Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday Three

1. I felt a little better last night and went for a short and easy four miler. It was tough and I realized I have a massive knot in my left calf that made running in general quite a challenge.

2. How is it the last day of September? Seriously where did this month go? I managed to log 80.43 miles of running this month. Not too shabby what with taper and being sick and all.

3. This weekend is Duke Sucks weekend at Maryland. We play Duke in both soccer and football, so it should be a great weekend of tailgating and sports watching. Soccer should be a good, fierce game to watch. Football, well if we lose that game, I will hang my head in shame.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To Rest or to Run?

Every since I came down with my nasty sickness Sunday morning, I've been really unsure about how much time I need to recover. I still don't feel 100 percent. I have moments during the day when I feel great, but then other times when I feel crappy.

I'm pretty sure I got sick from doing too much, not getting enough sleep, just in general running myself in to the ground.

So my philosophy this week has been sleep, sleep and more sleep.

I'm worried that if I go out and run before I'm better, I'll just wind up even sicker than I was/still am.

I skipped yesterday's run in favor of an extra couple hours of sleep. I didn't wake up early this morning to run either, but depending how I feel I might squeeze in something small this afternoon.

This marathon isn't going to run itself so I obviously need to be running, but I'm concerned that if I go out and run and get sick again, I'll miss even more runs.

I'm frustrated and annoyed this cold won't bug off, I want and need to be running.

I'm just not sure if this is something that merits resting up or getting out there and pushing through it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to Plan a Run-cation on a Shoestring Budget

I love to travel and explore new places. It's fun to get away from the daily grind every once in a while and running a race in a new place is the perfect excuse to plan a vacation. With great races held all over the world, you can most likely find a race to run in any place you'd like to go.

I just registered for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans as an excuse to take a vacation to a place I've never been.



But since race entry fees and travel start to add up, I'm definitely planning this vacation on a shoestring budget. Here's how I did it:

Coupons for entry fee discounts
Several races offer coupon codes for $10 to $15 dollars off registration fees. I tend to target those races. Since I ran the Philly RnR Half, the race directors mailed me a $10 code for either the Las Vegas race or the New Orleans race. It's not a huge savings, but it's better than paying full price.

Consider smaller, more local races
Local races in general tend to be cheaper than big race events. So if you don't mind missing out on the fan-fare of a big event, a local race might be the way to go.

Pick a city that's walkable
It will save money on cab fees, renting a car or paying to park your car anytime you drive somewhere. Since I'm not 25 and neither is the BF, renting a car would cost us a ton of money because of extra fees. But I picked a place where we could walk to just about everything other than the airport.

If you're flying, hit up the discount airlines or cheapair.com
Cheapair.com is a great tool that pulls price data from several airlines and lets you select the lowest prices. So you could fly to your destination on Delta but fly back on US Air. There is a processing fee if you buy your tickets through them, so I usually research there and then book through the airline.
 
Fly on less popular days
Plane tickets on the weekends tend to be more expensive. If you can swing it, fly out on a Thursday and spend some time in the city and then fly back the following Monday. And look for flights at off-peak hours. The 10 a.m. flight might be cheaper than a 6 a.m. flight.

Check Hotwire for bargain hotels
I've used Hotwire numerous times in numerous cities and it has never let me down. I've paid Super 8 prices for Marriot-quality hotels. The catch with Hotwire is that you don't know exactly which hotel you'll be in until after you pay. They'll tell you the general area, the number of stars and what amenities it has, but you can't the hotel name and address until after you book. Once you pay, the stay is non-refundable. It's a gamble, but I've never had a bad experience, and I've saved tons of money. For New Orleans, I have a four-star hotel for $89 per night, way cheaper than the hotel discounts offered through the race.

Using all the tips above, I was able to plan a five day trip to New Orleans for less than $350 per person. (That price doesn't include my race fee, which was about $87.)

What's your best tip for traveling to a race on a budget? Where would you love to go on a run-cation?

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Weekend of Fun

Welcome back from the weekend.

I hope yours was as fun as mine!

I watched dolphins at the aquarium.

Dolphin jumping over a ball

Dolphin touching ball with nose

Learned I was much smaller than a shark.

Jess and shark

Watched Maryland beat FIU!

