Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Resolution Post

After a long drive down from Madison, we are enjoying Chirstmas Part 1 in Tennessee.  While it's much warmer than where we left, I decided to take a break from running this morning to bring you The 2011 Resolution Post.  Rather than having 10 kind of nebulous goals like last year, I've tried to break it down into 5 concrete things that I really want to do(not feel like I have to or should do) that cover three broad areas- healthy eating, fitness, and my social life.

Now that's some scary kale.
1. Try one new vegetable or way to prepare vegetables per week.  I tried kale (a vegetable I was particularly terrified of) at a party last week (I get invited to some crazy parties), and it was actually pretty good.  Part of this plan is to subscribe to a CSA box from a very local (about 1/2 mile from our apartment) farm. 

2. Have one social dinner every month.  It can be a potluck with our church lifegroup, meeting people for dinner at a restaurant, or making something at our place.  As long as it's food + social + dinner time, it counts.

3. Write one blog post a day every day I am home.  I enjoy writing and I have a feeling that coming up with good blogging ideas and writing witty prose is more a matter of practice than anything else.  We don't travel with a computer so I'm off the hook when we are gone.

4. Up the intensity of my interval training.  I got a big boost in speed when I started doing speekwork at all, but it's time to push myself harder if I want to see results.  I like the FIRST plan for outdoor training, but I haven't been able to translate it to the treadmill.  Instead I've brought out my copy of Training Plans for Multisport Athletes, that has two sets of training plans specificially for speedwork on the treadmill.  Even though I don't ever plan to do a triathlon, this book is worth having just for those treadmill workouts.  Once the weather improves I'll be back out on the road FIRSTing again.

5.  Connect with one person I don't talk to regularly each week.  It could be anything from calling my grandparents or commenting on something on Facebook.  Just reach out and touch someone.

And that's it!  Not sure how much I'll be posting, but I hope to do some reading and commenting at least every few days.  I look forward to reading about your resolutions and exciting plans for the new year.  Stay warm out there!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Paleo Recap

Yesterday, or today, or something like that ends my 1 month paleo diet "trial."  I put trial in quotation marks because I didn't stick to the diet (no grains, no legumes, no dairy) 100% strictly, but I'd say I hit it about 75-80% of the time.

First of all, I don't think that I can fairly evaluate any of the claims made about the diet because, as I said, I wasn't 100% compliant, and it seems like that's a must.  But here are what I'd consider my take-away points from the experiment:

  • I never had any GI problems after eating a paleo meal
  • I feel like I've gotten over the idea that I absolutely "have to" eat some sort of starchy carb with every meal.  For some people who run mega miles or who don't eat animal products, eating more starchy carbs is necessary, but for me- especially now that we are in winter hibernation mode- it would be better to replace them with non-starchy vegetables. 
  • I've expanded my vegetable horizons (a bit)
  • I realized that I can put a meat and vegetable meal together as quickly as any other kind
  • There are a lot of great paleo foods out there, and there's no reason to feel restricted or like you can't enjoy a good meal within those parameters
  • It is really hard to break the psychological "need" to have bread, cookies, etc. when they are served to a group.  However, most people don't actually care what you eat.  If you don't want something- for whatever reason- a simple "No thanks" will suffice.
In general, I really like the way I feel when I stick to the diet, and- like with healthy veganism- I think when you focus on what you can have, there are a wealth of healthy options out there.  However, the diet is not really supported by our social structure*.  So I've decided my goal is to make all of the food that I prepare myself be paleo compliant (again meaning lean meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats), and then try to make good choices when I'm eating out and in social situations.  I think this is a fair compromise that will hopefully get my ratio of paleo to non to about 90% to 10%, respectively.  

And with that I'm headed out for my last treadmill run for awhile.  We will be on the road today and tomorrow, and the weather changes from snowy to nasty icy cold rain as we drive down south.  Any thoughts/prayers/good vibes you want to send our way while we travel are much appreciated.

If I don't post again before then, Merry Christmas to everyone! 

*But you can say that about any healthy way of eating.  For example, there are absolutely 100% no healthy snacks to be purchased in my building, but there are a lot of unhealthy ones (by any standard).   

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Less than 24 hours

Until we hit the road for TN!  I need to pack, clean the kitchen (thank you, Christmas potluck, for taking care of dinner tonight), and do a little wrapping but otherwise we are ready to go.  Even though there was a rush last weekend, it's nice to have everything finished so we can just relax and enjoy the rest of the advent season and Christmas day without having to brave the mall, etc.  Unless we want to go people-watch of course.

I blame it on low vitamin D levels, but I haven't been super motivated to run lately.  I did a slow, cold 8.5mi yesterday outside, and today is a rest day unless I get a surprise boost of time and energy between now and 2:30 when I have to leave to get D from work to go to our final Madison Christmas event.  I'm planning to do a shorter run and weights tomorrow before we head out of town so I'm nice and worn out for the car ride. Hopefully we'll find a place to stop that has a fitness center because I'm still on my quest to hit 1800mi for the year.  Right now I'm at 1748.5 so it's just a little more than 25mi/week for the next two weeks.  Totally do-able (I keep telling myself).

Now on to the rest of the New Year's Resolutions.  This is the C+ group- the ones I either forgot or decided I didn't care that much about.

4. Be more social - I'm pretty much as social now as I think I ever will or want to be.  How much more fun can you get than this:

Ugly sweater party 2020.
Yes, the hat and gloves have owls on them!!!
Yes, Daniel's beard makes him look like a hearty sturgeon fisherman.
5. Take more pictures - This has improved since I got my new camera for my birthday, but I'm still not a picture-holic, capturing gems like this one:

Yes, this is Madison.  Yes, this was taken by a co-worker early last week.
 6. Stay in touch - I hate to say this was such an epic fail, but it was.  It just cries out for something more specific like reach out to one person I don't talk to regularly each week.

7. Music - Wait!  This one wasn't a fail!  Not sure how I missed it last time.  While practicing has fallen by the wayside a little bit this last week, I've taken piano lessons all year, and I've really enjoyed having music back in my life.  Also, Daniel and I have started going to a shape note singing group every other Sunday, which will *hopefully* help me improve my singing from "horrendous" to "doesn't scare many pets".

8. Waste less time - Ummmmm... here I am on the computer while I should be packing and scrubbing. Again, too vague.

9. Read real books - Nope.  Don't care.

10. Do a better job on the blog - This seems to go in phases, but I've been trying to come up with interesting and funny stuff to do.  It also largely depends on my exercise schedule, and how much computer downtime I have if I run outside vs go to the gym.

