Friday, September 30, 2011

Goodbye Gingham, Hello Danskos

It's been a while since I've done a fashion post here so I thought I'd share last Friday's outfit. It felt like my last opportunity to wear something sort of summery, so I did, white pants, gingham and all.

Top: Old Navy, Belt: JCrew Factory Store, Pants: JCrew

I was also loving the light that was filtering through our window shades that morning.

There's just something about it that makes me want to stay in bed all day and relax, but unfortunately, there are bills to be paid.

Well, this is probably one of the last fashion posts you'll see from me for a while. Once colder weather hits, my wardrobe gets pretty depressing and I become absolutely perplexed at what to wear to work.

Why I dislike fall/winter work wear:
  • it's never warm enough
  • pants rarely fit me well
  • cute, well fitting blazers are too expensive
  • I'm not good at layering
  • business appropriate shoes never feel comfy on my feet. Danskos, here I come!

But while I don't enjoy fighting my closet each morning, I absolutely love casual wear in the evenings and weekends. 

My favorite casual wear:
  • jeans
  • Fryes
  • rainboots
  • hoodies
  • cozy socks

Okay, fall, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. There are going to be some beautiful days ahead, but I just might look a little frumptastic in my Danskos and sweater piled on top of sweater.

Any tricks for dressing well in fall? What's your favorite item in your closet right now? The last item of clothing you purchased and got a heck of a deal on?

This gingham button down was actually on sale at Old Navy for $9.99 down from $24. It's always a nice reward for delaying a purchase when you see that little orange sticker or a sale sign. Happy Fashion Friday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Marathon Mind

...I haven't lost it. It just never showed up.

Lately, I've noticed that my head just isn't in this marathon training. It's not that I'm missing my workouts or not pushing myself, but mentally, I don't feel like I'll be running a marathon next weekend.

It probably has to do with that little 50K which was my main focus for the entire summer and now that it's over, I'm just about to run another MAJOR race. This kind of running schedule is for crazy people. When did I become one of them?!

While I know my body is ready for Victoria, my head just isn't there. I don't have the taper madness because frankly, I've forgotten what tapering means. I suppose I better start doing that next week.

So seriously, I wanted to get back to the meaning of tapering. I just pulled out my old "Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide" by Hal Higdon to get some more specific answers. Sure in my head I know it means to ease back on training, but what specifically?

I even pulled out my very first training plan that I found on Runner's World by Benji Durden that was only based on time. For example, all my long runs were done much slower and the plan simply told me to run for 2.5 hrs one week for my long run. It's baffling to me that this still is the plan that holds my PR marathon time.

Higdon says there are five areas where runners need to change our habits during the taper.

1. Cut total mileage. As a general rule, cut by at least 50%.
2. Cut frequency. Give your body a day off rather than doing an easy run.
3.  Cut distance, not intensity. Research shows you will benefit from small amounts of at or near race pace running rather than only slow and easy miles.
4.  Cut the lifting.  No heavy lifting at least 3 to 6 weeks before a marathon. If you are doing strength exercises, make sure you are doing fewer reps and lighter weights. Leave the gym feeling energetic, not exhausted.
5. Cut back on calories. Watch what you eat in the realm of empty calories - as you're running less, you're also burning fewer calories.

It's also recommended to adding some extra carbohydrates the last 3-7 days of your taper so those energy stores are chalk full on marathon morning.

"In the final week, eliminate hard training. If you run anything at or near race pace, don't run far." I'll be lucky and happy to be traveling during the few days leading up the race because it will force me not to run and give my mind something else to focus on.

For races I don't have to travel far for, I've focused on trying to do more relaxing things like hanging out with friends, reading a magazine or book, watching a movie, etc. to fill my non running taper time.

And finally, in that last 24 hours, don't spend too much time on your feet. And pay attention to what you're eating and drinking!

So there you have it, an overview of the taper. Do you follow a specific taper regimen? Do you prefer a two or three week taper?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Busy Buzzzzzzy Bumble Bee

When life gets busy, blogging is often the one thing that has to be omitted on occasion in order to fit everything in. However, it's often the last thing I want to omit. But if I have to choose, getting my blood pumping and my miles checked off my training plan are priority during marathon time.

