13.1, 5, 10k, 10k, 10 miles, and 10k

Whoops, I seemed to have missed the last couple of weekend’s long runs. Here’s a brief recap:

1/23/16 – I did the Run Free virtual half-marathon in the PureConnect 4s.

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1/24 was a 5-mile recovery run, in the Kinvara 5.

1/25 – 1/29/16 I did another virtual challenge – 5 5ks in 5 days.

1/30/16 – 10k in Kinvara 5

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1/31/16 – 10k in Newton Distance IV

2/6/16 – 10 miles in PureFlow 1

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2/7/16 – 10k in Newton Fate

I haven’t had any foot or shoe issues lately!

And in other news, I’ve been selected as an Ambassador Captain for SkirtSports! I’ll be doing a separate post on that soon (with a nice little discount code), so stay tuned :)

The Friday Five – Running Shoes!!

If there’s one thing I can always talk about, it’s running shoes!

runningshoes-buymore

My number 1 is, and will always be the Brooks PureFlow 2. I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent trying to find a replacement since they got discontinued.  I’ve gone through 5 pairs of the PF2, and even though the “newest” ones have right around 700 miles on them now, I STILL grab for them as my first choice. Because of that though, I will (usually) put them back and go with something else.

Decisions, decisions...

Decisions, decisions…

My other favorites can (and often do!) change depending on the workout (speed, easy, hills, distance), or on how my feet feel on that particular day.  As of right this very moment here’s my top 5:

Brooks PureFlow 2 <3

Brooks PureFlow 2. Best. Shoes. EVER! 


Newton Distance IV. I really do like these shoes and they're super comfy! The color is perfect too :)

Newton Distance IV. I really do like these shoes! They’re super comfy and the color is perfect too ;) I think the reason I don’t wear these more often is that I don’t want to “ruin” them! Haha!


New Balance Zante.  I thought these were going to be the new "go-to" shoe, but they are just a tad too narrow. Not from side to side or front to back, but from top to bottom (does that even make sense?). They were good for up to half marathon distance, but then caused blisters on the tops of my toes and I haven't worn them since. I'm still putting them in my top 5 though :)

New Balance Zante.
I thought these were going to be the new “go-to” shoe, but they are just a tad too narrow. Not from side to side or front to back, but from top to bottom (does that even make sense?). Instep maybe? They were good for half marathon distance, but at around 17 miles I got blisters on the tops of my toes and I haven’t worn them since. I’m still putting them in my top 5 though :)


 

Brooks PureFlow 1. I lucked into these shoes! The owner at my LRS knew I was desperately searching for PF2s, so when he found a pair of the originals he put them aside for me.  The day I got them (Tuesday) I ran my 2nd fastest 5k ever (27:01) and they felt perfect! Since then the right shoe has been bothering me a little like it's a tad too narrow. I think I just need to adjust the laces to get them "just right." I'm reserving a final opinion until after a few more wears, but they are definitely in the top 5!

Brooks PureFlow 1.
I lucked into these shoes! The owner at my LRS knew I was desperately searching for PF2s, so when he found a pair of the originals he put them aside for me. The day I got them (Tuesday) I ran my 2nd fastest 5k ever (27:01) and they felt perfect! Since then the right shoe has been bothering me a little like it’s a tad too narrow. I think I just need to adjust the laces to get them “just right.” I’m reserving a final opinion until after a few more wears, but they are definitely in the top 5!


 

Newton Fate. Another great pair of shoes that are good for half marathon distance. I don't think I've tried to wear these for any longer distances because they are just a little too loose. But again, I'm going to try re-lacing to see if I can get a better fit. These should actually be good for longer distances because they have a bit more cushioning in the forefoot area.

Newton Fate.
Another great pair of shoes that are good for half marathon distance. I don’t think I’ve tried to wear these for any longer distances because they are just a little too loose. But again, I’m going to try re-lacing to see if I can get a better fit. These should actually be good for longer distances because they have a bit more cushioning in the forefoot area.

 


I could easily open a used shoe business ;)

I could easily open a used shoe business ;)

Another rack full!