 So far I'm still in the brainstorming phase of Resolutions 2011 so that's coming up.  I'll probably post once more tomorrow and then I'll be on the computer a lot less because we'll be hanging out with family.  Happy Holidays to all!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Never wear a scarf...

While using a leaf blower.

Thanks, Linda.  That cracked me up yesterday.  I can see how that could turn out badly.

On the theme of learning lessons, it's time to start my resolution review.  The last time I wrote about this was way back in July, but the nice thing about having a blog is that you don't actually have to remember things, you can just search for and re-read them.  Today I'll start with the ones that have been most successful:

1. Put things away - I'm giving myself a B+ for this the whole year.  Not having a sink full of dirty (or clean for that matter) dishes or a pile of clothes on a chair goes a long way to making a home feel cleaner and more relaxing.  I haven't been perfect at it, but it's been enough of a reward in itself that I've been pretty motivated to take the 30 seconds to put things away rather than plop them down.  YAY!

2. Focus at work - Podcasts + work that doesn't take my full concentration = success!  Rather than being tempted to open my web browser when something takes a long time to run, a whole hour can go by without me feeling bored or frustrated.  And if I actually need to concentrate (like if I'm writing or trying to figure something out) I can just pause it.  It's the perfect balance of working and not working.

3. Push myself beyond my comfort zone -  I'd say this was also a success.  I tried new things- some worked and some didn't- but I think being more flexible has allowed me to learn a lot about myself and come to a place where I'm happier and more successful with my running and eating.  I love lifting two mornings a week.  I tried doing it after work, but that didn't fit as well so I stopped.  I do like doing yoga after work.  I enjoy doing speedwork, and I want to take that to the next level, but after this week I'm getting the feeling that will have to be modified somewhat for the winter.  I ran 10 races.  A few were great and some were not so great, but in the end I  PRed at every distance except the half marathon.  I think I'm best at the 10k.  I've experimented with a "non-traditional" diet for a runner (that gets it's own post).  All good stuff.

In a few minutes I'm headed back to the gym for another treadmill run.  It's actually not that cold out (it's 3 degrees), but there are still a lot of sidewalk glaciers out there.  Tomorrow, though, I can run when it's light out and I have no excuses!  Plus when I was doing my running log a few weeks ago I realized that if I stay motivated I can hit 1800 miles for the year.  Right now I'm at 1733.  With two+ more weeks to go in 2010, it's totally do-able.

One last day of work (where podcasts will definitely be needed) before the break.  First order of business: Ugly Sweater Party tonight.  We don't have our sweaters yet, but pictures will follow.  Have a great Friday, all.  Stay warm out there!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Whole Truth

You know it's winter when you walk out of work and it's 15 degrees and you think there's a heat wave going on.  We are supposed to get up to 25!!!! today, and there's a 30% chance of snow, which I'm hoping will mean the plows and de-icer will come back out and we can get some of this residual gunk off the street.  We have some cold overnight temps predicted into the weekend, but I'm crossing my fingers for an outdoor run Friday or Saturday (or both!).  The gyms are closed all weekend for graduation, so that may be the little extra kick I need to get outdoors.

I'm joining in on The Whole Truth fun started on Lacey's blog that she picked up from Mark Bittman.

If I could say something to my self 20 years ago:  Computers will be able to do more than play Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.

My favorite place in the world: A hot shower.

The lesson I keep learning over and over:  Never cook or pee while wearing a scarf.  No, not really.  That only takes you once :).  How about: Always put your keys in the same place when you get home.

The movie I watch when I want to laugh: Zoolander, This is Spinal Tap

The most scared I've ever been: Fortunately I can't think of a time where I've felt in true physical danger.  Once I thought I was going to be abducted by a slow moving car while I was running early in the morning, but it was actually just the paper man.  Probably the few times when a family member has had a health crisis.

No one knows I: Listen to the Ben Greenfield Triathlon podcast at work when I'm doing something boring because he brings on crazy guests.  

Unhealthiest thing I've ever passed off as dinner: Hands down, 100% the Wonderfluffernutter*

Personal Philosophy: Honor God. Enjoy life.  

I unwind by: Doing yoga, reading, playing the piano, watching stupid TV shows.

Proudest moment in my career: This isn't really a career thing, and it happened a long time ago, but I got one of 2 or 3 "superior" ratings from my judge at state solo and ensemble my senior year of high school.  It's kind of a dumb thing to hold on to, but I felt like it reflected the high point of the 10 years I spent playing the oboe.

What keeps me up at night: Not much.  I'm blessed to be a good sleeper.

I define downtime as: Time when I'm not checking my watch.

Coffee or Diet Mt. Dew**: Both!

Guiltiest pleasure: Do I have to feel guilty for it?  It's either food or long hot shower related.

My mom was right about: Loving people even when (and especially if) they don't deserve it.  

My mom was wrong about: Canned vegetables.  Ick!

The last time I lost my temper was: I don't know about actually losing my temper, but I can get very testy when it comes to driving and parking lot behavior.

My favorite moment of the day: Reading before I fall asleep.

I wish I had more time for: Calling old friends to catch up.

I always make time for: Running/working out.

I'm currently reading: The editor of this blog.  Um... a back issue of The Atlantic and 168 Hours: You have More Time Than You Think.

Home means: Laughing and playing cards.  

Feel free to join in!

*A peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich on Wonderbread.
** Actually he said tea.  Mark Bittman would never drink anything as degenerate as a Diet Mt. Dew, but I wanted to be able to say "both" like everyone else.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holy 11 Below!

Needless to say I ran on the treadmill Monday morning and am coming back for more today.  11 below air temperature.  Ick.  Not only is it cold, but it's still hard to get around here.  The chemical de-icer they put on the roads doesn't work if it's below 15F, so crossing the road in our apartment complex to catch the bus is like walking through a giant dirt-flavored slushy.  How many days until I leave for the Southeast?*

The upside of being stuck at home all weekend is that I got a lot of Christmas stuff done.  

10lbs of fudge was made:

And wrapped to be give out:

Ornaments were finished:

And presents were wrapped:

I got 30+ Christmas cards in the mail and then 10 back in the mail yesterday because I didn't include enough postage.

I only have a few things left to do/wrap and then it's time to sit back and coast into the holidays.

Stay warm out there!

