Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Stir Fry/Fried Rice Cooking

So I posted a picture of my fried rice that I made last week (Monday) on instagram, and had more than one request for additional information about it. So I decided that I am going to attempt to write a recipe, one of my very first EVER, for this blog. I did take measurements as I was cooking, so I can actually write a recipe, in theory, and so I suppose I will see how this works out!

Emily's Chicken Fried Rice
serves 3
ingredients:
2 small chicken breasts
3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
2 eggs
1 cup cut green beans
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp liquid aminos
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
salt & pepper to taste

The chicken and rice can both be prepared ahead of time. This was what I did when I made this meal. A lot of folks who meal prep may prep chicken or a starch for the week (I know I do!), so if that is the case for you, remember that when you are doing your weekly prep. This is pretty much plain chicken and plain rice.

1. Cook brown rice according to package directions. I used my rice cooker. Set aside.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper as desired and bake in a 350* oven until cooked through. Then cut into small pieces. Set aside.
3. Spray a wok or non-stick skillet with cooking spray/pam and add green beans and cook them. I like them to get a teeny bit of brown on them.
4. Add oil to pan and give a kick toss.
5. Crack eggs into pan and then scramble.
6. When eggs are fully cooked, add chicken and rice and combine. After those are heated through add liquid aminos and chili sauce, tossing to combine everything.
7. Serve immediately.

I have not done any calculation of macros on this, but overall, most of the ingredients are fairly straightforward and it is a solid meal.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A busy weekend as a solo parent

Things have been pretty busy over here. This past weekend, while I was busy running 16 miles on the treadmill (I am proud that I did it. I am happy that it is over.) J was out playing golf for the weekend with Jamie. Jamie and J play golf for a weekend multiple weekends per summer, although since I have been preggo/had a baby, they are sticking to closer to home. This year, there was some discussion of going up to Toledo and then Addie and I could hang out there, and J & Jamie would go to the Ann Arbor area for golf, but that just didn't happen.

So they played 18 holes on Friday, 36 Saturday, and 18 on Friday. Addie and I met up with them for a meal at a wing place that Jamie loves (it is always a great excuse to go there! J does not like to go that often and it is one of my favorites.)
Source
It is kind of nice to have company at our house in the evening, without me needing to worry about entertaining anyone. So I am glad to have a few visitors. All that this has involved me was washing the sheets on our guest beds before anyone arrived. And generally, that is pretty well done beforehand, because I stripped the beds and washed the sheets the last time someone left. And now I am washing them again. So easy peasy. :)

So I had the weekend duty of entertaining a kiddo. I am planning a post to go over some ideas to entertain a two year old that are much more do-able when you do not have any help. But for now, let's just talk about the fact that I managed to get through another weekend with a kiddo solo. Those are not fun or easy weekends. My hats off to all stay-at-home-moms as well as to single parents, because holy crap.

There were walks, a movie (on our TV at home, I was not taking a kid to the movies solo!), swimming, playing outside in her kid pool, parks, everything! So I am GLAD to have survived.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chicago Training: Week of July 20

I know have been trying to give weekly updates about Chicago and my training and how it is going. This week is no exception. Admittedly, I am trying to get posts written ahead of time so I am getting this generally written and then going back to get some updates into it on some specifics (how the workouts ACTUALLY went).

But I have been getting to the meat of training over the last few weeks, as I am sure that everyone has noticed from my logs, getting to the mileage that is up, over and above the half marathon distance that we are getting into that. It is hard to believe, and I am already getting kind of nervous.
But this past week? It went well. Especially considering the circumstances that I was dealing with this week with a sick kiddo, husband golfing, etc, which kind of limited my ability to get out for my runs as I was supposed to. More time was spent on the treadmill than I would have likes, but miles are miles are miles, right? I always set the belt to a 1.0 incline. I always messed with paces somewhat to try and give myself a bit more interesting of a run. I always had either a podcast (I am relistening to Serial now, and have been listening to all of the related podcasts) or Parenthood on Netflix. It is what it is for this particular week.

So let's review the week, shall we?

Monday: 8 miles with 4x 30s strides. Core. Treadmill running at a sick baby's naptime.
Tuesday: OFF (had XT and strength planned, but ended up running some lunchtime errands instead. Whoops.)
Wednesday: 7 miles, easy. 8:54 pace
Thursday: Track workout. 8.78 total miles. Core.
Friday: 50 minutes XT, basic strength stuff (squats, lunges, pushups, etc)
Saturday: 16 miles. Treadmill. (Ugh)
Sunday: 1 hour walk with my kiddo in the stroller.

Yep. 16 on the treadmill. That is what happens when your hubby and his buds leave at 6 am to play golf and your kiddo is already awake.