 

If you’re wanting to know how a certain shoe fits, or if you’re looking for a shoe recommendation I can probably help you out – Lol!  But keep in mind that certain shoes are made for certain foot types. I have really high arches, run on my forefoot, and only mildly pronate. And I prefer light-weight, but not the “barefoot” feel with my shoes. For these reasons I wear “performance neutral” shoes. I probably wouldn’t be of much help to someone who heel strikes and is looking for an ultra-cushiony stability shoe. But I’d be happy to try!

Semi organized :)

How many pairs of running shoes do you have?

(Today’s post was inspired by my friend Judy, and is linked to the “Friday Five” by Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run.)

I Ran 24 Miles Today!

I had 15 miles on the schedule for today, but the weather was fantastic (70F, cloudy and light rain) and I didn’t have any tummy issues, so… I ran my longest run ever (so far) – 24 miles!

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I woke up about 8:30am which, by the way, is WAY too early for a Saturday morning ;) I had a cup of coffee and a vitamin, put on my running outfit, and then I took Lucy for a quick 1-mile walk around the neighborhood. Came back home, took a Gu (Espresso Love), and headed right back out for my long run. I opted for :40/:30 intervals today which worked out great. I usually go out too fast and burn out too early. Not today! I stayed between 11:30 and 12:00 minute miles the entire time, and never got fatigued.

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Still smiling at mile 19!

After 1 loop (1 mile) around my subdivision I had to stop back at home to change bras. I took a sip of water and went right back out. And I even ventured out of the subdivision this time (a rarity for me because of my stomach issues). I had to make another stop at home (around 10 miles) to change shirts, and I probably should have changed either my shoes or socks at this point because my right foot was a little sore. I didn’t realize it was THIS bad (keep scrolling if you don’t want to see this nasty blood blister). What’s weird though is my left foot looks fine. Maybe it’s the way my right foot pronates/supinates?

WARNING

WARNING – NASTY BLISTER PIC

WARNING

WARNING

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

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Ewwwwww! I know!

Anyways, at 15 miles I came across these really pretty orange flowers and had to take a pic.

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Stop and smell the flowers :)

I actually took quite a few pictures today, which is something I really need to do more often. It’s nice to have photo memories of my long runs!

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Oh, hi! I think he startled me as much as I did him!

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I have to tell you – I’ve really enjoyed my long runs so much more since I decided to slow down and use short run/walk intervals. Give them a try sometime!

Have a great weekend!!

3 More Sleeps til Marathon!

I don’t know why WP hates me so much. I haven’t been able to log into my blog for over 2 weeks. Luckily, when I just went in to approve a comment I was able to get in. Whatever…

So, Saturday is the big day! I received the final instructions for race day from the RD (who, by the way, is quite hilarious!) which you can see HERE. Seriously, read it. It’s funny :)

My shoe choice is narrowed down to either the Brooks Launch 2 or the Brooks PureFlow 2 (yes, I pulled the last pair from retirement – they still feel good and are my absolute favorite shoes EVER).  I’m about 97% sure the PF2s are going to win.

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Still working on the outfit also. I have the sports bra narrowed down to 2 (VS or Champion – I’ll spare the details/pics ;)), the shorts down to 3 (Brooks, Nike, and Champion), shirt down to 2. But hey, I know which socks I’m wearing!

Best socks ever!

Best socks ever!

I’ll be wearing the Camelbak vest so I’m leaning towards the bright yellow tank – a girl’s gotta somewhat match right? I’m considering wearing an older Garmin (either the 305 or 210) because of the battery. The 15 is supposed to be 8 hours, but I don’t think so. It almost died at 4 on a long run.

I’m going to skip wearing a visor and do a bandana instead. That way I can wet it and put it back on if needed. It’s supposed to be a scorcher on Saturday – 90 degrees at 7am! The sunblock is already packed in the vest, as are a few Pocketfuel almond butter/gels, and the Gymboss timer (I’m going to use the :30/:30 run/walk intervals).

As for goals, I really just want to finish – upright and pain-free. I do kind of have a time goal in mind even though that’s probably stupid considering the weather, and the fact that it’s a partial trail run with a monster hill (Mount Cuckoo) that I’ll have to tackle either 2 or 4 times! But I’ll put it out there anyways. 4:59:59.