*And I don't want to hear any complaints about "how cold" it is down there.  30F is almost 40 degrees warmer than it is here.  If it were 30F here I'd go lay out in my bathing suit and try to raise my vitamin D levels, which are also probably hovering around -11.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowed in

As of 8am, we aren't going anywhere soon...

The bad weather we were supposed to be getting all day yesterday didn't arrive until about 5pm last night when we started getting really slushy snow.  We had tickets to see the Second City Christmas show last night, but after a trip to Borders at 6pm, we made the executive decision not to go.  It was disappointing because I'd been at home all day long, and the tickets weren't exactly cheap, but it was the right decision.  The roads were already slick at 6pm, and we were forecast for 9-12 inches overnight, so the driving conditions were only going to get worse.  We lost power for a little while around 9pm, which was kind of scary because no power = no heat = cold, but I think it came back on before midnight.

Being snowed in is kind of a funny thing.  I went to sleep at 9pm because the power went out and what else were we going to do, and I slept in until 7am because- again- what else was I going to do.  Yesterday, I did allll my Christmas cards, cleaned the house, watched 4 episodes of Glee, and finished making my ornaments (well, almost, I want to make one more to replace an ugly one), and today all I have on my agenda is to make our edible gift for co-workers/friends around here.  It's a forced time of rest and relaxation that's probably more "natural" from the standpoint of human history than our always on the go lifestyle.  I mean, without plows we'd be stuck inside for days or weeks (not that I want that!).

I did get in a slow but beautiful run yesterday morning.  It was warm-ish and not windy, and some tiny little snowflakes started to fall just as I was finishing up.  This week will probably involve a lot of inside running because it's going to get cold - like overnight lows with air temperature below 0.  Definitely outside run-able, but not fun.

I leave you with: How to get a tan in Wisconsin in December.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

A few of my favorite things

Warmer weather is on the way. Yay!  We are getting snow this evening/tomorrow morning which means the temps are ticking back up to the upper 20s instead of the near-0 overnight lows and highs in the teens that we've been having.  Even today is a little warmer.  Right now it's 16, feels like 9.

Monday I hit the indoor track to do 800m repeats.  It was cold and windy outside, and there were still some snow/ice blobs on the sidewalk that I didn't want to hit at full tilt.  My goal was to run each 800 in 3:26, which was very ambitious (based on prescribed paces from the Runner's World FIRST 10k training plan).  I never hit a 3:26 (3:29 was the closest I got), and all the rest of the repeats were in the 3:30's, but I feel like I really pushed myself, and that's what matters.  My times were on the fast end of what McMillan recommends for 800s based on my last 10k time, so I'm happy with that.

Wednesday was kind of a running fail.  It was probably below 0 with the wind chill, and I didn't get my Toasti Toes situated correctly, and my toes (especially my left big toe) got super cold.  I was aiming for 2x2mi at 7:41 min/mile pace, and I only almost hit that for one of the miles.  The rest were way slower.  I attribute this to allowing myself to be distracted by the weather and by my toes and by being sore from lifting the day before.  The second one can be fixed by a better sock and Toasti Toes set up, but I need to get it in my head that it's going to be cold for the rest of the winter, and I can't let that be an excuse.  Luckily, as I said before, it's warming up this weekend, so hopefully that will make for more enjoyable runs.        

On the subject of winter running, inspired by Sarah, who was inspired by Lauren, who was inspired by Oprah, here's a list of my current Winter Running Favorite Things.  I'd say I'd love to give them to all of you, but actually I'd rather have you live in a place that you don't need them.

1. Hot Hands and Toasti Toes.  Indispensable for running when it's below 10.

2. Sugoi fleece-lined tights.  My legs have never been cold wearing these babies.

3. A reflective vest.  It's important that you can be seen from space while running in the dark.  If aliens are trying to land, you want them to hit you.
4. A headlamp.  Take a lesson from The Titanic.  Watch out for ice.

Stay warm out there!  I for one am headed to the gym this morning and crossing my fingers for an upper-20's long run tomorrow.  It'll be balmy.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let it snow!

It's here....

I actually went for a run* outside this morning.  The plows are out, but conditions are still not good for driving.  For the most part the sidewalks were covered with about 4 inches of snow.  I stuck to the path around the lake rather than trying to deal with roads.  I almost could have worn my snow shoes except that I did have to cross a few places where the snow had been cleared, and, while grippers don't like concrete, snow shoes really don't like concrete.  Running 6mi in the snow is a silly thing to do, but it was kind of fun since I wasn't worried about time or speed.  Plus it was the warmest run I've done in a long time.

We probably need to go out to the grocery store today, but otherwise we'll be hanging out at home.  Perfect weather for putting on the Christmas music and writing a Christmas letter.  Enjoy your Saturday, warm or cold.  Good luck to everyone racing tomorrow!

*More like off-road winter excursion.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I think I only did one of my workouts on the day it was planned this week, and that was strength training on Tuesday.  I had to do my tempo run on Monday because my GPS batteries died, strength on Tuesday, then I did my interval run on Wednesday when it was really cold and windy rather than waiting until Thursday because I kind of wanted to get it over with, then Thursday I overslept but had time to get everything together to go to the gym so I did that, and now it's supposed to snow a lot tonight/Saturday morning so I got up early and did my long run today.  All I have to do tomorrow is wake up whenever I want and run however long I feel like (but probably with the grippers- see right). 

I was a little disappointed with the way the two runs I got times for went.  I was slow on all my intervals on Wednesday, and although I started out strong this morning, my paces slipped to around 8:20 toward the end of the run.  I'll give myself credit because part of it was that it was cold and early and windy (at least on Wednesday), but part of it is that I sometimes let my mind wander when I do speedwork, and it makes me slow down.  Another part of the problem with these long tempo runs is figuring out how to pace myself.  I knew I needed to slow down a bit from how fast I went last week, but, as I feared, when I slowed down I did it by too much.  Hopefully figuring out the right pacing will get easier as I do more of these workouts.*

And... change topics.

In my last post I wrote that I was graciously invited by Sarah to join her stranded on a tropical isle.  Hopefully this one**

Now it is my turn to pass on the invitation to some others.  Karyn, Kerri, Jamie, Linda, J+A, Jessica and Daniel, will you join me?***

Here are your questions.  I'm going to answer them, too, because I feel like it.

1. What is something you learned as a child that you will never forget?  What's something that you need to remember now that you always forget?

I will always remember the opening chorus to the Thanksgiving play I was in in 4th grade.  I will never remember the units for blood elements and inflammatory markers.  You are glad I'm not your doctor.

