Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Run/Walk for Wishes 5k Recap

Sometimes you have to be spontaneous. Last Wednesday I felt the itch to race. And when I saw the weather forecast for Saturday, I decided to seriously look into finding a race. And what would you know - there was a 5k on the Lakefront! It must have been fate ;)

Since Run/Walk for Wishes wasn't a race I planned on doing and I'm definitely not in PR shape yet, the only goal I had was to run hard and see what happened. No pace goals. Just run. I figured I would finish right around 22 minutes.

Even though I wasn't planning on crushing this one, I still lined up in the second row. I had a feeling the race would not be that fast and I was right. After we took off there were only two women in front of me - and I passed them both within the first quarter mile.

Normally I prefer to move up during a race then kick hard at the end so I've never been the lead female during a race before. I got a bit carried away and ran the first mile faster than I planned. It ended up costing me a bit in terms of overall time as I ended up slowing down during the next two miles. Also, I was passed by a woman at the start of mile 2. I thought about trying to go with her but she was going too fast for the effort I was prepared to put into the race.

The last segment of the race was in the sun and it was super hot. I found myself glancing over my shoulder a few times to see if there were any females nearby because I was feeling pretty cooked. Fortunately there were none that were close enough to get by me before the end of the race. After a mini kick to the finish, I sprawled out on a grassy bank next to the finish line. The shade felt so good!

After recovering for a few minutes I got up and began running back on the course to find Mom. On my way back I saw my old coworker, Rebecca, who placed 2nd in her AG! When I found Mom she was running strong. As we approached the finish I told her to sprint it in like Eddie is chasing her ;)

Recovering after the race!

Overall a fantastic morning and wonderful event. I would definitely do this one again. Makes me excited for all the 5k races to come this fall!

My questions for you:
  • What's your racing style - lead from the front or sit back and kick?
  • What's on your fall race calendar?

- ST

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Five Tips to Start Loving the Run Again

I'll always remember Summer 2015 as the season I struggled through a running slump. It's been a long couple of weeks but I think I've run through the worst of it and things are getting back to normal. Finally I feel like I'm building momentum into the fall racing season!

Being stuck in a running slump is so not fun. But if you're smart about it, you can get over the hump and back to running without screwing up your training. Here are a few strategies I used to get through this summer's rough patch:

Cut yourself a little slack - After you've been running awhile, you know that not every run is going to be all-out fantastic. In fact, sometimes the miles really suck! It sounds weird, but I think part of getting re-energized about running is accepting that there will be good runs and there will be bad runs. And if you're going through a bad patch right now, then one positive thing is that a good patch is likely coming your way soon!

Change up your usual course - I tend to run the same routes again and again. I equate it to comfort running - I know exactly what I'm going to get! But sometimes it's good to switch things up a bit. So last week I decided to run one of my usual courses in reverse. It was amazing how just this one little change made my run that much more interesting. I felt more engaged throughout the miles and at the end, completely re-energized!

Treat yourself to something new - There's really nothing like having something new to wear to get a girl out the door faster. Last week I treated myself to a Lululemon bra and I couldn't wait to try it out. It made getting up for my long run a bit easier and as a bonus the bra was a perfect fit. So comfortable with zero chafing!

Free To Be Bra - Isn't it cute? It's also super comfy!

Have a goal other than number of miles or pace - Make your run enjoyable by having a goal that's completely unrelated to your watch data. For example, make it your goal to smile and say hi to every runner you pass. Last week, I did a run like this where my only goal was to run to the White Castle Crave Mobile that was in town for a few days (MKE doesn't have a White Castle). It was mega hot outside and the miles should have been pretty miserable but they weren't because I ran with coworkers and was rewarded with multiple sliders at the end. Total win ;) 

Pic stolen from Dan who is already enjoying his sliders!

Meet up with a group - I'm almost always a solo runner. I think it's because I'm pretty independent and like running where I want, when I want and at whatever pace I need to run. Also, I'll admit, running with a group makes me feel a bit socially anxious - I'll never get over the fear of being the slowest person in the group. But sometimes running with others is the way to go. So Saturday morning I participated in a Milwaukee Running Festival Build-Up Run. I ran six miles on my own before meeting up with the group so my legs were already a tad tired. But I noticed running with the group made running seem like no effort at all!

