Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Frederick Half Marathon Registration

Happy hump day lovelies!

We're half way through the week and that's always good news!

Thank you so much to everyone who shared their opinion on whether I should register for the Baltimore Marathon or the Marine Corp Marathon. I haven't made a definite decision one way or the other yet, but you all gave me a lot to think about.

But I did decide to register for the Frederick Half Marathon yesterday.


With training going so well for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in a couple of weeks, I figured I was ready to get my first half marathon of the season on my calendar.

The Frederick race is on May 2 and I am so excited for it.

I am not however, excited for the 6:30 a.m. start time. Yikes! That means I'll probably need to leave my house at 4:30 a.m. to get there, find parking, find the porta-potties and be ready to go.

Have you ever run a race that started so early? What is your advice on getting up and out the door on time?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Great Race Debate

Morning everyone!

I woke up this morning thinking it was Wednesday. Why is it that short weeks always seem to take longer than normal ones?

The Great Race Debate



VS



I have a huge race dilemma weighing on me and I'm just not sure what to do. I have two very good friends that want me to train to run a marathon with them in the fall.

Friend #1 wants me to do Marine Corp with him.

Friend #2 wants me to do Baltimore.

These races are only weeks apart from each other, so doing both is kind of out of the question with my track record for injuries. Heck I'm still trying to decide running a marathon is a good idea at all for me.

But let's assume for just a minute that I'll be able to do one marathon this fall.

Which one do I pick?

Baltimore:

Pros:
  • Race doesn't immediately sell out so I can train longer and see where my body is before shelling out the cash
  • I've done Baltimore before. It's a great, well-organized race.
  • Will be a true test of how much my running has improved since the course will be mostly the same.
  • I could do the Maryland Double (Frederick Half Marathon in May, and either Baltimore half or full) and get three medals!
Cons:
  • I've done Baltimore before. Maybe I want to do something different.
  • Hills!

Marine Corp:
Pros:
  • It's a hugely popular race and one I want to do while I'm a local in DC.
  • Metro accessible, means not having to worry about a parking nightmare.
  • Flat!
  • Men in uniform assisting on the course and handing out medals at the end.
Cons:
  • Registration is only open in one day. That day is in about two weeks. Yes running is going well now, but what happens if I get hurt.

That con for the Marine Corp is really where my biggest hold up is. I'm so nervous about registering for a race this far out and then worrying about getting injured and not being able to race. Yes Marine Corp offers deferral to the next year, but will I want to do it that following year without my friend?

Or could I do both? Or is that just stupid?

Right now I'm leaning toward doing Baltimore, but I'm torn. Really, really torn.

Which race would you pick?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Nine Miles Done

I was majorly lacking motivation on Saturday morning to get out and do my long run. When my alarm went off at 7 a.m., I shut it off and went back to sleep. When I woke up an hour and a half later, I decided it was time to get this run done.

I had nine miles on the schedule, the farthest I planned to run before the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in two weeks. My goal was to go slowly and get it done.

When I hit the first mile in under 10 minutes, I was a little worried that I had started too fast and would burn out later. I tried to back off the speed a little bit to make sure I had enough energy to get me through the whole nine miles.

Right after mile seven, I turned into a new neighborhood and was excited to find this kind of rural area that reminded me of running back home in PA. Who knew something like that existed inside the beltway? There were lots of people out for walks with families and their dogs. It was kind of quaint.

I managed to finish up 9.16 miles in 1:29:08, an average of 9:40 per mile.

Not too shabby.

After this weekend's long run, I'm feeling pretty confident that I'll do well in the race in two weeks.

-----
In another news, Amber over at Girl With the Red Hair, featured me today as her career spotlight. I know I don't talk about too much of the specifics of my job here, so if you're curious about what I do from 9 to 5, go check it out!

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pizza Burritos Make Me Smile

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. I was home sick from work and couldn't muster the energy to write something worth reading.

Good news is I'm feeling much better and much more energetic today.

Since I had been feeling kind of blah for most of the week, I decided to try a dinner that would cheer me up.

Anything pizza-related usually does the trick, so I decided to be creative and make a pizza burrito with some things I had in my fridge.


I started with a whole wheat wrap for the base.


Topped it with some pizza sauce.



And then cheese.


Into the microwave for one minute.


Mmmm melty cheese.


Then I rolled it up into a burrito!

