested in the recipe let me know. I can post it if there are any takers. If not, I won’t be offended. It was very tasty and satisfying. If could be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

The rest of the night was spent preparing for our garage sale…..price check!

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

My First Half Marathon

It’s time for a recap of my first half marathon experience.

I want to premise this recap by reminding you all that I have been struggling with a colitis battle now for one month or so. A voice in my head kept asking me if I thought it was a good idea to run this race yesterday or not, not to mention the fact that I came down with a 24-hour stomach bug on Friday. Was my body trying to tell me something? I usually listen to my body, but not this time. After all of the training and anticipation of this race, there was no way I wasn’t going to give it my best shot. I HAD to do it. I didn’t care what time I finished in, I reminded myself it was okay if I needed to walk, I just wanted to finish. Period.

The morning of the race I woke up at 5:15 am, hopped in the shower for a quick wake-me-up spritz, put my running gear on that I had placed out the night before, and made myself my usual pre-run breakfast.

I had my usual pre-race jitters. It doesn’t matter if it is a 5k, a 10k, or a half marathon, I react the same way. I give myself plenty of time to use the facilities before a race (and this is if I’m in a flare-up or non-flare up). This is how my body has reacted to nerves for as long as I can remember; before basketball games, before dance competitions, before the Registered Dietitian Exam, etc.

We loaded up the car at 6:15 am and headed to the race.

Upon arrival, we parked, walked to our destination, checked our bags, and headed to the biffy’s (port-o-potty if you will). I forgot to take any pre-race photos and that’s probably because I was totally nervous and more focused on finding the bathrooms before we had to go into our start corrals.

7:15 am rolled around, and it was time to make our way to our corrals. We dropped my brother off in the 8:30 minute/mile area and Dana and I headed back towards the 9:30 minute/mile area. During our other long runs, we averaged a 9:30 minute/mile pace, but we knew that this may be far-fetched today since we had never ran this length before. We gave ourselves some slack and knew we could fall back if necessary, of course.

A woman sang a beautiful version of the national anthem and I tried to use this time to close my eyes and relax. It really was beautiful.

Then the race began. They started letting groups off by start time, and then held the rest, so we were walking in a slow pace to the start. It was a very dramatic moment to me, and it’s the moment that I noticed I had a rock in my shoe. I was about to start running with it when Dana told me I’m not going to want to run with a rock in my shoe. It turned out I had plenty of time to remove my shoe and dump out the miniature rock. Ok, all better. Now, get your music ready. It’s time to rock.

Our corral was set off and it was go time. Immediately I felt the excitement from the cheering crowd holding their awesome signs and from the other runners who were just as excited as I was to be running this race as I was. But I wasn’t about to let this excitement run me into an overly fast pace. We kept it low and slow. In the first few miles, we ran by the 35W bridge collapse memorial site which I had never seen before. We passed the rolling Mississippi River and of course passed hundred’s of energetic spectators and cheerleaders.

We made one bathroom stop around mile 2. Around mile 3 I started to get an awful feeling in my stomach. I thought it was maybe just the jitters and kept praying that it would go away. It felt like my stomach was completely empty and cramping at the same time, and it was bringing me to nausea. I thought that I might just be hungry as I hadn’t eaten for two hours now, so I snacked on a couple of Blueberry Pomegranate Gu Chomps. I also sipped on some water from the water stop and waited 15 minutes or so to see if the pain would go away. Not a chance. It only progressed and got worse.

I kept running up until mile 6, when I told Dana I had to walk. I HATE walking on runs. I don’t like stopping because 1. I find it harder to start back up again and 2. It slows me down and keeps me from reaching the finish line sooner obviously. When I stopped to walk I was fighting to inhale a breath and felt tears beginning to swell. What is going on with me? Then it was time to give myself a little pep talk (in my head of course): Melanie, your body is going through a lot right now with the colitis, the stomach bug, etc. You can do this though, I know you can, but remember that time doesn’t matter today. It is OKAY to walk. No one is going to judge you except for yourself, and you’ll get over it. Take care of yourself and you can finish. I began running again but was only able to run for about 5 minutes before needing to stop again to walk. At this point I made Dana go ahead because there was no way I was going to hold him back like this.

Once I talked him into going ahead, I walked for probably another 5 minutes or so before I tried giving the running a chance again. I was able to run for a long time after that but at a pretty slow pace. I would walk through the water stations and then pick up the running again. I would tell myself that I would run to the sign ahead, or run until I saw some of my family and friends that were there to watch us, and then I could walk but only if I really needed to walk.

