Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Fun Day in Bend

Hello and happy Sunday! This weekend the manfriend and I escaped to Bend, OR for a cyclocross crusade (basically a huge two day cyclocross event with about 1,000 or so racers).

I love it here because the air is dry, the sun is out and people are very outdoorsy with the mountains just a short drive away.

After a little spectating, I met up with my high school friend Jessica who recently had a baby. She and her husband and the new baby were in town for a getaway as well so it was perfect! 

We walked and talked for about 2.5 miles along the Deschutes River. The path is gorgeous and the company was even better. Forever friends are the best.

I even got Evie to smile for me a bit. Babies are adorable, especially this one.

Then it was time to head back to the races to watch the manfriend and others ride through the dust bowl.

Spectators, cyclists and everything within a 1/2 mile radius of the course seemed to be layered with the dust flying up from the course.

Zig zag through the grass...

Ride up and over the ramp...
 50 minutes later...done.
This guy and every other racer out there was in serious need of a shower. Dirt all over his face and lips, up his nose and in his teeth. Yummy!

Deschutes Brewery hosted a crazy fun Halloween party after the races Saturday night. So many creative costumes - mail order bride, the entire Wizard of Oz cast, Lewis and Clark, etc. It was by far the coolest Halloween party I've been to.

This morning I was set on getting in a run, despite the late night fun. Right out the door of our hotel is a path that leads to a great trail along the Deschutes River with beautiful views. I try to get on this trail whenever I'm in Bend.

Despite the 38 degree temps, the dry climate here made shorts, a tech t-shirt and a long sleeve just perfect for the run. I cranked out about 6 miles and then headed into the hotel gym for 15 minutes of strength. 

After taking full advantage of the complimentary breakfast here, I took a dip in the pool and hot tub and am just about to head down to the race again. Today's races will be chalk full of costumes, so it will be fun to watch. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Do you have any plans for Halloween? I still need to get some candy for the kiddos that will be stopping by our house tomorrow night!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Taste of Thai to the Rescue

This week when we headed to the grocery store, I thought I'd bring back one of my favorite college meals - pad thai made easy!

I like it because it's relatively healthy, affordable ($4.99 + $2.69 for the ingredients above) quick to make and you can get creative with the addition of your own veggies, tofu or chicken, an egg stirred in, etc.

After an awesome Lifeforce Fitness class (hello squats, burpees, sprinting in place), I arrived home around 7:15 pm ready to get dinner going. 

In the matter of 20 min or so, I simmered the coconut milk, added fresh veggies and organic chicken breast tenders (which cook fast because of their size) and the pad thai peanut sauce mixture. In another pot, I boiled water and added a mixture of whole wheat pasta noodles and buckwheat soba noodles to cook.

When everything was cooked, I served our chicken pad thai our buddha bowls because they're my favorite.
This dinner was definitely a success because the manfriend said "I think this may be my new favorite meal you make." Done and done.

Do you have a favorite 'meal assist' to share that allows you to get a healthy, tasty meal on the table shortly after you get home?

Looking to get your stretch on? Yoga download is offering 30% off on any yoga class you purchase through midnight on October 31st by using the code: Spooked.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bike Ballet

Remember how I'm loving fall? Well, Saturday turned out to be the PERFECT fall day, with a touch of summer thrown in. I cranked out my 10 mile long run through my favorite spot (Doris Ranch) and came home to take another epsom salt bath.

Soon enough, it was time to head out to the manfriend's cyclocross race. So I layered up and headed out on my road bike. Hooray for nice road bike weather!

Within a mile I was roasty toasty and had to unzip the sleeves of my jacket.And then I saw the views of the most beautiful fall trees in town. Seriously, it doesn't get any better than this.

After my tree gawking, I made it just in time to see the manfriend springing over the barriers doing his bike ballet thing. But really, doesn't this look like bike ballet (but manlier of course) if there were such a thing?

Everyone in attendance was enjoying this sun bathing worthy weather.