So what's new? Well, I checked off my last LONG run for marathon training on Saturday! 21 tough miles are in the bag!
My friend Chris was kind enough to run most of it with me even though he isn't training for a marathon right now. We ended up running about 5 miles of trail at the beginning with our group and then splitting off for the rest.

This was followed by an ice bath, foam rolling, lots of food and a nap. This marathon runner is learning to love naps.

Saturday night, the manfriend and I headed to a wedding for two of the runners. This handsome guy was my date. 

I wore this old JCrew seersucker dress from college because it's fairly comfy and I love the color. But to be honest, as I was going through all of my dresses, I realized I'm lacking in a few staple dresses. I couldn't pick a single one of my dresses that I love for a nice occasion.

It did the trick, but I think it's time to give it to a resale shop.  

Tonight, the manfriend was back to it on the cyclocross front. I do looove me some cyclocross.  Rest assured, I also fit in my 7 mile tempo run before/after his race. 
Such a fun sport to spectate, especially when you have an excuse to wear rain boots and bundle up. 

Tonight's sky however wasn't baring rain clouds, but it was gorgeous!
Does anyone else have a sky obsession

Blog talk: Do you worry about your content over your frequency of posting or vice versa? Tina posted some great thoughts on quality content. 

I'm probably equally worried about quality and frequency, even though I don't make any moolaw from this little blog. I just don't want to leave people hanging for too long.

And the truth is, even on days I'm not sure what I'll write about, something always comes to mind. I find that the more you write, the more you generate new ideas. The trick is sitting down and finding the time to write all those thoughts out. 

Sorry for the completely random post! And I don't know what bumble bees have to do with this post, but I just like the way it sounds. Bzzzz....

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lifelong Love

Cheers to Friday! I'm celebrating the first official day of fall by wearing my white pants one last time this year. Who says you can't wear white after Labor Day? Not me!  

Now on to last night's fun...
Sixty years ago, my grandparents said "I do." It's quite an impressive feat. They got married around age 20, had three kids while getting their degrees and working and continued on to become an amazing first grade teacher (her) and minister (him).

Last night, we celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a party at their home about 45 min north of Eugene. I drove straight there after work to join in on the fun. 

The party was a lot of fun. It was nice to see some people I hadn't seen in years, catch up with my parents, aunt and little bro and celebrate with my grandparents who made a quick return from their summer cabin.  

Sixty years is a lot of time to be married and explore life together. I'm so happy for my grandparents and their involvement in my life!

On the running front...
In an attempt to do it all, I managed my second early morning run of the week yesterday! I fit in nearly 6 miles before sunrise, with fartlek intervals of 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, and 1 min sessions, 1 min easy jog in between and a warm up and cool down. I was proud that I managed to do my speed work and see my family - both priorities in my life.

What's your one love and one whine(wine?) for the weekend ahead?
LOVE: I'm planning on fitting in my last long run (20 miles!) before Victoria and going to a wedding party and birthday dinner. WHINE: The house needs some tidying and sweeping and I need to spend some time life planning.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Holy Sweat Buckets!

I think the title says it all. Tonight's Lifeforce Fitness class was hot and sweaty like whoa!

Part of that was due to the fact that it was 80 or so degrees out today on the last day of summer, but the other part was thanks to Jay's crazy workout. I've missed the class the last few weeks because of the 50K.

Because you never know what you're gonna get thrown at you, I tend to shy away from the class the week before a big race and the week after (to allow my body some recovery). The last thing I want on race day (that I've been training for months for) is to have abs, butt and hamstrings that are screaming at me before the start gun goes off.

But for those very same reasons, I love getting back to Lifeforce. And tonight was a fun reintroduction. We did everything from interval running/sprinting in place on the mat for 5 or so minutes and lunges halfway around the block to pull ups and burpees! I was a sweaty mess afterward.

I wish this shirt were cotton because if it were, you'd see that it was 100% soaked!

The manfriend decided to join in on picture fun. When I got home, he had just finished a quick 15 minute run around the neighborhood.

Check out the road rash I earned this morning during my pre dawn run. Ouch.

I left the house just before 6am with a flashlight and about three miles into my run I was shocked to find myself sprawled out onto the sidewalk, superman style.

I guess there was a little bump in the cement I missed. Luckily, I'm okay and my cell phone was unharmed. I'm sure some of the cars wondered who the crazy lady was running in the dark with blood dripping down her leg.

