Monday, October 31, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back

That's the way it seems with my running...two steps forward, one step back. I had a couple of great weeks of getting faster, and then Saturday's long run happens. It was slow. But I'm actually ok with it. With a run that long, I had time to really think about it and come to grips with it. I think sometimes we have runs like that to learn something.

What I learned:
1. I never "use up" anything, whether my energy and strength on a run or that Bath & Body Works lotion. I always want to save up for the "what if's" that might never happen. I'm working on it.

2. I'm finding that I finish strong. My last two miles were my fastest. Pretty cool.

3. I'm pretty darn proud of myself. I'm actually up and running when others are sleeping. I'm sticking to my training plan but also taking care of myself when necessary (like skipping a run Thursday). I finish the run.

I know there were a lot of factors that played into this slow run. I didn't have my speed-demon Momma to push me like last week. I had a week of being almost sick (or if I really admitted it, sick). I had two late nights at the end of the week due to the Rangers World Series games. I was up with a sick kid at 4 a.m. before the run. I had some stomach issues of my own before and even during the run. Yes, all those things could be excuses, but they are what they are...factors that had a role in the outcome of the run.

The run gave me lots of time to enjoy the beautiful weather we're having...chilly, for once! One really good thing was the lack of soreness I had afterward. I felt like I could have done another 10 within a half hour of stopping. And I had very little soreness at all and was able to enjoy the rest of the day with my family. Gotta be happy with that!

After spending about an hour fighting with my soon-to-be-replaced laptop, I gave up trying to get a fancy version of my splits (which I'm happy to say, I got my Garmin to do). Here they are:
Mile 1     12:26
Mile 2     12:19
Mile 3     11:48
Mile 4     12:21
Mile 5     11:21
Mile 6     11:46
Mile 7     11:44
Mile 8     11:49
Mile 9     10:48
Mile 10   10:59
Total      1:57:27

Mileage Report
Weekly: 19 miles
YTD: 658.85 miles

Friday, October 28, 2011

Three Thing Thursday

*Oops! I forgot to post this last night.

1. I think we are all getting sick. No fun. That said, I skipped my first run this morning. I really don't miss many runs, but an hour more of sleep sounded much more promising. And to be honest, I felt a lot better at school today than I did yesterday.

2. My parents pick up the kids most Thursdays, so I was able to get "almost" caught up at school...and these days, "almost" is as good as it gets. I'm ok with that. However, Chad went home sick today, so no date night for us...unless you count us watching the Rangers game together a date.

3. We had to turn the heater on for the first time tonight! The house wasn't freezing, but it was getting chilly. Nice problem to have for once.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Garmin...what else can it do?

Ok, so this has nothing to do with yesterday's run, but it is a picture of my Garmin
I have to admit, I am not a technological wizard. I get by and can figure out most things. However, I have not figured out my Garmin's capabilities at all. I use it for two things: 1. How far have I gone? and 2. How long did it take me? I'm just now realizing all it can do.

For example, I wanted to know my mile splits from yesterday's long run. I didn't know I had to set it to do that. I really thought I could just plug my Garmin into my computer and it would tell me. Wrong. I did figure out through the Connect.Garmin website how to get my total time at each mile, so I can figure my splits (although math is not my strong suit). Still, here's what I came up with for my splits:

Mile 1     10:06
Mile 2     10:19
Mile 3     11:00
Mile 4     10:34
Mile 5     10:47
Mile 6     11:05
Mile 7     10:23
Mile 8     9:50 (oh, yeah!)
Mile 9     10:11   

My 10K time was 1:05:54, which isn't too much slower than my 10K race. What I was most proud of was that my 8 mile time was 1:24:04. Last week, I did 8 miles in 1:26:30 and the week before that, I did 8 miles in 1:31:30. That makes me happy!

So now, I am on a quest to figure out what else this thing can do (and maybe even break out the heart rate monitor that came with it!).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Building speed

Training for the RnR Las Vegas is building speed...I had nine miles to go this morning. My husband was out of town, so I planned wisely and headed to my parents' yesterday evening so my dad could watch the kids during this morning's long run.

