Sunday, November 27, 2011

hbbc week 1

Well, my inaugural week of the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge started off as a bit of a whimper.

I only managed to log 18 miles of running and walking.  Add another 2 points for two days of eating more than 7 servings of fruits of vegetables (yay me!) and I have a whopping 20 points so far.

Here's the breakdown, the lowdown, the tally, the score...
Saturday - 6.05 miles run, 2.36 miles walked
Sunday - nothin'
Monday - 2.53 miles walked
Tuesday - nada
Wednesday - 1.85 miles walked
Thursday - 3.51 miles run AND I'd like extra credit please, because we hosted Thanksgiving dinner!
Friday - 2.08 miles walked

If you haven't already read this book,
you should.  It's fabulous! But I'd
recommend skipping the movie.
I was hoping to run on Friday too, but wasn't feeling well so I skipped it.  I hope my illness isn't related to my cooking???  I felt even worse yesterday so I was a complete slacker and didn't do anything except lay around and watch bad movies like Water For Elephants.  I LOVED the book - I couldn't read it fast enough it was so good.  The movie was.......boring. (Although I must admit, the whole Robert Pattinson thing?  I think I get it now.)  Anywhoo, I'm still not feeling the greatest but I think I'm going to head out with Jane later and see how it goes.

Hopefully, HBBC week 2 will be much more substantial.

Oh, and in case you want more compelling workout details, I post my workouts on for all to see.  What's dailymile, you ask?  It's kind of like Facebook for walkers, runners and triathletes.  It's chock full of super supportive fellow athletes (and yes, if you're getting your butt off the couch and moving, you're an athlete!) who really, truly and honestly care if you prefer honey stingers over GU, folks who will give you a "WTG!" message for going on a walk with your dog, they'll commiserate when you're injured and celebrate with you like crazy when you reach a goal, whether that goal is running one mile or 26.2.  For a cowbell whore like me, it's just what I need to get me up and out the door!

Friday, November 25, 2011

post-thanksgiving thanks

Serving appetizers before dinner means I get to break
out the holiday cocktail napkin collection!

Thanksgiving is hands-down my favorite holiday - it's all about family, gathering and food!  Yesterday did not disappoint.

One of the things for which I was most thankful yesterday?  The husband knows how much I need to get out and get my run on, so he told me to go out for a few miles and he would stay home and make the pecan and pumpkin pies. <happy sigh> He rocks.

So Jane and I went out for a run.  I kept it short (3.5 miles) and it was a glorious morning for a run! All went well until we came upon a neighborhood Turkey Trot of some sort.  Jane was pretty sure that one of the families was going to break rank and murder us.  The ones with the strollers were most suspect... she kept turning around to look at them.  Yeah, that didn't get annoying or mess with my running rhythm at all.  Just for fun, I ran with both GarminElectra and my iPhone using iSmoothRun so I could compare and contrast....

Here's what GarminElectra said about the run:

Avg Pace

And here's what my phone said:
Running Time 00:36:35
Total Time 00:36:35
Total Distance 3.51 miles
Average Pace 10:25 /mile
Average Speed 5.76 mph
Total Calories Burned 431
Average Cadence 83
Ascend 633 ft
Descend -650 ft
Weather 39 °F, WC: 32 °F, 11mph S, 87%
Track Points 377

What did I learn in the comparison?  Not a lot.  But I like seeing the weather info.  Oh, and GarminElectra said I only burned 408 calories so I'm going with the phone info on that one - even though it doesn't matter on Thanksgiving (see below for my philosophy on that one.)

Anywhoo, back to dinner.  The husband and I typically host Thanksgiving dinner.  The number of folks attending can range anywhere from 14 to I think the most we've had about 32.  That year we had four tables set up.  This year we only had 16 so we were able to get everyone in the dining room.  A little sardine-like, but it was fun! I LOVE being with my family.

