Finding a Balance

Learning to live a healthy, balanced life.


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Another marathon?

Up until this point, if anyone asked me if I was going to run a marathon this year, I would say no. I had no plans whatsoever to run another until maybe next year. However, my husband is training for Grandma’s right now and just signed up for Twin Cities — and now I’m really really tempted to sign up for TCM also.

I hadn’t really said this out loud to anyone — have just been mulling it over in my head. But then I tweeted this to Beth about TCM — officially putting it out on social media. And it felt good!

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So here’s my list of pros and cons re: running Twin Cities this year:

Pros
  • Maybe I can justify eating the way I’ve been lately
  • I now have a better idea of what I’m getting myself into and can prepare accordingly
  • Will hold me accountable to getting my runs in, which I’m finding has been really crucial in managing my anxiety
Cons
  • Do I really want to spend my summer training for a marathon again?
  • I’d likely be training alone this time around — unless I can talk any of you into training with me! (even long distance — I felt like I was training with Amy last summer!)
  • Marathon training got expensive for me — mainly because I found that regular massages were necessary in keeping me injury-free and of course, I went through shoes like crazy.
I reached out to the person with Girls on the Run who coordinates the Solemates program to find out more about maybe running TCM as a Solemate. So that might factor into my decision too 🙂
In other racing news…
I’m racing (again) this weekend. Just a 5K. Will be glad for a break after this one.
Also, since the Women’s Running Bloomington half marathon was canceled, I’ve decided to run the Gopher to Badger half. The good thing about this race is that it’s not two weeks after the Minneapolis half. The bad thing is that it’s less than a week before Ragnar.
But the best thing about it is that I’ll be running with with Amanda! I’m glad I was peer pressured into this one for once. Usually I’m the one doing the peer pressuring 🙂
This makes me happy.

This makes me happy.

Finally, wanted to share some of my current favorite recipes. My new favorite easy (like, super easy) dinner are these goat cheese, carmelized onion and spinach quesadillas. I’ve also been making a lot of Erin’s coconut rice to fuel my husband’s marathon training. Paired with a Trader Joe’s Masala burger — pretty easy and awesome.
Oh, and with the weather getting warmer, these no-bake GF cookies are amazing!


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2013 Get in Gear 10K race recap

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Get in Gear 2013 was a success! 54 degrees and not a cloud in the sky at race start.

Can you believe it snowed significantly less than a week ago?

Can you believe it snowed significantly less than a week ago?

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First of all — happy birthday to my dear Jen who turned 30 and got a lovely group of ladies (pictured above) together to run the race.

Happy birthday, Jen!

Happy birthday, Jen!

So I think I forgot what it is like to run in warm weather. Luckily, at least I was dressed appropriately. I used the What to Wear Tool and decided on a tank, shorts and a hat (my new Shamrock Shuffle hat!) I also went with compression socks and my Saucony Guide 5s.

Each year, this race only gets bigger. There are 5K, 10K and half marathon distances, and the 10K (the only distance I’ve ever done) is Minnesota’s largest. This article talks about the race’s growth.

So as you can imagine, the beginning of the race can be quite frustrating. It’s actually kind of difficult to know where to line up for your appropriate estimated finish time. But with past experience running this race, we lined up a bit closer to the front than we would normally have.

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And we’re off!

Besides the weaving and dodging, I felt pretty strong starting off. I hadn’t run much at all during the week before, so my legs felt refreshed and my foot didn’t bother me at all. The only big issue I had during the race was that right around mile two my left shin started to bother me. That went on for about two miles or so and then it must have just worked itself out.

Mandy and I were keeping a steady 9:00 min/mi pace for the first few miles — just as I had planned. After mile three, I decided to pick up the pace and go for the negative split I was trying for (and a sub-55:00 time!).

The first (and only) water stop came right after the 5K mark and right before the big hill. I realized that I have a hard time taking more than a few sips of water at water stops. I think I need to work on this, because for the rest of the race, all I could think about was how thirsty I was — not good.

Miles 5-6 felt awesome. Besides being thirsty, I felt good and was able to easily hold the pace I was shooting for. I turned the last corner and saw my husband and our pup, Tony, and Mandy’s mom — and then I saw the finish up ahead.

But nearing the finish line, I started feeling a bit light headed and my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. Is this that uncomfortable feeling that everyone talks about? Do people run with that feeling for entire races? So I decided to keep my pace steady, rather than kicking for the last .20 as I had planned.

