Saturday, June 29, 2013

I Can See Clearly Now (Well Kinda)

As you guys know, I had to take a break to prep for LASIK surgery.  Well, my surgery was Thursday and I am happy to report that it went as smoothly as having your corneas lasered open can go!  I will be honest, I was filled with complete terror leading up to the surgery.  Even though I have (well HAD I guess) wretched sight, my crappy eyeballs are the only eyeballs I've ever had or will have.  All of the "what ifs" ping ponged around my brain for the 3 weeks until my surgery, and I pictured it totally being like Clockwork Orange:


Thankfully, it is the exact opposite!!  I went to TLC Vision, and it was a wonderful experience.  All of the employees were kind, compassionate and go out of their way to put you at ease.  I felt like they were friends by the end of my million appointments I had leading up to surgery.  The surgery itself is over SO FAST, and you literally feel nothing.  And they give you Xanex before surgery so you are super relaxed and happy when you're going in.  I literally chit chatted with the doctor and nurses the entire procedure, and it was over in about a minute and a half.  They gave me another Xanex, which just totally knocked me out, then I was on my way.  The craziest thing was that I was able to slightly see within seconds after surgery.  Everything looked good at my followup appointment, and they also cleared me to drive but I'm not sure that I feel comfortable doing that right now.  My vision is still fluctuating, although I can tell it's going to be amazing when everything heals up.  Since my vision is still so hazy, I"m happy to let Eric drive, which he does most of the time anyway!  For awhile I"ll be sporting some very sexy (not) goggles when I sleep, and putting a zillion drops in my eyes a day.

Deciding to get LASIK was pretty spontaneous and also put a halt to training.  You cannot wear contact for over 2 weeks before the procedure, and unfortunately my glasses were super old.  I have never been able to get a good prescription in glasses, so I just really never wore them, so having to wear these for over 2 weeks was absolute torture.  I would honestly relive the actual procedure 20 times over rather than the glasses part.   Working all day at a computer screen was hell since I couldn't see very well, and exercise was just out of the question.  I don't care if it sounds like a sissy excuse or not!

So now on to more important stuff.  I dropped a pretty big bomb on Facebook, which is that I signed up for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco on Oct 20th.


Again, I am probably out of my damn mind for doing this race since it's 2 weeks after Portland.  There was the option to do the half marathon, but I decided to go for the full.  What can I say, I was completely seduced by the course, which goes through the coolest parts of San Francisco.  Somehow, the thought of not seeing every bit of the course left me feeling like I would be cheating myself if I only did the half.  And I'm sure a couple of you are saying "um bitch, you've run like 30 feet in the past 3 months, so how are you going to do this", and you are right!  The beauty is, I signed up with a group from work with Team In Training.  They not only provide us mentors, but will be providing nutrition advice, injury prevention tips, coaching, coddling, training plans...the whole nine yards.  There are also group training runs, which is scarier than hell to me.

You see, I hate running with people.  Absolutely hate it.  I don't like to chat, I don't want people seeing me sweat, seeing my fat jiggle, seeing my mouth agape as I gasp for air, and see how painfully slow I run.  When I run my brain goes blank, which is a relief for someone who has anxiety and worries all of the time.  I am rather shy in nature, though some of the people who know me best would dispute that, but it's true.  If I don't  know you well, my guard is up and I am shy.  Groups of people especially cause me social anxiety and angst.  Running is somehow so...intimate.  It feels weird to share the experience with another person.  But I've realized after these few months of going it on my own that I will NEVER be better unless I take that plunge and start running with others.  I don't push myself as far as I COULD go when I am alone.  Especially in these hot summer days, my natural instinct with heat and running is "screw THAT".  But with this, shit is real, and I"m in.  If I don't show up for group training runs, then I look like a giant douche and who wants to be the "this bitch never shows up to group runs" person?  So I am terrified, but am going to my first group training next Saturday.  Yikes!

I know the phrase "it's gonna be epic" gets really overused, but I don't know that there is any other phrase to describe October.  It truly is going to be epic.  My very first marathon, followed 2 weeks later by ANOTHER marathon through one of the coolest cities in the US.  Oh and did I mention that all finishers in the SF marathon get handed a Tiffany necklace at the end of the race by a firefighter in a tux....


