Progress Update: April

Jet-lag is a cruel, cruel joke. It’s hard enough to leave Hawaii to come home to flat, boring Wisconsin. It’s another thing to feel incapacitated for three days trying to readjust to losing five hours. I recently read that for every time zone you cross, it takes one day to recover. I flew across five time zones to get back home, so… I suppose I shouldn’t be “adjusted” until Saturday. Which feels about right. My brain is like mush and all I want to do is lay around. I’m forcing myself to do otherwise, though, in the hopes that tomorrow I’ll feel somewhat “normal.”

 

In an attempt to distract myself from wanting to take a nap, I’ve decided to post an update on my progress for my 365 Goal.

 

As I’ve mentioned in my last two posts, the beginning of April was stellar. I wasn’t making up for lost miles, but I was at least keeping up with the “one mile a day” strategy. I wasn’t literally running a mile a day, but I was averaging the 7 miles per week by running three days a week.

 

Then the dreaded “still winter” season killed my outdoor running plans, I worked a lot, and all motivation was lost. I was really looking forward to going to Hawaii. I have a special love for running in Hawaii. Perhaps it is because that is where I first learned to run. Perhaps it is because it is paradise and any “normal” thing you do in paradise is just automatically twice as sweet. Any way, while I wasn’t motivated to run here, I was certainly motivated to get some miles in during my time in Hawaii– thinking that I still had some time to add to my mileage for April.

 

Well, we flew out on April 29th, and we didn’t run on the 30th, so all of my Hawaii runs count for May.

 

April’s totals are, therefore, disappointing. I ran just 16.5 miles. Boo.

That’s less than March, and I was really counting on having my totals go up from March through the summer. So it’s a tad discouraging.

 

{Are you sick of my failures yet? I sure am!}

 

I got pretty far ahead in May already, so I was able to have these few days to recover without needing to worry about making up for miles. Starting this weekend, though, I’m going to need to start working hard to keep up and hopefully get ahead again for the month.

 

The Color Run is at the end of this month, and I finally signed up for the Dirty Girl Mud Run in June. There’s a MRTT virtual 5k happening in July, and in August I’m planning on doing the Electric Run. Keeping the races coming in a steady stream gives me no excuse to not keep at it– which is kind of the point.

 

Even if I don’t make my mileage for the year (the year isn’t half over yet, and even though I’m incredibly behind, I’m choosing to not be pessimistic) I’m still proud of all that I’ll accomplish. I’ll have quite a few races under my belt, and I’ve already run quite a bit more than last year. “Slow and steady” doesn’t win timed races, but it wins a different kind of race: the one against your lazy self. So I’m not taking a nap today. I might even run.

 

Stay tuned!

 

2013 Miles Goal: 365

Miles Run So Far: 60.75

Miles to Go: 260

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A Little Nudge

On Thursday, I began writing a post about my lack of motivation. I had an awesome start to the month of April– on the 11th, I had run 11 miles. I wasn’t making up for lost miles, but at least I was on par with what I needed to do for the month. (Remember, 365 miles is 1 mile per day, so I was good for the month so far!) Well, then we were hit with two weeks of cold and rain, and suddenly, I was running just once per week. Losing about 5 miles per week kills motivation real quick!

 

So there I sat on Thursday. I was writing a self-pitying post about how even though it was sunny outside, it was really windy, and I probably wasn’t going to run that day. I was feeling pretty guilty about it– I hadn’t run since the previous Wednesday!– and suddenly, I heard my computer make that weird ‘bloop!’ noise that it makes when someone messages you on Facebook. It was a friend wondering if I wanted to meet her at 4pm for a run around Lake Andrea.

I had already showered. Already resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to run that day. Already given up. But I couldn’t bring myself to say no or to make an excuse that wasn’t really an excuse. I knew I needed to just do it. So I went.

 

And then I went again on Saturday.

 

Granted, Saturday was like 63 degrees and it wasn’t hard to get motivated, but I think running on Thursday had a lot to do with getting out there again yesterday. Running, for me, is habitual. I either run often, or not at all, for stretches at a time. Going out just once motivates me to get out there again.