I ended up achieving my goal of running the race with a negative split of roughly 27:26 for the first half and 24:56 for the second. And PR’ed beating my previous 10K PR of 1:02:09 with a time of 54:51 — also making my sub-55:00 goal!

Splits
1 – 9:23
2 – 8:57
3 – 9:06
4 – 8:33
5 – 8:12
6 – 8:11
7 (0.32) – 7:53

After the finish, I concentrated on not throwing up by grabbing a bottle of water and walking back to where I saw J near the finish line. I watched the rest of my group finish (sorry I missed you, Andrea!). It must’ve been the beautiful weather because everyone had fantastic race times!

Go Mandy!

Go Mandy!

Congrats to everyone else who raced this weekend! How’d it go? Is the weather improving wherever you live?

Thanks again to Tony for taking these awesome shots! You’re the best race photographer ever!


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Birthday weekend and getting away

First of all, I want to send a HUGE thank you to Jonathan Chue of Aptribute for helping me with my site migration and new logo/header! If you need any website development work done — check him out. He also did my BFF’s website (which I LOVE).

J’s birthday weekend started with visiting our friends’ new pup! Her name is Casey and I love her:

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Then we headed to my in laws’ house for the day to celebrate both my husband’s and our nephew’s birthdays.

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There was so much delicious food to eat, as there always is at their house. Example: my mother-in-law made these awesome fruit tacos for dessert! I’ll have to give these a try sometime:

Sugar cookie "shells"

Sugar cookie “shells”

Taco filling

Taco filling

On Sunday (the actual day of my husband’s birthday) we went to see A Place Beyond the Pines, with Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes. I felt like it was just OK. I don’t know — wasn’t super impressed.

Then, per tradition, we went to Moscow on the Hill for a delicious birthday dinner!

Monday morning I headed to the Wisconsin Dells for a couple days to get away, relax and let my mom take care of me. There were some peaceful walks along the Wisconsin River…

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…and relaxing in our cute room.

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Oh, and attempting to work out in their “fitness center.” Too bad the treadmill kept turning off during my run.

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The cute room was about the only good thing about the resort we stayed at. The customer service was awful.

The rest of the time was spent eating a lot (I felt like eating candy might help my mental health state — jury’s still out on that one) and shopping.

Anyways, I’m back in the Cities now and racing again this weekend. It’s the Get in Gear 10K — and the weather is supposed to be 70 and sunny. I’ve run this race for the past three or four years and it’s never once been nice weather — so I’ll believe it when I see it. (See photo below for proof.)

Drenched. And yes, that's a poncho.

Drenched. And yes, that’s a poncho.

Anyone else racing this weekend? Has anyone seen A Place Beyond the Pines? What’d you think?


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Weekly Wednesday Ragnar post: Meet Mandy!

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Name: Mandy

Location/hometown: Minneapolis
How long have you been running? About 5 years
Why did you decide to run Ragnar? Wanted to run it one more time since although it was exhausting the first time it was a lot of fun!
How many Ragnar Relays have you run? 1
If you’ve run Ragnar before, what’s your favorite Ragnar memory? I have several. 1 –  the ridiculous things that happen in the van once everyone starts to get loopy; 2 – all the people who come out ot cheer along the course; 3 – the finish line!
What are you most looking forward to about Ragnar 2013? Having fun!
Give me one fun random fact about yourself. I have an obsession with all dogs that have wrinkles (puggles, pugs, bulldogs, etc.)


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What to look for in a good sports bra

At the recent Ladies Night Out event that I attended, I finally bought something I had been putting off purchasing for a long time — a new sports bra. After the entertaining talk by the Moving Comfort rep and finding out that it was on sale for 15% off of the sale price — it was a pretty easy decision.

I don’t know why, but I always have a hard time forking over the money for a sports bra. First, I’m not really ever going to get to “show it off” to anyone (because unless it’s like 100 degrees out, you won’t see me out for a run in just a sports bra and shorts — although I wish I were that confident!). Second, I just never figured I needed all that much support. But — and I realize this is going to be way TMI — lately, I’ve been noticing some soreness after runs.

I currently own and rotate among three  sports bras — the Lululemon Flow Y Sports Bra, Lululemon Scoop Neck and my Naked Sports Bra! (Can’t wait to test this baby out outside in the sunlight!) I couldn’t tell you when I bought the first two bras — and that could be my problem.

