Archive | May, 2011

What a Weekend! (This post contains cupcakes…AND Cookies)

31 May

Wow what a weekend!  It all started with an impromptu bbq/dog meeting at my house Friday night.  It was so beautiful out on Friday, all I could think of was bbq/cold beer/sitting out on my patio.  I invited my parents and brother over, so Lexi could meet Zach (their dog).  It went well – they didn’t become best friends or anything – but it’s a start.

As you can see Zach is quite a bit larger than Lexi! Hopefully they become friends so when I’m away for races or just extremely busy, she can go play with Zach. 
Saturday was a great day as I successfully completed my first 18 miler – you can read all about that here.
Sunday I ran a 5k for the Barrington Fire Department that my cousin works for.  I ran most of it with my mom, because I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to feel after 18 miles.  Turns out that even after 18 miles, an 11-12mm pace is still WAY TOO SLOW (Sorry Mommy!). My legs HURT moving at that pace, so I took the last quarter mile quicker than I probably should have, but it felt GOOD.  All in all it was a fun race, not too crowded, a beautiful day, and just lots of fun in general.
Had a great time at my Aunt’s memorial day bbq last night.  Probably drank more than I should have because I was useless until about noon today.  I had no drive – I was SO TIRED!
But, when I did get up today I managed to make a special treat to bring to dinner at my mom’s house. 

The stars of the show!
This recipe was incredibly simple – and the cupcakes came out delicious!  Don’t they look beautiful? 
Then I frosted them with this delicious Peanut Butter Frosting. OMG to die for! 
Okay so remember earlier in the week I said I had been baking? But I wouldn’t tell you what I was up to.  That’s because I was making a special treat for a friend. Now, I can share.
These are THE BEST chocolate chip cookies.  The best part is they’re “semi” healthy because they don’t have any white sugar in them. 
I always double the recipe because it just doesn’t make enough! A tip for making these – the batter is thick, I mix it with my hands.  It’s the only way to get it mixed REALLY well. 
Then I use this awesome gadget to make perfect little cookies.
I have no idea where I got this recipe, but I’ve had it FOREVER, and I’ll share it with you!
“Healthy-fied” Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1-2/3 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (you could also use baking chocolate chopped up into chunks)
Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Add brown sugar and beat until blended.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until blended.  Gradually add flour mixture until combined. 

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

If you decide to make these, enjoy!
I hope everyone had a great weekend!

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My First 18 Miler (Day 13)

30 May
A HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE SUCCESS!!!!

It really was THAT good. I was nervous going into it due my failure frustrating run last weekend.  I drove to the ocean knowing that area is hugely popular with runners and bicyclists, and it’s a good safe place to run.  Plus it was supposed to be hot out but the forecast called for fog and cooler temps down by the water.  Perfect! I parked my car where I mapped out two 4 1/2 mile out and back loops – so that I would never be TOO far from my car (just in case) and so that halfway through I could refill my fuel belt bottles to make sure I stay properly hydrated.  It was SO HUMID OUT. See? Normally you can see all the way down the beach for miles!

It was about 66 degrees down by the water but 83% humidity.  Phew. Okay, I’m off.  My right leg felt a little tight, so I was taking it easy, I wasn’t going to let it get in my head so early in the game. About 2 miles in I found a sign post to stop and stretch my legs out.  A nice woman running by me stopped and asked me if I was okay. (I LOVE other runners who care about each other!)

My legs started to loosen up and feel really good, and even though I knew I was moving slow I was okay with it.  The route was relatively hilly and the air was thick. About mile 4 the top of my left foot started hurting.  Turns out I had my shoe tied too tight.  Heh, oooopsy. So I fixed my shoe, made 4 1/2 miles, and turned around.  Halfway to halfway now and this half is mostly downhill YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

Got Hills? It didn’t feel that bad – must be used to it!
My right ankle started to hurt – I think this whole calf thing is turning into more of a whole right leg thing – when I twist my foot to the left I can feel it pull from my ankle all the way up to my hip. Is that IT Band? I’m not sure… either way, again, I wasn’t going to let it get me down.  I knew I was on the way back to the car for fuel and water, and I had Advil in my purse. 