2. What is your favorite Christmas/winter solstice song?  What is your least favorite Christmas/winter solstice song?

I enjoy all Christmas songs composed in a minor key.****  I tire of the rest very quickly. 

3. What is your favorite color?


4. Real Christmas tree or fake?

I love the smell of real, but it bothers all my nerd allergies.  That's why I buy stock in Zyrtec.

5. What is the most interesting wildlife you've seen while running or just out and about?

Coyotes, a roadrunner (both in NM), and the turkeys that live in our apartment complex (really)

6. What is something you'd love to be good at but have no talent for?

Singing or anything artistic or that requires spacial reasoning skills.

7. What is something interesting that happened the year you were born?

Thriller was released.

*And hopefully the weather will continue to cooperate so I can do more of these workouts without too much ice skating.

** The deal sounded all the better this morning as it was so cold my left eye started freezing shut while I was running.

***And anyone else, too.

****Oh yeah, and Pretty Paper sung by Willy Nelson.  That will always have a special place in my heart.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Senor Flurry

Yesterday was a flurry of activity at work, and we have our first snowfall in the forecast*.

There is a conference abstract submission deadline on Friday, and our bosses are out of town for the rest of the week so there were last minute "just in case" abstracts to be written, old abstracts to be finalized, and a loooong boring (unrelated) conference call in the afternoon.

As for snow, I for one am ready for it to come.  I think.  The alternative is rain, which is the kind of precipitation that is currently going on outside, and I'm sort of tired of rain.  Luckily this is a gym day.

Yesterday I had great running weather, but sadly my GPS battery died.  After only one run!  I've had it for a few years, so I guess it's not crazy that the battery isn't hold a charge that well.  So I had to move my 8x400m workout later in the week and did a 3 mile short tempo run instead.  My goal pace for the 3 miles was 7:41, but obviously I have no idea if I hit that or not.  I just know I ran pretty hard for 3 miles.  The GPS is (hopefully) recharged, and I'm excited to see how I do on the 8x400m run either Wednesday or Thursday.

On a completely different topic, I was tagged by Sarah to answer 7 "desert island** friend" questions.

1. which would you rather have: the ability to fly, or the power of invisibility?  As awesome as it would be to fly, I think that would totally freak people out, so I'm going to say invisibility.  I would just have to become re-visible when no one was looking because that would also freak people out.

2. what was your favorite dish at thanksgiving this year?  This fried mozzarella thing with apple topping and duck prosciutto when we were out at L'Etoille.  I had no idea what I was ordering when I picked it from the menu, but it was really delicious.

3. what is your favorite movie of all time? This is a really really tough one. I wouldn't say it's my favorite, but I never don't laugh when I watch Zoolander when it comes on TV (which is all the time- or at least it was when we had cable).

4. if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere, where would you go? (no fair saying 'a trip around the world!') Since I can't say, "around the world" I'm going to do the next best thing and say "all around Europe".  I've never been!  

5. describe your favorite pair of shoes ever (mine = ridiculous red high tops i owned sometime during the late-80s) I wore a black dress with leopard print shoes to my senior year homecoming dance.  Those shoes were pretty sweet.  Actually I vaguely remember (and have been told about) a pair of cowboy boots I had and loved as a small child.  Those were probably actually my favorite.  Oh yeah, and my snow boots.  What they lack in style, they make up for keeping snow off my feet.

6. no internet or no TV: which would you pick?  No TV.  That's an easy one for me.  Although no internet would probably up my productivity by 300%.

7. what is your favorite season? (for bonus points (coconuts? bananas? whatever is available on our island), rank all 4 in order!)  Fall (because it's pretty and warm), summer (because I like to be warm, but we don't have central AC at home so sometimes it's too hot), spring (because sometimes it's still cold), and winter (blech).  I vote for a navel orange tree on the island because I just remembered that's the only thing I like about winter- oranges.    

I'm running late so I will post questions and tag others tomorrow.  Adieu***

*For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to make my screenshot of the weather forecast big enough to see on the blog.  It always copies really really small.

** I'd like to schedule to be stranded the second week in January, preferably the day when the high is below 0.

*** Just practicing for my trip.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All good things must come to an end

Goodbye, long weekend.  I'll see you again in three weeks when we do the great southward migration for the holidays.

The paleo thing has been going really well.  As of two weeks in I'll give the pros, cons, and "neutrals."


  • I have never had an episode of unhappy stomach after a paleo meal.
  • Although I really haven't reduced my carb intake that much, I have a bit, and I find it easier to sit still and feel less antsy on rest days.
  • Eating out is actually fairly easy.  To answer Linda's question about what I had at McDonald's- a grilled chicken southwest salad and some fries.  Healthy?  Not really.  But we rarely go to McDonald's.  If all you can order is a sandwich, pull off the bun and eat the innards (or ask for bunless/breadless- it seems that a lot of restaurants are pretty cool with this because so many people have celiac disease). 


  • Easy at home and fairly easy in restaurants but takes a lot of thought in social situations. 

  • I don't feel like I've had any change in athletic performance or body composition.
I've only dumped the diet wholesale twice in the last two weeks- once for our group dinner and once for our fancy dinner out last Friday.  As of right now I'd say I'd like to stay paleo as much as possible after the experiment is through.  One thing I've done better in the last two weeks but still want to focus on is increasing my vegetable intake.  

And with that, I'm about to fall asleep on the keyboard.  I hope it wasn't a sign of how truly boring this post was.  I need to rest up for my first FIRST interval workout tomorrow: 8x400m at faster than I want to think about pace.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rambling here and there

I can already tell this post is going to be rambling.  Here goes:

1. Thanksgiving Thursday
I already wrote about the Berbee Derby Thursday morning.  The rest of the day was pretty quiet.  We had McDonald's for lunch (yeah, yeah- Daniel wanted to get out of the house for a little bit) and were served by the most charismatic human being to ever work at a McDonald's.  That young man is either going to be a senator or a serial killer some day.

We made a real meal for dinner.  Here's Chelsea and Daniel's version of a two-person 90% paleo Thanksgiving Dinner:

 Trader Joe's pre-marinaded lamb tips and green salad.

And roasted acorn squash with cinnamon, sugar and butter for desert.

Followed by some post-dinner productivity.  I finally finished the afghan I've been making for a co-worker.  She is a fellow and will be leaving us this summer, but she's been like a big sister to me in many ways, and I wanted to give her something special.  I also wanted to give myself 1.5 years to actually finish it.  I'm kind of a one-trick pony when it comes to crochet, and there are some of you out there who have seen more than one of these around, but it does make a nice finished project that is warm and holds up well.  We use ours all the time (though I've never actually washed it!).