 

So the next time I find myself in the state I found myself on Thursday, I pray that someone just asks me to run again. Because really, that’s all it took. A little nudge.

 

I’ll post a longer blog about this at some point, but I have come to the realization that running isn’t just a solo sport, as I had always imagined it was. Like most things, it’s often better with friends.

 

If you’re trying to talk yourself into running today, why not ask a friend to join you? Maybe he or she needs that nudge just as much as you do.

Weather Setbacks

Well, we had a few nice days at the end of March and beginning of April. I was running outside! I was on track for miles for the month! It was glorious!

 

Then… THIS happened.

weatherapril

{TMJ4 Storm Team iContribute Photo Gallery}

 

I know, I know. “April showers bring May flowers.” Screw that, though. It’s not just rainy. It’s rainy, windy, and COLD. Spring in Wisconsin isn’t that beautiful, unless you’re talking the last few days/weeks of May and first few weeks of June. But barely a month of spring-type weather qualifies as Spring. They like to joke that the four seasons in Wisconsin are: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction.

 

We’re in “still winter.” As such, I lost the great start I had at the beginning of the month. If I weren’t such a baby, I’d run in the cold rain. I’m not that hardcore. I’d like to be, one day, but for now: I made a little bit of time to go run on the treadmill this week. It’s the much less convenient alternative, because I have to do it over Skip’s nap and I worked almost every day this week. So I was only able to run the one day I had off.

 

I’m behind for the month. I’m behind for the year, really, but I’m just focusing on months at a time.

{It’s a little less motivation-killing to do it that way.}

 

This just further solidifies the fact that we need to live somewhere that I can run outside year-round. This treadmill business is getting old, fast. It was fine for the beginning of the C25K program, because it varied and kept me interested, but just running for 25 minutes on the treadmill? Yeah, that sucks. Even if you are watching TV. The bouncing doesn’t help.

 

In any case, I’m still optimistic that the summer will yield better mileage for me. I find myself in the same kind of anticipation for summer that I experienced as a kid. Maybe it’s because I’m subbing, so I’m in the same environment I was as a kid, but I’ve HAD. IT. with this rain and cold. I’ve checked out of the present. I’m nostalgically longing for warmth, sunshine, and the ability to open my windows.

 

As I’m typing this, I glanced up and there are snow flurries fluttering around outside. Why do I live here?!

 

I just want to run.

——

Also:I would feel it remiss to not mention how much the city of Boston and the runners, spectators, and citizens there are in my heart and on my mind. I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said, nor do I feel that I have any sort of adequate words to utter in response. I found Patton Oswalt’s and Stephen Colbert’s to be two of the more succinct and resonating responses. As someone who is slowly working her way up to running longer distances, I know that the chance of ever qualifying to run the Boston Marathon is far off and perhaps unreachable for me. It hasn’t stopped me from putting it on my Bucket List of Runs. My heart aches for those there for the first time. For those there for the last time. For those there to cheer on their loved ones. For those there that took years to qualify. Just to have their moment of accomplishment taken from them. It’s awful.

 

I texted my husband on Monday when I heard the news and asked, “What kind of world do we live in?!” That statement was one of disgust at the ugly and hate that exists, but in the aftermath, I know that the ugly and hateful are small in number, though their actions may have monumental consequences. The beautiful and kind and supportive are larger in number, as we’ve seen over the past week, and I’m grateful to live in a country that will be at odds with each other over an elected official but will come together when it matters.


Every step I run towards my goal this year will be a prayer for Boston and for the future, moving forward.

Runners-united-to-remember-bib-for-Boston

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Sneaky Zucchini – Part 2: Brownies & Cheesy Rice

For Part 2 of Sneaky Zucchini Week, I thought I’d share two other recipes that I love involving sneaking some zucchini.

 

I won’t be giving a step-by-step for either of these, since they are not from my family recipe book. I found these two recipes on Pinterest, and their original sources give pretty thorough step-by-step instructions. I’m not interested in reinventing the wheel, here. Not my style.