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Helvetia 10k Race Report

Before I launch into my race report, I wanted to give some background about the Helvetia race, mainly that the Helvetia 10k is the first race I ever did, and is what got me into running.  It was 2009, which was a horrible year, and I was looking for things that were out of my comfort zone and that would make me feel good about myself.  Eric and I both signed up for the race, and like the gomers we are, didn't train.  We went and had a total blast anyway  (though I remember being massively sore the next day), and that was when I first became hooked on running.  It's literally the perfect race, the one caveat being that I wish it was in May instead of June due to the heat.  Other than that, the race is incredibly organized, you get great swag when you pick up your packet (free gels, tons of coupons), the post race food is the bomb and the course is beautiful.  Oh, and it's pretty much a 10 minute drive from my house, so you can't beat that!

The morning began at 4:25 am when Molly decided she was bored, and that Eric and I both needed to get the hell up RIGHT THEN.  She whined, jumped on the bed and poked me with her wet nose until I got up.  I was pretty mad about it at first, but then thought, "Well, that gives me plenty of time to do my Yin Yoga DVD at least".  I really need to make it a point to do that DVD before every race, because later on, I'm pretty sure that it saved my legs.  When I was done I fixed us a really quick breakfast, and we split scrambled eggs with cheese and avocado stuffed in half a pita pocket.  After that we were off!

We were meeting one of Eric's friends and his wife who were visiting in Chicago and were doing the race with us, although we were all doing separate races.  Greg was doing the half marathon, Kristen was doing the 5k with Eric, and of course I was doing the 10k.  I am honestly in awe of Greg, a runner who has not only run countless races, but recently accomplished his goal to run a marathon on every continent.  Yep, you read that correctly, continent.  He just completed a marathon in Antarctica last year, which was his final race to do.  And if that wasn't enough his new goal is to run a half marathon in every state, and Oregon was his first to check off the list!

We all met up and chatted with Greg at the starting line, and he was telling us that he hadn't been feeling well lately, and that he probably was going have a horrible time and be very slow.  Now my definition of slow is what my fat ass does, which is about a 12 minute mile.  So we asked what he thought his finishing time was going be and he sighed and said, "It's probably going to take me 2 hours."  For those who don't feel like doing the math, that's about a 9:20 minute mile, which I would be praising the gods if I could consistently run at a 9:20 pace!  I teased him about it a little, and it's like, if I do this freaking 10k in 2 hours I'll be lucky.  Shortly after, Greg's race left at 8, so we stood and chatted some more until our race left at 8:30.

5k and 10k runners at the start


Eric and I started out together, but then he "Galloway'd" as he put it and took some walk breaks.  I actually managed to run the first 1.25 miles without stopping, which pleasantly surprised me.  In fact, my body physically felt good the whole race, which I credit purely to the yoga that morning.  The drawback was that it was so freaking hot.  I mean I am a total baby around heat anyway, but it actually was super hot by anyone's standards, and I would dare say it was near 80.  There is no shade on the route, and you're running on black asphalt with the sun blaring down on you.  That ultimately slowed me down, and made me seriously envy my husband when he got to turn around to go back to the finish line, and I had to go up a giant hill to continue the 10k course.  For most of the race I was torn between being happy that my legs felt good, that I was running more than I thought, and that I felt completely miserable overall because of how hot I felt.

A hot run through the country!
The one part of the course I'd forgotten about was a piece that is down a gravel road.  I use the term gravel loosely, because it's really more sharp rocks.  Besides the fact that it's an unstable surface to run on, the rocks really hurt if you wear minimalist shoes like I do.  That was the one part of the race where I was like, "This needs to be over right now."

By the time mile 4 came, I had a bigger issue on my hands, and that issue was that I had a Code Brown alert, and it hit me that it was a complete and utter possibility that I may poop my pants.  And you may laugh but if you are new to running, you have been warned.  Yes, all of the inspirational memes and Nike slogans in the world never cover the fact that at some point, you will feel like you are going to crap your pants when you are running.  There are all kinds of horror stories on the 'nets about people doing just that during a race, and all I can say is if that ever happens to me I am allowing Eric to divorce me, no hard feelings, and I'm going into witness protection to hide away from the shame.  I kind of had to "go" at the start of the race, but my body didn't cooperate with me when I got my turn in the porta-potty.  I passed several potties but the lines were totally insane, and I didn't want to add more time to my run.  (Note to the rest of you, add time to your run...much better than the alternative.)

When I walked I was fine, but when I ran, things became much more urgent, so for the last 2 miles of my race, I was torn between having a good pace and having the reputation of someone who doesn't crap their pants, so I alternated an awkward jog with some really fast walking.  I was so relieved when I hit 5.5 miles, because I knew it meant that I was almost done.  I picked up the pace and finished  in 1:25:02!  I know that's not an amazing time really, but I was definitely proud of it.  Eric was right there at the finish line waiting for me, and he had finished his 5k in 38:12!  (That's without training, isn't that annoying, ha ha).  And to illustrate why the Helvetia race is so awesome, at the finish line they had cold, sweet orange slices, bananas, bagels and chocolate milk for the runners.  The thought of chocolate milk on a hot day made me want to hurl,  but I took several orange slices, and they were amazing.