2. Black Friday
The only running I did on Black Friday was the normal kind.  It got much colder here overnight and even though I was pretty tired from the race, I wanted to do a test of concept for my clothing so I didn't get 1/2 way through my long run today and realize I was going to freeze to death.  So here's me wearing (for "feels like 8F"): a Bondi band, a fleece ear warmer, my fall 15k thermal hat, a t-shirt, a thermal long sleeved shirt, a fleece vest, and a fleece jacket, fleece-lined tights, wool socks, shoes, a pair of light gloves, and a pair of mittens (not shown because I can't work the camera or the door with those on).  My torso was kind of hot when I was running on the sunny, non-windy part of my route but was perfect for the cold windy part by the lake.

Friday night we went out for dinner at L'Etoille for our official Thanksgiving (or whatever) celebration.  We went all out.  This was one of the top 10 meals of my life.  I tested the limits of how much food could actually fit in my stomach and enjoyed every bit of it.  Fortunately I was still able to walk to the car afterward.

3. No excuses Saturday
I did my first "FIRST" long run today.  I'm practice-starting the official training plan on Monday (I have 15 weeks before my race but it's a 12-week program), but I thought I'd go ahead and do the first long run this week and then repeat it again next week.  The "hard part" of the workout was doing 6mi at an 8:11 pace.  I was pretty sure that was not going to happen- especially 2 days after a 10k when I ran 6mi at 7:45 min/mile pace (granted on a hillier course).  But I got out there and warmed up for a mile.  The temperature was a little milder than yesterday ("feels like 11F" vs "feels like 8F"- and I put more stock in the "feels like" temperature because the wind coming of the lake is COLD).  Then I turned on the fast (haha, fast for me).  Basically I tried to pace myself by hearing my breathing be fairly labored and feeling like I was going fast but not fast enough that the yak feeling was building up.

I hit the first mile split at 7:50 - a little fast but that's kind of a weird mile where there's a big uphill but also a big downhill where I can really get going if there's no traffic.  Second mile- 7:50 again.  Too fast- and definitely too fast for the 8 miler and 10 miler to come in the next few weeks.  I wanted to slow down a little but I was afraid I'd slow down too much.  Pacing is hard!  The next mile was at 8:00 and the next at 8:03- better on the pacing, but at this point I was going into the wind so I'm not sure if I was actually running slower.  Next 8:20- not sure what happened here.  Maybe I just took a mental break.  And finally - 7:59.  I was pretty impressed with the fact that I was able to hang in there for the whole run, and actually, it wasn't that tough.  Whenever I look at the FIRST book I'm always super intimidated by the paces laid out for each workout, but now I think maybe I've been selling myself short.  I really can run faster than I think I can.

I finished up the run with 3 miles of cool down to bring the grand total to 11mi in 1:37 - an 8:51 min/mile average pace.  Although the workout itself was tougher (and shorter), I think this was a better and more pleasant use of my long run time than doing a 14-mile slog through the arb at 9:3X pace.  I only got a tiny bit cold in the face at the very end of the run, and not being cold is a HUGE plus for me.

And that's about it.  I'm planning to spend the rest of the day making Christmas ornaments and weeping or cheering over the Gator Game this afternoon.

In summary: Running, running, blah blah blah, cold, picture of food.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Berbee Derby Race Report

Although it was around freezing or a little below, this was definitely the warmest BD I've ever run.  I was glad I wore my Toasti Toes, but wearing capris, a short sleeved shirt covered by a long sleeved shirt, wool socks, a double glove mitten combo and a fleece head band- other than waiting for the race to start- I was comfortable to almost too warm.  I left the house at about 7:20, stopped for gas and a flushing toilet on the way, and parked on the far side of the race start at about 8:15.  I hung out in the car until 8:30 and then headed out to warm up a bit.

Google suggested I search for "baby yak" and
I'm glad I did. 
After I got out of the car, I turned on my Garmin and... dead battery.  I think using the light to check my split times in the early morning really drains the battery.  Oh well... it's not like I usually change my running based on my splits.  My 5-10k strategy is to run as fast as I can without feeling like I'm going to yack and then push it to yack territory once I can see the finish line. 

We lined up at the start, sang the national anthem, (in which the singer got two words wrong - it's perilous fight not light and the flag waves o'er - not for- the the land of the free).  Yeesh, I'm too young to get grumpy about things like that.

The race started and I followed my normal pacing strategy.  The course is a little rolling with a net downhill on the way out and a net uphill on the way back (at least that's how it feels to me).  I hit the mile 1 at 7:30.  Just a little bit after mile 1 Dano and Art from Team in Training passed me and I yelled "hi".  Mile 2 was another mostly downhill though a neighborhood and onto a country road.  I passed that mile marker at 15:00.  I started seeing the fast runners started coming back the other way at about mile 2.5, and the turn around was right before the 3rd mile marker, which I passed at about 22:3?.  

The turnaround put us running uphill-ish and into the wind.  I'm sure if I had my Garmin, my splits would reflect that.  One kind of funny thing happened at this point.  I came up behind a man and woman running together.  The woman looked at the man and said, "Now this is the part that's really motivational because we start to pass people."  At that moment I ran past them, and the man said, "I see what you mean.  That was great!"  I also heard (but didn't see) Linda (who ended up with a big PR!) yell from the other direction. 

At mile 3.5ish we turned onto a bike path that rolls through a wooded area (including open hunting ground, which always makes me wish I'd thrown on my orange hat before I left).  I hit mile 4 at around 30:30 and figured that as long as I could hang in there and hit mile 5 before 40 minutes I could definitely finish in under 50.  I didn't want to start picking up the pace too soon because I remembered there being a huge hill at the end, and I was not going to break 50 minutes if I wasted 2 actually yacking on the side of the road.  

I hit mile 5 at 38:20 so I was pretty good going up the last hill (which was not as bad as I'd remembered) and then pushing it into the finish line for an official time of 48:10.  Not a PR, but not that far off from my PR on a much hillier course.  (I still maintain that the Bellin is a loop course that manages to be 100% downhill).  

