Archive | February 2014

What I’ve Learned from my LONG runs…..

Now that I only have 3 long runs (over 20 miles) left, I decided to take a moment to think about what the long runs have taught me.  Sure, they are helping me become physically fit, but there is so much more to it.  For example, I have focused on my body’s overall strength, my nutrition (both while running and in general) and my pacing.

First off, I have learned that my endurance has improved.  Over the last 11 weeks, I have worked hard and it’s paying off.  I started training after running a 35k where I felt really good until mile 18.  After continuing to train, I can now run 22 miles comfortably.  My endurance will continue to improve until race day.

I also learned that my nutrition is improving all the time.  I have decreased the number of calories I need out on the trail.  In my opinion, this is due to general trail running improvement as well as tapping into my fat reserves.

In addition, I learned that electrolytes are essential in these long runs!

Most importantly, I’ve learned that my pace makes a HUGE difference.  The hardest thing for me is to start out a little slower than I want to regardless of how good I feel so that I have more in the tank at the end.  This past weekend’s run was a perfect example.  Miles 1 – 8 I probably ran 15 – 30 seconds per mile too fast.  Then miles 9 – 14 we picked up the pace.  Perhaps the fact that the terrain was less challenging explains the change of pace.  Miles 15-17 were on pace.  And then, unfortunately, there were 3 miles in the last stretch that were a little slower (by about 30 seconds) and a little more challenging than I had hoped.  Although the overall average min/mile time was good, I would have liked to feel a little better at the end.

A few other random thoughts:

It’s ok to walk hills.  If the timing is right, it’s a great time to fuel.

I should trust my training.  My long runs have been good and I should feel confident.

The last few miles will be tough and I’m going to feel it in my legs.  I will embrace the feeling.

Mileage is all relative.  The other day my husband and I were talking about the week and how long I’d be gone on Sat. morning.  I told him, “It’ll be quick.  I only need to run 10 miles.”  My daughter was listening and quickly chimed in, “Mom, ONLY 10 miles?!”  After completing so many long runs, I forgot that 10 miles is nothing to squawk at.

I’m loving the challenge of these long runs and what I’m learning from them on my adventure to running my first ultramarathon!

This entry was posted on February 24, 2014. 2 Comments

Costco wins again!

Just a quick little post……

In my quest to adding more protein to my diet, I have found a few items at Costco that I wanted to share with you.

Last week, I shared that Costco carries organic quinoa.

This week, I’d like to let you know that our local Costco carries both organic Hemp and Chia seeds.  Yea, Costco!

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All 3 of these items have added some protein to my diet which will hopefully help my running performance.  Buying them at Costco definitely helps our bank account!

Not sure how much protein to eat?  You can read more about how much protein you need here and here.

Do you know of any other tricks to get more (non-meat) protein?

This entry was posted on February 19, 2014. 2 Comments

Quinoa

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Although quinoa has been around for a long time, it’s only been recently that I started eating it. How come I didn’t start years ago?!  It’s a great staple, mild and nutritious.  And, it offers some protein which I can always use.

Here are two of my favorites recipes:

I reduced the amount of quinoa so that there are more “goodies” per bowl.  I’ve also added a scrambled egg to get more protein to the dish.

http://www.onedishdinners.com/2011/02/spicy-quinoa-recipe.html

This is a great recipe!  The sweet and fruity taste of this dish makes it a perfect side dish.

http://copperlanterncooking.blogspot.com/2013/12/cranberry-and-orange-quinoa-salad.html

Did you know Costco sells organic quinoa which makes the price very reasonable?

What’s your favorite quinoa dish?

This entry was posted on February 14, 2014. 2 Comments

Update week 10……..

Things are good…….

I’m excited to say that at the end of this week, I’ll be HALFWAY through the 20 week training plan.  The weeks have gone by quickly and I know the second half will go by just as fast.  I know that I’m training for an event.  But, I feel lucky that I can say that I love all the training runs, too!

The last 2 weeks have been a bit of a challenge.  I had a cold that seemed to go on and on and on.  I didn’t ever feel like I needed to stop running (as long as I don’t have a fever or the cold hasn’t settled in my chest, I keep going), but I definitely was zapped of energy by the end of the day.  In fact, a few days I went to bed before the kids did.  Extra rest is always helpful.  Finally, today I feel like I have more energy than I have had in a long time.

My mileage has continued to increase.  This past weekend I cut my long run short by 2 miles because of the rainy weather.  I still managed to play/run in the rain for 4 hours!  But, other than that, I’ve been able to stick to the plan.

At this point in the plan, I like thinking about how many long runs (over 20 miles) I have left.  I have two 24 milers and two 26 milers……that’s it!