I got back to my car – now I’m halfway through.  My brain tried to get me for a minute, the humidity really was brutal, “ONLY halfway? Really? Ugh…” I quickly shut it down. I downed a Gu gel, the remaining water in one of the bottles I brought with 3 advil, refilled my fuel belt bottles, stretched my legs a tad, and I was off again.  

Mile 10 was slow – it was my slowest mile of the 18.  I was worried the remaining miles were going to be that slow, but I started to feel better (I’m sure a combination of the gel and the Advil) and I managed to push myself through three sub-11 minute miles.  I was feeling so good I blew right through my next mental goal (12 miles – 2/3 of the way) without even realizing it!

The state beach couldn’t have been in my vision at a better time – I was almost at 13 miles and due to all the hydration I REALLY had to pee.  I saw a row of port-a-potties. It was nasty, but when you have to pee that bad, does it really even matter? 

I made it to 13 1/2 miles – 75% of the way there.  I was hot and tired and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to finish, but I was so close at this point I could taste it. I stopped and took a break in a nice grassy patch on the side of the road.  Finished off my hydration so I had two bottles to last me the rest of the run – I really spaced my drinking perfectly so I wouldn’t get cramps but I’d stay well hydrated.  I’m pretty proud of that! While I was sitting a woman walking stopped to talk to me, she asked how far I was going to run today, and what I was training for.  I love to talk – yes I know “Thank you Captain Obvious” – so it was nice to have a discussion with her about my training and my first marathon.  She wished me luck and was on her way.

Sitting and taking a break probably wasn’t the best idea – my body started to get stiff, but I was warm enough I was able to stretch it back out and be on my way.  Now I’m counting down the miles to the finish.  I got to 15 miles and stopped to stretch again, my legs were starting to stiffen up and get tired.  I threw in a few cadence change ups and striders, but really when you’re running that long for the first time ever, your legs are going to get stiff, sore, and tired! I chugged along pretty slowly for the next couple miles – it was uphill, not joyous at all when you’re at 16 miles.  My iPod did a good job of keeping me in it – around Mile 15 the motivational songs on my playlist started playing (it was even on random, it did this itself!): Muse “Knights of Cydonia”, Lady Gaga “Edge of Glory”, Fort Minor “Remember the Name” – it was awesome, those songs kept me positive, kept me in a good mood – I was actually singing along to Lady Gaga while running, more than one person driving by definitely looked at me like I had lost it. 

I kept seeing numbers painted on the road – I think they’re mile markers for the Blessing of the Fleet
YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!

For some reason seeing that painted on the road just got me totally amped up.  Mile 18 ended up being my best mile! I felt so good that I was that close to finishing my first 18 mile training run without any problems! I ran my butt off (and it was hard to run a 10:14 mile after 17 other miles) until my Garmin ticked off that last lap, where I collapsed into the grass by my car.  I was so HAPPY! I texted my mom, I texted Coachy, I posted it on Facebook.  I was excited, exhausted, feeling a little crazy that I just spent four hours on a Saturday running! 
I DID IT!
The best thing I could have ever done after that run was walk over to the beach for a little “ocean ice bath” action.  OMG That water is COLD. I walked in  (slowly) up to my hips.  Holy cow – fffffffreeeeeeezzzziiing. A couple of waves came up and hit me, soaking me up to my chest, and literally knocking the wind out of me.  I was more winded standing in the ocean than I was running for 18 miles! I lasted 6 minutes. That was enough. It was so worth it though – I couldn’t walk normal for days after my first 15 – I ran yesterday and I’m walking fine today! 