I know so many runners are all about the marathon, but to be honest, the 10k is my favorite distance and it seems to be the distance that likes me best, too.  For that reason I think I'm going to focus my speedwork over the winter on 10k stuff (using my Runner's World FIRST book as a guide).  My next race after coming out of winter hibernation is the Shamrock Shuffle 10k, and it would be pretty awesome to PR in that race because it has a monster hill that you have to go over on the out and back part of the course.  Plus 10k training is way more winter-friendly than trying to be outside for hours doing a marathon training long run.  

And with that I need to go be thankful that I didn't have any competition for the washing machine even though it looks like all of our neighbors are home and we are probably the only ones who celebrate Thanksgiving.  Happy Turkey day, all.        


Berbee Derby

I'm thankful for so many things that getting into detail would make me late for the race this morning :).  Right now it's not supposed to be as cold as I'd feared (read: I need to sneak back in the bedroom and grab my capris rather than wearing my hard core tights from earlier in the week).  We are not going anywhere or doing anything special for Thanksgiving so I'll probably be back to on give a race recap and some "I'm so thankful" gushing.  You know you guys like that stuff :).

I don't really have any goals for this race.  I ran the 10k two years ago, and I remember the course was a short uphill followed by a long downhill followed by a hard core uphill at the end.  I ran a heartbreaking 50:01 that year (on my quest to break 50 min in the 10k).  This year I have two sub-50 10k, and it would be cool to run a third.  My B goal is to come back with my fingers and toes in tact after having to stand around outside.  It's hard to make Thanksgiving dinner with gangrene :)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One more day until Thanksgiving!

Work has been super busy this week getting ready to submit abstracts for an important conference.  They aren't due until next Friday, but our bosses will be gone next week so there's been a flurry of activity each day.  Normally my job is pretty relaxed, and it's exhausting to think hard and apply yourself all day!

Anyway, I'm feeling more relaxed about everything going into today, and I'm looking forward to the long weekend.  It was cold yesterday and is going to be even colder tomorrow.  Yesterday was the first day I cut my run short (I did 7mi instead of a MLR of 9.5 that I had planned) because my hands were soooooo cold.  I dressed for 23, which is what The Weather Channel said it was, but they didn't mention the insane wind blowing off the lake that made it feel like it was in the single digits.  Had I brought along some hot hands I would have been okay, but after an hour my hands were blocks of ice.  Not the kind of "feel the burn" I'm going for.

For all the people who were running in 90+ degree weather this summer-
at least you don't have to dress like this now.  And this was a bit under-dressed.
I glow!
 Right now the forecast for the Berbee Derby- which is always cold- is 29- feels like 18- which is not too bad.  It's never fun to have to stand around and wait for it to get started, but at least there won't be big ice patches on the course like the first year I ran it.  I'm also planning to pick up my packet today so I can just sit in the car and read until I have to get out and run around to warm up.  Unless the weather is truly horrible I'm planning to run it.  10 races in 2010- woot!

Sticking to my diet has been pretty good.  Monday we had pre-Thanksgiving with our young couples group from church, and I decided to go with the flow and eat what was there.  It was tasty, of course, but it actually helped solidify my desire to stick to my plan.  It helped me see that I really do feel better after a meal sans grains and dairy than when eat them.

 But it's always fun to share a meal (and a horrible first episode of Skating with the Stars) with friends.

 Happy Thanksgiving eve!  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 6/30: It was a dark and stormy day

It's only November, but I already want to bust out the SAD lamp.  That could be me over there, blinded not just by my computer screen but by a giant lamp that's supposed to make me HAPPY despite the fact that I haven't seen the sun in two months.

Actually, I did get to see the sun yesterday on a beautiful but chilly long run.  I slept in a bit, and this was the first run I've done without a headlamp since the beginning of October.

It was so good that I took the long way home around campus and added an extra mile (and you know I'm not normally an "add a little extra on my long run" type of gal).  I ended up with 15 miles at a 9:23 min/mile average pace.  I was so happy not to see any of the slloooowwwww times from my warm up and cool down miles from during the week.  Plus my hands were extra happy because I doubled up with gloves and mittens.  Note to self: Your hands will probably never be too hot.

This should be a busy week but I'm looking forward to the long weekend.  Jess asked if I was planning to stay paleo through the holidays.  The answer is- yes.  We aren't traveling so I can make and eat whatever I want for Thanksgiving without any issues.  We are having an early Thanksgiving with friends tomorrow night, and I'm going to do the best I can without driving anyone crazy.  So basically no cheezy potatoes (because of the cheezy, not because of the potatoes), but I'm not going to freak if the turkey is basted with butter.  I'm cooking for our church's International Thanksgiving dinner, and that won't be paleo.

Long weekend coutdown: 3 days.  Have a good Monday, all.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 4/30: Better

This has nothing to do with the post,
but I thought it was kind of cute.  My other
option was a picture of a bulldog with an icepack on its head.
I'm happy to report that Wednesday's maladies seem to have been data driven.  Like I said, I started working on a project using a data set that has- in the past- caused me great distress.  I was really really worried because I was supposed to recreate an analysis based on reading a paper and without having access to the original coding or data used.  As of Wednesday afternoon, it was not working.  However, I was able to come in fresh on Thursday morning, go step by step through everything, and had a great celebration to get up and go to the bathroom and get a drink of water at about 10:30am when I got results within about 0.1 of what was shown in the paper. What a relief.  Needless to say, everything felt better and more relaxed for the rest of the day.

Do you have a ritual or way to "celebrate" mini accomplishments when you are working on a big project?

It's Friday and I'm headed to the gym.  This should be a pretty chilled out weekend.  I need to do some grocery shopping and cooking for us and (later) cooking for our church's international Thanksgiving Dinner.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 3/30 - Ambivalent

Just to be clear, the whole "who needs bread?" thing from two days ago was mostly a joke on me scarfing down mayonnaise like it was going out of style.  I don't actually think that- for most people- there's anything wrong with eating bread, rice, dairy, etc.  that I'm experimenting with cutting out of my diet.  I don't think that anyone thought that I was trying to say that, but I wanted to make it clear :).

Yesterday was the first day I felt "different" although everything could be explained by things unrelated to diet.  My run was slow, but not any slower than other slow runs I've had before.  I felt "off" in the afternoon at work, but I was starting a new project that involves a data set that always strikes fear and procrastination in my heart.  I thought I was going to die of an acute hot chocolate deficiency after dinner, but who hasn't had a chocolate craving? and the feeling went away once I was distracted. This morning's run was slow on the easy parts, but I hit my normal tempo pace for the 4.5mi of tempo in the middle.  