We had some stargazing fun last night. Sometimes, I miss the small town things like seeing so many stars at night. It was really good to have a chance to visit with my parents and just relax a little after this week.

This morning, Mom and I were both awake at 6. Unfortunately, she had been up with my lil buddy who had thrown up a couple of times. He seemed to be ok though (a red ices, ice cream and strawberry milk might not have been a good idea, huh?). We decided it wasn't light enough and went back to bed for another hour. At 7, we geared up and headed out around 7:30. Both of us had new Amphipod fuel belts to try out. The first half mile was hilarious as both of us sloshed and adjusted and re-strapped those belts. Luckily, once they settled in (or we got used to them) we were fine. In fact, I really liked being able to have both water and Gatorade for once.

The first two or three miles were really rough for me. I just couldn't get loose and find my rhythm. After three, things felt better, but not great. I think I finally hit my stride around six or seven. Crazy, I know, but the last couple of miles felt pretty good.

I am actually building a little speed again. I did a negative split "tempo" run this week with consecutive miles in 9:40, 9:20, and 8:57. I don't know what my splits were today, but even Mom could tell I was faster and stronger at the end than I was at the beginning of today's run. I will have to plug my Garmin into the computer to see my splits though.

Mom was only scheduled for 6 after her Double at the Tulsa Route 66 Quarter Marathon last weekend. She ended up doing the whole nine with me today. I know it was considerably slower than her normal pace, which is probably why she did the whole distance with me, but it was really nice to have company. It didn't hurt that keeping up with her kept my pace up.

I wish we had thought to get a picture of the two of us this morning. I was going to try and post a picture of her and Dad running last week's race, but my computer is just not cooperating.

One of the best parts of today's run (besides the fact that I ran with my mom) was that I finished strong and felt proud of me. I get so bogged down with other people's speed or distance that I forget that I am doing the best job I can do. I choose to run, so I can choose to enjoy it and celebrate my own accomplishments, no matter what that might be for me. After all, I finished nine miles this morning before lots of people ever left their beds. so maybe my confidence is picking up a little speed as well :)

Mileage Report
Weekly: 20 miles
YTD: 639.85 miles

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Three thing Thursday

1. There is power in planning! My Type A personality does have its perks, and this morning was proof of that. I worked my rear off last night to make sure we were set up for a good morning this morning. With my husband leaving well before the kids would get up, I was on my own...and we had an awesome morning! No fits, no fussing, everything done, including a load of dishes and a load of laundry! I thought tomorrow morning was going to be easy, but with some unforeseen circumstances, I'll be doing a little more prep work again tonight to make sure it goes smoothly.

2. Thursdays are usually date night, but I was on my own tonight. I spent some time at Toys R Us and found a few bargains to save for later. Then I went to Tuesday Morning. I don't go there often, but it's fun to see what I can find. Tonight I found a beautiful corduroy coat for my daughter. It's the little things that matter.

3. The Rangers won tonight! It was a nail biter of a game, but they did it!

And now I am off to get ready for maker programmed, clothes out, water bottle ready, etc. It's really not so bad for tomorrow because my little buddy doesn't go to school on Fridays, so making lunches isn't as crucial. Although that reminds me that I need to make my own lunch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lesson learned

No matter how much I know, it is all useless if I don't put it into practice. Today's recipe for disaster:
5-mile run (which pretty much rocked)
+ no time for breakfast
+ forgot my vitamins at home
+ no time to make coffee at school
+ no time to fill up my water bottle
+ stuck in testing for four class periods
= one really bad idea

I ended up with a hideous headache by 11, and nothing was helping. I even drank a Coke at lunch hoping the caffeine would help. It took the edge off, but not by much.

I think I finally have myself closer to hydrated, and after an Excedrin, I am feeling a little better (almost 12 hours later).

The thing is, I know what I should have done and how all this could have been avoided, but for whatever reason (read: laziness won out) I didn't follow through with those things.

