Tag Archives: Marathon

Running is my BFF

I’m still here! Just haven’t been posting as frequently because, well, I haven’t had much to say… and I’ve never been one for filler posts (which is why I don’t have a “blogging schedule”). So what have I been doing lately? Running. Duh.

About two months ago I took to the blog and twitter to try and figure out my fall goal race. Obviously it was going to be a marathon (I haven’t given up on them yet), but I didn’t know where and when I wanted to race. I was ideally looking for a late-fall race in order to give myself maximum training time (and also because one of my best friends is getting married in October), so I zeroed in on November races that were within driving distance. I think in the back of my head I had an idea of which race I was going to pick all along, but I still wanted to get opinions from other runners. So after looking at my calendar, my finances, and Google maps, I decided on the Anthem Richmond Marathon on November 16th!

Prior to registering, I started thinking about training (of course). I had a ton of thoughts in my head – what training plan should I use? How many miles a week should I run? When should I start? How much build up should there be? Am I going to actually get through a successful marathon training cycle for the first time ever? What should my goal be? …and those were just a few of the questions I had. I like to think of myself as a mildly experienced runner (it’s been almost 4 full years), but I’ve only ever run by myself, for myself. I’ve done an okay job thus far, but thought it might make some sense to get a little help… especially since my marathon training has been awful up to this point.

So what do I mean by help? Well, I jumped on the coaching bandwagon! I know that I’m never going to be an elite runner, and heck, I may never even qualify for Boston. But I like the idea of having a professional that really knows the sport to guide me through training. I mean, when I was swimming I didn’t do that blindly, so why should running be any different? I know that there are a lot of mixed feelings on coaching for “average” athletes, but I say to each his/her own. The great thing about it is that I can stop at any point. So if it turns out having a coach really isn’t for me (which I doubt), I can go back to doing things on my own. I don’t really have any long-term goals with what I want to get out of coaching other than the obvious – get faster and better my marathon time!

A big reason why I decided to get a coach is that I’ve found that with every marathon training cycle, by the end I hate running. This is something I absolutely want to avoid, because as the title of the post says, running is currently my BFF and I’d like to add an AE to the end (you know, best friends forever AND EVER – welcome back to middle school). I think having the pressure of someone else waiting for my workout results that I’m PAYING will keep me in check. At least I hope so.

Between now and the marathon I have a bunch of fun summer road races planned, starting with a 5k this Sunday! I’m really looking forward to starting to work with a coach, and to have a successful marathon training cycle.

What do you think about running coaches? Yay or Nay? 

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Racecation: The Essentials

When I first started running I insisted on only running races that were within a 30 minute radius from where I lived. The thought of having to pack extra stuff, sleep in an unfamiliar bed, and travel to and from a race location just didn’t appeal to me. But as I got more into running and became a part of the running community, I realized that traveling for races is just part of the territory. Considering I did it for years while I swam, I don’t know why this concept seemed so unappealing to me. Plus, if I can add in a few days for “vacation,” I’ll gladly do it! Hence the name “racecation” (which I stole from Krissy). While I’m no expert, I’ve certainly traveled to my fair share of races since I’ve started running, and thought it would be helpful to share my racecation essentials!

Obviously the most important thing to include when packing is your race day outfit and sneakers. I quadruple check when I’m packing just to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. All I need is to show up to a race without all of my outfit or my sneakers and break the cardinal rule of “nothing new on race day.” And of course if you’re partial to music while running or a watch, those are just as important as what you plan on wearing. I suppose the rest is negligible as long as you have what you plan on racing in, but it’s nice to take into consideration what you’d be comfortable in before and after the race… especially if your vacation involves a lot of walking (hello Disney!).

Oiselle Kit & Mizuno Wave Riders!

Oiselle Kit & Mizuno Wave Riders!

For any race I attend, whether it’s 15 minutes away or 15 hours away, I always bring my spike bag with the same stuff in it. I don’t always head right home after races that are nearby, so it’s important that I have things with me to make myself somewhat presentable in public (I use the term loosely). For me, that means some type of body wipe, body spray, face wipes, and deodorant. I also bring a full change of clothes. Depending on the weather and where I’m going, I may do a full or partial change, usually in the backseat of my car. What can I say, I’m a serious (salty) sweater, that has no problem changing in public.