Celebrated my BFF's 25th birthday

Emily's birthday

Went to a country music concert and had awesome seats.

Gloriana at Sunday in the Country

Lady Antebellum at Sunday in the Country

Oh yea and managed to squeeze in a 15 mile long run.

It was quite the jam-packed weekend and as a result by Sunday morning I had a wicked head cold and sore throat. Zicam + Advil + massive amounts of water are getting me through.

My legs are recovering really well after my 15 miler. I'm much less sore this week than I was last week after my half marathon. Other than some minor calf soreness, my legs feel great.

I'm hoping to kick this cold soon. I'm ready for a productive week at work and on the training front!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rest Day Reading

Happy weekend! I hope you're all enjoying it. To go along with the fun check out this week's Rest Day Reading, just a few for you this week. It's too nice to be inside at your computer!

Health and Fitness:
What Counts as a PR?
Don't Wear White At Night

Blogging:
How Justin Bieber Is Killing Your Blog


Miscellaneous:
The New Harry Potter trailer

What have you been reading this week? Leave your links in the comments!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cooking Challenge: Quick Quesadillas

I love Mexican food. Tacos, fajitas, nachos, etc. etc. But without a doubt quesadillas are my favorite Mexican food and it's almost always what I order when I go out for Mexican.

Despite my love for them, I'd never tried to recreate them at home until this week.

Like all my recipes, I tried to put a bit of a healthy spin on the quesadillas by adding lots of veggies and using whole grain shells.

Ingredients:
Whole grain tortillas
Pepper
Half an onion
Spinach
Cheese
Pre-cooked chicken
Greek yogurt
Salsa

Start by chopping the onion and pepper.

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Then toss onion and pepper into a skillet with a little bit of oil and saute until the veggies start to soften.

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While the veggies are cooking, cut the chicken into small pieces.

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Then throw it into the skillet with the veggies to warm.

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Saute everything for about five minutes then remove from heat.

Place a tortilla shell on a plate and sprinkle on a little bit of cheese.

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Top the cheese with the warm veggies, chicken and spinach.

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Then sprinkle with a little more cheese.

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Place another tortilla shell on top and then pop everything in the microwave for one minute.

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When it comes out, cut the quesadilla into triangles. Place a dollop of Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and salsa on your plater for dipping and dig in.

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This recipe was surprisingly easy and really tasty. I ate the leftovers all week long and never got sick of them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Things Thursday

Happy Thursday! Just one more day until the weekend!

Here are three random things I'm thinking about this week.

1. Running. My legs finally feel mostly back to their old selves so I went on a nice, easy run this morning. My IT band started barking around mile 1.5 so instead of the four I planned to do, I headed home and finished off with a 5K. Followed it up with some foam roller. Holy ouch.

2. Michael Vick. Vick was named the starting quarterback for the Eagles earlier this week. Hollla, maybe we'll keep winning games!!! Vick > Kolb. But now of course all the Vick haters are out in full force, and you know what, I'm over it! People, I don't think what the man did was right. In fact, I think it was despicable, but I think it's about time we all get over it. He served his time, he apologized, what the heck else is he supposed to do? So everyone back off my starting QB.

3. The weekend. I have so many fun things planned! Friday night I'm going to the Baltimore Aquarium to watch the dolphin show because tickets are super cheap. Saturday is my BFF's birthday so we're going out in DC and Sunday I'm going to a giant country music concert. It's going to be a fabulous weekend. Now it just needs to hurry up and get here!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Allowing Time for Recovery

How long I need to recover after races depends on a variety of factors.

  • How prepared I was going in to the race.
  • How well I fueled during the race.
  • How well I fueled after the race.
  • The length of the race.
  • Conditions on race day.

After the Annapolis 10 Miler I was back out and running two days later. Nothing crazy, just a few easy miles to help ease my legs back in to it.

I'm much more sore after the Philly RnR half because I pushed harder on a longer course. Even though it's three days post-race, my legs still weren't quite ready to go this morning.

Maybe they'll be ready when I get home from work today, but if not, I think they'll definitely be ready by tomorrow.

When it comes to race recovery, I just have to listen to what my legs are telling me. Sometimes I can get right back out there, but other times, my legs will need some down time.