These cranberries are the shit.  In a good way.
And Thanksgiving is definitely a family affair.  If I had to cook ALL the food myself, I think I might not like the holiday so much.  But I don't have to cook it all - it's really more like a potluck - so that makes it much more relaxing.  The husband and I make one of the two (yes, our family has TWO) turkeys, mashed potatoes, scalloped oysters, pecan pies..... and my cranberry relish.  The relish is amazing.  I was pushing it on people waaaaayyyy before dinner, ("Come try the relish, it's my best one yet!") like it was the best drug on the market or something. So pathetic. But I digress.

I found the recipe in the paper.  It's super easy and only has a few ingredients.  As for nutritional value, it's better than most of what we serve on turkey day.  And besides, I've managed to delude myself into believing that on Thanksgiving, all calories null and void, and all foods are heart healthy and highly nutritious.  Right?  Am I right?? Yes, I believe I am.

So, back to yesterday. A smaller gathering because not everyone could make the trip this year, but that's ok.  And everyone is healthy this year.  HUGE bonus.  And the food was fantastic.  Friends showed up after dinner for pie (and a second dinner!)  I think everyone felt comfortable (until after eating too much, anyway) and welcome and that's what we shoot for each year.  So yesterday was a great day!

Oh, and the recipe!  Try it.  You won't regret it.  <psssst, the first one's free!>

Cranberry Apricot Relish
1 (12 oz.) package fresh or frozen cranberries, about 3 cups
¾ cup water
¾ cup sugar (or to taste) or mild clover honey
¼ cup finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried apricots, quartered or coarsely chopped
¼ cup dark Bacardi rum
Pick over the cranberries, discarding shriveled berries and stems. Rinse well and drain. Combine the water, sugar, ginger and cinnamon or allspice in a medium-size saucepan. Place the pan on the heat and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, or just until the syrup thickens and the ginger is tender. Stir in the cranberries and the apricots and cook, stirring, until the berries begin to pop. Immediately reduce heat to low, add the rum, and simmer the sauce about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until most of the berries have popped but the fruit is still firm and has texture. Don't cook the sauce into a mush.
Remove the sauce from the heat and cool to room temperature. Keeps at least two weeks in airtight containers, preferably glass jars.
Serve at room temperature.

According to the paper, here's the goodness breakdown per ¼ cup serving:
Calories: 104
Fat: 0 g
Saturated fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 3mg
Calcium: 12 mg
Dietary fiber: 2g
Carbohydrates: wait for it..... wait for it..... 24 g (no wonder I love this stuff!)

What were you most thankful for this year?  And what's your philosophy about holiday calorie consumption? 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

things I did yesterday, or six degrees of running

Yesterday I was a very busy girl.  I did a lot of stuff!  And lots of that stuff can be connected, albeit loosely, to running, so that's why I'm putting it in my blog.

1. I took a trip just west of my comfort zone.

Yeah, it was a little awkward yesterday...
So yesterday I went a little out of my comfort zone and met up with a new running group.  I thought I would give them a try so that I could meet new runners, run in new places, and maybe get a little faster.  I was a little worried about driving 25 miles to run with a bunch of strangers..... If I had to classify my personality type, I'd say I lean more to the introvert side of things. (The husband strongly disagrees and says I'm a shitty introvert.  Seriously.  That's what he tells me. All the time.)  He has a point, I can certainly exhibit extrovert traits but I guess it depends on the setting..... is there such a thing as a situational introvert?

It was a great morning for a run.  Snow was in the forecast so the air had that crisp, "something's gonna happen" feel to it.  Temp in the 30's and wind was not too bad.  We ran the Sibley trails along the Mississippi River....beautiful! The course was an out and back, and feels very secluded and peaceful.   I'd never been there before and really enjoyed it.  

For the most part.  (I'll get to that in a minute.)

At first, A la Bridget Jones, I felt a little bit like I was a singleton amongst a group a smug marrieds.  Everyone seemed to know everyone else! Eventually, the various paces broke off and I ended up running behind a couple of guys.  I asked if they minded if I tagged along with them and they were fine with it.  Pretty soon they started including me in their conversation.  Really nice guys; they've both been running since the late 70's early 80's, and one of them has run over 300 marathons. Three HUNDRED marathons. Yow.  They were fun to talk to.