Free Speed Stick from a race? Don't mind if I do! I'm cool with smelling like a man.

Free Speed Stick from a race? Don’t mind if I do! I’m cool with smelling like a man.

Once I’m actually home or back at the hotel and showered, I dress based on my plans for the day. But, if I ran a half marathon or longer, I usually throw on a pair of compression socks or sleeves for good measure as well. Sneakers are usually the way to go for me right after a race, but sometimes my feet are okay with a pair of Toms or flip flops. I also bought a pair of Aspaeris compression shorts back when I was training for Chicago, and let me tell you, those things are magical. I tend to have tight hips after races, so these keep me nice and snug, and because they are SO tight, you can wear them under pretty much anything. Secret compression at it’s finest!

Why yes, I am wearing compression shorts under this dress!

Why yes, I am wearing compression shorts under this dress!

Now aside from looking presentable and not being smelly, I’m also particular when it comes to my pre and post race nutrition (surprise?). For every single race I’ve traveled to (which are all half marathons or marathons), I bring my own peanut butter and bread. This may sound ridiculous because they’re pretty basic staples, but I don’t like the idea of risking not having it come race morning. I’ve found that the single serve packs of peanut butter work best, either with regular sandwich bread or a bagel. I also bring a ton of Picky Bars with me for before and after the race because I know they don’t upset my stomach at all, and they’re delicious. And now that I’m a new Nuun hydration convert, a tube of that comes along with me, too.

My favorite flavors!

My favorite flavors!

I’m one of those people that packs days in advance, so I’ve been packed for the Nike Women’s Half since Wednesday. I know, it’s weird… but it goes along with my heavy planning nature. I get so excited I just can’t help myself!

So tell me… 
What are your racecation essentials? 

PS – Don’t forget to enter my Food Should Taste Good Chips Giveaway… you have until Monday !

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Gearing Up

This coming weekend, I’ll be running my fourth marathon, and my fifth half marathon as part of Disney’s Goofy Challenge! If you remember, I ran this race last year; it was fun, but definitely harder than I had anticipated so I wasn’t sure if I’d be giving it a shot again. After minimal persuasion, I signed up. And just like last year, I’m hoping that my fall marathon training will help carry me through the weekend’s races (don’t worry, I’ve been running A LOT since then, but October marathon training is hopefully a solid base). Since this is my third trip to Disney to run, and my 4th trip there in the last 4 years (all in January!), I’m really excited for the familiarity as well as the new changes that I’ll experience both during the races as well as at Disney in general.

In terms of the race, the marathon course is different this year, including a trip to the speedway and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. I’m looking forward to this for one very big reason – it breaks up the course! The old route spent so much time on service roads, which is not fun at mile 16 of a marathon… especially when it’s really your 29th mile of the weekend. Those service roads were what I like to refer to as “the dark times” of the race last year – I really struggled due to a lack of proper nutrition before the race… So I’m going to be sure not to have a repeat. Of course I’m also looking forward to the mile 20 party (since it’s the 20th anniversary of the race), the medals, and seeing all the ridiculous costumes and characters along the way! I’ll also be keeping my eyes peeled for Joey Fatone and Sean Astin (Rudy!), because you better believe I’ll start singing or chanting, depending on who I find!

For the parks, I’m super pumped to check out the additions to Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom. Since I’m an 8 year old at heart, Magic Kingdom is my absolute favorite. I was able to score a reservation at the new Be Our Guest restaurant to celebrate finishing Goofy, so expect a review on that once I get back! Aside from the update to Fantasyland, I’m just excited to visit all the parks and go on every ride – multiple times. Plus, I’m a huge fan of Disney dining, and have a few new restaurants I’ll be checking out as well as dining in Mexico because it’s my hands-down favorite. Disney food has never disappointed (me), so it’ll be fun approaching it as a vegetarian for the first time.

