Monday, July 25, 2011

Two Weeks Down + Bruschetta

Good news! The heat wave has actually broken!! Ugh, all last week it was around or above 100 degrees. It was crazy because in Oklahoma we are use to heat--we kinda scoff at ONLY 95 degrees, especially since it got up to around 110 there last week-- but here very few people have air conditioning. When Logan and I were house hunting central air conditioning was not on my wish list, it was on my must have or will turn into a hell beast list. Seriously, I kinda turn into a hell beat when I am hot but Lord help you if I am hot, hungry AND tired. So for the sake of our marriage we bought a house with central air but very few of my neighbors have it. It seems like the norm is having a window unit in the bedroom but just use fans, open windows and a prayer for the rest of the house. For an Oklahoma gal like me, it's weird and I am in awe of their fortitude.
Anyway, so because it was a million degrees outside I did most of my runs last week at the gym. I have a love/hate relationship with my gym.
I love that they have tons of weight machines (I am intimidated by free weights)
I hate that I am the only girl who doesn't seem to wear makeup while working out (I seriously don't get it, what is the point? One time I wore mascara because I worked out in the evening and it was running down my face by the end. I get really sweaty...I know it's pretty attractive)
I love that there is always a free treadmill/elliptical/bike
I hate that the trainers will sometimes troll around the gym looking for new clients. Yeah, I don't want to do embarrassing exercises in the middle of the gym while people scoff at my lack of fitness. But thanks for asking.
I love that I rocked out my runs this week and even did some sprinting intervals and didn't die.
Now, the number one reason why I HATE my gym: they have this funky philosophy that keeping the temperature around 78 degrees will help reduce soreness. Yeah, all this does is make me sweat profusely and make me really cranky. I pay each month, lets turn down the air.
The best part of my gym is that it's less than a mile from my house. Plus they have a pool and a sauna.

I am two weeks into my training and, big surprise, I haven't made up my mind about the Surftown Half. The good news about this is that registration is the same price until the end of August so I still have many weeks of indecision. I have gotten some questions about what training program I am following so here it is:
Week Half Marathon Training Schedule
103Rest3Walk 2Rest13.1Rest21.1
When I researched training programs I found some that had runs 5 times a week and some with 4 and shockingly, I chose a 4/week program. I know myself: I would throw in the towel if I had to run 5/week. I liked that this one has normal runs 3/week and one big long distance run. One change I did make is up the distance on week 7 from 12 miles to 13.1. I really like running the full distance before a race. It helps me get over the mental part of running and I know that I can do it because I have done it before (just like Harry with his patronus in Prisoner of Azkaban! Quick side note: I am still really sad that Harry Potter is done).

I am in the third week of the program and its going really well. I did my long distance last week at a track and thought "oh it's just 20 laps" by the end I wanted to die...ugh...around and around and around....bleh! I think I can only do 3 to 4 miles at a track, it just gets way too repetitive.

In other news, I have had such a ridiculous craving for bruschetta. Tomatoes are in season now and they are just so full of flavor and can be eaten plain with just a touch of sea salt and olive oil. I tend to like simple bruschetta more than the recipes that have a laundry list of ingredients. So please do yourself a favor and buy some farmer's market tomatoes, grow/buy fresh basil and make some-it's delicious and also pretty low cal. This recipe tends to make enough for two since I rather just have to make more than have leftovers.

Simple Summer Bruschetta
2/3 tomatoes chopped up (make take more if you are using tiny little roma tomatoes) I like to drain them since they get really juicy when chopped up
Bunch of basil-seriously, those recipes that call for 4 leaves I can't imagine. I love the flavor of fresh basil so I grow a big pot of it and grab a big bunch when making this. Chop it up really fine.
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Drizzle of olive oil
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Loaf of french bread
Cut up the french bread and toast it in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until crisp. Once it comes out  rub the bread with a cut clove of garlic (this gives it a really nice bit of garlic oil). Mix tomatoes, basil, garlic and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar. Toss in a bit of salt and pepper and taste. This is one of those recipes that adapts wonderfully so play with it! It works best if you let it refrigerate for a little while to let the flavors marry. Put a bunch of it on a piece of bread and enjoy...repeat again and again. Nom. Nom. Nom.
Not a picture of my bruschetta because I ate it all before I thought to take a picture. I could take a picture of my growing bruschetta belly....then again, maybe not.