We sat and waited for Greg (clearly this was after I made the happiest bathroom trip of my life), who finished in 2 hours and 20 minutes.  We sat for forever and talked, it's probably the longest I've ever stayed at a post race event.  We enjoyed our burgers, drank beer and people watched.  We saw a little old lady who had completed the half marathon, which made my jaw drop to the floor.  Later when they did the awards ceremony, she obviously won for her age category, and we found out she was 80 years old!!  She finished the half in 3:07:54.  I mean, that is just utterly badass, not only is she out running, but she's getting a really great time too.  I am looking at the results right now, and there were quite a few men and women in the 70-80 category, which is just really amazing and inspiring.  I love when memaws and pepaws give the finger to society and don't sit around knitting or doing "old people" stuff, and instead are out doing amazing shit like this.  I really hope when I am 80 that I'm still running.  Plus Greg and I were joking that if we wait long enough and keep running, that our chances of winning a medal increase because barely anyone that old runs!  ;)

A happy runner who has NOT pooped her pants
After showers and naps, we later met Greg and Kristen for dinner at a wonderful Peruvian place in Portland called Andina.  I ate well all week and decided to really celebrate, so we really enjoyed ourselves, although the food is fairly healthy.  The many mojitos and white sangrias I consumed were not though.  ;)  I told Greg that I was running the Portland Marathon in October, even though I was kind of anxious about telling a "real" runner that I was going to do a marathon.  Of course, that's just my silliness, because he was totally excited and thought it was great.  Since he's run about a bazillion marathons, I asked for advice, so here are some of the pieces of advice he gave me:

  • You may hate the experience and be miserable during the marathon, but finishing will be the proudest moment of your life.
  • Do speedwork, because it will help your stamina as well as your mental well being about the state of your legs when you "hit the wall".
  • People make the mistake of thinking carbo loading should only be done the night before, when really you should be carbo loading throughout the week so that your body has time to store it as energy.
  • If you have to skip a run in your training, skip a short run.  Never skip a long run.
All in all, it was a great race experience, and it really did put me back in the frame of mind that I need to be in.  I can't wait to do my run tomorrow!





Friday, June 7, 2013

I Can Run

I had updates that I was going to post today that seem pretty small and trivial in light of some news that I got this morning.  I am going to put all of those silly updates aside and write about the news and some revelations it made me have.  

Today I found out someone I know was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which is a disease that affects the nervous system.  It's a very rare disorder (1-2 people out of 100,000 will get it), and it typically leads to full paralysis.  If it's caught in time some of the symptoms can be reversed, but I'm not sure what will happen with my friend.  Needless to say, I was shocked and devastated at the news, and it made me do some hard thinking about myself.

I feel SO ashamed that all week I've been bitching about running when it's hot, and so ashamed for the times that I haven't run at all.  I could have been out there celebrating that I have a healthy body that for all its fat rolls, crabby joints/feet and other imperfections, has served me well in life.  I can run, I can walk, dance, do yoga and do many things that my friend may not be able to do over time.  It makes me sick to my stomach how unfair life can be.  Horrible diseases always seem to strike the funny, smart and kind.

Tomorrow I am going to do my 10k, and no matter whether I walk or run across that finish line, I am going to be grateful that I have the ability to lace up my shoes and get out there.  If it's 5000 degrees or 60, I am going to be in awe over the face that I am upright and moving, and that each step is a blessing.   I am going to think about my friend a lot tomorrow.

There is not really much more to say I suppose, other than for everyone to remember to be thankful the next time you lace up those shoes and go out for a run.  It's a blessing, not a burden.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hot Potato! (Not Really, It Was Kind of Cold)

Well, only 2 more days until the Helvetia 10k!  I am definitely a bit nervous about it, mostly because I hope and pray this stupid heat wave we're having calms down.  If I have to run in the heat, nobody is going to be happy!  No running again today, I've just wanted to take it easy.  Tomorrow I'm going to do a session of Yin yoga, and then do it again on Saturday morning just to make sure I don't totally abuse my joints when I get out there for the race.

