Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hot and Humid

Despite my best intentions, it's been really hard to get out and complete some long runs.  I did manage to accomplish almost 40 miles this week, but most of my runs felt like torture.

On Monday, we went up to Blue Bend to run the 5 mile trail up and down a mountain, followed by a swim in the perfectly cold swimming hole.  It has been a very long time since I allowed myself to walk in the middle of a run, but Sean and I both ended up walking twice on the way up the mountain.  The first time, we stopped together, the second time, I made it a couple minutes after he stopped, but then I had to stop and walk too.  He caught up just before we reached the top, and then we flew down the mountain with a brief stop to check out the spectacular view off the overlook.  That run definitely showed me that I am not in very good trail shape, and I suspect that my lack of strength training over the last year played a big part.  I better either start running trails more often, or start strength training soon!

On Tuesday, we set out for a 7 mile run, but it was pretty hot out, and 5 miles in Sean decided to stop and walk the rest of the way because his feet were burning up.  I continued running all the way home.

Sean wanted to give his blisters a better chance to heal, so he biked for the next couple of days.

Wednesday and Thursday I dragged myself through some mid-distance runs, but there was nothing enjoyable about them, and it took a lot of will power not to wimp out and do 3-4 mile runs.

Friday I really didn't feel like going for a run, and decided to listen to my body and be lazy for a day.

Saturday I set out for what I expected to be a torturous 5 mile run.  It was 81 degrees, with 54% humidity, and I ended up feeling spectacularly good.  I did over 7 miles, and probably could have done more.  It was my perfect running weather, but it seems that it took me this long into the summer to actually acclimate to it.  It seems like even though I've always loved running in the summer heat, it takes me longer to acclimate every year.  I suspect it has something to do with my switch to winter running.  It was probably a lot easier for my body to adjust from indoor treadmill running to outdoor 80+ degrees, than it is for my body to adjust from 20 degree running to 80+ degree running.  Another not-helpful fact is the lack of spring we seem to be having.  We keep skipping straight from winter to summer.

Today I didn't get around to running til almost 6 PM, and there was a light rain.  I ended up wishing it would rain a lot harder, because it would have kept me cooler, but I did feel pretty good, and got my fastest run of the week.

This week:
M: 5.25 trail / 55:13 / 10:31 w/Sean
T: 7.17 / 55:14 / 7:42 w/Sean
W: 6.8 / 53:28 / 7:51
R: 7.5 / 1:03:40 / 8:29
F: off
Sa: 7.27 / 56:29 / 7:46
Su: 4.39 / 32:14 / 7:20
week total : 38.38

Countdown to the Parkersburg 1/2 is on, it's now less than 4 weeks away.  And I still haven't gotten around to running a 20 miler...need to do that soon.  Once the end of summer/early fall race season starts, it's gonna be hard to do long runs to train for the Richmond Marathon.  Gotta fit them in somehow!

And for this week's running humor...I bring you The Oatmeal.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Loaded S'more Dip

I had all the ingredients for s'mores...but no fire to roast marshmallows over.  I don't really like marshmallows, and so the thought of eating a s'more made in the microwave was ridiculously unappealing.  I thought about trying to toast the marshmallows in my toaster oven, but that sounded potentially very messy.  So the ingredients just sat for awhile.  

Then I came across this recipe for S'more Crack Dip
Problem Solved. 

Loaded S'more Dip
5 oz large marshmallows
5.8 oz dark chocolate 
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
1 large spoonful of crunchy peanut butter

As usual, all amounts are approximate due to my inability to measure things.
The chocolate is was 4 bars of Hershey's Special Dark, 1.45 oz each.

Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir til melty and delicious.

Dip graham cracker pieces into the molten goodness and eat up.  
Try not to burn yourself...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Long Runs

(and a 4 mile race)

I'm working on getting my mileage up...and I need to do it by adding more long runs, not by doing 4 or 5 miles every day.  Right now the important thing for me is to get my feet/body used to running for long periods of time.  I planned a hilly 10 mile run for Sean and I on Monday, that we were going to do before I headed to a meeting at 4:00.  However, my meeting got cancelled.  We didn't get out the door until about 3:30.  Then, as we were nearing home, we were at about 9.3 miles, and I felt good.  I wanted to keep going, but it was already probably the longest run Sean had ever done, and his blisters were bothering him, so I sent him home, and I kept on going.  I figured I would do about 12 miles.  But then I was getting near 12 miles, and I my legs were chugging along on auto-pilot, so I decided to go for 2 hours.  I ended up getting home at 14 miles in just under 2 hrs.  I was crawling at that point, but I didn't care.

