Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tips for Running Safety

This morning as I sat at my computer procrastinating for the last few minutes before heading out for my run, I found myself reading the story of Sherry Arnold. Sherry was a teacher in Montana who was abducted and murdered by 2 men during her morning run a little over a year ago.

I remember hearing about this story when it first happened last year, but revisiting it today really unsettled me. I’m a nervous, sometimes even paranoid runner person anyway and after re-reading this story I almost decided to nix my outdoors run and run on my treadmill in the safety of my own home instead.

After a few minutes of contemplation, I ultimately decided that I couldn’t let the fear control me. I searched the internet for a few minutes for some running safety tips, some I already put in practice and some were new to me.

1. Run with others whenever possible. – Safety in numbers. Of course this isn’t always feasible, but try to run with a friend or even a dog (preferably big and fierce looking) whenever possible.

2. Ditch the iPod – You don’t realize how much of your situational awareness is removed by listening to music while you run outdoors until you run without it. I used to always run with my iPod, but once I ditched it I was amazed at how much more aware of my surroundings I was.

3. Carry a Phone – I carry my phone with me on any solo runs (and usually group runs) in a SpiBelt. Its lightweight, doesn’t bounce and I barely know its there. It’s useful for calling 911 if necessary, getting help if an injury occurs or taking that spur of the moment picture.

4. Let Someone Know – Always let someone know where you are going, how long you expect to be and what you are wearing. I usually make sure the hubby knows where I’m running and when to expect me back, but if he’s out of town I text a friend … or two, or three.

5. Trust Your Gut – If something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. A creepy looking man, a van on the side of a secluded road, a stranger asking for directions … if anything sets off your internal alert then listen to it. Keep your distance, stay aware, change sides of the road or turn around.

6. Carry Mace – In addition to carrying my phone, I also carry pepper spray with me on my solo runs. I clip it to my SpiBelt in case of bad dogs or bad people. But be aware that it can be used against you as well, keep your distance if possible it will spray up to 10 feet.

7. Look Confident – When coming across parked cars or other people on my runs I always try to be aware of how I look. I try to keep my head up, looking forward and try to make it look like I could run all day … even if I’m at mile 12 of a run I try to make it look like I’m just getting started. I’m not tired and I’m not weak.

8. Self Defense – Consider taking a self defense class. I haven’t done this yet, but I really want to. Atleast remember Miss Congeniality and  S.I.N.G. (solar plexus, instep, nose, groin).

It might be silly, but its easy to remember and it would probably work:

Happy safe running!

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Running is Really Fun! I Swear!

Sometimes I forget that the reason I do this in the first place is because its actually fun. I’ve had a couple of great long-ish runs this weekend that helped me remember that fact.

Yesterday I ran a local, very small half marathon to support the high school softball team. There were only 15 people registered for the Half Marathon distance but it was a blast because I felt like several of my world’s collided. I had running friends there, work friends and family friends.

The course was a double loop 10K course with a little extra built in for the 21K-ers. My friend Drew and I ran together and intended to keep the pace at my goal marathon pace of 8:45, but we ended up with about an 8:20 pace instead. We both have a hard time holding back.

The course ended up being about a half a mile short, and if it hadn’t been for Drew it would have been a very lonely run after the 10K point with no one behind us in sight … but we still managed to have quite a blast.

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Drew and I passed the time by reciting (LOUDLY) the cheesiest motivational quotes that we could think of each time our Garmin chirped at the mile markers. We alternated turns.

“IT DOESN’T MATTER IF IT’S A 7 MINUTE MILE OR A 14 MINUTE MILE, YOU’RE LAPPING EVERYONE ON THE COUCH!”

“ARE YOUR FEET HURTING? BECAUSE YOU ARE KICKING SO MUCH ASS!”

I’m pretty sure we were insufferable to those who had the misfortune of being near us for the first 45 minutes or so. I couldn’t care less.

Today my normal weekend running buddies set out for their long runs and I just couldn’t bear the thought of not going, so I decided to join them for a few miles. A few turned in to 10, but it was totally worth it! What a freakin’ gorgeous morning!

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The highlight of the whole run was noticing this orthodontist name …

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I have a really hard time running and laughing simultaneously. This one required me stopping for a good minute or two just to fully appreciate the hilarity. It’s also one of those things that I might not have found funny in another situation, but at mile 8 today … oh, it was.

I swear one day I’m going to make a blog that is devoted only to the crazy shit I see while running. So far I have this sign … a squirrel smoking a cigarette (I know, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes and had witnesses either .. but totally true) and lawn reindeer doing the dirty dirty.

Running really is fun!

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Louisiana Half Marathon 2013

Yesterday Tim and I ran in the 2nd annual Louisiana Half Marathon. This was one of my absolute favorite races last year, which is quite a compliment for an inaugural race. I knew this year was bound to be even better!

It did not disappoint.

Last year we made this a family trip to visit some of Tim’s relatives in Baton Rouge. We brought Lincoln and Tim’s mom along. This year we did things differently and left the family at home and had a weekend to ourselves.

