Just to let you know- this blog is no longer active. I'll be keeping up my 101 in 1001 list until its completion, but will not be writing new posts. You can read the post below if you want the long version. Thanks for the journey to all my friends in the blogosphere!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Race Envy

Despite my big plans back in July and August, my fall racing plans have fallen through for a number of reasons. I can't complain because I've been plenty busy with other things, but I can't help but feel just a teensy bit jealous of all of you gearing up for your fall races.

I did have one race besides my pathetically slow 5K though! I forgot to tell y'all about the triathlon relay I did last month. Before I got married (and moved an hour away from the closest indoor pool), I did sprint triathlons on a pretty regular basis. I've said it before, but triathlons are so. much. fun. When I've got access to train in a pool, I'd like to work my way up to an Olympic distance triathlon and a half-ironman, but that won't be anytime in the foreseeable future.

I had never participated in a triathlon relay though and was so excited to get an invitation this summer to be the swim leg in a relay at the beach in September. (My husband was not as thrilled...triathlons make even less sense to him than marathons because of all the gear and logistics and set-up required. I have to give him credit though because he was trooper and was at the race site at 5:45 a.m. with me.)

The swim was in the channel and I was a little nervous because I had never swam in the channel before, it was a little chilly, and my training had been somewhat sporadic. (Think random YMCA visits while visiting family and going on day trips + swimming laps in tiny hotel pools while out of town.) Once we got in though, the swim was great and I felt really good about it. I guess my teammates had lower expectations because they were THRILLED with my time and that made me pretty happy too.

My teammates invited me to swim with them again in Beach to Battleship Half-Ironman that's today, but I wasn't able to do so, which is why I guess my case of race envy is kicking in now. Oh well...maybe I should at least get out of my pajamas and channel that envy into a run!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's easy to get an age group award...

...when you're the only one in your age group!

In my experience, most 19-24 year-olds are still in bed at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings and the those who do run are racing in college and not worrying about little 5Ks and 10Ks on the weekends. Therefore I've been able to get several age group awards while I was still in my "early twenties."

Fast forward to my "late twenties" and the field seems much more competitive. These women are college runners who are over being burnt out and ready to run again, mommy-runner fanatics who can outpace me even pushing a giant stroller, and hardcore workout fiends who wouldn't dream of sleeping in on Saturdays.

They didn't show up to my race on Saturday though! I was able to stroll right through at a leisurely pace and still take home a medal. Is it pathetic that I'm still excited about my only age group award this fall?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Making Runners Instead of Running for Myself

Well, I'm back from my blog hiatus and all, but I'm quickly realizing I don't have a lot to talk about in the running sphere right now. As I mentioned, I'm not really training for anything in particular right now, and even though I'm running, there's not a whole lot of adventure going on with that.

In fact, when I look back over the course of this year, my running theme has definitely been geared towards making new runners.

Since January, I...
  • Attended Girls on the Run training.
  • Coached a Girls on the Run team of 26 third, fourth, and fifth grade girls.
  • Convinced 4 other teachers at that school that they liked running enough to get trained themselves and they are now coaching our county's first STRIDE (boys running) teams.
  • Helped two good friends get through their first long runs and 1/2 marathons.
  • Ran alongside my college roommate in her first marathon. (Although, technically I was not beside her as she finished because she's much more hardcore than me and was done a good 1/2 hour before me....)
  • Organized the second annual Farmers Market Run/Walk 5K at no cost to the participants.
  • Talked another 3 coaches and 1 school into Girls on the Run.
  • Started an informal Saturday running club.
  • Started coaching our county's first Girls on Track team at a new school.
  • Somehow, some way, got talked into organizing another local 5K....
Actually, I'm really excited about this 5K we're planning for December because it's cutesy (we're thinking about ordering a few of these...
), there are other people who are really excited about this event and helping to plan it, it's going to be so exciting for all our little running teams to get together, and we're raising some funds to help pay for our spring teams!