Even though I have a marathon coming up in a two months, I'm not freaking out about needing extra down time. I'd rather my legs be completely recovered than start training again on dead legs. That's just asking for an injury or burnout.

So I'm easing back into things. I'll do one or two short runs this week and then tackle a nice slow 15 miler this weekend. I'll continue to slowly build my long run mileage, but allow for plenty of recovery time.

And Icy Hot will be my friend for any lingering soreness that won't quite go away on it's own.

How long does it take you to recover after races and long runs? What do you do to speed your recovery time?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mellow Marathon Training

I've got a thing for Philly.

It's the biggest city near where I grew up and it's home to all my favorite sports teams.

But I've also got a thing for the Philly running scene. I've run the Philly Distance Run twice and over the weekend, I signed up to run the Philadelphia Marathon.

26.2 miles in the city of brotherly love.

You might remember in the spring when I waffled back and forth on whether or not I wanted to take on the full marathon again. By August, I was pretty sure I did, and it ended up on my list of things to do in my 24th year.

So, I'm doing it. The race is nine weeks away, which gives me plenty of time to safely increase my mileage from where I stand today.

The theme of my training for this race is "mellow marathon training." I spent all summer super focused on time for the Philly RnR half. I'm throwing all that out the window for this race.

The Philly Marathon is all about going the distance. It's about enjoying the long runs. Taking my time, enjoying the fall weather and backing off my need for speed.

I've sketched out a rough training planning, similar to the one I followed for the Philly RnR half this weekend, with long runs creeping up to 20 miles.

I'll be ready on race day.

It's been four years since I've run 26.2 and I'm looking forward to taking another stab at it. I think I'm more fit and a better runner now than I was four years ago and I'm ready for this challenge again.

So, game on.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Philly Rock N Roll Half Marathon: Mixed Feelings

It's taken me a little while to process this race. I had such mixed feelings about the results.


  • I was happy that I managed to PR, but disappointed that I fell short on my goal of breaking two hours.
  • I was frustrated that my Garmin and several other people's Garmins recorded the course being an extra .4 to .6 in length. That's a lot of extra course.
  • I loved running on a flat course that had a decent amount of shade.
  • And I'm eternally grateful to the guy in the bright yellow shirt who saw me really struggling at mile 13 and gave me some encouragement and told me to run the rest of the way with him.

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Mom and I at the start, in front of the art museum steps and finish line.

Everything started well with the race. There were plenty of porta-potties, proving race directors do listen when you fill out the post-race surveys. I managed to find my corral and after hopping the fence to get in, I made friends pretty quickly.

I met two guys who were also hoping to run the race in less than two hours. We planned to stick together and see what we could do.

We lost the first guy pretty quickly, he sped right past us, but me and the other guy hung together until mile 6 or 7. It was nice to have someone to run with even though we didn't chat a ton.

We lost each other at some point after that. I was mentally struggling. Looking at my Garmin and seeing that it was almost half a mile ahead of what the course said was really disheartening. I'd see 8.5 but the course said I was at 8.

No one I talked to at the end knew if it was an issue with our Garmins not picking up/holding a strong signal in the city or if the course was really measured that poorly.

I debated at points turning it off or making the screen only show total time, but just didn't have the energy to fiddle with it while running.

Near mile 11 I ripped off my pace band. It was equally disheartening seeing my hopes of finishing in under two hours slowly slip away.

I walked a lot in those last two miles. The sun was beating on me and I just felt so defeated. The course ended on an uphill and I was hurting. I was ready to stop and walk and this guy in a bright yellow shirt saw me about to stop and was like "No, come on!"

That little bit of encouragement got me through. I got over the hill and crossed the finished line and set a new PR. So thanks to the guy in the yellow shirt.

I should have been thrilled. I shaved more than five minutes off my PR finishing in 2:07:45. But I kind of just wanted to cry.

A day later, I have a little bit better perspective on the whole situation. I set a new PR. I broke 2:10. I'm spitting distance from break 2:05.

Breaking two hours will come with time. I know that and I'll get there eventually.

On another positive note, major props to my mom who finished the race this weekend too. She was expecting to mainly walk with a little bit of running because she was having problems with her Achilles. She estimated she'd finish in about three hours. Well she killed that time and set a PR of 2:31:51.