And, maybe most importantly, this will be my first race (well, first two) representing the Oiselle Team! I wound up sitting out the Hangover 5k due to foot pain and not wanting to risk the upcoming races and vacation, and based on the fact that it feels almost 100%, I’m happy with the decision. I have my racing singlet, Rogas, Lori shorts, arm warmers, and sweet temporary tattoo all ready to go for two days of racing… and lots of other Oiselle shirts packed for my days at the parks. Here’s to hoping I don’t stink up my singlet too much on day one (I’m only half kidding…)!

In addition to running for Oiselle, I’m really looking forward to hopefully meet up with a lot of people I’ve connected with online. I already have plans for a character breakfast with Krissy, and I can’t wait! We started chatting via Twitter after last year’s Disney Marathon, and I’m really excited to finally meet her. So for anyone that’s heading to Disney for this weekend’s races – let me know – I’d love to meet up!

I know that running races “for fun” and taking it easy isn’t for everyone (believe me, I have trouble with it sometimes too), but this is the one time a year I really take the time to enjoy running. I mean, what a benefit to being obsessed with running – a Disney vacation (or vice versa)! I already have my sights set on the Disneyland half in September since I’ve never been to Disneyland, so 2013 may be the year of Run Disney events. I can’t wait to share the race and dining experiences with you when I get back. But in the meantime, tell me:

Have you ever been to Disney (land or world)? What’s your favorite ride? Favorite park? 
Do you ever run races “for fun”? 

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What’s Next?

Thanks again for all the congratulations on the Chicago Marathon – it was so much fun and is definitely a race I hope to do again in the future!

You may remember that after registering for the Chicago Marathon, I also put my name into the New York City Marathon lottery, figuring I wouldn’t get accepted. Well, of course with that mentality I made the cut, and was all ready to run NYC on November 4th. As I was going through the motions of my “training” for Chicago, I started to question whether or not I could really run NYC a mere 4 weeks later. For me, it was more than just if I could physically do it – a big part of it was mental, too.

I realized that NYC had a deferral option, which a lot of races do not offer. After looking into it more, I knew I could run Chicago, assess how I felt, and still have some cushion time to decide whether or not I’d toe the line (well, bridge) on November 4th. By the time training had finished for Chicago, I knew there was a very small chance I was going to be running New York; I was just mentally tired and wanted to have my weekends back. I wanted to be able to go for a run because I wanted to – not because I had to. So, I went and ran Chicago, had an amazing time, and was surprisingly not very sore considering my lack of efficient training. All signs were pointing to me being able to successfully complete the marathon. But for the first time in a long time, I sat down and thought to myself: “is this really the best idea right now?”

After a few days of contemplation and seriously battling the all too familiar runner’s high, I decided to defer my entry to the NYC 2012 Marathon to next year. The real nail in the coffin so to speak was my start time – 11:30am! That means I’d be hanging out for a solid 4.5 hours before starting to run… for likely another 4.5 hours. Thinking about that just made me tired, and I realized it just wouldn’t make sense for me mentally and physically to put myself through another 26.2 just 4 weeks later, with less than solid training behind me.

So now that I’m out for NYC, what does that mean? Well, I’m still doing the Goofy Challenge in Disney the second week in January – that’s right, 13.1 miles on Saturday and 26.2 on Sunday! From now until then I’ll be running some shorter local races, and enjoying cross training. Of course I need to ramp up training again within the next two weeks or so to make sure I can tackle the 39.3, but that race is done more for “fun” so I’m not concerned with time, just mileage. I’m thinking about maybe running a marathon in the Spring/early Summer, but have no definite plans yet. I’m going to just enjoy running, and if I feel like I’m ready for another marathon in the future, I’ll address it then – no more of this signing up for races months and months and months in advance!

And before I forget, here’s a video of me finishing Chicago – I’m in the blue shirt with the 4:25 pace bib on my back doing what I thought at the time was “blowing by people in the final meters,” but was really a light jog, ha! Thanks to the hubs for rushing over to the stands to catch me!

What are your fall/winter racing plans?

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Chicago Marathon Recap: The Race

And just like that, I ran another marathon.