The things I should have done:
Grabbed a granola bar on the way out the door
Filled up a water bottle as I left
Taken my vitamins with me to take after I ate
Fixed my lunch the night before

So, tonight, I have truly learned my lesson. I have already made mine and the kids' lunches for tomorrow. I have my vitamin case filled and in my purse. I have Gatorade and a bottled water in the fridge since I know I will be running in the morning. The running clothes are out too. I've done the dishes so I don't have to face a messy kitchen in the morning. And even better? I have the coffee maker set to brew nice and early...and unlike the last time I tried that, this time I didn't accidentally start it instead.

Now, all those little things I know make my life run just a little bit smoother are being put to use, and I can only hope it makes tomorrow that much better.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Today, I took a "mental health day" with my mom and sister. It was actually a day to cash in our birthday IOU's from Mom at Luke's Locker in Fort Worth. For Carrie, it was a pair of shoes. For me, it was a fuel belt.

Today was good for the sole soul.

We decided to leave around 8, giving us some extra time at home in the morning, a rarity for the three of us teachers. I made homemade donuts for the kids and had time to eat with them. I also got to take my lil buddy to Grammy's and SB to school.

We had a great time on the way down there, laughing our heads off at silly things, and getting to catch up with each other. It's probably been a year since we've done something just the three of us...and it was probably going to Luke's last year!

Once at Luke's Carrie, then Mom, got fitted for new shoes. I think they both ended up in Brooks. I think I'm going to stick with my Asics Cumulus 13 and order them online soon since they are cheaper that way...especially since I found them in a different color.
I went looking for a hydration belt and ended up with the Amphipod RunLite4. The flasks are movable and removable and you can add things to the belt. I'm looking forward to giving this a try soon! It seems to be pretty secure and easy to use. We will see...

We then had lunch at a deli and stopped by one other running store we saw on our way out. I ended up with two more pairs of my favorite running socks, Wright brand. Love those things!

Once home we picked up the kids and headed to Academy for some Rangers shirts. We're looking forward to game 1 of the World Series tomorrow night! The coolest thing ever is that my hubby got to work the game Saturday night when the Rangers clinched it. Here's what he brought home for a souvenir for the kids:

Doesn't my husband rock? And I have to give kudos to Josh Hamilton too...the kids, mainly Ryan, thought this was awesome and still giggles every time he watches it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Piecing it together

So yesterday's run was totally pieced together, but it turned out really well. I had a time frame because my husband had a meeting, so I knew I had to be back. However, it was still really dark when I needed to be starting, so I hopped on the treadmill for two miles while I was waiting for it to lighten up a bit. I took those miles pretty slow, and in retrospect, should have picked up the pace. To be honest, during the treadmill miles, I was reallybquetioning my ability to do 8. I was also seriously wondering whether my compression sleeves were a good idea. They made my legs feel weird. I hit the the road with 6 to go. It was nice and chilly outside, but I had already warmed up nicely, so I ditched the arm warmers before I began. I regretted that about a half mile down the road but I ended up warming up nicely as the sun came up. The compression sleeves ended up feeling pretty good by the end of the run. I was actually able to do negative splits on the run. I should probably plug the Garmin in to see exactly what my pace looked like, but I know I did the last 2.8 in 27 minutes. I jogged about a quarter mile after my 8 to get me home quicker. I came in, checked on the kids, and cooled down the rest of a mile on the treadmill.

So, my run was pieced together, but it worked! The break down would look like this:
2 miles on the treadmill
6 miles on the road
.32 miles cooling down on the road
.68 miles cooling down on the treadmill

I did cut 5 minutes off last week's 8-mile run! I am really happy with that!

Overall the run was really a good one. I focused on enjoying my "me" time and really enjoying the peacefulness of being outside on a beautiful day.

Mileage Report:
Weekly: 20 miles
YTD: 619.85 miles

I am now over 600 miles for the year! Just about 63 to go to reach my goal for the year!