Now fast forward to today when it was 28 degrees when I headed out the door for an early morning run. Gloves, headband (for the ears), long pants and my Victoria Marathon half zip were needed. Eeps! You could say we had an abrupt shift in weather, but we're surviving.

Continuing on the bike front, I've been trying to ride the good ole mountain bike to work last week and this week despite some colder temps. Gloves, layers and my ipod are the key to a happy, brisk morning commute. 

However, after work, I'm a little more relaxed, the temps are a few degrees higher and I find myself taking silly photos (and more pics of fall leaves), gloves not always necessary.

As I've said before, bike commuting gives me a totally different perspective on my community and my day. It simply takes about 40 min more for me to get ready in the mornings to pack everything up, gather bike gear, 15 min extra spent commuting, change at work). But I know it's worth it when I do.

On the running front: My body is enjoying lower mileage these past few weeks. It's amazing how different 20-25 miles feels on my hip, knees, etc compared to 35-40. Last night I focused on lots of hip opening with a Dave Farmar podcast.

What's your perfect weekly running mileage? Is anyone else experiencing interesting weather?

Running posts of interest:
Morning Runner's realization on pace and her preferred training tools
Heart Rate Monitor Training from Basically Barefoot

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Box

Sometimes you battle yourself. You fight your instincts. You go against everything you post on twitter, you ignore you favorite Pinterest boards, you don't listen to your Pandora stations and you try to cram yourself into a little box.

Even though your head's not fitting into the box and your elbow is jamming out one of the corners, you press on determined that you have to be that person your nine year old self thought you'd be. After enough struggling, the box tips over and you fall out with a thump. Realizing you're unharmed, you stand up and brush yourself off.

In stepping out of that box, you take a deep breath of fresh air and realize that all that cramming and jamming doesn't do you much good when you've denied everything your heart is telling you.

So you write. And it flows. And then you think 'maybe I could do this for real? Maybe I shouldn't be afraid of these talents. Maybe sharing them is exactly the thing I need to stretch myself happy.'

What box do you need to bust loose from?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Did Someone Say Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf?

Before you run away from talk of bacon and meatloaf on a Friday morning, read on!

Last night we were in for a real treat as the manfriend, Danielle and I attended a fun home style dinner in Creswell, OR at Heidi Tunnell Catering.

I had heard of this local chef Heidi Tunnell (via twitter), a twenty something who started her own catering company just outside of Eugene after training in New York and working in France.

Well, let me tell you, after reading a few articles on her, watching the video above and perusing her menus, I was hooked. Heidi Tunnell Catering hosts these big barn dinners in the summer that are held in a local barn and include food, wine/beer, music, etc and run $75. What's more amazing is that all the food she uses is locally grown and often organic.

I was contemplating one of those dinners all summer and missed out. So when I saw bacon wrapped meatloaf, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots and pumpkin cheesecake on one of her Thursday night monthly (now weekly) dinners that are more like $20 per person, I signed us up pronto! One thing you may not know about the manfriend is that he's a born and raised midwesterner (Michigan) and he loves his meat and potatoes so I knew he'd love this.

We started with a red blend, which was pretty tasty.

Then I tried my first ever hush puppy! This was seriously good and and not too heavy.

 Manfriend made a lot of funny faces, per the usual.

There was a little guitar music in the background, which was nice, but we couldn't really hear his voice.

If the photos didn't tell the story clear enough, this meal was amazing and the atmosphere was just righ.

We had: hush puppies, fresh rolls, caesar salad, glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, bacon wrapped meat loaf, pumpkin cheesecake and red wine all for about $24 per person (incl. tip).

At the end of the meal Heidi came out to talk to guests. I assume many of them are regulars as several tables seemed to know each other and I don't blame them a bit. I'll be back, Heidi Tunnell!

As much as I wanted to eat it all, D and I both took home about half of our meatloaf and she and I also split a slice of pumpkin cheesecake. What did manfriend do you ask? He ate it all. I swear he has a second stomach in those skinny legs of his.