Good week though, right?

Friday, July 24, 2015

What We Ate This Week

So, J and I are really starting to get better about planning our meals (which adds to healthier eating and going out less). If you followed me when he and I first started living together (all the way back in 2010!) We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings at least three times per week. The waitress at the BWW closest to our house knew us well and helped us out a lot (for example, she pulled off getting us a BIG table on J's birthday one day when they were pretty crowded). So yeah, obviously that is not the healthiest way to be.

But since moving to our new house in April 2014, we have been making much more of an effort to plan our meals every week and go out a maximum of once per week. There are times when we are not so successful, and usually when that happened, it would be one pizza night and one night out. Honestly, that is not so bad, but that is not the norm. It is usually something that happens if we end up getting stuck at work and plans are just not easy to accomplish quickly. Then I might call the pizza shop on the way home and Addie and I will swing in through there and grab a pizza before heading home. Then we can get everyone's meals dished out so when J gets home, we can sit down and eat!

But, obviously we are doing our best to avoid that by planning our meals over the weekend and shopping to that plan. So here is what we have done (and plan to do) this week:

Sunday: grilled chicken sandwiches with salads and grilled vegetables.
Monday: Fried rice bowls with chicken
(the original plan involved noodles, but with a sick kiddo, I went with rice. More binding in the gut!)
Tuesday: Grill out brats and herb roasted potatoes (foil pack)
Wednesday: Dream dinner pasta with meatballs
Thursday: fish tacos, corn on the cob
Friday: homemade pizza with salads
Saturday: out

As you can see, we do make an effort to consume more veggies than we used to, and I am pretty pleased with the way that things go for us when we use this method of eating. On Monday, I was home with a sick kid, and I used that time to cook some chicken that we could use during the week for various meals. As a topping for the pizza, for salads, and in the noodle bowls that I made that night. It was a pretty good plan, and although staying home with a sick kids stinks, I was glad to be able to accomplish something that day (along with ensuring that my posts for the week were written!)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sock Love

So I want to take this post to rave about some socks that I recently started to wear. As a runner, I am generally pretty picky about athletic gear. From finding shorts that don't chafe me, tanks that breathe enough, bras that give enough support for my smallish chest, and shoes that do not cause blisters, I have tried tons of different products. The one thing that I have never been SUPER particular about is socks.

I have all kinds of preferences with socks. I have been known to LOVE balega in general, but have often hesitated to spend $12-ish on a pair of socks. But I have gotten pairs for gifts or on sale cheap and I do really like them. But I have also enjoyed Swiftwick socks, Feetures, and have worn some cheap socks purchased in 6-packs in some kind of sporting goods store.

I have grown to be pretty particular with my compression socks as can be seen here:
(neon)
(orange)
(blue)

But this is not about that...  I want to talk about other socks and my new love. BOMBAS.
Source
After receiving these socks I kept them in my drawer until my long run. For some reason, I have in my head that I should save new things for special runs. I am not sure what a special run is, exactly, but in this particular case, I decided that a long run was a special run. So last Saturday morning, before we ran the color run, I popped on a pair of bombas out of the packaging that they were sent to me in and as soon as I put them on my feet... ahh...
(This is the post I put on instagram about the fact that I was in love before running, and hoping that I was going to enjoy them AS much when I started running!)

As previously mentioned, I ran 14 on that day. And then I headed out and ran the color run as well. I stayed in my same disgusting top and socks (just disgusting because of sweat!) for the color run, and just changed shorts. But the socks helped me get through 17+ miles in one day, and felt my feet feeling awesome.

I have worn them for every single run since then. I wore them Monday and Wednesday, I wore them on Thursday for a tough tempo run. I AM IN LOVE.
So if you have not found what sock it is that you want to run in (non-compression) I highly recommend you look into Bombas. I discovered they were on Shark Tank (and made a deal), and have continued to look into them to learn about them as a company and their product.

I purchased these socks (and all of the pro socks) with my own money and just wanted to share something that I found!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hip and Glute Tension - Ew

So I have been dealing with a little bit of a tight hip/glute for a few days now. Not painful, just tight, so I have been working on trying to figure out the best way to handle it, break up whatever is going on, and be feeling great again as soon as possible.

I wish that I was capable of flexibility like this.
Maybe that could help a little bit with loosening things up. (Yup, crumbs from her dessert, a cookie, all over!)

But I am not, so instead I am spending time in this position.
Hurts.so.good.

I am also researching you tube for videos of different stretches and ways to hit trigger points in the hip and glute just because I am willing to do whatever right now. Training is going well, and so I do not want anything to get worse or turn into any kind of injury. I have gone back to a lot of the PT exercises that I learned last summer, along with the obvious release stuff and stretching. Whatever I can do to help, right? Take care of twinges now so they do not turn into problems later!

