Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Belated Race Recap: Evansville YMCA Half Marathon

I've discovered that I write blog posts like I wrote papers in college, procrastination is the key.  I've done a few races this month, so I thought I should eventually write about them!

The YMCA Evansville Half Marathon was on October 7th and is probably one of my favorite races to do.  Part of the reason is I like the training program leading up to it, but I also know the course very well, it is pretty flat and usually runs pretty fast in my opinion.

Ahh, early morning.  Bring on the caffeine!
It turned out to be a good race for a lot of people, several of my friends (and myself) got PR's at this race or completely kicked some A at their first half.  I was completely not expecting to come anywhere near PR for this because my training kind of lamed out the few weeks coming up to the race.  I had that "just try not to suck" mentality going in and the first couple of miles were a little rough, but after mile 5 I started feeling better.  I kept trying to do that "running math" in my head, since I don't have a GPS I  judge my pace by my overall time on my stopwatch and I knew I was going to end up pretty good.

At mile 11 I had an "oh crap I could get a PR if I really try these last two miles" moment and so I really pushed myself to finish strong (and my hands were really really cold and I couldn't wait to warm them up). I did and I got a PR by about a minute over last year...yay me!

The Stats:

bib number:1886
location:Evansville, IN
overall place:912 out of 1922
division place:59 out of 148
gender place:355 out of 1105
Nothing like a porta-potty with attitude.

One of my favorite parts, running the warning track at Bosse Field.
So...not as good as I was hoping for at the beginning of training, but muuuch better than I expected when I started the race.  Unfortunately, I didn't stretch my quads like I should have, and it was very hard to stand, or sit, or look like a normal person while walking (according to my loving co-worker) for a few days.  I should listen to the stretching police my husband more often.

We did it!  Lauren was so full of awesome, finishing her first half in  2:06:53.
Has anyone got a new PR this year on a big (or not so big) race?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Photo: All of these graphics can be used.  Please feel free to tag and comment.  Hugs to you, Robyn Remembering Our Babies Memorial Boutique .  http://www.rememberingourbabies.net & http://www.october15th.com
Picture courtesy of http://www.rememberingourbabies.net
One of the reasons I started blogging was to get a little more comfortable with expressing myself. I am a horrible emotion bottler.  This is ok sometimes, I don't want to be one of those people that word vomits every little thing that happens to them every day of their lives.  Other times, we need to share to start healing or to help ourselves and maybe others.  My ultimate goal with this was to spread awareness of miscarriage and pregnancy loss.  When I lost my pregnancy, no one else in my immediate family had ever been through anything like that, and since a lot of pregnancies are lost early, you tend to grieve with little guidance or understanding.  Through the process, I found some people that were willing to come forward and share their experience with me that I never knew had lost a pregnancy.  I really want to do the same for others since, and show others that it is okay to talk about having a miscarriage or losing a pregnancy.

My husband (Christian) and I have been married for 3 and a half years and have been together for over 7.  We have a lot of fun together, but we both want to expand our family.  He has a daughter that we both love so much, but she lives pretty far away.  We also want that experience of being able to share the love we have for each other and for little C with a child of our own.  We started trying to get pregnant after I finished my marathon last year, I was probably in the best health and shape of my life, so we figured what better time to start?  In January, I got a positive test and we were so happy.  It seemed perfect, even though we don't get to dictate things and I didn't care all that much, I really wanted a fall baby for some reason and my due date was September 28th.  Even better, my older sister was pregnant with her third baby, and we were going to be due just a few weeks apart.  We told our close families and a couple of my closest friends, but chose to keep it under wraps to the world as far as facebooking went.  The worst part about my job at the time was that there was no way to hide it from my co-workers, and not just my close ones, but all of them.  I was a chemist in a paint lab and the only time anyone wears a mask is if they are pregnant, so I got to be the source of gossip for all the lab techs.  I didn't want that many people knowing, but didn't have much of a choice.

For some reason, I was nervous the whole time, I felt like something wasn't right but I just kept hearing and reading "everyone is different", so I just chalked it up to that.  The doctor I went to, looking back, was not very helpful or reassuring, and didn't really do any kind of checkup until 12 weeks. I was sooooo anxious waiting on that 12 week mark.  The doctor told us we wouldn't be having an ultrasound then, but that was when we were going to hear the heartbeat.  I struggled through each day, wanting so badly to hear that heartbeat and be reassured that everything would be all right.  I was also jealous of my friends who were pregnant at the same time that were having 6 and 8 week ultrasounds (different doctors) and putting them on facebook.

