Wednesday, December 30, 2009


This is going to be short and sweet cuz I've been feeling kind of blah today.  Stomach/headache-y.  I'm hoping extra early sleep will cure all.

Today was an 8 miler around the lake up north.  It was dark and freezing and the roads were snow covered, but I felt pretty bad ass and I got to test out my new head lamp.  Good times.  Then, cafe workin from 9-5.  Good times as well.

Tonite, core and stretching and my favorite part of the night- foot soak.  I am determined to make my feet look less like hamburger and more like actual feet!

Hmm, I'd like to chat more, but I really just want to sleep off this stomach-y stuff!

Peace out,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Ha, de jous vous (yeah, totally wrong spelling but you get it!)  Here I am soaking my feet at the end of another long day.  Today my mom and I drove up north, but not before a good workout!  I did 7 miles today; 3 wu through tough snow, then 3x800m with 800 jog rest at tempo-ish pace (which right now is right around 7min miles for me cuz I'm slow right now and the snow is deep!)  Then, a good 45 minute weight/stretching session at the gym.  I'm already sore which shows that I do strength training...mmm...never!  until now that is.  I just finished my nightly core work/stretch/rolling out.  Life is good.

Tomorrow I work my cafe summer job up here.  Gotta get up early to run pre-work, but I get to try out my new headlamp, yay!  The massive amounts of snow should make things interesting, but I'm always up for a challenge! 

Well, I gotta go.  My cat is trying to drink my foot soak bath...ewww.  He's kind of a dog like that.  But very cute.

Peace, love, and running,

Monday, December 28, 2009


Well, day one of one hundred and two was a success!  Although I was certainly tested by the weather- cold, snowy, windy on my 5 miler this morning.  Buuttt, all was made OK with the help of my brand new GARMIN 405!!! Yeah, I'm pumped enough to include three exclamation points!  My mom originally got it for my dad, but he was gracious enough to 'regift' it to me in exchange for my 205, as he figured I would be more into the technology and figuring out all the features.  Good times ahead for sure.

So, 5 snowy miles in the books, 45 minutes of strength training/stretching afterward.  Tonite I did my (what will now be) standard core/stretching/rolling for 30-40 minutes, and am now soaking my feet.  My dad is really grossed out by the fact that I am doing this at the kitchen table while eating cereal and drinking coffee.  Yeah, it does look kind of gross.  Sometimes I don't realize how random stuff I do is until I am not at my own apartment.  Sorry family.

The mileage will be kind of low for me this week, just cuz I've been non-running/cross training more than running the last 5 weeks since Philly.  It will pick up fast- count on it.  I made a huge schedule on a poster board old-school style with my milage and workouts for each day.  I'm high tech like that.

In other news, my amazing sister + bro in law got me a crock pot for Christmas.  Get phyched to see what crazy things I create with that sucker once I'm back at my apartment next week.  Should be interesting...

Tomorrow I'm headed up north.  I'm sure the snow there will make today's blizzard run feel like nothin'.

Let me just end by saying it feels SO GOOD to have started training.  I feel like I have an ambicious plan, but I'm moving forward with it.  One day at a time.

Keep it real....until tomorrow!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

104 days

Merry Belated Christmas!  I am lucky in the fact that my "Chirstmas" is tomorrow because my sis and bro in law just came into town today, so tomorrow is our "Christmas morning" complete with presents in PJ's and a delicious breakfast.  I'm pretty pumped on this "Christmas Eve!"

In other (and probably more important news) there are 104 days until Boston.  Officially my training plan starts on Monday with 16 weeks of hard core running, stretching, cross training, eating, and sleeping right.  Basically training for Boston is going to be my job.  Literally I have told my family and friends that once I fullfill my committments to my two 'real jobs' (as well as be a good daughter/sister/friend) Boston is MY JOB.  I am sacrificing everything to put myself full force into this training.  It is taking first priority for 102 days as I quest for redemption in my marathoning.  I've decided that that is the direction in which I will head with the blog for the next bit. (perhaps the next 104 days!)  I'm not going to necessarily make it ALL about my training, but I do want a place to record what I am doing, how it is working, etc.  This weekend I am working on finalizing training plans, creating a strength and stretching routine for the nighttime, and composing my "wishlist" of things I still need as a runner (a few of which I am hoping to get for Christmas tomorrow!).  I love reading about the training and habits of other runners, so if you're like me, maybe you will come along on my journey with me too!  I'm pumped to put everything into the next 4 months- more than ever before.  Let the good times roll!

See ya for DAY 1 Monday!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Spinning my wheels

Do you ever feel this way???  Let me explain. (warning: whiny introspection ahead!)

I feel like I am spinning my wheels with life right now.  In all aspects.  I say this because I am neither going backward or forward in making progress, hense the reference to staying in one spot. 

I work two jobs that I like, but don't know if I will be in either one of them a year from now.  So I have made strides to being able to make ends meet on my own, but am just barely hanging on, and I'm not sure how long it will last.  I say 'like' because I'm still not sure what my true 'calling' is in life and I don't want to wait until I am 50 to find it.  But I don't have the money to try other paths and pursue other things.  Hense spinning my wheels.

I love where I live, my amazing apartment, being on my own.  I don't really have any desire to move out of Michigan (despite our horrible winters,) however, I have never "gone away" so how do I really know what is out there that I could be missing?  I love living in such a close proximity to my parents, but at the same time I fear that I am too reliant on them still, post-college for emotional and physical support.  I wonder about just picking up and moving across the county for a year, just to prove to myself that I could do it.  But once again, I feel like I don't have to balls or money to make that kind of decision.  Hense spinning my wheels.

I've accomplished alot in one year.  Many things that I am proud of, and mentioned in previous posts.  Boston, my first ultra, a truckload of half marathons, and 2 additional marathons.  However, I'm getting slower, there is no denying it.  I'm not sure if it's my training or my fueling or my body or what but looking at my 3:18 from a year and a half ago and my 3:41 a couple of weeks is depressing.  So although I am proud of aspects of my running, I am frustrated at myself for not getting better.  Sad.  Reevaluating, as I mentioned.  Hense spinning my wheels.

