Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gel to the Rescue

The facts: 89% humidity. 73 degrees. Windy. Mostly Cloudy. 8 mile run - done. : )

Last night I looked forward to my 8 miler, but today I wondered if I could finish it. Sometimes it took too much energy to lift my wrist up to see what pace I was running or how many miles I had run.

Then I saw a little dog outside (a repeat offender) and I started thinking grumpy thoughts about what I'd tell the owner if it chased me. I knew then that I was going downhill so I ate my vanilla Powerbar gel early. The mean thoughts vanished and I was once again a perfect angel. (I made the second part up, but I did feel better!)

Average pace: 9:25. Last two miles were the fastest: 8:49 and 9:15 (last mile into the wind)

Pre-run: blueberry muffin (should have eaten better than this, but kitchen is in a remodeling mess)
Post-run: vanilla yogurt
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 11

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fallen Tree


We had a lot of rain and wind last night in the Houston area. Today I saw this fallen tree in Sugar Land, a city southwest of Houston.

Four Miles on Dry Roads

What a thunderstorm we had last night! This morning my husband couldn't get into Houston to get to work because of the flooded roads. On the local news, I've seen people rescued from their cars and flooded homes. In my neighborhood, our ditches are fuller than normal, but that's the worst of it for us.

We moved back home today even though it's still being repaired. Fortunately, we were staying in a hotel outside of Houston and not in the Galleria area anymore.

I ran four miles in my neighborhood. Even though we received a lot of rain, the roads were dry. It was humid, but it didn't bother me as much as it did on Sunday when I ran. My average pace today was 9:17.

Pre-run: Raisin Bran, blueberry muffin, orange juice and milk
Post-run: vanilla yogurt
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 11

Sunday, April 26, 2009

IHOP Hospitality and 4 Miles

My husband and I don't usually go out for breakfast, but today we got up at 5:45 and went to the IHOP restaurant for pancakes. While we were there, an elderly gentleman walked in, obviously a regular there, and the waitresses treated him like family with a hug, an "I'm so glad you're here" and even sitting down to talk with him. It was such a nice thing to see.

After eating breakfast, I ran four miles in my neighborhood. If it wasn't still and humid (not so good), it was breezy (better). It felt good to run at an easy pace, which turned out to be 9:51.

On my run, I saw four people (what a change from running in Houston's Memorial Park!) and a dead snake. I didn't see it until I was right beside it. If they're alive, you need to spot them sooner than that!

Pre-run: buttermilk pancakes with four (!) kinds of syrup
Shoes: Asics DS Gel Trainer 13

Saturday, April 25, 2009

4 and 5 Mile Run

Yesterday, I ran 4 miles at Memorial Park, had a picnic with my husband and even found a geocache close to where he works. We also moved to a hotel closer to home. It was a good day, except that I think I must been in the car driving half the day. I think I've really improved my freeway driving in the last week. I no longer hyperventilate in heavy traffic. ; )

Today I ran 5 miles at home with six 400 m. sprints. The slowest one was at an 8:30 pace. Let's blame it on the humidity! The fastest one was the last one, of course, with a 7:48 pace. That's not earth shattering, but it was so much faster than 8:30 so I get an A for improvement. : )

Happy Running!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Houston Memorial Park 7 Mile Run

Memorial Park was crowded this morning at about 9:30. For one mile, I counted 75 people that I passed on the running path. The only time I run with that many people is when I'm in a race.

Everyone was either totally into their music, talking with a friend, talking on the phone, having dog troubles, wiping sweat off, getting a drink, checking watches, staring at the ground, or dying from speedwork or even from a long, slow run, but I did see a few smiles today. : )

After I ran 6 miles (9:30/mi. pace), I ran a mile at a harder pace (8:50/mi.). Doable, but kind of hard. It was a good hard, though. I drank water along the way and took a tri-berry GU at the three mile point. That's a good flavor.