According to Moving Comfort, here are five reasons to break up with your sports bra

1.The bottom band chafes – when the band loses elasticity, chafing can occur due to the slack it produces

2. You can’t read the tags anymore

3. It’s too big or too small – (you should get a bra fitting for your sports bras too. your bra size is constantly changing)

4. You need more than one – (yeah, according to MC, you should never need more than one)

5. You need new shoes (Just like athletic shoes, sports bra need to be replaced every 6-12 months)

Soooooo I was a huge offender of all of these things. So I bought the bra. And I’m in love. Will be buying more. And they’re way cheaper than Lulu! Cute, right?

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back

And here are a couple of other “fun” tidbits I learned from the talk:

  • To extend your sports bra’s lifetime — wash the sports bra as little as possible. (Gross) Related side note: while I’m gushing about products I love, I just got this Caldrea sports wash and linen spray and I’m obsessed.
  • A good point she had about the importance of sports bras for us small chested ladies is that it’s not just about support — a good sports bra can also be very flattering.

Oh, and by the way — Moving Comfort is not associated with this post in any way. I just really, really love this sports bra.


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Run less, run faster

I’m taking a new approach to my half marathon PR goal. I’m going to try to run less while running faster.

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You’ve probably heard of this book. I had not. But as soon as I did hear about it, I’ve been seeing mentions of it everywhere! The basic premise of the book is that regardless of the level a runner is at, they can improve their race times while training less. The training philosophy aims to make running easier by limiting overtraining and burnout, therefore cutting the risk of injury, while producing faster race times.

This is right from the Amazon page for the book:

The key feature is the “3 plus 2” program, which each week consists of:

-3 quality runs, including track repeats, the tempo run, and the long run, which are designed to work together to improve endurance, lactate-threshold running pace, and leg speed

-2 aerobic cross-training workouts, such as swimming, rowing, or pedaling a stationary bike, which are designed to improve endurance while helping to avoid burnout

With detailed training plans for 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon, plus tips for goal-setting, rest, recovery, injury rehab and prevention, strength training, and nutrition, this program will change the way runners think about and train for competitive races.

According to all of the charts and skimming the rest of the book, (I do plan to go back and read it all, but my husband and I fight over who gets to read it before bed.) based on my 5K time, I should be able to run a 1:53 half marathon. But the road to get there is not pretty.

So today, after three days off due to feeling sorry for myself/the most painfully tight and sore calves I’ve ever experienced, I got back on the treadmill and did my first workout from this book.

1 mile warmup at 9:40 pace

4x1200s at 7:53 pace with a 2:00 RI in between.

Cool down of roughly .5 miles @9:40 pace.

Run stats: 5 miles in 48:35.

OK first of all, I’ve never done 1200s before. I’ve never even done 800s before. Man, that wasn’t fun. I don’t know how people do mile repeats or TWO mile repeats, for that matter. Thank goodness I only had to do four of them!

With this new plan, I’m supposed to run 10 miles on Saturday but at half marathon pace + 20 seconds. Which for me would be 9 minute miles. This freaks me out. A lot. Like now I’m questioning my goals. I just ran ten miles last weekend at an average of 9:55 miles. Granted, it was an extremely hilly course and I was coming off of the Shamrock Shuffle with less than a week of recovery — but still. So, uh, I’ll let you all know how that goes. Tomorrow I plan to go to a spin class at Lifetime for my cross training.

Last night, my husband and I had the loveliest dinner with my cousin and his partner at, (where else?) Parka!

Here are just a few photos of the deliciousness:

Kale salad: roasted grapes, compressed apple, chevre, hazelnuts

Kale salad: roasted grapes, compressed apple, chevre, hazelnuts

Cabbage rolls: crab, shrimp, ginger, cream cheese, chili

Cabbage rolls: crab, shrimp, ginger, cream cheese, chili

Fried chicken: biscuits, milk gravy, "carrots and peas"

Fried chicken: biscuits, milk gravy, “carrots and peas”

Perhaps the most exciting part of dinner (besides the hand dripped cup of decaf Dogwood coffee after dinner) was the wine I discovered. At some point, I stopped liking white wine. (I think it might have had something to do with the copious amounts of cheap pinot grigio I drank in college.) Anyways, I didn’t feel like red so I had a glass….OK two glasses, of a Casamaro. And it was amazing. So all of you wine connoisseurs — tell me more about it!

Hope you’re staying warm! It’s pretty gosh darn snowy here in Minnesota. #whereisspring

On a side note, related to this post, I’m going to be disconnecting a bit over the next two weeks to take some time to get away and go be with family, catch up on studying for my personal training test, etc. I’ll probably be posting here and there and have a couple of amazing guest bloggers lined up — but just wanted to share that because you’ll be hearing from me less.