Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Food Day

I've decided to make Friday posts about food.

Last week I made some soup. There's a blog that I subscribe to called 101 Cookbooks with tons of recipes, mainly using organic and natural foods. I don't have access to all of the ingredients used (and some I don't want), but this soup was too good to pass up.

Meet the Kabocha French Lentil Soup.

Okay, it might look a little gross in the picture, but it was delicious. I also made the croutons--the recipe for the soup includes how to make the croutons. They were super easy to make and totally made the soup.

This soup is perfect for a winter day. Rich and creamy, but still good for you. Best of both worlds.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Freaking RON DAYNE!

When I transferred my beautiful smoothie pictures yesterday, I also saved my pictures from the Badger hockey game a few weeks ago. For the first time ever (what?!) they had an outdoor hockey game at Camp Randall (home of the Badger football team). They laid an ice link in the middle of the field and almost had a sold-out crowd. We missed the woman's game earlier in the day, but headed over to Camp Randall to watch the Badgers beat Michigan. It was freezing out there--with the windchill it was in the single digits.

Unfortunately, none of these pictures are actually from the game. I was too cold to disrupt the blanket and get my camera out. But--at the bar before the game, we saw RON DAYNE! He was a huge Badger football player who set the rushing yard record in 1999. I didn't want to bother him by going up and asking for his picture, so I pretended to take pictures of my friends, but instead shot over their heads.

He turned his head too fast.

That guy in front isn't one of my friends, but I'm pretty sure he knew what I was doing.

The Olympics are slow right now, so I played with my photo editing a little.

Eventually, my friends tried to get me to go ask for a picture. I think they were done having the flash go off in their faces. So, I mustered up my courage. I took one quick drink, gave my beer and my boyfriend's beer to a friend and handed my camera to my boyfriend with a stern warning to follow me and be ready to take my picture. I walked up to Ron Dayne (he seems like a two-name kinda guy) and tapped him on the shoulder as I asked, as politely as possible, "Umm, I'm really sorry to bother you, but would you mind taking a picture with me?".

He stared right back at me and said, "I don't do pictures."

I felt so embarrassed and I must've looked completely crushed. Then I realized that my boyfriend was laughing and Ron Dayne had a huge grin on his face. He was like, "Yeah, c'mon, smile big."

Check that out! His face is soo much bigger than mine. I have a baby-sized head compared to him. (which, Ron Dayne, if you read this, is a total compliment)

That just about made my day. I didn't even need to go see the game.

It's back to running tomorrow. Definitely not going to go in the morning again. I'm still recovering from the 5am wake up call yesterday.

Happy hump day!


Oh, P.S. So, today is Ash Wednesday, which means that Lent starts. After giving up soda for three years in a row, it's not even a sacrifice anymore. I was struggling to figure out what to give up for Lent when I got it--I'm going to limit checking my e-mail to just twice a day--lunch and then once at home. It was rough going today, but I'm sure I'll get used to it soon. right?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Morning Wake-Up Call

It's Fat Tuesday! I completely forgot about it during my weekly grocery store visit, but fortunately, grocery shopping on an empty stomach took care of that. A few of my snacks for the upcoming weeks (I bought a lot, but I eat them slowly):

To celebrate, a friend and I decided to go out to dinner tonight. But--Tuesdays are a running day for me and I usually go to the gym right after work. She has a 1 year old daughter who would not be happy about eating at 8pm, so I bit the bullet and decided to run in the morning.

I've gotten up early to go running before. In fact, a year ago I got myself up three times a week at 5:45am. Then winter came. And in Wisconsin, winter=nighttime from 4pm - 8am. There was no way I could get myself up. Even with great breakfast ideas planned. Side note: I work really well on a reward system. True story, ask my college roommate. I used to buy a bag of M&M's and I'd put 10 M&M's in front of me, open my computer and start working on a paper. For every page I finished, I got one M&M. Sick, serious will-power. But those papers got done quickly.

So, mornings and I haven't really been friends since I stopped even trying to get up early. Doing this half-marathon, though, has become really important to me and I don't want to just skip a day. Because then the next day is even easier to skip...and again and again. I must've been really nervous about missing my alarm because I swear I was awake by 4:30. I basically laid in bed until my alarm went off at 5 and then snoozed it. I realize 5am might seem really early, and I was only doing a 3.5 mile run, but I move incredibly slow in the mornings and I knew it would take me a solid 20 minutes to pull on my clothes. I finally got myself out of bed and slowly got ready. I had laid out a little bit of cereal to eat before leaving and thought I had set myself up pretty well the night before with my headphones, Polly (my nano/Nike+), knee straps (I bought another for my left knee), and even a filled water bottle set out and ready. Got to the gym and realized I had forgotten my headband. Minor inconvenience since my hair is pretty short, so I got over it.

The knee strap really seemed to help my left knee a lot. It didn't hurt at all, a huge difference over Saturday's run. Of course, I have had the past two days off, but hopefully this strap will do the trick and the pain will stay away. I should still probably get some new shoes.

The worst part of running in the morning and doing so at the gym is the complete lack of entertainment. There were maybe two other people running when I got there. And there's nothing on TV except the early local morning shows. They found themselves incredibly amusing this morning and why not--there can't be that many people watching so early and you might as well make them laugh.