Monday, July 18, 2011

GE 5K Road Race Recap

I survived! I didn't finish last! They had snow cones!
Those statements pretty much sum up my race experience. It was so much fun and a great experience. I don't think I'll be one of those people who does a race every weekend (too poor for that) but I think I would like to do a few a year. I really want to do the Turkey Trot-a 5K that happens on Thanksgiving morning. I inhale about a billion calories on Thanksgiving so I figure 3.1 miles will cancel out all that damage...right? Also, there is this race called the Warrior Run that happens all over the country. It is a mud run where you, quite obviously, run in the mud and also navigate around lots of obstacles. Fun stuff.

Anyway, on with the recap!
We got up pretty early since the race was held in Plainville, a city about 40 minutes away. We ate a light breakfast of English muffins with peanut butter and applesauce (a favorite of mine). We these got awesome moisture wicking shirts--yay for free swag!--when we picked up our numbers but we decided to wear our OU gear race day. My OU shirt has brought me luck before so I figured it would help me reach my goals. I chose to do 3 goals: one that is pretty easily attainable (finishing under 40 minutes), one that I would have to work for (finishing under 36 minutes), and one that would basically take a miracle to happen (finishing under 30 minutes). Yes,  I'm slow- you think I was kidding all those times I compared myself to a turtle? Yeah, I wasn't.
Boomer Sooner!! School pride? I haz it.

Run Logan Run!
We got there around 8am since the race started at 9. There were tons of vendors there-Dunkin Doughnuts, Rita's Frozen Custard, Dairy Queen, some massage place and tons of other stuff. They were handing out lots of free food and drinks but we didn't partake since nothing begs throwing up on the side of the road like a chili dog. There were about 4000 people participating in the race or walk (a modified 1.3 mile course) so we just wandered around people watching, checking out the vendors and listening to the band. Around 8:45 we headed over to the race start point. I have to admit I was starting to get really nervous because even though it wasn't even 9am, it was already 90+ degrees and absolutely cloudless thus resulting in major, major hotness...ick. We hung out at the start line for a while and ran into a guy from Nebraska who spotted our OU shirts. It was funny because he said that it was one time that OU and Nebraska could come together. After listening to the president of GE talk and also Dr. Petit (the race was to benefit the Petit Family Foundation-info below)
The Petit Family Foundation honors the memories of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit, and Michaela Rose Petit by continuing the kindness, idealism and activism that defined their lives. The Foundation's funds are given to foster the education of young people, especially women in the sciences; to improve the lives of those affected by chronic illnesses, and to support efforts to protect and help those affected by violence.
After a home invasion on July 23, 2007, Jennifer Hawke, Hayley Elizabeth, and Michaela Rose Petit tragically lost their lives. Hayley, and later on Michaela, were dedicated to community service and charitable giving, especially with the MS Society in support of their mother's illness. After their deaths, the Foundation was created as a means of continuing on their work and spirit.
All proceeds from this event will go to the Foundation.