I'm not sure I'm hungry for breakfast today seeing as how we pretty much had a Thanksgiving size dinner...

What would you eat for your 'last supper?'

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How I Feel When I Run

You know how somedays you can't think of a single word to write and then other days it just naturally flows? Well, occasionally, the writing bug strikes just AFTER I've logged out of my email and the blog.

That, I tell you, is the time to log right back in and WRITE! Even if it's just a few run on sentences or some bulleted thoughts, I find that writing down a few ideas now is better than saving it in your head and forgetting all those genius thoughts you once had. Okay, they don't even have to be genius, but possibly interesting to readers or just for your own good.

How I Feel When I Run:

Running makes me feel strong and confident.
It makes me feel like I have power over my own mind, my decisions and my pace (most of the time).
It gives me assurance that all this hard work and the hours of training I put into this thing I love are worth it.

Running makes me want to smile from the inside out.
And sometimes, it makes me want to cry.
Sometimes my hip or my hamstring or my knee hurts like hell and I think "Why am I putting myself through all this pain?"

Running makes me aware of my surroundings.
It opens my eyes to new opportunities, people and neighborhoods.
It brings me sanity and peace of mind.

Running makes me proud of my body.
Running makes me proud to be a woman.
Running makes me feel grateful that I have a body that can do all this crazy stuff.

Running makes me feel like I have a purpose, even if for just 45 minutes.

Tell me, how do you feel when you run or ride or do whatever it is you LOVE to do?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Confessions

Thanks to Heather at Dietician on the Run who has posted a few of these confession type posts. I decided to borrow the idea and input my own confessions. My mind is sort of all over the place so it makes it difficult to pull together a clear post. Know what I mean?

Thanks for the photo, Amber!

Confession: I feel overwhelmed that I simply can't keep up with life, my google reader, start a book, follow my heart, you name it.

Realization: I can't do it all. I should cut myself some slack, but it's easier said than done. And, in the midst of it all, I'm still managing to prioritize healthy eating and exercise.

Obsession: Fall and everything that goes with it - pumpkins, plaid shirts, boots I've wanted for so long but will probably never buy, beer, baked goods, college football, crunchy colored leaves...

Want: The What Not to Wear folks to show up on my doorstep and offer me a $10K credit card to spend to update my woredrobe. Hey, a girl can dream. Oh and a tropical vacation would be nice too! ;)

Need: Deep breaths, a good book and a latte.

Up: Getting out of town. I'm an adventurous spirit and can't wait for the next event, party, vacation, etc. I have two upcoming weekend trips to Portland and Bend (Central Oregon). There's something nice about getting out of your comfort zone, but not too much.

Down: Confidence. Totally down and out and well, yeah.

In: Taking it easy on the body. While I've been running post marathon, I'm trying to take it easy and not hammer away at anything. My body is pleasantly surprised.

I've got to remember that to get faster and stronger, sometimes you have to go slower (or even stop all together) for a bit of time.

+Riding my bike to work! The weather has been perfect for it and it helps relieve my funky mood.

Out: Rain. This week's forecast shows all sun (albeit cool mornings) and I'm just fine with that. After all, this is Oregon and we'll get our share of rain for the next six months (give or take).

So tell me, what do you do when your confidence or mental attitude needs a little overhaul? What is one of your confessions?

-->> Send your healing thoughts to Emily and her broken foot. No bueno! I can't even imagine having a broken foot. Pure torture.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

FALLing in Love

Well, I survived recovery week post marathon, including a few rest days, a painful sports massage and a few workouts.

Thanks to Amber for capturing my ginger crouch to grab my space blanket after my finisher's photo. 

I'm happy to say that I think I already accomplished all of my post race goals, including: a few rest days, making a good recipe, going out to breakfast (we rode our bikes to brunch after I yoga'd on Saturday), post race massage AND I joined my gym again!

On another note, fall foods have stole my heart this week. I'm officially all about the pumpkins, squash and hot foods. 

