Sunday, September 23, 2012

Surpassing Expectations on the Running Trail

I tackled a new lake for my run this past weekend.  Yesterday, I started my route along the East side of Lake Calhoun and continued beneath the bridge to circle the Lake of the Isles for a windy, sunny and fulfilling 6.3 mile run.  I managed to pull off the run in 1:13:17, which equates to 0:11:38 a mile, and I'm pleased to say my pace was pretty consistent throughout.  Finally, I'm no longer starting too fast and losing steam in the last few miles.

Picturesque mansions encircle the Lake of the Isles, and it was nice to escape and dream a little about what it might be like to live in one of those houses.  I needed that escape after my hectic and draining work week.

I was nervous and resistant to getting out for this run, since I hadn't gone out for a run of any kind in over a week.  As of late, I've been arriving home from work well after dark, thus foregoing my weekday training runs.  Because I hadn't been logging the miles, I started worrying that I had lost too much time and training to truly be ready for my upcoming 10 mile race.  Brian encouraged me to get out on Saturday and give it a go.  So I did.  I ran without expectations, I focused on staying relaxed, I aimed to run in the moment instead of worrying about the next mile, or the work I had to do after my run was complete...I was pleasantly relieved that the 6.3 felt rather effortless.  Perhaps I can pull off the upcoming 10-miler after all....just 2 more weeks.  2 more weeks where work will no doubt post some serious obstacles in the form of stress and long hours, but I refuse to let that be an excuse.

When I'm able to commit to running, it is the best opportunity for stress relief and meditation that I have ever come across.  I prefer to run alone for this reason (and because I'm super slow).  When I run, I feel more in tune with myself and the world around me, I let go of the expectations and doubts I have about myself.   Such good feelings...I really deserve to treat myself to a good run more often.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Perfect Fall Run

Today felt like a fall day, with temps dipping below 60, a cool wind with scattered showers, and hints of color on the tips of the trees.

Great running weather!

This evening, I fit in a 4.25 mile run around Lake Calhoun.  I started a bit quick (quick for me that is), with a 0:10:19 mile, and slowed way down for mile two before finding my groove for the last 2 and a quarter.  All in all, I averaged a pace of 0:11:10 mile, and felt comfortably tired when I finished.

I also ran iPod free, which was a nice change of pace and helped me to pay more attention to my breathing and form.  I plan to run the Medtronic 10-mile without music and just enjoy the race, so this run was good practice.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

100 Miles

On my 32nd birthday, I decided to try to be more consistent at tracking my distance, mileage, and condition (weather and self) of my runs.  Today, 136 days later, I finally reached 100 miles of running.  At this rate, I will complete about 270 miles by my next birthday.   My superior math skills tell me that's not even an average of one mile a day in a year, but that's not really the point.  I'm  currently averaging about 1.5 runs a week at a distance of around 3.3 miles a run, and I'd really like to get a bit more consistent with my running workouts.  Ideally, those numbers would reflect an average of 2-3 runs a week (with a few non-running workouts thrown into the mix as well), so I guess I'll need to step up my game a bit.

That said I am proud to say that I did NOT blow off my 7 mile run today!  It's what nudged me just over the 100 mile mark today, after all.  Once B fixed my Garmin, I really had no excuse. Not that I had an excuse to begin with...running IS possible without a GPS strapped to your wrist - shocking!  In fact, I knocked out 7.5 miles (.5 for extra credit), at a speed of about 0:12:30 a mile, so definitely turtle speed, but I ran the whole time, none the less.  I'll chalk that up to a win for today. 4 weeks til 10 mile race day!

4 Easy Miles and a Pot of Chili

Yesterday I ran 4.1 miles around part of Lake Calhoun and part of Lake Harriet. It took me 0:47:48 to complete, which is an average of 0:11:40 mile.  I was a little slow to warm up and get used to the cooler temps and ran the last 2 miles considerably faster than the first two.  It was a little windy, but the temperature was in the low 60s with low humidity, so a nice change of pace from recent hot and humid runs.

This morning I was planning to get out for a 7 miler.... but (excuses, excuses) my Garmin wasn't charging this morning, so instead I watched Valentine's Day on TBS.   B was out golfing this morning, but when he came home he was able to easily fix my GPS.  The day's not over yet, so I suppose I've got plenty of time to fit that run in after all.

In honor of the  fall-like day yesterday, I made White Bean Chicken Chili for dinner.  For dessert, I whipped up some Betty Crocker Hot Chocolate Brownies.  I've been trying out a lot of Pinterest recipes lately, but it was a nice change of pace to make an old stand by (I got the Chili recipe from my mom), and make some quick-and-easy, but tasty mix brownies without a lot of fuss versus trying something brand new.


Here's the White Bean Chicken Chili recipe - you won't be disappointed!  (Goes very nicely with a beer and hot chocolate brownies and natural vanilla ice cream for dessert). Enjoy!

chicken breasts ( about a pound or so)
1  16 oz can shoepeg white corn ( drained)
2  4 oz cans diced green chilies and juice 
2  15 oz. Northern White Beans ( drained)
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 TBS lime juice
minced clove garlic
1 cup chopped onion
2.5 Cups water (more, if needed)
1.  In large pot or dutch oven,  Cook chicken, 1 tsp. lemon pepper, 1 tsp. cumin in 2 1/2 cups water.  Simmer for 30 min.  Remove chicken and cut into bite sized pieces and return to pot.
2.  Add garlic, onion, corn, chilies withjuice, cumin,  lime juice...bring to boil.....add beans and cook unitl heated through....
3.  Serve with tortilla chips & shredded cheese.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mish Mash - Running, Labor Day, and the First Annual Cat Vid Fest

Today I Ran 3.5 miles at a 0:12:05 pace.  Slow and steady was my motto today (and a motto to which I often subscribe) because it's very humid, hot and sunny here (not the most comfortable running combination), and I was feeling a bit tired out from yesterday's 4.5 mile run (also at a 0:12:05 pace...I like to keep it consistent).  I'm currently training for a 10 miler in Oct, and my goal is 2 hours, so I feel as though I'm right on track. Today's route was a simple there-and-back with some "easy" hills -- and lots of sprinklers too, so that helped to make the hills more bearable.

It's hard to believe that in high school I could run a 5K in under 25 min, and that's pretty slow for a  high school cross country runner.  Today, it nearly kills me to run a single mile in under 10 min, and I'm happy to complete a 5K in 35 min (about 11:15 pace).  Nevertheless, proud to say that I'm still running, after all these years.

Anyway, it's been a lazy weekend at Casa de Brian y Molly this weekend, with very little laboring this Labor Day weekend.  Brian did assemble a table we purchased at Ikea...and, I'm about to put that table to good use with a little work prep for the week.  So, scratch that labor-free comment after all...

I'll leave you with these images (found via Google Images) of the first EVER "CatVidFest" hosted at the Walker last Thursday (you can read about it here).  I was one of the 10,000 attendees at this spectacular 1-hour long viewing party where we watched-you guessed it-cat videos!  I also was lucky to sit next to Maestro (cat pictured below) and his owner during the viewing.  Such a fun event and ohhh, how I embrace my cat craziness!

(images sourced from Google Images via search on "Cat Vid Fest")