Progress.  A work in progress I suppose.  I'm trying to learn what works for me in so many areas, trying to find balance.  But I feel like its always 2 steps forward and 2 steps back.  I do good, I do bad.  I beat myself up, I start over.  Again, and again.  I guess this one is alittle more personal so I'm not really going into details, but it's tough.  I just want everything to start clicking, falling into place.  Instead, I'm spinning my wheels.

I need to move forward, I WANT to move forward.  I'm just not always sure how.  One of my biggest things in life is living with no regrets, but I feel like I am letting time slip away which is regrettable in itself.  Maybe I'm just in a funk.  Maybe it's because I'm headed into my 23rd Michigan winter which I hate.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.  Life rolls on.  We shall see what happens...

Thursday, December 3, 2009


December is here already!  How did that happen?  Honestly, it is so true that time goes by faster as you get older.  Sometimes I cannot believe that I am teaching and 'molding young minds' when I still feel like a students myself!  Craziness.

December is my big month of reevaluation and getting all set up to tackle the New Year with all the pieces in place.  For me, this means getting my training in order, as well as my life- probably in that order, ha.  I'm really excited to start a 'formal' plan on December 28th (16 weeks pre-Boston) so I'm spending time formulating what that is going to look like.  I'm currently looking to do about 80 miles per week max with 3 double days each week.  I also want to do 3 swims per week and 3-4 strength training sessions.  I'm meeting with a nutritionist too to get a better idea of how to fuel all this activity because I'm sort of a random, chaotic eater who can eat fro yo and trail mix and nothing else, and I want a balanced plan to go off of.  I was thinking the other day how much I wish I could run professionally or at a high level, so I decided that even though I'm no where good enough to do that, I can still train like a pro!  This includes training, nutrition, stretching, rest, ice baths, recovery, etc.  I've never really focused on encorporating everything at once and I'm very excited to get everything up and 'running.' Ha.  For now, I'm keeping it pretty chill, training wise with one exercise session per day and keeping the milage lower.  I'm getting 'hungry' to start training hard, which is exactly the way I want to feel come December 28th! 

OK, well I'm back to work!  Happy Thursday! :) 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Philly-tastic Recap

Happy Day-after-thanksgiving everyone!

I decided/finally got around to getting my pictures uploaded from the marathon because I know you've been on pins and needles awaiting a recap.....

Anyway, my weekend began Friday by flying out to Philadelphia.  Although I had planned on going alone, my dad decided last minute to come so we flew out together.  This ended up making the weekend so much better/more fun and gave us some "bonding time."  After getting our car, we drove into Philly, checked into our hotel and went for a walk to dinner at the "Marathon Diner"- how appropriate!  We crashed soon after and slept for a glorious 10 hours.

Saturday morning, we jogged down to the Museum of Natural History and took some "Rocky" pics running up the steps- I'll spare you those.  After a sketchy oatmeal breakfast from Au Bon Pain, it was off to the expo!  The pic above is of me holding up six fingers in honor of marathon #6.  We actually had alot of fun at the expo and sightseeing and eating two shady baked potatoes from lunch at a food court.  The rest of the afternoon was spent in preparation and reading, before a customary frozen yogurt dinner and bed.

Morning came.

Banana x2 = breakfast of champions
As well as my lucky shirt that I wore with my sweet new arm warmers.

I seemed to be obsessed with the awkward thumb's up out of nervousness.

Pop and I at the start.  Super-bright jacket = sweet.

And the running began!  The first few miles were great and flew by although I could feel it not lasting.  The bottom of my foot and my knee were hurting, which I hoped would go away- no such luck.  Infact, the bottom of my foot has since bruised after the race which I didn't even know could happen.  Anyway, I was cruising hitting 7:15-7:30 miles, and feeling great.

Me, at the 10K point- yay!

However, the good times were short lived.  By 10 miles, both my foot and my knee were greatly hindering my pace which dropped significantly.  I felt my recent swine flu catching up with me and felt overall tired.  Mentally it was difficult at the halfway point to see a sign that said "Finish -->" (for the half marathoners) and another that said "14 mile <---" which I followed.  I saw my pop again at 15 miles and was seriously doubting if I could finish at that point.  I said a few choice words to him as he tried to run along side of me, mainly because I could see how slow we were going and it was frustrating.  My legs felt fresh, but the injuries were not allowing me to pick up the pace and my garmin delivered disappointing news everytime I looked at it.  With 10 miles to go, the marathon had turned into an exercise in survival.  I counted down each mile and felt mad that I couldn't enjoy the course and the experience more.  Finally, the last 2 miles came.  There was a good deal of crowd support and people using my name (from my bib) which really helped.  The finish was finally there and I crossed it in a somewhat disappointing 3:41.  I knew (and so did you if you read my long last post) that I was not likely going to PR.  However, I was hoping to better my corral for Boston and come closer to a PR.  But it was not to be and there honestly was no more I could have done that day.  I can't let myself as a runner be defined by one less-than-ideal performance.

Post-race, "boo"- me giving my pop the thumb's down sign.

Back at the hotel atleast-it-is-over thumb's up!

Post race breakfast was delicious, and time with my dad was great.  Really, it was a nice weekend overall- even when I had to work at 6am the morning after.  I am currently taking it easy this week and re-evaluating my goals for the next year or so.  December will be pretty chill for me in terms of training, but I plan on getting all the pieces in place to hit it hard starting in January for Boston.  Philly was a great experience, a good way to cap off my running year, and makes me want to work harder and smarter for the future.

More on my training plans to come......

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Doubts and realizations

I've been meaning to write this post for awhile.  Mostly for myself I guess, to get it out there and on 'paper' what I am thinking.  Here's the deal:

When I embarked on my high milage summer training program on June 1st of this year, I had one goal in mind: a fall marathon PR, ie: sub 3:18.  I had just ran Boston on April 20th, followed very soon after by the Bayshore marathon on May 23rd.  I never expected a PR in Boston, and although Bayshore is a fast course, it was too soon with too little break post-Boston to PR.  I ran both marathons in 3:33 and some change.  After talking it over with a running friend/mentor of mine, I embarked on my summer program, working my butt off with double-workouts, speedwork, races, and long runs while working a 40+ hour a week summer job on my feet.  But honestly, I loved every minute of it. 