We had a lot of tragedy early in the year, and the worst of it was Christian's sweet 16 year old cousin passing away unexpectedly.  At the funeral I noticed a little bit of bleeding, and immediately panicked, but thought maybe it was from the stress of the week.  I called the doctor and they told me to just wait a while to see if it continued.  It did off and on and I pretty much spent my days in a state of being a hyperventilating stress ball.  I felt like I had no help.  Christian was wonderful of course, helping me in any way he could and listening to me constantly worrying at this point, but ultimately I needed a doctor to tell me what was happening.  I was over 10 weeks and could see the 12 week "end" in sight, but I had had enough and finally called the doctor again. They told me to come in that day (I was at work) for an ultrasound.  Luckily, Christian was able to leave work and come with me.  We got in for the ultrasound and as she was doing it I broke down.  I had seen countless ultrasounds of my friends and sister and knew that mine wasn't right.  That was the worst part, I had wanted so badly to have an ultrasound and see my baby and when I did, there was no longer anything there besides the pregnancy sac.

We chose to end the pregnancy that day instead of waiting around to see if it would happen on it's own.  I went back to work the next week and had to deal with everyone knowing, or the comments like, "shouldn't you be wearing your mask?" and it was incredibly hard.  I don't know what I would have done without Christian, my family and the friends that knew, God, and running.  I know it seems funny to put running in with all of the most important people in my life, but it helped me deal with the stress of worrying while I was pregnant and gave me something to focus on afterwards.  Even months later I still have moments when  someone that had heard I was pregnant asks how my baby is doing, or I get formula in the mail because I signed up for a newsletter or something.  I just passed my due date a few weeks ago.

I'm sorry this is incredible wordy and personal.  I also want to say that I am not trying for sympathy and I absolutely don't want this to be a pity party or for anyone to feel sorry for me, but if I can help someone else that is struggling by sharing my story then it was worth it.  It does get better, but it never goes away.  I am blessed in my husband, family, friends, and God and hope that I can help someone else that may be hurting.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, so spread the word that this doesn't have to be a taboo subject and that it is ok to talk about and help each other through the hard times.

Thanks for listening!

For more information, visit http://www.october15th.com.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fuel Up:Sausage and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

In an attempt to be more frugal and healthy and avoid eating at Buffalo Wild Wings more than once a week (don't judge), I've been really making an effort to actually do meal planning instead of just daily trips to Wal-Mart.  I tend to only plan one meal at a time, which involves looots of annoying trips to the store, which leads to spending more money and/or getting annoyed and just going out (to Bdubs).  It's hard to fit in running/workouts if I have to go to the store too.  To help me with this and to keep me honest, I'm going to try to share some of the recipe successes, and maybe some of the struggles I have with this as well as all my running fun.  I do eat to run and run to eat after all!

This is a recipe I adapted from a flier at work that our wellness coach brought in. I took the general concept and changed the ingredients to what I thought my husband (picky eater!) and I would like.  I was really happy that it changed the mind the Mr. Skeptic, it almost tasted like a jambalaya in a pepper!  The cook time can vary depending on your oven.  I used sausage, but I think this would be good with ground beef or chicken as well.

Sausage and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

4 bell peppers, any color
3/4 cup orzo
ground sausage, your favorite variety (I used a mild breakfast sausage)
half cup of corn: frozen, canned, or fresh
8 oz. jar of salsa
shredded cheese, cheddar and mozzarella blend
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt

1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
2.Brown sausage and prepare orzo according to package directions.  Drain both well.
3.While orzo and sausage are cooking, prepare the bell peppers.  Wash and dry thoroughly, then cut the tops off of the peppers.  Scoop out the ribs and the seeds inside

4.In a bowl mix the sausage, orzo, corn, half the salsa, chili powder and garlic salt.
5.Scoop into peppers until full.  Place in a baking dish.
6.Bake for 15 minutes and check if peppers are starting to soften.  Bake for another 5 minutes if needed,  top with the cheese.  Put back in oven for another ten minutes until cheese is melted and peppers are soft.
7.Enjoy with the rest of the salsa if desired.

I hope you enjoy!  Let me know what you think.  If anyone has any tips let me know, this is a learning process:)  Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Long runs and new shoes and creepy bears, oh my!