This week I made: pumpkin spice bread, homemade mac 'n cheese and baked and stuffed bell peppers. This week I bought: 2 more cans of pumpkin, mini pumpkins and produce at a nearby farm, pumpkin beer and a pumpkin spice misto. 

I guess you could say I'm enjoying fall. 

The last time I made stuffed bell peppers was nearly year ago. It's kind of fun to be able to look back and know exactly when that was.

I forgot how easy they are to make, although I was trying to cut down on time and only cooked them for 17 minutes. The bell peppers would have been much softer after 30 min. Oh well, still tasty and healthy. 

On the running front: I waited until Wednesday to do my first workout, including spinning and weights. And Thursday I opted to do a slow 3 miler before work. The legs were a bit tight and my right knee and hip were sore. Overall, I feel like I did a good job taking it easy, but getting in a few workouts.

The biggest issue I'm dealing with is the tightness in my right hip flexor that seems to have been exponentially tightened and more painful thanks to the marathon last weekend. To  make it better, I'm trying to massage it, use the foam roller and the running stick and hold the lunge with my back knee hovering just 1" off the ground.

From here on out, I'm hoping to do yoga a few times a week both at home and in class and be diligent with the foam rolling. Additionally, the manfriend and I are training for the EWEB Run to Stay warm Half Marathon in November so he's gradually working more running miles into his week. Today we did an 8 miler with the running group.

How was your weekend? What have you done so far that's getting you in the fall spirit?

Craving a sweet treat this week? You need to make this pumpkin bread by Megan of Runner's Kitchen. I made a loaf on Saturday morning before yoga class and it was gone by Sunday morning.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Victoria Marathon Recap and a Winner

This post is long, but hopefully worth it. 

Saturday morning we went to John's Place for a delicious brunch. Then we perused this fabulous gourmet tea shop (Davids Tea) where Lisa, Amber and I proceeded to buy lots of yummy tea to take home.

Finally, we made our way to the race expo to pick up our bibs. Pics of Saturday morn can be found on Monday's post)

I'm a big fan of decked out race expos and this one was pretty decent with several running companies, races and organizations staffing booths. And the race gear was a plenty as New Balance (the race shirt sponsor) had a large section of shirts, shoes, pants and accessories for sale.

I drooled over lots of cute items, but was glad I waited to make a purchase because we scored a few items at 50% off after the race!

After a little relaxing, we headed to Pagliacci's at 5pm to wait in line for our carb loading dinner. We knew this would be a bit of a wait with so many runners in town and so few Italian restaurants. 

We ended up waiting about 1.5 hrs, but the wait was totally worth it. Plus, we had good company, smartphones and free garlic bread to entertain us.

I ordered the Bicycle Thief, which had mushrooms, tomatoes, italian sausage, green peppers and fontina cheese over linguine noodles. So much delicious fontina cheese!

And now stirred in - mmm. Seriously, this was quite possibly the best Italian I've ever had.

We got back to our hotel around 8:30 pm with full bellies. I rolled out my legs with "The Stick" before tucking myself into bed by 9:30 pm.

This race was a little different than most I'm used to. The half marathon started at 7:30 am, while the full marathon started at 8:45 am. Luckily, our hotel was in the perfect location, just three blocks from the start and a block from the finish line!

With a 5:45 am wake up call, we all started getting ready, eating, etc. I walked down to the start with Amber, Leigh and Lisa to take a few pics and see them off before heading back to the hotel for a bit.

Even Bart Yasso was there to give some words of encouragement to racers.

Then it was back to the room to chill out, roll out the legs some more, pin on the number and head to the start!

I ran down to the start line 15 min 'til race start so I wouldn't have too much time to get nervous - the perks of a sweet hotel spot!

And now the race. The temps were in the low 50s so I wasn't really cold or warm. I planned on breaking the marathon into two 10 milers and a 10K at the end.

From the very start, my right hip was letting me know it wasn't 100%, but I knew it could function just fine. The first several miles ticked by with me just focusing on keeping a 8:35 ish pace. I wanted to make sure I didn't push it and run out of gas too early.