Well, if only it had been that easy. Leading up to Sunday’s 26.2, I was nervous. I hadn’t run more than 14.5 miles in any single training run, topping off at 19 on a day I wound up doing a double (which I did a lot of), and with all of my GI issues, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it through the race without needing at least one pit-stop. So, all things were pointing to me struggling through the race and just being happy to finish. But as I said in my post last week, I know that I’m a much stronger runner than I was last year when I ran my first marathon, so I still had high hopes for a PR of some sort.

We arrived in Chicago on Friday night and headed right to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep. On Saturday, we were up early and off to the Expo. We had met a couple on the flight there who ran last year, and said we should get to the expo early if possible. I’m really glad we did, because on the way back the lines for the shuttle were really long! I didn’t buy anything (though I wanted all of the Nike gear), but I did score a sweet picture with Mike Ditka (boo to the blurry picture)!

Da Bears!

There were plans to do touristy things on Saturday, but after roaming around the Expo for awhile, we realized it was probably best to save our legs for what we were about to put them through. So we stopped off at Target to get some throwaway gloves and long sleeve shirts, then headed back to the hotel to watch some TV and relax before dinner. Of course dinner was pasta, and we were back to the hotel and in bed by 8:30p.

Thankfully I had a great night’s sleep, and my 5am alarm wasn’t too jarring. We brought bread and peanut butter with us, so I was able to have my usual pre-race breakfast, and started our trek to the start line. Unfortunately Andy and I were in separate corrals (he was in the 7:30a start wave and I was in the 8a wave), so we said goodbye rather early, and I headed off on my own. I had enough time to stop at a port-a-pottie and stretch before making my way to corral J. I had plans to run with the 4:25 pace group, and I spent a solid 5 minutes trying to find them in a sea of people. Soon after I found the group, we were off!

As soon as the race started, I realized I needed to use the bathroom. The pacers took off (WAY faster than the pre-determined 10:06 pace average), and so I stayed behind. I read way too many blog posts about how energetic the first few miles of the race are, and how so many people get overwhelmed by the spectators and start too fast. Knowing all to well how awful a race can be if you go out too fast, I kept it as slow as possible (but still under goal pace). I knew I wasn’t going to make it much further without a bathroom break, so I veered off at the first stop. From that point on, I was good to go; the first half flew by. I kept my pace nice and comfortable, and was loving all of the crowd support. I stopped at every water station, and had a Clif shot at miles 5, 10, 15, and 20.

By the time I got to mile 16, I knew that friends were likely done. I took out my phone to check the runner tracking, and was thrilled with what I found. Andy was trying to qualify for Boston, and while he just missed it, his 3:08 was a 15 minute PR! And, even more thrilling was to see my friend’s 2:52. That’s right; she finished 10th in our age group and was the 29th woman OVERALL! Talk about inspiration for the last 10 miles! At that point I was feeling good, and decided to pick it up a little. I decided to run just under a 10 minute/mile pace, and was able to keep that for the next 5 or so miles. Unfortunately, my hips were tight almost the entire race, and by the time I hit mile 22, my IT band had enough.

As we turned into Chinatown, my left knee had a searing pain, to the point where I had trouble picking up my leg. It’s a pain I remember all too well from the end of the Philly marathon, and a pain I’d experienced when I first started running. Instead of walking, though, I slowed my pace down and tried to keep my legs as straight as possible. The pain seemed to go in and out (eventually both knees were hurting), and my plans to pick it up at mile 22 were dead in the water. Instead, miles 22-24 were my slowest. My per mile pace never hit 11, but there were definitely points where I felt like I was crawling. I started to slowly pick it up at mile 24, and by the time I hit 25, I knew that it was time to dig deep and just go – I knew the pain wasn’t going to get worse, and as long as I could keep one leg in front of the other, I’d be okay.

While mile 25 to 26 felt like forever (I even heard a woman exclaim, “this is the longest mile of my life!”), the crowd support was unbelievable, and I don’t know how anyone could have slowed down. As we closed in on mile 26, I was slowly lengthening my stride, and using my arms as much as possible. We turned the corner for the final stretch (uphill of course), and I gave it everything I had, passing as many people as I could powering through the slight incline. The entire course was flat, so even though the hill wasn’t much of anything, it felt like a mountain in those final meters. I crossed the finish with an official time of 4:26:10, a solid 11 minutes faster than my Philly marathon time.