The starting gun sounded....and we were still standing there. One minute later....still standing. Finally after two minutes we finally got going. Our race numbers had this cool chip in them that would sense when we passed the start line and the finish line so we could have an accurate time that isn't based on the gun start. I have read in tons of running blogs about how the biggest mistake a new runner can make is going too fast starting out. Yeah...I read all about that but still did it. *le sigh* it is just so hard not to! There are runners all around you and you have all this adrenaline so I kept a 9 minute mile pace for about a mile and then the heat finally got to me and I had to take a walk break. It was the hottest weather I have ever run in...gross. The course was not really that pretty, mainly just through neighborhoods and main streets but it was fine. The people in the houses we ran by had set up their sprinklers to "rain" on the runners....IT WAS AWESOME!!! Whoever thought of that: major kudos! I had decided not to bring my fancy new water bottle because there would be water stations at every mile marker. I grabbed some water at the first water station and kept trudging along. I would jog some but definitely had to take some walk breaks pretty often. At mile 2 I was so sad because they were temporarily out of water and I didn't want to stick around to wait. I figured it was only one mile more so I could tough it out. The last mile was really hard-so hard, so hot-but we survived. I crossed the finish line at 35.57-this is actually a pretty decent time for me, but I definitely want to improve next time. Logan came in about 20 seconds later.
After picture, you can't tell that we are literally dripping sweat and completely soaked. It was gross.
 I grabbed a bottle of water (I seriously love free stuff) and had to sit down since I was feeling really woozy. Jeff Galloway, my favorite running guru, says that for every 5 degrees over 60 degrees, you can expect it to slow you down 30 seconds/mile. 35.57 minutes works out to an average of 11.5 minute mile so with the 94 degree heat, I'm pretty happy. Plus, I met two of my goals. I use to reward myself with delicious food but I am trying to mend my ways so I based my rewards on cool stuff. If I met my first goal of under 40 minutes, I got my much coveted Bondi Band. It says "Will run for cupcakes", Logan think it's silly but I think it's hilarious! I have to admit, one thing I love about running is that it torches quite a few calories so I get to eat yummy cupcakes with no guilt. If I met my second goal of 36 minutes (I did it! barely...but still...winning!) I get to order the awesome spibelt (a running pouch that fits tons of stuff-I have wanted one since I read about it on and I kinda like to have lots of stuff with me on a run...gum, inhaler, phone, keys, chapstick, etc). Since I met two goals I got my lovely prizes! If I had gotten my last goal of under 30 minutes, I got a massage...but no go on that...guess I'll have to convince Logan to give me one.

After we finished we walked around the food area again and got some Sobe Life Water, which was actually really delicious and sugar free! As we were drinking our sobe, we ran into more Oklahoma connections! A really nice couple whose daughter went to OU for school and now works in OKC. I can't say how awesome it is to have these little moments of home, it's a small world. There was tons of food being offered but honestly, it was so hot and we were so sweaty that not much sounded good. We grabbed a couple bananas and some oranges and after a while we grabbed a couple snow cones that really hit the spot. I haven't had a snow cone in forever because I can't find anywhere that sells them in CT. It's crazy because you see snow cone shacks everywhere in Oklahoma. I have tons of happy memories of the college group heading over the the shack across of Classic 50s and getting snow cones. They had so many delicious flavors....mmm....totally love snow cones. We sat in the shade under a big tree and listened to some of the awards ceremony,needless to say we did not win anything :) but it was fun listening to the crazy fast times that some people produced. The winner was a guy who completed the course in 15 minutes and 38 crazy!!! I was still working on mile 2 at that time....absolutely ridiculous. I will never be a race winner but I am really inspired to improve my time next time. I do think that some cooler weather will help my running time but also more training can't hurt.

Speaking of training, I am officially in week 2 of training for the Surftown Half Marathon and I am still on the fence about registering. The miles are going okay but after this weekend's 5K I can't wrap my mind around the idea of going for another 10 miles. I think the next few weeks will help me decide since my distances are getting higher. As always, I'll keep you posted. This blog kinda helps me stay accountable and I really appreciate all the feedback I have gotten-y'all are awesome.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Running vs Harry Potter? I choose Potter