Congrats Mom!

Here we are at the finish line with our medals!

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And thanks to my Dad for being our race support: Driving us down to Philly at 5 a.m., holding all of our gear and waiting around for hours for us to race. Thanks Dad! You rock!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rest Day Reading

Welcome to this week's edition of Rest Day Reading. Here are some great stories to kick off your weekend.

Health and Fitness:
Baby Carrots Take on Junk Food with Hip Marketing Campaign
Meditate for Your Health and Happiness
100 Ways You Can Start Loving Yourself Right Now

Organization:
Time Management Tips from Morgan

Social Media:
The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

What have you been reading this week? Leave your links in the comments.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cooking Challenge: Making Quinoa

I've had a box of quinoa sitting in my pantry for a few months now because I just wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it.

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This week I decided it was time to give it a try.

Quinoa has a very grainy, kind of Earthy taste. It also packs quite the nutritional punch. It's gluten free and contains tons of protein.

From Wikipedia:
In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods.[5] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.

I decided to try a quinoa salad.

I prepared the grain with water according to the instructions on the package. It only took about 10 or 15 minutes.

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While the quinoa was cooking, I chopped three fresh red peppers from the farmer's market and combine them in a big bowl with spinach and chickpeas.

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I spooned a generous helping of quinoa over the veggies.

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What really made this meal was the olive oil and balsamic vinegar I drizzled on top of everything.

For my birthday two of my friends bought me an EOO and vinegar set from Williams & Sonoma.

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Hands down it this was the best balsamic vinegar I'd ever tasted.

I loved adding the quinoa to the salad. It added a nice extra crunch and packed in some extra protein. It was a delicious change of pace from my regular salads.

What's your favorite quinoa recipe? I want to learn what else I can do with this grain!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

1:59:59 or Bust

We're officially three days away from the Philly Rock N Roll Half Marathon and the nerves are already setting in.



This training cycle has hands down been my best: I didn't have a single injury (knock on wood); I didn't miss a single run; I actually stuck with my speed workouts for an entire training cycle.

I don't think I've ever been more prepared going in to a race.

Because of that, I'm just piling the pressure on myself that this race must be great. Talk about setting myself up for failure if something goes wrong.

There's a lot on race day I can't control: the weather, the crowds, what's available at aid stations.

But I went into this training cycle with a pretty tough goal in mind. I want to finally break two hours in the half marathon. That means I have to average right around 9:05 per mile. For me, that's pretty fast.

I know I can do it over short distances, and even over middle-ish distances. I don't know if I can sustain that for an entire half marathon.

My fastest half marathon was 2:12:57 set back in May on a miserably hot day on a very hilly course. I was shooting to break 2:10, but fell apart at the end. Philly's flat and hopefully the weather will be better.

Normally, I'm all about going in to a race, having fun and maybe trying to set a new PR.

This time, not so much. It's 1:59:59 or bust.

Come Monday, I hope I'll be able to tell you I succeeded. I've been envisioning a great race. I'm putting together a play list with my favorite motivational songs timed for right when I get to mile 10. I've done all the mental and physical prep work I can.

Now it's just time to race.

Game on.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Exciting News

Last year, I was lucky enough to snap up a last minute ticket to Fitbloggin, a conference held in Baltimore for bloggers who write about all aspects of health and fitness.

I had such a blast last year. I learned so much and had the chance to meet so many great bloggers. It's nice to be able to put a real face and a voice to Twitter handles and URLs. Last year's recap.

When Roni announced that registration was open for Fitbloggin' 2011, I snapped up my ticket almost right away.

I'm so looking forward to the conference, seeing old friends and making new ones. This year I'm extra excited though because I will also be speaking!


I'm presenting with Katy and we will be talking about how you can use social media to build your personal brand. We'll be sharing all sorts of tips, tricks and tools we use in our day jobs in social media outreach.

We're just in the brainstorming phase now, but I can already tell our panel is going to be so full of great ideas.

If you've ever thought about attending a blogging conference, I highly recommend Fitbloggin'. It's really amazing having a bunch of like-minded bloggers in a room together discussing health, fitness and blogging.