Big girl that I am, I made it safely back to
my car. All by myself!!
Soooo, the distance planned for the group was 8-12 miles, but I was only planning to do 6.  And it turned out I was the only one running such a short distance.  So I ran with the two guys for the first three miles and then turned around and headed back to the start.  

Remember when I said the trail felt secluded and peaceful?  Well, secluded and peaceful quickly becomes secluded and creepy when you're all alone.  So I'm running by myself, envisioning all sorts of horrible scenarios and thinking, "Dammit, WHY didn't I bring my phone with me?"  Then I see that the trail splits into two different paths.  (Panic ensues.  I am notoriously directionally challenged and of course I didn't pay any attention to my surroundings what so ever when I was running with the pack.  I'm a dipshit like that.)  Is this the path I take to get back up to the parking lot?  How far did we run along the river anyway?  I walked for a minute or two, looked around trying to find things that I remembered seeing on the way out, briefly wondered how long it would take them to find my body and cursed myself for forgetting my phone AND my RoadID. I finally told myself to just pick a f#cking path already...... so I did, and low and behold, it was the right one! I made it back to my car, safe as a kitten. Winner!! 

I'll give the running group another chance.  It's that comfort zone thing......I think just I need to do a better job of introducing myself and finding running partners.  I'm sure they're out there.

Another dammit moment: the trail was a trail trail, not a paved trail, so I could have worn my sweet trail shoes.  Argh!

Um, I was running, therefore.....
Running connection = zero degrees of separation

2. Got attacked by snow pellets on a walk with Jane.

Jane waiting patiently for me to haul it up the hill.

So after I got back from my run, there was Jane, all excited to see me with my running shoes on.  (I had the shoes on, not Jane. My shoes don't fit her very well.) The snow had started to fall but it wasn't the nice fluffy pretty snow, it was the hard rain/snow mix pellets that HURT when the wind sends them smacking into your face.

But Jane would not be ignored so out we went.

Could you say no to that face??

And the wind did blow, literally and figuratively.  I haven't missed inhospitable winter weather! We walked about 2.5 miles in that nasty stuff.  It was just changing over to the fluffy prettiness as we got home.

I use brisk walks to save my joints but still push things aerobically, therefore....

Running connection = one degree of separation

Apropos of nothing, as the days get colder, the pets get flatter.
I posted this on Facebook last week and it
was pointed out to me that it looked like a crime scene.

 3. Had dinner with one of my oldest friends.

One in a series of failed self-portrait IQ tests.
We laughed like this pretty much all night.  AJ is so much fun!
And look - my eyes are OPEN!
My marathon buddy AJ was in town this past week to visit her family.  Hard to believe we have known each other for close to 35 years.  (That makes us old.)  We went out to dinner and got caught up with everything that's happened in our respective lives since we parted ways after running Grandma's last June.  Due to the amount of laughing we do when we're together, our abs always get a great workout.

After dinner we were planning to head to a club in Minneapolis to see the Suburbs.  Alas, the roads were too icy so we turned around and headed back downtown in the hopes of finding a good band to listen to.

There was no running involved during this visit, however, we once ran a marathon together, therefore....
Running connection = one degree of separation

4. I channeled my inner Mary Tyler Moore.

Perfecting the twirl...

Although we didn't have hats to toss into the air, AJ and I decided we could do a pretty mean impression of Mary Tyler Moore..... 

I'll let you be the judge.

Can't you just see the imaginary hat being tossed?

If you recall, MTM was a young career girl who could turn the world on with her smile.  

She could take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.

Aaaannnnndddd, the big finish!

And what did I say to myself as I was closing in on the finish line at Grandma's??

You're gonna make it, after all!!

I live in Minnesota.
Minneapolis is a city in Minnesota.
Mary Tyler Moore's character Mary Richards lived in Minneapolis.
City Running Tours offers a guided run that meets at the Mary Tyler Moore (as Mary Richards) statue in downtown Minneapolis, therefore....