On the plus side, and really at least 75% of the reason I'm doing this, I haven't had any stomach upset/issues since I've started.  We had a pizza lunch at work yesterday, and even though they had my favorite kind it actually wasn't that hard to turn it down.  As much as I like the taste, it is one food I know makes me feel not so great after I eat it, and I was much happier (especially in the hours after lunch) visiting with everyone but eating my own food.  And no one really noticed or cared.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 2/30: Who needs bread?

When you have mayo.

Normally I'm not a big mayo person, but last night Daniel made spicy cajun fish with remoulade sauce (basically mayo with onion, chives, dill pickle and capers) last night, and it was amazing.  I could have had a glass of the remoulade to drink (mmmm... like savory eggnog)

Nothing too exciting to report on the experiment so far.  I haven't had any of the "complaints" I was complaining about prior to the experiment, but I also haven't had any of the "transition phase" headache or lethargy I've heard can happen.

I did strength training yesterday morning so we'll see how my run goes today.  I've got 8 chilly miles planned.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 1/30: So far so good.

Despite the fact that these arrived yesterday, day 1 was a success.

We haven't opened them yet, but the plan is to put some aside for the end of my experiment.  That way I'm not concerned of developing a Girl Scout cookie deficiency over the next year*.

Because this is my first day, I'm including pictures of all my meals.  After today I'm just going to do dinners (sometimes) and possibly my lunch each week.

Breakfast was a variation on what I'd normally eat for breakfast- oatmeal with frozen fruit, almond butter, and protein powder- with the oatmeal replaced by a sweet potato.  Sounds a little strange, but when it's mixed together, it's really not unlike oatmeal.

Lunch was made in a huge batch for the entire week. 1 lb ground beef + 1 bag of stir fry vegetables + 1 acorn squash + 1 bottle Trader Joe's Thai Red Curry sauce = a lot of food.  I like to have a hot lunch- especially this time of year- and I don't mind eating the same thing day after day.  I get variety by changing things up from week to week.

I had an apple and 2 hardboiled eggs for my afternoon snack (you know what those look like).

Dinner was a spinach salad (not pictured, you also know what spinach looks like) with ham and pineapple and roasted butternut squash.

We had friends over last night and served hot chocolate (made with milk) but I avoided temptation by having some dark chocolate chips for desert.

My workout was 8mi with 3x(800,600,400,400).  The first 800 and 600 were slow but most of the rest of the intervals were run in the 7:35-7:45 min/mile range.

Not feeling any different so far, good or bad.

*Like women who get the once-a-year IV treatment for osteoporosis, I need my once-a-year Girl Scout cookie infusion to keep a minimum level of caramel and coconut in my blood stream.  Maybe I'll take Jess's suggestion from yesterday and go on an all-Girl Scout cookie diet next month.  They have a lot of flavors...

Monday, November 15, 2010

And now for something completely different

The hours are long but the weeks are short.  That sums up my life right now.  Although I'm happy with my work/life/rest balance, I feel a little... bored.  I haven't blogged most days because I haven't felt like I had anything new to say.  It kind of stinks because I actually enjoy writing and blogging, but I need something new to say.  Also, I don't feel like I have a theme or any special characteristic that makes my blog stand apart.  I'm not not super fast or fashionable or a gourmet cook or really funny, and I don't have a job that interests anyone other than me.  I'm not trying to whine, but that's just kind of how it is.

So I was thinking as I was walking home from work last Thursday, "What is there about me or what could I do to make my life more interesting and give me something to blog about?"  And then I realized I did have something somewhat interesting going on.  I hadn't shared anything about it on the blog because it's kind of weird, but what are blogs for if not *over* sharing crazy personal information?

Scroll down to the ***  if you want to see my announcement but have no desire to read anything that says "digestive issues".

This is going to be a long post so I'll start at the beginning.  In the beginning I was an allergy kid- pollen, dust, probably pet dander- all the "nerd" allergies.  I never had any problems with food except that I would get a raging headache sometimes from something in Pizza Hut pizza.  In 9th grade, sitting in English class (the period after lunch) with a horrible stomach ache, I discovered I probably shouldn't drink milk anymore (although I do eat ice cream and cheese from time to time with mixed results).  I also developed eczema on my hands sometime in college, and as an adult I still have random digestive issues and occasionally get this sunburn-like hives thing after eating (whining and oversharing- you lucky reader, you!).  The moral of this story is that people with weird autoimmune things tend to have a bunch of them, and it's a problem I really haven't grown out of.

*** Okay you are safe now.      

I'm about 3 years behind all trends (I was too embarrassed to post that I got my free sample case of Pom two months ago! - it was tasty- thanks, Pom people) so it makes sense that I'd get interested in the paleo diet now rather than back in 2007 when it was all the rage in the body building/ cross fit community.

That is a bean with a gun.
There is actually a movie called Killer Bean Forever.
Google "paleo diet" if you want.  There are a lot of gurus and practitioners who have different ideas of exactly constitutes a paleolithic diet, and there's a healthy dose of weirdness about how it will straighten your spine and make you less nearsighted.  But if you boil away all the crazy, you're left with the idea that some people with digestive and autoimmune weirdness have really good luck with removing "neolithic" foods- mainly grains, legumes, and dairy- from their diet.  Plus, there are a couple of high level triathletes who- after the burn in period- claim to have seen great improvements in their training.

I've been curious about the whole thing for awhile but afraid because it would mean a huge change in the way I cooked and ate.  Plus it's not like I have celiac disease or some kind of serious condition where I have to avoid wheat or another kind of food.  On the other hand, what would it hurt to try?  In my reading about the subject, I've found that people definitely have an adjustment period when they start the diet, but there's not much out there about what that's like for endurance athletes.  

So starting today and for the next month (most of what I've read says you should give it an entire month before you decide if it is working for you or not) I'm going to try to go grain, legume and dairy free.  Although that removes a lot of carbs from my diet, I'm definitely not trying to go low carb and will be taking advantage of all the squash, sweet potatoes and apples (plus other fruit) that are plentiful this season.

This is still not a food blog, but I plan to focus more on food pictures than I did before.  I'm going to talk about how it affects my training and if I see changes in my body and how I have to modify recipes and navigate restaurant menus.  The experiment will be over before the holidays so I can decide I think it's bunk and go on a pancake bender or if I think it's great and have some strategies in place so I don't drive my family crazy with dietary restrictions and requests).

