Thursday, March 15, 2012

No regrets

You know how everyone always says that you'll regret not working out, but you'll never regret  a workout.  I would normally agree, but not today.  I chose sleeping another 2 hours instead of running 8 miles before work.  It was the best decision I've made all week.  I've been so tired, so very tired, and sleep was definitely the right choice.  It only took a  minor change up to my training plan, so I might as well take the sleep when I feel like I need it most.

My painfully slow 3 miler last night didn't help either.  I was absolutely dragging despite gorgeous weather and a new trail; I needed sleep.  Thankfully, the week had started out better.  I had capped off Sunday night with a 15 miler that left me feeling fantastic.  Well, fantastic + crampy hamstrings, but fantastic nonetheless.
Post 15 miles in the freakishly unseasonable weather.
Ok, I've totally given in to refueling with low fat chocolate milk.  I'm a follower, yes.  And I'm enjoying every last drop.

Now here's my tip for getting the most out of your "rest days".  Apply the "rest" philosophy to everything.  This includes rest from all but the most necessary responsibilities... and letting someone else cook dinner!
Dear Market District- I think I'm in love with you.
It was an off day, but I've moved my 8 miles until after work tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it now that I'm rested!

Question of the Day: Have you had an "off" day or an "on" day?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hello Sunshine

Remember when I went running in the snow like this last Sunday?
Within 72 hours, I was out for a short evening run dressed like this.
And now I'm just itching to get out for my long run in 60-something weather tomorrow!  I don't know what has happened to our winter this year.  While I would actually love a huge blizzardy snow storm before Spring is here to stay, I don't mind baring a little skin for a run either!

Question of the Day: What made you smile today?
My Passport finally showed up in the mail today, so I can stop stressing and start daydreaming about our upcoming vacay!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My favorite eats

Pinterest has done it again.  I discovered the most delicious thing that I didn't know I was missing out on.  Oatmeal Peanut Butter Balls entered my life 2 weeks, and I haven't been the same since.

2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup quick cooking oats, uncooked
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 full graham crackers, finely crushed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir well with a spoon. 
2. Spoon out about a tablespoon and roll in hands to form a ball.  (I used my Pampered Chef cookie scoop and ended up with ~20 balls)
3. Place balls in airtight container and refrigerate.  I think they taste best chilled, but they're delicious if warmed up to room temperature, albeit a little sticky.

The Verdict:
- They taste just like cookies but without the excessive added sugar or butter!
- Could a recipe possibly get any easier than this?  I've made them a few times now in a matter of minutes so we can keep a steady supply in the fridge.
- I am going to attempt eliminating the graham crackers crumbs next time, and replacing w/ a little additional oatmeal.  Oatmeal>graham crackers.
- I've been stashing a few in my bag as a quick energy snack between work and the gym.  Perfect little snack to get me through a workout and hold me over until dinner.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Double digits

I set a new first yesterday with my run totaling just over 10 miles.  I had a hard time getting myself to get out the door, but I can honestly say I loved every second of it.  I feel a post coming on soon about my preparedness for the upcoming marathon, but that's not the focus here.

The important part is that I pounded out 10 miles in under 2 hours, and I still felt fantastic and full of energy when I made it back to my car.  I'm a slow and steady kind of gal, even if I know my body could move faster.  Around mile 9.5 I was debating whether to tack on another 2-3 miles, but the sun was setting and the snow was coming down at a steady pace so I stuck to the 10 mile plan and headed for the car.
It was chilly- and I was ready!
I drove into the university/hospital part of town where I could find ample sidewalks and know where all public bathrooms are.  Bonus  that street parking is free on Sundays!  I ran out and back to another part of town and ended up back on campus around mile 5, perfect timing for potty break and water bottle refill.  I spent the next 5 miles heading out and back to another neighborhood.

Around mile 7 or 8, I ran past some writing on the sidewalk.  I looped around the block so I could run by again and take a picture.  Wouldn't it be cool if there were inspirational quotes and motivators sprinkled here and there on sidewalks every mile or so...
Before I left the house, the Weather Channel had out a special weather statement warning of snow squalls.  I run through 2, one milder one at mile 4 and one a bit more intense from miles 8.5 to 10.  Of course they were timed perfectly so that I was running into a head wind for the entirety of both.  I could have made snowballs with the accumulation on my hat and jacket in the last mile.  In that moment, I was thankful I went with the hat with a face guard!  The downside was having to clean the snow off my car before driving home.
I learned a few things on my run today:
1. Snowflakes hitting your eyeballs feel like itty-bitty little knives.
2. I've officially mastered snot-rockets.  Don't gross out- you know it's a fact of life.
3. Dunkin Donuts coffee, Prantls almond torte cake, RazzyFresh frozen yogurt and whatever smelled really, really good on Forbes Ave... all still looks and sounds appetizing no matter how many miles you have behind and ahead of you!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Running shoe woes

Dilemma of the day is, nap then run  or run then nap.  It's ok to nap before noon, right?

The Brooks Ghost 4's lost their place in my heart this week.
After a month of running in the Ghosts 3-4 times per week, I can say that they felt great while I had them on, but left me in some serious post-run pain.  I 'forgot' I was wearing them, which is the biggest pro for any pair of shoes.  They were comfortable without being squishy, and their arch support wasn't too much for my relatively flat feet.

Stop here if you can't handle even vague grossness.

Unfortunately, I was taking my shoes off after each run to find some pretty gnarly blisters on the third toe of each foot, much worse on the left than the right.  After a few weeks I had blisters on top of blisters covering most of my tow, and my left 3rd toenail was purple and on it's way off.  (You can say it- ew!)  Initially I switched socks thinking they may be the culprit, but that seemed to make no difference.

After a Monday morning 7.5 miler, the blisters were so painful that I spent most of the day limping around before the pain finally dulled down to a tolerable lever.  That was the last straw, and I made a beeline for the local running store after work on Tuesday.

I can't say enough good things about this place, and I'm glad I didn't settle for the first store I went to a few months ago, which had less than stellar service and less than informed staff.  If you are in the Pittsburgh area, I've been incredibly pleased with Elite Runners and Walkers.  As a physical therapy student (and almost full-fledged DPT!), my standards for knowledge of gait analysis and running biomechanics are fairly high.  I haven't been disappointed by the employees here.  They listen closely and are incredibly helpful in offering informed input and suggestions.

All that good stuff said, it really wasn't clear why I was having the blister problem.  I was stumped and was willing and ready to just shell out for new shoes.  With a closer look, the problem stemmed from two likely sources.  First, the thick seam on the Ghost's forefoot hit exactly where I was blistering.  The second possible reason was that my Ghosts were a wide width shoe, and I don't need a wide width.  I don't know if that was a mistake or mixup when I bought them, but I hadn't paid enough attention to the box to notice.  So my foot was shifting around more than it should have been.

I considered switching to the Ghosts in a regular width, since everything else about them was fine, but was weary because of the stitching.  I decided to go with a totally different shoe, and the guys at Elite brought out a half dozen or so to try with the same qualities as the Ghost but with lower profile stitching.  In the end, I walked out with these beauties.
The Mizuno Wave Rider 15's have been good to me thus far.  I have only done two 3-mile runs in them, but so far so good... and no blisters.  They will get their true test this afternoon when I finally get my lazy bum off the couch and head out for my long run.

One more shoutout for Elite.  They traded in my Ghosts for the Wave Rider with a smile (though I had to pay the small price difference, and did so happily).  I told them I had been running in them for "about a month", and their response was something along the lines of "We just want you to be happy running".  Um, sounds good to me!  Truly genuine customer service is hard to come by, and they nailed it.