I took Tuesday off, and then Wednesday we headed to the Greenbrier River Trail in the cool of the morning to do a long flat run, and ended up getting 10 miles. We picked up the pace for the last 2 miles, and Sean ran off ahead for the last 1.5 miles or so to stretch his legs and I just kept chugging along at my pace.  I slowed back down for the last 1/2 mile so I wouldn't have to jog my cool-down.

Sean ran on Thursday, but I needed a break.  Friday he took a break and my planned 4-6 miler turned into an 8 miler.  Saturday was the 4 mile John Henry Days race.  I wasn't quite sure how it would go, since I hadn't had a single run all week that was less than 8 miles or 1 hour long.  But, turns out all those long runs did not hurt my ability to PR a sprint race.  I PR'd by about 20 seconds.  And won the race for the 3rd year in a row.  I came in 5th overall, I got passed by 2 kids in the last quarter mile.  Not sure where they came from, I don't remember noticing them around the 2 mile turn around, but clearly they both had good end-of-race kicks.

Today, I didn't want to take the day completely off, but wasn't sure if I would have enough energy to get through a run or not, so we went for a bike ride instead.  I've never found biking to be a very satisfying workout before, but I put a lot more effort into it today...and felt a whole bunch of muscles that I have not felt in a long time.  So clearly I have just been far too lazy on all my other bike rides.  Might be time to fix that.

This Week:
 M: 14 / 1:57:34 / 8:23 (9.3 w/Sean)
T: rest
W: 10 / 1:17:38 / 7:45 (River Trail w/Sean)
R: rest 
F: 8.15 / 1:06:18 / 8:08
Sa: 4 / 25:04 / 6:16 (race)
Su: 6.9 / 27:28 / 15.07 mph (bike)
total : 36.15 miles (run)
6.9 miles (bike)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pot Roast & Tomato Stew

1 pot roast c. 2.5 lbs
2 cans of diced tomatos (your choice of flavor)
a can of corn
3/4 yellow onion
2 large cloves garlic
flour, cinnamon, cocoa powder
barbecue sauce (your choice of flavor)

coat the meat with flour, cinnamon, and cocoa, place it in the bottom of a crockpot
saute the onion and garlic, then add to the crockpot
add a bit of barbecue sauce
dump in the contents of the cans, water and all
cook on high for 7 hours
shred the meat

Goes well with yellow corn tortilla chips

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Basil Dip

Way back sometime in the spring, I bought a basil plant and a mint plant.  I was skeptical about my ability to keep them alive, but hopeful that I would actually remember to water them, and that they would supply me with fresh & yummy leaves to cook with.  I did succeed in watering them on a regular basis, aided by the fact that they sit on my kitchen windowsill where I stare at them every time I wash dishes.  They were doing great, but I was using them so often they weren't producing very large leaves.  Then I went away for 10 days (a friend watered them for me) and when I came back, holy cow!  The biggest, bushiest, herb plants I've ever seen.  Clearly they enjoyed my absence.  And clearly, they needed to be picked through.  I made Mint Icing with the leaves I stripped off the mint plant, and I made Basil Dip with the leaves I stripped off the basil plant.  

Basil Dip

1 1/2 heaping cups of fresh basil leaves
1+ tsp garlic powder
1+tsp mustard powder
1/2 c plain yogurt

Throw the basil leaves in a food processor and chop into tiny pieces.  Add the seasonings, mix it up.  Add the yogurt, process til smooth.  Chill.  

The yogurt gives this dip a bit of a tangy flavor.  If you want it a bit'll have to experiment.

This dip is pretty versatile.  You can enjoy it with crackers, carrots, or whatever it is you like to enjoy with a dip.  You can also mix it with some cold pasta, blast it in the microwave for 30 sec (you want it warm, not hot), and then mix in some chopped arugula.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Mint Icing

The Cupcakes
2 1/8 c flour
2 c sugar
3/4 c cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 c Guinness
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla

Put cupcake wrappers into the cupcake pan, pour the batter into each cup about 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes

The Icing
Big handful of mint leaves
c 1/2 c plain yogurt
confectioners sugar
c 1/4 c heavy cream

Put the mint in a food process and chop well.  Add the yogurt, mix it up.  Add confectioner's sugar to taste.  If your icing is too thin, add heavy cream and whisk until it thickens.