Have you ever had high glute/hip pain? How did you fix it?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Saturday Long Run Review

So my long run on Saturday... it was a rough one. I mean, I am going to go right out there and say, yes, I hit all of my paces. So I have a tough time saying that it was not a good run. But it did not feel great. I made some poor dinner choices the night before because we decided to go out. I used to be able to get away with that (I think to the Vegas half that I ran when newly pregnant. I had wings about an hour prior to that race!) But apparently, my body has decided that is not the way that it works anymore. Boo!

So Jen put another 14 mile run on the schedule for last Saturday, but instead of just running like I had the previous weekend, there were recommended progressive paces to start to hone in on an actual plan for the marathon. I definitely am going to need to work on holding back earlier, since busting out a few sub-8 miles in Columbus might have led to my demise in the later miles. Jen is definitely trying to help me work on that, so I am with her on that one! 

So the plan was as follows for this 14 mile progressive run.

5 miles @ 8:30
5 miles @ 8:10
4 miles @ 7:55

After getting up at 5:30 and enjoying a cup of coffee and a picky bar (smooth caffeinator) I headed out. My first mile was a little bit slow (8:34), but I was able to pick it up and hit the next few right on (8:29, 8:28, 8:31). After getting through the next mile, again, close to pace, I picked it up to run the next. I ran the first at 8:11, then 8:09. The next three were all 8:06.

I had to stop in there in those first ten and use the restroom a few times. That stunk, but as the sweat poured down my arms (that seems to happen to me, when I stop, my sweat just pours down my arms) I knew that at least I was hitting my goals. Bathroom breaks could happen on race day. It is possible. So maybe I need to continue to tool with my diet to really find out what is going to work for me in the long run. (haha! ON the long run??)

I, mistakenly, again, did not take an fuel with me. I skipped that last week too. Darn it. I really need to start working on that. This is going to be the biggest part of my game that I need to work on. I have pretty much sucked at it all of these years, so I am going to need to work on it.

I did finish up the last 4 miles on pace, maybe even a touch faster than the 7:55. Despite being well overheated and having PLENTY of tummy troubles, I ran 14.1 miles in 1:55:24 for an average pace of 8:11. I did the math and it looks like I should have done it in JUST over 8:12 per mile, or run it in basically 1:55 even for the 14 miles. So... with 16 on the plan this weekend, I am hopefully ready to take things up a notch. Cross your fingers.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chicago Training: Week of July 13

Another week of Chicago training has been checked off. Seriously, other than a few issues with some heat and humidity (which is NOTHING like it has been in the past!) training has been going fantastic. I definitely cannot believe how quickly time is going in July. The race is in October, and suddenly that does not feel all that far away. Eeek!

So another week has progressed, so let's take a look at home my training for the last week shook out.

Monday: 7.6 treadmill miles including 4x 30s strides. 8:19 average pace. Core
Tuesday: 50 minutes on the elliptical, body weight strength circuit
Wednesday: 6 mile easy run, 8:56 average pace
Thursday: 8.53 mile run. 6 tempo miles (goal was 7:50 pace. I ran slightly fast). warm up, cool down. and 4x 30s strides. 7:55 average pace. Core.
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 14 mile progressive. Goal was 5 miles at 8:30, 5 miles at 8:10, 4 miles at 7:55. BOOM. This run was super tough due to the heat as well as the fact that I potentially ate poorly on Friday night. But I hit all my splits, just slightly faster than planned. I guess then we need tconsider it a success, right?
Sunday: One hour walk with Addie and the dog.

36.1 miles run. One elliptical workout. 2 core workouts. One strength workout. And one walk. Overall, I would say I had another pretty successful week, and I am pleased with it. Hard to believe that I have less than three months to go. Eeek!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Kiddo Update - 1 month 'til 2!

So... Addison will be two in less than a month. TWO!!! How the heck did I become the mother of a two  year old? (FYI - for the curious...  We are still undecided on number 2. I plan to give it more serious thought after Chicago, kind of depending on whether I get my Boston time or not... We will see where things go.)

But let's do an update on the girl, so you can see how much she has grown.
Water day!

Now that I am dealing with an almost two year old, you have to learn two year old logic. "If you eat two bites of your carrots you can have a cookie" Yup. I did that. I definitely went into this motherhood thing thinking "I eat pretty well. I like to eat pretty well. I am sure that my kid will be on board with that as well." Nope. Not the case. I have been flexing my kid logic in order to get her to do what she SHOULD be doing.