On a side note, look how well my little bell peppers are doing! I need to pick them soon before the cold weather kills 'em.

Have you ever had an unexpected fall on a run or ride? After all this trail running and getting used to clip in pedals on my rode bike, it seems like old hat. It happens so fast that all of a sudden you're on the ground and scraped up without much understanding of how you got there. Ugh.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crappy Runs Have a Purpose

Sunday morning, I ran with my ipod (something I rarely do) for 8.5 lonely miles. I raced to the running store on my bike and was just a minute or so too late and was trailing everyone.

But it all worked out because I knew this short long run of mine would be slow going and I didn't want anyone else's pace dictating mine. The thing is, those eight miles felt like FOREVER. That run felt almost as hard as my 30 miler the previous weekend.

I know it sounds like crazy talk, but it was tough. From mile five on, I walked a minute or so every mile. My hip and glute needed it. Mentally, I knew I could finish the run, but physically I was okay with giving my body a break and taking my time.

These are the runs that truly make us stronger in the long run. I don't dwell on the crappy runs because I know they have their purpose.

These runs tell me:
- when I'm overtraining
- if I'm exhausted or sick
- when I need to ease it back
- if I have the kind of guts it takes to finish strong on race day

They don't tell me: that I'm a failure or that I'm always going to be injured or that my pace is destined to be X. They're just indicators of things I need to be aware of. And frankly, sometimes they just happen with no rhyme or reason.

So, if you're experiencing a less than pleasant run here and there, don't sweat it. Be confident in your training (but listen to your body).

I can tell you that I'm looking forward to another few strong weeks of training, getting a massage (you convinced me) and getting over this little cold that wore me down this weekend before it's MARATHON TIME!  <-- I can't believe it's almost here!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday in the Streets

This afternoon the manfriend and I headed to Sunday Streets, a fun event mimicked after events in cities all over the country. Basically, several miles of streets are closed off to cars so that bikes, pedestrians, roller skaters, etc. can enjoy the roads and their community for a few hours.

Near downtown Eugene and along the Willamette River, a 3 mile loop was closed to traffic from 12-4 PM. After the manfriend arrived home from a LONG drive back from Las Vegas for work, he needed a little nap.
And then we were off and cycling!
We met up with some friends and stopped at one of the stages along the route so that a few of them could try slack lining. There were also food vendors, hula hooping, music and other fun entertainment. 

Several people were even making the rounds on elliptigos! Have you ever seen one? They're actually pretty cool/space age looking.
We saw all kinds of bikes and some interesting outfits too. Don't ask me HOW he gets off this bike...
A sure sign that fall is on the way

The manfriend and his murse (man purse)
This makes a strong case for not drinking soda. Ironically, this sign was sitting at the stand for locally made ice cream that we bought. But I'll take fresh, tasty ice cream over soda ANY day. 
The whole group cruising along 5th Street!

Overall, the event was a lot of fun. There were a TON of volunteers out helping to keep the streets safe and a lot more people out enjoying the event than we expected. It was definitely a carefree way to spend a few hours of the last weekend of summer.

The manfriend was in the mood for some beer after our slow 3 mile spin in the sun. We stopped by Ninkasi Brewing, but unfortunately they were closing early.

 No beer for us. It's okay, we managed to find some at Steelhead, another local establishment with a nice outdoor patio where I had an orange wheat ale.

And just like that, another weekend has come and gone!

On the Marathon Training Front: My body is feeling pretty tired. I did an 8.5 mile run this morning and had to take a few walking breaks for my glute's sake. I need to stay on top of the fatigue and soreness these next three weeks and be smart about my training!

I picked up some more epsom salts and am planning to use it during a few baths. I was shocked to read how many benefits this powerful stuff contains - from flushing toxins from the body and easing muscle pains to lowering blood pressure and relieving stress.

But just like anything, I'm wary about believing everything I read (or see on tv), so you should be too. Hello, corn syrup ads telling us that high fructose corn syrup is JUST like regular sugar. Yeah. Right. 

Nighty night! Time to foam roll.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wait, What Promise?

Oh what a beautiful Friday morning!

You guys - I have been experiencing some seriously rockin' skies lately.

 Usually, I'll be dutifully walking the dog and notice how cool the sky looks. After our 15 min walk, I rush inside to grab my camera and snap a few photos of the beauty above me before it goes away.