Running connection = four degrees of separation

5. I sang a Violent Femmes song with an Irish Band AND I should have been ready for my close up.

Bright lights....aaannnddd...ACTION!! The guy in
blue was filming the band.
Ok, I didn't sing WITH the band, but I did sing ALONG with them.  I only mention it because they were playing all of this fun, traditional Irish music and then out of nowhere, they tear into Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes.  The VFs were one my of very favorite bands in high school and college.  I LOVED them.  So that was great fun for me!  But don't you think it was weird that the Irish band decided to go that route?

And get this - there was a movie being filmed!!  Sadly, despite being the hottest cougars the oldest women hometown girls, I don't think we made the cut.   If only I'd worn my Monster Dash lipstick. I bet we would have been in like Flynn.


Running connection = I'm sure there's a connection in here somewhere.

So that was my day.  How did you spend your time yesterday?  Did try something new?  Make a fool of yourself?   I'd love to hear all about it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

holiday bootie buster challenge!

In an effort to keep ass expansion to a minimum during this holiday season, I've joined the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge put on by Amanda at Run to the Finish.

It's a known fact that I sometimes have portion control issues when it comes to snarfing the foods I love.  (Remember, I had to ban Oreos from the house because I can't be trusted to not eat an entire package in one sitting.)  Oh, and did I mention that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday?  Stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, whipped cream....... I deny myself nothing at Thanksgiving.  Oh my, I'm drooling just thinking about it.

Making sure the turkey is ready to serve.
And as long as we're being all sorts of honest here, let's acknowledge that internal motivation isn't exactly my strong suit.  Remember when I was asked if I'm a cowbell whore?  That's one of the reasons I love races so much - cowbell comes in so many different forms: Crowds cheering!  Medals!  Sometimes, even beer!! So what's the big draw for the HBBC?  Free stuff.  Really COOL free stuff.

Free Stuff = Cowbell.

And all I have to do is maintain some semblance of a workout plan and log it on a spreadsheet.  I can do that.

The HBBC starts tomorrow and runs through the first week in January - the perfect span of time.  I'm optimistic that this challenge will get me through the holiday eating season unscathed and having maintained my current weight.  Success will mean I won't have to add "lose vast amount of poundage" to my marathon training plan when training kicks off in January.  That would be fabu.

I am SO ready for this.  I've been carb loading for weeks in anticipation!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

diva dash 10k

Squinting into the sun with TenacityChris, my marathon
coach.  She'll be coaching me again for Grandma's 2012!
Oh, and the headband.....I wanted to keep my ears warm but
didn't want to wear a hat or heavy-duty headband.  Can you
say "fivehead"?
<sigh> Another unfortunate race-day apparel choice.
Yesterday was the Diva Dash.  I ran the 10k and got a PR!  My goal was to finish under an hour and I just squeaked 'er in at 59:40!! Still waiting for the official results to be posted (the computer crashed, apparently) but GarminElectra says I PR'd so that's good enough for me.  Yeah, I know, she's unreliable and all, but I guess when it benefits me, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.  I'm shallow like that.  UPDATE: Official results 59:30. YeeHaw!!

It was a really beautiful morning for a run.  Temps in the high 30's at the start and by the time we were done, it must have been close to 50 degrees.  Sunny day, just a slight wind....the kind of day that makes you feel so happy to be out in the fresh air, running!

This race was a benefit for MOCA - Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance.  Nasty silent killer cancer.  My first mom-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 OC back when SS was 6 weeks old.  Here it is almost 19 years later (and after a battle with breast cancer, too, if you can believe it) and I'm SOOO happy to say that she is healthy and with us today!!  So to be able to give back a little bit to MOCA was a bonus for me.

So anywhoo, here are my splits.  Please, take a moment, have a cookie, a cup of coffee, or maybe a beer, and bask in the realization that there is not one 10 to be seen!  

Avg Pace

I was pretty tired between miles 4 and 5 and walked a couple of times, stopped to blow my faucet of a nose (in a lady-like fashion - because this was a women's race, I used kleenex rather than show off my awesome snot rocket skills; women seem to get more grossed out by that than men) and tried to rally the troops (legs, lungs and brain).  Got my act together again and pushed it though mile 6 to the end.  I was pretty proud of myself!