Suddenly, I feel don't feel so pathetic that I haven't had any PRs, tackled any new distances, or lost that weight that's been slowing me down this year. (Okay, that still sounds a little pathetic.)

One of my adorable little middle school runners asked me the other day, "Why did you want to start this running club with us?" Well, because I love running and I want that little girl, her teammates, and anybody else I can convince to love it too. It's not too much to ask, is it?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weak Ankles...

I've mentioned before how fortunate I've been to have a mostly injury-free running career thus far. This can probably be mostly attributed to the fact that, even when I've been marathon training, I've never been nearly as hardcore as most of the runners I envy.

Besides a few minor knee incidences (solved just with rest), my only other issue is that I have pathetic weak ankles. It is not usual for me to step funny on a foot and roll my ankle for a second. Usually, this is remedied by the old "walk it off," and it's fine.

Well, yesterday, at Girls on Track practice, that strategy did not work and I felt pretty stupid. During one of our relays, I rolled my ankle, proceed to tried to jog on it, and then got light-headed, unable to finish instructions for the next activity, and had to sit down in the grass. I knew I would be fine in a second (as long as I didn't try to keep going....did I mention I gave blood the other day? I really didn't want a repeat of this.)

This is the difference between elementary and middle school girls. My elementary girls would have freaked out, covering me with their little hands and asking if I was okay. My middle school girls looked at me funny. One of them asked, rightly so, "Umm...how are we supposed to run if you are in the way?" It kind of cracked me up.

Anyway, I can't complain because my ankle didn't even swell- it's just a little sore and I'm going to stay off it a few days. Well...at least until run club in the morning.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PR*Bars Review

As I alluded to a couple days ago, today marks my first blog review!

Jordan from Kel & Partners agency contacted me to offer a sampling of PR*Bars to review here a while back, and finally between a lost package and a blog break, the stars have aligned!

Over the past couple weeks, I've tested the PR*Bars in a variety of settings- as fuel before 8 and 7 mile runs, a hearty mid-afternoon snack, a breakfast running out the door, a half-dinner before 4 miles, and a post-run snack.

I don't mess around too much with my running fuel because I've had a few icky gels that I wasn't too impressed with, but the PR*Bars seemed to do the trick. When I had my "Iced Brownie" (yes, chocolate appeals me to even at 6:40 in the morning) PR*Bar before heading out a few weeks ago, I met up with a friend for what I thought would just be a couple miles, but it turned into 8. I usually have a gel if I'm running over an hour, but I didn't have one with me and was surprised to find that I didn't need one. Usually I get draggy around mile 5 and don't recover as well if I don't have a gel, but I really think having the PR*Bar before gave me more sustained energy than I usually have during a long run.

I had similar results with the other ones I had with my other runs, though 8 was my longest. They're a good size and sweetness/heartiness level for a heavy snack or quick breakfast too. The claim is that the PR*Bar formula "eliminates hunger, increases mental focus, and optimizes performance by controlling blood sugars and using body fat for fuel." I didn't exactly produce a scientific experiment to test this, but they did fill me up quickly. I'm interested in using the PR*Bars in the future when I'm in more of a challenging training mode, but they worked fine for my needs right now.

I got the chance to try 5 of the flavors- Iced Brownie (had a chocolate glaze that I liked), Oatmeal Raisin Granola (more like a traditional granola bar), Chocolate Peanut (again, it's hard to go wrong with a chocolate glaze-almost tasted a little like a Reese's cup), Peanut Butter Granola, and Apple Pie (which I was surprised to like so much because usually I don't like fruity bars like this, but it had a sweet glaze to it as well.) All the bars have this crunchy taste, kind of like a Kit-Kat bar. This is not my very favorite texture, but I thought it went really well with the Peanut Butter Granola (which turned out to be my favorite) and the Chocolate Peanut.

All in all, the PR*Bars were a success and I would recommend them if you are looking for a crunchy-sweet bar to fuel longer runs or substitute for a quick breakfast or snack. You can read all the scientific training information and see their nutrition plans at their website at www.prbar.com/.

