Sunday, June 27, 2010

Long Run #1: Oh Yes, I Am That Stubborn

Here's how I looked before my hot, sweaty, painful 15-mile-run yesterday.
Thankfully no one was home to take my photo when I got home.

It was HOT. I made sure to start off re-e-e-al slow, and to take water breaks every 3-4 miles. Half way through I stopped to use the bathroom at the park and while I was there I soaked my hat in cold water, a genius move. Thankfully I had planned it so that the second half was the shadiest and breeziest, otherwise I don't know that I would have finished it. But I did! Longest distance run ever (I have covered longer than that before, but at a run/walk).

Then waffles with peanut butter and honey while in my ice bath, then dinner, a couple of episodes of King of the Hill, and early to bed.

And no pain today, hurrah!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Odds and Ends

How do you know when you're a serious runner? When you buy two pairs of running shoes in one day...

My shin is steadily getting better --- lots of arnica, stretching, and being careful with my running: no sprinting and going easy down hills.

Made my first veggie loaf last weekend and have been enjoying it in sandwiches all week. There is room for improvement but overall I'm quite pleased with myself.

I have my first 15 mile run of the season today and am very excited. It's going to be hot and I can't head out until after lunch, so I will make sure to go slow, have water and salts handy, and take breaks as I need to. I'm hoping it rains again, that will make it easier.

Swimming has felt incredible this week --- easy, steady, endless. Thursday I swam 2k, the longest I've gone since since high school. Blissful.

We went to the beach for the first time with Buddy last weekend, with my friend J and her son E. E very kindly shared his beach toys. Buddy LOVED it. Here's my favorite picture of the two of us.
(I didn't think I'd get in the water so that's my sports bra, not a bathing suit).

What stood out in your week?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wah, Wah, Wah

So, the good news is that my left foot has been steadily getting better, even with the increased milage, and this week I haven't noticed it at all.

The bad news is that my right shin has been giving me some serious grief. As in, OW!

I am truly aggrieved by this because I haven't suffered from shin splints in a long time. Isn't that a beginner's problem? Okay, so I've upped my milage a bunch this week...

And of course I'd much rather it be shin splints than the alternative (a stress fracture).

Also of course I didn't baby it nearly enough, early enough, and so now it's hurting far more than shin splints usually do. That makes me nervous. However, it is responding to arnica and to ice, and it doesn't hurt extra when I press on it, so I am taking those as signs of hope.

I will take some running days off and see how it progresses with more ice and arnica. The weather's supposed to be beastly the next couple of days anyway --- a good time for some extra swimming!

Now if I could just stop worrying about it...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good Eating!

After my long run yesterday (12 miles!) I needed to stop by Whole Foods on my way in to work to grab a couple of things, and decided to treat myself to their salad bar for lunch. Oh the glories of a high-quality salad bar!
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Shredded carrots
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Edamame
  • Roasted garlic cloves
  • Roasted red potatoes
  • Sliced egg
  • Ceasar dressing thinned with Bragg's liquid amino acids

Plus one of their Seeduction rolls (whole grains and a mess of different seeds) topped with Earth Balance spread. Heavenly.

Some other exciting food news --- I tried out Yolk at Chicago/Wells last week for the first time and could not stop raving about it to anyone who would listen. Not only did the food taste amazing but the quantity/price ratio was impressive --- we both ended up with meals for the next day. And I'm excited about First Slice opening up a new location near my work --- their mission is to feed the hungry with good food, the same food offered in their dine-in locations. They operate the cafe at the Lill Street Art Center, I've eaten there a few times and always been happy with the food, so I'm pleased that I now have them as a weekday lunch option!

And after months of lusting after Mark Bittman's new book, "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," I have finally splurged and ordered it for myself. I can't wait to start trying stuff out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Holy Running Season, Wonder Woman! What a Weekend! (Part 3)

So the last part of this event-packed weekend was the Run for the Zoo 10K, on Sunday morning. Truly, I don't think it could have gone better.

It was a beautiful day --- sunny but not too hot, breezy, some cloud cover.

It was a neat course --- through the zoo, along the bike path to Belmont harbor, and then along the lakefront. Great views. Very twisty with some up-and-downs which made it interesting, and very well-directed by volunteers.

Best race shirt ever! It's become my favorite one to run in. It even matches our running stroller!

It was the first time running a race with Buddy and he loved it. He kept busy watching everyone and got very excited when he saw the boats at Belmont Harbor. Two-thirds of the way in he started twisting around to look at me, beaming. It made me so happy that he was enjoying himself. Once we finished I let him out of the stroller while we stretched, and he wandered around, happy to be free of the stroller, happy to explore, banana in one hand, bagel in the other.

(They had whole wheat bagels! What a race!)

The other great thrill for me was that I got to be a pacer for my friend R, who is just taking up road racing and who is also training for the Chicago Marathon this fall. It's so cool to be in a position where I can usefully offer my racing experience (instead of just boring people with it). I was proud of myself for being in the physical condition where I could act as a pacer, and so proud of R for taking this new challenge on. And it was just fun. She ended up besting her goal pace by 30 seconds per mile --- so cool to have had a part in that.

This race is definitely in the "to do again" category, probably as a family affair. They have a kids' race which Buddy is probably still too small for now, but next year, watch out! If nothing else he'll get a cool t-shirt from it.

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Reports...

To bring exciting news --- today I ran a mile in under 9:00!

8:58, to be exact, the second of two mile repeats in my track workout today.

I realize this is ridiculously slow to some people, but it's quite an achievement for me.