 

First Up: Zucchini Brownies

 

photo (2)

 

The first time I made these, I did so for the purpose of being sneaky. I saw a pin on Pinterest for this recipe from The Yummy Life, and I couldn’t believe that you could put zucchini in brownies without noticing. So I put it to a test. I signed up to bring the dessert one night for our bi-weekly Sunday Night Dinner that we do with friends, and I made these zucchini brownies. They had pretty rave reviews and repins on Pinterest, so I figured, why not?

 

I even made the homemade chocolate frosting to put on top.

 

I showed up to Sunday Night Dinner and didn’t say a word until almost everyone had tried one. No one said anything about them tasting funny, although, they could’ve just been trying to be polite. When I told everyone, I got a general, “Oh. Really?” reaction from everyone. I was pleased.

 

The verdict: delicious. You should try both recipes. The homemade chocolate frosting is so easy– why would you ever buy that store brand stuff with all the additives?

Next: Cheesy Zucchini Rice

 

 

The picture from the pin for this recipe from Buns in My Oven immediately got my attention. It just looked so yummy. I saw this recipe shortly after my success with the zucchini brownies, and was delighted to sneak some veggies into another dish. This makes a fantastic side dish. I’ve made it to go alongside steaks, chicken, pork chops, fish… and every time, it works!

 

The verdict: yummy. BUT I still haven’t figured out how to make this dish using brown rice. Husband and I prefer brown rice to white… and so far, every time I’ve tried to make this recipe with brown rice, it has turned out crunchy and the rice doesn’t absorb as much of the liquid. I think I just need to alter some cook times or something… when I’ve figured it out, I’ll let you know. In any case, I recommend it! Even when it was crunchy, the flavors were still good.

 

So there you have it– two more Sneaky Zucchini recipes that are Katie-approved. I am an authority on these things, of course. {Not really.} Next week, it’s back to blogging about running. Until then… I’d love to know if you have any recipes using zucchini. I’m always looking for more ways to add vegetables to our menu. Let me know!

Also: make sure and check out The Yummy Life and Buns in My Oven. Both sites have tons of delicious-looking recipes, many of which do not include zucchini. 😉

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Zucchini Bread

I didn’t eat my vegetables as a kid. My papa used to tell me that I was “supposed to eat something green every day.” My clever response would be something like, “I drank some green kool-aid!” Vegetables have never interested me.

Fruits weren’t that much better, either. When it comes to food, I tend to have a bit of a problem with “texture.” I grew up eating bananas, grapes, and apples. That was about it.

As far as veggies go, it was mostly just carrots (raw, only) and lettuce. Plain lettuce. I was often teased for being a rabbit.

 

All this to say, now that I’m an adult and raising a kid of my own, I’m trying to make vegetables a fixture in our family eating plans.

I’ve gotten a lot better, but my son Skip, is not a veggie fan. The kid will fiercely devour any fruit you put in front of him, but the dreaded green stuff? Yeah, right. We still offer him vegetables every time we eat them, but in addition to this, I needed to find a way to “sneak” veggies to get some green stuff in this kid.

 

{Side Note: I’ve found sneaking veggies to be an effective way to get *myself* to eat more veggies, too!}

 

The veggie I’ve had the most success with “sneaking” has been zucchini. I don’t like plain zucchini. It’s kinda boring. Even when it’s grilled: boring. But zucchini in bread? Brownies? Cheesy rice? Delicious! 

I bought a ridiculous amount of zucchini this week, and so I’ll be making a few of my favorite dishes with Sneaky Zucchini– I figured, why not share them here?

 

Up first: Zucchini Bread!

This recipe comes to you from my Great Grandma Gertie. I’ve altered it a bit, to make it a tad healthier, but whenever I eat it and celebrate its deliciousness, I think of her and smile.

 

What You Will Need:

Not Pictured: Cinnamon. I'm an amateur, okay?

Not Pictured: Cinnamon.
I’m an amateur, okay?

