Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lately & Recipes


... I've been running on the treadmill.

It's hot here in Texas.


...and the treadmill is also kinder to my feet as I work out my achilles issues.


I've also been a tad obsessed with Mason jars.


I really like the idea of taking salad for lunch all in one air-tight container without it turning into a soggy mess. 

And then there's the overnight oats which is really just a fancy name for cold oatmeal which I'm loving this summer since I usually work out in the morning and the last thing I want after taking a shower and putting on a suit is something hot to eat on my way to work.

I'm not much of a recipe person but here are the "recipes" (more like instructions) for the oatmeal and salad:

Overnight Oats:

1/2 cup of oats (not the instant kind)
1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
1/2 cup of almond milk, soy milk, or regular milk
Small spoonful of a nut butter if you want - I used Justin's Maple Almond Butter
Any kind of fruit - I used blackberries

Mix the ingredients in the jar, put the lid on and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning you have breakfast ready and waiting.

Meatless Taco Salad:

1 can of black beans
1 can of corn
1 red pepper (diced)
1 yellow pepper (diced)
Mixed greens
Avocado (chopped)
1 tsp of shredded cheese if you like
2 tortilla chips

Mix your black beans, corn, diced peppers and 1/3 cup of salsa together*.  This will be the dressing for your salad.  Put this mixture in the very bottom of the jar.  I did this step the night before, put the lid on the jar, and refrigerated it.

The next morning:  layer your avocado on top of your black bean mixture.  Follow with your mixed greens (this was by far the largest serving in the jar).  Add your shredded cheese and crumble your tortilla chips on top.  Close your jar and refrigerate until lunch. When you are ready to eat just shake the jar and your lunch is ready.

*The black bean mixture made enough for 3 lunches plus some extra that we ate as salsa with dinner the next night.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It's ridiculous how fast you can develop an obsession with running clothes, shoes, and gear when you run! 

I stumbled across Ellie several month ago when I read about them on another blog.  Instantly, I really love their concept.  You join for free and you get two pieces {tights, top, shorts, skirt, tank, etc...} each month for $50 + free shipping.  You can mix and match any way that you would like.  Most pieces retail for more than $50 per item so I love getting such a great deal.

This month I got this awesome skirt and top.

Everything is high quality and the designs are very unique.  The skirt is typically $54.95 and the tank is typically $44.95.  So $99.90 worth of clothes for $50.00.  Score!

I not crazy about paying full price for something I'm going to sweat in even if I know I'm getting good quality so this is concept is perfect for me.  I've picked up a lot of staples for my running wardrobe through Ellie so I just had to share.  I figure it's my duty to enable other runners and their shopping habits... ;)

So go take a look!  As you can see, they also have a pretty cool loyalty program which is another awesome perk!

Enabling over. ;)

Friday, June 14, 2013

An ounce of prevention

A soggy 8.5 miles... favorite song on my run... I have really high arches. #motherrunner #56milesinjune #mizunorunning
summary of last Sunday's run

A few weeks ago I started having a familiar pain in the ball of my right foot (my good foot).  Familiar because it was around my sesamoid bones and one of those bones in my left foot is what caused my nightmare foot injury and surgery several years ago.

I read online and did some self diagnosis and decided that my high arches were to blame.  I visited my local running store and left with insoles which I had been considering anyways.  And these are really cool, BTW... you can put them in the oven so they mold to your feet in an almost custom way.

I didn't cook dinner tonight (Steve did)... but I did cook my new insoles.  #motherrunner

Despite my expert self diagnosis, new insoles, resting, and icing, last week it was hurting more and more even when I wasn't running or walking.  Considering that I just registered with a friend for the Vegas RNR half in November, I was sick even thinking that I might have injured the same bone(s) in the opposite foot.