Finally, I decided upon the Philly Marathon on November 22nd, because honestly I was shut out of alot of marathons for not committing soon enough and I wanted a chance to get my feet on the ground teaching and in the working world.  I planned my fall racing and pictured myself so at my peak and ready to run on November 22nd.  Everything seemed so set and ready...back in August.

Here's where the realization comes in:

I can not do everything.

This past year has been my most intense and rewarding running year thus far.  (this is the part where I start massively trying to reassure myself that all is not lost!) I started training for Boston on December 1st, 2008 so Philly will mark almost a full year of training.  I have never taken more than 3 days in a row off after a marathon.  I trained in the dead of winter, 5am runs at 5am before my student teaching, swimming afterschool, long runs in the snow.  I completed my first Boston Marathon, then helped my friend complete her first marathon at Bayshore (atleast I'd like to think I helped!).  I have ran 6 half marathons, with a PR of 1:30:05, several 15Ks, a 10 mile race, and many 10 and 5Ks.  I completed my first Ultra Marathon, a 50K that I decided to run only an hour before the race started, winning the overall female title.  This summer, I hit 80 miles per week and took only a rest day per month.  In most local races, I place in the top three females.  I'm not saying this to brag or to 'toot-my-own-horn.'  I am saying this, because these are truths, the facts of the last year.  And with that said, I am accepting this: I probably will not PR at Philly.  And despite my competitive nature and my original goal so many months ago, I am OK with that.  I am OK because I have done so much with my running this year that this race is really a victory lap.  I am OK because I now know that it is difficult (read: impossible) to peak for a late-fall marathon while racing 1/2 marathons every weekend, taking little time off, and oh yeah, throwing in a 50K too!  Yeah, I could have blown off all the other racing and really put my heart 100% into being perfectly primed for Philly.  But, I would have missed out on what I love about the sport- the comraderie, racing, and winning.  Maybe there will be a time and a place when I take on the "one-peak race" mentality.  But, it wasn't this year, it wasn't this time.

Knowing all of this, I am ready to go to Philly with my "best foot forward."  Not necessarily as an amazing PR effort, but as a culmination of all that I have done in my running this year- a way to celebrate all of the milestones that I have hit and obsticles that I have pushed through in order to accomplish my running goals.  In running and in life, if it were only about the destination, we would never leave our front door.  Here's to the journey- and loving every step!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Slacker Blogger! Quickie...

Hello Everyone!

Yikes, time seems to slip away from me so fast!  I just wanted to drop in and say "hello" and that I'm still alive.  My new 'real job' + other side jobs + running are basically all I do right now, so I hate to say that my life has been pretty boring. 

I will do my best to have a 'real' post with pics this weekend, once I can catch my breath a bit.  Until then, I wish you a happy week full of good times, good eats, and good runs. (atleast those are the three that I'm shooting for!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Detroit Half Marathon with my Pops!

Happy Sunday Readers!

Sorry for being so MIA, but this past week has been crazy between starting my new 'real' job as well as working my part time gig, running, and trying to maintain sanity.

Butttt.....I wanted to write a post celebrating my Poppy!  Today he completed his first half marathon and I am proud to say that I had the opportunity to run with him.  It was a great day in Detroit!

Me and Pop early morning pre-race (thanks for getting up to take a pic mom!)

The day began bright and early - 4:30am!  Pops and I headed downtown early to beat the traffic, donned our old sweats and garbage bags and snuck illegally into the people-mover shelter to stay warm pre-race.  It was so dark out, even as we made our way into our "C" corral.  Suddenly (15 minutes before I expected!) the race began and we were off!  My pop gave me the game plan ahead of time - to maintain 8:15 miles as long as we could.  I had my Garmin and was in charge of the pace.  The pace groups and corrals worked great, it was so easy to get a good position and the pace felt great with everyone around running around the same pace.  2 miles in, we made our way up the Ambassador Bridge which was gorgeous and one of my favorite parts of the race.  The sun was rising and freighter was driving under us "tooting" its horn- so pretty!  Down the bridge into Canada and along the waterfront.  Pops was holding up well and we were hitting just over 8 minute miles, so I knew we were ahead of pace.  Suddenly, it was already time to go back to the US via the tunnel so down we went!  It got HOT in the tunnel as we got timed for our "underwater" mile.  The breeze was very welcomed coming up and out of the tunnel.  Pops was feeling good, despite some sock/orthodic rubbing issues.  Our pace wasn't dropping too much and I knew we were on target to go sub 1:50 (Pops' goal was sub 2, but I, being the running genius that I am, knew he was in shape for sub-1:50).  Suddenly we were back downtown and the finish line was in sight!  Seeing the finish and running along side my dad was my favorite part of the race.  I felt so priveledged to be a part of this experience with him.  I race so often that I forget how great a triumph it really is each time.  So many people do not have parents who could do such a thing- run a half marathon!  I am so lucky to be able to have two parents who I share running with.  Crossing the line in 1:48:48 - the race was perfect.  Pops recovered easily and we grabbed some bananas and attempted to find the expo (with no success, although I had carried my credit card with me the whole race!)  Once we were thoroughly freezing, we headed back to the car.
Pops, post race with sweet blanket and medal

Me post-race with my bad ass pink jacket.

Yikes!  Super - close self portrait!

The morning was complete with a post-race breakfast of spinach omlette and hashbrowns at a local diner!

Then the afternoon was spent doing a second 'workout' - shopping with my mom for work clothes!  So. fun.  That + frozen yogurt.  Basically my life is complete.

Buttt...where did weekend go?  Between working my part time gig yesterday morning, driving to the parents, the race, and prepping for the week I cannot believe it's back to the grind tomorrow!  Its all good though.  Today was one of those days I just feel so blessed and satisfied.  Hope y'all had a good one too!