She also loves TV. I know, I know. It is bad. But we have gotten in to where she is allowed one half hour show per night. Most nights she does not complain anymore. And this was an adjustment for J and I as well, because we usually just have the TV on for background noise. We had to stop that when we realized she was getting sucked into whatever we were watching. But her favorites for before bedtime are all Disney Junior shows, Sofia the First, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Doc McStuffins.

And like most little girls at one point or another, she is OBSESSED with Frozen. "Anna/Elsa, TV!" is one of her most frequently repeated phrases. She sings the songs. She gasps when Anna and Elsa's parents boat is in the storm. She laughs at all the right things. She thinks Hans is "naughty". And admittedly, this Frozen obsession is completely my fault. I had not seen it, so I wanted to watch it the first time, and it was over immediately. Girl loves it.

But, it is not ALL princesses, cookies, and TV at our house. We also do yoga together.
Play the piano.
We are fashionistas.
We work on using the potty like a Big Girl.
And we play golf with Dada.
She has her drama queen moments, but overall, she is a pretty awesome kid. And I love her. A whole lot.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Treadmill Miles - 7 at the Gym

Because we had plans to hit the Home Run Derby on Monday, I scheduled a half day at work. I was pretty excited to get the time approved (not sure what I would have done if I didn't), and was really looking forward to not being at the office since I feel like I have been there MUCH too often lately.

We have been going through a lot of changes at the office, and that has led to many many more hours than I really want to work, but sometimes, you just have to do whatever you need to do to get through it, right? So my whole team has been knocking out hours, occasionally coming in on the weekend (I had to a few times!) and really hammering home all of our tasks every day. But now we are finally through one of our big team projects/deadlines, so I finally felt like I was able to take a day off. So around noon yesterday I headed out with plans to hit the gym, grab some lunch, get Addie, and then head to the HRD.

As mentioned, first up, the GYM.

I had considered running outside, but I was leaving work, and knew I was going to want a shower. So then I thought maybe I would bring all of my stuff to the gym and head outside for the miles, but I had seven planned and I am not familiar enough with the neighborhood near either location of my gym to easily run seven. That coupled with the fact that it was horribly humid led me to make the decision that the treadmill was best for Monday.

(As it turned out, it was a great idea because it wound up severely storming in the afternoon with high winds and TONS of rain!)

So when I got to the gym I dressed myself in my running clothes and hit the cardio cinema where they were showing "Leatherheads" with John Krasinski and George Clooney. I had not previously seen that movie. I figured since I did not have my headphones and stuff with me, I would hit the gym that had the cinema so I could focus on something else that was not my pace and the numbers on the treadmill. I ended up getting the 7 miles in 59:14. I then rocked out my core work before hopping back on the treadmill to do a few 30 second sprints. I turned the treadmill up to 10.0 (then 10.2, 10.4 and 10.6) to run for 30s, then hop off for 30 seconds to recover.

Overall, I had a pretty good treadmill workout that I am pleased with. And training continues to move forward.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The All-Star Game Experience

So, believe it or not, there is a BIT more to my life than running and Addison. Although those things make up a lot of it! I also really really like baseball. I am a Tigers fan, always have been, but I really enjoy getting to new ballparks in new cities. J and I always plan a baseball game in our vacation trips, and we rarely go to a city where there is NOT baseball (I would say Vegas is an exception).

This year, our city is the host to the All-Star Game, and we have been lucky enough to be a part of some of the festivities.
Obviously, the mustache as been a big deal, and a lot of fun. They are all over the city right now, I believe there are 13 in all, if I heard correctly. Honestly, I have only seen 2 of them, but whatever. I love that they have painted the downtown building that I used to work in to look like Mr. Redlegs.
My old floor is painted like part of the mustache. So cool.

We had tickets to a few different events courtesy of Scotts Lawn Care. J's cousin Chris works for them and since we live in the city, he helped us get hooked up. Saturday, post-long run, we were going to all do the Color Run (All-Star Game edition) together. I have done one Color Run previously, so I knew going in that it was not really going to be a "running" event, so I got all of my mileage beforehand, instead of doing 11 and then running the last three at the Color Run. I am glad I did it that way, as the color run was CROWDED.

(You have to wear the headband. I am pretty sure it is mandatory.)

After the run and then pouring color all over each other, we headed to the Cincinnatian to shower. It was tough to get all of that cornstarch off, when I started washing my hair, I ended up with piles of purple foam. We had to wipe down the shower that we used because we felt bad about it.

We then headed over to the FanFest to get the full experience. We both got our own baseball cards made (me in a Tigers uniform, J in a Reds), J played a virtual umpire game.
That seemed super weird, and honestly, it kind of gave me some anxiety, so I did not play. But J said it was pretty cool. We also walked through the swag store, checking out everything that they had available with the logo on it. J wanted a hat, but unfortunately, they did not have one that looks good that had what he wanted. He wanted a Reds hat with the full ASG logo on it (pictured above) but they only had ones with this logo on them:
It is ok, but it is not as cool as the other.