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C. coconut oil (Grandma used vegetable shortening)
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 2 C. grated zucchini
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 C. sifted whole wheat flour (Grandma used regular flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts

Also:

  • 2 loaf pans (This recipe yields 2 loaves)

What To Do:

First, grate your zucchini. I love this gadget from the Pampered Chef. I am notoriously terrible at using a standard grater. I’m terrified of cutting myself, which I’ve done many times. {I’m really slow at peeling potatoes for the same reason.} This gadget is much better with hunks of cheese– the zucchini is difficult and needs to be positioned “just so” or it will not grate correctly. But in any case, I’d rather keep repositioning the zucchini then cut myself.

 

Forgive the chipped nail polish.

Forgive the chipped nail polish.

Second, sift your flour. Of the menial kitchen tasks, sifting flour is one of my least favorites. It’s right up there with peeling potatoes. I hate it. Alas, I haven’t tried this recipe with un-sifted flour, so I can’t really tell you if you can skip this step. If you want to try it, be my guest. It’s my experience, though, that when a recipe calls for sifted flour, it means it.

 

Now for the very simple steps for making the bread…

1. Mix coconut oil, sugar, and eggs.

It will look a little lumpy, but I promise it’s alright. You can use standard vegetable shortening for this part, and that’s what my Grandma’s recipe calls for, but I think the coconut oil gives it a really awesome flavor. It’s a tad healthier, too.

 photo 3

2. Add the grated zucchini and vanilla. Mix.

photo 4

It should look something like this now: Nice and lumpy with slivers of green.

 photo 5

3. Add the sifted flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix ‘er up.

 photo 1

4. Add the cinnamon. Mix.

 

5. Add walnuts. Mix.

 

6. Grease 2 loaf pans. Fill ’em up.

 photo 2

photo 3

{6a. Go ahead and lick that spoon. It tastes yummy. Not too much, though. Salmonella and whatnot, right?}

photo 4

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

 photo 2

Then let ‘em cool on a cooling rack. As you can see, the top of my second loaf is a little concave. My pesky timer decided to stop a little early, so this one was taken out a tad too soon and some of the inner goodness fell out. I stuffed it back in and put it back in the oven for a bit. Hopefully it’ll still taste good. I’ll let you know.

 

This is why it’s always a good idea to make two. At least one of them is bound to be pretty.

 

So there you have it: delicious zucchini bread. It’s not the healthiest thing ever. It has a bunch of sugar in it. I used the expensive organic raw sugar, but sugar is sugar, right?

 

Still, I enjoy having a slice for breakfast with a little natural peanut butter on top. My boys like to eat a slice with butter on it at any time of the day. The wonder of zucchini bread is that it can be enjoyed at practically any time of day. So get busy and enjoy!

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5k Review: Jelly Bean Virtual 5k

So have you ever heard of a “Virtual 5k”?

 

I hadn’t either until I was invited to join some other ladies doing one. It’s a pretty cool concept, actually. What happens is that you sign up to be part of the virtual race, and then you can run (or bike, if that’s an option) the specified distance, keeping your own time, and you log your time online. Essentially, you’re running with a bunch of other people, but in different locations at different times.

 

{Am I explaining this well?}

 

I didn’t really know what to think about this concept, but in an effort to keep myself running, I like to consistently have a 5k that I’m training for. I had run the indoor 5k in January, it seemed like a pretty good idea to have one on the calendar for March. I considered running one of the St. Patrick’s Day 5ks around here… the Shamrock Shuffle or something… but seriously, 5ks can be pretty expensive. Plus, to do one of those, I’d have to travel to Chicago or Milwaukee, adding even more expenses. When I was invited to do the Jelly Bean Virtual 5k, and was told that it was only $11, I was sold!

 

A group of five of us signed up as a team to do this race. We met at a pretty popular running spot in our area, Lake Andrea, at the ungodly hour of 8am this past Saturday.

 

{I know, I know. 8am isn’t early when you’re a mom, but it’s early for running… especially when you prefer to run in the afternoons like I do…}

 

I had hoped it would be warming up by March, but alas, it has only gotten slightly above the 30’s this past week. I was only able to run outside once before the race; all other training was done on the treadmill. I had planned to just do the run I was on for the Couch-to-5k program (Week 3, Day 3) but one of the ladies, Corey, was on Week 7 or 8 of the program and asked if I was going to run the 25 minutes with her. I initially said no, but after running through the first two “walk” times for my program, I just abandoned it and kept running. I ran most of the race, which I hadn’t planned on doing– I hadn’t run more than 2 miles in a long time.

