Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Army 10 miler

This past Sunday was the day that I’ve been complaining about for months. The Army 10 miler. And you know what? I survived!

Luckily this race was about 15 minutes down the road from where we live so Dennis dropped me off right by the Pentagon at 6:30 a.m. I found my running group’s tent, stretched, drank some water, warmed up, and nervously headed toward the start line.

This race was HUGE. Over 30,000 people huge, so naturally I had to fight my way to the start and find a good spot. Because it was a Army race, they were pretty clear that headphones were not allowed. Although I found that people did bring headphones, most didn’t. I have never run that long without headphones (except for the Boilermaker 15K but I ran that with a friend – HI ANN! – so it was different since I had someone to talk to) I really thought not having music would mess with me but honestly, I didn’t mind it. There were so many interesting conversations going on around me that kept me occupied enough.


I felt good all the way through to mile 8. At miles 3 and 7 I had a Gu, and at miles 2, 4, 6, and 8 I made sure to stop and walk through the water stations to be sure I was properly hydrated. I was keeping about a 9:30 pace until mile 8….that’s when it went down hill.

However, I didn’t feel bad. As much as I was worried that I would hit a wall (like I did last week when I ran with my friend Sue) that never happened. Even though I started a run/walk regimen for miles 8 through 10 it was more because my knee was bothering me a little and I just was ready for the race to be over. I was never miserable, and I never once felt like I couldn’t finish.

My time? 1:42:30 with an average of 10:15 min/mile. This is exactly 11 minutes longer than my results of the Cherry Blossom 10 miler but honestly, I’m not mad. I did what I could and I’m happy with my results. I felt great (still do!) at the finish and to be honest, it’s the first race since the Cherry Blossom that I actually finished feeling this way. So it’s all good.

The other positive that came out of this race is that I’m actually feeling  a lot better about running. I stressed out so much over training for this race. I told Dennis at least three times that I was giving up my bib. I came close to tears while running last week’s 8 miler with Sue, this 7.5 mile “split” run, and even wrote about trying to convince myself that with time, I will eventually love to run again.  But I had a great support system – Dennis, my friends, my family, and even you – and I realized that despite how stressed I was during the training, when you’re out there running the race with all those people around you pushing and motivating you to keep going (which they all did!) it’s a completely different feeling. I remembered why I signed up for this race 6 months ago.

As I walked off my jitters while waiting for the sun to come up at the race site, I knew I made the right decision.

Thanks everyone for all of your support and for helping me get through this wall. And thanks, Sue, for my beautiful flowers!!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Treadmill love?

Most times I would rather poke my eyes out than run on the treadmill but for some reason, I’ve been finding it to be much less intimidating than running outside. I don’t know if it’s because I can have more control of what I’m doing, but I had the best treadmill run after work today. I felt like I could have ran for another three miles, but knowing the Army 10 miler is just around the corner (Sunday!) I kept it short: 3.0 miles in 27 minutes.


Maybe it was because it was one of those treadmills with the fans that blow right on you. Maybe it was because I was watching the NY Yankees vs Texas Rangers game. It could have been because I ate some Fage Honey yogurt as a pre-run snack.


Maybe it was because I had a great day overall, so it would only make sense to end it on such a high note. Either way, sometimes you just gotta give props to the treadmill.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill?

Monday, October 18, 2010

If you can’t take the heat….

I like heat but not HEAT. I can eat spicy food that doesn’t burn so much that I can no longer taste my food. If I’m spending too much time drinking water and wiping my forehead, it’s not worth it to me. But this is a kind of heat I can handle.



If you have not tried Sambal, you must. We get it at our local grocery store but you can also get it at any international market. It’s a spicy but sweet chili sauce that adds so much depth and flavor to your dishes. I use it on pizza, steamed veggies, eggs, certain meats, in curry sauces, in chili….SO.GOOD. Try it now.

On a running note, I am sad to report that I am officially on lock down after yesterday’s run. My IT band is SCREAMING at me, and I have no one to blame for myself. Looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time with this bad boy….


Oh foam roller … how I love to hate you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Got by (with a little help from my friend)

My goal for this week was to get in an 8 miler as my last long run before the Army 10 miler. In the past I’ve given myself more of a rest before a race like this, but I really needed this run. To make it a little more bearable, I asked my friend Sue to run the last 4 miles with me. I figured by breaking it up and having someone with fresh legs to pace me, it would help get me by.

I set out on my own for the first four miles and was feeling good. I kept a decent pace without overdoing it, and although I was getting warm from wearing a jacket, I was surprised at how good I felt. Sue had an idea of how long it would take me to run by, so she was already standing out on the sidewalk in front of our complex waiting for me…which was awesome…but I had to stop and take off my jacket. I was DYING and it was getting warm really quickly. We stopped into her place so I could take it off, use the bathroom, eat a Goo, and then take off. We might have stopped for 5 minutes or so, but that was all it took.