My first order of business was to grab a mylar blanket, my medal, some water, and FREE BEER! I’ve always seen races that have beer at the finish, but this was the first race I’ve been to that had the luxury. While it may not have been the best idea, my very first post-marathon sip was some Goose Island 312. As I made my way through the finishing area, I met up with my husband and headed right for the massage tent; another first for me. After the massage, I realized that while the thought of hanging out at a “post race party” sounded fun, the barely 50 degree weather was enough to send me right back to the hotel. After a quick (relative to post-marathon moving abilities) shower, we headed right for deep dish pizza at Giordano’s.

This race was without a doubt the best race I’ve experienced. Not only was the course phenomenal and the spectators great throughout the entire city, but the race was so well organized, and all of the volunteers were amazing. Seeing everyone so excited to pass out water and gatorade was great – a little smile and a “you got this!” goes a long way when someone is out running a marathon. Even the people at the finish were great – the girls giving out water waved me down and shouted “hey! come and get your water – you deserve it! congratulations!!!”

I suppose I did!

I don’t know why, but I found myself tearing up at multiple points throughout the race, for no other reason than the fact that I was running a marathon; my third marathon. I know for a lot of people that isn’t much, while for others it sounds absolutely insane. For me, being able to run a marathon was something I always dreamed about, but never thought I would actually do. Even in those moments where my knees felt like they were going to explode, I realized why I run. Its for all of those seemingly insignificant moments that make up a marathon experience; seeing strangers on the course give you a thumbs up, hearing strangers cheer your name that you meticulously ironed onto your shirt, having that brief conversation with a fellow runner, and to feel that rush as you close in on those final meters of the race. I wouldn’t trade the way I felt on Sunday for anything – even the hobbling I’ve been doing since.

I can’t wait for the next one!

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Another Marathon on the Horizon

It’s hard to believe that this coming Sunday, I’ll be running my third marathon (within less than a year)! I wish that I could say I’m going into this race super confident for a big ‘ole PR, but I don’t want to jinx myself. Training was lackluster (per the usual), so I’m hoping just to come in under my 4:37 PR. I think it’s totally doable based on two very important facts (in my eyes): I know I can complete a marathon, and I’m a much stronger runner than I was last time.

Checkout the sweet App you can download for the race!

Even though my training wasn’t any better than it was for the Philly Marathon despite trying to convince myself “this time would be different,” I know that over the course of the last year I’ve become so much stronger as a runner in general. Sure, I may not be strong enough to shave off 30 minutes like I was originally hoping (though my half marathon time will tell you otherwise), but I know that I can beat 4:37 (as long as something doesn’t go horribly wrong).

My plan is to run with a pace group. I’ve never run with a pacer before, but in most races where they are available, I try to keep my eyes on them if possible (this was especially helpful for my half marathon PR). The problem I had running Philly is one that novice marathoners know all too well – I went out too fast, despite feeling great and still being on the “slower side,” and by mile 16 I wanted to be done, and by mile 21 I wanted to cry. This time, I’m hoping that if I’m forced to run slower (they make you wear an extra bib on your back to be a part of the group in this race), I can at least keep it at a more-than-comfortable pace for the first three quarters, and then, if I’m still feeling like it’s easy (as a relative term, of course) I can pick it up and finish strong. Even if I run with the pace group I’m planning to run with the entire time (the reach pace is 4:10 and the hopefully easy option is 4:25), I’ll still tackle a 12 minute PR, which is pretty respectable if you ask me.

Can you tell I’m trying to talk myself into this being a good race? Whatever it takes!

In all seriousness, as we get closer, I’m excited. Truthfully, I was dreading it a few weeks ago, really fearing I wouldn’t be able to do it. But I know better than that – I can do it. It may not be a stellar performance, but I’m running my THIRD marathon! That has to count for something, right? Plus, it’s in one of my favorite cities, and the thought of getting to go there (even if just for a long weekend) makes it all worth it. I can’t wait to devour some cupcakes at Molly’s and probably eat my weight in deep dish pizza.