 

The funny thing about a Virtual 5k is that there isn’t a huge group of people doing it with you. The five of us had our race bibs on, but there were only five of us. There were plenty of other people out walking or running around the lake. So when I slowed to walk about halfway through and saw the other ladies getting pretty far ahead of me, I felt a little silly walking with a race bib on. By myself. So I ran the rest of it, and it felt great.

 

As with any good race, this one came with all the swag that $11 can buy. We got some adorable race bibs, gold medals, and a small bag of starburst jelly beans. (Small note: I finally discovered some jelly beans that I can actually enjoy. I’ve never cared for jelly beans– this is no longer the case! Thank you, Starburst, for making a jelly bean that I don’t hate.)

Jelly Bean 5k

When you enter in your run times online, you are also entered to win some various running-related prizes. It’s a random drawing, so it doesn’t matter how slow you are, you still have a shot at winning a prize, which I thought was pretty cool!

 

All that to say…

The verdict is: Virtual Races are a pretty cool idea– particularly if you have others to do it with you. It’s flexible, inexpensive, and although “everyone” isn’t doing it all at once, there is something pretty communal about it– especially when you go onto the Run with Jess Facebook page and see pictures of other runners and bikers posting their pictures, holding their medals and jelly beans, and sharing in the experience from miles away.

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Progress Update: March

March was a lot better than January and February for running. I could thank myself for making me accountable to the interwebs via starting this blog, but who wants to read about me patting myself on the back?

 

{Pat. Pat.}

 

In any case, I ran much more regularly in March than I had in the two previous months. I made trips to my mom’s to use the treadmill during Skip’s naptimes. I ran twice during my quick long-weekend trip to Florida. It might have had something to do with restarting the Couch-to-5k program {ok, it had a lot to do with that. Here’s some pats for my friends’  backs who are doing that with me}. It might have also  had something to do with training because I needed to run a 5k at the end of the month. (The review of which I’ll post either later this week or next week.)

 

The weather still sucked, so I ran most of the month on the treadmill. Running outside those two times in Florida was heavenly– and reminded me that I need to live somewhere where that is a reality year round. The end of March warmed up a bit, and I was able to run outside once before running the 5k, which was also outdoors. 40 degrees is not balmy, but it’s tolerable.

 

We really lucked out with the location of our new condo. There is a really nice little trail just across the street from our complex. It’s perfect to have something like that right out of our front door. The local high school girls’ track team was out there running when I went the first time. It was motivating to not look like a fool in front of teenage girls. Because we all know how judgmental teenage girls can be.

 

Still: running outside for the first time all winter was a little tough. My body had to re-acclimate. It was tough, and I was expecting the 5k just two days later to be just as tough, but surprisingly, it wasn’t bad at all. I guess I was able to acclimate pretty quickly. Good news!

 

I’m grateful that the weather is finally warming up. I’m crossing my fingers it doesn’t drop a foot of snow on us in the middle of April. {It could happen. This is Wisconsin, after all.}

I’m also pretty pleased with my mileage this month. This month I ran 21 miles. It’s not exactly on target, but it’s better than the two previous months. I’m only 10 miles behind for the month.  I’m hoping to focus on getting ahead over the warmer months so that I can have some leeway in the fall when it starts getting cold again.

 

{I don’t want to think about that right now, though.}

 

Stay tuned!

 

 

2013 Miles Goal: 365

Miles Run So Far: 44.25

Miles to Go: 320.75

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I really learned to drink while I was pregnant!

Water… that is. 😉
If you’re anything like I used to be, chances are, you don’t drink the recommended amount of fluids per day.

The recommendation I’ve always heard is that the average person should be drinking 8 cups of water per day. Although, this article from the Mayo Clinic puts that number at around 13 cups for men and 9 for women.

