Aug 7, 2012
Well, it has happened people. I had a tough week. No more sunshine and rainbows marathon training here…just grueling miles upon miles of excruciating running. I have learned some things after this week though, the most important being not to over-train. Up to this point, I have been cross training several times per week with kickboxing, weights, and cardio interval training. I think cross training is fabulous, and I really enjoy these activities, but I am going to have to choose between them each week rather than participate in all of them. As we up our miles, my body is protesting and I have to respect it if I want to survive until October. But just because I had a tough week, that doesn’t mean I am any less excited about what I am doing. I pushed through this training even when it wasn’t fun, and that makes me feel stronger and better prepared for the tougher weeks to come.
Total runs: 8
Total miles: 43.6
Good thoughts: Eight runs?! What on earth was I thinking?! And why in the world am I talking about it in my “good thoughts”? Because I am running with my kids, people! That’s right, I have inspired my kids to lace-up their shoes and get out there. This has actually been going on for a few weeks, but this is the first time that they have wanted to go out multiple times in one week. Yeah, it pushed my miles over the edge. And you bet there were a couple times where I wanted to cry when they asked to run. But I can’t tell you how good it feels to know that a.) my kids want to do something with me that they know I enjoy, and b.) that I am inspiring my kids to take care of and challenge their bodies. Combine that with all the Olympic events we have been watching, and I feel like my little athletes are ready to take on the world. Oh, and my eight-year-old had a personal best mile with a time of 8:02.
Not-so-good-thoughts: Where do I begin? How about the pain in my left foot radiating through my ankle, up my shin, and to my knee with every step? Or how about with the thunderstorm that greeted us on our 14-mile run this past weekend? Or maybe I should start with this lovely Ohio humidity that makes me feel like I am drinking the air every time I inhale? Obviously this wasn’t the smoothest week of running, but like I said before, I am figuring some things out and am ready to tackle this week with a new outlook. Plus, I have some orthopedic sandals on their way that I am going to wear around the house to hopefully alleviate some of this foot pain. Yeah, orthopedic shoes are so sexy, I know ;). If anyone has a recommendation for a relatively lightweight shoe with some good arch support that can withstand long runs, let me know.
Vegan thoughts: I have to be honest, I rarely think about the fact that I am a “vegan” anymore. This is just the way I eat, and it has to fall in line with the demands of my training. I get plenty of extra protein (thanks to Vega powder in my green smoothie every day) and take a couple supplements to fill-in where my diet can’t (like B-12). I have been ordering a plant-based sport drink powder to keep in my fuel belt for our long runs, but this week I ran out. Knowing that it wouldn’t arrive in time for this week’s 14-miler, I experimented in the kitchen a bit and wouldn’t you know? I made my own Gatorade! It has lemon and lime juice for flavor, a little agave nectar to subdue the tartness of the citrus fruits, and coconut water to replenish electrolytes and provide slow-burning sugar. It is so refreshing and it really tastes so good, minus all the dyes, artificial sweeteners, and who-knows-what-else you can find in other sports drinks. And because I am such a swell gal, I am sharing the recipe with you here!
LEMON-LIME SPORT DRINK
1 cup coconut water
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
Combine all ingredients. Stir or shake vigorously until well combined. Drink and enjoy.
Jul 30, 2012
Hooray for taper week! Our long run was only 9 miles this week, and it is amazing how much shorter that feels having gone so much further the past few weeks. At the same time, it is funny to call 9 miles a “break,” because not that long ago, 9 miles would have been all I had in me. Bottom line: training diligently really does work.
Total runs: 6
Total miles: 31.31
Good thoughts: I still feel strong at the end of a run, which is such a big confidence booster. Don’t get me wrong…I am pushing myself out there, especially on shorter days when I play with my stride and cadence a little bit. But even then I don’t feel completely spent when I get to the end of a run. I know I have more in me, and I know I am feeling pretty good that those extra miles in me are what will push me to the end of 26.2. Long story short, I am really thinking I can do this.
Not-so-good thoughts: Gnarly feet. Can I tell you how gross my toes are right now without compromising our friendship? Good, because my feet are gross. I have had running calluses in the past, and to be honest, I have never been much of a pedicure kind of girl. But the past several weeks of blisters and tape and callous-building have made my feet an embarrassment. No black or lost toenails yet, but then again, we aren’t even halfway through training. Hopefully that won’t happen until we are well past flip flop weather!