Let's embrace the week, k?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Time Flies, and my life is boring.

Oh, man where does time go? 

This week has been crazy busy between prepping for my teaching job (starts Monday, yikes!) and working my two other jobs (subbing, bakery job).  Add in some running and trying to maintain sanity and I guess that's where the time goes!

Quick recap:
Sunday's half marathon went OK.  I wanted to take it easy and ended up running 1:33-34, which wasn't quite as slow as I thought, but fine none the less.  Actually my 1/2 1/2 marathon split was right around 44 minutes so I was on pace to PR (sub 1:30 for me), but the second half was alllll up hill.  Miles 7-9 gained about 350 feet in elevation!  Needless to say, PR hopes were dashed.  I got 8th place woman overall out of 1200 or so women which I was happy with because generally I try to be in the top 1% at races as my goal.  I was not so happy about dropping from 4th to 8th place in the last 2 miles, but my legs were pretty shot and I think were still feeling my 50K from the week before.

I also listened to my new obsession song "Paper Planes" about 1000 times pre-race.  Thanks sister for introducing it to me...

These are the only pics I have because it was pitch dark when I arrived!

This is the breakfast of champions that I have before most every race.  Banana + brown sugar (in tupperware at top of page).  I love brown sugar and could eat it plain all day, everyday!  This is my way of adding more energy to a plain banana without a huge amount of food in my stomach!

This is a flattering and freaky picture of me licking the remaining brown sugar out of the container.  Yes, I needed all the energy I could get!  And I'm wearing my Boston jacket which is probably my favorite piece of clothing on earth......

Other than that, this week has been pretty solid workout wise.  Highlights included Tuesday night speedwork at the track, and a tough tempo in the grass on Wednesday.  Both with my training partner.  The tempo was intense because it was after a 9 hour workday on my feet at the bakery that began at 6am!  I got some easy 8 milers in during the week too, and today did a 16 miler at a bit slower than marathon pace.  Pleasing.  After 5 weekends in a row of racing, it is nice to have a weekend off.  I'm actually home cat-sitting for my parents, trying to prep for Monday and sleeping in my awesome bed here.  Yes indeedy, life is good.  Next weekend is my dad's first half marathon!  I'm so excited to do it with him and be his "pacer."  He has been training all summer and I know is ready to go!

Eats wise = pretty basic and boring.  Most meals have looked like this:

Sliced deli ham with mustard for dipping.

Smart Pop, mini bag...

Ahh, the glamous life of a broke teacher with 3 jobs...

Well, off to bed.  Lots to do in the morning time.  I'm already getting nervous about Monday and my foree into being a "real teacher!"  I guess I gotta use this college degree sometime......


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cider Mill!

Today, my sis and bro-in-law made a lovely rainy-day trip to our local cider mill by our parents' house!  It was a great trip, complete with randomness.

First stop...cidar and donuts!

Yes, they are 5 years old!  They are in their matching U of M garb, representing in style before the ugly loss occurred...but I digress...Obviously, they are really pumped about their donuts.  Unfortunately, I could not partake in the donuts (gluten) but the cidar was delicious!

Then, we were off to the apple tent! 

I picked up a 1/4 peck of mixed apples for $3.00!!  It was cool, getting to mix and match and by the look of my face, I was pretty excited.  Yes, I get excited by large quantities of produce!

Then, it was time to take sweet pics including this one.

I pretty much think that no explanation in necessary...

On our way out, we hit up the "petting zoo."  I'm not gonna lie, it was totally sad!  All of the soggy animals standing around in a tiny tiny pen!  Poor little goats!  Atleast I got their picture!

"Baaa, baaaa!"

All around- a great morning!  I'm off to run a 1/2 marathon in the morning!  Catch-ya later!  Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Things that are awesome Post #1:

1) People who bring their mouse to coffee shops and such because they cannot handle the optical mouse.
2) FREE refills
3) Honeycrisp apples (I like them big)
3) The fact that I got and accepted my FIRST 'REAL JOB'!!

Yes sir, all of my pondering over 32 miles of open trails helped clear my mind and set my decision straight.  I have accepted a part time high school teaching position at a small private school about 45 minutes from where I live!  After an interview and "try-out" teaching, I was offered the position as the current teacher is moving soon.  I was hesitant at first because it is teaching THREE preps, none of which are my certifications.  (I have Biology and Phys Ed certifications)  But, I will be teaching Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics everyday, plus Physical Education twice a week.  It is alot to take on, and I was doubting that I could handle it for a time.  HOWEVER, I am always open for an adventure and a challenge, and the students and staff at the school won me over with their kindness and willingness to help!  It will be an experience, but I am all about collecting life experiences lately, and I know I will learn as much from the students as they will from me.  I'll be at the school all week this week, getting ready, then the students have a one week break and I start 'for real' on October 12th.  Let me say that now that the decision process is over, I am SO PUMPED.  Little minds, ready for me to mold! :)  A real salaried job!  I SO feel like an adult now, and it feels gooood!

No pics really.  I did eat a honeycrisp apple the size of my face today.  It was pretty awesome, as mentioned.  No other blog-worthy foods.  Only a couple more Chobani left :(  Guess I'll have to go out and buy some since they are so delicious! (except for the pineapple)  I've decided to literally eat all of the food in my apartment and start fresh, including the canned goods.  Hopefully I'll remember to take some pics of the random meals of the next few days that will be created. 

Off to plan Chemistry curriculum! Wee!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


You heard right!  Today I completed my first Ultramarathon- a 50K race (that ended up being close to 32 miles!) on hilly trails.  Here's the 'run'down with some pics!

Yes, true story, this was my bib!  No, I did not plan that it would have my blog name on it!  The race was called "Run Woodstock" and it included a bunch of races over the course of the weekend; from a 5K-100 miler!  It was all on trails and they had tons of hippie stuff and bands playing and people camping out everywhere.  Totally "far-out" atmosphere.  I'd had my eye set on this race for awhile since it was a 1st annual and it was only about 30 minutes from my apartment.  There was the 50K, a marathon, and a half marathon set to go off this morning.  I originally planned to do the half and add on for my long run of the week, but as time progressed the 50K's allore grew and grew.  I knew with the hills and trails (both of which I'm not a fan of) I would never be able to go under 1:30 and PR in the half.  Same with the marathon.  Nope, the only way to set a PR today would be to try something new!

