Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 : Year in Review

What. A. Year.

2012 was a great year of running for me, but 2013 was even better! So many incredible miles run and races completed.  I finally broke out of my 1:30 half marathon plateau, and am hopeful for a PR in 2014.

Yearly Mileage
2010 : 1088 miles
2011 : 1447 miles
2012 : 1363 miles
2013 : 1490 miles

My highest mileage month in 2013 was March, with 172 miles.  My lowest mileage month was November, with 90 miles.  June had exactly 100 miles, and only the last 2 months of the year were less than that.  

2013 was my highest mileage year, and held the greatest number of races I've ever done in one year : 16. 7 of those races involved PRs of some sort.  And instead of running 4 half marathons like I did in the past two years, this year I ran 7, three of which were under 1:30.  

2013 PR List
 5k : 2 PRs
4 mile : PR
10k : PR
13.1 : 2 course PRs
15 mile : PR

I didn't PR in a marathon, but I did finally get around to running my 2nd marathon.  
I believe I would have PRd easily if I had actually been in shape for the distance...

I am looking forward to 2014 and another year of racing.  I'm hoping for at least one race every month this year.  Last year, I didn't race in January, September, or December. This year I already have a race scheduled for January, and believe I have a race to do in February as well.  March and April are also taken care of, so I should be off to a good start!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Blue Ridge Marathon give-away

And the winner is...Trish Friederich!  Send me your email address and I'll pass it along so you can get your registration code!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Running for the Hills : Blue Ridge Marathon give-away

I'm not really sure why I love running up hills so much.  I used to avoid big hills whenever possible.  They were hard, and it hurt to run up them.  But living in a hilly/mountainous town, it's pretty hard to avoid hills forever if you don't want to run the same 1 mile loop over and over and over again.  So at some point, I started branching out and trying hills that scared me when I first moved here.  And of course, they gradually became easier.  There are so many hills that I now run on a regular basis, that I used to avoid like the plague.  And now, they are just one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, like running anywhere else.  And they feel good.  There is something about pushing myself up a hill, that feels amazing.  Sometimes it's hard, and sometimes it hurts, but I still love it.  Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the feeling of accomplishment when I reach the top, maybe there really is no explanation.  All I know for sure is that downhills are awkward and hurt in all the wrong ways, flats are boring and also hurt my legs if I get stuck on them for too long, and uphills feel good.

This spring, I will be running the Blue Ridge 1/2 Marathon for the fourth time.  I am in love with the first 4 miles of the course.  (or...miles 2-4...the first mile is pretty flat)  Running up Mill Mountain is fun.  While others are struggling, I am in my element.  Sure, it's a long hill.  But it's really not that steep.  It's certainly not any harder than the hills I run on a regular basis, it's just longer.  I power up that mountain like I was born to do it.  Of course, then I have to go down the other side, which is impossibly steep and always makes me feel certain that either my knees or my hips will blow up before I get to the bottom.  But I've run it 3 times with no injury, and last year I sprinted down that hill, trying desperately to keep as much of a lead as I could.

This spring, I'm excited to say, there has been another big hill added to the course.  (I mean, I hear it's big...I really have no idea what it's like)  I'm a little bit disappointed that this will most likely change my overall time (I can't count it as a course PR if the course is different!), but there is actually a chance that it will help my time.  The flat part of the course after Mill Mountain always drags out for me, and the extra hill might give me the energizer that I need in the last half of the course.  We shall see.

In other news, this is my week to give away a free entry to the Blue Ridge Marathon!
The 2014 race will be held on April 26.

To enter, simply comment on this blog post, telling me about your relationship with hills. 
 Love them?  Hate them?  Love to hate them?  Hate to love them?  
Has your opinion about hills changed over the years?

Be sure to check back on Sunday to find out the winner!  
Winner will be chosen by random number generator, 
and will be contacted by email, as well as announced here on the blog. 
Good luck, and I can't wait to hear your stories!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Finally, a "long" run

I feel like I've hardly run at all since the Richmond Marathon on November 16th.  Between rest, weather, travel, and overall busy-ness, running has been falling through the cracks.  I've been getting about 3 runs a week, and most of them only about 4 miles long.  2 weeks ago it was Thanksgiving travel that got in the way of running, and last week it was a 2 day Math conference in Charlottesville, and my photography show.

Yesterday was a slushy, icy mess, and I probably would have fallen and broken something if I had tried to run, so I stayed inside and baked a chocolate cake instead.  I was pretty stir crazy by the end of the day, but never quite managed to talk myself into working out.

We had a 2 hour delay today, and since it rained all night, by the time I headed to school, the roads weren't too bad.  After school, it was 40 degrees, so I headed out to run as many miles as possible.  The weather is supposed to turn nasty again tonight, so hopefully today's 9.5 miles will get me through the next few days if the weather prohibits running.  It felt really good to get out and run so many miles, I haven't run that many miles since the marathon.

Part of me is getting antsy to run another half marathon, but the other part of me is exhausted from 3 road trips in 3 weeks and in no hurry to leave home again any time soon.  We'll see what happens...