Have you ever attended a blogging conference? Are you planning on coming to Fitbloggin'? I'd love to know who plans to be there!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

24 Things To Do in My 24th Year

A few weeks ago I asked you all for ideas for complete my list of 24 things to do in my 24th year, and I want to say a huge "Thank You!" for all the suggestions you gave me.

I've been mulling the list over and I think I have it in pretty finalized form.

So as promised, here is my list.

24 Things to Do in My 24th Year:


Fitness related:
1. Run a marathon
2. Run each popular race distance (5k, 10k, half marathon, etc) one more time since it's my last year in the 20-24 age group.
3. Win an age group award. This requires finding a very small race.
4. Find and stick with some sort of strength training routine.
5. Break 2 hours in a half marathon.
6. Volunteer at a race.
7. Find a balance between having fun and sticking to a training plan.

Travel:
8. Go to Bermuda and or the Bahamas
9. Swim with dolphins
10. Spend at least one weekend at the beach completely unplugged to recharge my batteries.
11. Visit a place I’ve never been before. A friend of mine one year made it his mission to see one new place each month for a year. I always thought that was a cool idea.

Friends and Family:
12. Stay in touch with friends, who are all spread out now, whether that be through phone or email.
13. Spend more time with my family. That includes cousins locally and family back in PA.

Money:
14. Start saving to buy a house. Not that I’m anywhere close to ready to do this, but it will be good to have some money set aside.

Self Improvement:
15. Read at least one book a month. (Ideally more)
16. Try meditation.
17. Go to more cultural events/festivals in my area. I live near DC and I never take advantage of it like I should.
18. Complete a cross word puzzle without having to Google any answers
19. Learn how to take better pictures. Maybe take a photography class.
20. Find time to volunteer with organizations I care about.
21. Unplug at least a half hour before I go to bed. Take that time to read or relax.
22. Be more spontaneous and less "type-A everything must be planned days/weeks in advance". Learn to roll with it.
23. Break out of my comfort zone and try some new restaurants instead of always relying on the same few.
24. Do something that scares the pants off me. I’m not sure what this will be yet, but I'm always open to ideas.

Well there you have it. Some of the things will be easy to do, like reading a book a month and trying new places to eat. Others will definitely be more of a challenge. But that's the point.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions. I'm looking forward to some really great experiences this year!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stay Sane During Taper

With only a few days left until the Philly Rock N Roll Half Marathon, I'm officially in taper mode.

It's time to slash mileage, top off my glycogen stores and get my legs in prime shape for race day.

The reason for tapering after months of training is to make sure your legs are well rested on race day. At this point, there's not much you can do to improve your overall fitness before the race. That work needed to be done over the last two months. So this final stretch before the race is all about taking it easy and keeping everything loose.

While the severe decrease in mileage can make some people go nuts (it's called taper madness for a reason), I'm trying to keep my wits about me.

Here's my plan for taper:
  1. Get in two solid runs this week.
  2. Stretch, foam roll, use the Stick to work out any lingering muscle kinks.
  3. Get enough sleep. Being well rested is crucial for race-day performance.
  4. Increase intake of "good" carbs, while decreasing the crap, like candy, cookies, etc.
  5. Hydrate like crazy.

It's a pretty basic plan, but it's going well so far.

I was excited that this week's "long" run was only seven miles. It gave me plenty of time to shower, run some errands and get to College Park in time for our first home game tailgate.

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I didn't have tickets for the game, but the Terps came out on top 62-3.

Scores from other teams I care about:
Notre Dame lost to Michigan 28-24. Dagger.
The Eagles lost to the Packers 27-20. Blame this on bad playing calling and starting QB choice by Andy Reid.
Terp soccer tied Boston College 1-1.

I love the start of fall sports season and I'm going to try to love this week of taper and not go nuts with such majorly decreased mileage.

How do you stay sane during taper week?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rest Day Reading

Welcome back to another edition of Rest Day Reading. Kick off your shoes, curl up on the couch and check out some great stories from the week.

