Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Cross Country Classic Race Report

There's no better way to spend your birthday than racing!  It may have not been the most important race in the world, but it was a fun time, and my family was there to enjoy it with me! 

When did my son get to be so much taller than me?
I was a little worried in the days leading up to the race... I couldn't seem to get going any faster than a 8:30 pace.  I don't know if my body was in a Spring Break mode or what, but, it just wasn't going any faster! 

The race was at a park on the other side of town.  It was a beautiful spring morning... and the men got to go first!  I watched as my son and cute husband ran around the course.  My son wasn't thrilled with his perfomance - he was just over 23 minutes and had run 5Ks much, much faster... but, he wasn't too happy that I made him get out of bed so early to go do this (hey - for the record - he agreed to do this *on his own*!).  Rik was just a tad over 24 minutes and wished he had pushed a little harder to get under the 24 minute mark.  But, I think he deserves a little slack because he has been working really hard to get better at his rock climbing skills.  Remember, he was just on a rock climbing trip a couple of weeks ago!  And we all know that it's hard to stay in shape with one activity when you have a full time job and a family... much less two.

I forgot to wear my watch as well (I remembered when we were about half way to the park!)... Rik let me wear his heartrate monitor... just the watch part.  It had a pace calculator - and that's all I was able to see during the race - the band was too big for me so when I would look down at it, the pace calulator is what I saw.  I was super shocked the first time I looked at it to see me cruising along at a 7:38 pace.  I haven't done that since, well, probably never!  When it was all said and done, I beat my PR... AND accomplished one of my goals for 2011 - getting my 5K time under 24 min.  I came in with 23:49 as my final time!  And then it got better... I thought there were lots of women in front of me... it turns out there were only 18 in front of me... AND I was the first in my age group... which is shocking to me!  Why?  There are two women who run here locally who are always winning everything and qualifing for the Olympic trials, etc... and they just happen to be my age.  Yes really.  The one lady did win the race, but they took her out of the age group placements because of it.  The other lady must have slept in or something.  I won this really cool shirt.

The only people who got shirts were the people that placed in their age groups!

My birthday could have ended right there and I would have been happy.  But I got to go shopping and to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner (I'd  never been before).  Oh, and the evening ended with us dying Easter eggs.  How many other people get to dye eggs on their birthdays as well?!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sugar. Again.

I've said it before.  I love sugar.  I know it's not good for me.  I know how many calories per teaspoon it has.  I know how many an entire tomato has.  Or a cup of lettuce.  I mentally plan how I will avoid it.  But when sugar shows up on the table in front of me, it's hard to walk away from it.  Especially when it is paired with it's equally evil cousin chocolate.  If I could ever convince my husband that ice cream is not one of the four food groups. Or that chocolate on the Target clearance shelf does not have to jump into my cart.  A friend sent me a link to this video... here's hoping to me thinking that sucking down that piece of cake is just like taking a drag on a cigarette!

Is Sugar as Bad as Tobacco?

Today I found a giveaway for some chocolate energy gels over at (Just) Trying is For Little Girls... do you think since this doesn't have refined sugar and lots of bad stuff added in that it counts towards my "tobacco" sugar count?  I'm curious to try the stuff out anyway.  Go over there and see if you can win yourself some to try out!

In other news, I joined the Daily Mile this week... does anybody else out there do this?  It looks fun... we'll see!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Racing Plans

Racing is something that I really like doing.  It gets your out running in places you wouldn't normally be able to set foot.  Like the time I ran down Broadway during the Race for the Cure.  All cities seem to have a Broadway.  What does yours look like?  Would you want to run in the middle of it?  I didn't think so.  For those of us early bird runners who never see anyone but the newspaper delivery guy while out, it also reminds us that there is a whole running community out there.  And forces us to wear matching clothes and comb our hair.  I often wonder what would happen if I had a problem while out... would anyone believe I needed help or would I look like the crazy homeless woman that stole clothes from an athletic store?