Pre-run: toast w/ PB & J
Post-run: yummy cherry vanilla Brown Cow yogurt (only 15 cents on about-to-expire sale!)
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 11

Cottonmouth Snake at Home

Last night, I was sitting in my back yard with a book. I couldn't keep my mind on what I was reading and I was looking around. That's when I spotted the venomous cottonmouth snake a few feet away.

It's gone now, but I'm on the lookout for the next one. I really don't want the job, but I'm the official snake spotter around here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Houston Galleria 5 Mile Run with Sprints

I've moved into Houston - in the Galleria area (close to where my husband works), but it's only for a little while. We had to leave our house which is about 45 minutes away because it's being remodeled. Hurricane Ike hit our house back in September and the dust and fumes make living at home difficult so we're living in an extended stay hotel.

That means I get to run in a new place. Today I ran along the Houston marathon route on Post Oak between Westheimer and San Felipe. That's about mile sixteen of the marathon. It was fun to run part of the route when I didn't feel like I had just run 16 miles and still had 10.2 more to go.

Back at home, I'm usually on the lookout for birds, deer, snakes and sometimes even alligators, too, but today I did some speedy window-shopping instead. The photo is taken in the Sports Authority parking lot where I ran eight thirty second sprints. With all of the new sights, even though there were sprints to run, some rain, a lot of puddle-jumping and blustery wind, today's five mile run went by fast and was fun.

Pre-run: cinnamon/raisin oatmeal with milk

Shoes: Asics Gel DS Trainer 13

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Progression Run

I've been looking forward to today's run because I've only done easy runs for weeks, but today was going to be different. Today, I did a progression run. There are a few variations on these. My plan was to run four easy miles and two moderately hard miles with no particular pace in mind.

In the last mile, I kept reminding myself that it was supposed to feel hard (it did), but then I'd come back with: but it's only supposed to be moderately hard. So I slowed down. But then I thought that it should probably feel harder at the end because I was getting tired. So I sped up.

Here is the average pace per mile from today's run: 10:05, 9:52, 9:49, 9:17, 8:51, and 8:29.

Pre-run: oatmeal with dried cherries and skim milk
Post-run: chocolate malted milk
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 11

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Four Miles Plus 3 Short Hills

After I did some strength training, I went for a four mile run outside (average pace 10:03/mi). Then it was time for a little hillwork on the treadmill - just three ten second hills. It's not much, but I'm slowly building back up.

Pre-run: Strawberry Cream of Wheat cereal and a hard-boiled egg
Shoes: Asics Gel DS Trainer 13

Monday, April 13, 2009

My 4 Mile Morning Run

I just got back from my morning run. I stretched and now I'm icing my right knee. There was a little knee pain during my run, but I'm hoping it's not a big deal - it's so minor now. I ran four miles this morning with an average pace of 10:23/mile.

Pre-run: Rice Chex and skim milk
Post-run: Raisin Bar
Shoes: Asics Gel DS Trainer 13

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Five Mile Run

I ran five miles today. At first, my legs felt very tired, but it didn't take long before I started feeling better.

At the 1.5 mile point, when a dog started to chase after me from his enclosed yard, but stopped because he must have recognized me, I felt much better. I could almost hear him, "Oh, it's just that lady that used to run by nearly every day. She's alright." Smart dog! It felt good to be running again.

I had a few minor aches, but nothing serious and then a half mile from home, it hit. You know those thoughts... I'm hot. I'm tired. This is hard.

I ran alongside a yard with two small black dogs. They like to bark at me, but most days, they bump into each other in all of their excitement and start barking at each other. Kind of funny!

Of course, the dogs took my mind off how I felt. I was close to my house now. Soon I'd finish my five mile run. My knee felt okay. I picked up the speed just because I felt great.

My average pace for the whole run was 9:57/mi. with an average pace of 10:13/mi. for the first mile and 9:36/mi. for the last mile.

I hope you have a happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Granola Recipe



Making granola makes my kitchen smell so good. The smell of cinnamon and maple fills my kitchen. It only takes ten minutes to put this granola together and as soon as it comes out of the oven, I have to eat some.

Ingredients:

cooking spray

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup slivered or chopped almonds

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/3 - 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (Sometimes I use honey instead.)