I had a really hard run today...and it's Harry Potter's fault. My training schedule only called for a 4 mile run and I have done several of these pretty easily-I am talking about full on awesome runs where I don't want to die continuously. But today I really wanted to just keel over and I blame it on Harry Potter and his siren call to the movie theater. Even though I grew up in the hellbeast heat of Oklahoma, the summer here in Connecticut feels mighty hot so I try to get my runs out of the way early in the morning/evening. This morning instead of running I went to the theater and saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (IMAX and 3D, which was kinda silly because there wasn't much 3D) and IT.WAS.AWESOME!!! If you're a fan, you definitely should go see it. I can't believe that there will never be another movie or book...sad :(
After the wonderful and epic movie, I got back home and it was already up to 92 degrees but I figured that is almost cool in Oklahoma so I suited up and headed out after scrounging in the kitchen for a frozen vita top and a tortilla with cheese and salsa-let me tell you, not the greatest running food choices.
So delicious...only 100 calories so I can eat 4 right?
There are those days where it feels like your miles fly by and then there are days where it feels like you are running and running and running and it equals .10 miles. Today was the latter. First off, there is some major TMI coming your way so you may want to vacate...okay, so I never wear shorts while running because they ride up but today I was doing laundry so it was a shorts day. I figured how bad could it be right? but unfortunately I also wore the world's worst underwear apparently because everything was ridding up and I felt like I was flashing my entire neighborhood. Oh yeah, I was running in my area so I was really unhappy with the idea of my shorts ridding up AT.ALL. because my neighbors really don't need to see my pasty white upper thighs. Ick. I finally finished the run and dragged myself into the house stuck my head in the refrigerator and retired to the couch where I sat soaked in sweat for a good hour (don't worry future guests, I cleaned the couch after!).
Logan and I have the GE 5K run this weekend so we will be styling our OU gear and I'll be sure to do a recap afterward. I really don't plan to push it since I have to do a 6 mile run the day after so I just want to finish under 40 minutes since it's suppose to be ungodly hot again on Sunday. Sunday I also have the Women's World Cup final to look forward to which is good since I may still be mourning the loss of Harry Potter :)
Great books, great movies...end of an era :(

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

13.1 miles
It would be like running from my previous apartment back in Tulsa, Oklahoma all the way downtown and back. It would be like running from my house to my favorite cupcake shop and back to my house about 7 times (which would be awesome because their cupcakes are crazy delicious).
Basically, it is 13.1 miles of challenge, will power and grit.
When I first thought of doing a half marathon I found a great race- flat and several months away but it is the same weekend of a wedding in another state so that was out. If I didn't do that race I realized that I would need to wait till next spring since races are few and far between during the winter and I feel like I can hardly breath when it's super cold.
Then last week I got a bit of a shock.....there is another absolutely perfect sounding, fun, flat and cool race....a race that is 10 weeks away. Yikes! 10 weeks is nothing in terms of training. I have been looking at training programs and some of them are even 30 weeks!
The Race: The Surf Town Half Marathon. I really want to do it because part of it is at my absolute favorite beach-Watch Hill. The course winds around the adorable beach towns, along the ocean and the entire race is lined with bands playing fun beach music like Jimmy Buffet, steel drums and reggae. It is also suppose to have fun pre and post race activities plus an awesome goodie bag and I LOVE goodie bags!
How could you not want to run along this?
The problem: I can't run 13 miles. Luckily, there are training programs for 10 weeks that I could do, especially since I can go for around 5/6 miles right now. I am really scared though. It's kind of silly but I really don't want to finish last and I don't it to be a horrible experience because I am trying to do a race that my body isn't ready to do. Everything I have read says that first time runners shouldn't go in with a time goal and I don't really care too much about finishing under a certain time but I have this fear that I will shut down the course....that the sag wagon will come around and tell me that the streets are getting ready to open back up and that everyone but me is done. Trust me, it's not a completely irrational fear. Did you know some people run this in 1.5 hours? That definitely won't be me, unless I get to bring a bike along with me (or suddenly develop supersonic speed). I am thinking around 3 hours is doable, especially since the course is flat and has hydration stations every 1.5 miles, but who knows how slow I would be faced with the prospect of running for 3+ hours.
Anyway, I am really debating about doing this race. I talked about it with some friends who visited this week and I like the idea of training like I am doing it for a few weeks and seeing if it's something I want to do and can maintain for the full 10 weeks and then registering or conversely, start looking for another race with a more reasonable time frame.It's a big goal but I like the idea of challenging myself and getting big results but I want it to be the right time.
What do you think?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I am one of those people who watches Food Network and then wants to cook something delicious.
Butter? Yes please are very wise.
I watch Survivor Man, hosted by lovable nerd Les Stroud, and I want to go camping and hiking (although I think I can skip the eating of bugs).
So sexy :)
Luckily for me (and the size of my waist line) the Women's World Cup has been going on for about a week now and I have been watching almost every game. These women aren't sticks who only eat lettuce and the occasional line of cocaine a la, these women are strong, passionate and talented. As a long time competitive soccer player, I grew up in awe of the USA women's 99' World Cup team. I remember the absolute media circus after Brandi Chastain took off her shirt after winning the cup for her team. Now I look at pictures capturing that moment and I realize that although movies, tv and magazines hawk the skinny, emaciated look, I want to look like this:
I could get abs like this with just a few sit ups...right?
and not this...
Please get these gals a sandwich STAT
Anyway, I watch these soccer games and I want to go outside and run for hours (unfortunately my body and fitness level disagrees strongly with these desires) and I want to become stronger. These are the women who I think of as inspiration to go outside and run even when it's hot and I want to sit inside and watch endless episodes of Gilmore Girls. As a woman, I think it's important to remind myself that it's not about clothing sizes, a magical number on the scale or the perfect diet...instead, for me, it's about being able to go out and run miles even when it's hot and humid, to be able to pick up heavy bags of bird seed, to hike up a mountain with my husband and just to enjoy my life to its fullest capacity (cheesy? yes...but still true)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Off to the Races