Monday night, we had tickets for the Homerun Derby. We definitely were excited to be able to go to that, as that was going to be cooler than the actual game (at least that was what we decided.) And now I can check that off the bucket list. All-star game: check!


I was a LITTLE bit excited.

And the hometown guy winning? It was the most exciting thing I have ever been a part of!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Chicago Training: Week of July 6

So, I have been working with Jen pretty much since the week after the Glass City Half (and my half PR), but I have not written a weekly training update AT ALL, so I figured, now is as good of a place as any to start. So let's take a look at this past week in training, 14 weeks until Chicago!



Monday: 7 miles with 4x striders. 7.54 miles at an 8:25 average
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 6 miles, easy pace. Treadmill set at 6.7 and left it alone.
Thursday: 8.87 miles, 2 tempo-ish miles, then 3x1 mile @ 7:07 average pace
Friday: 40 minutes elliptical, strength training
Saturday: 14 miles, 8/mile average pace. Then the color run (all-star game version)
Sunday: one hour walk with a baby and a dog (3.4 miles)

Overall week:
43.4 miles (including the color run and walking miles).
1 day speed work
1 long run
two days XT
one strength workout

That speed workout was a tough one. Luckily I had Charlie with me and he played rabbit on the mile repeats. By the third one, I really needed him to push me, and so he took off, and I did my best to stay on his shoulder. We made it though. The cooldown of that workout was VERY slow, but I was on a high for the rest of the day because of the success of the workout.

I had my first distance OVER a half of this training cycle, and for some reason I am always nervous going into this run. I got up at 4:30 am so I would have some time to drink a cup of coffee before heading out for the run. With 14 on the schedule and not knowing how it was going to feel, I figured I would plan on giving myself 2 hours, so that put my goal pace around 8:34/mile. I knew that the coffee was going to be necessary, I have been struggling when running in the morning before coffee, and I decided to eat a picky bar as well before heading out.

I was feeling a little crappy when I left the house, and brought no water and no fuel. Potentially, a bad idea, but oh well. After a mile and a half I paused my watch, hid behind a big tree, and peed. That is the first time I have EVER done that. I ran the miles how I felt like running, and didn't worry when I logged a few 8:04-8:05s in a row. I ended the run at an average of 8:00/mile, and according to garmin, beat my half marathon time from Glass City in April (by about 9 seconds, but still!).

All in all, I had a fantastic week of training.

Monday, July 13, 2015

So... What's next?

So it has been so long since I have been writing consistently that I am not even sure I have gone in to ANY detail on what my goals and plans are going forward.

This spring, I trained for and ran a pretty dramatic half marathon PR. I think that I was capable of even more than what I ran, BUT I was coming off of injury, so I am going to take that for what it was. A fantastic and conservative race. I spent the spring running, but I never really pushed pace too much and I rarely pushed distance. I followed my plan, but it seemed like an after thought.

I got back into lifting a bit more this spring, and I was really enjoying tossing around some heavy weights again, especially in the squatting and deadlifting arena. I got up to 110 lbs in a back squat, for 5 sets of 5! So while that may not seem like much for a lot of people, that is nearly my body weight, and it certainly was not a one rep max kind of weight. It felt good to be strong again, so I am trying to keep up with the strength training, even when it is more bodyweight type exercise.

And that is what it has been recently, because after spending a morning in a room with some work friends viewing the Boston Marathon, the marathon bug bit again. And this time, I was setting the goal from the beginning. Earn my Boston qualifying time. I rolled into that as my big fat hairy A goal for Columbus.

So now, I am going for it. And I am going to be training for Chicago.
I have not run this race before, and it is supposed to be a great course, and I am really looking forward to it.

I have started working with Jen Goff, and so far working with her has been amazing. She makes my plan 4 weeks at a time, we talk on the phone once a month, and we email back and forth regularly. I give her updates every week, that way she can adjust my paces as needed and she can talk me off a ledge when I need it (all the time). And example of this "talking me off the ledge" was when I got super busy and completely missed a long run. I got out for 4 late at night on Sunday, and I was supposed to do 12 on Saturday morning. Her response was "oh LIFE got in the way?" And honestly, that reminded me... I am not a professional runner. I do this for FUN because I love it.