That also means it is about time to replace my shoes. I am torn between just getting a new pair of what I have (after all, they are working) and trying something new. I will be at a Luke's Locker this week and may see what they have to say. If I stick with what I have, I can get them online for a lot less than what I originally paid for mine.

This week is shaping up to be a crazy week, so I may have to practice this idea of piecing it all together...but it works!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Things You'd Never Know

This weekend I was visiting one of my favorite Facebook pages, Run Like a Mother: The Book, and saw someone's post about piriformis syndrome. I had no clue what that even was, so I Googled it. Lo and behold! I now have the name for the pain I felt a few weeks ago, the one where I found the knot between my hip and spine using my foam roller.

The bad news is, that pain is back today. Weird how things sometimes work out like that. For those of you that are just as clueless as me  curious, here's a visual:

The piriformis is that triangular muscles between your hip and spine, right on the sciatic nerve. Yep, there's the problem. It's hurts when that muscle gets irritated enough to bother that nerve.

It's interesting that a lot of the stretches to ease the pain are the same ones I use for my IT Bands. It makes you wonder if there's some sort of connection there too.

So, I've already foam rolled this evening, and I'll be working on the stretches as we watch the Rangers game. I know going to the chiropractor would probably help, but frankly, right now, that's not in the budget. The good news is that it doesn't hurt when I run...just walk, sit, stand, etc.

I still think it's odd how I never even knew this muscle existed, never found a cause of the pain a few weeks ago, and now that mine hurts again, I see a random post about it. Now, if only I can get some relief.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Night

Mileage report:
Weekly: 20 miles
YTD: 599.85 miles (makes me want to hop on the treadmill for .15!)

I signed up for the local Race for the Cure assuming we would do like we did last year and walk the one-mile as Patsy's Posse with Grammy. This week, after all, marks two years since her diagnosis. However, they decided not to do the race. I had planned on getting up and running 5 and then doing the 5K. Because of the change in plans, I decided to just do my 8 on my own.

I woke up to a very overcast morning. It was surprisingly warmer than it looked though. A tank and shorts were fine. I wore my visor hoping for rain in case it rained. I probably looked dumb in a hat on a cloudy day, especially since I kept pushing it up because I was hot. Unfortunately, I only got a few sprinkles...but at least I stayed cool.

For the first couple of miles, I really questioned whether I could do 8. This is the longest run of this training round so far, and I had forgotten how hard 8 could be. At about mile 3, things felt good, and that lasted until about mile 5 or so. By 6, I was wondering if I could make it the last two. Of course, I was at least 2 miles from home so I figured I didn't have much choice.

After my run and a breakfast cooked by my husband (the best kind!), I headed out to help the BFFs, the team I walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure with last year. They were holding a fundraiser today...Fill the a busy intersection. It was very overcast, which was so much better than when we did the same fundraiser last extreme temps. I even made the local news: BFFs Fill the Cups. (And yes, I look silly running back and forth for donations...but the cause is worth it!)

I had planned on staying a couple of hours...and ended up leaving right as a front moved through. I couldn't believe the change in temperatures. By the time I got home (just a few blocks away), the rain had arrived! And it has rained all day long! How awesome is that?! It is, of course, messing up the Rangers game...but it's giving us plenty of time to catch up on our shows :)

I forgot to add that I got to sneak away this evening for a much-needed pedicure with a friend. I am pretty sure I haven't had one in more than a year. I could be wrong. I know I wanted one after my 3-Day last year, but I had to wait for blisters to heal, and by that time, I had already started training for my half. Poor girl doing my feet...I feel a little sorry for her...but man, do my feet look better!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three Thing Thursday

Three things that made me happy today...

1. Even though I've been awake for 17 hours now and on my feet and in heels for almost 15 of them, these shoes made it possible.

