Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Ode to the Hammy

Oh hammy, you were doing so great. In fact, so great that I wasn't worried about YOU. I mean you were right, I was focusing left.

Alas, you showed up and brought some sharp pains to my ass. But positive I remain because the P.T. says "just stretch as long as there's no pain."

***screeeeech*** end rhyming poetic attempt***

Yesterday, I made the first appointment I could with my physical therapist. She agreed that it seems like a strain to the hamstring where it connects near the base of my rear.

The good news is, it's nothing serious.

The bad news is, I can't run for a few days.

The good news is, I CAN swim, bike or elliptical if it feels okay.

The bad news is, I have to wear a big compression strap around my leg.

The good news is we're attacking this strain with ultrasound, astym, ice, ibuprofen and rest, which may allow me to run 4-5 miles this Sunday.

The bad news is...oh hell, I can't think of anything. I'm just relieved that there's more GOOD news than there was bad.

As my P.T., Kristin and the manfriend have all said, my training is in the bag, my gas tank is full, I just need to through this and the marathon will go as planned.

So many friends in the blogging world and in my local running group are doing various marathons on 10.10.10 or the weeks before or after. I can't wait to hear how it all goes for everyone.

Each of our marathon journeys are different and it's important to remember that it is a journey and not just one event and outcome on marathon day. That race is a result of months of training, fueling, resting, mental insanity and focusing on not much more than RUNNING. And on race day, it's going to be about courage and mental toughness and declaring something to yourself. After all, not everyone can run a marathon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where were we?

Okay, back to last Friday in Nashville.

So my friend Kristin is in Nashville to further her education at Vanderbilt University because an undergrad and law degree weren't enough. ;) Friday afternoon we did a few of those school related tasks like attending a luncheon and studying where all the hipsters and occasionally the stars, buy their coffee.

Oh wait, can't see the name? It's the Frothy Monkey! How cool is that?

Let's be honest, she was studying and I was reading an intense issue of Women's Health.


That evening, we headed out in search of a little adventure before the 9:30 PM show at the Bluebird Cafe.

First up, was a stop by the Belmont Mansion, which is also home to a small private college. It was so beautiful at night that I couldn't resist taking photos.





Taking photos at night is never easy, but it was fun to see what the camera would do with the light and find that some photos turned out just right regardless of my minimal photography knowledge.

Next, we were on a mission to have drinks at The Patterson House, an old speakeasy. Leave it to us to drive around the block five times and do some texting and googling before realizing "duh, it was right there the entire time. It's a speakeasy and therefore they have no sign outside."

Long story short(er), there are no photos because it was very cool and dark and just didn't seem appropriate to be snapping photos. The drinks were elaborate, unfamiliar and $11 each.

Mine was the Romeo and Juliet, a gin based drink that reminded me of a gin & tonic and mojito mixed together. It was pretty fabulous, but not quite as fabulous as the caprese panini with balsamic reduction on top that we shared. TO DIE FOR, people. It was amazing.

After an hour or so, we ducked out and headed on to the main event, a night at the Bluebird Cafe. Essentially, this is a well known intimate venue where songwriters perform nightly.


Our reserved table was in the perfect spot.

The younger guy was a guest performer for one song, Jimmy Wayne who just walked 1700 miles to raise awareness and funds for foster children aging out of the system. The main performers of the evening were Gary Burr, Jim Photoglo and Mike Reid.

Being the big country music fan that I am, I had been anticipating this night as it's a place I hadn't made it to during my previous trips. Kristin doesn't share my enthusiasm for country, but loved it all the same. It was fun to watch the three of them perform together and hear the songs they had written that you hear on the radio all the time.

Some of the songs you might recognize that these songwriters had written included: Fishin' in the Dark, I Can't Make You Love Me, Nothin' Bout Love Makes Sense, I'm In, In a Week or Two and the list goes on! It was one of those times I just felt lucky to be where I was.