Alright, who else is running Chicago? 
Any last minute tips/words of encouragement?! 

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Fourth Marathon

It’s official – I’ll be running the 2012 NYC marathon this November… a mere three weeks after the Chicago marathon!

Unfortunately my husband and I both applied for the lottery, but only I got in. This will be the first race I’ll be running without him. Even though we don’t usually run together, it’ll be weird to have him on the sidelines the entire time, instead of just waiting for me at the finish. The first thing my dad said to me after finding out was “Well you can’t run Chicago then!” … of course I can, silly. I’m just going to soak in NYC and really enjoy it – I mean, it’s in my birthplace and I know the majority of my family will be able to come out and see me at some point on the course (they have no excuse – I’ll be running near their neighborhoods)!

Official training starts at the end of May, but I’m going to use between now and then to maintain the mileage I worked on for last week’s half marathon. I can’t believe that I ran my first marathon in November 2011, and by November 2012 I’ll have four under my belt!

Can you tell I’m excited? Who else is running?

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Halfway Happiness

For those of you that remember, back in October I started my own little Happiness Project, outlining the next four months. I guess you could say it was like doing my resolutions early, and differently. I’m not a big resolution person, because it’s usually a way for me to set myself up for failure. I find myself with grandiose ideas and plans in my head, but usually too lazy to actually carry them out. Creativity seeps from my pores – I just need someone else to carry out the projects for me.

Anyway, December was the month of running. I wanted to run as much as I could, regardless of the distance  in preparation for the Goofy Challenge next weekend. I realized that there was little I could do to prepare myself for running 39.3 miles in 2 days, but I figured running as frequently as possible would help give me a confidence boost. I log all my mileage over at DailyMile, and am happy to report that I ran 4 times a week every week in December as promised, except for the week of Christmas. BUT, I ran 5 times the week before – so that evens out, right? Without doing any super long runs (longest was 16 miles), I was able to log my heaviest mileage month in awhile. I’ve steadily been going up since October, and hope to keep it that way.

Yes, I opened presents post sweaty run. These sweet socks will totally keep me running through the winter!

My plan is to keep my mileage relatively even throughout January, and then try to pick things up a bit come February for an April half marathon. My husband has his eyes set on a full marathon in early June, but I’m not looking for another marathon until next fall. Hopefully, though, I can keep my  mileage respectable and run closer 4 hours instead of 4:30 next marathon. But we’ll see – I just need to keep myself injury free.

January has started, and that means it’s a new goal – going vegetarian. My husband giggled at me on New Year’s Day when I moaned that I wanted pudding, but wasn’t allowed to eat it because of the gelatin. I quickly ran to the pudding asile of the grocery store to discover that instant mousse is an acceptable treat. I plan on attempting to satiate my pudding craving with some mousse in the near future. It might seem odd for someone that loves burgers so much to try out a vegetarian lifestyle, and especially just for one month. Eating less meat is something that has been on my mind for awhile, and I figured this little project would be the perfect opportunity to give it a shot for a month. Who knows if I’ll continue it after January or not, but I will have at least given it a try.

(source)

I already have a ton of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks in my possession, and have already made so many delicious things from Oh She Glows, Post Punk Kitchen, Daily Garnish, and other veggie friendly blogs. If anyone has any other great resources for recipes (especially things to eat for lunch) that would be great! I’m looking forward to a month full of veggies, beans, and grains. To be honest, that’s most of my dishes these days anyway, but forcing myself not to cop-out and have something easier (usually involving meat) should be interesting. Since I’m the cooker of the household, I am still going to prepare any meat related dish my husband wants – I’ll just leave the meat out for myself. But, since I am in charge in the kitchen, he doesn’t eat much meat anyway. It should be an interesting month!

So I’m halfway there – I baked my way through November and ran my way through December. January will be meat free, and then February will hopefully be the month of yoga. Who knows what will be next, but I’m enjoying these little monthly goals.

