Friday, August 30, 2013


Headed to Charleston, WV in a few hours!  Running the Charleston Distance Run bright and early tomorrow morning.  Last year I came in 6th place after pushing a wall for the entire, boring, completely flat, 2nd half of the race.  I'm hoping that this year somehow the flat doesn't hurt quite so bad and that I manage to finish top 5.  Also, I want my pace to be less than 7 min/mile.  I pulled a 7:15 average last year.  I didn't run much this week, had an adventurous run on Monday that left my legs feeling dead on Tuesday, so Wednesday I just went for a light jog, and then took Thursday and today off.  I would have preferred Wednesday off and a jog on Thursday, but Thursday was a busy day so I decided that it would have to be my day off.  I'm ok with taking 2 days off before a race, but I'm not willing to take 3 days off before a race.

This week (so far)
M: 6.03 / 45:21 / 7:31 w/Josh
T: 4.83 / 36:24 / 7:32
W: 3.65 / 33:01 / 9:02
total : 14.51

Monday's run involved running down a country road on which reside some vicious sheep dogs.  I knew they were there because I used to keep my horse next door, but let Josh talk me into running partway down the road before we turned around cause we were trying to get a 6 miler and we didn't want to turn around too soon. We figured we could turn around before the dogs would decide we were trying to steal their sheep.  Turns out, they didn't wait for us to get close.  They started coming for us as soon as they laid eyes on us.  And chased us a good ways back up the road.  Luckily we saw them as soon as they headed towards us so we booked it and kept our lead for a little while, long enough that by the time they got close were were pretty far away from their field.  A little yelling got them to back off while we kept running, and eventually they changed their minds and went back home.  I'm pretty sure they realized we were in better shape than they were and got tired...haha.

Wednesday my goal was to jog since I knew my legs were tired and I didn't want to overdo it.  I had no idea that I was going as slow as a 9 min/mile pace though!  That might be a new jogging record for me...hard to believe that only a few years ago that pace was fast for me...  Now I usually can't go that slow if I try.  This summer is going down as the summer I learned how to jog.  I've been noticing lately that the faster my race times get, the slower my training runs get.  Guess I don't mind as long as the race times keep getting faster!

In other news, here are some photos that I took in the last week:

I went out to the barn this morning and discovered some spiders that I did NOT want to know existed in the same space where I have been known to practically fall asleep in the grass.  They were everywhere!

And here are some pictures from the barn a few days ago.  
A day where there were NO nasty spiders in sight.

 I think it would hurt if I turned my neck like that.

Last night we had our back to school picnic.  It POURED rain for most of it.
Or as they say around here..."it poured the rain."
The kids had so much fun, it's gonna be hard to top it for the rest of the year.

 there were a couple of rainbows, but I had a lot of trouble getting them to come through in pictures
I'll have to work on that

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Recovery Week

I wasn't too concerned with mileage or speed this week.  I don't think I was completely recovered from the 5k when I ran the half marathon last weekend, and then I was a bit stiff and sore after the half marathon.  I did a short jog on Monday to try to work out some stiffness and see how I felt.  I developed shin splints at some point during the jog, so I took Tuesday off.  Stretched extra well before my run on Wednesday and thankfully the shin splints were gone.  Thursday was a long jog on the River Trail with Jim & Birch.  I took off on my own for the last 3/4 mile to alternate sprinting and jogging.  The dirt/gravel was pretty loose from a downpour that passed an hour or so before we ran, so the sprints were extra challenging (the harder I pushed off the ground, the further backwards my feet would slide). Friday rolled around and I just really didn't feel like going for a run.  It was one of those days where I couldn't tell if my body was telling me it needed a rest, or if I was just being lazy, but I took the day off just in case I really did need it.  And because I was being lazy.  Saturday and Sunday were long-ish slow jogs.  Both days I felt like I could have kept going for quite a bit longer, but I'm trying not to overdo it before the 15 miler next weekend.  

