Sunday, October 30, 2011

White Rock Half Marathon Training: Week 1 complete

Last week:
Sunday 10/23: Rest
Monday 10/24: Power Yoga
Tuesday 10/25: 3 2.7 mi run
Wednesday 10/26: Yoga (Yoga Sculpt On Demand, 30 min)
Thursday 10/27: 3 mi run (I did this one on the treadmill, first time in months! I did intervals and then finished off at an easy pace. Not as bad as I thought it would be!)
Friday 10/28: Yoga Rest
Saturday 10/29: Four Seasons Cool 10K

The 10K was really fun! I started off a little annoyed, though.

First, they were out of small and medium shirts when I picked up my race packet (I had requested a small, but I can do a medium if it's a cotton shirt). So the man helping me gave me a large and said to bring it to the race to exchange it. Well, on race day they only had XL left! They said I could turn mine in and put my name on a rain check list but I decided just to hang onto it and gave it to Michael. Really, not that big of a deal. Both the volunteers I dealt with were very nice and apologetic.

Second, the parking situation was a little confusing. The race started and finished at the Four Seasons in Las Colinas, so I entered at the main gate as did a bunch of other people in front of me and behind me. However, that was not where we were supposed to park and we were instructed by the security guard to turn around and he gave us directions on where to go. There were lots of signs *after* the main gate, but having them before would have been good. Again, the security guard was very nice even though I'm sure he had to give the same instructions about a million times!

Other than those two blips, the race went great! It was soooo cold, about 40 degrees when we started. I wore my new Athleta Relay capris and a C9 half zip top layered over a short-sleeved t-shirt. Even though I was freezing waiting for the race to start, this turned out to be perfect and I wasn't too hot as I warmed up.

One thing I really liked was that on the main stage, the woman MC-ing led us in a little warm-up routine of dance moves and stretches as we waited to line up at the start. Her energy was great and it was a good distraction from the cold!

The course was super, super hilly! (Blonde moment: I had never thought about the fact that the area is named Las Colinas until this race. All of a sudden the light bulb over my head turned on and I thought, "Oh! It's the hills in Spanish!" Duh.) The rolling hills coupled with the fact that it was my first 10K made me unsure about what goal I should set for myself, but I decided an hour would be realistic. The course was very nice, through the surrounding neighborhoods and close to the golf course in the resort. No crowd support but that's probably not normal for such a short race. There were a few water stations, I think I only got water twice. It was an out-and-back course so I was able to see how many people were ahead of me as I came to the turnaround. Each mile was marked with a sign.

As I passed the 5 mile mark I realized how great I still felt and decided to pick up the pace. As we turned back into the resort, there was one last awesome volunteer who was directing traffic leaving the parking lot. She was cheering for every person that passed her and it gave me the push I needed to really pick it up for a strong finish! (As I left the parking lot, she was still cheering for the last finishers!)

My finish time was 58:03, 6th in my age group! I was very happy with my time, and I love that it's an automatic PR!

The festival afterwards looked like fun, with a dog costume contest and pumpkin painting. Since I had come by myself I didn't really feel like staying long but I loved seeing all the costumes and activities.

That was a pretty long review, but I had a great time at this race! I would definitely do it again next year.

This week's plans:
Sun 10/30: Yoga
Mon10/31: 3 mi run + power yoga class
Tues 11/1: 3 mi run
Wed 11/2: Yoga
Thurs 11/3: 3 mi run + strength training
Fri 11/4: Yoga or rest
Sat 11/5: 8 mi run

I might also try to get a bike ride in somewhere, I need to do cardio crosstraining.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

13.1 Half Marathon Race Report

Last week's workouts:

Sun 10/16: Power Yoga (found this on Exercise TV, 44 min)
Mon: 10/17: 3 mi easy + Power yoga class
Tues 10/18: Rest or easy yoga
Wed: 3 mi easy
Thurs: 2 3 mi easy + strength training
Fri: Rest or easy yoga Yoga for Runners Podcast
Sat: Race Day!

The 13.1 Dallas race was great! This was the first year of this race so there were a couple of very minor hiccups. For example, the directions for the morning of the race were not good but luckily it was very easy to figure out the correct place for us to be. The course was awesome! We started and finished in front of the Performing Arts Center downtown, went through Uptown and Highland Park, down the Katy Trail and through downtown again.