When I saw mile 10 I thought okay, one 5k to go. I’ve done how many 5k’s? No big deal. Ha, well, that last 5k seemed like the longest 5k ever (and looking at my time it literally was my longest 5k ever). At about mile 11 we had to run up what seemed like a mammoth hill at the time. I ran up half of it, then walked the rest. I picked up the running again and told myself I cannot stop until I get to that finish line. I am way too close now, and there are so many people watching…and that was enough to keep me going.

I reached a corner where everyone was yelling, “You’re almost there! Just around the corner!” Sure enough, I rounded the corner and saw the finish line. Out loud I said ‘Oh, Thank God’ and I bolted to that finish line. They announced my name as I was running through and I felt such a great amount of pride at that moment. I thought I would get emotional but I think I was in too much pain to get emotional. In fact, Dana greeted me at the finish and it was a good thing because I felt like I was going to fall over. Immediately, a member of the medical team was at my side with an ice pack and water, and that was just what I needed. Well that, and to sit down, stat.

My official time was 2:20 which  makes for an average pace of 10:42 minutes per mile. I am usually a 9:30 minute/mile runner, but not today, and that is okay. I just finished a half marathon. Wow, what an incredible feeling.

We gathered with our family that had come to watch and then eventually conjured up enough energy for post-race photos.

In the photo above: Kevin’s friend Jeremy, Kevi, Me, and Dana.

My body was so unhappy at this point. That smile on my face and standing up there was taking every last bit of energy in my body. After photos, we made the lengthy trek back to our car (about a mile to our car…..blech) and I tried munching on a banana on the way. I felt such a void in my stomach yet everything sounded awful to me. The banana tasted extremely starchy to me but I know it was just an imbalance in my body so everything would taste off right then.

We headed back to our cozy home making one pit stop at Subway to pick up some lunch. At home, I immediately jumped in the shower, put on comfy clothes and settled myself on to the couch with water, Powerade Zero, and a blanket. This was going to be my spot for a while.

My day of eats minus breakfast which you already saw:

Newman’s Own Thin & Crispy Margherita Pizza that we protein-ified by adding some honey ham (and pineapple) making our very own Margherita Hawaiian Pizza. Num!

My favorite food from today: Froyo from Freeziac. I once again went with Cake Batter Froyo and added brownie pieces, cookie dough pieces, crunch bar bits, reese’s pieces, a dash of hot fudge, sprinkles, and one red gummy bear on top.

It was definitely a lazy food day. We were on the couch until about 3pm after watching a movie and taking a short nap. Then we decided to run and get groceries for the week. Once we got home, I returned to my spot on the couch which is where I spent the rest of the evening before bed.

As mentioned yesterday, TeamOrtho did an incredible job of putting on this event. I would love to go over what I loved about how they organized this event, as well as the amazing supporters and their encouraging signs, but I think I will save that for another post (this one is getting pretty lengthy).

Although I struggled throughout this entire race with some pretty awful stomach issues, I still finished. I will forever take pride in knowing that I completed 13.1 miles in the Minneapolis Half Marathon. If I ever decide to run another half marathon, I will run it when I’m not in a current flare-up. The trouble is, when I registered for this one I was completely healthy, but a lot can change in 3 months so it’s difficult to plan for. I know I can complete a more successful half marathon, without the pains, and actually be able to enjoy it a little more than I did this time around. I don’t think this will be my last one, but who knows!

I am so proud of my husband and my brother and myself for completing our first ever half marathon together. I am so lucky that I got to share this incredible moment with such amazing people.

Thank you for our cheerleaders who came to watch us yesterday, and for those who were cheering at home in spirit! Your love and support meant the world to me and my heart melts from all of the love I felt from you all.

Sorry for such a lengthy post, but this was an event in my life that will never be forgotten, and I’m so happy to be able to share it with you all.

I have the day off today to recover and to get a few things done around the house. I hope you have a wonderful day.

The Day Before The Half Marathon

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I survived my first half marathon today! Unfortunately, it was a pretty painful run for me, but I will be saving these details for tomorrow’s post. All that matters though is that I finished!

Recap from yesterday

I did my best to get a good mix of carbohydrates and protein in my diet yesterday. Friday I stocked up on the carbs as well (that was when I wasn’t feeling well and only bread and fruit tasted good to me). I was building my glycogen stores!