So, about that running...
 The manfriend tried to force me not to run this week. Okay, I kind of promised him (eeks!).

WELL, yesterday, I just had to test it out and went on a easy 3 mile jaunt. It wasn't too bad so last night I opted to head to the SPEED workout with plans of just running a few miles easy. Well, you know what happens when I'm not in strict taper mode...I run hard.

The verdict? Legs felt like lead and were screaming something like "Why the hell are you doing this to me?" But I just kept on truckin'!

The workout: 1.3 mile warm up, drills, 1 mile @ 5-10K pace, 3 min rest, 800m @ 5K pace, 1.5 min rest, 800m @ 5K, 3 min rest, 4 x 400m @ mile pace (1.5 min rest btwn each), and finally a 1 mile cool down.

I'll be honest, the legs and body feel exhausted, but man it felt good to run strong and hard. And on the positive, the manfriend did suggest I get a massage. Does that mean he's payin'? ;)

And then I came home and made a deeeelicious grilled sandwich inspired by Iowa Girl Eats cuz home girl knows how to make a meal. Now I've just gotta get one of those griddlers.

Now a little Friday cruisin' music for ya:

Ever since we saw Amos Lee in concert a few weeks ago, I just can't get that voice out of my head. There's something so calming about it.

Any fun plans for the weekend? Fun kitchen gadget you've been eyeing?

I'm going to try to take it easy and do some yoga (and a little running), chores and chilling out.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lasagna for One

I'm glad you guys liked the 50K race recap. It was a lot of fun, but I'm pretty relieved it's over.

Last night I had the brilliant idea to make lasagna in a loaf dish since it was just me at home. And, because it was just me, I used less noodle and cheese and more zucchini. Although, if something tastes good, the manfriend isn't one to bat an eye.

You know how sometimes you have this 'brilliant' idea that isn't actually all that brilliant? Well, for me, last night's decision to make lasagna in a loaf pan (often reserved for my banana bread) seemed genius.

Serves 1
2 whole wheat lasagna noodles
3/4 cup marinara
white onion
red bell pepper
1 small zuchinni 
1/4 cup black beans
fresh basil leaves
assorted cheeses (mozarella, parmesean, etc)

Step by Step
Heat 2 cups water until boiling and remove water from heat. Break noodles in half and let them sit in the hot water for ~10 min to soften.

In a pan, heat olive oil and add chopped onion and bell pepper to cook for a few minutes. Add any other veggies you'd like to here. Add black beans, basil, black pepper and marinara. Cook for ~10 min.

Take a small zucchini and slice it into thin layers so they look like a noodle. You can also use zucchini or eggplant 'noodles' instead of pasta in your lasagna if you prefer.

Now take a glass loaf pan and layer marinara, noodles and/or zucchini, cheeses (I used string cheese and a mixture of parmesan/romano cheeses from Trader Joe's), marinara, noodles/zucchini, cheese, marinara and an optional sprinkle of parmesan on top.

Bake at 375 for about 25 min. Let cool before you eat. This turned out great and I was able to save a piece for lunch. Less hassle the next day!


After doing a sweatastic Fitnessista Summer Shape Up workout from 2010 and a little BodyRock, I needed something filling. This definitely hit the spot, although I probably could have eaten my leftovers as well.

Get That Furnace Burning
High intensity intervals and strength work like that really get my furnace burning.

While I enjoy doing all of this 'extra credit' exercise if you will, I occasionally have to remind myself that this stuff really is good for my running. This stuff is what keeps my form strong through those last miles of a marathon.

The moral of the story is: even if you don't have the fitness or time to do a 30+ minute intense workout, anyone can add 5-10 minutes of fitness to their day. Start with one set of something (push ups, side plank raises, mt climbers, etc) and go from there.

Like I've said before, starting is the hardest part. Once you get your running clothes on and get your booty out the door, you're not gonna turn around without doing something. So, just start!

Or, like Heather Says, "Make one healthy decision (now make another)." Sometimes baby steps can lead to the biggest life changes.

Do you guys have any favorite one person meals? Or any exercise motivators that are really working for you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

McKenzie River Trail 50K - Race Recap

I SURVIVED! I'm sure you had no doubt I would, but I definitely wondered as we stood at the start line "Am I going to make it to the finish?"