Tell me: What do you do to get past a running slump?

- ST

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Weekly Update: Training and Eating

Good morning! So, it may be 2015 but just this week I listed my first few items for sale on eBay. Haha, I'm a little behind, right? I'm such a major procrastinator when it comes to certain things that I have a giant bag of new or barely used running/fitness gear in my apartment that I've been meaning to list on the site for like two years now. I guess better late than never, right?

Anyhow, if you'd like to check out items I'm selling, you can view them here: http://www.ebay.com/sch/mkerungirl/m.html?item=171888371827&hash=item2805586873&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562

More items will be listed soon!

So ... training! Last week was good in that I got my miles in although it was pretty slow going. Nothing too remarkable although I did make a few racing decisions, the most important being a switch down from the half marathon distance to the 5k distance at Lake Country in September. This means I will not get a half marathon in this year, but that's okay with me. The race is one month away and I don't feel like I would be prepared to race a half. Run the distance sure, but mentally I'm not ready to take on a half. So the 5k it is! 

After last year's Lake Country 5k!

The plan this week is some of the usual with two key workouts: the Tuesday speedwork and Saturday long run. There is a chance I may add a race this weekend, which could switch things up a bit. But for now I'm sticking with what Coach Matt gave me:

Monday: 5 glue miles + Total Gym
Tuesday: 7 mile workout, inc. 5 min. intervals @goal 5k pace
Wednesday: 5 recovery miles + Y-Fuse + Y-Core
Thursday: 5 glue miles + Y-Blitz
Friday: Rest Day!
Saturday: 16 mile run
Sunday: 4 recovery miles

Total: 42 miles

Not a bad week for someone who's training for the 5k and 10k distance :)

As for eats this week, I'm enjoying as much seasonal produce as possible! A sample day:

Breakfast: 1 Ozary Breakfast Round + 1 Tbsp peanut butter + 1 serving plain low-fat kefir 
Snack 1: Plain non-fat Greek yogurt + 1/8 cup low-fat granola
Snack 2: 1-2 cups raw veggies + 2 Tbsp hummus
Lunch: Veggie Burger Salad* + 1 cup grapes
Snack 3: 1 Picky Bar
Dinner: 1 serving Chicken Veggie Chili** + 1 peach

*Mixed greens, 1/2 cup cooked freekah, 1 Hilary's Veggie Burger, 3/4 cup blanched green beans, 1/2 cup cooked zucchini slices, 1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette 

**Saute 1 small onion, 1 diced zucchini and 1 cup corn in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Drain and rinse 1 can dark red kidney beans, 1 can black beans and 1 can garbanzo beans. Add to onion and zucchini mixture. Add 1 cup cooked shredded chicken, 1 can diced tomatoes and 12 oz tomato juice. Season to taste with chili powder, cayenne pepper and cinnamon.

My questions for you:
  • Have you ever sold anything on eBay? If so, any selling tips for a newbie?
  • What does your training look like this week? What workout are you most looking forward to doing?
  • What is your favorite summer recipe?

Enjoy your Tuesday!

- ST

Monday, August 3, 2015

Zucchini & Chickpea Pasta Salad

Another week of hot and humid weather meant another week of cold lunches. Fortunately, I really love cold food during the summer. Veggies and hummus. Fresh fruit. Sandwiches. Salads. Yum!

Last week I couldn't get enough of Zucchini & Chickpea Pasta Salad. For an extra serving of veggies, I recommend serving on top of mixed greens. Such a great summer lunch or dinner!

Zucchini & Chickpea Pasta Salad

3 cups rotini pasta, uncooked
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup vinaigrette dressing
Mixed greens for serving
Pine nuts for serving

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add rotini pasta, cook until al dente, then drain off water.

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add zucchini and saute until crisp tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, grape tomatoes and black olives. Add cooked pasta and zucchini. Toss with vinaigrette dressing. Refrigerate until cold.

When ready to eat, serve on top of mixed greens. Sprinkle each serving with pine nuts.

To view other Meatless Monday recipes, view the link up at Confessions of a Mother Runner or Fuel Your Future With Tina Muir!

Tell me: What are your favorite pasta salad mix-ins?

- ST