In any case, growing up, I wasn’t too keen on water. If I wanted something to drink, I reached for some kool-aid or a glass of milk. I didn’t drink water unless I was really craving an ice-cold water– which would happen, consequently, after playing sports or a hard workout. Go figure.

 

When I was pregnant with Skip, I was encouraged to do better. I was reminded at every doctor’s appointment, especially the ones in Hawaii, to remember to drink at least eight glasses a day. At first, this was really hard. I felt a little like I was force-feeding myself. I would drink a glass of water almost every waking hour (at least when I could remember) and there were some hours when I felt like I was literally choking it down. I was drinking water like it was my job. I refilled my glass every time it was empty. I was using the bathroom every five minutes. (Although, that’s pretty typical for a pregnant lady.) I was so bloated during my pregnancy, and I really hoped drinking water would combat that, like most pregnancy books/articles suggested it would.

{It didn’t.}

This was a new concept for me: drinking water for my health, not because I was thirsty. It was a mind-shift issue for me. TMI alert: I’ve always had a very tiny bladder. {Ask my husband how many times we used to pull off to use a restroom on our trips up to Minnesota.} To avoid this problem, I figured I just shouldn’t drink unless I was thirsty. This didn’t really solve my problem, and additionally, it also trained me to only drink when I felt thirsty. This inevitably leads to being under-hydrated– not drinking enough fluids.

 

To illustrate the point: Jonah and I went to Disney World over Spring Break one year. We did all of Disney World in two days– which meant we did about three parks per day. On our first day, we had gone to MGM, the Magic Kingdom, and then went to Downtown Disney for dinner. I don’t think I had had even one drink that day except for maybe half of an iced tea at lunch or something, and gradually came on the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life. I couldn’t eat my dinner and I made Jonah pay like $40 or something for a cab back to the hotel rather than take all of the free shuttle services available to us, which would take about an hour longer. It was that bad.

Another time, in Turks and Caicos, I had a bit of a sunstroke. I went light-headed all of a sudden and felt like I went blind for about five minutes. My eyes were open, but I couldn’t see anything. I sat in the shade and sipped on water and my vision came back… it was terrifying.

 

So, yes, I learned the importance of hydration the hard way, and as such, I’ve tried to be better about staying hydrated in the heat.

 

Jonah chugs water all the time, so he was an obvious choice for Water Coach, and I asked him to remind me as often as possible to be drinking water during my pregnancy.

Learning to drink water was like rewiring my brain by forcing myself to drink water when I didn’t *feel* thirsty. I’m grateful that this started during my pregnancy, though, because it was better to jump start this habit prior to beginning my running career than to attempt to do so alongside learning how to run.

photo

Water and Running

Another valuable thing my husband taught me about running was not only the importance of having plenty of water for an active lifestyle, but how to drink before a run.

His advice, which I have followed ever since, was to be sure I was hydrating the entire day before a run (mind you, I used to run in the evenings) and to hydrate really well the night before a race. Just before running, don’t chug water! Sip it. I’ve never felt under-hydrated on a run. Of course, I’ve felt thirsty during and after, but I’ve never felt like I might pass out or anything. I’m glad to say that my running habit helps with my water habit– it gives me a reason to drink water. Because I’m still rewiring my brain.

Future.

I plan to work up to running longer distances, so I’m beginning to research how to bring water with me on a run. I’m not a fan of having anything in my hands during a run. Holding a water bottle isn’t “cute” and it’s annoying.

 

I haven’t quite perfected drinking the water that they give you halfway through a race. I don’t want to stop and walk, but when I try to drink while running, it ends up all over my shirt. A running friend showed me how to fold the cup so this doesn’t happen, but when I tried it, I still got water on my shirt. {And this was during a Fall run, which made me cold.} So this is something I need to work on.

 

Suggestions are welcome! How do you drink during a run? Where do you keep your water? Camelbak? Around your waist? (I will likely do one of those things because, like I mentioned earlier, I hate holding something in my hands while running.) How far do you have to be running before you start bringing water with?

 

Until next time, happy drinking!