As most people probably understand, I have limited time and money, therefore, I don't get to race as often as I would like.  (If you don't, will you please email me so we can talk?!)  My two guaranteed races per year are the Saguaro National Park run on Labor Day and the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot.  If you notice, they are both on holidays, which are a day when I don't have to drive any kids around or show up at work.  A non mom type of person might not care about either of those things, but I've decided that it's in my genetic makeup to worry about  kid stuff.  And going to work goes back to that having money to enter races once in a while thing.  I might as well roll with it and enjoy it and fit some races in around it!  Which brings me to the dollars one spends on races.  I realize that most races are to benefit some cause.  And for the most part, they all seem to be worthy causes... from cancer to animal rescue and everything in between you can find a race to run that will benefit from it.  And it's all good, it really is.... unfortunately, my pocketbook doesn't think so.  Ballet lessons and soccer cleats are what I spend most of any "extra" money that comes into our household.  This forces me to pick and choose the races I run even more.  Or save all year for the ones I do. 

Enter the email that landed in my inbox this week.  There is to be a Triple Crown race series here... starting with a June 5K (at night so we don't melt into the pavement), the Saguaro National Park Run on Labor Day, and a brand new half marathon in October... all for $55 through  today.  As a frugal runner, my attention was captured!  After today it's $75.  And it really is a deal... most half marathons *start* at that price... and don't include 2 other races!  OK.  I was hooked.  I mailed my registration in yesterday.  I'm committed!

Even better, my birthday is a week from tomorrow.  There is to be a low cost race on my birthday morning.  I guess the reason it is low cost is that you get to paw through all the old, leftover race shirts from any other race this organization has put on as your race shirt. The thought both thrills and scares me!  Either I will end up with a shirt that is four sizes too big from a really cool race... or I'll end up with a shirt in the perfect size from a race I have already run... thus already owning the shirt.  My cute husband and son both have agreed to come and run the race with me.  I can't wait!  I'm a little worried about my 5K time, but I am out giving it my all to train right now.... we'll just say my time hopefully will be better by the time the June 5K race rolls around.  I think this will be a fun birthday present!  A birthday *event* rather than a present is best!

Monday, April 11, 2011

When the cat's away...

the mice do play! 

My husband was out of town rock climbing for the past week... he ended up in Red Rocks near Las Vegas... and while he would just as soon never go to Vegas again, he did have what sounded like a pretty good time rock climbing..
I love this picture... even though he's just planning for a climb and not actually climbing anything!
Soooooo..... I had all these great vegetables around... and while I would normally make them for side dishes or lunches for myself, I decided that I would make some main dishes for dinner out of them.  While my husband is a lot of wonderful things, he tends to like having meat around in some form.  I do cook meatless about once a week, but, I'm not sure he could have done the week that we did.

I made...Sweet Potato Enchiladas... totally YUM.  Even if you don't like sweet potatoes, you would like this.  The seasonings in the sweet potatoes make it seem like a nice creamy filling... if you didn't know better, you would never guess!
Photo credit goes to "Happy Healthy Mama"
Then we also had Stuffed Poblano Peppers.... which turned out to be another winner.  If I were to change anything, I would make sure I used the right kind of cheese... I had briefly looked for the cheese this recipe called for, Target didn't have it, so I ended up using the 3 cheese Mexican blend that Target did have, but I think it would have been even better with the right cheese.
Photo courtesy of
And for my last all veggie dinner, I made stuffed zucchini.  I am still looking for the link to this recipe (the problem with having more than one computer!), and will post it as soon as I do, but the basic gist is that you saute the zucchini middles, mushrooms, and cheese together and pile them back into the zucchini shells and broil until browned.  Another winner.  I will be very sad if my recipe is lost in cyberspace somewhere! 

I'm sure by now, my son especially, was really hoping dad would come home soon, but I was having too much fun to quit.  And the people at work would watch me get out my lunches everyday and wonder where I found out about such things.  (Not a secret, I have internet access and know how to use a search engine!)  I felt like a weird sideshow.  Maybe they were just jealous because they had their bland boxes of Lean Cuisine waiting for them?  I know I would have been!

