Monday, August 31, 2015

Workouts - August 31, 2015 and Some Photos from Our Week

Hopefully, this will be the last week where I only post the workouts update.  The exhausting work travel is winding to a close, and the next several weeks should be boring.  Good boring.  Here are the workouts:

Monday: Rest, work travel

Tuesday: 7 flat miles at an 8:49 pace, done as one-mile laps around a lakeside park I found.

Wednesday: 2.5 very hilly miles, 9:15 pace.  After I woke up, realized work was going to be crazy all day long, and decided a quick run would be better than no run.  It was a good decision. 

Thursday: 11.3 miles, 9:16 pace with four stops for water and 15g of carbs at the halfway point.  My son was at his nursery school, work was calm, and I found myself with a few hours to kill.  I intended to run something moderate like 6-8 miles and set off on my favorite loop.  About three miles in, I felt really good so I headed up a big hill and over Red Mountain into a different part of the city.  I have a good mental inventory of where water and bathrooms are available, so I wasn't worried.  OF COURSE I immediately got very lost, had to ask directions, and ended up with this mess.  It wasn't too bad, though.  I just wish the temperature had been a little cooler.

Friday: Decided to hit up the same vinyasa yoga class I went to last week.  I sort of feel like it's a good upper body workout as well.  Also saw the chiropractor and not to be all woowoo but I really think it's helping.

Saturday: 13.2 miles with the Track Club, 9:12 pace with four stops for water.  Fuel was 100 calories of salted chocolate almonds immediately before and 6 oz of sports drink during.  It was very humid, which is getting...very old.  The full marathoners were doing a 17-mile run, so I just cut a bit off the route.  Of course, you can't stop at just 13 when you can add a bit and make it a "half marathon," right??!  The average pace on this one would have been a bit faster, but the first mile was like 10:45.  Our whole household had a sleepless night, which happens.  I skipped coffee and food and just jetted out the door.  I am so grateful for all of the little snacks I keep stashed in the car, and I dove head-first into a massive iced redeye immediately after finishing the run.  Coffee.  Don't underestimate its power.

Sunday: Traditional "Big 3" powerlifting weights workout.  I am now squatting over my body weight!  Followed by an hour-long spin class.

Totals:  34.1 miles of running, 1 yoga class, 1 weights session, 1 cross training cardio session

Ok, here are some pictures from our week.

At the county fair...more pictures soon!
Please excuse my RBFS.  I realized my hair had gotten way way WAY too long, especially for someone who runs outdoors in the humid South.  So here is a before picture.

Even worse RBFS in this one, but here is the after photo.  I went in wanting a shoulder-length messy bob, but the stylist convinced me otherwise.  Apparently women with "interesting" hair color have a moral obligation to have as much of said hair as humanly tolerable.  I went with her suggestion and got a bunch of layers to lighten it up. 

Insane workdays mean my sweet husband is preparing me a lot of little breakfasts that look like something you'd get in a fancy spa.  I'm not complaining. 

A quick trip to see my parents.

Okay, everyone have a nice week!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Workouts - August 24, 2015

I'm not gonna lie...this month has been incredibly hard.  Right now, I am physically and mentally exhausted, sitting here with my cup of coffee and making an executive decision not to run today.

Monday: 4.5 miles in a park in rural upstate New York (yes, this has been a month with too much travel, for those of you playing along at home).  I have no idea of the pace, because I couldn't get satellites for my watch and didn't check the time.

Tuesday: 6 miles in the same park, satellites worked this time and it was 9:40 pace and yes that is slow but I ran by effort and just didn't feel great.

Wednesday: Rest.  Drove home and it was gross and awful and exhausting.

Thursday: 5 miles on the treadmill, as part of my recent shift to adding speed work and doing it on the treadmill to avoid roasting myself in this summer heat.  I did one mile easy, then four miles at 7:52 pace.  I did not stop or pause the treadmill at all during the run.

Friday: 3 quick miles on the treadmill, 8:19 pace, followed by an hour-long vinyasa yoga class.

