Monday, September 30, 2013

This Week . . .

This week . . . is all about preparing for Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon. It's hard to believe the race is on Sunday!

This week . . . I will run less, trust my training and respect the taper. 

Speedwork will be a 2x800 and 4x400 workout. Just enough to get the legs moving.

This week . . . I will eat for the upcoming race. Food is fuel and I will not fuel for 26.2 with a bunch of junk. 

Yes to Mexican Quinoa

This week . . . I'll stick with flats. No use training for months only to get injured by tripping in a pair of heels. Sometimes function does trump fashion ;)

This week . . . I'll have "Roar" "Feel This Moment" and "We Can't Stop" on repeat. I'm not racing with my iPod, but I'll definitely listen to music on my way to the start line to get psyched up! 

This week . . . I will get plenty of sleep. Early to bed, every night.

This week . . . I will decide on my race outfit. Obviously it will include my Oiselle singlet but the right shorts, compression socks and headband remain TBD. 

This beauty helps a girl run her best ;)

This week . . . I will practice the mantras I've been using this year: "Believe" and "I breathe in strength, I breathe out weakness."

This week . . . I will take time to visualize the race. I'll imagine the inevitable rough spots that happen during any race - and how I'll push through them all for a strong finish.

This week . . . I'm counting down the days to this marathon. I'm so ready to race 26.2!

Chime in: This week . . . 

- ST

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Track Etiquette 101

Last night, I did my usual speedwork at a local track and couldn't help but notice there were several people who seemed to not understand basic track etiquette. So, while I ran my cooldown, I contemplated this issue. The result? A track rules blog post!

Hart Park - my favorite track!

When at the track . . .

Laps are run counterclockwise. Occasionally there are exceptions to this rule - so when you arrive at the track, observe the other runners and see what direction they are running.

Do not put your spike bag, bottle of water, sweatshirt, etc. in the middle of a lane. Store your personal items off to the side or on the bleachers.

Use the correct lane. No one else on the track cares how slow or fast you run. However,  if you are a slower runner or walker, do not run/walk in lanes 1 or 2. You should stick to the outer lanes and reserve the inner ones for people who are running faster and/or doing speedwork. 

Move to the right if you hear someone behind you yelling "track" or "left". You are about to be passed and need to move out of the way. 

Leave your iPod at home. I know a lot of you will probably disagree with me on this one, but music makes a runner less aware of his or her surroundings - and less likely to hear a passing runner yelling "track" or "left". For example, last night there were several slower runners/walkers using Lanes 1 and 2 and with their iPods cranked up, they were completely oblivious to other people trying to do speedwork. Super rude, not to mention dangerous. 

Don't have a conversation on the middle of the track. By all means, take a few minutes to catch up with a running buddy. But do it on the side of the track, not in the middle of a lane. 

Keep your kids under control. I think it's great to see kids enjoying running and doing laps on the track. However, parents need to make sure their kids are not disrupting other runners. Also, this should go without saying, but do not allow them to bring a ball to kick around on the track.

Friends, I'd love to hear from you on this topic: What track rules would you add to the list?

Happy Running, everyone!

- ST

Monday, September 16, 2013

Liebster Blog Award Fun!

Over the weekend, I found out my blog was nominated for another Liebster Blog Award, this time by Lynette who blogs at Life's Better in Yoga Pants. Lynette is another Sweat Pink gal who is also into running, fitness, good eats and enjoying life to the fullest. So, thanks for thinking of me, Lynette - I'm super flattered! 

For those of you new to the Liebster Blog Award, here are the rules:

  • Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger created for you
  • List 11 bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers
  • Tell the bloggers you nominate that you nominated them
And that's it! That being said, let's get this started :)

11 Random Facts About Me

My first name is pronounced like the word "soon" not "son". It's a tricky name:)

My current running shoe of choice is the Saucony Kinvara - I love the flashy colors and lightweight feel of the shoe. 

And now I will have to get this shoe in every available color.

I spent a good portion of college doing my best to avoid having to write papers yet somehow ended up a writer. Crazy how things work out in life!

Tell me you're a runner and you'll instantly become about 20x more attractive in my eyes ;)

I eat ridiculously healthy all week - so I don't feel too guilty about indulging in a Frappuccino, Nutty Bar, Gummi Bears or a Monster Cookie on the weekend. 

My current treat obsession!

I run for the running apparel brand, Oiselle. Being a part of such a great group of women makes me want to work harder so I can be a better runner. 

I ask a lot of questions. Sometimes completely random ones at random times just because the thought popped into my head at that moment. Curiosity has yet to kill the cat. 

Speaking of cats, I have the CUTEST cat. His name is Eddie and he deserves to be featured in more than one pic. 

I was adopted as an infant, but have no desire to search for my biological family in South Korea. My family is the one I'm with now. The rest is just genetics. 

I love running in the rain. In fact, I would almost go as far as to say I would take a rainy run over a sunny day run. There's just something about battling through the elements that makes a run more satisfying!