This week:
M: 2.76 / 20:39 / 7:28 
T: off
W: 4.7 / 35.38 / 7:34
R: 8 / 1:03:06 / 7:53 w/Birch & Jim
F: off
Sa: 6.31 / 50:17 / 7:58
Su: 6.75 / 53:55 / 7:59
total : 28.52

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Since I finally bought an immersion blender and got to make my favorite soup, I wanted to make some bread to go with it.  Last time I made a variation of this carrot-ginger soup, I had some white bread from a local bakery, and they went really well together.  I didn't feel like going out and buying bread, so I decided to change my bread recipe and make my own white baguette.  I normally put at least 1 cup of whole wheat flour in my bread, but this time I did only white flour.

So. Delicious.  

I've decided that maybe using whole grains is overrated.  

White Baguette
3 tsp yeast
7 oz hot water
garlic powder
ginger powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
3+ c white flour
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Mix together everything but the flour and stir.  Add 1 cup of flour, mix well.  Add flour roughly 1/2 c at a time, kneading as you go, until the dough is no longer sticky.  Cover and let rise for an hour or so, then divide into 2 loaves.  I ended up adding more flour after the first rising because the dough was super sticky again.  I let the loaves rise for about another hour, then baked them at 425 for 20 min.  

pre-bake beautiful white loaves

 Perfect combination.

I just ate half a loaf of was so good!

Immersion Blender!

I just bought myself a new kitchen toy that has made soup-making sooooo much easier.  

I've been planning to make carrot-ginger soup for awhile now, but it's usually such a pain, I was dragging my feet about making it, even though I was craving it.  But then I ordered an immersion blender and it came yesterday.  So tonight I made my soup.  Cooked everything, threw it all in a pitcher, and blended it smooth.  So much quicker and easier than processing it cup by cup in my food processor.  Also, the immersion blender is so easy to clean!

Olive oil, 2 inches of ginger root, 1/2 yellow onion, garlic powder, mustard powder, splash of veggie stock.

9 carrots, steamed with 1/2 stick butter, a bit of water.

When the carrots were soft, I poured the entire contents of the pot into the larger pot with the onions, etc.  Then I added 1-2 cups of heavy cream and a bit more veggie stock. 
I let it cook for a few minutes, then I spooned it into a pitcher.

Then I put my new toy to work.

Yes, I made soup in a green drink pitcher.  
The instructions for the blender said tall and thin containers work best. 
I decided this was the best thing I had.


Monday, August 19, 2013

So...I'm on Twitter now...

Not really sure if I'll manage to get into the whole "tweeting" thing...but in the interest of spreading this blog around now that I'm an official blogger for the awesome Blue Ridge Marathon, I figured I should at least give it a try.  So if you are into the whole twitter thing... follow me @wvhillrunner and let's see if I can manage to tweet occasionally.  You never know, I might become a crazy-obsessed tweeter.

Also, don't forget to "like" my Facebook page! Running for the Hills

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Parkersburg 1/2

New half marathon race strategy?  Start fast and stay fast.

Half Marathon #13. It was probably the best weather I have ever had for a half marathon, high 50s/low 60s, and sunny.  As usual, I left the watch behind for the race, but there were people calling out the time at every mile marker.  I ran the first mile in about 6:24, and instead of freaking out and backing off, I decided to try just going with it.  With the several short races I have done since my last half in June, I am used to starting at top speed and sprinting the entire race.  I decided I had nothing to lose in this race, so I thought maybe I could get away with trying that strategy in a longer race.  I hit mile 9 at one hour, and was still pushing the pace pretty hard.  I was pretty sure I was on track to break 1:28 and get a PR.  

The biggest hill of the race was in the last mile and a half.  It wasn't any longer or steeper than anything I run at home, but it came at a rough spot in the race.  I would have killed it earlier in the race.  As it was, I was getting tired and out of breath, but I put my head down and powered up it one foot at a time.  By the top I was barely breathing, but regained my breath coasting down the other side.  The last mile of the race was flat/downhill, but I was spent, so I was really struggling to stay on pace.  I got passed by a guy on the final stretch to the finish line, and while I was unable to beat him, he gave me the incentive I needed to find a last little bit of strength for the sprint to the finish.  It also helped that I could see the clock and had already missed breaking 1:28.  I finished in 1:28:29, which is only 27 sec off my PR, and the closest I have come to a PR since I set my last one in Myrtle Beach in 2012.  