Saturday: 12.6 miles during the weekly long run with the track club, 9:06 pace with five stops for water.  For several weeks, I have had my sights set on the 9:00 min/mile pace group for these runs.  I usually do them at about a 9:20 pace, keeping an eye on my HR and making sure I'm not running too hard.  Although there are always a few other runners at that pace, it can be quite lonely to run ahead of the popular 10:00 min/mile pace group, but not be able to keep up with the faster group.  So for this run I decided to suck it up and see what would happen if I pushed myself a bit.

Unfortunately, the 9:00 min/mile pacers didn't run consistently and their splits were all over the place.  Miles two, four, and seven were in the 8:30s, which is WAY TOO FAST for my long runs.  I rolled my ankle slightly at mile six, and then let the pace group drop me after that.  The rest of the run was quite the event, and I managed to get myself lost and run alone for miles on a sketchy road and skip water stops.  When I found the route again, I chugged ice water, then made it about a quarter mile before I threw up cold water on the sidewalk.  No one saw, haha.  All of this was in 80-degree heat and 100% humidity which is getting SO OLD.  Oddly enough, I felt strong for the whole run, which made up for some of it.

Sunday:  Myrtl routine and an hour-long spin class.

Totals:  31.1 miles of running, a yoga class, a spin class, and some injury prevention stuff. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Workouts - August 17, 2015

Short and dirty post!  I'm in the middle of some very difficult travel.  I pride myself on always making time to work out despite the demands of day-to-day life, but the past few days have really thrown me off. 

W started nursery school this past week, which coincided with some business travel for Nate.  I was staying on top of things with a rental car (we only have one vehicle), until I got word that I had to travel as well.  I ended up taking a red eye flight on Friday, and brought W along due to some unforeseen problems with childcare.  The only available flight was oversold, so W had to ride in my lap.  Then, due to airport delays, we very nearly missed our connecting flight, skipped dinner, and basically both lost our tempers.  On Saturday, I attended a professional event with an open bar and very light food and because I am an old lady I ended up with a massive hangover.  Awesome.

All of this is my way of saying that I took two days off of running this week, which included skipping my weekly long run.  I'm not too bothered, though, mostly because 1) last week was intense, with several runs on "heavy legs" and the increasing feeling that I just need some real rest, 2) I've been trying to gain a bit of weight, and it's very hard for me to do that without reducing mileage, at least temporarily, and 3) I'll be back to my old routine by the end of this week.

Monday: 4 miles on the treadmill (9:25 pace), leg day!
Tuesday: 6 miles around downtown, 9:23 pace
Wednesday: 4.5 miles outdoors on a blistering hot afternoon, 9:05 pace (stopped twice for water)
Thursday: 4.5 miles on the treadmill, 8:27 average pace (1 mile warmup, 3.5 miles at HM pace)
Friday: 6.5 miles on the treadmill, 9:14 average pace (one hour aerobic HR with no pauses or breaks)
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest

Totals:  26.5 miles of running, one weight training session.

Already today I have attempted to run in this podunk town, but I could not get a GPS signal anywhere.  That never stops me, but I have no idea how far or for how long I ran.  I am guessing I ran 4-5 miles in about 45 minutes but who knows!  The whole experience only served to make me feel even more off the rails with my training.  Oh well, I'll be home soon.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Workouts - August 10, 2015

Hi!  I don't really have too much to report from this past week.  It was another disgustingly hot week, and I ran a lot despite it.  I finally have my mileage back above 30 miles per week, for the first time since the marathon in February.  It has been a long and torturous path coming back from injury, but I have been sneaking back into the higher mileage in a very deliberate way.  The past eight weeks have also been very consistent, and I haven't missed any planned workouts.

I have just one running photo this week, from my Saturday long run with the Birmingham Track Club.

A portrait of all the fools willing to run long in unspeakable weather.  I'm turned away and wearing my ubiquitous black cap.  I believe I was staring longingly at the 8:00 min/mile pace group. 