Chocolate Coffee Cake

It doesn't make any sense to me when foods are named according to ingredients they don't contain.  Like coffee cake.  I suppose you are supposed to eat it with coffee, but if it doesn't have coffee in it, it shouldn't be called coffee cake.  It's so misleading.

I've been craving chocolate cake lately.  I was going to make a Chocolate - Guinness Cake, but then I decided to use coffee instead of Guinness. So I made a small pot of coffee, used 1 cup of it in the cake, and used the remaining scant 1/2 cup to make the icing.

Chocolate - Coffee Cake
2 1/8 c flour
2 c white sugar
3/4 c cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 c veg oil
1 tbsp vanilla
1 c coffee
3 eggs

Mix the dry ingredients in a mixer on low speed, and whisk together the wet ingredients in a 2c glass measuring cup.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix.  Grease and flour two 8.5 inch round cake pans.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 40 minutes at 350.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for a few minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks.  When they are cool, cover the top of one with glaze, sprinkle on some mini chocolate chips, add the second cake, and then add the rest of the glaze on top.  

Chocolate -Coffee - Cream Cheese Glaze
1/2 c coffee
2 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp brown sugar
confectioners sugar

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Arugula Rolls Take 2

I guess I've been neglecting this blog.  Sadly, kitchen experiments have fallen by the wayside in favor of my newer hobby, photography.  I'm having my first show this coming Friday, and I'm super excited.  I've been pretty busy getting ready for it though!

Staying busy with photography doesn't mean I haven't been cooking, it just means I haven't found the time to document everything I've made.  Tonight was a whirlwind in the kitchen, as I'm looking ahead to a busy and disorganized week, and have no idea when I will have time to cook again before next Sunday.  I made crock pot pulled pork, tuna salad, baked chicken thighs, carrot soup, and arugula rolls.

Arugula Rolls Take 2

red wine
bread dough

preheat oven to 450

For the bread dough: Combine 2 tsp yeast, garlic powder, ginger powder, a dash of salt, 1 tsp sugar, 6 oz hot water, and a bit of olive oil.  Add 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour.  Knead in white flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Cover and let rise for 30+ minutes.  Punch down dough, add a bit more flour if necessary.  Roll out the dough into a large rectangle.  

For the filling: Chop some garlic, 1/4 of an onion, and a few strips of bacon (chopped), and cook til browned.  Add chopped mushrooms and kale.  When the mushrooms are almost done, add some red wine.  Let it cook for awhile, then spoon out the wine.  

Construct the roll: Spread shredded cheese and arugula on the rolled-out bread dough.  Add the cooked ingredients on top, sprinkle on some more cheese.  Roll up the dough.  Spread some cornmeal on a baking and lay the roll on the cornmeal. Sprinkle some cheese on top.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Latrobe Turkey Trot 5k

As of now, this was my last race for the year.  But, I still have 30 days to find another one...I've never done a Christmas race before...

As with last year's Thanksgiving race, I ran this one with my two brothers.  Of course they finished ahead of me, but thanks to the short-distance speed I have acquired in the last 6 months, I was respectably close behind them.

The weather for this race rivaled that of the Lewisburg 1/2 a month ago.  It was in the low 20s, just like that race, but this time it was also windy.  My feet went numb during my warm-up.  Doing striders/sprints with numb feet is not one of the more comfortable things I have ever done.

I started the race right on the starting line.  Well, right behind the girl who shoved herself in front of me shortly before the gun went off.  I thought I would be able to get ahead of the crowd, but no such luck.  As soon as the air-horn sounded, I was boxed in by a big crowd of people.  Guess I need to work on my quick-start.

My lungs were hurting pretty bad from the cold air before I even reached the halfway point, but since it was only a 5k, I made myself push through it.  I kept pushing until the last 2-300 meters, when there was a hairpin turn that showed me there were no girls in sight behind me.  So I backed off just a bit, because I was hurting and didn't want to hurt myself too bad.  My experience post-Beckley race has me running a little more cautiously.  I don't want to get sick again from over-straining my lungs.

I looked at the time-clock as I crossed the finish line.  It said 17:15.  Which made absolutely no sense.  I wasn't delusional enough to believe for even half a second that I had PRd by more than a minute.  Turns out the clock was 2 minutes off.  I finished in 19:15, which is much more realistic and believable.  Official race results have my finishing time a few seconds slower than that, but they timing company made so many mistakes that day, I'm going by the time I saw as I crossed the line.  +2 minutes.

After finishing, we had to stand around in the cold for over an hour, waiting for results.  They announced me as second female finisher, which was wrong.  I was third.  But they had no record of the the actual second place girl and told me to just take the medal.  After going through some more awards, it came out that numerous people were not on the results list. So they did some investigation while we continued to stand freezing in the cold.  And then they decided to cancel the rest of the awards ceremony due to extreme confusion and disorganization.  So...we stood out in the cold for over an hour. For nothing.  Yay.