Around 11:30 pm we headed home to bed.

Wait, you went to Nashville? Yup. Here's how my welcome to Nashville went.

And it's not the first time I've been to Music City, USA!

Next up: Saturday in East Nasty Nashville and a hammy injury update. Oh the suspense!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This Would Happen

Tonight's run was supposed to be 6 miles. Two of those were to be easy, three at tempo and one more easy. I set off after work along the river. I took it fairly easy, but at 1.5 miles I started to feel a tightness in my right hamstring (the side that hasn't been giving me issues). I stretched for a minute or two and continued on.

By mile 2, the tightness had turned to such awful pain I couldn't run any further. A little defeated and frustrated, I began the walk back to my car hoping the pain would dissipate. Over the next two miles I tried to run probably five times. I could barely run a few steps so walk, I did.

It wasn't the workout I expected or wanted with less than two weeks until the Portland Marathon. But I kept my spirits up. I tried to repeat "it's just something small that needs some stretching, ice and rest. It is not a tear."

So, I'll call the physical therapist tomorrow and see what the body tells me. And do some more stretching and icing. But still, it can't make you feel like "why does this have to happen now, after all this training and successful physical therapy?"

And with that, I'm reminding myself that this is only a small thing. It will be fine in a few days. Just as long as we get the kinks out now, eh, body?!

The manfriend and I are currently watching the story of Terry Fox who had bone cancer and therefore, one of his legs amputated. As a young man, he then chose to run across Canada (essentially a marathon a day) to raise awareness and money for cancer.

Fox made it over 3,000 miles before he stopped because cancer was found in his lungs. He passed away at age 22. And today, approx $500 million has been raised in his name. If that's not an inspirational story, I don't know what is!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Fabulous Welcome

Working my way through recap land, here's a bit of my Nashville adventure...

Thursday

4 am wake up call, 4:45 am left the house to drive the 2 hrs north to Portland Airport, eating overnight oats along the way

Most of Thursday was spent in an airplane seat. Luckily, there were a few beautiful views such as this one.

After 5 hrs of flying and 1 1/2 hrs extra spent sitting on the plane due to mechanical issues, my body was more than ready to be in the upright position.

When I arrived in Nashville, I was so happy to be off the plane and see Kristin. We actually ran toward each other in the airport. It was kind of funny, but genuine. It's crazy how much you miss someone you're used to seeing several times a week.

We promptly headed to her place where we had a "It's not delivery, it's Digiorno" pizza, a salad, some wine and serious girl chat. And she showed me to my guest suite. Be prepared to be wowed, cuz I was.

Barley, Kristin's 2 yr old boxer/lab mix greeted me and insisted on following me around the rest of the weekend. He has the greatest personality and I miss him already!

I fell in love with the bedding that K found at Target! I mean, seriously, it's just so chic and fun.

And to my utter surprise and delight, I was greeted by a stocked and free snack table! She knows me too well.

What do we have here? Fiji water, Vitamin Water, almonds, autumn inspired Jelly Bellies, Godiva dark choc covered almonds, ginger cookies, peanut butter chocolate chip Clif bar and alphabet gummy worms!

And can we just take a look at these pillows again? I love the yellow and grey floral ones.

Hey there!

And seriously, the girl went all out. She even stocked my bathroom with the necessities!

Let's just say, I felt welcome.

I went to bed around 11:30 or so but just couldn't let the mind unwind after a long day of travel. I hate when that happens.

Friday

5:30 am wake up call thanks to my confused body, making for a very tired girl

I read for a while and finally put the running clothes on around 7 am. We had plans for a 5 or so mile run at Radnour Lake (one of the man places affected by the flood) so we dropped off the pup at doggy daycare and were on our way.

It was a toasty one in Nashville that day. It felt like it was already mid to high 70s by 8:30 and the humidity was pretty bad. Basically, by mile 1 my body would have been just fine with stopping and walking. It was a struggle, but we busted out 4.3 miles in 35 min or so and then did a little walking along the beautiful lakeside.