Anyway, I began my day with my standard as of lately: Cream of Wheat sweetened with stevia, a touch of brown sugar, and cinnamon.

After breakfast, we walked a few blocks down the road to cheer on a friend of ours who was running a 5k race in our neighborhood. It was a gorgeous morning and it felt good to stretch the legs on our walk to the race.

We spent a couple of hours out there, cheering (she did awesome btw), supporting, and chatting before heading home.

I was starving by the time we got home so I snacked on a banana some peanut butter.

I made sure to drink A LOT of water throughout the day to hydrate myself well for race day.

We relaxed for a while, gathered some items from Dana’s parents for our upcoming garage sale, and eventually ate lunch. I heated up the last of the grilled chicken breast, sauced it with Kraft’s Asian Dressing. On the side, I had green beans.

In the afternoon, Kevin, Dana, and I headed out to pick up our race bibs, race chips, shirts, etc.

I was EXCITED! Team Ortho did a wonderful job with the production of this Minneapolis Marathon. We have run one other race with them when we ran the Get Lucky 7k in March (which was great too). Everything from registration, to race-info pickup, to the actual day of the half marathon, was very well organized and the volunteers were great too!  I would recommend their races to anyone.

When we got home from picking up our stuff, we fired up the grill. I wanted to make sure we get dinner in at a decent hour so that we had plenty of time to digest it, and sleep it off, so that we wouldn’t feel icky in the morning. I planned a protein and carbohydrate packed dinner. I gotta take care of my boys. On the menu: Super lean turkey burgers and sweet potato fries on the grill, and ketchup obviously.

The rest of the night was spent preparing for the run. I laid out my running gear, pinned my number on, placed my race chip on my shoelaces, packed our bag, charged the iPod, iced, stretched, and did anything else I could think of to make the next morning go as smooth and painless as possible for us. I’m a planner.

We got a good chuckle from the doggie when Dana put a backpack on his back. Moose is all ready for school. He’s always such a good sport, not to mention the cutest thing ever. I wish I knew what he was thinking at that moment. Probably something like, “Really guys? Again? I’m the brunt of your joke…again? You’re going to have to start paying me for this kind of entertainment.” Love you Moosey.

We got to bed around 9:30-10ish, and slept pretty well surprisingly. Excited to fill you in on the race details. Stay tuned!

My Half Marathon Non-Plan Training Plan

Hello there! Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I got hit with some kind of bug on Friday (which actually sent me home from work), but I am happy to say I am feeling much better now. I didn’t photograph any of my food photos from yesterday because they were extraordinarily boring; lots of carbs and fruit because that was all that sounded good to me. I would not let my body stay sick for long and kept a positive attitude all day because I HAVE to be well…I have a big event coming up tomorrow:

My First Half Marathon.

I am getting very excited for it and slightly anxious. Later this afternoon we will be going to pick up our race bibs and such.

Today’s post is going to be about how I prepared and trained for this half marathon. I thought it would be good for me to mentally walk through my training, to help me build confidence in my ability to carry out this run successfully tomorrow. I also thought some of you might enjoy reading it as well!

When Dana and I first decided to register for this half marathon, we began browsing through training plans. Initially, we had found two we were interested in: Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan and Jeff Galloway’s Half Marathon Training Plan. Dana liked one of them, and I liked the other. We had tentatively decided we would each train on these schedules and make adjustments as needed.

Then, one of my reader’s Lisa, who is an avid runner, gave me some wonderful advice as I was contemplating the possibility of not following a strict training plan, and instead just running when I wanted to, and resting when I felt I needed to rest. She wrote: ““For my very first marathon, I followed a training plan and I found that when someone else was telling me when to run and how far to go, it became work and I dreaded it. Since then, I have just run to run and not worried about how far I was going. Two years ago I ran my first sub-four hour marathon and couldn’t have been happier. Now, this is not to say that training plans don’t work, but I found that I resented mine. Like I said, I listen to my body, run longer runs when I feel like it (or have the time- usually on the weekends) and give myself rest when I need it.” I also mentioned her comment in a past post: Enjoy Life While Training Plan.

After I read her comment it was as clear as day for me. I would not be following a strict running plan, instead I would make my own, and make it work for me and my life. I want this process to be enjoyable, and not become a second job. So that’s what we decided to do: A Non-Plan Training Plan.

I am trying to remember when I first starting training for this half. Throughout the winter I did continue to run, so this spring I wasn’t COMPLETELY out of running shape, but I definitely wasn’t IN running shape. I would say the more regimented training began in March sometime (when it was starting to get nicer outside here in MN).