I’m sure there’s more I want to say, but my brain is in a fog right now! So, if I don’t check back in before the marathon, I’ll definitely post afterwards!

Any last minute tips or advice? Please feel free to share!!

 

Marathon Training – Weeks 14 and 15

I can honestly say that I’m ready for the marathon!! Especially after Saturday’s 22(.81) mile long run!

Did you hear that?! I ran almost 23 miles!!! And it didn’t suck!!

Switching my long runs to Saturday, and using :30/:30 run/walk intervals have made all the difference. And I also bought a(nother) new pair of shoes just for long runs – the Brooks Launch 2. They have just enough forefoot cushion, and the arch support is perfect! I bought them on Friday and wore them Saturday. No break-in period needed. No blisters. They are awesome! So that means I have the shoe choice narrowed down to either the Launch or the Newton Fates.

Brooks Launch 2

Brooks Launch 2

Newton Fate

Newton Fate

My husband bought me the Camelbak marathon vest as an early birthday present because I was worried about how to carry fuel/water, etc…  I’ve tried different fuel belts but none of them have worked out (I have no hips). The vest was wonderful! No chafing, plenty of storage pockets, adjustable. I only filled it halfway because I was worried about carrying an extra 6-7 pounds (it holds 70 ounces), so there was some sloshing that took a little while to get used to, but overall it was comfortable and I highly recommend it!

Still smiling at mile 22 :)

Still smiling at mile 22 :)

Another early birthday present I received was a Gymboss timer (thanks Natalie!!!) and it worked out perfect also. It was very easy to set up, and when the timer ran out I only had to push 2 buttons to restart it. I clipped it onto the shoulder of the vest so that I could hear it over my music, and it was plenty loud enough.

And here’s how the last 2 weeks of training went:

Week 16. Only ran 4 days and still got in 30 miles!

Week 15. Only ran 4 days and still got in 30 miles!

Week 14

I really don’t mean to go 2 weeks between postings. I think time just gets away from me. I will try to do better :) Have a great week everyone!

New Recipe: Southwestern Quinoa and Black Bean Casserole, and I made my Running Goal!

Before I get to the recipe, I wanted to share that I made my running goal for the month! 100.56 miles to be exact. I ran twice yesterday so I wouldn’t have such a long run today. Breaking the 13.1 miles apart like that definitely helped!

I ran 3.7 miles at lunch yesterday (in the Newton Fates): a 5 minute warm up, then 3 repeats of 3×3 hills, followed by a 10 minute tempo run and a quick cool down. After I got home and took Lucy for her walk, I jumped on my treadmill and did another 3.5 miles (in the Saucony Fastwitch 6s): 3 minute warm-up followed by 1:2 (run:jog) intervals. Then today I ran 7.01 miles (Brooks PureFlow 2s) doing 1:30/2:00 (run/jog) intervals.

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I’m feeling pretty good about my running, and starting to gain a little confidence about marathon training beginning (in 9 days!!). I’m also looking forward to slowing back down for my longer runs. I’m perfectly happy running anywhere from 9 – 12 minute miles at any given time ;)


Today’s recipe is a deliciously spicy “Beans, Greens, and Grains” (thanks Matt for that label!) healthy concoction.

Southwestern Quinoa and Black Bean Casserole

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil (or use non-stick cooking spray or a splash of veggie broth) for sauteing
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 heaping Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 Poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 cup Vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15-oz) black beans – drained, rinsed, mashed
  • 1 cup dry quinoa (I use pre-rinsed)
  • 1 can (15-oz) Fire-roasted diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 1 Tbsp (Hot Mexican) chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional)
  • 1 bunch scallions (approx 6), chopped – both white and green parts
  • 1 can (4-oz) sliced black olives, chopped
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350* Fahrenheit
  2. Saute the onions, garlic, jalapeno and poblano pepper for about 5 minutes until starts browning
  3. Add the broth, beans, quinoa, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Give a good stir.
  4. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Pour into a non-stick cooking spray-ed 9 x 13 casserole dish
  6. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast on top, then the scallions, olives, and cilantro. Then sprinkle the paprika over it.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Serve!