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza
After that I rewarded myself with a delicious dinner at California Pizza Kitchen  at Foxwoods Casino in CT, with my brother and my friend Sara as wonderful company! 

Yes, I ate that whole pizza.  I burned almost 1900 calories! I ate it in two parts though – half at dinner, the other half while we played bingo. And in that glass, a deliciously refreshing Blue Point Brewing Company Hoptical Illusion.  I was disappointed when I purchased this beer in the bottle, but it lives up to its name when it’s draft. We had some really good tortilla spring rolls for an appetizer too but I forgot to take a picture.  They were wicked good! 

I’m definitely still flying high over this run – like I said the other day, my confidence for Vermont was beginning to waver since I hadn’t had a good run in what seemed like FOREVER. I’m feeling better than ever about it now.  Only 4 super long runs to go!  

Finally a Good Run (Day 11)

27 May

Mr. UPS Man delivered my new shoes today! YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! Now I’m not afraid to run anymore! The shoes I bought are the Asics Gel Tarther Diva in white and pink (naturally).  I wanted a lightweight shoe that wasn’t a minimalist shoe – I’m still going to be buying my Kinvara 2’s, but those are considered minimalist due to a 4mm heel to toe drop.

I was just poking around Running Warehouse (which I am TOTALLY addicted to BTW) when I came across these babies.  They are a simple, no bells and whistles, lightweight trainer.  PERFECT!

I went out for a simple slow run, to get the blood flowing and feel out the shoes.  Everything went great! So excited! I was really starting to feel down about how my training has been going lately – between the weather and shoe problems – hopefully I can get a really good 18 in on Saturday to help rebuild my confidence!

And in keeping with the what you eat/drink/sleep/do two days before a long is more important than the day before I prepared myself a beautiful dinner:

Yes, I’m in love with the settings on my camera now that I figured it out.  Beautiful tho, right?

*Disclaimer: I did not eat that whole steak.  My mother would have, with a salad and nothing else. I needed the carbs in the potato.

Tomorrow’s my regularly scheduled workout day off – in anticipation of a hopefully successful 18 on Saturday.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

If I Ever Complain My Legs Hurt Again (Day 10)

26 May

Just tell me to do P90X X-Stretch, okay? 


Seriously…


Just do it.


My legs have been killing me, I haven’t had a good run in 10 days (between the weather and my legs) and I’ve been getting down/frustrated and not thinking straight about it. 


I’m waiting for my new shoes to arrive (tomorrow) so I can hopefully run again. Yes, I am still blaming the bad parts of Sunday’s run on my shoes.  Running is out of the question until I get decent shoes – I don’t want another frustrating, annoying, painful, blistery, run.


P90X X-Stretch it was.  I LOVE that DVD.  My legs feel brand new again. Lesson learned.  Please, just hold me to it next time I bitch about my legs.


On a cool note – I figured out the macro settings on my camera.


See:



And just because I was having fun (I should really eat these bananas):


That weird pasta looking stuff? Pumpkin cheese sauce…sounds weird right? It was delicious. I’m a pumpkin lover so I’ll try anything with pumpkin in it…It’s a Hungry Girl recipe – I did modify it, so if anyone is actually interested let me know and I’ll post it.

That’s it for today – nothing exciting.  Goodnight all.


Reviews Galore! (Day 9)

26 May

I tried three new things today yesterday (this was supposed to be written last night – I was too tired…) – one edible, one drinkable, and one wearable.  I’ll tell you about them in order from worst to best.


#3) FRS Wild Berry Energy Drink. Coachy told me to like FRS on Facebook because for $3.95 you get this wonderful sample pack of their different products. Cool – I’ll take it! 


Since I was going to run I decided to try it and see if it really gave me great energy.  First of all – the can very specifically says “Non-carbonated, shake well”. So, I did. Well I’ll be damned if the can didn’t spit all over me when I opened it. First impression: It smells like vitamins. That’s a HUGE turn off – I hate vitamins, I hate the way they smell, I hate how if you don’t take them with enough water you feel like you’re going to vomit because they are so disgusting.  