Health and Fitness:

How Blogging Put Me in the Poor House - "Keeping up with the bloggers" can get expensive.
The Essential Pantry List - Good essentials to start building a well-stocked pantry.
Reasons NOT to Run a Marathon - Just because everyone else is doing it, is not a good reason.
How Your Cycle Affects Your Workouts - Fellas you might want to skip this one

Work Related:
How to land a job in digital PR
How to Run Your Business Online with $10 and a Google Account

Social Media:
11 True Stories Behind Tech’s Top Names

What have you been reading this week? Share your links below!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cooking Challenge: Easy Baked Chicken

As you can probably tell from most of the recipes I feature on the blog, I like things that are simple and easy to prepare and don't require you to buy a ton of expensive ingredients that you'll only use once.

By those parameters, this week's dinner, Ritz Breaded Chicken, couldn't have been more perfect.

I started with a simple chicken recipe that had four ingredients:
Chicken breast
Ritz crackers
Yogurt
Pepper

To start, place a sleeve of Ritz crackers in a ziplock bag and smash them to bits.

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Once you've got them crushed, add as much peppers as you'd like to the mix for flavor.

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Then set up your assembly line.

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Start with your chicken, then dunk it in a bowl of plain Greek yogurt and pull that through the bread crumbs before placing the chicken in the baking dish.

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Your hands will definitely get messy, but that's half the fun.

Repeat the assembly line process for all the pieces of chicken and then pop them in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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When the time is up, flip the chicken pieces over and put them back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

While the chicken was baking, I prepared some couscous and veggies as side dishes.

The result was a delicious and really filling meal, with plenty of leftovers.

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This recipe couldn't have been any easier to prepare. It took maybe 10 minutes to get everything ready and once it was in the oven, I had time to focus on other things.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Wipe Out!

Until this morning, I don't ever think I've totally bit it on a run. I'm talking tripped on the sidewalk and going flying, landing on my hands and knees and then proceeding to slide across the concrete on my stomach until all momentum stopped.

It happened in the blink of an eye and when the sliding was over I just sort of laid there all sprawled out, stunned by what had just happened and thinking thank gosh I managed to keep my face off the ground because that would have been ugly.

The next second I was hopping back up and after a quick inspection of my hands and knees I was up and running again.

Left knee was a little sore because I think it took the brunt of the fall, but nothing more than some minor bruising and gnarly scrapes. My hands and knees were bleeding, but that just makes me look more like a badass right?

When I got home I immediately cleaned out the cuts and oh goodness did that sting. I was hopping around my kitchen hissing with each burning sting since my roommates were still sleeping upstairs.

The cuts still tingle, but for the most part they are bandaged up and I'm fine.

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This cut on my hand is the worst of it.

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Minor swelling/bruising on my knees

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Skid marks on my shirt from the slide

Despite the fall I still managed to have one heck of a run.

Check out these splits:

1: 9:21
2: 8:57 (I bit it just after the 1.5 marker and didn't stop Garmin)
3: 8:28

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Post-Run Recovery Food Options

One of the things I've struggled most with during this training cycle is what to do about post-run recovery food.

It's recommended that within 30 minutes of finishing a run, you get something small, with a good blend of protein and carbs into your system to start helping your muscles recover and rebuild. Then a few hours later you should follow that up with a bigger meal to aid recovery and replace some of what you lost in the workout.

I never do this. Ever.

The main reason being that my stomach is never quite ready to eat 30 minutes after a run. At the very least I end up waiting an hour to eat and sometimes it's more like two or three hours.

I know that's not good, but it's just what my body can handle. If I try to eat food too soon after working out, I get sick.

However, after this weekend's long run, I blame my poor recovery plan for why my legs are still so sore.

I need to find some good options for post-run recovery. Bananas are out because they make me gag. Bagels and PB are just too heavy. Chocolate milk usually works well, but I so rarely have that on hand.

What works for you as post-run recovery food? I really need to find something better than what I'm doing now, but I'm not sure what else to try. Does anyone else have the problem of not being able to eat so soon after a workout?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Handling Unexpected Injuries While Training

Tailgating season started this weekend, and I have to say, it's about time!

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In fact, everyone was very excited to see each other.

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We had beautiful weather for both our Friday and Sunday tailgates. It was great to get together with friends I haven't seen in a while, grill some burgers and dogs and play some corn hole.

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The only downside to the whole day was that I somehow managed to hurt my knee playing corn hole.

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I'm not sure how it's possible to injure your knee in a game where you throw bean bags on to a board 20-some feet away, but apparently it's possible, and I did it.