Making all of these recipes made me want to eat better each time I made something.  I was very conscious about what I was putting in my body and felt it was showing in my running.  I felt physically much better by the end of the week... and my running was showing.  Each morning I was feeling like I could push a little more. 

Yes, I am back to cooking things with meat.  Not a bad thing.  I didn't miss meat, but I felt like I found out about a whole food niche out there that needed to be discovered by me.  I know I'll be trying to work it a little more into our normal food rotations.  I'm just not thinking that hubby will be thrilled to sit down to enchiladas when he finds them filled with sweet potatoes!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Time for an analysis of my March...

And while I'm at it, maybe I should do February as well?  I don't know how I let that slip by!  (Well, actually I do, but you are surely tired of the dishes/laundry/work sob stories by now!)

March was a great month as far as getting to the gym was concerned.  Probably the best I have had since joining.  I had no excuses for soccer games AND my sweet husband volunteered to drive any child that needed driving around.  I went to Pilates every week AND spin class.  The nice thing about this spin class is that only 11-15 people show up every time, so there is no pressure from my imagination causing inferiority complexes!  And, a gold star for me for staying at Pilates the week that the substitute was there.  Remember the guy I complained about in December?  Yeah.  He was back.  There is no rhythm to his exercises, breathing is not an issue, because it isn't done, and, he's just not Ellen.  I know, he's probably a really nice guy, but I just don't care for his method of teaching.

Now to face up to what's been going on running wise.  I've been like an ostrich with his head in the sand about this, but as of March 31st, I have run 191.22 miles for 2011.  It doesn't sound too bad until you start doing the math.  This means I've run an average of 63.74 miles per month.  If you remember correctly, I need to be running 83.3 miles per month to make the 1000 miles this year.  It's time for me to quit making excuses and just go run.  I'm never sorry when I do, just lazy when I wake up.  Most of the battle is mental for me.  This goal will not be happening if I don't fix it starting now because I will never be able to catch up if I get any farther behind!

Now a word to the wise, track season has started and I've spent 8 hours in the last couple of days sitting on a metal bench watching junior high kids propel themselves around a track.  I'm trying not to let this get in the way of any of my running momentum.  I managed to get out for a short run on Saturday before the meet because some run was better than no run!  Though, I did miss spin class yesterday because it was smack dab in the middle of the meet.... hey - I had to watch my kid win 1st place in the long jump!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


For those of you have read the book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (Vintage), you know that Chia is introduced as a "superfood"... and like 95% of everyone else who read the book, besides wanting to suddenly run an ultra marathon, I ran out and bought some chia seeds and have been using them in my morning smoothies.  I don't think I am running any faster, harder, or more efficiently at this point, but, there are a lot of other factors involved... like quite possibly the chocolate covered cherries or the Caffeine Free Diet Coke that counteract any positive reactions that might have occurred.

I figured why not try and grow some of it as well?  I ended up at Native Seed Search... the local store is in my city.  (Though my husband pointed out that it would just be easier to buy a Chia Pet... millions of people have been growing these seeds for years on hippos, puppies, and kittens while not realizing they were growing a superfood.)  While I was browsing among the tomatillo and squash seeds, I found the desert chia seed.  It not only promises to be a great herb, but a beautiful ground cover as well.  I hope that this is true, because there are patches of my ground that really need to be covered!  Thankfully they sprouted right away.  I am not sure how long before I should plant them in real pots, but they look kind of cool among all the tomatoes and peppers I have that are working on being real plants as well. 

Will it make me run faster?  Is Runner's World going to call me to be a cover model next month? Am I the next unknown endurance athlete about to make a grand appearance because I am consuming chia seeds?   As much as I would like to believe all of this, I am known to be a bit of a daydreamer... but maybe all the omega 3s and other "healthy stuff" that these seeds have will make me live a healthier life in general... making me a better mom and wife.  I think that's what I really need.... the ability to leap through the grocery store in a single bound or drive through the drop off line at school with the speed of a flying bullet.....