I took a sip anyway. EWWWW It tastes like vitamins too! After I got over the initial shock of the first sip, I went in for another sip. Still disgusting – sorry FRS.  I’m sure plenty of people like it, but it’s not for this girl.  I’ll still try the rest of the stuff in the sample pack and keep you posted on my thoughts.


#2) Zone Perfect Sweet & Salty Bar – Cashew Pretzel Flavor: If you like Zone Perfect on Facebook you can get one of these bars for free. 

It looks good. The flavor is intriguing, and I simply love the idea of sweet/salty combos (Peanut M&Ms are one of my HUGEST weaknesses). My expectation on the texture is that it would be crunchy, until I opened it.  I could tell just by looking at it that it would be a chewy bar, but it was a bit too chewy.  There wasn’t really any crunch, not even the pretzels.  I found that odd…


The flavor was good – but not what I expected out of a bar labeled “sweet AND salty”.  It was mostly sweet.  I couldn’t taste the salty much at all – again I found this odd since there were big pretzel pieces in the bar.  It was a little too sweet to be honest.


All in all – I’d give this bar a 2 1/2 out of 5.  I’d eat one again if it were free but you won’t catch me scanning the shelves of my local grocery store to buy one. 


Now for my #1 Review: A couple of weeks ago I discovered (I may be way behind the 8-ball on this one) Schwaggle by Active.com.  There was a GREAT deal on the Kick Start Skirt by Skirt Sports. Naturally being the girly-girl that I am (and the fact that there’s pink undershorts) I bought one. I wasn’t sure what size to get and since I was ordering from work I didn’t have the ability to measure my hips and waist (No, I don’t know my measurements – do people really know this stuff????).  I went with my average size – they do have a listing on their size chart for women’s USA sizes.  Now I know women’s pants sizes vary (ridiculous how I can wear a 4 from one store and an 8 from another…I’ll never understand) so I went with an average.  Props to Skirt Sports – their USA sizes are absolutely perfect. The skirt fits beautifully. I feared the shorts might be tight due to my “muscular” thighs (hehe) – nope, they fit perfect.  And, it doesn’t sit too high on my waist (I hate high waisted ANYTHING – the lower the better). 

I didn’t realize when I bought the skirt that it had this nifty little pocket on the shorts on the right leg.  Cool, right? Absolutely – my phone fit in it perfectly! The slit in the skirt is high enough too that I could put my iPod in there and the headphone cable won’t get all hung up on the skirt (I think that’s what the pocket is designed for? Or maybe for gels? Who knows – you can use it for whatever your little heart desires I suppose). 


I took off for my run – I ran a little over 3 miles without a problem.  I was warned by friend (and fellow blogger – check her out here: Little Fruit Fly in Rainbow Colored Socks) to wear the skirt on a shorter run before a long run, to test it out, in case of chafing.  I did feel a teeny bit of what felt like it could be chafe where my phone was, my guess is that little pocket isn’t designed for a giant smart phone. Other than that I LOVE THIS SKIRT! This will definitely be my go to bottoms for long runs and races, it’s so comfortable – and cute!


And yeah, I did run tonight.  It looked good on paper (or computer screen) but it didn’t feel good.  At least I did it.

Mixing It Up (Day 8)

24 May

Yesterday’s botched 18 miler left my right ankle hurtin for certain. I’m supposed to do Jillian Michael’s 6-week 6-pack on Mondays (Mini Goal #1).  Due to her psycho-ass-kicking-trainer attitude there’s lots of jumping around in that video. 


And this doesn’t feel too good either:

FREAKIN OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I decided to forgo it for Exercise TVs “The Hollywood Trainer: Ab Blaster”.  Yet another no nonsense ab workout.  I think my abs are STILL burning from this one.  WOW! 