One missed run will not kill me. And I am going to be strong and prepared for this marathon.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Progress & Happiness

Would you look at that? I am posting on 5 straight days! Who AM I? Regardless, I am pretty pleased that I have been able to get somewhat back in a habit, trying to knock out posts, knowing that it has been a goal of mine to really try and get back to where I was with posting in 2014. Things have just been neverending at the office, so I am trying to find a balance again. I miss writing. I miss this place as the outlet for my frustrations and an outlet for triumphs.

Sometimes I have definitely felt like the only triumph I have to my name is this little nugget.
She's making "awt".

And she is obviously one of the biggest (if not the biggest) triumph I have had. But she is certainly NOT the only, so I am not sure why I get down on myself about it. Truly.

I have been making "life progress" lately. Continually updating my goals, my lists, myself, in order to become someone better, someone more. I have been trying to use the tools that I have been taught by my therapist in order to get over any humps that I have had recently. It is helping. Thinking about it, checking in, and coming to whatever unrealistic expectation that I may be having is getting me there. I know that I am making daily progress, and honestly, most days I feel like I am on more stable footing than I have been in years. I am pleased as punch with that. I hope that J can see it in me. Because some days have been REALLY tough. But you know what? I am getting better. I am getting stronger.

And...

I am happy.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ragnar Wasatch Back: Runner 3, Leg 3

Following my leg, Emma FLEW downhill (we were not at the exchange point when she arrived as we had estimated the time it would take her incorrectly - way to go, all of us), Wendy ran a pretty long one, and Luisa finished things off for the team. By the time we were through our vans legs, we were all pretty wiped out. "Resting" (because there was definitely not much sleeping) on the grass a few hours before did nothing for us. We decided to drive immediately to the next exchange and hang out there, hopefully getting a little sleep in the vans. It was still pretty chilly out, so we skipped the grass sleeping and opted for weird van positions. I was mostly impressed with Jes, who seemed to have the position to sleep in FIGURED OUT.

After a few hours of hanging out and semi-sleeping, a few girls got up to seek breakfast. They had eggs and pancakes for sale at the exchange but NO COFFEE! Seriously, WTF? We have been up running all night. Coffee is NECESSARY.

Leana and I showing how happy we are to have to get up and start running again!

It was not terribly long before we started stripping out of our sweats to get running again. I had a bit of a resurgence in energy (and also hunger - downed a TON of cheez-its) and was feeling ready to get the show on the road. After my leg would be over, I would be able to relax. We headed down to the line when we had a message from the other van saying that they would be there shortly. 

Soon enough Leana was off and running her third leg and we progressed on to the various exchange points. When we were waiting for Leana (her route was unsupported), the other van came to that exchange point because there was indoor (gym floor) sleeping at that exchange point. Admittedly, I was a little jealous that they were going to go lay down, spread out, and get some potential REAL sleep, but I am sure they were thinking "oh man, Van 1 is going to be DONE running soon." So it is fair, I guess?

My leg was supposed to be between 5.2 and 6.2 miles, it was a "choose your own exchange". So basically, you parked randomly within a one mile range. Then you just exchange wherever within that one mile. This was our second exchange like this, but the first one that I had. Because Jes's run was scheduled to be between 2.5 and 3.5 miles, we decided that her's would end up longer, shortening mine, as she was definitely the strongest runner on our team. The folks in the van and I found where we thought the exchange was, and moved our way to the area where there was a group of volunteers. 

When Jes arrived, I took off.
This route had a big climb with a big drop. It also was a single track trail in the mountains. It was the most technically difficult run I have ever had, and in reality, my first experience with trails. It was a slow go, as you will have with trails, and sometimes I had to stop and walk (but for once, not because of me needing it! It was now because of the difficult trails with other people walking). I was trying to not pay attention to my watch. But by the time we got to the downhill, I was feeling great and ready to cruise.

I finished up 7.2 miles in 1:09:23. Please note. 7.2 miles? And Jess ran over 4! So I would say that the estimates and stuff were a little bit off for this section of the race. But it is what it is, and I was done running. 
Van 1 - done running!

After getting through the rest of the legs of the race, our van headed back to our condo to eat, relax, watch TV, etc, until we needed to go and meet up to finish the race together (with Kate, who was our final runner). We ordered a few pizzas, took showers, picked up beers at a grocery store (some for us with our pizza, and the rest for later that night when the other girls were done running). And we mostly sat. On non-van seats. And dozed a bit. It was great.

A few hours later we were off to midway and the finish line. It was time to meet Van 2 and finish the race with Kate. And soon after, we were finished.


Overall, I had an awesome experience, and the relay bug is back. I am ready to go.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ragnar Wasatch Back: Runner 3, Leg 2

When we all finished up with our first legs, we got to meet up with Van 2, who I understand spent a leisurely morning sleeping in and eating at Perkins while we were out surviving on coffee and peanut butter (well, maybe the peanut butter part was just me. That was one of my prerace purchases at Target).