 The race started at 7:30 am, which called for a 4:15 am wake up and drive out to the course. We arrived to the sun rising and wafts of smoke from the forest fire hitting our nose. Luckily, the smoke wouldn't follow us the entire race, but it was a bit nerve racking as we got close to the start.
This is my "holy crap, I'm going to run a 50K!" face.

 I picked up my race number (and awesome swag), said hi to my mom who was there to help cheer me on and got myself ready. Last minute body glide and sunblock were applied and fuel was shoved into my Nathan handheld.

 Most of my Eugene running crew was there and ready to run (this made it much more enjoyable along the course to see so many familiar faces - and get to run with a few of them at times).
A few minutes before the start, we walked over to the line and I pretended I wasn't running 31 miles.
For some reason, Saturday's race didn't bring the nerves that a marathon typically does. I suppose it's because I felt like I was just doing a long trail run with friends. AND the fact that I decided early on that I was going to walk during this race when I needed/wanted to.
Yes, that's me, the overly excited girl. 

The first few miles were up and around a series of waterfalls making it fairly steep. Because of the narrow trail and the uphill nature, everyone was walking a lot, which was fine by me. Slow and steady was my goal for the day. Check out this video one of the racers took of the start (you can see me in blue) and then running the first 1/2 mile.
With a 7:30 am start, the temps were still fairly cool and the sun was just peaking its way through the trees.
Aid stations were spread out approx every five miles, which really helped break up the race mentally.
Most aid stations involved a lot of this - me feeling out of it and shoving food in my face, while volunteers did their best to add water or gu to my bottle.

The aid stations seriously rocked (other than the gu brew)! They were chock full of: pb & j sandwich bites, Pay Days, Oreos, Pringles, gummy worms, cantaloupe, bananas...

My one aid station flub was when I poured Mt. Dew into my bottle thinking it was the Gu stuff. BLECH! Made me nearly vomit on the trail. Had to dump it out at the next aid station and have the manfriend refill me with Accelerade - LOVE that stuff!
Other than the small 3 mile loop at the beginning, the rest was an out and back. The first 16 miles were fairly decent, but then my stomach started hurting and my body was just getting tired. When I hit the aid station at mile 20, I was thinking "sore? yes. but 10 miles left? that's nothin' (but I know it's gonna hurt)!"

 My friend Porter who is uber fast and finished in 5 hrs! He rocks a pair of crazy shorts or tights at every race he runs.
The second half of the race was gradually uphill so it definitely wore on us after a while.

 At the final aid station, my hamstring and right hip weren't happy. My right knee and ankle were sore and I was NOT looking forward to the technical lava rock section and slogging through another 5 miles.
Those last five miles were all mental. The manfriend was smart and gave me my ipod at the final aid station. I used that for a few miles to get my mind off the pain, the heat and the smokey smell. In that last hour or so, I was going about 15-16 min miles with lots of walking. Temps were probably in the 80s. A few of the tricks I used were:
- run 5 more minutes and then you get a sip of water
- run until you reach an incline
- repeat Lady Gaga 'Poker Face'
- run past that next person
- the more you run, the faster you get to the finish
- walk 1 minute and then you must run

 And FINALLY, I heard finish line sounds and ran my little heart out.
For 31 miles, I think I held up mentally and physically pretty well. No, it wasn't easy and yes, I questioned mid race if I ever wanted to do such a distance again.

The answer is yes, by the way. I want to do the full MRTR course someday.

 And, it was a hell of a lot of fun.

 Overall, I'm happy with how well I fueled and didn't push it too hard. While I wanted to finish the race, I didn't want to injure myself and be out of commission for my upcoming marathon. Mission accomplished!

Post race veggie burrito and free massage - mmmhmmm
...and awesome swag are what ultra dreams are made of.
STATS (although with trail running it's not about the #s)
Time: 6 h 23 min 29 sec
Place: 100/151
Division: N/A (There were only 11 racers under the age of 30 and one of them was 15!)

Anything I missed or you want to hear more about? Have I convinced you to sign up for an ultra?

Honestly, I'm SO relieved to have this behind me. This week is all about rest so I can come back next week for a few more weeks of hard core running before the Victoria Marathon.

And, a BIG thanks to my mom and the manfriend for not only waking up in the 4 am hour and driving so far, but for being at almost every aid station cheering me on and ready to give me any fuel I needed.