And I'm not talking some minor bump or bruise, I'm talking it hurt so bad I had to sit down and then hobble into the stadium for the game and ice it for a good long time when I finally got home.

It wasn't any better Saturday morning either. I woke up, got dressed for my run and then realized my 12 miles just wasn't going to happen.

I spent most of the morning icing my knee, bummed that I had to skip my 12-miler and trying to convince myself that skipping a run was better than getting seriously hurt and missing my race in two weeks. I knew skipping the run was the right thing to do, but I still felt crappy about it, and I was figuring out how I could tweak my training plan depending on my knee.

If my knee felt better on Sunday, I'd do the 12 then. If it didn't, I mentally prepared myself to skip it and continue with my training as normal.

Luckily for me by Sunday morning, my knee seemed to have calmed down and I was able to run an awesome 12.4 miles in a little under 2 hours. It was a solid run, nothing hurt and I felt really good about it.

So what's the moral of this story?
  1. You can't control when you get hurt and sometimes the most ridiculous things cause you to get hurt.
  2. During training you have to learn to live with it and take time off you need.
  3. Rest and ice will usually speed healing along.
  4. DO NOT RUN if something hurts.
  5. Tweak your training plan as necessary. Sometimes you just have to totally skip a run. That's life. But other times you might be able to bump a run to a different day. Play it by ear.

All in all it was a great weekend. I think this knee thing during corn hole is going to be an issue for me. It bothered me again at Sunday's tailgate. Guess I'll need to start working on my corn hole form to prevent future problems.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Rest Day Reading

I do a lot of reading during the week and I stumble across a lot of great blog posts and articles that I want to share. Some of them I shoot out on Twitter. Others I bookmark in Delicious. Some are running and health related, but definitely not all of them.

Starting today, I'm introducing a new feature on Saturdays, called Rest Day Reading, where I'll share some of my favorite posts from the week.

Health and Fitness:
Owning My Healthy Lifestyle - A sassy take on living a healthy life
How to Choose a Training Plan that Works - My guest post on Diets In Review
Lulu-worthy - Having the right to feel comfortable in your workout gear
Embracing the Old Lady Inside - She's proud of the fact she goes to bed early and doesn't party hardy every weekend.

Social Media:
NASA Teams Up with Flickr - Cool pictures from NASA will be available in the Flickr Commons

Productivity:
Gmail Priority Inbox - Make your email easier to manage
Top 10 Reasons for Entrepreneurial Success

Commentary on Society:
What is it about 20-somethings? - NY Times piece on "emerging adults"
Are you the new 20-something? Why? - Great analysis of NY Times piece

Photography:
Shoot First, Wishlist later. - Taking better pictures.

Random News Bits:
8-Foot Shark Caught in Potomac River

What have you been reading this week? Share your favorite links in the comments.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Cooking Challenge: Pre-Race Fuel

Before my race last week, the BF and I were deciding what kind of pasta we wanted to make for carb-loading purposes. We wanted to do something a little more than just pasta and sauce, but also something that wouldn't take forever.

Enter baked ziti.

My friend used to make this in college all the time and it seemed simple enough. To keep things easy, I invented my own recipe.

(My apologies for the initial lack of pictures in this post. I forgot to upload them and don't have my camera connector cord with me. Blogger fail! I'll add them sometime this weekend for sure!)

First, make the pasta according to package instructions. The BF and I did this in advance and kept the pasta in the fridge until we were ready for dinner.

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When you're starting to get hungry, pre-heat your oven to 350 and begin assembling the ziti.

Dump a jar of your favorite pasta sauce in a bowl with the ziti and mix well, coating all the noodles with some sauce.

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Then begin layering in the pan. We used a 9x13 bake pan because that's what we had, and it worked well.

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Spread a layer of noodles and top that with a handful of mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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Add another layer of pasta and top with the cheeses. Repeat until you run out of pasta.

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Pop the pan in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your top noodles. We did 15 minutes and I thought it came out perfectly.

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This was definitely a fun and quick meal that put a nice spin on my basic pre-race meal. It's nice to mix it up a little bit, while still going for foods that work well and don't cause stomach problems on race morning.

What's your favorite pre-race meal?