It’s about a 6 hour drive from Montgomery to Baton Rouge, but I found ways to entertain myself.

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We stopped in Mandeville, Louisiana to eat lunch at our favorite breakfast place, the original Broken Egg Cafe. I’ve been to several Another Broken Egg locations, but none of them are as good as the original.

I had the Chicken Cobb Salad.

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In the words of my friend Barb, call this “Paleo-light” because of the inclusion of the bleu cheese, but my god I just couldn’t bring myself to utter the words “no bleu cheese”. I just couldn’t.

After lunch we got back on the road and headed straight to the Expo at the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel.

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If I could improve upon one thing about this race it would be the expo. It has tons of vendors, but they are packed into a small space which makes things very crowded. Unfortunately …  I had to pee, and even more unfortunately the bathrooms were on the exact opposite side of the expo and no one was moving!

We checked into our hotel room and decided to go out and walk around downtown before our dinner reservations, but somehow we found ourselves in the hotel bar instead. Gah! I know, I know.

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We did eventually make it to our dinner reservation at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. I don’t typically like chain restaurants, but because this one had such amazing reviews I decided it was worth a try.

I’m not kidding when I say that this may have very well been the best meal of my entire life, or atleast in the top 3.

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14 oz NY strip (aged for 27 days, apparently this matters), brussel sprouts and mushrooms. Sounds simple, but it was magical .. I swear.

Fast forward >>> Race morning.

Because of all the special perks Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs received at this race I thought I might wear my HF tank top. My bib number was also my Half Fanatic member number.

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I found the Maniacs and Fanatics at the gear check just in time to jump into the group picture.

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I decided a couple of days in advance that I was definitely going to race this one to the best of my ability. The weather forecast and the mostly flat course were just too perfect not to see what I could do.

Whenever I need extra motivation I draw things on  my hands and arms to look at during long runs or races to keep me inspired. This day I kept it very simple …

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I felt like it would be damn near impossible, but I figured if it was ever going to happen it was going to be on this course with sunny beautiful 40 degree weather.

I knew from last year that my Garmin read about 13.22 miles at the finish line so that meant I’d have to maintain a 7:34 overall pace.

The first mile was really really crowded so I was surprised to see a 7:36 split when my Garmin chirped. The crowd thinned out quickly after that intial mile though and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.

7:36, 7:36, 7:31, 7:36

The first several miles I really didn’t feel so great. My back was hurting, my toes were numb, my shorts kept slipping down and I just felt generally heavy. My pace stayed consistent though, so I pressed on.

7:32, 7:33, 7:30, 7:33

I got lost in thought for these middle miles. I thought about everything from stuff I had looked at on Pinterest to Jenn Shelton running marathons in funny swimsuits. Just in case you were wondering …

Jenn Shelton - Pear Yep. Badass bitch.

Anyway …

7:30, 7:29, 7:42

At mile 10.5 I checked my overall pace for the first time remembering that I had to be at or below 7:34 … it said 7:33. At first I was ecstatic, and then I realized that was a little too close for comfort.

I ran the last 2 miles as fast as my legs would carry me.

7:31, 7:27.

When I came around the final turn I saw the clock and knew that I would make it, barely.

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After I crossed the finish line and figured out my sense of direction I booked it back to the hotel room as quickly as I could to change shoes and grab my phone so that I could take pictures of Tim as he finished.

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He also PR-ed!

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The after race party at Louisiana is like no other!

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King cake, wine and mimosa (plus beer), local gourmet food, live jazz bands.

This race goes on the permanent “to do” list!

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Paleo Day 14

In all honesty, I found myself in this situation a couple days ago …

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No regrets, it was necessary.

Obviously that erased the Whole30 thing though, but since red wine is Paleo-friendly I’m just transitioning the challenge to Paleo30. That actually sounds a whole lot more fun anyway.

Tim and I are going out of town this weekend for the Louisiana Half Marathon and we are going alone. I was already kind of debating going out for a nice date night and eating Paleo, but having a couple of drinks. So this makes that decision easier, and guilt-free.

On another note, I’ve got an original recipe for you guys. She ain’t pretty, but she’s tasty.

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Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

1 – 1.5 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion – diced
3 medium zucchini – diced
2 large sweet potatoes – peeled, boiled and mashed
1 jar all natural spaghetti sauce with no sugar (I used Bove’s Roasted Garlic)

  1. Sauté onion and diced zucchini about 5 minutes in 1 Tbsp coconut oil.
  2. Add ground beef to pan and brown thoroughly.
  3. Mix in jar of spaghetti sauce.
  4. Spread mixture into 9×13 casserole dish and top with mashed sweet potatoes.
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven covered for 30 minutes, remove cover and bake 10 more minutes.

Makes 6 large servings.

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The Final 20

Somehow I’m just now realizing that marathon training is essentially over. Yesterday I ran my final 20 miler of this training cycle.

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It sounds crazy to say, but I (kind of) wish that I had just one more.

I feel like there are a couple of kinks that I’d still like to iron out with my fuel belt and shoes, but I’ll have to use my last couple of semi-long runs for that purpose and hope for the best.