Monday: I got up early and ran 5.3 miles on my downtown loop, 9:28 pace.  These early weekday runs always feel SO SLOW, so I try not to look at my watch very much.
Tuesday: I did 7 miles on the fancy gym treadmill.  That was 6 miles aerobic (9:20 pace) and 1 mile at HM pace (8:00).  Right now, it is ten weeks until the 4 Bridges Half Marathon, so I am starting some tempo runs to get my legs ready.  I am working with a 1:45 goal in mind, and willing to reevaluate as the race gets closer.  I have run a hilly ten-miler at an 8:05 pace, so I think that is a reasonable goal.  My half marathon PR is 1:54:something, but as it turned out I was injured for that race.  Blah blah blah...what I'm trying to say is my goal pace is 8:00. 

Wednesday: I headed to the park for four laps, which works out to 3.6 miles.  I tried to keep the tempo up and increase my speed through the run.   I ended up with an 8:14 average pace, although I stopped my watch for water (something I normally only do on long runs). 

Thursday: No surprise I woke up with really heavy legs, so I just did 40 minutes of weight training. 

Friday:  I normally take Fridays as a rest day, because it helps so much with the Saturday long run.  I needed some mileage, though, so I ran a loop around the hospital campus without looking at my watch.  It was 4.8 miles at a 9:31 pace. 

Saturday: Long run day, and I managed 13.8 miles at a 9:20 pace (remember, I stop my watch for water stops, and this run probably had 6-7 of those).  The weather was just horrendous...82 degrees F and 100% humidity.  The last two miles were incredibly difficult.  At mile seven, we looped back through downtown and several people running alongside me dropped out.  Around mile ten, everyone else in my pace group decided to turn back.  I knew there were three or four people still running ahead of me, and I had a friend running a solid 9:40 pace behind me.  I figured that if anything weird happened, he would be along to reel me in.  I made a mental note of a few shortcuts and extra water stops on the course that would allow me to bail if necessary.  Then, I did what basically amounted to a solitary death march through the sunny hills of Mountain Brook.  In situations like this, I just try to tell myself that the most miserable moments are the ones that make me stronger.  When I hit twelve miles, I bumped into some other runners at one of our permanent water stops, and they were like "YOU ARE DOING GREAT!"  Hugely motivating.  Then, just moments later, I saw another runner outside Starbucks being helped for mild heat exhaustion.  Not so motivating.  At around thirteen miles, I looked at my watch and saw that I had been running exactly two hours.  I felt satisfied with that and headed back to my car.  Yuck. 

Sunday:  I had parent orientation at my son's new school, so I missed spin class.  Bummer.  Right as I got to the gym, my favorite personal trainer told me they were starting new Thai kickboxing classes, and I should try it out.  Only one hour long...what could possibly go wrong??!  I mean, when I lived in Colorado I took a kickboxing class twice a week.  I'm a pro!  Well, apparently I lost some kickboxing-specific fitness during the years.  Oops.  My arms are KILLING me right now.  It seems like a really good core workout, though, so I'll probably go back.

Totals:  34.8 miles of running, one weight training session, one hour of cross training.  

And by the way, I am posting this while I'm home with a very sick child.  My crazy husband is out running in afternoon heat, and I'm trying to get over the fact that my entire body is sore in unfamiliar and horrifying ways.  I have some more posts on diet planned, but 1) this week is going to be busy, and 2) I am not feeling very much like an authority on that front lately.  Exhibit 1:  I woke up this morning saying "man, I am going to eat clean today!"  But by the time I dealt with Monday morning emails and dragged W to the doctor's office, I felt completely defeated.  We totally went to the Taco Bell next to the pharmacy, because it's his favorite.  Hahaha.  Maybe tomorrow I'll do better. 

Hope you guys had a great week!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Recipe: Crispy Oven-fried Okra

Emergency!  We are in the dog days of summer, and our CSA has started the annual okra harvest.  Each week, we get pounds and pounds of the stuff.  My Yankee husband isn't so sure about the slimy texture of boiled okra.  So, late last year I invented this method for oven frying fresh okra.  It is incredibly easy, can be prepped before work, saves well, and doesn't trash your kitchen the way deep frying would.  My toddler son loves it, too!