I have pretty much decided to run a half marathon...eventually. I was really excited and even picked a race, the Hartford Half, that fit perfectly into my training schedule but it falls on Logan's birthday and the day after a friend's wedding in Atlanta so that's out. Sadly, I think the race might have to wait till spring because when I run when it's super cold my lungs feel like someone is stabbing them with tons knives, plus it's hard to find races up north till April. This unfortunately presents a conundrum because if I do one in the spring that means I am training in the winter so unless Connecticut gets some global warming up in here really fast I am a bit screwed. I have been looking around at other states so we'll see what happens. I use Running in the USA to look for races, it really helps since you can search by state and type of race.

I actually stumbled on a 5K race that is on July 17th-the GE Road Race which benefits the Petit Family Foundation. It is a really sad story that most Connecticut people know, at least the ones in my area...a family was attacked at home and the husband was injured but the wife and two daughters were killed. The Petit family was really active in charity work so the funds from the race go to help their chosen charities.
Description from website:
     The Petit Family Foundation honors the memories of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit, and Michaela Rose Petit by continuing the kindness, idealism and activism that defined their lives. The Foundation's funds are given to foster the education of young people, especially women in the sciences; to improve the lives of those affected by chronic illnesses, and to support efforts to protect and help those affected by violence.
After a home invasion on July 23, 2007, Jennifer Hawke, Hayley Elizabeth, and Michaela Rose Petit tragically lost their lives. Hayley, and later on Michaela, were dedicated to community service and charitable giving, especially with the MS Society in support of their mother's illness. After their deaths, the Foundation was created as a means of continuing on their work and spirit.
All proceeds from this event will go to the Foundation.
This will be my first 5K race that I actually plan to run. I have done some walks but the idea of running one is much more scary. I know that I have been doing longer distances than 3.1 miles but doing it in front of other people (who are much faster than me aka move faster than a speeding slug) is a bit more intimidating.  I convinced my husband to do it with me so at least I'll have someone to get a piggyback ride from when I get pooped.
Plus you get a shirt....a shirt and an opportunity to pay someone to run?!? count me in.