Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Faves: Spring Flystyle Picks

Runners rejoice - I think it's safe to say that spring is finally on the way! And this means it's time to pack away your tights, jackets and wool socks and pull out all of your spring gear. 

As always, I'll be sporting Oiselle, which happens to have some of the most stylish pieces this season. Here are a few of my favorites:

Lesko Shimmel paired with Distance Shorts for workout days


 Flyte Tank paired with Mac Rogas and Lux Glovers for everyday running

Tell me: What are you wearing while logging miles this spring?

 I'm in love with anything lightweight in bright colors!

- ST

Monday, March 24, 2014

Luck of the Irish Race Recap

Well, another year of the Winter Run Series is done! Luck of the Irish was the last race and I'm happy to report the series ended on a good note for me.

This giant medal includes logos from all six winter series races

Although not a goal race, I really wanted to race well. Along with wanted to end this year's series with a good race, I also wanted to do what I could to improve/secure my place in the age group points standings. Here's how the race went down:

My focus during the first mile was running a controlled pace. My legs felt great and I was so happy to finally race in a pair of shorts after a winter of being forced to wear tights.

Things started to get tough toward the end of the first mile when the hills started. Although the first hill seemed huge as we ran toward it, it actually wasn't too bad. Plus, after was a nice downhill to recover!

I was really making an effort to maintain pace during the second mile and think I was pretty successful. Until I hit another hill during the third mile. This one was so hard and I could feel my pace slowing to what felt like a crawl. I saw a few runners around me start walking but I was determined to keep running even if it was at a slower pace. But ouch - it hurt so bad!

After what seemed like an eternity, I reached the top of the hill and soon was running another downhill. And then I started the countdown to the finish. A third of a mile, two tenths of a mile, one tenth ... And the finish line!

After crossing the finish line, I ran back on the course to find Mom - after all, it's tradition for me to run her in! So back up the hills for a nice little cooldown run.

I was pretty happy with how this race turned out and feel that my training with Coach Matt has already started to pay off. Can't wait to see what's in store for my goal races in May!

As for the series awards - turns out they will not be announced til April so I'll just have to wait in suspense to see if Saturday's race effort was enough to secure an AG series award!


My questions for you:

  • Have you ever participated in a race series? It so, what did you like/dislike about it?
  • Hills - love em or hate em?
  • How do you reward yourself after a successful race?

I actually like hilly courses - keeps things interesting and makes the miles go by faster!

- ST

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Running, By The Numbers

Recently, someone asked me how many races I've done. As I opened my mouth to answer, I realized, I actually had no idea. I've raced enough in the last three years that my number is well into the double digits! 

So, for fun, I decided to do a little "By the Numbers" that includes my number of races at each distance, medal count and PRs. Here's what I found:

Race Distances
2 Marathons
4 Marathon Relays
7 Half Marathons*
1 10k Race**
1 4-mile Race
33 5k Races 
1 2-mile Race

Medal Count
25 Medals Won
12 Finisher's Medals

Personal Records
3:43 - Marathon (October 2013)
1:46 - Half Marathon (October 2011)
45:53 - 10k (May 2013)
21:40 - 5k (August 2013)

Compiling these lists made me realize that my half marathon PR is super old! Last year, I used half marathons strictly as marathon-pace training runs but maybe in the next year I'll have to actually race one to better my PR. It's my least favorite distance but maybe getting in a good race will change my opinion :)

My questions for you:
  • Have you ever tallied up how many races you've completed? If so, what's your number?
  • What do you do with your old race bibs, t-shirts, medals, etc?
  • What's your favorite race distance? Also, what race distance do you dread and why?

Looking forward to hearing your number ;)

- ST

*I omitted the half marathon I took a DNF
**I omitted the 10k that I paced my mom

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pork Verde Quinoa Bowls

Now that I'm running more miles again, I'm making an effort to be extra conscious about what I'm eating to fuel my workouts. 

Although I rarely cook pork, I've seen a lot of recipes featuring it lately and thought it might be a nice change of pace from the usual chicken and fish. I've also drooled over a few bowl recipes featuring quinoa as the base so decided to create my own version!

One of the best things about bowl recipes is how versatile they are - you can mix and match ingredients to your own liking. Don't like pork? Use chicken. Picky kids not into salsa? Leave it off. 

Busy athletes will appreciate the convenience of prepping in advance for meals throughout the week. Just store your quinoa, vegetables and meat in separate containers and layer them together when you're ready to eat!

Pork Verde Quinoa Bowls
Serves 4-6

1/2 pound pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces (Can also substitute chicken or tofu)
2 tsp Mexican seasoning blend (I used Penzey's Arizona Dreaming)
2 Tbsp salsa verde
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn
1 tsp cumin
2 cups cooked quinoa
Salsa verde and shredded cheese for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small oven-safe dish, combine the pork, Mexican seasoning and salsa verde. Bake for 20 minutes or until pork is fully cooked.

While the pork is baking, heat olive oil in a large pan. Add onion and pepper and cook until soft. Then add black beans and corn and sprinkle with cumin. Cook until heated through then set aside.

Once your pork and vegetables are cooked, it's time to prepare the bowls! Divide the quinoa between 4-6 bowls, then top with vegetables, followed by the pork. Spoon additional salsa verde on top and sprinkle with cheese.

It's really that easy! ;)

I'd like to know . . . what's in your perfect bowl?

- ST

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

From Now On, My Training Is Up To Coach Matt

These past few years, I've enjoyed planning my own training. I love reading up on training philosophies and workouts and then applying these things to my own running. But this year, I've decided the time has come to start working with a coach. 

This year is all about chasing down big running goals and being successful seems a lot more likely with the help of a running expert. So beginning this week, I'm working with Matt Thull from Thunderdome Running

I already reviewed the plan for the next four weeks and I have to say, I'm really excited about what's to come. The thing about creating my own training plan, was the tendency is to do the same types of workouts and runs, again and again. This led to falling into a bit of a rut and made improvements hard to come by. The plan from Matt, however, has a lot of variety and some new workouts that I can't wait to run. 

Also, having someone else plan my training really reduces a lot of stress. All I need to do is follow the plan I'm given! No more worrying about how many miles I should run and at what paces with what recovery. Now, I just run what I'm given and I can be confident that I'm doing exactly what I should be doing on that given day. Easy :)

Of course, there's also the accountability factor. Do I ever want to tell Matt that I wimped out on the last few repeats of a workout? Or decided to run a bit slower than planned? Nope. It's not even a possibility. With someone to report to, I'll make sure the work gets done, every time.

So it's truly the year for aiming high and getting after my goals like never before. And with help from Matt and Thunderdome Running, I know the sky's the limit!

My questions for you:
  • Do you work with a running coach or have you ever worked with a running coach? What do/did you like about working with one?
  • If you don't work with a coach, what do you see as the potential benefits of working with one?
  • A random, non-running question: Anyone get a Shamrock Shake yet? 

I'll admit, those shakes are one of my guiltiest pleasures :)

- ST