Once I got home, I was feeling pretty good--waking up an hour and a half early makes the morning seem so much longer. I stretched out and did a shortened version of my usual ab work. And after I had finished getting dressed, I got my reward--a morning smoothie.

(remember that even though I've been up for almost 3 hours here, it's still early...)

I bought some frozen blueberries about a month ago, but could never get up early enough to use them. I blended them with some orange juice and a container of plain yogurt. Yum!
 In other news--I decided this afternoon to change my training schedule a little bit. I've been mentioning this pre-training, which is basically just some training to keep me in shape while work was busy for the past two months. The training schedule I was going to follow (Hal's) was a 12 week program, so I also needed to fill in some empty weeks and make sure I was ready to start when the time came. When I had first started looking for a training schedule I had also seen Jeff Galloway's program, but the whole "magic mile" and run-walk-run ratios sounded like a lot of extra work. Plus, I wasn't sure I wanted to see what running 14 miles was like, only to do it again two weeks later in the actual race.

However, they're pretty similar with the exception of the long runs. Hal adds a mile to it each week, and adds an extra half-mile every few weeks to the weekday runs. Jeff holds the weekday runs steady, but also has recovery weeks. You build up a few miles, and then drop back and have a shorter long run. I kept Jeff's recommendations for the long runs and I'll probably follow his weekday runs pretty closely, but on weeks with a shorter long run, I might do a longer weekday runs like Hal suggests. I did keep Hal's strength and cross-training days, though. I've found that cross-training definitely helps keep my legs loose and they seem to be less sore than if I just take the day off.

Whew, time to rest.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Time for new shoes!

Well, at least I think it's time for some new shoes. Despite having a former cross-country runner for a sister, I don't know much about running shoes. Usually when I buy them, I choose a shoe based on it's looks and if it feels comfortable. That's where my running shoe knowledge ends.

I knew that if I was going to do this half-marathon thing, I'd need to get new shoes, but I was going to wait just a few more weeks when I had finished my pre-marathon training. After Saturday's run, though, I think I'll need to make a trip sooner than expected (good thing that tax refund came already!).

It started well. I didn't check my distance until I had run 3.25 miles of my total 4 miles. That's HUGE. Normally by mile 2 I'm starting to get bored of the view of the large empty parking lot. Each treadmill does have it's own TV, but that only keeps my attention for so long. By about mile 3 (I'm guessing), my left knee started hurting. This has happened before and it usually goes away after a few minutes, but it only got worse. I ran through it (maybe not the best idea) and then did a nice, long, slooow cool down walk. By the time I got off the treadmill, I was limping a little. I think I'll get a little patellar band for my left knee tonight--I've been using one on my right knee and it helps so much--hopefully that'll help on the run tomorrow.

My shoes might also be playing a role based on the fine information I've found while trolling the internet. Since I've been running in my current shoes for at least a year, and my running has become a little more serious, I'm ready to make the leap to a real running store to buy shoes that are meant for my crazy high-arch feet. There's a ton of them in Madison (at least 4 or 5) so I should have a good shot of finding something that works. I'd hate to get injured now when I've put so much effort into getting here.

Valentine's Day was perfect--the BF and I stayed in and made dinner (chicken alfredo lasagna--genius!) and dessert (a molten chocolate cake). I got to choose the movie to watch, so we watched Pride and Prejudice--the new, shortened version. I'm not sure the five-hour Colin Firth movie would've been the best way to introduce him to Jane Austen.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mind over body

Wednesdays are my cross-training days right now (until my actual training schedule starts). It's only 20 minutes and I usually go at a pretty easy pace, so it's not that big of a deal to go to the gym. But yesterday I just did not want to go. Work has been crazy busy lately, so the fact that I got out of the office by 5:00 was huge. The idea of being home in time to watch the evening news was almost too much to pass up.

But then I remembered last week. When I skipped the gym and called shopping my cross training. I may have been walking/standing for 20 minutes, but it's not quite the same. And when I went for my 3.5 mile run the next day, it was one of my worst runs. I could barely make it to 2 miles and once I had seen my distance, I was checking every minute to see how much further I had to go.

So I pulled it together and forced myself to turn towards the gym rather than home. And--bonus!--the parking attendant must have been sick or something today because the parking was free. I biked for 25 minutes and read my latest nook purchase (true life crime stories--not as good as I hoped).

We'll see how I feel doing my run tomorrow, but I'm hoping that it goes well. Maybe just getting my legs moving a little during the day in between will actually help more than resting them.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My first

I've been training for my first half-marathon for over two months now...well, more training for the actual training. There's still 15.5 weeks until the run (I'm not calling it a race because I definitely don't plan on racing anyone) and from what I've read 12 weeks of training is generally good enough to get you through to the finish line.

When I first started seriously running again in December, I thought about starting a blog as a way to track my progress and keep myself accountable. However, as the holidays and travelling started I couldn't find much time to get this blog together...but it kept lingering in the back of my mind and sometimes as I was running, I'd think of something to write about.

So, here's the first post. I plan on writing a few times a week and eventually I'll get in all of the back stories too of why I got in to running and then, after 5 years of running casually, decided to jump from random 5K runs to a half-marathon. Be excited.