I ate a banana and cottage cheese in the car on the way there.  It was pitch dark when I arrived at 6:30 and the tents looked super cool all lit up!  I registered, signed my life away in a waver that all the ultra runners had to sign, then headed back to my car to get ready.

This picture is me trying to be chill, but really just looking tired and stoned.  (they gave out the beads at registration!)

This picture is me saying "Yikes, I'm running 31 miles very soon!"

I headed over to the start just before 7:30.  The 50K, marathon, and half all started at the same time.  We, (the 50K-ers) started with a 5 mile loop, then did a 13+ mile loop twice.  The others just did the 13+ mile loop.  Having no idea what to expect from the course and trying to mentally prepare myself for running for 5+ hours, I decided to keep my pace conservative.  To me, the main appeal of the 50K was being able to go slow, because lately it has been hard running 15K's and 1/2 marathons at 6:50 pace. 

After an anticlimatic "go" we were off!  It was semi-light now and we headed into the trail on the 5 mile loop as a pack.  Quickly, I passed all of the woman and most of the men, which worried me, but my legs weren't ready to go super-slow.  I settled in with two older men.  We talked a bit, but the pace felt slow.  I planned not to look at my Garmin much, but made the mistake of looking at it when I *thought* the loop should be almost over.  Bad call.  It read 2.8 miles.  I thought, "oh man, what am I doing!?!?!"  Going up a hill, I dropped the two guys and was alone.  Finally, I came out into 'base camp.'  5 miles down, 26+ to go....

"Camp" energized me as I headed out for my *1st* half marathon loop.  I spent about 2 miles literally talking to myself outloud.  Yeah, sounds crazy, right?  I was analyzing this job situation I spoke of briefly and it helped to talk it out a bit.  Plus, my pace was slow so I wasn't loosing my breath at all.  4 miles into the loop, I hit the 1st aid station.  I was about 9 miles in and downed a few glasses of dilluted gatorade.  Fun fact about me: I NEVER eat or drink during races.  When I set my marathon PR 2 years ago, I literally ingested no food or liquid.  Probably not the best, but it works for me.  Anyway, I was nervous because I knew with temps in the 60-70 range, and the fact that I would be out there for so long, I would need some energy in the form of calories.  Leaving the aid station, I felt good.  I was trying to break the race down mentally so it wouldn't seem so overwhelming.  The hills were brutal though.  Not gonna lie on that!

As I continued on the first loop, I started to pass half and full marathoners (remember they hadn't done the original 5 mile loop.)  This was actually a highlight of the race because it got really lonely out in the woods and everyone was really encouraging.  And obviously I felt pretty bad ass.  12 miles in was the 'main' aid station, halfway around the big loop.  Everything looked so delicious! PB&Js, trail mix, fig newtons, bananas.  I knew that I couldn't go to solid food though, without training and with still having 19 miles to go.  So I moved on. 

18+ miles into the race, I hit base camp again.  I felt strong and I was really proud of the fact that I had been running the whole time when SO MANY people were walking up the hills.  I knew what to expect on the second loop, which was a blessing and a curse in one.  I had 4 miles until the aid station and all I could think about was the flat coca cola they had.  mmmm.  It sounded so good for some reason and a guy I trained with in the summer told me that he swears by it!  I was hungry, having only ingested the gatorade up to this point.  When I arrived at the oasis, I chugged 2 glasses of coke and a glass of mountain dew!  Delicious!  I knew that the sugar might bother my stomach, but it seemed so much more appealing that a gel or gu (which I've never had!)  About 1/2 mile after leaving that station I felt great!  I was even chanting "Su-gar, su-gar."  Hmmm, yeah 23 miles into it might have had something to do with it.  I knew I had 3 more miles until the "big" aid station, so I continued onward....

** brief pause in this long story for my to go move my laundry from the washer to the dryer...perhaps you should get up and get a snack!

I must say, I never thought that I would not finish.  It wasn't that I was cocky or confident or anything or felt sooo great all the time, there was just no other option!  I was completely disoriented in out in the middle of trails and I had to get back some how!

I arrived at the "big" aid station.  More coke, yum.  The people there were really friendly, and I knew I had 6 miles to go.  I kept saying really corny things in my head like "I'm an ultra-runner!"  And "I'm really doing this!"  I was passing more people who were in different races and I was clicking off the miles.  My form on the hills had deteriorated pretty badly, but that is to be expected.  Finally, my watch clicked over to 30 miles!  I couldn't believe it.  The most I have ran since last May is 15 miles.  The most I've ever run is a full marathon.  This felt like totally uncharted territory and I loved it.  Then I hit 31 miles and was pissed!  Where was the finish??  This is supposed to be a 50K!!!  For some reason this angered me more than I should!  Then, I emerged from the trail, heard the music, and saw base camp!  Yay!  Crossing the finish, I didn't know what to expect.  My legs had been moving for 5 hours and 15 minutes.  Surprisingly, they didn't cramp up.  I immediatly voiced that the race was long to the two guys at the finish!  I said "this was 31.75 miles!"  They were surprised that I had run the 50K, not the marathon and informed me that I was the overall female winner, and that only 6 men had come in before me!  After collecting my random prizes, grabbing a sandwich and a cookie, and soaking my legs in the lake (ahh, good call,) I was on my way home.

Here's the loot.  My bib, and the t-shirt (once again with my blog name on it!)  My pink beads, and the peace-sign metal for winning my age group, and the 'dog-tags' for being a 50K finisher.  Most random is the trophy.  It literally said on the box "Girl Taking Her Jeans Off Trophy."  Random? Yes indeed.  But I told you, it was a random race!