Sometimes I warm up some veggie burger and throw it in the mix too, but I didn't have any yesterday and I noticed the difference. The burrito definitely wasn't as filling without the extra veggie burger.

But it was still delicious and did the job of putting me in a good mood, so that definitely counts for something!

I'm so looking forward to the weekend. I have dinner for my aunt's birthday tonight and then tomorrow my little bro is in town for a lacrosse tournament. At some point I plan on fitting a long run in too. Should be busy, but fun!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Balance Amazing Socks

I want to take a moment to give a big shout out to New Balance for being an awesome sponsor at FitBloggin' over the weekend.

They provided some truly amazing swag to all of us including a pair of very nice running shorts and the most amazing pair of socks I have ever run in.



I kid you not.

These socks are amazing.

They are labeled with an L and R so you know which one goes on which foot. When I slipped my feet into my sneakers and took off on my run the other night, the socks felt heavenly.

I felt absolutely no friction between my foot, the sock and the shoe. Nothing rubbed, the sock didn't move around. I don't see how it would be physically possible to get a blister in these socks. And they wicked sweat wonderfully.

The socks were just incredibly comfortable.

New Balance in no way paid me to say this, but I would recommend these socks to anyone. I actually might go out and buy myself a few more pairs. I love them just that much.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup will kill you

I was at the grocery store yesterday picking up the things I needed for the upcoming week. I was heading down the canned fruit aisle to pick up some applesauce because I have been on a huge kick lately, and saw it was on sale.

I grabbed the "Original" off the shelf and flipped it over to check the ingredients.

Then I had a WTF moment.

Ingredient number two: High Fructose Corn Syrup.



What the heck? Apple sauce is supposed to be mushed up apples and not much else. (mmm I just made that sound so appetizing)

So I put that one back on the shelf and look up higher to find one that is labeled "Unsweetened." I flip that one over to check out the ingredients and it's just apples and water. Now that's what I'm talking about.

But here's my question. Why is the Original applesauce full of nasty high fructose corn syrup? Don't people know that stuff will kill you. (Thanks to a co-worker for sharing the link to the study from Princeton.)

Study overview:
  • Rats that consumed HFCS instead of sucrose (table sugar) gained significantly more weight even when calories were equal.
  • Rats that consumed half the concentration of HFCS that is found in a soda gained more weight than rats who consumed the same concentration of sucrose found in a soda.
  • HFCS caused abnormal increases in body fat especially around the abdomen
  • HFCS increased triglycerides in the blood.

It's this part of the study that really hits home though:

In the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High-fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year.

It seems to me that the unaltered, more natural version of a product should be labeled Original and the yucked-up high fructose corn syrup version should be slapped with a big label that says "Sweetened" or "Contains HFCS" or maybe just a blatant "This product will make you fat and contribute to your early demise."

What do you think? Am I overreacting to this study or do we as a country seriously need to lay off the HFCS?

(Photo source)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fitbloggin' Recap

This weekend was a whirlwind of activity and I still feel like I'm trying to catch up. Between late nights watching the tournament and Fitbloggin' on Saturday, I need another weekend.

Fitbloggin' itself was amazing. Major props to Roni from Roni's Weigh for organizing and hosting such a fun event.


She scored some amazing sponsors who gave us all kinds of goodies in our swag bags.


I had some great conversations with Jeff from POM and the guys from LA Boxing. I loved LA Boxing's presentation about how they are using social media to market their gym and to connect with bloggers. Since I work in social media, I was majorly geeking out.




Not only did I learn a lot of great information, but I got to meet some wonderful bloggers. It's so fun meeting bloggers in person. I was a little nervous that I wouldn't know what to say or that things would be mildly awkward, but that wasn't the case at all. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly.

Gina from Fitblogr





The sessions offered were pretty interesting too and I had a really hard time deciding between a few of the break out sessions. The first one I went to was about search engine optimization and blog accessibility. Since that is a large part of my day job, I didn't learn anything too new that presentation.

I also attended sessions on pitching traditional media, scoring a book deal from your blog and monetizing a blog. Not sure I have a book in me or even want to make money off my blog, but I learned a lot of cool things.

Lunch was delicious. I had a veggie sandwich with some roasted veggies on the side and a cute little Jello shooter for dessert.





I took notes at all the sessions, so if you're interested in any of the information, let me know and I'd be happy to email you some notes.