The inspiration behind using mint for the icing today:
This plant is taking over my windowsill.  And I thought I'd have trouble keeping it alive...I do wish it would put more effort into growing big leaves and less effort into growing long stems...I found a stem that was about 3 ft long the other day.  I keep breaking off the really long ones but it doesn't seem to deter the plant from continuing to reach out.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pantry Raid Tuna Casserole

I found a show on Netflix once called Pantry Raid.  A chef showed up at people's houses and showed them how they could make a meal out of whatever they happened to have in the fridge and pantry.  It was fun to see what he would come up with.  When I returned home from my trip to RI, I didn't have a whole lot of food in the house, and I certainly didn't feel like grocery shopping after being in the car all day.  So I raided the pantry.  The fridge was pretty bare, since I always try to empty it out before I leave if I'm going to be gone for much more than 3-4 days.  So, my only choice for meat was tuna fish, since I always keep a couple cans of that in stock.  And I always have pasta as well, so I figured I could make some sort of a tuna casserole.  But of course, there was no milk or cream in my fridge.  (Well actually, there was, as it seems I forgot to dump them out before I left.  Neither was even remotely edible though.)  But it occurred to me that I probably had a can of cream of mushroom soup somewhere in my cupboards, so I searched until I found it.

Tuna Casserole, Pantry-Raid Style

3/4 box of elbow macaroni
1 large can of tuna
1/2 bag of frozen peas
shredded cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 tbsp butter
1/4 c flour

Cook the pasta.  While it is cooking, put the soup in a pot, and then add one can-ful of water.  Add the butter and flour.  When it is hot, add the cheese, stir well.  Add the peas to the pasta when you think it has a few minutes left to cook.  Add the tuna to the sauce.  Drain the pasta, then mix everything together.  Put it in a baking dish, sprinkle some more cheese on top, and bake at 375 until the top is browned (about 30 min).

Alderson 5k

Guess I've been pretty lazy about posting lately...oops. All this not-working is making me lazy.  That will change soon enough I'm sure.  I spent some time in my classroom this week getting it ready for the new school year, and I'm sure I'll be getting to work on lesson planning soon.  Plus, I'll be spending some time working in the bike shop this week...the shop moved to a new location and I need to get the office set up!

I ran a 5k yesterday, the "Run for Snacks" 5k.  Race proceeds go towards providing healthy snacks for a local elementary school.  This race wasn't on my schedule, but I found out about it a few days ago and didn't have a logical reason not to do it!  I'm glad I did it, I ended up with the super-fabulous time of 19:05.  For some reason, I thought my PR was 19:25.  I was super excited about the 20 second PR, since my last 5k PR was in September 2011, but then I looked in my records and discovered that the PR I set back then was actually 19:54.  I didn't get a 20 second PR, I got a 49 second PR.  So...that's exciting.  My ultimate 5k goal is to break the 6 min/mile pace. I'm getting closer!

And not only did I get an awesome PR, but I was first female finisher and 4th overall.  Was in 3rd place for the last mile or so, but the next guy was never far behind me, and when he sprinted out the finish, I really didn't feel like fighting him for it.  Not that I backed off my pace, but I didn't try to push any harder than I already was just to beat him.  I ended up only about a second behind him though...maybe I should have tried harder.

Starting on June 30, I've had a new running younger brother.  We just finished our first full week of running together, and we've got another 2 weeks or so before he heads back to RI.  I figure this will be a win-win situation...I'm helping him increase his mileage, he can help me run faster.  I think I take 3 strides to his when I'm pushing the pace as hard as I can, he's still just loping along.

6/24 - 6/30
M: off
T: off
W: 3.5 / 30:00 / 8:34
(Totally guessing about the mileage, I ran 20 min barefoot on the beach, and then put my shoes on and did 10 min on the road.  Somehow, it didn't occur to me to bring my GPS watch along.)
R: 4.32 / 35:11 / 8:08
F: off
Sa: off
Su: 4.7 / 35:02 / 7:27 w/Sean
total : 12.52

7/1 - 7/7
M: 7.17 / 56:43 / 7:54 w/Sean
T: 4.98 / 35:47 / 7:11 w/Sean
W: 5.56 / 40:32 / 7:18 w/Sean
R: 4.7 / 35:01 / 7:27 
(I needed a run on my own 'cause I needed to take it easy and I always forget to go easy when I run with someone else...)
F: off
Sa: 5k / 19:05 / 6:09
Su: 4.11 / 31:07 / 7:34 w/Sean & Jim
total : 29.62

This past week was pretty good for me after the previous week of low mileage and recovering from a race.  The goal is to fit a 10+ mile run in at some point this week.  The trouble is timing...too hot during the day, and I don't want to hit rush hour traffic in the morning or evening.  But I will figure something out for sure.  Just might not get to use my first choice of a route because of traffic.