Stay tuned for tomorrow's summary of Day 1.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Girls on the Run Race Report

I can do it in two words: cold and wet.
But if you want more:

The highlights:

  • The race was surprisingly well organized.  When I drove up it looked like total chaos, but picking up my race bib and bag was really fast and easy.
  • GOTR is a great organization.  I did dance and softball when I was in elementary school, but I'm sure I wouldn't have been motivated to run/walk 3 whole miles- especially not in the cold rain- at that age.
  • Picking off one elementary schooler after another going up the second hill.
  • Beating everyone under the age of 12, which exceeded my original race goal of beating everyone under the age of 8.
  • Checking "5k" off my list of race distances for the year.
  • The fact that my old 5k PR was so slow that even in nasty conditions I was able to eke out a tiny PR.
The lowlights:
  • The weather.  Two cold, rainy races in a row is enough for me.  I'm going for just cold at the Berbee Derby.
  • The start was kind of chaotic, but I was able to sort of sprint out in front of it.  
  • My time: 24:07.  Rain, cold,  hill, not my day, whatever.  I've decided the nice thing about having run 9 races so far this year (I will finish 2010 with 10, woot!) is that I don't have to care that much about any individual race.  I have confidence that I can run in the low 23 range but not with 10 extra lbs of weight from soaked clothes and shoes.
 And that, as they say, is that. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Girls on the Run Race Preview

It has been a crazy busy week this week.  We've moved from grant writing season to abstract writing season and all of a sudden I have several new projects at work.  Plus we've had meetings or events every night this week.

Makes me feel like this guy:

In T-minus 3 hours I'll be running my first and last 5k of 2010- The Girls on the Run 5k.

I'm not sure how big the turnout for the race will be (especially with the weather- kind of rainy and gross but fortunately not cold), but I'm hoping to run into both Jamie and Jessica.

I've never done this race before, but it's for a good cause, and I've raced basically every other distance up to the marathon this year so I thought I'd go head and throw a 5k in there, too.

Plus, my 5k PR from a 5k race is pretty old (24:11 set in fall 2008), and provided nothing crazy happens I think I should be able to beat it pretty easily.  I ran a 23:21 in the first 1/2 of the Bellin 10k (the best race of running career), and I'm not sure if I can beat that.  The McMillan Race calculator predicts a 23:31 based in my recent 15k time, which I felt was a well run (by both me and the organizers) but hilly race.  I feel like I tend to be able to run a bit faster than the predicted paces in shorter runs and a bit (or way in the case of the marathon) slower in longer races.  I've heard the GOTR course has a couple hills at the beginning, but I've gotten less concerned about hills thanks to almost a year of consistent strength training (read: lunges).  So in summary, I'd be happy to beat my 2008 5k PR and double happy to beat the one set in the summer.

Do I look sufficiently girly for a Girls on the Run race?  I feel like almost all my race pictures show me wearing this skirt when I actually don't wear it much at all.  I normally run in Nike tempo track shorts, but with the stitching on the inseam...woe be to her who runs in them when it's rainy or humid.  And since it is the former this morning, I'm sporting the skirt.

The rest of the day promises to be busy, but I'll be back with a race report tomorrow afternoon.  Have a great Saturday, all!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mother nature: Such a tease

I realized that this post is totally meandering and only semi-related to the title, so I'm adding in subject headings to try to bring some organization to this party.

Light out half way through my run?  High of 70(!!!!!) today and 68(!!!!!!) tomorrow?  We're definitely getting spoiled.  It's going to be really painful when the first snow dump comes.  The only time I'm having buyers remorse on this whole "going off daylight savings" thing is at 5pm when it looks like it's 8pm.

I never realized why it was so easy to gain weight in the winter until I moved up north.  Because it's dark, your body tells you it's dinner time at 5pm and because it's cold it tells you another dinner at 8pm wouldn't be a bad idea.

The only thing I miss a little about running in the dark is scaring rabbits with my headlamp.  It's only fair because before I had the headlamp fixed they did a good job scaring my with all their rustling in the woods and sounding like zombies and ax murderers.

The raccoons, however, don't scare at all.  They just look at you with those beady eyes that say, "Chill out, light lady, I know where you live."

I was going to take advantage of the warm weather and light do 5x1000m yesterday (seemed like a good speed workout for the week before a 5k race) but sadly when I walked outside I realized my GPS battery was totally dead.  I had charged it over the weekend, but sometimes I accidentally turn it on somehow and kill the battery.  I recharged it again yesterday and it seems to be working fine now.

I still wanted to get in some kind of quality workout so I did 8mi with 4mi tempo.  I know where all the mile splits are on my routes that I run regularly so I didn't need the GPS for that.  I was sad that I didn't get any of the mile splits, though, because I felt strong the whole way and think I kept a good pace.

This morning I'm headed to the gym before work.  I've decided to tinker with my workout schedule once again.  After the marathon I decided to do weights Tuesday afternoon and Friday morning so I could still run 5 days a week and take Sunday completely off.  Having tried that for a few weeks I've decided I really don't like having to go to the gym after work.  It's randomly crowded, and I always feel pressed for time getting home and getting dinner ready, laundry done, etc. especially when we have to go somewhere.  Plus I like to have the time to do other non-exercise things I enjoy like yoga (this is sort of exercise related, but not the way I do it!) and practice piano.

So the new plan is just four days of running- one speed, one tempo, one medium long, and one long with two days of lifting and one day of rest.  For me I think that the important thing is mileage in each run rather than overall weekly mileage.  Is this schedule pretty light compared to a lot of people out there?  Yeah, but I think it's going to be a good balance for me, and I'm trying to be okay with being different.

Plus it gives me an extra morning to work on the blog and see what crazy stuff comes up when I google image, "One of these things is not like the other."
I'm cooking again!  Yay!  Actually I was cooking before, but I was feeling less than motivated to post about it on the blog.  Not sure why, but in any case, food features are back.

This weekend I channeled my inner convenience food loving 50's housewife and put together this barbecue beef pizza for Daniel's lunch.  Why barbecue beef and not chicken?  Because that's what I made for dinner, and I used a little bit of the extra for the pizza.  The sauce was made using a recipe that I thought I remembered that Daniel said he remembered from the sauce our host made at the Halloween party: 1 cup BBQ sauce, 1 cup catsup, 1 can cranberry sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Not the healthiest thing in the world, but it turned out pretty good.

I also made cottage pie from this month's Cooking Light  to take with me to work for lunch this week.  The whole recipe makes 4 Chelsea-sized lunches and one dinner.

Mmmmm... broiler crunchies.

Well, gotta go!  Time flies when you're uploading pictures.  Have a good Tuesday, all.