Vegan thoughts: Dates are one of my most favorite treats in the world. Yeah, they kind of look like cockroaches, but they are sweet and gooey goodness. Plus, I can grab one right before a run for a natural boost of energy that won’t weigh me down mid-run. Sometimes, though, when I plan ahead a little, I make a batch of my own homemade energy bites, and they take all the goodness of dates and combine them with healthy fats and protein to make a seriously amazing treat. My friend Karen originally posted the recipe a few months back on her blog, and you can see it here with some pictures. But really, these things are so good they are worth sharing again…
COCOA-COCO-ALMOND ENERGY BITES
9 pitted prunes, chopped
15 pitted dates, chopped
¼ cup unsweetened coconut
7 raw almonds
1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. stevia (or powdered sugar, if you prefer).
Combine the first five ingredients in a food processor and pulse until sticky and clumping together. Add additional coconut or almonds if the mixture is too wet, or add additional dates if the mixture is too dry.
Mix together 1 Tbsp. cocoa and stevia (or powdered sugar). Roll tablespoon-sized balls of the mixture in cocoa mix.
Refrigerate until firm, or keep in freezer if you plan to carry it with you on a long run.
Jul 25, 2012
It has been a little crazy around here lately, thus combining two weeks into one for this post. Long-term power outages, food poisoning, knitting orders, and the general craziness that defines the day of a mom has kept me from sitting down at the computer for any significant period of time. But it has not kept me from running! My foot is feeling great, my legs feel strong, and I am finding it pretty easy to keep a good pace and control my breathing. I ran 14 miles on Saturday and if I am going to be honest, I probably had a few more good miles left in me. That means my training is doing what it is supposed to, and it is getting me so much more excited for October.
Total runs: 11
Total miles: 68.09
Good thoughts: Amy and I have been keeping at a 10-minute pace on our long weekend runs, going a bit faster during the week on our shorter runs. That will give us a completely respectable time on race day and should keep us injury-free during our training. However, this past weekend we were feeling a little crazy and kept a 9:37 average pace, and I have to say that I felt just as good after that run as I ever have. We probably won’t train that way every week, but it is great to know that we are capable of smashing our already lofty goals (finishing a marathon is lofty if you ask me!).
Not-so-good-thoughts: Animals. Everywhere. I usually leave the house well before sunrise, and sometimes I even return in complete darkness. Turns out that is when all of the wildlife in my little town likes to play, too! Raccoons, foxes, opossums, skunks…all of them have been hanging out on the running paths while I am out and they don’t seem to mind that I am there. They just sit there, and if I don’t see them in the dark, they still SIT THERE. Can I tell you how terrifying it is to notice an opossum too late and have to JUMP OVER ITS GIANT RATTY BODY?!? Or have a mother raccoon hiss at you as you swerve into the road screaming? I am not what I would call an animal lover—just because I don’t eat them doesn’t mean I want to hang out with them. I am looking forward to when it is cool enough for me to run in daylight, for sure.
Vegan thoughts: My diet is still serving me very well, and this was proven true to me again when I was struck with a nasty case of food poisoning a while back. We had eaten out after church, and within a few hours I was doubled-over in pain and didn’t leave bed for nearly 48 hours. Nothing to drink or eat…I just couldn’t take it. But when it was over, I was fine. There was no “getting back on my feet” period like I have had in the past…I was simply back to my old energetic self. The idea with the way I am eating now is that my body will be able to recover faster from physical activity so that I can go out and do the same things again sooner and thus be able to train better. But that quicker recovery transfers over into everything, including recovering from sickness. This is the first time I have been sick since switching to plant-based eating, and I am amazed at the difference in my recovery time.
Jul 10, 2012
Are you tired of me being giddy about running yet? Too bad, because I am still all sunshine and rainbows over here. Not to say that it is more than a little difficult to roll out of bed at 4:30 each morning; and not to say that the humidity and heat of an Ohio summer don’t make running a little soggy; but now I am loving my runs so much that I am craving them before the next run comes around. Almost like I crave the Cherry Co-op Bar from Pattycake Bakery. But instead of gooey chocolate and oats and fruit, I am aching for sweat and the thump thump thump of my heart pounding in my chest. Of course, these two craving can (and do) exist simultaneously, but luckily I have much easier access to my running shoes than Pattycake…
Total runs: 6
Total miles: 32.78
Good thoughts: Amy and I are up to double-digits during our long runs. We went for 11 this weekend and we finished stronger than we started. That feels good.
Not-so-good thoughts: HUMIDITY. We are experiencing a little bit of a heat wave here in Central Ohio, and on more than one morning this week, the temperature was pushing 80. Before the sun even came up, people! Add to that the thick, sticky humidity that is special to an Ohio summer, and some of these runs have been pretty gross. No big complaints, though, because I have my trusty FuelBelt and am running home toward air-conditioning. All positive thoughts here!