Makes me think a sub-8:00 mile might yet be possible...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Holy Blackhawks, Chicago! What a Weekend! (Part 2)

So on Friday and Saturday I volunteered for the Girls On The Run spring 5K. They have two runs a year, one for each of their 12 week programs, and while the fall one take place in the suburbs somewhere, their spring run is right in my stomping grounds, Montrose Harbor. How could I resist?

Friday was setup for the race, so I went down and inserted signs into holders and then moved the signs to where they would be mounted the next day. There were over 100 signs (I didn't prep all of them myself) --- one for each of the schools where Girls On The Run has a program in the Chicago area. Wowza! Then I put ziplocks on the porta-potties, and then I had to go home. The race geek in me was thrilled to see the other side of things, all those details that must be thought of for a successful race, and to meet staff from both GOTR and Chicago Event Management (the folks who put on the Chicago Marathon). I even got to talk shop!

Saturday I came back and saw that the field had been transformed to a sea of girls in pink and blue t-shirts, set among the masts of their schools' signs. Awesome.

At the starting line, I think...
I found the volunteer booth, got my hat and my assignment, and went to take medals out of the plastic wrapping they'd been shipped in. Over 3000 of them. This was set to be the largest GOTR event ever, with over 3000 girls participating, and another 3500 runners signed up.
All of the other volunteers I met were runners, so it was neat to chat with them while we worked about how they found out about GOTR, what races they were doing this year, and basic runners' chat about gear and training, stuff I cannot get enough of and totally boring to anyone who doesn't run.
It started raining, then backed off, started raining more seriously, backed off again, and basically continued that way, back and forth, for the entire event. We kept one ear open for thunder and one eye on the sky, and kept unwrapping medals. Once that was done we stationed ourselves along the finish area, ready to pass out water, oranges, and medals, and to KEEP PEOPLE MOVING. I didn't get the urgency of this instruction at first...
It was so cool to see all those people come across the finish: runners, girls, their families. Mostly looking stunned that they'd done it, and then very, very happy. I liked looking at all the different race shirts that the runners wore and I liked looking at all the different family members who had joined the girls --- so many of them had never done something like this themselves, and were just as proud of themselves as the girls were. I was proud of them too.
And then the deluge! Not rain (though that too), but people. Oh my gosh, I had never seen anything like it --- it seemed all 6500 participants crossed the finish line at once (which of course wasn't true) and there was no more looking at shirts or at individuals but just hands, hands, hands as we passed out water and ran out of oranges and tried to sort out the medals which had gotten all tangled together.
And then, just like a summer storm, it was done. We picked up trash, collapsed boxes, folded tables, and I went home.
And marked my calendar for November!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Holy Smokes, Batman! What a Weekend! (Part 1)

What a great --- and full --- weekend!

I took Friday off to do volunteer stuff: finish baking cookies for the bake sale and then help with the set up for the Girls On The Run spring 5K run/race. The finished piles of cookies were so glorious I had to take photos.
Peanut Butter

Chocolate Chip

The cookies needed to not only be baked but then individually wrapped, and since I like to know what's in my food and figure others do too, I decided to label them as well. (You can just see the labels in the photo below.) I've been trying to think of another word besides obsessive or compulsive to describe my doing this but I'm not having any success yet.

It was for a church bake sale, to benefit Buddy's daycare, since they subsidize 1/3 of their spaces for the kids of teenage moms in the neighborhood. Like how I ended up using a beer crate to store them in? Classy.

The bowl of cookies next to the crate are the ones that got to stay home with us. They're all gone now. (Sigh.)

Coming up, the GOTR report.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More Food!

For the last few weeks I've been cooking and baking more --- I am so happy about this. I think it started when I increased my yoga. The more yoga I do, the more in tune with my body I am, and the more in tune I am, the healthier I want to eat. Which gets me wanting to make my food myself! (Or at least choose really good food if I'm going to spend money on it. Food that should be celebrated!) Here are a few meals I was especially happy about.

Veggie burrito from the Mexican place down the alley from us. I love that they put mushrooms in their veggie burritos!

Super easy Sunday dinner. Chicken sauteed in Seeds of Change Madras simmer sauce, with loads of frozen peas and cut bell peppers added in, on top of brown rice. And I could make this vegetarian by substituting chickpeas for the chicken. So tasty --- I love all of their simmer sauce flavors --- and so, so easy. Helpful when you've got a toddler underfoot.

And then the Treehugger sandwich from Beans and Bagels: hummus, spinach, tomato, red onion, cheese (I get provolone), cucumber, mushrooms (of course!), dijon mustard. I get mine on whole wheat bagels. My favorite sandwich for when I take a yoga/cleaning day.

I've already written about the cookies I've baked recently --- coming up, another batch of peanut butter cookies plus Tollhouse chocolate chip for a bake sale this weekend.

Then this past weekend I made potato salad and strawberry shortcake for a grilling get-together on Sunday. I'm a little frustrated with our camera right now so I didn't take any photos. Both the salad and the shortcake recipes came from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything," the big yellow cookbook shown in the first photo. I was happy with the potato salad but if I were going to make strawberry shortcake again I would double the amount of strawberries, halve the biscuits (and just use white flour instead of my usual spelt/white mix), and make real whipped cream instead of getting a can. Oh well. Everyone else seemed to appreciate it, and I've been enjoying the leftover biscuits with Greek yogurt and berries, heated up. It's kind of like an impromptu cobbler, my favorite dessert to make. (I like pie best of all desserts but I like it best when someone else makes it!)

Oh, I almost forgot the garlic parsley hummus! I used to make this all the time but hadn't since Buddy was born. For months now I've been saying that I need to make hummus --- it's so easy to make, and so-o-o-o much cheaper than buying it. This weekend I finally made it again --- oh, yum.

Then I just had to take a photo of the gloriousness that is my tupperware cabinet. Nothing like a well-stocked pantry.