Shhh - don't tell anyone - I own a lot of embarrassing music/movies/books. For example, Katy Perry/Crossroads/the entire Gossip Girl series. I could pretend to be a music/movie/book snob, but I'm not.

Questions from Lynette at Life's Better in Yoga Pants

1. What is your favorite thing to do in the fall?
Fall is my favorite season - I especially love running and hiking when it gets a bit cooler outside, and it's also the perfect time to experiment in the kitchen. Crisp temps mean homemade chili, soups, stews and my favorite, oatmeal butterscotch cookies. 

 I heart these cookies!

2. If you could go anywhere for a weekend getaway, where would you go?
If I could truly go anywhere, I'd fly to France and do a long run in Normandy along the coast. And then I'd hop over to Brittany and reward myself with a slice - or two - of Gateau Breton. 

3. Favorite workout?
Anything involving fast intervals. I like to make it hurt - and then hurt some more!

Just say yes to the track ;)

4. What feature do you absolutely love about yourself? 
I'm not superficial. I couldn't care less if your hair is green and your eyes are red or if you're carrying a bag from Chanel or Target. It's what inside that matters.  
5. What is your biggest health/fitness/wellness accomplishment from this year?
I ran my first 10k distance race and won my age group. I think if I train specifically for this distance I have the potential to run even faster!

Mom and I after the Madison Twilight 10k

6. Who do you talk to everyday?
My bestie Debbie, who lives in Portland.  It's like she never moved except now we can't meet for cupcakes or walks through the Marina.

7. How long have you been blogging?
I started my blog in March 2011. I look back on some of my first posts and just shake my head. :)

8. Do you prefer to get your nails done or do them at home?
I'm too impatient for either. I've tried the salon thing and it makes me antsy and at home I can never wait long enough for my nails to dry. 

9. What is your favorite short-term goal for 2013?
Get through Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon so I can get to the good stuff - 5k-specific training ;)

10. What is something you cannot live without?
Running - Getting in my miles is both energizing and relaxing. It's me time that allows me to think through everything or nothing at all. It's also the best way to get out any aggressions or frustrations! 

Running hard makes you feel like this - perfectly content!

11. Morning person or night person?
I don't especially like getting up early, but I'm more a morning person than a night person. I like knowing I'm getting stuff done rather than sitting around wasting time.

The 11 Blogs I'm nominating:
I'm keeping it local and nominating fellow MKE bloggers!
  1. Lace & Race
  2. SMW Roadrunner
  3. The Fit Girl's Kitchen
  4. More Beets Please
  5. Eating on the Run
  6. Backstage Balance
  7. Food n Focus
  8. Tracey's Space
  9. She's on the Run
  10. The Harmonized Run
  11. Truly, Margaret Mary
My questions for these bloggers:
  1. What's the last great book you read and what did you like about it?
  2. Would you rather have to eat an entire cake every time you sit down to eat or never eat cake again?
  3. What's a fashion trend you love - but for whatever reason can't wear?
  4. If you could only race one distance/do one workout the rest of your life, what would it be?
  5. What's the weirdest way you've ever been hit on?
  6. Do you order the same drink whenever you go out or do you mix things up?
  7. What junk food would you eat if you suddenly learned it was healthy?
  8. What's the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
  9. Are you always early, always late, or right on time?
  10. What have you gained through blogging?
  11. Seize the day or patiently wait?
I can't wait to hear what my fellow MKE bloggers have to say! As for the rest of you, I'd love to hear your answers as well. Pick a question and tell me your answer in the comments :)

Happy Monday!

- ST

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Five Ways I'm Staying Motivated

So, you've been training hard all summer and your big fall race is just around the corner. Think you can take it easy for a bit now that the majority of the work is done? No way! Now's the time to stay motivated so all that training isn't for nothing! 

Of course, I know just how hard it is to keep going at this point. Sometimes, a girl just wants to slack off and go to happy hour or sleep in on a Saturday morning! But I try to remember that a few extra hours in bed won't exactly help me run my marathon in October. 

Here are a few things that are keeping me motivated in these final weeks before Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon:

"Roar" by Katy Perry - This song is so catchy and it's perfect for getting psyched up for a tough workout. There are hard moments in life and in running but the only way to live is by getting up and brushing off the dust!

New run clothes - There's just something about a new running top or pair of shorts that gets me excited to log extra miles. My latest purchase is a Oiselle Flyte Long Sleeve top. Now, granted it's way too hot to wear this one this week, but I have a feeling temps will cool down soon and then I'll get to prance around the Lakefront wearing this gem!

I also own the Flyte Tank in every color - it's one of my faves!