I finally found a USB cord so I could upload my photos from my iPod to my laptop, so I've been failing at blogging lately. Here's a brief round up of what I've been up to:

1.  Long runs and new shoes

I forgot how much I missed my early Saturday long runs.  As much as I hate getting up early on one of my days off, I love getting to see the city before everyone else (besides all the other crazies out doing the same thing).  My friend Martha is training for the Marine Corp Marathon, and she is adding miles to the Team 13 training runs, so the last 2 weekends a few of us joined and made the 6 and 7 mile runs into 10 and 11 milers.  These runs have been great, it's been cool and not humid that early in the morning so I can actually breathe.  For the 11 mile run I broke down and bought new shoes the day before since I pretty much wore my Ravennas down to the foam and they were causing me some serious calf pain (note for new runners, don't be too cheap with shoes, they make a huge difference).  It was nice running without pain and I'm sure everyone with me was glad that I wasn't whining! My new shoes are Mizuno Wave Inspire 7s.  So far so good!

I prefer eating Jelly Belly Sport beans to eat during long runs, but since they are available aaaaalll the way the way across town I've been trying various kinds of gummy stuff.  I found you get strange looks at Thornton's when you are buying Swedish Fish at 5:30 in the morning.

Creepy Bears and Wine Monkeys (if I had a band, this would be the name)

Driving home from the run on Saturday I came across this:

That would be a polar bear in a Sulley costume pointing the way to a yard sale in my neighborhood.  Creepy, yet effective.  I probably wouldn't have noticed the yard sale sign otherwise, but seriously...

And then there was this...

Words can't describe the awesomeness.

Random question of the day:
Does anyone else find Swedish Fish to be kind of creepy and disturbing?  Like fish that got run over.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Strawberry-Lime Nuun Slushie

I'm going to post a real update sometime soon (the Olympics is sucking the productivity from me), but in the meantime I made this slushy to rehydrate after my sweaty sweaty run today, since one can't watch the Olympics without the proper fuel.  I used pink lemonade nuun as the liquid, but you could probably substitute water or juice. This is not a super sweet slushie, which is how I like it, but a little honey or sweetener could be added if that's what you're into:)

Strawberry-Lime Nuun Slushie
1 Nuun tablet (pink lemonade)
16 oz of water
juice of half a lime
3 or 4 mint leaves (didn't make it to the picture)
frozen strawberries (enough to make it is as slushie-ful as you prefer)

Drop the nuun into the water, I used cold water from my fridge.  The tabs take about 2 minutes to dissolve and don't require shaking or stirring (I really like that about nuun)

Add the lime juice, strawberries, mint leaves and nuun juice to the blender and blend, adding more strawberries or ice if needed.

Take outside to photograph because the lighting in your kitchen sucks.

Drink while watching the Olympics with a cat that really couldn't care less!

Like I said, this is not a sweet gas station slushie, but I think the iciness and the fruit and mint are refreshing.  

I love slushies, so if anyone has ideas/recipes, please share!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Can't Sleep Sunday!

This is a real thing for me... Sunday night rolls around and all of the sudden I feel like I should probably be productive and my mind starts racing with all of the crap I need to do this week and I should probably make lunch and look at Pinterest for dinner ideas and do laundry and ......AAAAAHHH!

So, while I'm waiting to get tired and while the laundry and the dishes get all clean, I figured I might do a little bloggin' about the week and share a recipe (and watch Adventure Time) since I'm all for multi-tasking!

This was week two of half marathon training and the mileage is still low.  I'm hoping this week I can start adding on to the prescribed amount and maybe start some strength training.  I wanted to do this last week, but it was hot and nasty and I at least got all my runs in:)

Thanks humidity!  And apparently all my sweat is on my back, because this shot does the sweatiness no 
So as part of today's Can't Sleep Sunday, I also felt the need to assemble lunch for the week.  I made something similar to this a few weeks ago.  If you aren't a fan of chickpeas, sorry 'bout ya.  I took some to work, and I ran into a lot of chickpea haters. This recipe is a spin-off of this one from eat-yourself-skinny.com, and it was very good.  I adjusted it to include some of the things I like, which is one of the nice things about it, you could really add about anything to adjust to your taste.

Cilantro-Lime Chickpea Salad
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
juice of half a lime
dash of red pepper flakes
teaspoon of minced garlic (I cheat and used the pre-minced kind)
half a banana pepper sliced in rings
chopped cilantro, a tablespoon or two, depends on preference.
drizzle of olive oil

Mix it all together and let it sit for at least an hour to blend all of the flavors together.  I make mine the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.  After that the choice is yours. I eat them cold, added to salads, warmed up etc.  I kind of want to blend them together to make something kind of hummus like (maybe without the banana peppers), but I don't think my blender would do very well.
My garden fresh (sister-in-law's, not mine), but kind of unfortunately shaped banana pepper

 Mix it all together and......