But instead of ignoring the pain like I did last time I did the responsible thing and made an appointment to see a foot & ankle doctor.  I went yesterday and the great news after x-rays was that nothing was broken. :)  The doctor's bigger concern was why I would be having these kinds of foot problems at my age so he started moving my feet and ankles around.

"Impressive" was his response when he was testing my Achilles strength.  But just when I was getting all proud of myself he shot me down with, "do you know how extremely tight your Achilles are?". 

I didn't... I have never even had a thought about Achilles tightness when I have been running.  He equated the extreme tightness to running in high heels which suddenly made the ball of the foot pain make lots of sense.

Thankfully I haven't developed any sort of tendonitis in either Achilles so he simply wrote me a referral to a physical therapist who will be able to show me how to stretch so I can stop running in high heels. It will only take me 3-5 visits to get the stretching down and from there he said I should notice a major difference in my running as well as a disappearance of my foot pain and some of the other "little" pains I have while running.

I don't think I've ever been to PT prior to having an injury so this will be something new for me.  But this is definitely a welcome change and this preventative mindset just might be something I stick with... ;)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chi Running and other random thoughts...

2 quick miles on the treadmill before dinner. I'm really liking this Chi Running technique... book is by Danny Dreyer. #motherrunner #chirunning

I started reading Chi Running by Danny Dreyer about a week ago.  I'd seen references made to the book and I was curious.  It turns out that it's a very interesting and helpful book.  Especially for those of us who are not naturally gifted runners. 

The short story is that the running form and technique is very similar to some of the Kenyan and Ethiopian runners who win almost all the big races.  They run very efficiently and a book that teaches that piqued my interest... especially the part about reducing running injuries.

In the 6-7 months since I've started running again I've remained virtually injury free other than the odd pains, cramps, and soreness.  I'm pretty sure some of that can be attributed to starting off with a run/walk program.  So now that I'm running my miles, I feel like I need all the help I can get to stay injury free.  My next half isn't until November so I figure this gives me a decent amount of time to continue to build my base mileage, speed, and work on my form.

So far, I don't have a ton to say about Chi running other than the fact that I like it and it makes sense to me.  Time will tell how it works for me as I practice it more.

I tried a pair of Saucony Kinvaras with a negative heel drop and initially they seemed great but now they aren't agreeing with me.  So I've stocked up on my favorites... Mizuno Wave Rider 15's and these three pairs should last me awhile.  I'll still think about rotating the Kinvaras in to see if I can get used to them but only in short distances after 6 miles this past Sunday left me with ridiculously sore calves.

On running... it's nice not training for anything specific.  It seems to take the pressure off of wanting to have every run go perfectly because they aren't all going to be perfect: case in point, my HM in May.

And I'll be honest, that half really hit my self confidence.  I pretended that I was OK with the outcome but it still really bothered me to have worked so hard only to have leg cramps hinder me.  But that's the thing about running; nothing is ever perfect and for those of us who are perfectionists, that can be difficult.

Perfectionism is something I think about all the time.  I want to do everything perfectly.  I don't like that about myself and it's a constant struggle for me.  So maybe running is a good idea for me because nothing comes easy when you are starting from scratch and nothing is perfect.  I don't like that I'm still a slow runner... that's certainly not perfect.  But instead of hating that about my athletic self, I'm working on embracing it and using it as a challenge and a way to measure improvements from my hard work.

I'm not good at doing this all the time but it is something I am more mindful of...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Portland RNR Half Marathon

Finished!  Stretched, showered, food, stretched some more and now it's time for a nap.  Congrats to @soultrain21 @knittybitties and @twomoreseconds who ran today too!

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I ran my first half.  I'm glad this trip was a vacation for us because we came back to lots of end-of-school activities and projects and just an overall busy time of year.

One last run. 97% humidity?  No thanks!  PDX here I come!

We had a wonderful time in Portland!  We went with friends; my friend and I ran while our husbands cheered us on.  My last run was Friday morning before we left and it was a balmy 73 degrees with 97%  humidity.  Yuck.