Hangin' with the Tenacity Fitness HoneyBadgers and
swilling bloody mary's after the race. These women are fun!
And see how slutty we all look?  I can TOTALLY understand
why that group was upset by women's running clothes.
Downer of the day, along with a big huge WTF:  a family or two protesting the race. Yep, you read that right, they were protesting the race.  Apparently, feminism is bad, and so is women's provocative running apparel.  So they protested this women's-only race that was helping to support the fight against a women's-only cancer.  They held signs imploring us to read the gospel and heed God's word.  So sad, really.  They had kids out there with them, holding those mean-spirited signs.  The only negative to the day.

Oh, and I guess I'm kinda competitive.  There was this chick in pink who would pass me, then I'd pass her, then she'd pass me..... this went on for pretty much the second half of the race.  So we're heading for the finish line and all of a sudden, she's gunning for it and trying to pass me one last time.  I actually said out loud, "Oh HELL no!!" and bolted to keep her behind me.  I *may* have run into another runner at the very narrow finish line (why do people STOP as soon as they cross the finish???) but I did apologize to that runner.  I think I may have pissed off the pink chick a little bit, too, but only 'cuz I smoked her.  (Yeah, like she wouldn't have done the same thing if I'd let her. But I didn't, did I?)  Hahaha!!  Oh my....... I hope I'm not turning into one of "those" runners.

Anyone else smoke another runner during a race and feel kind of bad about it, but not really?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

better late than never

I figured I should post my Muscle Milk Woodsy race report - the race was September 17.  Just a few weeks ago, right?  My tardiness is not a reflection on the race - I loved all five hilly miles! - it's more of a reflection on my laziness.

This was one hilly-ass course.
Anywhoo..... this was my first real experience with trail running.  (After running this baby, that 8k trail run I did in May on the gentle rolling hills of Lake Elmo Park Reserve was nothing!) The husband and I ran it and let me tell you, this course was TOUGH, even the "experienced" trail runners were bitching about it.  Lots of steep inclines and declines, loose rocks & sticks..... it could have been treacherous but being such a slow runner kept the balance in my favor.  I totally loved the toughness of this course.  Who knew I was such a fan of hills?  I have to say, I was really digging the challenge.   It wasn't easy, but when I was done, I felt like I'd really DONE something, you know?

Running with the husband.  There was a camera on the trail,
(a wildlife-type camera!). Being the focused athletes
that we are,  we never even saw it.
There were two distance options - 5 miles and 9 miles.  I'm glad we chose the 5 mile race.  I think 9 miles on those hills would have been too much.  (Remember, I was only running a bit due to my wonky ankle.  I probably shouldn't have run this race but.... oh well.).

One of the coolest parts of the race was the group of Marines running with full rucksacks (30-50 pounds) who did the full nine miles. We passed a few of them at the end of the first mile - one of the guys was really struggling - two of his teammates were with him and one of the guys was asking him if he wanted to quit or give up his pack to someone else in the groups.  He yelled out, "No, sir!!" and the other guy said, "Then get moving up this hill!"  The rest of the group must have waited for him because they finished as a team, lead by two flag bearers.  It was really cool to see.

I am a member of the coveted Woodsy Pack because I was
one of the first 100 people to sign up for the race.  That
meant I got even more free shit.  Score!!
Oh, and there was free stuff!  You know how I love my freebies!  I got some Wigwam socks that are really comfy, and the race swag was pretty sweet, too.  And, the FOOD.  Best post-race food I've ever had.  Big sandwiches, fresh fruit, huge cookies, and BEER!  I had my first ever post-race beer (first ever AT the race, anyway).  It was delicious!

So that's about it.  If they hold this race again next year, I'm definitely signing up.  And I'm going to do the full nine miles next time.  Gotta test myself and see if I have the cojones to handle it.

Do you have any cojones-testing plans in your future?  Let's hear 'em! (The plans, not the cojones.)