We had worked up quite the appetite so we headed off to the famous Loveless Cafe for their drool worthy biscuits and jam. I'm pretty sure they had some serious amounts of lard or shortening in them because they were fantastic. I also had a veggie omelet, but it did not compare to those hot, flaky mounds of dough.

I was a bad blogger and forgot the camera at home. Alas, I'm sure you can imagine a small lake on a hot day and a cement running path. And biscuits, with three options of jam served inside an old house.

After breakfast, we headed back to shower and get ready for a school related luncheon she had to attend. Next up: Friday night's festivities, including my much anticipated visit to the Bluebird Cafe!

Jess LC Jewelry Review

Hey y'all! I'm departing Nashville this morning. The weekend was amazing, relaxing and fun. I have lots of photos so I'll do a few recap posts this week. But until then, I'm spending the day flying back to the west coast.

It's always nice to go home, but then again hard to leave after such a great time with Kristin (and her dog, Barley). And wow, the people of Nashville are just so friggin' nice. Anywho...

I've been meaning to do this review for a while now. Jess LC jewelry (and her fabulous blog) is something I stumbled on a year or so ago and have been hooked ever since.

This piece provides great company for anything I wear.

I also have the matching earings, but no photo for ya.

I'm also now totally okay with gold and silver coexisting together.

I'm big fan of this simple, inspiring Franklin necklace. You even get to choose from a few phrases and stone/jewel additions.

The braile reads: Dream Bigger

Bought these just to have something extra dangly for the wedding we attended in Monterey!


Jess LC also just launched her new paisley-inspired Diversey collection last week! This is no surprise, but those pieces are pretty classy with a fun twist as well.

For as long as I can remember, I've been a silver only kind of jewelry girl. But thanks to these pieces, I can now honestly say that I love some gold jewelry. Are you a gold or silver fan? Or are you caught in the middle of the two like me?

Jess LC didn't pay me or request me to review her jewelry, but I just love it so that I thought I should share it with all of you. As a picky jewelry person, I can't say how relieved I was to find simple, but beautiful pieces at a reasonable price!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Budget Shmudget

You don't hear me blabbering much around here about budgeting and pinching pennies. Probably because I'm not very good at it. Well, in most areas anyway.

Here I am in Switzerland in 2009 when we had to get Swiss Francs rather than the Euro, which is used everywhere else in Europe. The bills looked kind of like artsy Monopoly money.

I'd say I'm good in some areas: I make my lunch every day of the week, try to go out to eat maybe once a week, avoid alcohol at restaurants when I don't REALLY want a glass.

But I'm not so good in other areas: clothing (because I love it so), workout gear (I justify that it doesn't matter what it costs, more or less, because I sweat a lot and am worth good exercise stuff), vacations (hell, I'm on vacation, I deserve it!), etc.

Well, the last month or two all that fun stuff has gotten out of hand. Well, that and buying plane tickets to fly out to the midwest for Christmas. ;) I find myself every few days staring at my online credit card statement thinking "Why in the hell is this total so high?"

In all reality, it's not that high, especially with a plane ticket thrown in there, gas to and from Cali, and two nights at a hotel in Monterey, but still. It's crazy how those small trips to the grocery store, gas fill ups and $40 here and there at Gap or the local running store will add up. Luckily, I should be able to pay the card off at the end of the month as I do every month, but ultimately, I don't want to be stressing about the balance.

Part of me knows I need to tighten up the purse strings a bit, but the other part of me thinks "Hey, I'm paying my bills and student loans AND saving money for retirement. I can live a little." I guess it's just a matter of how much I allow myself to live it up. :)

What's your attitude on spending and saving? What areas could you improve on? Feel free to send your money saving/spending strategies my way!