There wasn’t necessarily a “typical” weekly workout pattern, but usually it was something along these lines:

  • Monday: Cross-train, strength
  • Tuesday : run
  • Wednesday: Cross-train, strength
  • Thursday: run
  • Friday: rest or light walk
  • Saturday: longer run
  • Sunday: cross-train, strength, or rest depending on the mileage from Saturday

It was nice having so much freedom throughout this training. However, it is important that if you do follow this type of non-plan plan, that you don’t let yourself fall off the workout wagon being that it is so flexible. You have to stay very motivated and also learn to listen to your body. I really enjoy working out so staying motivated was fairly easy for me, and I also feel like I know my body pretty well and understand when it’s trying to tell me something.

To help me stay accountable, I recorded my workouts here. I like being able to look back and track my weekly workouts, and as I mentioned before, I thought this would be a perfect time for me to review the past few months, so that I continue to remember that I am prepared. I’m physically and mentally ready.

The big race is finally here.  U.C. and all, I got this. I cannot wait to report back! Yikes!

Beautiful Surprises

Hola! No messing around today. Let’s get down to business.

My day of eats yesterday….

Breakfast: Cream of Wheat with stevia, cinnamon, banana, and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Cinnamon apple tea on the side. This has become my usual breakfast lately. It sits very well in my tummy and it tastes good too!

Part of my lunch: Slightly burnt sweet potato fries with cinnamon maple Pb2.

Dinner: Tilapia seasoned simply with salt and pepper, leftover potato salad, and a plain salad with honey mustard. Call me crazy but my favorite thing on this plate was the GREENS. I have missed my green salads so much and although I’m still not going to go all out into the roughage types of foods, I am enjoying my small salads whenever I let myself have one.

After work yesterday I geared up to head out for a 3-mile run around the neighborhood. I ran an easy, relaxing pace, and it felt great to stretch my legs out. Just 4 days until the half marathon!

When I got back from my run, I found the sweetest surprise waiting for me in the dining area.

You always know how to brighten my day. Thanks, honey! They are gorgeous and make me smile every time I look at them.

Happy Wednesday to you all.

Question of the day: What is your favorite way to prepare tilapia or any other white fish?

Running in the Rain

Yesterday morning we headed towards the lakes for our run. On our way we spotted a coyote! Can you see it? We have heard so many people saying they have seen coyotes around the cities this year. They are sort of creepy looking.

We planned our run around three lakes in Minneapolis: Lake of the Isles, Lake Harriet, and Lake Calhoun. We parked a half mile away from our starting point so that we would complete 11 miles.

The radar wasn’t in our favor, as there was definite rain heading our way, but we knew we needed to get our run in. Here is our before the run photo, so nice and dry.

About half way into our run, the thunder began, then the lightning, and the downpour. I’m not talking any sprinkles here, we’re talking sheets of rain. We looked like we had jumped into the lakes and swam 20 laps as we were completely sopping wet. I have to admit though, there was something about running in the rain that was exciting and enjoyable. It’s not like we were running to get to our car because we had the chance of staying dry. Instead, since we were already soaked, why not bask in the moment because how often do you really get the chance to do this? Not very often.

Our after photo in the car…

Eleven miles is the farthest distance either of us has ever run before. All in all, the run went pretty well. We were ecstatic to have completed this distance and are feeling excited about our half marathon NEXT WEEKEND! This will be the farthest distance we will run now before the race. This week will be 1 or 2 small runs and some strength training as well.

While I tend to love stormy weather (as long as no damage is done), Moose on the other hand has different feelings. I took these photos from a storm last week. I was home with him in the morning getting ready for work. As he followed me around the entire morning,I was contemplating whether he was protecting me, or really just terrified of the storms.

Moose in the kitchen while I made breakfast. It looks like I put him in the corner for a time-out.

Moose under the table by my feet while I ate breakfast.

And Moose sitting directly behind me while I did my hair and makeup.

I’d like to think he was protecting me, but let’s be real here, he is a super huge baby when it comes to storms. I think it is the cutest thing.

After our run, I immediately hopped in the shower to warm up. I then iced my knees as they were feeling a bit sore from the run. Then, we were off to the in-laws to celebrate Greg’s birthday. They made us super juicy delicious cheeseburgers which were a great recovery meal for us. Bring on the protein, baby. I had to opt out of the veggie salads, but munched on some chips on the side instead. Who am I? This does not sound like me. It WILL be short-lived. I want my veggies.