We headed off for the last 4 miles and I swear, my legs were like bricks. It wasn’t long before I lagged behind, and Sue was about 5-10 seconds ahead of me most of the way. I was completely OK with that, since just having her there pushed me.  We got to a hill that I refused to run (I already ran up a long, crappy hill earlier and was NOT feeling this one) so we power walked up. I am completely OK with this, especially since during my first half marathon I refused to walk until I realized I was getting passed by people power walking up every hill.

It was rough but I made it to the 8.0 mile mark in a time of 1:21:07, averaging a pace of 10:08. Again, given the fact that we walked up a pretty good sized hill and I dragged my butt up another .34 mile hill earlier, I’m OK with this time. Thanks SO MUCH Sue for helping me through this! I would have walked a lot more if it wasn’t for you!!!

In other news, keep an eye out  at A Fete for Food for Jess’s recap of her successful finish of the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco today. She did awesome! I met Jess and  Cat last summer at the Blog Summit in Boston. They are both awesome and I love that all three of us have kept in touch. (I’m on the left, Jess is in the middle and Cat is on the right and there’s a random drunk girl in the background) 

me, jess and cat august

Do you have any races coming up?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wine and chocolate

I know some wine snobs who invite people over solely to taste fancy wines and stinky cheese. I went to one of these parties a few years ago and although I had a great time, I laughed at the pretentiousness of the hostesses … with their idea that the only way you can enjoy a good wine is with a specific cheese or a dish that matches the color of the wine (i.e. white wines to white dishes, red wines to red dishes.)

I personally like red wines better than white so I don’t care if I’m eating chicken or tofu-if I want a glass of red wine, dammit I’m drinking it. And tonight, I paired my favorite match as a celebratory end to a stressful week.


I don’t know about you, but I don’t think there’s a better end to a long week than wine AND chocolate.



What do you like to pair your wine with? Do you prefer red to white? Or how about blush?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy run

I’m going to say something I haven’t been able to say in quite some time so prepare yourself.

I had a good run today, and it’s about freaking time.

It may have something to do with the weather (it’s finally not 100 degrees outside. Or 80. Whatever.) It was a perfect running temperature for me-68 and sunny, but with a brisk breeze that wreaked of fall. It made me so happy. And for the first time in MONTHS, I had a mile that was sub 9 minutes, and I averaged about a 9:40 mile pace. Honestly, this is amazing to me since most of my runs have included many 10+ minute mile paces. Even the short ones.

And when I came back from the run and saw that Dennis had made some (store bought) fresh pasta, I was even more happy.


Topped with some Korean style ribeye and spinach


Dennis said he thought I wasn’t eating enough carbs, so he bought this pasta. How thoughtful of him. And after this dinner, I couldn’t thank him enough.


What’s your favorite way to eat pasta?

As much as I love a good homemade traditional pasta sauce, I would much rather not have a tomato based sauce if I don’t have to.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Playing catch-up

Has it really been 2 weeks since I last posted? Is it really the second week of October? Is the Army 10 miler really just 2 weeks away? What the hell have I been doing?

First of all, have you ever heard of The Legwarmers?

I can only do this type of thing once or twice a year, depending on when you asked me. Halloween is usually my answer but this was close enough. Sometimes I get roped into doing things I may otherwise have said no to due to harassment and being put on the spot. In other words, peer pressure. But it wasn’t all that bad …



That’s right…crimped hair, side ponies, legwarmers (of course) and lots of neon colors. Yeah, we’re hot. And if I had more than 10 minutes to prep for this I would have worn something hotter, but I had to settle for whatever no one else was wearing. Sigh.

In other news…I’ve been busting my ass trying to prep for the Army 10 miler. I logged in a 10 mile split last weekend where I ran 5 miles late Saturday night and then another 5 Sunday morning. I read in Runner’s World that splitting your runs this way is a completely legit way of training for longer distances.  I ran another 6 miles today and struggled, but realized I didn’t properly fuel myself last night or this morning. When I got back from the run I told Dennis I was dropping out of the race (yes, again) and he very nicely encouraged me back to reality. It was nice to have the positive push.

Oh, and check out my Easy Mac n Cheese


Served with some zucchini


I was really in the mood form some comfort food, so I threw this together after work one night last week. Click here for the recipe. Mac and cheese is so easy to make, and it really can be a decently healthy meal if you make a few changes. And no, you don’t have to sacrifice taste.  If you need a little protein you can add some chopped chicken or canned tuna (which I did for lunch the next day.)

I have a friend who participated in the Kona Ironman this past weekend … I can’t wait to hear how he did. And here I am complaining about a measly 10 miles…

What’s your favorite go-to comfort meal?