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Summed Up

As you know, I’ve recently started my official training for the Philadelphia Marathon in November. While I’ve overcome my nagging shin splits, I seem to have developed some tightness in my right hip, which could be a number of things. Thanks to my excellent Googling skills, I’ve decided it’s either Hip Bursitis, tendonitis, or ITBS. Either way, all I can do is keep on keepin’ on… meaning lots of foam rolling, ice, and Advil. It’s definitely been getting better since it came about two weeks ago, but it’s far from gone. Ahh, the life of a runner.

I decided to lead this post with that tid-bit of information, simply because of a realization I had during my 8 mile run on Monday afternoon. Firstly, I’d like to preface the run with the fact that I wound up leaving work early that morning due to getting sick in the bathroom. I have no idea what was wrong with me, but come late afternoon and a series of naps later, I felt fine enough to run. So, I headed to the gym (thanks thunderstorms), and set myself up for an 8 miler on the dreaded treadmill. I decided simply getting through the run was my main goal, so I set my pace at about 6.1, and just went.

While running, I was glued to The Food Network, watching 30 Minute Meals, Giada at Home, and Barefoot Contessa. Towards the end of my run, I realized that right there was pretty much the summation of my existence… running and food. Not a bad existence, if you ask me!

I happened to watch an episode of Giada at Home, where she hosted a little get together and grilled a bunch of different kabobs. This of course made me want one immediately, and it was convienient that veggie kabobs just so happened to be on our menu for the week! They were quick and easy, which was much appreciated after a long day at work, a trip to the allergest with the fiance, and then a run. The last thing I wanted to do was put effort into dinner. Thankfully, little effort was required, and it was delicious. Of course, you can make these bad boys with just about anything your heart desires, so get creative!

iPhone photo courtesy of Instagram!

Veggie Kabobs
– makes 10-12 kabobs –

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant, diced into large chunks
1 zucchini, sliced
1 red onion, diced into large chunks
1 green pepper, diced into large chunks
1 cup your favorite marinade (I used Ken’s tomato basil dressing)

Directions:
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat
2. Combine all of the veggies together, and pour the marinade over them, mixing to ensure even coating. Set aside for about 30 minutes (or longer, if you have the time!)
3. Using kabob skewers, string the vegetables on one at a time, alternating (piece of eggplant, zucchini, green pepper, onion, repeat). Make sure to leave room at the top and bottom for accessibility!
4. Grill kabobs for about 15 minutes (depending on your level of char preference), making sure to rotate at least once

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A Running Conundrum

I find myself with yet another running conundrum. My impulsiveness and inability to not have a future goal in front of me seems to get me into this kind of trouble frequently.

At any rate, as we all know I’ve been battling some form of discomfort in my foot/ankle/shin/knee (one or a combination of them) at any given point since about October. I’ve powered through two (well one and a half) half marathons, and I think that is partially the reason why I’m still not 100%. I’m signed up to run another half marathon (Superhero Half) this Sunday. However, after a quick run on Tuesday night (hey 8:17 pace, I remember you) my shins were a little more sore than usual, and the discomfort I experienced on the top of my foot from post Disney until March peeked through ever so slightly.

So, this is where I come to you, fellow readers and runners, for advice. I have three options for Sunday’s race. First, I can run the whole 13.1 miles, and hope nothing flares up and I complete it with minimal pain. Second, I can drop down to the relay portion where I’d run 6 miles and change and have my fiancé drop down with me to do the other half. And option three, I can simply drop out completely and be an excellent spectator and cheer wildly for my fiancé multiple times on the double loop course, and try a run on my own later that day. The question remains – what would you do? What do you think I should do?

I find myself leaning towards not running. I mean, it’s just a race – and one that I signed up after the Rutgers Half that wasn’t truly a half out of annoyance. Training for my first MARATHON is going to be starting soon, and I want to make sure I am as ready for that as possible, and I want to avoid hiccups during that training. The stuborn athlete in me tells me to just do it. The wary and medically reasonable side of me tells me this isn’t even a question, your readers are going to think you are insane, and your health is important so don’t do it. So now it’s your turn to tell me what you think (be honest!). Annnnd go!

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Filed under Running