Birthday dessert followed. Chocolate Mousse Cake from a local Bakery called Wuollet. OmG, this stuff was heavenly. What’s ironic is I had just told Dana that I wanted to lay low on the sweets this week before our race. But, are you kidding me? Like I’m going to say no to this. Yea right. DIVINE.

After our get together we went home, hung out with the doggie, watched a recorded episode of Glee (when they go to Nationals), and relaxed. I snuck in a handful of sugar snap peas. I know I shouldn’t have but I had a serious craving for something green.

Now, it’s Sunday morning and I am clipping coupons with the hubs before we head out for our usual errands. We are hoping to plant our veggie garden today! Catch up with you later.

Will Run for Cake and Powerade

It has been a GREAT day so far. This morning I made my usual pre-run breakfast: peanut butter banana sandwich.

Then Dana and I headed out to St. Paul for a run along the Mississippi River. We had nine miles on the agenda today and mother nature surely lined up beautiful weather for us. It was about 60° and blue skies.

I ran with my iPhone and jammed out to 90’s Pop Radio. I was serenaded by the Spice Girls, LFO (what happened to them?), Meredith Brooks, Backstreet Boys, you name it. I knew every song that came on and thoroughly enjoyed having them cheering me on. It helped  keep my mind off of my aching knees, lower back, and hip flexors which I began to notice during the last couple of miles.

Please excuse the extremely unattractive photo. Who’s the nerd? Will run for Powerade!

After completing this 9 miler today, I am beginning to regain confidence in my endurance, and in my half marathon training progression. The half marathon is now just 3 weeks from tomorrow. We are going to be heading up north next weekend, which means we really only have one more weekend at home before the race. Yikes. However, I remind myself that I’m not out to set any world records, I’m just out to finish the race and then stuff my face with food.

I do know I need to keep working on the mental aspect of running because I can so easily tell myself that I’m struggling with a run and allow myself to call it quits early, when in retrospect I really could have kept running had I mentally told myself I was just fine. Last night, I pictured myself having a good run today, and finishing the run strong. I also read inspirational running quotes, and reminded myself of my personal tips for getting through runs such as using my arms to help pull myself up a hill and thinking about what I have to look forward to once the run was over (in this case: Powerade, family, pizza, and cake).

I felt incredibly accomplished after this run today. The last time I ran this far was August 2011 when Dana and I participated in a 15k in Edina, MN.

Once again, having Dana running by my side today made this run a whole lot better and much more enjoyable. I encouraged him to pose with his Powerade for this photo on our car  ride home.

After our run, we headed home. We cleaned up the house and I got busy in the kitchen in preparation for company. My mom, dad, and brother Kevin were coming over to celebrate my dad’s birthday and Mother’s Day.

I was in charge of the dessert today, and since I’d really like to improve upon my cake-making skills, I decided that this was a perfect opportunity for me to practice. I made two cakes and I baked them last night. I used a standard white cake recipe and a standard chocolate cake recipe and made one round pan of each because I was planning to make a layer cake. You know me though, I just had to try to make the cakes a little bit healthier, so I cut out the butter from the batter recipe and instead used Greek yogurt. How do you like that? The cakes turned out well! They were more dense than normal cake and we all seemed to enjoy the more moist texture, not to mention the flavor was great!

I made the two-layer cake starting with the vanilla white cake on the bottom, a layer of homemade buttercream frosting, then the chocolate cake, and lastly a whole lot more buttercream frosting. I did my best to decorate it but I’ll admit it looked pretty amateur. The frosting was NOT low-fat by the way.

The most important part was that everyone enjoyed it and I had a really fun time making it. I can’t wait to practice again.

Let’s back it up a tad here because we did eat lunch before dessert although I’m not opposed to doing the opposite. Dad wanted to compare two of our local pizza places for lunch, so they picked up one Hawaiian Pizza from one restaurant, and one Veggie Pizza from another restaurant. Mom also brought a fruit and veggie tray and we put out some snack mix.

Mmm..both pizzas were delicious but I preferred the Hawaiian Pizza which was from Red Savoy’s. Num. I went back for more goodies after this first plate of food.

Then we all hung out for a while and enjoyed the beautiful day together before diving into dessert (described above).

We sang “Happy Birthday” and dad blew out his candles. Another year younger, right dad?