Crispy Oven-fried Okra

This recipe is for two pounds of okra, but it can be adapted to any amount.

Fresh raw okra, washed, trimmed, and chopped into 1" lengths
Whole milk (about 1/2 cup per pound of okra)
1/2 cup powdered Parmesan cheese (Yes, the cheapo shaker kind...just try to get the stuff that doesn't have additives.  I recommend the ALDI brand.)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white cornmeal
salt and pepper to taste

Place the okra and whole milk in a large bowl, toss to coat the okra, and refrigerate.  Let the okra soak in the milk for at least three hours, stirring occasionally.  Over time, the milk will be absorbed into the interior of the okra.  After soaking, discard the milk that remains in the bottom of the bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the okra by handfuls and toss to coat with the dry mixture.  Shake off the excess dry mixture and spread the okra out on a baking sheet.  A dark, unlined baking sheet will help the okra brown. 

Bake the okra at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes, shaking and turning the okra halfway through.  You may need to slightly adjust the cooking time based on your particular oven and the type of baking sheet you use. 


Monday, August 3, 2015

Workouts - August 3, 2015 and My Son Ran His First Race!

Happy August!  For those of us in the Deep South, August is a reason to celebrate.  We are in the middle of an unbearably hot summer, and August means September is right around the corner!  Seriously, not a day goes by that I don't fantasize about cool(er) fall temperatures.

This week was a bit different.  I ran last week's long run on Sunday, so I sort of pushed everything forward by a day.  Also, W ran his first little race, the kids' kilometer at my track club's Saturday Social.

Monday:  hour-long Spin class at the gym, followed by 20 minutes on the TRX rack for abs and shoulders.

Tuesday:  5.3 miles on my favorite downtown loop, 9:00 pace on the nose (not planned!).  It was a bit hotter than I thought (hahaha), so I stopped in a coffee shop for water, and they were really nice about it.  Then, not a minute later I was very nearly hit by a car that ran a stop sign.  I had to dive onto some bushes.  The driver rolled down his window and said, "OK?"  When I replied, "Yeah, but you ran that stop sign," he just shouted "F**K YOU, LADY!"  Lovely.  He was a younger guy, maybe 25-30, with brown hair and a round face, driving a newer bright blue Pontiac sedan.  What a jerk.

Wednesday:  3.6 miles in Railroad Park, 9:12 pace.  I planned to run more, but it was so humid that I didn't leave the park.  I followed that with 20 minutes of TRX legs at home.

Thursday:  6 miles on the treadmill, aerobic, which ended up being 9:20 pace.

Friday:  Rest.

Saturday:  11.5 miles, 9:10 pace, with the track club.  We started at the Vulcan, which was a nice downhill send-off but OH MY LORD the climb back up at the end!  Getting up that hill at the end of a longer run is a...meditative experience.  The reason this run was faster was because the weather really improved (calm your tits, it was about 74 degrees and 60% humidity, instead of the usual 85 degrees and 99% humidity haha).  I ran with the 9:00 pace group until the very end.

Sunday:  hour-long Spin class, immediately after LEG DAY.  I spent an hour doing a full leg set with free weights.  Foreshadowing:  I did my Monday morning run the next day, and yikes.

Totals:  26.4 miles of running, two spin classes, three weight training sessions.

Saturday's long run was staged at the Birmingham Track Club's annual Vulcan Social.  They have staggered runs with pace leaders, music, free food, and a kids' one-kilometer run.  After I finished my run, Nate and W joined me.  The running community here is so friendly and close-knit that they wanted to say hello.  Even though W is pretty small, he ran the kids' race.  He absolutely knows what racing is, and knows the words "run," "race," and "GO!"  He was pretty excited for the run, and did 99% of it at an actual run.  He's a good sport, too, and he cheered for the faster kids as they passed him.  He finished dead last, but he was the only runner younger than 3, so I told him he won his age group, haha.  On to the photos!

Vulcan at sunrise.  Not too shabby. 

Checking out the competition.

Life lesson:  You have to line up behind the faster runners!
Toddler determination.

Getting some help near the end.

Of course, we went out for bagels after.