2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup raisins

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except the raisins. Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet (11x17 inches works). Place granola in oven. Stir after baking 10 minutes. Then bake until golden brown, 20 minutes or more. Add raisins. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Makes 6 servings of 3/4 cup each.

Nutritional Facts:
Made with 1/2 cup syrup: Calories: 367, Carbs: 58, Protein:8, Fat: 13, Fiber: 6.
Made with 1/3 cup syrup: Calories: 340, Carbs: 50, Protein: 8, Fat: 13, Fiber: 6.

Pure maple syrup adds more flavor than maple flavored table syrup. I used Ellie Krieger's Nutty Granola (video) recipe as a starting point.

Raisin Bars Recipe


My kitchen smells like cinnamon. I just made some raisin bars. They taste like Cinnamon Roll Larabars which is no surprise, since those bars are made with similar ingredients. I think these would make a good post-run snack with the (almost) 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. And most important of all - they taste really good!

California Raisins Grab 'N Go Raisin Energy Bars

INGREDIENTS
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200°F. Combine ingredients in blender or food processor; pulse on and off until raisins and nuts are finely chopped, but not puréed. (Mixture should not be sticky.) Press firmly into a 10 x 4-inch rectangle on a parchment lined baking sheet and cut crosswise into 5 bars each 1-inch wide. Separate slightly (and press back together if they fell apart like mine) to cook evenly and bake for 1 hour; let cool and wrap individually.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 260 (50% from fat); Total Fat 15g (sat 1g, mono 2g, poly 5g);Cholesterol 0mg; Protein 6g; Carbohydrates 27g; Fiber 4g; Iron 2mg; Sodium 5mg; Calcium 29mg

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Four Mile Easy Run

I just finished a four mile run (10:00/mi. average pace). At first, my legs felt heavy, but it didn't take long before they felt better.

I noticed a lot of pink wildflowers in my neighborhood. One neighbor did the same thing I did in my yard: mowed around the wildflowers. Another neighbor planted some 5 foot trees that I counted as I ran down the street. There were fifty!

I did have a pain in the back of my left leg in the second mile. I stopped and rubbed it, but that didn't help. It went away after a couple of minutes, though. : )

So glad to have run four miles with the breeze on my face and the sun shining in the clear blue sky.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ran Today After Resting My Sore Knee

You know you're a runner when you start writing letters to your running shoes and talking to your knee...

"Knee, I gave you a full week of rest. Please be better now. "

I ran three miles on the treadmill this morning. I'd rather run outside, but the cold wind was gusting up to 20mph and I just didn't feel like fighting it today. The treadmill can be boring, but since it was only three miles, it was fine. I listened to music on my earphones and had the TV news on in the background.

After my run, I got a hot drink and stretched. Right now, there's a bag of frozen peas sitting on my knee. Maybe this week I'll be able to run more than I did last week.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tabata Intervals

I did some Tabata intervals today. You do 20 seconds of hard exercise and then you rest for ten seconds. You repeat this for a total of eight times which works out to a four minute workout.

I did thrusters (squat and then stand while lifting dumbbells) and by the fifth interval, I was really tired. I didn't have time to get a drink because I was busy jotting down my count and then it was time to get my dumbbells back in my hands and ready for the next twenty seconds.

You could do Tabata intervals with thrusters, or on a bike, while running, or with just about any exercise. It's a quick way to increase your aerobic strength, but if you're still wondering, "Why Tabata intervals?" then just click on those two links.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Famous People

First up, I'm married to the winner of an online award presented by Nick's Date Storage Blog yesterday. From the blog: "I selected Eric's wishes because they seem progressive... yet in the realm of possibility." And, yes, like the article says, my husband is a fun guy!

Second, today I was surprised that I knew someone in one of Google's randomly chosen articles in my blog sidebar. There's one about Houston runner John Yoder who hopes to finish the Eisenhower Marathon in 2 hours and 35 minutes. In fact, I know his sister and his wife, both mentioned in the article, too. We've all eaten pizza together!
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