The run itself went fairly well, especially on the heels of last week’s failed attempt. The hip was never an issue this week thankfully.

The weather was 70 degrees yesterday with 95% humidity, not ideal … but honestly it didn’t bother me much. I run relatively well in warmer and humid conditions, its not my favorite by any means, but it didn’t cause any problems.

I did have to stop at mile 9 to lance a blood blister on my foot and I got some pretty gnarly chafing just below my belly button from my fuel belt. I can never decide whether to carry my own water with me during a marathon or not. Both times I have ended up carrying my Nathan water bottle, but its so annoying. Now I have the fuel belt and its so nice to have my hands free, but that thing is heavy! Decisions, decisions.

Looking at the calendar is kind of scary/exciting! Next weekend Tim and I are headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to run the Louisiana Half Marathon. The following week we are running a half marathon to support our local High School’s Softball team and then it will be my final taper week before Mississippi River Marathon. The week immediately following the marathon I’ll be running the Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham for the 4th year in a row!

That’s 3 half marathons and 1 full marathon in 4 weeks! Scary/Exciting!

Fun Facts about my Mississippi River Marathon training:
I have run 20 miles four times this training cycle. I didn’t run 20 miles four times combined for my previous two marathons.

I have run a total of 446.41 miles so far in training.

I have spent 65 hours, 53 minutes and 27 seconds on my feet.

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Whole30 – Day 9

I feel like I have not sat down today at all.

This morning I rushed around to get the little man ready for school and then I headed off to the gym for an elliptical session. I did an hour on the machine while watching a documentary on Netflix called Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat. If there is one thing that will keep your ass on the elliptical for an entire hour its a documentary about being fat. Eye opening.

Lincoln begged to go to his grandma’s house after school, so I had the whole afternoon to play on the internet clean the house. Lately I’ve been turning cleaning into “WODs”, if you will. I call this one – AMRAIT. As many rounds as it takes. I set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes and I clean as hard as fast as I can for 30 minutes, when the alarm goes off I reset it for 5 minutes and take a break. It took me 6 rounds to get the house completely clean from top to bottom. … That’s right … 3 freakin’ hours.

I should log that shit in my WOD book.

Speaking of …

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That was my real WOD tonight.

The loop runs are basically running around the parking lot of the building. I estimate that its between a quarter mile and a half a mile. One day I’ll have to take my Garmin and find out for sure.

I finished in 13:41 (Rx).

Several people have asked me what “Rx” means. It just means that I used the prescribed weight for the exercises instead of scaling down to a lower weight.

I’m pretty sure that would have been a killer workout even if I hadn’t already done the elliptical and my AMRAIT …

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That’s what I think of that.

Eats today have included:

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Breakfast – 3 scrambled eggs topped with sautéed spinach and smoked salmon. I have to admit, this one was even a little too weird for me. I absolutely adore smoked salmon, you might even say I’m obsessed with it … but not on eggs. Oh well, you win some – you lose some.

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Lunch – Waldorf Chicken Salad with Homemade Olive Oil Mayo. I used 2 leftover Mustard Sage Chicken Thighs and added:

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 celery stalk – chopped
  • 1/4 red onion – chopped
  • 15-ish red grapes – halved (yes, the picture below says 35, I was overestimating)
  • 1 oz chopped walnuts
  • salt & pepper to taste

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Dinner was the spiciest thing I think I’ve ever put in my mouth.

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Beef and Butternut Squash Cocoa Chili – from you guessed it, Practical Paleo.

This is the first time I’ve ever made chili with cocoa powder and cinnamon in the ingredients list. It also featured a tablespoon of chipotle powder in addition to the chili powder and paprika.

I would have killed for some sour cream and a beer to go with it. Instead I settled for a dollop of guacamole to cool it off a bit.

Do you play any games or have any tricks when it comes to housework to make it more tolerable? What is the spiciest thing you’ve ever eaten?

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CF Total, “Helen” and Days 6&7

I’m totally tired tonight, so this will most likely be short and sweet. Tonight’s benchmark workout at CrossFit wore me out!

We did “Helen” which is 3 rounds for time of: 400m run, 21 Kettlebell swings and 12 Pull-Ups. This was actually the first benchmark WOD I ever did. My results tonight aren’t really comparable with my previous results though because of my increase in weight in the kettlebell and decrease in bands for assistance with the pull-ups.

I completed the WOD in 12:22. I used the Rx weight Kettlebell (35#) and used red & blue bands (not sure of the resistance). Whatever. Sounds simple, but was killer.

This will be one of the WODs that we will repeat at the end of our challenge in 6 weeks. Right now I’m not looking forward to it 🙂

Yesterday we did our CrossFit Total, which is the sum of a 1 rep max on backsquat, strict press (no assistance from the legs) and deadlift.

My total was 410 … Backsquat 135#, Press 70# and Deadlift 205#. All new PRs!

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Yeah!

Eats lately:

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Tomorrow I attempt to tackle running. Today I played it safe and did an elliptical workout in light of my recent hip pain. No hip pain at all today though, so I’m feeling optimistic.

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