And with that, I'm off to fly the friendly skies (or something like that) and spend more money in Nashville!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Hunger Subsides

Most of the time. But today, I hit the streets at 5:45 pm and the hunger monster began creeping in. Usually, after a few minutes of running, the hunger goes away. But not today!

Tonight, I did 18 min of warm up and then hit the hills. I finished 6 hills at 60-120 sec each (2.5 miles of hill loops) and then did a short cool down. 51 minutes --6 miles in total

Throughout the workout, the hunger beast forced me to stop and walk on the hills twice because I felt like I was going to throw up I was so hungry. Seems kind of oximoronic, eh? Luckily, I had half a peanut butter chocolate Luna protein bar in my car and some H20 to consume as soon as I finished.

Does the hunger monster ever attack and not relent during your runs? This is probably the first time it was so severe I couldn't run much further.

***

While watching the first of this season's Biggest Loser, I heard some pretty heartbreaking stories from contestants, but also seriously staggering facts.

*Every 2 out of 3 Americans is obese.

*The state of Arizona spends $1.5 BILLION per year on obesity.

Did you watch the Biggest Loser? A few of them couldn't even run one mile. It was pretty sad. Like Bob said, everyone should be able to run one mile. You don't have to be a marathon runner, but to have the fitness to complete one mile should be doable for anyone.

But I have to give the contestants a TON of credit. Not many people are willing to put their personal struggles and unhealthy lifestyles on display. And, they have a long way to go and the road there will not be easy.

Well, now I'm going to bust out a little yoga on the mat because these glutes and legs are tiiiired. And I should probably get to that whole packing thing because I'm so SLOW at it. I get to throw in some summer clothes because it's still in the 90's in Nashville!

Can you guess where I'm off to?

Before you scroll down through the photos, I'll give you a hint: it's where it ALL began. And by all, I mean this crazy running thing. I saw an ad for the race in my Runner's World as I was on the treadmill in my hometown athletic club. I had the crazy idea that while I could NEVER run 26 miles, I just might be able to run 13!

It was my mom's first plane ride since she was 13!

The Cumberland River

Running in Centennial Park and a quick tour through the Greek Parthenon!

Inside the Opryland Resort and Convention Center, which happens to be a large indoor garden.

Some guy came up to us and asked if we were sisters. Yes, we kinda look alike.




One of my best friends, Teresa from high school even drove the 7 hrs to come see me and watch my race!

Coming in strong with a 1:51 finish

Getting my stretch on after running through town and past all these fabulous homes where people were having breakfast and drinking mimosas while we ran.

One year later, I went back and ran the very same race with a bunch of my high school girlfriends!

And, in case you haven't already guessed it, I'm off to NASHVILLE, TN! Although, I do believe I mentioned it a while back on the bloggie. I won't be going to run the Country Music Half Marathon, but I will be seeing my friend Kristin and doing some sightseeing while we're there. Don't get me wrong, I'd visit her even if it weren't Nashville, but heading to a place you already love makes it just that much easier to return.

Now just a few more days of work and I'm off! Have you been to Nashville? Is there a place you really want to visit because of its sights, history, etc? Nashville was that place for me. I wanted to visit it to explore the home of country music and walk into bars where nobodies were singing, but sounded like they had a record deal. I continue to return because the people and the nightlife there are amazing!

And, if you're looking for a fun race to do, I highly recommend any of the Rock 'n Roll series, which the Nashville half and full marathon are part of. The music, course set up and finish line area are exceptional!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This is a story about...

a girl who ran a very soggy, but successful 21 miles. Well, that's pretty much the story, but scroll on for the pictures.

Got back to the neighborhood and decided to make the mileage an even 21 for good measure. And it didn't even hurt that bad!

The stats: me, one very happy runner. Average Pace: 8:22

A jam packed Green Monster was in order!

Tart cherries on top to aid in recovery. Granola because it tastes good and makes a crunch.

Pumpkin bread, which I found the recipe for here. No cream cheese filling in mine.

Okay, there's a little more to the story, so here goes.