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Additional Info about Running & Hydrating

 

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Couch to 5k Restart

Jonah and I belong to a fantastic little group of couples which we affectionately call our Sunday Night Dinner Friends. We get together every other Sunday night for dinner and conversation, and it is one of my favorite things that we do. A few weeks ago, we decided that instead of meeting as a whole group, we’d split up and have separate Girls’ and Guys’ Nights.

The girls and I met up at a pretty awesome local place downtown and we had some stellar dinner and girl time.

grilled cheese cheeseburger

photo

I couldn’t resist the grilled cheese cheeseburger… {When in Rome!} We shared the s’mores dessert, because really, how cool is that?

I also had a very delicious cranberry ale and a blackberry-pear cider. We need to go back a few more times because there are so many items on the menu I have to try…


Any way.
At one point, the conversation touched on running. One of the ladies was talking about how she was going to run in the Color Run this year and one of the other ladies was discussing how she was going to have a “porch party” for that run as the course will go right by her house. We talked about our running plans for the year. One of our other friends said she wanted to start running, the porch-party friend is training for a half-marathon (she’s our resident legit runner) and I talked about my small list of runs I want to do this year.

A few days later, my porch-party friend emailed all of us with a fun suggestion: let’s train together! She mentioned that even though we likely wouldn’t be able to coordinate well enough to run together very often (we are all mamas with lots on our plates), it helps to have other people doing the same thing that you are. She has taken the lead to coordinate us and thus, I have found myself restarting the Couch to 5k program!

Starting Over?
I debated whether to start in the middle or not. Ultimately, I decided I’d start fresh. Why not, right? Our plan was to start training 12 weeks before the Color Run, which inevitably ended up being the first week of March. I had motivated myself enough to run a mile on March 1st, and on March 3rd (a Sunday) I did Week 1, Day 1 of Couch-to-5k. It was pretty easy, but the interval were fun and kept it from being too boring, considering I was doing it on the treadmill. I ended up running through a few of the “walk” portions in order to make it a full 2 mile run.

So far, I’m happy to have restarted the program. It gives me two things I have been lacking thus far in progressing with my goal:

  1. a reason to get some mileage by being accountable to some other ladies to keep it up,
    {and}
  2. a necessity to find the time to run three times a week


The first week, last week, I ran twice. I did Days 1 & 2 early in the week but didn’t end up doing Day 3… a whirlwind of sickness hit my little family. My little one had an unexplained rash and fever that landed us in the ER and the awful cold that my husband and son were passing around finally took me down for a few days. My head felt like it was 20 pounds and I couldn’t breathe through my nose– which, of course, is a big deal for me… see previous post.

This week has been a tad tricky, I ran on Tuesday, but that was technically Week 1, Day 3… I’m heading down to Florida for a long weekend– starting TODAY!– and I plan to get in at least two runs while I’m down there, to take advantage of the warmer weather. I know some people don’t, but I so prefer to run in warm weather. {More on that later.}

I am SUPER proud and in awe of the other ladies. They are certainly doing better than I am! They run outside in the nasty, slushy winter weather. I’m a wuss. Altogether, though, I’m really glad to be restarting the program with them and to cheer each other on. Life is better with friends. Especially friends who encourage you to order the grilled cheese cheeseburger.

Until next time. 😉

Tagged

5k Review: Warm Your Heart Indoor 5k

When I decided on my goal of running 365 miles in 2013, I was worried about getting mileage under my belt in the winter time. I had never run outside during winter, and I hate the cold, so my worry was warranted.

The previous year, the year we had moved back from Hawaii, I did not run at all in the winter. I never even dreamed of braving the cold and just assumed that nobody ran in the wintertime. You just take a break from October to April, right? I had heard, though, that there was an indoor 5k in Chicago. It turns out that there is such a thing: the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5k that runs around the McCormick Place in downtown Chicago. My first thought was, “brilliant!” That’s how you do it! I thought it was a great idea, but I didn’t sign up.

When this year rolled around, I had more motivation. I also had the knowledge that runners do not, in fact, take a break during winter. This frightened me a little bit, but I figured, what better way to start my running year than to do an indoor 5k?!