There was not a lot of spectator support but two of my favorite spectators came out-- my mom and dad! They haven't been able to come to many of my races but they planned out where they would be very carefully. My dad waited on one corner and signaled to my mom to be ready with her camera. They got a good shot of me going by.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

(Can somebody please explain the flip-flop things they guy behind me is wearing?! Not long after this point, he took them off and put them on his belt and continued barefoot. I left him behind after a while so I'm not sure if he finished barefoot or what.)

One thing I really liked about the race was that every mile marker had a clock with the time on it from the gun time. Since there were not corralled start waves, I knew I wasn't far behind the gun time and had a good idea of how I was doing. I put some time in the bank early in the race so I knew I was going to finish with a good time as long as I didn't run out of steam. As we came off the Katy Trail at about the 11 mile marker, there was an awesome drumline! It really pumped me up for those last couple of miles. The last mile was the only place I stopped to walk briefly, we had to go uphill for a lot of the mile and there were also several turns. Every time I thought I was going to turn and see the finish line, there was still further to go!

I finished in 2:05:59, well ahead of my goal for this race!

However, I had major stomach issues this race. My stomach was upset starting at about the halfway point, but not bad enough for me to stop. However, I was very sick at my stomach for the rest of the day. I remembered that my stomach had gotten upset after the Wounded Warrior half marathon in June. After wracking my brain, I finally realized that both times I had taken ibuprofen prior to racing- something I don't do before training runs. According to Dr. Google, doing so can be bad for your GI tract. Um, who knew? Not me. So I hope I have figured out the solution to my stomach issues. Luckily, that is an easy fix! I took the ibuprofen to ward off any knee inflammation but the GI issues are much worse to deal with.

My next half is in six weeks! I think I have enough time to recover and be able to have a good race at White Rock.

This week's plans:
Sunday 10/23: Rest
Monday 10/24: Power Yoga
Tuesday 10/25: 3 mi run
Wednesday 10/26: Yoga
Thursday 10/27: 3 mi run
Friday 10/28: Yoga
Saturday 10/29: Four Seasons Cool 10K

I've never done a 10K before and this one happens to fit into my training plan very well.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

13.1 Half Marathon Training: Week 12 Complete and Race Week!

Last week's workouts:
Sun: Yoga (Yoga Sculpt, 30 min)
Mon: 3 2.3 mi easy
Tues: Yoga Unplanned rest day, I visited my baby nephew instead. Worth skipping a workout!
Wed: 3 2.76 mi easy + Power Yoga 4, 40 min
Thurs: 2 mi intervals 3.1 mi easy + strength training
Fri: Rest or yoga (Yoga for Runners, 25 min)
Sat: 10 mi easy

I was not really looking forward to Saturday's run by myself. This was one of the few times I felt like I needed a distraction from the distance and wished I had a buddy. But I got it done with about a 10:48 pace which I was happy with.

This Saturday is the 13.1 race! I have been thinking about this race and the White Rock half 6 weeks later. Originally, I was going to try to PR at 13.1 and take White Rock a little easier. However, I am not feeling as prepared for 13.1 as I had hoped so I think I am going to treat this race more like a training run and try to PR at White Rock instead. I think that will be a better plan for me this time.

I am still looking forward to it; the course looks great and I am looking forward to running through downtown and uptown neighborhoods!

This week's plans:
Sun 10/16: Power Yoga (found this on Exercise TV, 44 min)
Mon: 10/17: 3 mi easy + Power yoga class
Tues 10/18: Rest or easy yoga
Wed: 3 mi easy
Thurs: 2 mi easy + strength training
Fri: Rest or easy yoga
Sat: Race Day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

Another favorite fall ingredient? Pumpkin!

I started with this recipe and only made a few changes. I replaced the oil with unsweetened applesauce and used a 50/50 mixture of whole wheat and white flour. They turned out very hearty and filling, I have been enjoying them for breakfast all week!

1 ½ cups flour (all-purpose, wheat or mix)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 15 ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice (a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice) *(I actually just used cinnamon and ground cloves since I didn't have this spice blend, but I'm sure this spice blend would be excellent!)
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar


Put oven rack in middle position. Preheat oven to 350F. Put liners in muffin cups or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
1. Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
2. Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, cloves, nutmeg, 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.
3. Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another small bowl.
4. Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about 3/4 full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes for regular muffins, 15-17 minutes for mini-muffins.

Butternut squash, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pizza

I love butternut squash, one of my favorite fall vegetables! I had some left over after making Quick Fall Minestrone and came across this pizza recipe from Self. Butternut squash, spinach and goat cheese? Yes, please!