Does anyone else have issues with Sunday night sleeping? Good night!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Back to it (finally!)

So I've been pretty AWOL, and a lot has gone on in the last couple of months which has kept me from blogging and really focusing on some of the goals I had for myself.  It's not that these are all valid reasons, but sometimes it's easy to make any excuse to not do something!

 I have a new job (same place, different position).  I moved from being a chemist to an Inside Sales position.
I really like the job and the people, and now that I'm getting the hang of things, the stress level has gone down a lot.  It was a hard decision, I loved (and still do!) the people I worked with before, but I came to the realization that I can't make decisions because of others.  It was something I needed to do for myself.

My in-laws have suffered a lot of losses, many of them untimely.  I love both my families and this was a really stressful time.  Things are getting a little better (as good as they can), and we are starting to work on some projects to honor those members of the family that are no longer with us.  Hopefully I'll be able to talk about some of them in the future.

I find myself always making excuses to not eat right, to not run, be lazy...blah blah blah.  Then I get mad at myself for not doing those things, because they really do make me happy!

So... this week begins our city's Team 13 half marathon training.  I love this training program and seeing all my running friends again!  I'm going to take this and use it to spur myself to get back in the habit of eating better and running and doing some cross training, and trying to record it along the way.

Thanks for listening to my random rambling :)

One more new thing...meet Aurelius, the newest member of our fur family:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chicago and a new PR (not necessarily related)

So last week I took my first train to an industry trade show in Chicago.  This was only the second time I've been to Chicago and definitely my first time on the Amtrak, so I thought I would share some pictures.  

 We had to drive two hours to get to the tiny little train station in Centralia, IL.  I'm not really sure what I expected from a train station (except tumbleweeds like in the old west), but I was hoping they would all at least have toilet paper.  No such luck.
 They do sometimes have historic wooden water towers across the street,
 and 7-Up machines.
 We decided that the coach class probable afforded less chance of the group of us getting kicked off the train for rowdiness.
 I'm happy because I'm on a train, and it has toilet paper...win!  I really like trains better than flying.  It is much more laid back and comfortable.  You can use your electronic devices and walk about freely.
 This is where we ended up in Chicago.  Much bigger than the Centralia station.
 As we explored the conference center at the hotel looking for registration we found some prom props.  I couldn't get anyone to take a prom picture with me:(
 I did get to go on a run my first day in Chicago, which was my goal.  It was about 4 miles and lightly raining, and it was great.  I found Navy Pier and ran along the river and took some pictures.  I really like running in Chicago, the trails were well populated with other, and except for the seagulls I actually felt pretty safe by myself (I'm sure there are much less savory parts of Chicago, but this was pretty decent).
 More Navy Pier.
 Oh how nice, Chicago knew I was coming and made an area just for me!
 The steps at the beginning and end of the run, I did much better than I thought running up them at the end.  I took a walk afterwards back to Navy Pier
Refueling at Gino's East, Chicago style.  This type of thing continued the rest of the week, which was probably why my first training run back home sucked so bad.  It was worth it though, I mean...look at it!

 There was a giant Marilyn Monroe near our hotel.  This was the the source of many a photo opportunity throughout the week.
 Like this one.
Now for the PR part of the show.  I ran a local 5K on Saturday and cut about 8 seconds off my previous PR time.  I couldn't bring my camera with me on this on one, so no pictures.  I was nervous about this one, because I knew the potential for a PR was there because of the course, but with the 3 days of eating and drinking in Chicago and everything else going on this week I was tired and hadn't run very much and I just wasn't feeling very confident.  I felt great that morning, and even though I struggled breathing (a lot! freaking humidity) I still managed to keep up a good pace.  I had to kick it at the end to make the time, but I did it!  Slowly inching my way to 25 minutes:)

Hopefully this week will be a little less crazy.  I need to get back on eating right, running regularly and cutting back the diet beverages again, I was really bad this week!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Race and the Pace: St. Jude Give. Hope.Run. 5K

After last weekend's PR, I was fully not anticipating one for this race (aaannndd I was right).  It is super hilly and difficult, plus I got in some more miles by meeting a friend/co-worker at her house and we ran from there and ran back to her house after the race for a grand total of about 7.5 miles.

It is important to match your socks to your nuun
As hard as this race is, it is a really neat race to do.  This is the second year for it, and with around 1200 people last year and at least 1300 this year it is the largest St. Jude 5K in the country, which is pretty cool since we aren't that big of a city.  The atmosphere is pretty festive, they have music and bouncy houses, a kids run and a balloon release before the race.  Along the course there are pictures of actual St. Judes patients, so it is easier to keep pushing  (even as you tear up) when you see pictures of all these little kids that are fighting to stay alive.