I love my family so much. I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words just how much they mean to me. I know I have said this before and I will most definitely say it again.

They took off about an hour ago. Now the hubs is out cutting the grass and then we have a couple or errands to run before relaxing for the night. I am very excited to have a quiet night tonight.

I hope everyone is having an equally wonderful day, or has at least found one thing to smile about today. :smile:

Sorry this post was a little bit all over the place. I am in a very lovey mood. I’ll leave ya with this. Check out what mom brought me today.

Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks mama!

Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers.

What made YOU smile today?

Project Cleanse

The laundry is almost caught up, errands have been run, vacation photos ordered, and I am feeling good.

My Monday started off with my typical pre-run breakfast. I really missed my peanut butter and banana combo while I was away and was thrilled to have it this morning. Such simple pleasures I have.

After breakfast, I hit the pavement and completed a not so friendly 5-mile run. I felt like vacation has kicked my butt. I really think it was all in my head this morning and my brain kept flashing negative talk at me. I tried my best to turn the negative head talk into positive talk, but sometime it’s hard. I had to take a couple of walk breaks but still managed to finish at  a little over a 9-minute mile pace which for me is pretty good. I am hoping that today was just a “bad” run day and that my mileage and endurance progression will pick up again now that I am home and eating normal.

For lunch, I piled my plate high with veggies. In the mix was mixed greens, tomato, onion, chickpeas, feta cheese, broccoli, olives, and Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard.

Oh yes, I missed these salads too. I did eat salads while on vacation, but they weren’t the same. I snapped photos of a few of my salads while in D.R.

Not too shabby, right? Almost every day, they offered a salad bar that included cabbage, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, and then they mixed up other toppings from day to day (corn, peas, olives, etc). They had a few choices for dressings but I veered toward one in particular that was some sort of vinegar based mix with diced tomatoes and onions. It was light and refreshing.

The bread in the photos above was total awesomeness. I should probably try to recreate it at home. I am 95% sure that they were rosemary buns and I tried to enjoy at least one daily (along with some other freshly baked breads).

Although I tried to make healthy decisions on the trip, I also indulged in desserts daily. They had some interesting ones that I couldn’t quite figure out but noticed that many of the desserts had white rice baked into them.

**Side note: I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I ate a fish one night called Mori while at the Caribbean themed restaurant at our resort. I googled it and found out it is shark. Eek! I ate shark. That’s about as adventurous I get in the meat department. It WAS very good, though.

Now that I am back home, I am on a mission to get back on track with my healthy eating habits. Around Easter time, I lost a little control over my sweet tooth again. I have noticed that when I incorporate more added sugar into my diet like I have been lately, the energy it takes for me to run becomes greater. The last thing I need is for running to be even more difficult for me, and considering I have a half marathon coming up in less than one month (!), it is time to get back on track.

Project cleanse. I am so pumped and so motivated to get my body back to a clean slate. I’m not talking any colon cleanse; absolutely not. I will never do that and will never recommend a colon cleanse as it is highly dangerous and damaging to your digestive system, but I am going to eat as clean as possible and limit processed foods. Notice I said limit processed foods, not omit completely. These are my intentions at least. We’ll see how I hold up.

I am on a rant, and am probably procrastinating tackling the rest of the laundry. I really should really go do it so that I can finally be done with it. Also, I should go pay some attention to this little one.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday! My positive Monday talk is that I have been very productive this morning and am almost caught up with a week’s worth of laundry. I am so happy to be back and thrilled to be sharing my experiences with you. Muah!

 

 

Two Tickets to Paradise

Well friends, we are all packed up…

And we’re off. Off we go into the wild blue yonder flying high into the sky. For those of you who may have missed it, Dana and I are going to be spending a good chunk of time in the beautiful Dominican Republic. We plan to lay on the beach, swim, go on at least one tour of the countryside, hike up the waterfalls, rest, eat, drink, and do whatever the heck we want.

We do plan to continue training for the half marathon while we are there. All of our running gear is packed and we will hit the beaches a few of the mornings for beautiful, scenic jogs.

I had a hard time saying bye to this little man. He gives the most painstaking puppy eyes that get me every time.

This photo of Moose and Dana was from Wednesday. Moose was NOT that happy looking when we left for our trip. He is going to be in very great hands though and will have a blast going for walks, runs, and probably getting even more attention that he gets from us.

Paradise awaits. I am off. I have a few posts planned for you all while I am away. Hope you enjoy them. I look forward to catching up with you when I get back!