*I was send these bars for free in exchange for a review, but was not paid or required to write a positive review...does that count as a disclaimer? This was my very first blog review, remember?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Remember my Diet Coke Experiment?

So this summer, I gave up Diet Coke (which for me, translates to "all soda") for a month. A few individuals (possibly including my mother and my husband) thought this was pretty pointless since I was just going cold turkey for 31 days and then welcoming Diet Coke back into my life.

I just viewed it as an experiment. And, several months later now, it turns out, it worked.

I did continue to crave Diet Coke the whole month and didn't know what to expect when I had that first cold sip on Day 32. I'm not going to lie- it was amazing. I missed it so much, which sounds like a really pathetic thing to admit to the world via the internet.

I was somewhat cured. Instead of the 2, 3, 4, or 5 daily cans I was knocking back prior to the experiment, I was down to a few a week. I patted myself on the back and was content to stay there.

However, to my surprise, I found that after a couple months of this, I didn't even really enjoy the few I was having. I rarely finished my can of Diet Coke when I had one and I usually regretted the lost dollar or two at the restaurant while I sipped my watery, improperly-carbonated beverage. The last one can I had just tasted so chemically and gross to me that I ended up pouring it out after one taste...which is painful for me because I hate to waste food.

And here I am, one addiction short! I'm not saying I've completely cut out all soda forever or that I think it's just the most terrible most awful thing for you (my body would probably really appreciate if I cut out sugar instead!), but overall, I'm over it.

Sugar, watch your back!

Okay, obviously, I was totally kidding about that last part. I'm never giving up sugar. Ever. Excuse me while I go off to the kitchen to make some no-bake oatmeal cookies!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Why, hello!

It's that time again. Time for me to explain where I've been for the past 6 weeks or so while the blogworld has revolved without me. Well, here and there, this and that. Which makes sense to address in bullet-point format, correct?
  • For once, I'm really content with my running without being registered for a darn thing. Usually, I can't make myself get out there if I don't have a big race looming in the distance, but now that I have run club on Saturdays, long runs early Sunday morning with my church friends (one of whom is half-marathon training), and Girls on Track practice twice a week, I'm lacing up my shoes more than half the days of the week. Which is pretty remarkable for me.
  • I officially love my new job. Even though I feel like I'm never in the same place for more than a hot second, I love working with the teachers and feel that I've been able to be helpful to them. (I hope they feel the same way!)
  • Middle school girls aren't as scary as I feared. In fact, they're pretty darn lovable and they don't pinch each other. (Not that all my elementary girls were pinchers, but it's just one of those things that happens sometimes when you're seven.) Girls on Track has been a joy so far.
  • My cousin got married in Detroit and our family had such a nice little reunion. I feel so grateful that even though my sisters, cousins, and I all grew up, we can still get together with our families and still get along like little kids excited to see each other. Even though we go months or (more often) years without seeing them, we can just fall into step with them and talk like no time has passed.
  • This girl who grew up without a TV has a embarrassing number of guilty pleasures scattered throughout my week right now: Sing Off, Parenthood, Modern Family, The Office, Parks and Rec....oh my. That's a lot of shows. Don't tell my mom.
  • I've knocked a few more things off my 101 in 1001 list but I'm itching to cross off a few more- especially some of those that have lingering "in progress" for a looong time. Numbers 20, 21, 46, 49, 51, and 62 better watch out this month! Don't let me get away with not giving a 101 in 1001 update by Halloween!
  • I'm doing my very first blog review on Wednesday! I don't plan on going crazy with those (in fact, I don't have any others on the horizon) but who am I to turn away free snacks?
  • Oh, wasn't I supposed to have it "all together" by the time I came back from my blog break? Yeah, that didn't happen. But I've made some pretty good progress...I'll keep filling you in.
Hope everyone's week and October is off to a lovely start! I'm excited to catch up with all of your adventures.