I'm so glad I managed to get a ticket at the last minute. Blogger conferences are amazing and Fitbloggin' is so making me look forward to getting more information on the Healthy Living Summit.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mesquite Roasted Veggies and Couscous

This week when I went grocery shopping I was craving vegetables and something with lots of fresh ingredients. Something about warm weather makes me want to abandon winter's warm comfort foods for lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

Summer squash is one of my favorite summertime vegetables and I used zucchini as my inspiration for this week's meal.


I chopped a zucchini, leftover red pepper, green pepper and some mushrooms.



Coated them in pepper and mesquite seasoning and popped them in the oven to roast for 15 minutes at 400.


While they were roasting, I made some couscous.


The veggies came out the perfect mix of crunchy and soft.

Mixed with the couscous it was the perfect combination.

I will definitely be making this again. It's so quick and easy and you can mix it up so easily just by switching the spices.

Loves and Hates

Man I could write a book today, I've got so much going on, but I'll try to keep it brief. We're going to do a quick "Things I'm Loving, Things I'm Hating" post.

First off, March Madness started yesterday and I am pumped. Seriously yesterday and today are some of the best days of sports watching during the year.

Teams I'm loving:
Murray State: The win with the buzzer beater. Oh my goodness, crazy. (And good for my bracket!)

Butler: Just showing complete dominance in the second half of their game. Hoping they keep it up.

UMD: My Terps play tonight and I'm giddy with excitement. Let's GO!

Teams I'm hating:

Georgetown: Pretty much busted my bracket. Thanks a lot guys.

Villanova: For giving me a heart attack yesterday, but they pulled out the win in the end and spared my bracket.

Duke: Like I even need a reason. I have them in the Elite Eight, but I'd be happy if they lose any time before then.

My Run last night:

Things I'm loving:

The weather
The last mile and a half
That I somehow averaged 9:48 per mile with all my walk breaks

Things I'm hating:
That my legs felt like bricks
That I had to walk and stop to stretch multiple times
Calf cramps during the first 3.5 miles

In general:


Things I'm loving:

My first ever Green Monster. I finally got up the nerve and had all the necessary ingredients to make one.

That FitBloggin' is tomorrow and I get to meet so many awesome bloggers.

Things I'm hating:
That it's not the weekend yet.

(P.S. I'll have a post for later this afternoon with my cooking challenge for the week, I just didn't want to mesh it in with this one or you would all be reading forever!)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tempo runs make me hungry

I am so embracing this beautiful weather we've been having in D.C. Yesterday it was sunny and almost hit 70! Wheee! I love random warm spells in the middle of March. It makes me believe that summer isn't all that far away!

To celebrate I decided it would be a good day to do a quick tempo run. I wanted to push the pace, but not to the point where anything started hurting.

I was successful!

I did a 3.8 mile loop near my house and averaged 9:18 per mile. It was definitely a challenge at times to hold the pace, especially on the hills in the sun, but it was a fun challenge.

It's funny how in the winter with the cold and before my hip and knee issues, 9:18 was a pretty normal pace for me. Now 9:18 is pushing it and I feel comfortable on longer runs closer to 10 minutes per mile.

When I got home from running I was a starvin' marvin and continued to be for the rest of the day. About two hours after dinner my stomach was growling so badly that I had to eat a PBJ to hold me over until morning and now I'm starving again.

It's not like I ran that far or all that hard, but my poor stomach is begging for food. So I am off to feed it.

Does anyone else experience major hunger after tempo runs?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Going to FitBloggin'


Yesterday I did a little happy dance in my office chair when I realized the FitBloggin' conference had released a few more tickets. I managed to snap one up and now I'm going to the conference in Baltimore this weekend.

I couldn't be more excited!

After seeing tons of people talk about it on blogs and Twitter all this month and last, I knew I needed to go.

I'm thrilled to get to meet some of my favorite fitness bloggers!

And since the conference is just up the road in Baltimore, I don't even have to shell out the cash for the hotel. It's a total win-win!

I'll make sure to take tons of pictures and share the highlights next week.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all. I'll have to find something fun and green to wear on my run today.

Is anyone doing anything fun to celebrate?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New comment feature

I'm testing out a new comment feature here on Run Girl Run.

I thought it would give us a little more interactivity and plus it gives me the option to respond to your questions directly through email.

Feel free to let me know if you love or hate the new system.

Cutting This Body Some Slack

As athletes, we can probably all relate to pushing ourselves too hard trying to get results in our running, biking, swimming, etc. At the very least, I know I'm guilty of it rather frequently.