Even more random is the fact that they gave me this plaque with the trophy.  But I'm unsure of where on the "Girl Taking Her Jeans Off" I am supposed to put it??  Oh why oh why couldn't there have just been a sweet cash prize?

And here's the 'official Garmin.'  31.75 miles in 5:16:10, 9:58 mpm pace.  Would I ever in a million years be proud of running that kind of pace?  Not before I saw that course.  But after that course and seeing the karnage of people walking up hills and tripping over tree roots, I am mightly proud of that pace!  I'll be interested to see the results of all the races and how paces compare.

And lastly.....
Food reward!

My sis convinced me to go for a blizzard.  She also said I had to take a pic of it upside down for the blog.  She also said my blog posts are way too long.  So ha!  I took this pic for her, but she had to make it through the worlds-longest-blog-post to get to it!

Me in all my sweaty glory!  I am an ultramarathoner!  Hear me roar!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Playing Catchup

Good day out there!

My my, where has time gone?  My life is crazy-stressful busy right now, as I am debating some life changes involving my job and such.  I'll let you all know once I figure it out!  Right now, I just feel stressed and overwhelmed about where my life is headed.

But onward....

Training-wise, the week has been decent.  Got in some speed work with track club on Tuesday night.  3x1600 and 2x200.  My last 1600 was fairly bad, but overall it was a legit workout.  This weekend I'm doing a cool trail race.  It is actually a bunch of races, and I'm debating about doing a half marathon or going for something longer...stay tuned....

Eats have been good as well.  There have been a few of these...

stress induced...

Lunch above was eaten in the car in between a couple interviews.  (ie part of my 'life changes' decisions).  PB2 (yum) on low cal rice bread.  I like this rice bread, but I think it is better toasted.  This wasn't my favorite, but it could have been because I was nervous/rushed/stressed while eating.  Random: my cell phone seems to be sitting in a paper cup on the passenger seat???  Yeah, it was a long day...

But the best part...the good meals/recipes!

First off: Chickpea Patties!

I made this recipe last night, adapted from "Real Simple" Magazine.

1 can chickpeas
4-5 sundried tomatoes
salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash
water/lemon juice as necessary
flour (I used rice flour)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, except flour (I used my blender!)  Process until smooth.  Form into patties, and coat in flour.  (Mine made 8 patties.)  Saute in a fry pan until crispy.  Serve over lettuce with green beans on the side!

I actually froze the rest of these raw so we will see how they are when I pull them out.  Overall, the sundried tomatoes made this recipe delicious- much recommended!

Second: Corn Salad!

This recipe was also adapted from "Real Simple."  I made it today, to let the flavors mesh for tomorrow's lunch.

2 ears corn, cooked and cut off cob
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado
juice of 2 limes
salt and pepper to taste
2 T blue cheese

Mix everything together!  Let it sit!

I'm actually really excited about this recipe because it is the first time a bought and used an avocado!  We shall see how it turns out/holds up, but I'm happy to have something new and fun for lunch tomorrow subbing.

Well, that's the extent of my life.  Dinner tonight = frozen yogurt because I need it after the day that I have had.  Simple pleasures; eating fro yo on the couch..err..futon...while watching great Thursday night TV.  All is well.

Keep it real,

Monday, September 21, 2009

Normal Stuff and Spontaneous Visit to the Parents'!

Good evening!

Let me start this post by stating that I live in the hottest apartment known to man. Don't get me wrong, I love my apartment; quiet, great maintenance staff, awesome location (ie within a half mile from both a trader joes and a whole foods!) has to be the most sweat inducing 500 square feet in the world. I live in a place where it will be zero degrees outside in no time, but I don't think I have ever closed my window in the one and a half years I have lived there. The only relief comes from the in-wall air conditioner that costs me about 500$ a minute to run! (I try to only use it when I'm doing ab work in front of it as my 'reward'. ha.) I am a great sleeper, but this proposes a challenge even to me and I lay in my tiny bed sweating at night. Soooo, with that said, I jumped at the chance for a spur-of-the-moment visit home to my parents' for the night. But let's back up...

This morning began with a pretty typical breakfast of late; smoothie made with half a frozen banana, 1/2 cup skim, rice protein powder, and lots of ice and water. Along side is a Jam Franka and a big 'ol ICED coffee this morning. The white cup is from my favorite bakery back home, and I reuse it even though it is disposable! Yes, I'm that good to the environment. PS. Jam Franka = yum.

Then it was off to middle school today. Yikes, forgot how much fun those kids are! Lots of energy, that is for sure. On top of it, I was feeling 'off' all day (ie nauseous). I think my body was begging for a rest day, which I did indeed give it. Every month, whether I need it or not I guess!

I busted open my lunchbox at lunch. Tuna, nectarine, apple, and mixed veggies. I ended up only eating the tuna and nectarine because the other 'fibrous' things were not appealing. Later I ate an unpictured chobani and cereal on my way back home.

Do I even need to mention how sweet my lunchbox is? Yeah, I didn't think so! It is a Scooby Doo metal lunchbox that I totally decorated over in middle or early high school. Equally sweet is the fact that I am now a certified teacher and college graduate and still carrying it. Yeah well, I told you I'm pretty environmentally friendly!

After school, I had an errand to run that was halfway between my apartment and my parents' house. This is where the genius plan happens. I also had a couple of things to drop off and pick up at my parents' house, so my mom suggested I just come home and make the trip back to my place tomorrow morning. Genius because it means that I will have a cool, big bed to sleep in. (*insert angel chorus here*) Since I don't like to be a total freeloader, I did bring home and make a big pot of corn chowder for my parents and I. This is one of our favorite fall meals. It is a mix from Frontier Soups and it really hit the spot. This picture does not do justice to its deliciousness.
My pop and I are going to catch up on the season premier of Survivor! We have been watching Survivor together since the Season 2 when I was in middle school! Then, its early to bed for me because I have a 4:15am wakeup call to run and make the hour long drive back to work. High School tomorrow- hopefully alittle more chill than today!

Keep it real peeps!

LARABAR feature!