Featured running gear: My Garmin Forerunner. I will be the first to tell you that this is a luxury, not a necessity. But, my oh my, how I love this little gadget. It has seriously changed the way I train. It tells me my pace, my time, my distance, and my heart rate, all while I am on the road. And then when I get home, it automatically uploads to my computer and shows me a map of my route, my elevation gains, and all kinds of fun graphs and charts to help me qualify my run. There is even a feature where I can race against an imaginary running partner! I know that people have been running with these for years now, but I have only had mine for ten days and it is still super exciting and new to me. Because, you know, I needed to be more excited about this whole training thing, right?
Vegan thoughts: I admit it. I am hungry. A cheeseburger would be lovely right now. But I am also convinced that I am running stronger and better than ever, and I am equally sure that my diet has everything to do with that. I have started eating a couple of dates before I go out, and that seems to be a good way to give me a quick energy boost without resorting to gels and whatever else they market to runners. I haven’t had to eat during a run yet, so we will see what I can come-up with when that time comes.
Jul 1, 2012
My grandfather had a stroke several months ago, and has been largely confined to a bed since. Any time I don’t want to roll out of bed at 4:30, any time my legs are tired, any time it is hot and I am sweating and uncomfortable, all I have to do is think of him and I run with joy. He would give anything right now to run and feel that kind of ache in his legs, and I refuse to take it for granted. With week two under my belt, I am still riding the high of “I am actually doing this.” However, after that wears off, I will continue to run with nothing but joy for him.
Total runs: 6
Total miles: 29.3
Good thoughts: Our long run this week was 9 miles, and at the end I felt like I could keep going forever. While I know not every long run will feel this way, it is unbelievably encouraging to go any distance and finish strong.
Not-so-good-thoughts: Chafing. Sweet Lord, chafing. I never had it until this week, and good grief…I might have to bathe in Body Glide before each run after this.
Featured running gear: Second Sole. My biggest priority this week was to find a solution for my foot problems. Morning foot massages and stretching have helped tremendously, but I could tell I needed something to protect my feet while running. My first stop was at a sporting goods store to find some arch-supporting insoles. They seemed fine at the store, and I certainly didn’t skimp on the price, but wearing them for a short three-mile run was nothing short of excruciating. My heel pain was gone, but my toes felt like they were going to break (and worse, my toenails felt like they were going to break…I will post more on my paralyzing fear of losing a toenail in another post). So I took the insoles back and visited my local running store to try and find a lightweight “close-to-the-road” shoe that would give me a little more protection on these longer training days. I walked away with a pair of shoes (these Saucony Cortanas) that feel great and have kept me pain-free. Yet as much as I love them (aren’t they cute?!?), they are not my featured gear for the week. Rather, I am featuring the running store itself. No matter what kind of recommendations or reviews a shoe gets, nothing beats an expert analyzing your foot and stride, and talking to you about what you need. Find a smaller, local operation in your area and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. If you are in the Central Ohio area, I can’t say enough good things about Second Sole.
Vegan thoughts: I have really been pushing myself to eat only the best food I can get my hands on…lots of green smoothies, leafy green salads, fresh fruit, and a crazy amount of WATER. I can put in as many miles in as I like, but I know that if I am not fueling my body to be its most efficient (with food and rest), then I won’t be able to train at my best. I have been adding a scoop of Vega Energizing Smoothie powder to my post-workout shake to give it a little more “oomph,” but otherwise I am keeping only whole plant foods in my refrigerator. So far, this is working for me, and I feel great.
Jun 27, 2012
I have officially finished my first week of marathon training. I get a little high just thinking about that, but I also know that there is a long, grueling road ahead of me. Knowing that in a few short months I will be running a race longer than the total miles I ran this week is enough to give me chills of both excitement and dread. I will focus on the excitement for now…
Total runs: 5
Total miles: 22.5
Good thoughts: I have never felt better or stronger running. I am itching to push my limit.
Not-so-good thoughts: I think I might have plantar faciitis, which is giving me some pain when I first get out of bed and at the start of my runs. I have been working on stretching it some, but might have to look into other options if I don’t want to be limping each morning.
Featured running gear: My training partner, Amy. Up until a few months ago, I had never run with anyone. With three kids zipping around, the aloneness of running—and the opportunity to actually hear my own thoughts—is a large part of what has made it so appealing to me. However, Amy is the one who talked me into this whole marathon thing, and since she has done this before, I have gladly welcomed her company and expertise on the long run training days. Not only is she great to talk to, she is a smart runner and I am learning a ton about how to do this distance properly.
Vegan thoughts: I will admit that when I first decided to eliminate animal products from my diet, I was a little worried about getting enough protein for my active pursuits. I was a chicken breast, egg white, and Greek yogurt kind of girl before I made the vegan switch, and some of my favorite fitness experts live by that model. However, it didn’t take me long to find some amazing athletes who are plant-based, and I am excited to see how I can push myself using their recommendations. Stay tuned as I experiment with some recipes and products to fuel my training!