I'm too worn out to take a picture of my actual shoes right now.
The best part is that I only paid $11.89 for these shoes at Sears during their big clearance sale (by the way, I just saw that these are on clearance for $4.99 on right now!). I had to walk across a gravel parking lot twice for our annual 8th grade picture at the nearby stadium, hold parent conferences all day, and then walk across that same parking lot again to go to a high school football game this evening. And yes, my feet were happy when I took the shoes off, but I'm not hurting at all. Love these things.

2. My hubby knows how to brighten my day. He bought me these:
Giant pumpkin-shaped vanilla marshmallows
And yes, once again, I'm too tired to take pictures of mine
The coolest thing is that just a few weeks ago when I was talking about dipping marshmallows in chocolate, I said the only thing they needed to do was make pumpkin flavored ones...and they did! Can't wait to actually try these!

3. I almost didn't go to the football game with Chad and the kids tonight. I definitely could have spent the time cleaning, but the kids wanted me to go. And I'm so glad I did. We've really been struggling with SB being super whiny and fussy...but she actually talked to me during the game about her day and things that are important to her (like the latest iPad app she likes). Granted, she was whiny again after that, but it was so nice to have a real conversation with her and be reminded that she really does have a sweet, curious, fun-loving side. I needed that :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

All Things Apples

Nothing says fall like apples...well, maybe pumpkins, but apples definitely scream autumn, even if we don't really have that season here in Texas. And research is proving that an apple a day really could keep the doctor away, so anything that helps me get that apple in is a good thing.

A Trick
A trick I keep forgetting to can soak apples in Sprite for a few minutes (like while you're cutting the rest up...10 minutes will do), and they won't turn brown! This also prevents that yucky too-lemony flavor store-bought precut apples have. It works well to send apples in the kids' lunches or for me to take with some peanut butter to school.

Apple-Pear Butter
I had some apples that had a texture I didn't like, at least for snacking. And I had some pears that were on their last legs. I figured I could make some apple-pear butter in the crockpot. After looking at a few recipes online, I came up with my own. For one thing, I only had about 5 small apples and 4 or 5 pears, and most of the recipes called for tons of apples. I will say, after making it once, I'll definitely make a bigger batch next time. Sarah Beth told me this afternoon that it was super-duper delicious. :)

Place cored and quartered apples and pears (my large crockpot was barely half full). You can leave the peel on and pull them out later or you can peel them first. My apples were so small that it was harder to peel them. Add about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the apples and pears are very soft. Pull out the peels using a pair of tongs. They should come off the apples very easily. (And from what I've read, leaving the peels on during cooking actually adds to the nutrients.)

Add 1/4 cup brown sugar (or more, if you'd like...I didn't want too much sugar). Add 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 to 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Add a pinch of salt. And then add 2 tsp. vanilla. Stir to combine.

Cook on low another 8 hours or so. You'll probably want to vent the lid at some point to allow the liquid to evaporate. I put mine on high for the last 30 minutes or so this morning and the liquid really started to carmelize nicely.

We had this on little mini biscuits fresh from the oven this morning. I'm thinking I'll add it to oatmeal in the morning. It was really good. I didn't put mine in a blender or anything to make it super smooth, but you definitely could. Mine's not super sweet, but you can play with the sugar to your own liking.

Caramel Apples
Ok, so I haven't made these yet, but I'm planning on it closer to Halloween.

I bought the caramel bits because the thought of unwrapping all those candies didn't sound so fun. I hope to make some caramel apples like these...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Freezer breakfasts, part 2

I finally got around to making another freezer breakfast. I didn't tackle all that I wanted to, but considering the freezer has quite a few of my "make once, eat twice" kind of foods, it's enough for today.

I've made these before, but this time, I doubled the recipe and made a few adjustments so I'd have plenty to freeze. These are fabulous, and I really like them as a pre-run fuel.

Note: This is NOT my photography skills are not this good :)

The original recipe is from Ellie Krieger on Food Network's Healthy Living. The original recipe makes 12 largish cookies at about 180-190 calories a piece. I doubled mine but got 40 smaller cookies out of it. I didn't calculate my adjustments, but it would be about 108 calories a piece.