This week is an “easy” week:

Mon – 4 miles

Tues – 6 miles

Wed – 45 min of cycling

Thur – 8 miles

Fri – off

Sat – 10 miles

Total:  28 miles

45 mins of cycling

Perfect Soup for Dinner Tonight…….

This is a veggie packed soup!  The flavor is mild and you can pair it with your favorite protein if you wish.

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I originally found this recipe in the Eating Well Magazine, but I changed it just a bit.  You can add just about any veggie to this soup.

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I typically chop all the veggies the day or night before.  I’ve even chopped twice as much and thrown one batch into the freezer for future use.

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It makes a ton, so you can cook and freeze some!

Veggie and Lentil Soup Recipe:

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

2 cups chopped carrots

3 cups chopped broccoli

4 cups baby spinach

4 cloves garlic

6 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

1 3/4 cups lentils

1 – 28oz organic canned diced tomatoes

2 TBSP tomato paste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro

2 TBSP lemon juice

Heat oil over medium and add onions, carrots and broccoli – cook 10 min

stir in garlic – cook 1 min

add spices – cook 1 min

add broth, water, lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste – reduce to simmer, partially cover and cook for 45 – 55 min

stir in spinach – cook 5 mins

just before serving stir in cilantro and lemon juice

Crockpot version:

Add all ingredients except spinach, cilantro and lemon juice

stir

cook until lentils are tender:

High – 4-5 hours

Low – 8-10 hours

Add spinach during last 30 mins

Add cilantro and lemon juice just before serving

How Did I Get Here?????

Do you take on any challenge that comes your way? 

Are you guilty of ramping up your mileage too quickly?

I’ve made the mistake of trying to do too much, too quickly in the past.  However, after ending up injured, I am much more cautious when I decide to take on a new challenge.

As I’m training for my first ultramarathon, I started wondering, “How did I get here?  What has my mileage actually looked like in the past few years?  Am I ready to increase my mileage?”

I want to make sure that this jump to a new distance isn’t too much for my body.  Although I have years of running experience, I don’t have many years of endurance running experience (I have 2 road marathons and a trail 35k under my belt, to be exact).

Initially, I don’t think it’s too much because I have trained for 2 marathons in the past.  However, I ended up injured the first time around.  And, I had a few issues while training for the second marathon.

Even though I have been running close to 30 years (with a few breaks), I ran shorter distances.  I primarily competed in 5k and 10ks.  If I had logged my mileage from the past, I would see that it wouldn’t have been anywhere near what it is today.

Taking a look at the last 10 years provides the necessary information and is more interesting to me.

After having my second child in 2004, I was running 3 – 4 miles at a time.  I pretty much kept my weekly mileage low (~15 miles a week) as I wasn’t really training for anything.

By 2006, I was pushing a jog stroller and a double jog stroller at times.  So, I was in no position to really train for anything other than a healthy life style.

I increased my mileage in 2009.  Although I didn’t log my mileage, I would guess that I increased it safely, but drastically.  It was in 2009 when I competed in my first 10k after having kids.

2010 was a huge year and I ended up doing too much, too quickly.  I didn’t think so at the time, but looking back, it’s really no surprise that I ended up injured.  I only have the last 12 weeks of the year logged.  This was my marathon training after coming off of completing two 70.3 triathlons (1/2 ironmans).

2010 weekly running mileage (marathon training)2010

In 2011, I spent a lot of time rehabilitating and wasn’t able to train until May.  My overall mileage for the year was understandably low.

2011 weekly running mileage2011

2012 I kept my events to a minimum and increased my overall mileage to an all time high of 46 miles/week while training for my second marathon.

2012 weekly running miles2012

2013 was a recovery year for me.  I needed it both physically and mentally for several reasons.  In regards to my running, chasing PR’s can take the fun out of running.  I needed to rediscover why I love running as well as give my body a break.  Originally, I thought I was going to keep the distance to 1/2 marathon or less.  But, in the fall, I found myself training for a 35k, a distance I had never run on the trails.

And once I had completed the 35k, I found a new challenge.  I  decided to train for a true endurance event.  I was hooked on the idea of running a 50k in 2014 which meant training started in late 2013.

2013 weekly running mileage2013

Although it’s taken several years, 2014 is the year that I hope to take my running to a new level.  I plan on getting my weekly mileage up to a little over 50 miles a week (I realize lots of people run many more miles each week).  I’m off to a good start as my weekly mileage is already higher than it was in 2013.  I just have to remember to take it slowly and to use a training plan.

Overall, what I’ve learned is that everyone’s body is different.  I need to focus on what my body can handle, which is to increase my mileage slowly so I reduce the risk of injury.  In addition, I need to choose only a few challenges each year.  And finally, I need to continue to strengthen my body (upper body, core, and legs) so that I can run for many, many more years.  I’m ready for this challenge!