I experimented with a couple of new recipes tonight.  One was a green pea soup from 101 Cookbooks:


I didn't have a few things the recipe called for (specifically serranos and fresh ginger), but I left out the chilies and used ground ginger.  The soup was good but didn't blow me away.  Usually Heidi's recipes are a home run, so I suspect if I followed her recipe and added the chilies in that it would have had a little more depth.  I also made mine too thick and my blender sucks, so my soup wasn't thin and pretty like Heidi's.  Also, it's hotter than Satan's buttcrack in the house, so maybe eating hot soup wasn't helping my feelings towards it.  I did top the soup with pan fried paneer cheese like she suggested, and that was pretty tasty.  If you'd like to try out the Green Pea Soup recipe, you can get that here.

The second thing I made was a twice baked potato from one of the "gomers" of Two Gomers Run For Their Lives fame:


So while I know the potato looks good, it was a slight fail due to some errors I made, although with some adjustments it would be really tasty.  First of all, the potatoes I used were HUGE, so I need to get smaller ones before attempting this again.  The original recipe that Stephen posted for this had a ton of sour cream and butter in the filling, so when I made this, I made it with no butter and used a half cup of nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  My mistake was not considering that without the butter that the filling was going to be dry, so I should have upped the amount of Greek yogurt and maybe added a splash of almond milk or stock to make the filling more creamy.  I baked and filled the potatoes last night, which didn't help the dryness factor.  When I put them in the oven, they didn't have a chance really to get hot in the middle.  The result was that the flavor was decent, but the potato was dry and crumbly instead of being amazing.  Again though, if I adjust all of what I discussed above, I think this could be really good.

The recipe was posted on the Two Gomers Run For Their Lives Facebook page.  I have actually been going back and listening to their podcast all over again, starting at Season 1.  I can't believe how much they have grown as people and runners since that first season!  I highly recommend checking them out.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Brown Bunny

Today was another good eating day, and I also tried a new recipe for dinner that was another success.  Breakfast was a basic smoothie with berries, almond milk and yogurt.  For lunch I had a couple of eggs topped with avocado and tomato, and dinner was the Spring Panzanella recipe from 101Cookbooks.com:


For those who don't know, panzanella is a bread salad.  Most of the time I've seen it, it's done with tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.  I was drawn to this one because it has 2 of my favorite vegetables, green peas and asparagus.  It's a super simple recipe, I just used a bag of frozen peas (thawed in the fridge overnight), a bunch of asparagus, half a loaf of whole wheat bread and 3 handfuls or so of baby kale.  The flavors are very delicate, and it was a super enjoyable dinner, though pretty high in PP (10 per serving).  If you'd like to try the recipe, you can find it here.

I did a run again today, and while it was slightly better, it was still pretty miserable due to the fact it was 86 degrees.  I remembered my Garmin today, which helped put me in better spirits about doing the run, especially when I found out that I went 3 miles yesterday instead of 2.2!    The run started out ok, and I managed to make it 0.75 of a mile before I took a walk break, which was better than the 2 seconds I was pretty much able to do yesterday.  I struggled through the first mile, then flat out walked 97% of my second mile.  I can't describe to you guys how oppressive the heat was.  Even though the park is shaded, I felt like I was baking.  I started getting a headache and getting dizzy, and felt discouraged.  I started thinking that despite my utter hatred of the treadmill and running inside, that just maybe I was going to have to do a run on the treadmill at the gym.  Then suddenly I ran into this:


This is why I like to run outside.  Just as you're feeling like shit sometimes, something like a cute baby bunny will hop out and make things bearable.  The cute little guy just stood there and let me snap a few pics of him, then slowly hopped away.  I started my 3rd mile and was able to run on and off a little more, but it was still pretty horrible.


I mean, it's certainly not a great time.  I mean just a few months ago I was doing 5 miles in an hour, so this is kind of disappointing.  However, I wasn't running in 86 degrees either.  I really need to figure something else out.  I hate the thought of running in the morning, but that may have to be the compromise in order to not feel like total crap.  At the end of the day, I'm eating good again, and I'm back out there doing some activity, so I'm satisfied with that.  Hopefully I won't totally embarrass myself Saturday!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Clean Slate

Today was the official start of my clean slate, and I have to be honest, I was more than ready for it.  Yesterday I  created a menu plan for the week, and then figured out everything I was going to need to make that happen, plus snacks.  I went to the store and got everything I needed so that I won't have one of those "oh shit, I totally need such and such, so I need to make 8 trips to the store." All of the meals except for one ended up being vegetarian.  It's just sort of how it worked out since a few are new recipes I want to try, or stuff that just sounded spring-like and good.