If all goes well, I should be able to PR at the Beckley 1/2 in October.  It's not a difficult course, and it's hills are better placed to help me instead of slow me down.  

My 1:28:29 finish placed me 7/353 females, and 51/833 total runners.  I was 5th overall in my age category, but since some of the top 4 finishers were in that age category, I got a trophy for 2nd in the category.  

Today, a friend gave me a copy of the newspaper, and the results have me listed as #2 USA finisher, and not mentioned in the age category awards.  So I'm interested to see which I get a check for...since all checks are getting mailed out, rather than handed out at the awards ceremony.  

Overall, I had a great race experience in Parkersburg.  It is by no means my favorite course (too many long flat stretches...and all the hills but the last one were more like bumps in the road), but the race was well organized, volunteers were good about directing runners at turns, and the finish line area didn't bottleneck.  That last bit is really important to me.  After sprinting the finish of a race, I have to jog out for a bit or I cramp up pretty bad. I also need a chance to let my breathing ease back to normal.  I hate being forced to stand or walk while gasping for air and needing to keep my legs from seizing.  At this finish line, I crossed the line, slowed to a jog, was able to grab a wet towel from one volunteer, my medal from the next, and a water bottle from the next, all while maintaining a good jog, and then I was out of the finish zone and jogged around the block til I was ready to stretch.  It was as perfect a finish line experience as I could have. 

Big thanks to my friends in Belpre, OH who made my visit a fun one!  It's always great to have a free place to stay and people to hang out with!  It's been an awesome weekend to finish out the summer. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Parkersburg Week

Headed out the door to drive to Parkersburg in about 2 hrs.  I was originally worried that this would be a super hot and humid race and that my primary goal might have to be to finish without dehydrating.  But...then 2 nights ago the temperature dropped to the 40s, and the humidity plummeted as well.  I don't think it's reached 70 degrees in the last few days.  So it's looking the weather might actually be perfect on Saturday.  Not too hot, not too humid.  Of course it could end up raining or something...but I've run some of my best races in the rain, so I'm not gonna worry about it.

The Week so far
M: 7.17 / 53:23 / 7:26
T: 4.7 / 35:55 / 7:38
W: off
R: 4.7 / 35:03 / 7:27
F: off

Tomorrow I will run the Parkersburg Half Marathon, and Sunday will either be a rest day or a light jog, depending on how I feel.  

Strawberry - Ginger Fruit Topping

12 strawberries, chopped
c. 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger root
1 spoonful of brown sugar
orange juice

Brown the ginger in a little bit of olive oil in a 2 qt saucepan, then soak up as much oil as possible with a paper towel.  Add enough orange juice to cover the bottom of the pan.  Add the chopped strawberries and the sugar.  Stir for a bit, then bring it to a simmer and let simmer til it has reached the desired thickness. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Peachy Perfect Pasta

1/2 - 1 cups chopped onion
2 carrots, chopped
1-2 cups chopped cabbage
2 peaches, chopped
fresh basil, chopped

Boil water for pasta. When it boils, add the pasta, then:
Saute the onions in some olive oil.  When they are lightly browned, add the cabbage, carrots, some more olive oil, and 1/4 c water.  Put a lid on the pan and let it steam for awhile.  

While the veggies steam, chop up the peaches into bite-sized pieces.  When the veggies are done, remove the lid, turn the heat to very low, and add the peaches. Chop up some fresh basil and add it as well.  

Drain the pasta and toss it with olive oil and just a little bit of mustard and pesto.  