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Note: You could also wait until you take it out of the oven before adding the scallions and olives. Personally, I like them a little crispy!

I cut this into 6 servings, with the following nutritional info per serving: Calories: 280, Fat: 6 grams, Carbs: 45 grams (Fiber 10 grams, Sugar 5 grams), Protein: 12 grams

I topped mine with guacamole and tortilla chips. Yummy!


Today is the last day of the January #writeandrun31 challenge. Other than the 3 days I had to miss because of the concussion, I ran every day in January (I actually started my #runstreak on November 23rd), and I think I’ve only missed 3 or 4 days of blogging. This challenge has been amazing! I’ve made some new friends and discovered some new blogs, and I’d like to especially thank Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete, and Christine Frazier (his sister) for putting this together. I’ll be continuing on into February, though I do plan on taking a rest day or two before marathon training starts (in 9 days!!!).

Meatless Monday – Chipotle Black Bean Wraps (and the usual other stuff)

I really can’t believe I hadn’t already posted this recipe because I eat it almost every day!

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Chipotle Black Bean Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Reduced Fat Vegenaise
  • 1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • 1 tsp Chipotle chili powder (Spicy!)
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 can (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 6) – both white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 jar (12oz) fire-roasted red peppers, chopped. Reserve about 2 Tbsp of the liquid
  • 4 whole wheat wraps
  • Cilantro for garnish (optional)
Not pictured: whole wheat wraps

Not pictured: whole wheat wraps

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, make the Chipotle sauce by combining the Vegenaise, liquid smoke, Chipotle powder and paprika.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl mash the black beans with the lime juice and cumin. Add the Chipotle sauce.
  3. Add the scallions and roasted red peppers (and liquid) and mix it all together.
  4. Portion into 4 servings – 1 for each wrap. Wrap ’em up and garnish with cilantro. That’s it.
Chipotle sauce

Chipotle sauce

Black bean mixture

Black bean mixture


I also wanted to share that I had a great run today! I resumed my 10k Trainer program with Week 8 Day 1: 5 minute warm up, 28 minute run, and 5 minute cool down. I cranked up my “Long Run” playlist on Spotify and off I went (on the treadmill)…

4.07 miles in 38:07

4.07 miles in 38:07

Instead of running at the same pace for 28 minutes, I steadily increased the pace every 5 minutes. By the time I made it to the cool down, I was pouring buckets of sweat!

I also decided to stop worrying about my shoe dilemma. I do have 3 pairs that I like, plus the PF 2s that I pulled from the “retired” pile. I think I can get a few more miles out of them :) Here’s Lucy modeling with the current rotation:

From left to right: Newton Fate, Ghost 6, PF 2, ST Racers

From left to right: Newton Fate, Ghost 6, PF 2, ST Racers

This morning’s weigh in was 115.8 and here’s what I ate today:

  • Brunch: Black Bean Sriracha Pasta with roasted red peppers and salsa
  • Dinner: Chipotle Black Bean Wrap with Minute brand Whole Grain Medley

New Shoes! #writeandrun31 Day 9

I mentioned yesterday that I’m on the hunt to find a new pair of PureFlow 2s and guess what?! Yep, I found some today! I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of checking the “Big Kids” sizes before now because not only was I able to get them in this awesome bright yellow color, but they were crazy cheap too! They should be here Monday or Tuesday, so I’ll report back once I get them on my greedy little feet! I can’t wait!!

And I LOVE the color!Today’s run was 3.5 miles of Level 5 Hills. I took it nice and easy, finishing in 38:33 (11mm pace – 5.5mph).

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I’m loving the new Garmin so far! It’s very easy to use, and if I sit for too long, it “tells” me to “Move!” This would be the perfect watch if only it had Bluetooth. Since it doesn’t, I have to plug it into the computer to upload everything. Not that big of a deal :) The step count is a bit higher than what the Fitbit shows, but the calorie count matches. So I’m not sure which is more accurate, but they are close enough that I don’t really think it matters. In other words, bye-bye Fitbit.