I made some modifications. Instead of using dough, I used a prebaked whole wheat pizza crust. Instead of red onion, I used white and added a clove of minced garlic. I also added a little bit of red pepper and used fresh parsley instead of thyme because that's what I had.


2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/2-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 prebaked thin whole wheat pizza crust
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
chopped fresh parsley


Heat oven to 400°. Toss squash with 1 tsp oil, 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. On a baking sheet, cook squash until soft and lightly browned, 25 minutes, stirring halfway through; set aside. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining 1 tbsp oil. Cook onion and garlic (season with remaining 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper), stirring, until light brown, 10 minutes. Add 2 tbsp water; cook, stirring, until brown, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Turn oven up to 450°. Top pizza crust with squash, onion, spinach, cheese and parsley. Bake until crust is crispy and cheese melts, 10 to 12 minutes

Saturday, October 8, 2011

13.1 Half Marathon Training: Week 11 Complete

Last week's workouts:
Sun-Mon: Rest
Tues: Yoga for Runners podcast (25 min)
Wed: 2.5 mi easy
Thurs: Yoga or easy run, depending on how I feel 2.75 mi easy
Fri: Rest
Sat: 9 mi easy

Saturday I was still coughing and congested and wasn't sure if I was going to make it all 9 miles, but once I got started it felt pretty easy. I mentally broke up the run into thirds and just concentrated on finishing 3 miles at a time. My finish time was 1 hr 37 minutes, an average pace of 10:46 which is faster than I intended but I am happy with it.

This week's plans:
Sun: Yoga
Mon: 3 mi easy
Tues: Yoga
Wed: 3 mi easy
Thurs: 2 mi intervals + strength training
Fri: Rest or yoga
Sat: 10 mi easy

I'm looking forward to getting back to normal this week. Isn't it crazy how being sick for just a week can make you feel so derailed?

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy week ahead!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Half Marathon Training: Week 10 Fail

Last week's workouts:
Sun: Yoga for Runners podcast (25 min)
Mon: 3 mi easy + Power Yoga class
Tues: Easy bike ride 2.85 mi
Wed: 3 mi
Thurs: 3 mi 2 mi; I tried to do intervals in a way, alternating every block + upper body strength training
Fri: Rest
Sat: 9 mi easy Goose Egg

Friday I walked to work and by the time I got there, my throat was itchy. I went to bed early Friday night but woke up Saturday feeling worse. :( Saturday morning I went to the doctor and while my strep test came back negative, they diagnosed me with a sinus infection. I pretty much stayed in bed the rest of the weekend, I even called in sick to work on Monday.

Thankfully, I'm starting to feel better! I am still coughing, but it's more drainage (ewww) than chest congestion. I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the week so I can be well rested for a long run this weekend. I only have a little over 2 weeks until the 13.1 half, eek!

This week:
Sun-Mon: Rest
Tues: Yoga for Runners podcast (25 min)
Wed: 2.5 mi easy
Thurs: Yoga or easy run, depending on how I feel
Fri: Rest
Sat: 9 mi easy

I think if I can do a 9 mile run this weekend and 10 miles next weekend, I should be okay for the race. Maybe not a PR but there is always White Rock in December to do that.

Wish me luck! Hope everyone is staying healthy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quick Fall Minestrone

Everyone around me has been sick and it finally hit me this weekend. Congestion, coughing and sore throat, yuck! Not sure if it's fall allergies, which have been particularly bad this year, or a cold. I went to the doctor Saturday morning to get a strep test, which luckily came back negative. They gave me some drugs and after a haircut and color (priorities, people) and a quick stop by the grocery store, I decided to camp out on the couch for the rest of the weekend. No running for me. :(

Tonight I made this for dinner and it was just what my poor sick body needed! I sauteed the carrots with the onion and garlic in order to let them soften a little more and used spinach instead of kale. I also left out the potato entirely. I'm glad that I did because the soup turned out super thick! I love a thick soup, but if you don't you might want to add more broth.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
2 1/2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled baking potato
1 cup (1-inch) cut green beans (about 1/4 pound)
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained I used chickpeas
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 1/2 minutes or until tender. Add broth and the next 7 ingredients (broth through salt); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Add kale, orzo, and beans; cook 5 minutes or until orzo is done and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with cheese.
Abby Duchin Dinces, Cooking Light