Have you ever tried to do floor workouts with a puppy in the room? Lexi thought I was playing – she was licking my feet, chewing on my ponytail, it was hilarious.   Until she tried to eat my yoga mat… 


Well that only took 20 minutes so I went back to Exercise TV for some more (I am supposed to be working out for an hour!). I went to “Dynamic Sculpt and Stretch” for upper body. It’s only 10 minutes long, but you can feel it! 


Okay so now I still have a half hour to go. What to do? What to do? Okay 50 calf raises, with 10 added pounds, and 30 squats with 10 added pounds.  Well, that didn’t take much time…now what?


Oh, I know, how about some yoga.  Nothing too crazy – I’m more in the mood for some really nice stretching. Active.com posted this on their Facebook page not too long ago, I’ve done all of these poses one right after the other a couple of times now – let me tell you, THEY WORK.  6 Yoga Poses to Improve Your Running.  I did those and then these stretches from Coolrunning.com.


I fully expected to feel like HELL after yesterday. My last 15 miler left me limping and unable to use stairs without holding on like someone’s 99 year old grandma. Today, the legs felt good. After the workout – they felt great. Can’t wait to hit the streets for a recovery run tomorrow!

I did some baking tonight too…more on that later. (Yes I am seriously going to leave you like that).


Question: Have you ever felt amazingly good after what seemed like the world’s most brutal workout? 


Oh yeah, one other thing – 1.5# lost in a week.  That’s some good motivation to keep this up! 

When Training Doesn’t Go As Planned (Day 7 & Weekend Recap)

23 May

Where do I begin? I realized I have been so busy I haven’t posted since Thursday! 


So weekend recap:


Friday (Day 5)


Nothing exciting happened on Friday.  Given it was two days before my planned 18 miler I took it easy. Friday is my usual “day of rest” anyway – a girl’s gotta have one day off, and what better day than Friday? Right? Right! So, I don’t know where or why I heard this, but apparently the amount of fuel/sleep/etc… you get two days before a big run/race is more important than the day before (this can be proven given my choice of dinner and amount of sleep before my last half). I have never been and I will never be one to turn down the “suggestion” to ingest extra carbs. I finally finished off the last of my pizza and mac and cheese I made earlier in the week for lunch…then after a long shopping trip on the mad hunt for running fuel and puppy goodies, I finally made it home! YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! I quickly prepared myself this beautiful dinner in order to continue my carbarific day:

Toasted whole wheat hamburger bun and elbows with garden veggie sauce and shredded cheese – yum yum!
Literally my excitement for Friday was carbs LOL – I do love being a runner, I never would have gotten away with eating like this before!

Saturday (Day 6)

Not a regularly scheduled workout day off – but too many things on my plate caused me to skip anyway.  At least I mowed the lawn and weed whacked, that’s a workout! I got a whole lot of not exciting things done around the house before my bro came over.  We hung out for a while and had a delicious lo mein that he cooked for me! Such a nice boy.  The excitement came when we went to pick up my new little baby:
LEXI
Isn’t she adorable?! Her name is Lexi and I just rescued her.  So between household chores, errands, and A PUPPY! I didn’t get my workout in. Such is life…I had planned an easy 4-5 mile run, which didn’t happen, part of why training doesn’t always go as planned!

Sunday (Day 7)

I got up early, I got fueled, and I was ready.  18 miles on the agenda today. I had my route mapped and I was stoked and ready to go.  My shopping trip on Friday included a trip to REI to stock up on fuel:

I fueled up with my usual whole wheat toast/peanut butter/banana/honey combo, then ate the Gu Roctane right before I left.  I carried the Gu Chomps and another Gu gel with me, as well as all my fuel belt bottles – two with Gatorade, two with water.  It wasn’t that hot out today, but it was humid and I figured I need to get used to the fuel belt (I really don’t like it – I don’t like running with anymore on my body than I need, it’s annoying). And I’m off – the miles ticked by nicely. I was happy and feeling good. Around Mile 8 my Garmin decided it wasn’t feeling well. It said I was running at a 10:50 pace, which was slower than my planned pace, so I pushed, and pushed, and PUSHED some more…it wasn’t budging.  I felt like I was pushing too hard but before I knew it the mile was over and I had run it in 10:18. Well, wtf, that’s good, only a tad faster than my intended training pace…why did I feel like I was really PUSHING? Seriously Garmin? An 18-miler is NOT when I expect you to have pace calculation hiccups, okay? Then I forgot the bike path goes gradually uphill to the point where I was supposed to turn around – so, not wanting to kill myself with 10 miles to go, that slowed me down. Okay, okay, I’m still feeling good, I reach 9 miles, turn around and start heading home.

At this point I’m mentally in the game – I had been breaking the run down into more digestable pieces along the way.  4 1/2 miles was halfway to halfway, then 6 miles I was 1/3 of the way there, then 9 miles for the halfway point, my next goal is 12 miles which is the 2/3 point.  I stopped at 9.25 miles to stretch out a bit, have a gel, and finish my second bottle of fluids.  Things are still feeling decent.  By the time I hit mile 10 I could feel that painful/burning sensation in the arches of my feet that symbolizes nothing other than BLISTERS.   AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I HAVE 8 MILES TO GO YOU HAVE GOT TO ME !@#$$%^&*()_)(*&^^%# KIDDING ME! Yah, it was that bad.  

I found a bench.
I sat down.
I methodically pulled off each shoe only to realize that my feet are so hot (it’s def the shoes – it was only 56 degrees out today) that my sweat soaked socks are STUCK to them.  And I mean STUCK. Nasty.
I put my shoes back on.
I get to running again.

Mile 11.
Oh my freakin god you HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. 
Ouch.
Pain.
Tears (yes it hurt THAT BAD).
I try to push through.
Nope, not happening.
Crap – what am I going to do?
Well…the shoes are the problem because they’re making my feet too hot but I can’t run 7 more miles with no shoes on.  Yeah, some people do it. I’m not one of those people.


What is that you ask? Aside from legs BADLY in need of a tan? That’s me without socks. Why no socks you ask? (You’re probably not asking any of these questions…). Well I had to do something.  It helped, for a bit.  Finally I realized – trying to run through this pain, with no socks, is really screwing up my running form.  My knees started to ache, my legs were tired, and by now my awesome mental state has turned to complete shit. Yes, it stunk.

Screw this.
I’m walking.
I cried more (yah – really, it was so frustrating – and my legs hurt – and I was tired, worn out, pissed off, name it, I was feeling it.)

I walked 4.19 miles home, each mile became progressively more painful. 

See? Ugly huh? Mile 13 I was going to give up.  I called my brother. As fate would have it he didn’t answer. By the time he called me back I was only about  one million and a half 1.5 miles from home by then.

So I told him nevermind and I trudged along.  Then I cried some more (no, no, no, I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad for me, it just SUCKED THAT BAD). I thought about calling my bro again, by now, I’m about a mile from home.  That last half mile felt like an eternity (and a 10 minute half mile when I can run a mile or more in that time – IS an eternity). Even when I was in my neighborhood it still felt like a lifetime before I made it home.

Well

I FINALLY MADE IT – Oh sweet relief!

I could hardly stretch when I got home but I forced it, hopefully I feel good in the a.m. I’m not sure, just the time I’ve been sitting here typing I have stiffened up, time to stretch again before bed.


New shoes are on the agenda for this week. I’m going to buy two pairs and experiment with them both over the next two long runs so I can decide on my marathon shoes and get them broken in.


One thing I will not do:

I WILL NOT LET THIS BOTCHED 18 MILER GET ME DOWN

Nope, I can’t – I want to run marathons. I need to be mentally and physically strong.  Some days, the road wins, and you just have to move on.
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