I signed up and that was that.

The race was on a Sunday morning, so my husband and I went down on Saturday night. My brother-in-law lives in Chicago, so we were able to hang out with him and his then-fiancee (they’re married now! woo!) and stayed the night at their place.

One thing I do not enjoy about most 5ks is that you have to wake up early for them. I haven’t revealed this about myself yet, but I don’t like to run in the morning. I learned to run in the evenings in Hawaii, because logistically, that was the only time I could run, but I learned to love it. I still prefer to run in the early evening. It motivates me to eat well throughout the day and to drink plenty of water, and I always feel pretty tired after a run so it’s nice to be able to relax for the rest of the evening and take a nice shower before bed…

{Doesn’t that sound better than getting ready and going to work? No? Just me?}

Well, for the indoor 5k, we had to get up pretty early. It was a 9am race, and it was downtown at the McCormick Place. I had my Cliff bar and some water… and I wasn’t awake, because I’m not awake until after a cup of coffee, but you shouldn’t drink coffee before a race, so… yeah… we get there bright and early, try to navigate our way up to the race, and I get some of the typical pre-race jitters. This was the first race I ever did alone, so that was really strange. Jonah hung around with me for a while, but then he walked over to where the race would finish. So I busied myself walking around, awkwardly doing some stretches (because I still don’t really know how to stretch… more on that later…) and using the bathroom like three times. Anxious Katie has a very nervous bladder.

Pre-race

Pre-race

We lined up according to run pace. I stuck myself in the 11-min pace group. I hadn’t run much since August, so I figured I’d put myself in the 11-min group, even though I was hoping for a 10-min pace. Suddenly, I felt the urge to use the bathroom again. I figured it was just nerves, so I ignored it… and then I was running and the urge was worse. Thankfully, about a quarter into the race, there were bathrooms. I ducked out of the race and used it real quick, losing about a minute or two, and jumped back in, feeling much better.

The first part of the course was running laps through a big warehouse room. It wasn’t very pretty, and I didn’t really like it. Running outside keeps me motivated because you keep moving forward; in this room, you ran up and down and looked at the same stuff the entire time. It was a little boring. I ran pretty steady alongside a group of ladies in awesome “Black Girls RUN!” t-shirts. They provided some motivation for me, as the motivation that exuded from them was pretty contagious. They also encouraged one another along and I just vicariously took some of that encouragement for myself, and I really needed it.

I was slow. Really, really slow. I ran for maybe 10 minutes, then I just had to walk. I got out of the first big warehouse, and then we ran across the skyway– which is the best part of the race. You get an awesome view Chicago from the skyway. That pumped me up with a little more motivation– so I started running again. This part was uphill a bit, it was an arced ramp over the highway, but then you ran downhill on the other side and thankfully I didn’t stop running, because Jonah was at the bottom of the ramp, filming me.

Warm Your Heart Indoor 5k . 2013

Then we went into yet another warehouse, this one was a little bigger. Again, it was laps and again, it was boring. I decided to make goals for myself, because at this time I was tired and ready to quit. I decided I’d run half of one lap and walk the second half. I pushed myself each time and ran a little further than I told myself I would, but I still walked a LOT more than I wanted to and have previously done. It was embarrassing compared to my previous 5ks.

This experience taught me a few things:

  • First, you can’t run twice before a 5k and think you’ll run the whole thing just because you’ve run a 5k before. Training is important, yo.
  • Second, it’s a lot more fun to run 5ks with other people. Even though I’m a solo runner and tend to lag behind others, it’s still more fun to be doing it with friends.
  • Third, it motivated me to run more. I left feeling a little defeated, but also pretty motivated to sign up for some more 5ks and run a lot more in between them.

I was still glad that I did it for the experience. I probably wouldn’t run the race again, at least not by myself, because other than the skyway part, it was pretty boring. It also showed me how out of shape I was, and how very much I needed that goal I had set for myself. I plan to report a much less embarrassing review of my next 5k! Here’s hoping.

{finisher}

{finisher}

{skyway view - post race}

{skyway view – post race}

For more information about the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5k, click here.

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