Put some pasta in a bowl, dump some fruit/veggie mix on top, and stir it up.
Eat, enjoy.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stuffing Muffins

I always throw the ends of bread loaves into the freezer.  Sometimes they turn into stuffing, sometimes bread pudding.  I got a new roommate recently, and it's been getting hard to close the freezer door.  I had almost 2 loaves worth of bread in there, so I figured it was about time to do something with it.  I didn't manage to use all of it, but I did manage to use of some of it!

garlic cloves
fresh ginger root
1/4 yellow onion
2 slices of bacon
2 small carrots
big handful of cranberries
1 egg
veggie stock
c 3/4 loaf of dried bread

Preheat the oven to 350.
Chop the garlic, ginger, and onion and saute in some olive oil.  Chop the bacon and add it when the onion starts to brown.  Grate the carrot and put it in a big bowl.  Chop the cranberries and add them to the bowl. Add the garlic/ginger/onion/bacon mixture.  Beat the egg and add it.  Add c 1/2 c of veggie stock.  Mix well.  Break the bread into roughly 1 inch pieces and add it.  Stir well until all of the bread is moist.  Add more veggie stock if needed.  Grease a muffin tin.  Shape the stuffing mixture into 12 balls and put them in the muffin tin.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  

a 20 mile run and a 5k race

I would say that this was a week of extremes...the longest run I've done in a very long time (and 3rd longest run ever), and my fastest race since high school track.  Definitely wasn't running any sub-19 minute 5ks in high school!  But I wasn't running half marathons back then either, and I didn't see a significant increase in speed until I built up my mileage.  I've noticed over the past couple years that my short distance race times were improving, and at some point I realized that it was a result of increased endurance.  But I never guessed that the endurance would improve my short races quite this much!

I'm the one wearing a bright blue shirt and bright blue lucky race colors? 
I thought a bunch of those cross country runner kids would beat me...but only one of them did.

Yesterday my main goal (other than winning and carrying home the $100 prize) was to find out if my 19:05 from early July was a fluke or not.  It was such a huge PR, I had trouble believing it could be real.  Even if it was real, I didn't think I would be able to get much faster than that.  I really wanted to break 19, but wasn't getting my hopes up for it.  And then...I crossed the finish line not just under 19, but under 19 with room to spare.  What an awesome feeling that was!  Now I almost want to take a break from half marathons and focus on 5ks for awhile.  That's not going to happen, of course.  But I may be signing up for more 5ks in between the longer races!

I should probably be doing speed workouts once in awhile.  I've been saying for months that I'm going to start doing them once a week.  Yet I haven't done a single track workout since last August.  And, quite frankly, since I'm getting faster without doing them...I don't have enough incentive.  Speed workouts are boring.  I hate stopping and starting.  I'm still going to keep trying to talk myself into doing speed workouts...someday...but who knows when I'll actually get around to it.

As for the 20 mile run.  It was brutal.  And painful (but not to my legs).  I don't think I enjoyed a single second of it (although some of the scenery was beautiful).  I'm glad I finally got it out of the way, since I am supposedly running a marathon in November, but geez, no-one should have to run that far alone, if at all!  I am going to try to do one more long run in mid-September, but I am not looking forward to it.

The worst part of that long run, was the fact that I had to bring water with me.  I'm not stupid enough to try and run 20 miles in the summer with no water, but carrying water while running is super annoying.  I have 2 fuel belts that I have acquired from friends, but I just can't stand them.  They bounce around on my hips and drive me crazy.  I tried to use one of them for this run, but I only made it one block before it drove me absolutely crazy, so I turned around and took it back home.  In trying to deal with the bouncing, I was changing my stride, and it was making my legs hurt.  So, I left the belt at home and carried the bottle in my hand.  Even though I switched it back and forth from hand to hand throughout the run, my shoulders and neck cramped up pretty bad from the weight.  They hurt really bad by the end of the run (and for a few days afterwards).  No fun.

This week:
M: off
T: 20.7 / 3:06:01 / 8:59
W: rest day
R: 5.56 / 44:33 / 8:00
F: 4.7 / 36:17 / 7:43
Sa: 3.1 / 18:39 / 6:00
Su: off
week total : 34.06

I actually might run at some point today...but I'm kind of assuming that I will choose to be lazy instead.