That’s about it for today. Here’s what I ate:

  • Breakfast: Muesli with walnuts & non-dairy chocolate chips with 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Lunch: Refried beans with roasted red peppers and scallions with my homemade chipotle sauce, and one of those Minute brand microwaveable cups of Whole Grain Medley (brown rice, barley and quinoa)
  • Dinner: Pueblo Pie with salsa, guacamole, and pretzel shells

And this morning’s weigh-in was 115.8

Day 8 #writeandrun31 – My new Garmin came today!

From the 305 (enormous) to the 210 (big), and now the 15 – finally they made one that fits my tiny wrist! And because it also has a step tracker, I’ll be able to get rid of my broken Fitbit too ;) Just need to wear it (the Fitbit) one more day to check the accuracy of the Garmin.

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Besides the package arriving, today was pretty uneventful. Woke up, took Lucy for a very short walk (it was 4* this morning!), went to work. Gym at lunch, stopped for gas on my way home, took Lucy for a 1/2 mile walk (the temperature rose to a nice balmy 10* ;)) and then set up the new Garmin. After I finish up here it’ll be time for shower and bed. Such an exciting life, right?!

For today’s run I did 2 x 1600s with an 800 recovery walk in between. 1st mile was 10:00 and 2nd was 9:20. Because my feet have been feeling “weird” the last few days, I decided to switch back to my PureFlow 2s.  These are my 4th pair, and have well over 400 miles on them, but I haven’t been able to find any new ones in my size anywhere online. My mission for this weekend is to hunt them down at one of the running stores around here, because my feet felt great the entire time!

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I think tomorrow I’ll do a slow run of hills.

I hear people complain about treadmills all the time, but I LOVE the treadmill. It makes speed-work, intervals, hills, and even long runs easier for me. Sure, I like running outside too, but I go so much slower and have to often take walk breaks when I hit the road. Which I realize is the exact opposite of most people’s situation comparing road running to the treadmill. I suppose I’m just weird that way, Lol!

Today’s weigh-in was 115.2, and food for the day was: Dark chocolate peanut butter with walnuts and peanut butter chips on a whole-wheat sandwich thin for breakfast. Lunch was half of a pint of veggie chow mein with plain fried rice and crunchy noodles, and dinner was the other half of lunch.

Meatless Monday – Fiesta Corn (and a C25k update!)

Hope everyone had a nice weekend. I took it easy on Saturday-  caught up on my DVR’d shows from the week, and then spent a few hours in the kitchen, making a couple of my regular recipes (Black Bean and Sriracha Pasta, and BBQ Black Bean and Quinoa burgers), and testing out a couple new ones. One was just “meh,” but the other, a side dish I’m calling Fiesta Corn, came out really good!

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Fiesta Corn

  • 4 cups corn (I used a combination of sweet white and sweet yellow, frozen but thawed)
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 4 oz diced green chilies
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat Vegenaise
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash extra spicy seasoning blend
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Melt 1/2 the Tbsp of Earth Balance in a large skillet then saute the corn until it starts to brown. Then pour the corn into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Melt the other 1/2 Tbsp of Earth Balance and saute the onion, garlic, and jalapeno until it all starts to brown. Then add it to the bowl of corn.
  4. Add the roasted red peppers, green chilies, Vegenaise, and spices. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour into PAM-sprayed (or parchment lined) baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes.
  6. Serve!

I portioned this into 4 servings with the following nutritional info:

Fiesta Corn Recipe   SparkRecipes

My running is also going really well! This last week was Week 5 of C25k:

  • Day 1 (Wednesday 11/12/14): 3.25 miles in 31:08
  • Day 2 (Thursday 11/13/14): 3.33 miles in 31:00
  • Day 3 (Friday 11/14/14): 3.37 miles in 30:00

And for my long run yesterday I did all 3 days of week 5 consecutively, and then added a couple minutes at the end to hit 10 miles (1:36:49). All running this week was done via treadmill, in Brooks PureFlow 2.

I’m happy to report that I’m back down to 117.8 as of this morning! I have been adamant about tracking everything that goes into my mouth for about 2 weeks now, and it’s definitely been helping! I was going back and forth between My Fitness Pal and SparkPeople, but have once again decided that SparkPeople works best for me, especially since all my “regular” foods are already saved there.

And that’s about it from this end. Have a great week everyone!