There weren't any pacers so it was up to me, my Garmin and my 3:45 pace bracelet to keep myself in check. Let me tell you, training based on miles and then racing based on kilometers was a bit confusing. Luckily, almost every 1K was marked and my pace bracelet told me my pace for ever odd 1K (1, 3, 5, etc).

Around mile 9, I recall thinking "Ugh, I still have a long ways to go and am not feeling so hot." It seemed like a struggle just to maintain an 8:30 pace when previously (before all that trail running), it wouldn't have seemed so hard. Alas, I knew I could keep on pushing so I did.

The course was beautiful weaving up and around Beacon Hill Park, allowing us to see some of the half marathoners as we looped back through and then headed out toward the water, through cute neighborhoods and several miles of rolling terrain.

Others had mentioned this course having some rollers, but actually running them was tougher than I imagined. Hitting the halfway point felt like forever, but it was nice to be on an out and back section where we could see other runners coming toward you.

Photo courtesy of Amber

Miles 1 - 9:
8:44, 8:27, 8:32, 8:36, 8:15, 8:26, 8:29, 8:36, 8:37

Fueling: I decided to fuel about every 4 miles. I took a Shot Blok at miles 4, 9, 13, 20, 22 and 24 and an Espresso Hammer Gel at mile 17. I also carried my Nathan handheld w/ grape Nuun water in it.

The entire race I just kept telling myself not to get wrapped up in other runners who were passing me or having a tough time. I just focused on MY race. Each time I checked my pace bracelet I was about a minute within my goal time so that was good.

Whenever I noticed my pace a little fast I would ease back and if it were a bit slow, I tried to pick it up. I really wanted a steady race, not much surging. At mile 17 as we were going through the water station, a girl came up beside me and said "If I don't see you at the end, great job. You've been keeping me on pace the entire time."  It was nice to get that reassurance that I was staying steady. I love when other racers compliment each other.

Miles 10-20:
8:25, 8:44, 8:35, 8:34, 8:35, 8:43, 8:44, 8:30, 8:49, 8:34, 8:34

At mile 20 I was pretty ready to be done. My knees were starting to ache and the balls of my feet were getting sore. But I still had work to do!

The last 10K felt like it took forever and yet went fast at the same time. I knew I was going to have to pick it up a bit to reach my goal so I started laying down the hammer. However, there were still a few more rolling hills to survive.

That last 10K was all about mantras. When things get tough, I start saying cheesey stuff to myself to stay positive. My mind and vision was getting a little fuzzy so I needed it.

A few of the dorky things I said (in my head of course) were: "I can PR. I will PR," "Surviving and Thriving," and "A marathon is no longer the furthest you've run. If you can do 31 miles on trail, a marathon is nothin'!"

Miles 21-26.2:
8:28, 8:36, 8:12, 8:40, 8:06, 7:56, 7:20 (.41 mi)

When I came to the last 1K, I was really excited. Everything was aching, but I knew I was going to reach my goal unless I walked or jogged to the finish. A big rush of emotion came across me as I saw the finish line and knew I was PRing big time.

It was one of those moments where I truly felt like all that hard work paid off. My former PR was made at the Portland Marathon (my first) in 2006 and now five years later, I PRed at my sixth marathon by five minutes!

Final time: 3:44:27
Place out of all females: 121/683
Age group place: 27/113
Average pace: 8:30 min/mi
Distance: 26.41 mi

GOALS achieved: PR, faster second half, strong mental attitude and enjoyed the entire race!

Check out race recaps from Amber, Lisa and Leigh! They all PR'd and finished the half in under 2 hours!

And now the winner (thanks to of the Odwalla Bar giveaway is... J (of Morning Runner)! Email me at laurenjpeters at to claim your goodies.

J said...Exactly - be confident in your training and just go for it. The last few races I have just trusted my training - I know what my tempo runs have been and I know what I am able to do. Running is all about building up, its a gradual improvement, not a huge jump all at once. If you keep setting goals at each race and keep improving then you will get faster and faster!