After seeing Robyn off to run leg 7, van one headed into Ogden (Jes's town!) to find a bite to eat. We ended up at a restaurant pretty similar to squatters the night before, except this time no beer was consumed and salads were eaten by all (we needed to get some green in, I think!)
After eating, we headed right to the next major exchange, figuring maybe we could get a few hours of rest. We were again at a high school - I cannot remember what town we were in - and we went on a hunt for a spot of grass in the shade. It was still hot when we first got there, and getting a spot in the shade was difficult. But it was not long before we needed to head back to the van to get sweats, blankets and hoodies. It got cold quickly!
I do not have any pics of the overnight legs. We all had our iphones away (and our hands in our pockets! It really was cold!) My second leg was 3.6 miles, with a HUGE climb in it. When I saw on the map it was over 500 ft, I was like, "eh, that is not too bad. It should be no sweat." Nope, I was wrong about that for sure. 500 feet of climbing is a lot of climbing. The other problem that I had was a bit of confusion. I was kind of in the zone at the beginning of the run. My legs felt good. I was ready to cruise (and I was still be naive about my climb). But there was definitely some ill marked moves. There was no sign to turn, but there was a big road closed sign. I followed the runner in front of me (and a few followed me, and the runner in front of me was following a few) and made a right turn, down a small hill and into a park.

As it turned out, that was the same park that we had just exited at transition. Ugh. So basically a group of about 8 of us (and by my understanding, several more!) just ran an extra loop! Because of the dark, I had no idea how much extra I had run at this point, but figured, oh well, let's just keep running. I mean, what else could I do? My run started right around 1 am, it was dark and I was wearing all my safety gear headed out into a climb on a two lane highway. Let's just get it done.

The climb started at about 1 mile into the run (per the ragnar bible with all of the maps in it), and it felt ok at first. We were kind of winding around a mountain, so despite the dark, it was kind of fun. But then when things started to get a bit steeper, the wheels came off. I had to walk. I just was not in my game AT ALL. As I was noticing my watch (usually only when it beeped after a mile), I realized how much extra that little loop in the beginning had cost me. When I reached the 1 mile to go sign, I had already covered 3.6 miles (the length I was supposed to run in total!). I was walking. It was the middle of the night. I was climbing. Still. Suffice to say, I was a little bit in a rough mood at this point. Ugh.

But after seeing the 1 mile to go sign, walking a little more, I got over myself and picked things backup. Knowing I was only supposed to run 3.6 miles, my team was going to be wondering where I was. I was going to be 8-10 minutes behind because of my extra mile, and that is not taking into account any of the walking! Eventually, I reached the top and the exchange point. I ran 4.6 miles in 42:15.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ragnar Wasatch Back: Runner 3, Leg 1

Since I finally got everything written around our pre-race dinner, I figured I might be able to get into the actual "running" part of the weekend. Yahoo!

Van one had a 10 am start time at Utah State University (the race actually kicked off from the track at the school before heading out into the open). We had to be there a bit early (they recommended an hour in advance to allow you to do all of the prerace things, bib pick up, the safety video, gear check (checking for reflective vests, headlamps, etc) and have time to get lined up at the start. So we planned on following that procedure, and we knew that we needed about 40 minutes to get to the university from our hotel. As a result, we decided to get up relatively early to enjoy a breakfast at the hotel. Our hotel (a Fairfield Inn) had free breakfast, so I had some scrambled eggs, a big cup of coffee, some melon, and a yogurt.

When the 6 of us got on the road with Leana driving, our first priority was a stop for Coffee (yep, capital letter is necessary). We had previously mapped out a Starbucks from the hotel on the way to the start, and stopped there. The line was long, but we HAD to wait.
I am a bit blocked by Leana's visor, but whatever. Coffee all around!

After our arrival at the University, we collected our bibs, pins, flags and rations (shot bloks and monster. necessary) and watched the safety video. Jes and I both elected to purchase a handheld water bottle (the best money I spent that weekend). We snagged a team photo at the start line,

Leana wanted to use the restroom before we started, everyone else agreed. After that break, the rest of the team went to decorate our van (and tag Team Nuun's van in the process), while Leana mentally readied herself for the race. We made it back in time to see her start and then headed back to the car again to drive to the exchange point. It was not long before Leana was done, and Jes was off. At that point my stomach started getting nervous and I just wanted to be running. We got to the next exchange which was at a high school and I immediately left the group to use the restroom and kind of mentally prepare myself for this hot run. I was REALLY starting to become a bundle of nerves which is kind of strange since this race obviously had no pressure around it.

Soon, Jes was arriving at the exchange point and I was ready to go!