That's probably the reason I end up with these annoying injuries all the time. I just don't know how to cut myself some slack.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what contributed to the hip issues I started having back in December. I had just finished the Jingle All the Way 10K with a pretty stellar time. I had averaged 9:03 minutes per mile way faster than I had ever raced before. All fall, I'd been getting faster and faster, but I never felt like I was pushing myself too much.

But maybe I was.

There were some treadmill runs were I would really push the speed. I mean there's pushing ourselves so we can be better, and then there's over-doing it. Like cranking the treadmill up to 7.5 or 8 mph for a sprint at the end of an already intense workout when my legs were already tired.

I've come to the conclusion that sometimes I just need to cut my body a break. It does a pretty awesome job most of the time and yes it's great to push it a little bit so things don't get stale, but every body has limits. I think I need to be more in tune with mine.

I stumbled across a blog post recently that I thought summed it all up pretty well:

"So, where does that leave the body? Well, this body has a big job! It has to protect and carry around this “me” for as long as I live! And I would like to live for a long, long time. So I’d better start taking care of it, because if it goes I go… and I don’t wanna go. So I started paying attention to what I fed it, how much I let it sleep and relax, and I started exercising it. Trying to live healthy is like an insurance policy. There are no guarantees, but I’m hoping that smart choices now will bless me with a body that can do whatever I want it to, for a looooong time."

It will definitely be a challenge for me to not want to push myself all the time in training, but I'm really going to work on it. I want to have a strong running season without any injuries and the best way to do that is giving myself a break now and then.


What's one thing you can do this week to cut your body some slack?

(Photo credit: Flickr)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Welcome Back Weekend Long Runs

Oh weekend long runs, how I have missed you.

During the winter months I never do weekend long runs. Winter is when I hibernate for three long, cold months and do shorter workouts during the week and almost nothing on the weekends. It is after all, the off season.

Now that it's almost spring I'm so happy to have LSD runs back in my life.

I did a wonderful 8.3 mile run on Sunday. It was only a scheduled 7 miler, but I took a wrong turn in a D.C. neighborhood and until I managed to find my way back to a street I recognized, I had added an extra 1.3 miles.

I wasn't complaining though because my run was amazing. I felt like it could have gone on forever.

My right knee didn't hurt at all and my left hip only started to be a little annoying at the end.

I went really slowly because I wanted to make sure nothing hurt. My first mile was something like 10:30. After that I don't have splits, but my end average was 10 minute miles, so I obviously picked up the pace at some point.

I think my running mojo is finally coming back. After a depressing winter full of annoying pains, I'm happy to be running outside pretty much pain free, and I'm so looking forward to race season.

Bring it on!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yogurt and fruit mix up

Yesterday was all about resting up for me. Three days of running in a row is a lot and since my knee started acting up during Wednesday's race, I decided some icing was in order.


At my desk.

When I got home, I was in the mood for something quick and easy for dinner. I took a page of out Meghann's book and just dumped a bunch of things in a bowl.


I started with some blackberries.


Then added some strawberries.

 
Topped it all with a little Greek yogurt.


I felt like my random fruit and yogurt creation needed a little crunch so I sprinkled on some Yogi Granola Crisps.


All mixed up.

Man was it yummy and it totally hit the spot.

Sometimes simple dinners that don't require the stove are the best kind.

In weekend action, I plan to spend a lot of time watching the ACC Tournament! GO Terps!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Global Warming, My Ass 6.66 Race Report

After this winter, I'm pretty sure global warming doesn't exist. And if it does, it did nothing for me this winter. Seriously, I spent two months with sidewalks too covered in snow to let me run outside. So I felt it was only appropriate that I participate in Razz's first virtual race the Global Warming, My Ass 6.66 miler.

I decided yesterday would be a good day to get the distance in, making it the third day in a row of running for me. Coming off injury, that's a recipe for disaster. But when it comes to running, sometimes I'm thick-headed. I did the race anyway.

I even mapped out a new route (it was 6.78 miles) for the occasion to make it extra special. I get brownies points for that right? It was like a real race, minus timing chips and bib numbers.

Miles 1-3 were uneventful. I kept telling myself to go slower because I didn't want my hip or knee flaring up. I took a one minute walk break somewhere around mile 2.5.

Mile four featured a massive hill. I trucked it to the top and kept going through mile five, when I felt the first knee twinge. It was nothing serious and walking for a minute helped.