This morning's breakfast was steelcut oats with agave, walnuts and a side of strawberries/pineapple.  For lunch I had leftover bean mixture from that black beans and rice dish I posted on Facebook.  I brought a banana and an apple for snacks.  Tonight's dinner was the "Beautiful Buddha Bowl" from my Hungry Hottie cookbook, which is basically brown rice topped with sauteed veggies and avocado.  It sounds dull but I really enjoyed it.  There is something about the nutty toothiness of the brown rice with the hot veggies and smooth avocado that really works.

So the nutrition part was a home run today, but the fitness side was a little more of a fail.  I thought I was totally awesome because I had my clothes all packed and ready to go for a run, except I totally forgot my stupid Garmin.  I was so pissed, because I really wanted to be able to track what I was doing.  I decided that Run Keeper was better than nothing, so I planned to use that on my run.

Everything was just annoying today about the "run" today.  It's really freaking hot here, which makes me angry, so I picked this shady park to go run in.  Usually this park is pretty mellow and has a good vibe to it, but today the creepers were out in force.  Several times I had to pass this emo group of teenagers who were lighting up joints, which, to each his own but pot STINKS and is not something I want to smell on a good day, much less when I"m running.  They also had an unleashed Chihuahua that freaked out like the annoying little pissant that 99% of Chihuahuas are, and when I would pass it would run at me and start barking like crazy.  Every time I'd have to stop so that one of the stoners could come over and get their annoying rat dog.    

The run itself was not a run, which I was somewhat expecting and was not surprised at.  I am totally out of shape, and the heat didn't help matters.  Oh, and Run Keeper continues to be the CRAPPIEST app ever created.  I don't know if it's because I have an Android or what, but RK simply doesn't work.  It can't find satellites, and then when it does, they sporadically go out.  I ended up turning it off 5 minutes into being at the park because it said I was doing a 30 minute mile when I was running.  I mean, I could crawl on my belly faster than a 30 minute mile, so I know I wasn't that slow running!!  I have no idea how far I went (I think roughly about 2.2 miles), how fast I was going or anything.  In some ways it was good, since today was about having a clean slate, going back to good habits and being in the moment.  In other ways I was fretting because I like to keep track of speed and distance so I can record it.

I was at the park for an hour and I think I ran about 15 minutes of that!  I am pretty disappointed, even though I got out there and did something today.  I am mad at myself for basically having to start back at square one.  Again, the heat didn't help, but being out of shape really doesn't either.  :(

I will end the post on a happy note...Molly's debut at the Starlight Parade was a success!  She was a trooper and an amazingly good girl the whole night.  Nothing seemed to phase or scare her.  She hopped right up on the float and fell asleep in my lap!  Before that happened, I managed to snap this adorable pic of her.  Enjoy!



Saturday, June 1, 2013

Half of a Half

Well I did something smart yesterday and downgraded my registration next Saturday from the half marathon to the 10k.  The more I thought about it, I just simply wasn't going to risk an injury that could potentially set me back from marathon training.  I mean, doing 13 miles after not training for 2 months?  There is believing in yourself and there is foolishness, and doing the half marathon would have been the latter.  I felt a lot better as soon as I hit that submit button to change my registration, and now I am actually excited for the race, even though it's going to be hot.  Yuck.

I am on a recipe testing kick, just to mix things up and find new healthy ones to add to the mix.   I posted a picture of our dinner last night on the Runs To Get Waisted Facebook page, just a simple rice and beans concoction that I got from the Two Gomers Run For Their Lives podcast.  I really enjoyed it, and it was super fast to throw together!  This morning I made cottage cheese pancakes, which sounds gross and questionable, but actually turned out really good.  The description in the recipe is apt, they are pillowy in texture due to the melty quality of the hot cottage cheese and the whipped egg whites.  It's also a very simple recipe with minimal ingredients and is filled with protein.  I highly recommend it, so if you'd like to try it out, the recipe is here at DramaticPancake.com.

Today is going to be crazy and intense.  We signed up to be in the Starlight Parade here in Portland with the Greyhound Pet Adoption Northwest float.  Molly and I will be on the float and Eric will be walking beside us.  I am a bit nervous because 1) we will be on TV and 2) there will be 300k people there, and I hope Molly doesn't have a stroke.  She will probably be fine, but I'll be the one having the stroke.  ;)  We have to help decorate the float this morning for a few hours, race home and get ourselves/Molly ready, then drive back out to Portland to line up in the float formation area.  Molly apparently has to wear a party hat and a "festive" jacket as it was described to me, so that should be an absolute scene.  I will obviously post pictures of the insanity tomorrow!