A bit of speed - I held back on speedwork for the majority of summer because I was afraid of getting injured again and also didn't want to peak too soon. But now, all bets are off. I feel strong again and my marathon is only a month out, which means it's time to hit those intervals hard. For a little extra motivation, I like watching workout videos on FloTrak. This one, featuring Brenda Martinez, is awesome:

Meetups with run friends - I recently met my Wisco Oiselle Teammies for brunch at Simple Cafe on the East Side of MKE. I'm by far the slowest girl in the group, but it's motivating to be around such fast ladies. Makes me want to be a better (read: faster) runner!

WI Oiselle Team birds - thanks for the pic, Sheila!

Boston Marathon 2014 registration - At the start of 2013, I thought I could perhaps BQ this fall. Obviously my injuries wiped that dream, but seeing the excitement around registration for the upcoming Boston warms my heart. My fingers are crossed for all my friends who ran a qualifying time and are hoping to get in and if I work hard enough the rest of this year and next, maybe I'll get to join them in 2015.

That's all I've got today. Keep up the great work, everyone - we're all just weeks away from what we've been working toward for most of 2013 :)

Let's chat: What's keeping you motivated right now? 

- ST

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mexican Grilled Corn

A few months ago, I visited Frontera Grill and had the most delicious corn on the cob. It was classic Mexican street food - not at all healthy, but oh so tasty!

The Frontera Grill version of Mexican Grilled Corn

I've been thinking about that corn ever since and decided, why not try making it at home? So I found a recipe from Martha Stewart - always a trustworthy resource when it comes to food - then hit a local farmers market. 

This was pretty simple to make and a perfect addition to any Mexican-theme meal. It's a great alternative to the usual rice and beans that are typically served with tacos, enchiladas, etc. 

My version of Mexican Grilled Corn

One thing to note: I used Contija cheese instead of the Parmesan in Martha's recipe. Next time I make this, I will still use Contija cheese, but will do a better job crumbling it - some pieces were a bit too large to stick to the corn.

Mexican Grilled Corn
From Martha Stewart

4 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
Salt and Pepper for seasoning
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/3 cup Contija cheese, crumbled into small pieces
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 lime, cut into wedges

Heat your grill to high. Brush the ears of corn with butter, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until tender and slightly charred - about 10-12 minutes. Make sure you turn your corn every few minutes so it cooks evenly. Remove from the grill and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. 

Brush the corn with mayonnaise and roll in the cheese to coat. Sprinkle with chili powder and serve with the lime wedges. 

I'd like to know: What is your favorite side to serve with a Mexican-theme meal?

- ST

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lake Country 5k Race Recap

Lately, I've been working with a new mantra:  


I picked it because you can set all the goals you want but unless you believe you can achieve them, you don't stand a chance. Believing is the first step toward making what you want, a reality.

On Saturday morning, I believed I could run a new 5k PR and I refused to let the usual doubts creep in. You know, the ones that usually tell me to line up with the 8 minute milers - or in the back with the walkers - or that I'll be lucky to run xx:xx.

Despite reviewing the course map and race schedule prior to the race, it got off to a rocky start. Along with the 5k distance, there was also a half marathon race that was supposed to start first in a different area. So before lining up, I went over to cheer on the half marathon racers as they started. 

 Clearly different start times for the two races, yet . . .

I was standing off to the side with Mom when the horn went off. Next thing we knew, the announcer yelled this year's Lake Country Half Marathon and 5k was off!


Mom and I immediately scrambled over to the start line but I still ended up trapped behind many slower runners. In fact, by the time I made it over to the start line, I was pretty much at the back of the pack. It was a horrible first half mile - lots of weaving and/or just flat out not being able to get around runners. Very frustrating but I told myself to just focus on moving forward and to believe a PR could still happen. 

Even after I finally got past the slower runners, I was still quite flustered. It was hard to tell how many female runners were still in front of me since the half marathon runners were mixed in with the 5k group. As we rounded the 5k turnaround, I could finally see who I was racing against and counted five women in front of me.

By Mile 2, I was really feeling the race and it was a struggle to maintain pace. But the only thing to do was keep pressing on - I told myself that if it hurt, that was a good thing because it meant I was doing it right.

I could see one women in front of me and focused on catching her. As we ran up a big hill, I noticed yet another female not that far ahead. So I gave it everything and passed both women on the downhill. After that, I was extra motivated to not slow down because I didn't want to get passed or outkicked at the very end of the race. I also believed I was going to get that PR - I just had to hold on a little bit longer.

Here are my results:

Time: 21:40

Pace: 6:59 min/mile
Age Group Place: 2/17
Gender Place: 4/95
Overall Place: 21/176

I was so excited when I realized I actually PR'd despite the bad start to the race. I think believing it was possible really helped. It's so easy to bet against yourself or provide excuses for why a goal isn't going to happen. That's been my way of doing things for so long. But from now on, I'm a believer. Great things can and will happen!

Mom also won 2nd in her Age Group!

I'd love to know . . .

  • What running mantras are you currently using? 
  • Have you ever started a race late?
  • Or, if you're not into running, what was the best moment of your holiday weekend?

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

- ST