How could my beyond-delicious experience with the PB&J LARABAR get any better? Well, by it being featured on the LARABAR blog! I'm officially the "Fan of the Day." Check out their blog and site! And go get you some LARABARS!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

More chobani, bad run, PB & J lara, and Sunday errands

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Ok, so I lied about having a lot of pictures, but I do have a few things to talk about and a couple poor-quality pictures to share!

First: Chobani!
I tried the pineapple Chobani last night as part of dinner pictured below (toast, a peach, and chobani). I was excited because this seems to be the most popular flavor, however, I must say it was disappointing. It was 2%, rather than fat free which isn't a big deal, but I could taste no textural difference. If it is going to have fat in it, I would like it to taste more creamy than its skim counterpart. Furthermore, unlike the other flavors it seemed too sweet and I didn't like the little pieces of fake-tasting pineapple. Sorry Chobani, this flavor is not my favorite!

This morning I tried the Honey Chobani for breakfast and was much more pleased. I sweeten plain greek yogurt with honey sometimes so I did know that the two flavors worked well together. I like how the honey flavor was infused throughout, making it pleasantly sweet and the ingredient list was the least complicated; just milk, cultures, and honey. This flavor brings the Chobani tally to 3 out of 4.

Second: Bad Run
This morning I set out on a 15 miler that turned into a 11 miler. Although all summer my milage has been 70-80 per week, I really have been doing more double sessions than long runs and I need to start encorporating long runs for my Philly training. This run was bad though. My legs felt yesterday's hills and were sluggish from the start. They never loosened up and my pace kept slowing. I felt nauseous throughout the run which NEVER happens to me. I got discouraged and made the decision to cut it short because it was doing more harm than good. When I though more about the last week, I realized I've really done alot. Although my milage has not been as high, it has been more 'quality' with a half marathon race, speedwork for the first time in months, a 15K race, and today's attempted long run. Not to mention that I haven't had a rest day in atleast a month. Keeping all of this in mind, I feel better about even getting in the 11 miles today!

Third: PB&J Lara Bar

The nice people at LaraBar sent me four bars to review. I grabbed this one on my way out the door to the laundrymat post-run because my stomach is too iffy still from the run for lunch, but I wanted some calories to replenish and power me through some laundry! Let me start by saying that I don't eat PB&J sandwiches. I was allergic to nuts as a kid, and am just starting to encorporate small amounts of nut butter into my life. With that said, I cannot compare this bar to the actual thing. HOWEVER, IT. IS. DELICIOUS! Seriously. You need to get you some! Nice balance of fruit and nuts. Moist, but not greasy. I don't understand when other bloggers describe LaraBars as 'greasy.' It is a bar made only of dried fruit and nuts, so does one expect it to be dry? Yum yum. It was good.

Which brings me to....
Fourth: Sunday Errands
As you can see, I'm enjoying my LaraBar from my laptop. Sunday, laundry day. I always try to clean and do stuff like that on Saturday, so I have Sunday to do my "fun" stuff- ie grocery shop for the week and do laundry. Am I a dork that I like doing laundry? Everything all clean, fresh, and organized- I love it! I don't love paying for it though. That is the good part about going home- clean FREE laundry! :)
Well, time to switch my washers. I have some good eats planned for this week that I am going to pick up the ingredients for. Stay tune for pics and recipes!

Let's all make this week great, OK?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

15K and Nerdy Habit #1

Unfortunately, this is going to be a pictureless post, but I'm hoping to have a better/more photo-rific post up tomorrow!

First off, I tried the Pomagrante Chobani yesterday in my quest of eating through the Chobani flavors. I was a bit skeptical after so many bloggers seemed to dislike it. I actually really enjoyed it. The texture was perfect and it was not too sweet and I like the little 'surprise' of the pomagrante seeds! So far, I'd give Chobani a 2 for 2.

Today I ran a local 15K. I tried to 'tempo' it with the thoughts that taking the pressure off of myself would help. I think that it did because I actually felt really strong and my splits were fairly solid. Although I did not PR, this course was more hilly/challenging than the course up north that I have ran several 15K's (including my PR) on. 3rd overall female and 1st in my age group which basically just meant I got a sweet beer glass! I like races when the prize is useful- the whole trophy thing is nice, but honestly what does an adult do with a trophy? Display it in their living room?

I've also been making some progress on my scrapbook in the last few days. Yes, I am a scrapbook nerd! I've done them for lots of different things, but most notably my high school running. As I've been racing more and more in the last few years, I decided to start one for my 'adult running' career. Pictures, newspaper clippings, random airline tickets, etc. I've almost finished both of my Chicago Marathon years, mostly because I actually have lots of pictures from those (once again thanks to my sis, the 'official' photographer!) I'm pumped to start on Boston next because I have soooo many things saved from it- it needs a book of its own!

Well, I'm off to clean and be productive. Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend! Catch ya' tomorrow!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vanilla Chobani and Lara Bar Delivery

Happy Thursday readers!

Today I sampled the first of my Chobani samples. I have to admit, I was a skeptic because I've only had Chobani once and it wasn't my favorite. However, after this I admit I am a convert. The first thing I want to mention about Chobani are their prices. Most places I have seen them sold for around $1.20, about HALF the price of other greek yogurts. This is a huge deal for me, as I was fairly certain that my substitute-teacher budget could no longer support my greek yogurt habit. I decided to try the Vanilla today, for a nice neutral start. I brought it to work for lunch and it was delicious! I liked how it was vanilla-flavored without being overpoweringly sweet or fake-tasting. The texture was great as well- it had that 'greek-yogurt thickness' without being so intense that you felt like you could not swallow. Since I did bring it to lunch, it had been outside the fridge for awhile, but was still pleasantly cool and refreshing. And with 16 grams of protein? It doesn't get much better than that, does it? I'm excited to try the rest of these yogurts- you better believe it won't take me long to test them all!

Yes, I realize this picture is was early.....

I also received a delivery from Larabar! I have four flavors to try and review, which I took a picture of, but seem to have disappeared. I am very excited as these bars are my favorite and I haven't had much exposure to all of the different types. Most exciting for me in probably the PB&J, just because I've heard such good things about it throughout the blog community. Reviews will come as they are eaten! Thanks Larabar!