99 Red Luftballoons

Kristy, Ashley, Me:)

Kristy and I had a good run over, and once we saw the huge line of cars waiting to get in, we were pretty happy with the running decision.  Once Ashley got there we took the obligatory photos of the fun socks we were wearing and watched the festivities until the run began.  The run starts straight up a big hill, then down a bigger hill then pretty flat until some fun little hillage at the end of the race.  I finished in 29:48, better than last year.  I was fairly happy considering sun + hills + hotness+ extra miles= not so fast.

Scientifically proven good post race food
After the race we refueled responsibly with boneless wings, orange sherbet, and cupcakes before taking off for home.  Sounds like a good nutrition plan to me!

We are heading to Chicago tomorrow for a trade show for work and taking the train.  Hopefully we will get to run at some point and I will give Chicago updates sometime next week.

Did anyone else run any fun races this weekend?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

She's crafty and she knows it (race shirt redo)

Definitely not talking about myself, by the way.  I like to pretend I'm going to be crafty someday, but it's so much easier when my mom is crafty right now!  I always see ideas on Pinterest and I want to see when people I know try them to see if it really works, so I thought I'd share this race shirt redo from crafterhours that I found on Pinterest and my mom made for me (Note, I apologize to any men reading this, because you probably don't care).

I have a crap-ton of t-shirts laying around.  Three high school sports, sorority shirts, college shirts, and now racing shirts completely inundate my closet.  However, I belong on Hoarders:T-shirts and refuse to get rid of any of them.
This is about 30% of the T-shirts.  The labels are from when the husband  organized for me, I didn't do so well keeping it that way.
 I have a few that I like well enough, but not necessarily the fit, so when I saw the redo on Pinterest I had to try it tell my mom about it.  Plus it would be a unique tank top for the summer for free (minus the registration fee).

I was really happy with the finished product and will be shortly giving her more to do.  Plus my little sister saw it hanging in the basement and commissioned one on the spot for her as well.  She has a similar shirt problem.

To save face as a domestic wonder (riiiiiight), i will point out that even though I don't sew/craft very well, at least the recipes I find on Pinterest seem to be appreciated.

I'm always up for new ways to wear old shirts, so if anyone has ideas, let me know!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Race and the Pace: Tri Fest 5K (PR edition)

It's 5K season!  As much as I love longer races and training for them, it's nice to have a break from the long runs and to just focus on getting a little un-turtlelike faster. This was my first 5K since the Jingle-Bell run in December, so I had no clue what to expect.  Last week I ran an 8K at a 9 minute pace, and I knew I would need around an 8:45 to PR this 5K, so I knew it was possible.

Pretty excited about the shirt:)

Chilling in the car and playing Angry Birds.  It was cold out there!

I am usually running right on time for races (also known as slightly late, but still making it to the starting line).  For some reason, I managed to get to this one an hour and 20 minutes early.  It was cold so I chilled (literally) in the car until it was Porta-Pottie time. I was worried how my legs were going to feel since it was cold and I had been sitting in the car for 45 minutes.  I found some E-ville racers I knew and we took a lap around the park to get warmed up.  Everything felt great, and we stayed loose with some Cupid Shuffle and Wobbling before the race finally started.

Ready to Run!
I don't have a Garmin, I just run with a stopwatch and hope that the course is marked.  Unfortunately this one wasn't, and you would think after running long enough I could guess what pace I was running by how I felt, but I just can't.  I did luck out at mile 1 and pass by someone who's Garmin chirped the first mile, so I know I did the first mile at an 8:40, but after that I had no idea until I got close to the end.

My main goal was to run well, with a sub goal of PR-ing (former PR was a 27:14 last November). My secret goal* was to break 27.  When I saw the finish line around the corner I was at 26:13 so I booked it and made it under 27 (26:47)!!!  I then tried not to puke on the chip cutting lady, but you'll have that...

The official time was a 26:47, disregard the fact that my watch  is somehow 5 hours slow.
Since my ultimate 5K goal is a 25, I've still got a ways to go, this race really boosted my confidence and I feel like I can probably do it.  My goal now is try actually working in some speedwork and see where that gets me.

Speaking of speedwork, I found this on RunnersWorld.com and it made me laugh.

*Secret goal: the goal you kind of want to do in your head, but don't tell anyone because you don't think you will hit it but it will make you look kind of BA (in your mind anyway) if you do.