It was hot. I was at 4800 feet (I have never run at that elevation. Ever.) And I had WAY overestimated how I was going to be able to run at such heights. I put in a rather conservative 10K pace, but it was definitely faster than I was able after considering the heat and the elevation (I apparently did not).

By mile 4 I had to run/walk. I  have NEVER run/walk before, even in my earliest races. It was a little bit defeating to me, but at the same time, I had to do what was necessary to survive the run, right? The run climbed at the end to about 5K feet (per the elevation I have on strava). I ran 6.7 miles in 1:03:56 (FYI - on 7/6 I ran 7.54 miles in less time). But thank goodness I gave myself permission eventually. I am not sure that I would have really been successful otherwise.

Handing off to Emma (yup, she raced in her bikini).
Checking the box.

We continued on through Emma's leg, Wendy's and Luisa's. We snagged a group photo at an exchange point (what they called "choose your own exchange")
Luisa was just getting ready to run, and I think the rest of us are relieved to be DONE. Only two legs left to go!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Arrival in SLC and dinner with the team

So, relaying. It has been a while since my racing has seen that kind of action. I really did not think that it was something that I missed because it is hard, you don't get much sleep, and I was kind of nervous about the new team. None-the-less I was in Utah from June 18-21, relaying in van 1 of a team of 12.

I returned home late Sunday night (ok, really early Monday morning, around 1:15 am) from being in Utah. I left to go there SUPER early last Thursday morning - leaving my house at 3:15 am to drive an hour and a half for a flight at 6:30 am. I am pretty sure that I did not need to be there 2 hours early for one of the first flights of the day, but better safe than sorry? And I was flying out of Dayton...  the things I will do for a cheap flight (but I refuse to do again - that sucked)...

While I was excited to meet some girls that I have never met before in real life like Paulette, Wendy, Leana, among others (those three just have blogs to link to!), I was nervous about being away from J and Roo and hanging out with a bunch of people I had never met before.

Turned out, yes, I did miss J and Roo, but meeting the team was no trouble whatsoever. All of us got along very well and had a lot of fun! So here is my team!

Van 1:
Runner 1 - Leana
Runner 2 - Jess
Runner 3 - ME!
Runner 4 - Em
Runner 5 - Wendy
Runner 6 - Luisa

Van 2:
Runner 7 - Robyn
Runner 8 - Paulette
Runner 9 - Farron
Runner 10 - Jessica
Runner 11 - Marilyn
Runner 12 - Kate

Obviously, as is the case for relays, I spent more time with Van 1, since that was who I ran with and rode with in between, but I definitely loved the gals from Van 2 as well, and I really hope to spend more time with them in the future. J and I are possibly headed to Seattle in August, (TBD) but hopefully I can see a few of the girls then.

Anyway, upon my arrival at the SLC airport, Kate and Leana were waiting for me. There were a few of us who had relatively early flights, so I was kind of glad not to be the first one at the airport. By the time they fetched me, Jessica was getting off of her plane, so we headed back into the airport to get her. The SLC airport is pretty big, and the layout was confusing at first, but now I am pretty much used to it. I walked around it a lot this past weekend.

Once the four of us were together, we headed off for a "second breakfast" - at least, that is what it was for me. Here in Ohio it was practically lunchtime. With an order of toast, scrambled eggs, bacon and of course, coffee, I felt much more ready to face the day. We gathered a few others as they arrived, and were finally ready to leave the airport. Paulette had rented the vans on her account, so when she was there, we split up into the two cars and headed to the hotel that we had booked rooms at for the evening. We had plans to head to Target to purchase the food that we would need and also to get more coffee (obviously) and then we had a late evening dinner reservation at a brew pub called Squatters.

Squatters had a lovely mural painted on the wall which really set the tone of the restaurant. It made me feel as though this was a happy place, a place to relax and the correct place for us to have selected for our prerace meal and beers. I had a burger after Jess (runner number 2) recommended the burgers, and she was definitely correct in her suggestion. It was delicious. I also drank two beers. Their wheat and their summer were my selections, and they were both great!
I love this picture. We were still missing a few at this point. Farron and Emma had not yet arrived. Farron had a late flight and Emma had to work that day and then had a 4 hour drive into Salt Lake. I am sad that it is not a full team photo, but 10/12 is not too bad!

Posing for a van 1 + Kate photo before heading back to our hotel. This time we got Emma in the shot! (She arrived at the restaurant in time for a quick bite and a beverage!)

I am really sorry for the delay in posting anything on this, and this does not even begin to touch anything that actually deals with running (other than carb-loading?) but it is what I have right now... Hopefully now that one of my big work projects is off my plate, I will be able to start updating as I might like to? I have my fingers crossed on that one...