Here's mine. This is the doubled version:

1 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

5 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (although the first time I used mashed bananas)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup bran cereal flakes

1/4 cup craisins  
Scoop out and place on a sprayed cookie sheet. Flatten using moistened fingers (they don't spread at all) and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

I let these cool and freeze flat in individual bags of two cookies inside of a larger bag, much like I did yesterday's lil smokie pigs in a blanket.

I also am working on a way to use up some overripe pears and some apples that I didn't like the texture of. I have them peeled and quartered and in the crockpot cooking down now. This evening, I'll add some spices and a little sugar to make some apple-pear butter. I'm thinking biscuits in the morning with this on top will be fabulous!

I'm planning on making a loaf of banana bread this evening too. Maybe that with the apple-pear butter would be even better :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Saturday Catch-Up

Ok, I thought about a post for Three Thing Thursday. I began a post as a Four Thing Friday. And now it's Saturday. Yep, the picture shows how this week has gone. So, let's recap.

Tuesday: SB complains of a headache and throws up all the way home from Grammy's. She goes right to sleep. Ryan falls asleep while we are cleaning up the mess. Both kids sleep until the next morning.

Wednesday: The doctor wants to see SB because of the headache/vomiting combo, so we take her in that afternoon. It looks like she has migraines. Not what you want to hear for a six-year-old, but at least it's manageable.

Thursday: I was scheduled to run on Thursday this week. It's the first week of four runs, but I didn't get it done before school and it was too hot after school. Plus, it was date night! I don't run in the dark alone so a night run wasn't really an option...although Chad did offer to pull the treadmill into the driveway for me. I'm pretty sure that would have looked redneck drawn a few stares.

Friday: I made myself get up and run. I should have run 3, but I cut it a half-mile short. Knowing that my virtual running buddy Chandra was on the same schedule as me, I figured she had run Thursday as scheduled, so I made myself run. What I didn't know was that she cut hers short too. We must have been on the same wavelength after all.

Saturday: What a beautiful morning for a run! It was quite a bit cooler than I expected. I headed out in shorts, a tank and arm warmers. I didn't dare go back inside to add a layer because I didn't want to wake anyone up. It turned out ok though. It was chilly for the first couple miles, but it felt fabulous! After hitting almost 100 degrees toward the end of this week, I'll take the cooler temps. Plus, at about 1.85 miles, I saw my sister running past, so we were able to run the last couple miles together. We both had 4 on the plan for today and met up pretty close. I ended up running 4.4 to finish her 4 with her. It makes such a difference to have a running buddy.

I came home and morphed into SuperMom. The kids and I fixed breakfast...a huge batch of the lil pigs in a blanket using lil smokies and crescent rolls. I bagged a lot of them up for the freezer so they can have them for breakfast in the next couple of weeks.

I did laundry and dishes, cleared the kitchen counters (oh, how I love clean counters!), and went to a church down the street that was having a garage sale. We scored a Lite Brite for 50 cents! And that thing kept the two of them playing quietly together (oh, yes, you heard me right! TOGETHER!) for almost an hour. I got down in the floor and played with them for a while since Chad was at a meeting. What fun! I love that the little things can be so entertaining.

And now we're in resting mode before Ryan's soccer game. SB has had a rash on and off all week, and it looks worse today than it has so far. And it's spread to her face a little. The doctor saw the faint version of it on Wednesday and seemed to think it was a reaction to something. She's in the tub now to see if that helps. Rashes make me nervous though. Luckily, it's not itchy so she's not complaining.

The to-do list is getting longer, and I'm getting very little of it done. I feel like I'm juggling all these parts, just waiting for something to fall. Running (not likely!)? School (not really an option)? Being a good mom? Being a good wife? Being a good friend (I hate that this one is sometimes it)? The house (most likely!)? I'm hoping that a new six weeks at school will bring a little less chaos and a little more order, at least mentally.

Anyway, half marathon training is officially underway. Just 60 days to go!

Mileage Report
Weekly: 15.4 miles
YTD: 579.85 miles (103 miles to go!)