As for the run, I have to say it was one of my best runs. I'm so relieved it was better than last week's rough 18. Last night when I went to bed after coming home from a wine bar, I wasn't so confident the run would go as planned, aka I was a bit dehydrated. I popped an ibuprofen and chugged some water.

This morning I felt fine, ate my breakfast and went on my merry way. I realized that over time, I've finally found the right combination that works for my body. And that is key, my friends. Do what works and makes your body and mind happy.

What works for me?
-Eating bkfst 1 hr before heading out
-Carrying hand held water bottle filled w/ half Gatorade and half water
-Sipping from that water bottle approx. every 15 min
-Munching on something real but easy to eat (Larabar)
-And something sugary (Shot Bloks)
-Eating these goodies approx at the 1.5 hr, 2 hr and 2.5 hr marks
-Choosing a route you enjoy before you start
-ice/cool bath afterward
-refuel w/ some protein and carbs immediately
-POSITIVE mental attitude (this one might rule over all others)

While the entire run wasn't sunshine and teddy bears, I noticed things that bugged me and then let it go. Sure my long sleeve made me a little warmer than I'd prefer, and yes my legs were about 75% fatigued from the first step, but I was doing my LAST 20 mile training run AND I was running a route that had not failed me in the past. I only hope that my attitude and body feels just as strong today as it will on Oct. 10, 2010!

What works for YOU?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Just Peachy Keen!

Morning! Before we get to the peaches, I just wanted to share with you my Friday fall breakfast. I've been getting more used to the overnight oats around these parts. But this morning, I wanted hot oats!

In my oats expirimentation, I've been using a variety of ingredients. Today's color came from the coffee I drizzled into it and a few scoops of pumpkin. I also threw in: 3/4 banana, chia seeds, sprinkle of shredded coconut, cranberries, almonds and frozen raspberries. It might sound like a little overload of conflicting flavors, but it was actually pretty darn good!

What's your favorite combo of mix ins? I highly recommend experimentation.

In other news, I love when Real Simple arrives in the mail box. The cover always makes me smile.

I also get: Runner's World, Glamour and Women's Health so it can be hard to keep up on all that reading, but I do love my mags!

Now on to the PEACHES!

A few weeks ago I had the urge to really bake something. Luckily, we had a Labor Day bbq to attend. Using Jenna's method of baking and taking to share, this not so healthy (but delicious) recipe was the perfect thing for the occasion. I selected Guy Fieri's Cin-ful Peach Cobbler recipe. Love foodnetwork.com for their recipe assistance!

Chop up 4-6 large peaches, depending on what you have. If you don't already have fresh peaches just waiting to be eaten, run off to your local farm and buy some! These were bounty from one of our several trips to Thistledown Farm in Junction City, OR.

Dig out your flour, a lemon and the measuring utensils.

Be sure to have a trusty pal nearby surveying the scene in order to test the peaches ripeness when they fall to the ground.

Mix together the filling, including sugars, cinnamon and flour. Add peaches and stir a bit more.

Add the juice of 1 lemon and cornstarch (or more flour in my case...no cornstarch on hand)

Stir again and pour into baking dish. If you had ramekins, it might be cool to do individual cobblers instead. Alas, I have no ramekins and this dish was being taken to a bbq.

Now mix together the crumbley top...more sugar, flour, oats, almonds, cranberries, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt!

Dump half the mixture on top, bake for 30 min at 350.

Then add the other half of the mixture and bake for another 30-45 until bubbling. Be sure to have some vanilla ice cream on hand to plop on top of your serving of peachy goodness.

Eat and be happy.

The End.

Happy FRIDAY! What are you doing with your weekend? I've got a little 20 miler run on deck, a bike to breakfast, hanging out with my youth mentee and maybe visiting the parents!

P.S. Need more peach in your life? Check out this Peach Crunch Cake I made a few years back that was a hit at a friend's birthday party and easy as pie er, cake to make!