Today was a normal day for me. Early run, work, then a swim. It had been much too long since my body was in the pool and it felt great. Now I'm procrastinating cleaning my horribly dirty apartment. I'm also trying to find a job for tomorrow. Ahh, unpredictable! Don't teachers get sick anymore??

~ T-Mart

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Weekend recap and dueling greeks!

Good evening! Thanks for being patient with my posting- computer issues and such have been plaguing me. I want to do a quick weekend recap from my time in Chicago. I don't have too many pictures to share because my sis was the 'official photographer' so perhaps I will have more later.

The weekend began with a flight to Chicago Friday night, meeting up with my sis and bro in law, and hitting up THE BIGGEST WHOLE FOODS! It was in Lincoln Park and it was amazing. There were so many food options that it was overwhelming. Unfortunately, I'm a new blogger so I totally forgot to take pics in my awe-like stupor. It is safe to say that I got some good stuff from the "trail mix bar" and made an amazing salad for dinner.

Saturday began with a nice easy shakeout run. Me and the sis then went to Navy Pier for packet pickup. This is the part where I want to give a big shout out to Stonyfield for being a sponsor of the Chicago 1/2 Marathon. After I just revealed during my last post that I would be reviewing some of their products, I found them at the expo! They were giving out FREE greek yogurt and all of their volunteers were very friendly. Lots of coupons were handed out as well. Here is a pic of my surprised face that says "how-is-it-possible-that-i-have-a-free-greek-yogurt-in-each-hand?":

After the expo escapades, we went to a cute frozen yogurt place where I got some concoction that cost me $7! Gotta love the city! Atleast it was lunch and delicious. We spent the rest of the afternoon making hommade pasta and watching U of M pull something crazy out of their butts for the win! After a walk it was time for a pre-race dinner......
You better believe that that is a 1/2 pint of fro yo with cereal on the side and a 1/2 glass of wine. Ahh, dinner of champs!
The morning and the 1/2 marathon came. I'd rather not bore you with a play-by-play race report. Moral of the story: I psyched myself out mentally before the start. I kept saying things about how I was too fat or too slow or hadn't done enough speed work to PR. Bad way to approach a race. The whole time I wanted to speed up but I was afraid I would run out of energy. The course was pretty though (along Lakeshore Drive) and it was hot, which I like. I ended up finishing in the top 1% of women with a 1:35, which is off from my 1:30 PR, but I felt like I could have kept going for a full marathon. Sigh. Oh well, time to crank up the speedwork I guess!
After sommore free Oikos, it was back on the train and out to B-fast which went unpictured as well. Then, back to the airport and home! Such a good weekend with my sis. Here is us right before I left:
I should also mention that she is a very talented photographer. You can check out her work here.
Then Monday rolled around and my life was interviews and driving back and forth between my apartment and my parents' house. I did manage to chop off about 8" of my hair. Felt. So. Good. I'm very impulsive when it comes to my hair. I decided spur of the moment and went with it. Trying a more "professional" look in hope that it will help me look more 'teacher-y' and get a job.
What? You thought I only had the amazing $5 sunglasses in orange? Ha! How's that for professional?
Yesterday I ran 5 miles easy in the AM, then did a track workout with my old team in the dark evening. 6x800 with 200 jog rest which felt very...quick...for rest! 2:55, 3:00, 3:01, 3:01, 3:01, 2:59 were the splits - decent since I haven't done speed work in about 9 months! It was fun to run on the dark track with the team.
Today I had my first sub job of the school year today. It actually went really well, and I got hooked up for a couple more jobs in the upcoming week through talking to other teachers. The only way the day was made even better was by coming home to this:

My little soldiers all lined up:

When the nice people at Chobani contacted me last week and said I would have a package on Wednesday, they weren't kidding! I was SO EXCITED to see this on my doorstep. A cannot wait to try them all. This is what my "yum-excited-t0-try-yogurt-even-though-i'm-sweaty-after-a-run" face looks like.
Which leads me to the battle of the Greeks! I will be posting reviews of Chobani as I try them and let you know the final word from peaceloveandrunning land! A HUGE thank you to Chobani for being so giving in this lovely package!
Ok, you made it through this post. I may try to post a "day in the life" post soon of my eats if I remember to take pics. We shall see! For now I'm off for some fro yo and some sleeps! Catch ya later!

Alrighty, well thanks to those who commented on my last blog- good to know that I'm not COMPLETELY just talking to myself!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh don't worry, its coming....

Just popping in to say that I will have a weekend recap and race report from my half marathon soooon. I need to upload pics and such, so bear with me! I also have a few product reviews in the works as well- so get pumped for that! ;)

I'm off for some 800 repeats.....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Journey...back to reality....

It all started could you ever leave a place as beautiful as this!?!?!

Alas, summer has ended and the drive home downstate needed to be made. Here is the story of the journey.

At first it was good times. Me in my huge orange 5$ sunglasses.....

Willie the weisel my fav traveling bobble-head companion keeping me company....

My dipoloma randomly in a frame on the floor on top of 3 pairs of running shoes....

Driving 85mph in the 70mph zone on the freeway.....while taking pics of the odometer.....

"Uh-oh I hope I don't get pulled over." Obviously in this pic I am sad as well because it had gotten dark-ish and I had to take off my bad ass sunglasses.

No more iced coffee.....I must be close to home! (and a nod to my ghetto-tastic phone chillin in the next cupholder!)

And upon getting home, all I could think of was being back on this......

Ahhh summer! So nice!
In other news, I received some coupons from stonyfield to sample their greek yogurt. I am a huge greek yogurt/dairy fan so I'm pumped to try some of their products. I plan to use these coupons next week and do a review then, as I am headed out of town tomorrow to Chicago! Thanks Stonyfield!
Congrats on getting through this post. If there is anyone out there reading, please leave me a comment so I feel alittle less like I am talking to myself. Have a great day! :)
Peace, Love, and Running,