With about a mile or so left to go, my knee started talking to me more. Again, nothing a walk break didn't help with. The last half mile though, I had to take a lot of walk breaks, which totally killed my time.

Up until that point I'd been holding steady under 10 minute miles, something I was really happy about given my injury issues this winter. By the time I finished my average overall mile time was 10:04.

I won't be winning any speed prizes for this race, but I had fun doing it. Thanks to Razz for hosting. It's definitely a race I'll keep in mind for next year's calendar.

(Photo credit

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ode to my Booty Shorts

How do I love thee booty shorts? Let me count the ways:

You make my legs look ridiculously strong, so much more than all other non-booty shorts combine.

You make me feel like a super fast, hard core runner, probably because that's who I most associate booty shorts with. That and Danica, who I'm pretty sure loves booty shorts more than me.

You stay firmly in place, none of that riding up nonsense that sometimes happens with my other shorts.

You get bonus points because you cause absolutely no chafing.

Last night you made some guy whistle so loudly I could hear him over my iPod. Normally I do not appreciate the whistling/catcalls, but it was such a loud whistle and took so much effort on his part that it made me chuckle.

Alas, I only own one pair of booty shorts, so until I get a few more, they are just on rotation through the mass amounts of regular running shorts I own. But that's OK, because booty shorts day is something I always look forward to.

What kind of shorts do you normally run in? Or do you rock a running skirt?


(Photo source. Note, do not search Google Images for "booty shorts" do compression shorts instead)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Running Again

Praise the running gods! I ran five (very slow) miles yesterday with almost no hip and knee pain. Alleluia!!!

It was glorious. The weather was in the mid-50's. I ran in shorts and a tank top outside for the first time in months and probably should have worn my sunglasses because it was so bright. I'm crossing my fingers that this weather is here to stay.

I celebrated my awesome run by deciding I wanted to run five 10 milers/half marathons in a seven week period. Don't worry, by the time I went to register for half of them, they were sold out already.

Sometimes I got a little carried away with race fever come spring time.

But, I am feeling so much more confident for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler now. I had actually tried to transfer my bib number last week because that was the deadline and with my hip issues, I was worried. Lucky for me, I was unsuccessful in the transfer process. And now I'm super glad that it didn't work.

I'm trying to decide my plans for this weekend. There's a St. Patrick's Day 8K on Sunday that still has spots in it. Maybe I'll give that a go. But the forecast is calling for rain. Ick. Race TBD.

Monday, March 08, 2010

NYC Weekend Recap

I am back from New York and happy to report we had an amazing time. For this time of year the weather was pretty much perfect for spending a day walking around the city.

It was the BF's first time there so my uncle took us to lots of the popular stuff so the BF could experience it all. We drove past Ground Zero and through SoHo. We walked around Central Park and watched ice skaters at Rockefeller Center.



Since it was such a beautiful day outside tons and tons of runners were out and about. I was getting a little jealous watching them all. I kept thinking about how much I wanted to be out running.

After walking around and eating lunch at Ellen's Stardust Diner (home to aspiring Broadway stars who sing while they work) the BF and I went to see Wicked. It. Was. Amazing. I have no other words to describe it.



I had read the book so I knew the basic story line, but the show was one million times better. It was incredible. Amazing. Wonderful.

When we got home, I immediately downloaded the soundtrack and I've been listening to it nonstop.

In fact, since it's such a sunny and gorgeous day today, I'm about to go for a run powered by the Wicked soundtrack.

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Homemade Pizza Goodness

I've been living off the leftovers from this week's cooking challenge almost all week. That's a pretty impressive fact because normally I get bored with leftovers after a day. But leftover pizza, well that's just a different story.

All week long I've been craving comfort food, and homemade pizza was right up my alley.

Plus whole wheat crust was on sale at the grocery store this week. It was a win-win!

If you're using a premade crust, like I did, making pizza takes no more than 15 minutes.

 


  

Place crust on pizza sheet.


Smear with sauce.



Sprinkle on cheese.



Add toppings as you see fit. I was in the mood for something close to plain this week, so I just added some red pepper.



Then into the oven for 8 minutes and out comes warm bubbly pizza.

Cheaper than ordering and much healthier too!

I'm headed to NYC this weekend. My uncle is taking the BF and I to see Wicked. I'm super excited. It will be the BF's first time in NYC, which just blows my mind because I've been there a bunch of times to see shows or on field trips or to just spend a day in the city with my mom.

Have you ever been to NYC?