More Portland... I'll be running a half marathon down there tomorrow morning!

Portland is absolutely beautiful.  Now I love Texas but I will freely admit that there are prettier places on earth and the PNW is definitely one of those places.

Oregon is absolutely beautiful!

After we went to the expo on Saturday, we decided to rent a car and head up to the falls.  I've never seen anything like this.  The pictures don't come close to doing the scenery justice.  We hiked some and ate lunch and then headed back to Portland.

I think I'm ready. Now if I can just get some sleep...  #motherrunner #halfmarathon

We found an Italian restraunt and had pasta for dinner and then headed back to the hotel where my type-A OCD took over.


The weather the next morning was perfect for running.  Cool, a little overcast, and no rain.  I ate a banana and warmed up a little.  After standing in the port-o-potty line it was time to line up in my corral and we were off!

My target finish time was 3:05.  Yes, that's slow but I was good with that because I knew where I had come from in just 6 months before and I was/am proud of my progress. :)

Miles 1-6 were great.  I was even ahead of my 5 mile goal and I felt great.  Mile 7 started the hills.  Unfortunately, I cramped up in the middle of mile 7 and it was bad.  I've never had muscle cramps during an athletic event and I may have even secretly rolled my eyes at those guys who collapse dramatically on the basketball court with cramps. 

I get it now.  Leg cramps suck. 

I stopped and stretched and got the cramp somewhat under control.  I started to run again, still uphill and the cramp came back.  I stopped again, stretched and decided to walk for 2 minutes.  This kind of cycle repeated itself through mile 11 where the hills finally leveled off.  But then the downhills started and those weren't much better.

At mile 12, there was one last giant hill and by that point I had to walk up it.  I had my phone and texted Steve and told him what had happened but I was making it through OK.  I put my phone away and started running down the hill and didn't stop again.  I hurt, I was frustrated, and it was killing my competitive self to know that I was not having the race I wanted to but I kept going. 

I crossed the line at 3:10:38.  NOT what I wanted to see on my watch but I tried to focus on the positives like the face that I didn't quit even when I really wanted to.  I also enjoyed the first 6 miles, the race atmosphere, and the organization of the race.  Looking back at my splits pre-cramp, I was on pace for 2:55 so that makes me feel a little better knowing that I was doing really well before my meltdown.

I've found that it's all about looking for the positives when you are on a journey to get healthier so that is what I do my best to focus on. :)

After the race, we went back to the hotel, showered, ate, and took a nap.  Once we woke up we headed to the coast which once again didn't disappoint in the scenery department. 

Love this guy!  And I'm still in awe of how pretty Oregon is...

Steve loves the beach.  He also found a little piece of heaven in a salt water taffy store.  We ate dinner and headed back to the city.

Longest line for donuts I've ever seen...

We had a few things to cross off our list before leaving and Voodoo Doughnuts was on the list.  The line was out the door... no matter what time of day.  We gladly waited and walked away with a box of doughnuts that included maple bacon, butterfinger, oreo, captain crunch, and other crazy toppings.  We had a few drinks and ended up back at the hotel with the guys downing doughnuts in the parking garage.  You probably had to be there but it was pretty darn funny... ;)

Race details:
- Portland Rock 'n Roll Half marathon
- Very organized
- Wave starts that actually worked
- Great course support - water, gatorade, gu, and of course bands at nearly every mile

Will I run another half with the RNR series?

@soultrain21 and I were content to run San Antonio until our guys talked us into Vegas . Let the #stripatnight training begin!

Um... yeah!  My friend and I "talked" each other into this one and our husbands are thrilled to tag along to cheer us on in Vegas. 

So for now I'm back to focusing on the same things I've been focusing on: eating healthy, exercising, and taking care of myself.  I still want to get faster and I'll have plenty of time to do that among other things between now and November.

I've been reading Chi Running and I'll share my thoughts on that in an upcoming post...