Saturday, February 27, 2010

Horses & Good Eats


Today on my 4.5 mile run (cut-back week), I saw horse riders - a friendly bunch (lots of waving when I pulled out my camera) who traveled for miles into Houston - it's one of the Houston fair events.

I ran into a friend at Memorial Park and we ran together - fun. After running and weeding, I was starved so
my husband and I headed on over to...


Smash Burger! They have great, juicy cheeseburgers, but today I went with their good, grilled chicken sandwich followed by one (okay, maybe more than one) of the peanut butter cookies I made last night. I added some raisins and oats as an experiment - yummy, but crumbly.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Photo Captions

A Few of My Favorite Foods
Here's one way to add captions to blog photos that are centered on the page.
  1. Insert your photo into your post.
  2. Insert your cursor to the line just below the photo and write your caption like you would start writing the paragraph underneath your photo.
  3. Click on the align center icon - one of those pics with all of the lines.
  4. I made my font smaller - clicked on the font size icon.
  5. I also italicized my caption - clicked on the italic I.
It's something I tried yesterday for the first time. Up next on my blog to-do list: catchy captions. ; )

Update: Blogger has made adding captions to photos much easier. Now all that you need to do is click "add caption" which will show up when you insert a photo into your post.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Slowing Down

Somebody is Watching Me!
After a leg workout at home, I ran 7 slow miles. I had planned a track workout, but I was too sore. After running in the chilly 36 degrees, I made cocoa. While the milk heated up on the stove, I stretched. By the time I was through, my milk was just right.

Just Me and My Dog on a Run
The last time I made cocoa after a long run, I left my milk to heat up in the microwave and checked the hot water in my bath (I usually finish off a long run with a cold bath, but not that day). When I got back to my milk, it was too hot. Then when I got back to the bath, it was too hot, too.

In too much of a hurry, I skipped getting out a spoon and poured the powder into my cup which came out too fast and spilled onto the floor and my shoes. Sometimes you're faster when you slow down. ; )

Monday, February 22, 2010

20 Miles and Fall #2

1 1/2 miles into today's 20 miler, I fell. But this time, I dusted my hands and right knee off, found the rock I tripped on and kept on running with only a small cut on my hand. Falling on a dirt path is softer than falling on the sidewalk. Wish I didn't know that firsthand, though. ; )

There was one windy place that I passed 6 times. The wind and the music I was listening to reminded me of being in the truck with my husband, both of us singing along to a song on the radio, with the windows down, or more likely, the AC blowing on our faces. I worked hard to run strong into the wind - good Big Sur practice.

I took Gu Roctane (blueberry pomegranate and vanilla orange flavors, slightly bitter taste, but not bad) every 5 miles and drank water every 2-3 miles. My average pace was 8:56, with 13 miles not more than 7 seconds slower than my marathon goal pace of 8:47/mile - just happened that way. I didn't set out with much of a pace plan today.

I finished happy - a not-too-bad fall at the beginning of the run made me especially grateful to have finished this 20 miler! I ran in shorts and a sleeveless shirt today and there's a rumor that it might snow tomorrow, but I can't believe it!

Photo: Post-run meal of tuna, noodles and peas beside my running journal and my Garmin, still ticking, so to speak, after two falls. (I probably shouldn't wear it facing me.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bridgework



I've baked a lot lately. I wish I could give my daughter a hug, but at least I'm able to send her banana bread and cookies. I used my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, but substituted peanut M & M's for the chocolate chips. 


I was able to wear shorts and a short sleeved shirt again today - I'm spoiled! I ran over to the park, running hard up and down the bridge and down the hill below the bridge (partially in the photo). I ran down the stairs from the top of the bridge once, too. Anyone do stairs as part of a workout? I ran about six miles today and that completes my 40 mile week.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sunny Speedwork

I ran to the Memorial Park track for speedwork and I only missed my speedwork goal by a tiny bit this morning! And that's why I finally have an excuse to post a pic of this cute, tiny car  - tiny car, tiny miss. ; )

Let the speedwork begin! 2000m x 3 with a 10K pace goal (7:52/mile):
1st: 7:53/mile pace. Easiest, but not easy. 3 min break.
2nd: 7:58/mile pace. Hard! 5 min break helped on next one.
3rd: 7:49/mile pace. Happy that my last one was the best.
Total Miles- 7.5. (By the way, I put my training calendar at the bottom of my blog.)

During my warm-up, I ran between two dogs when one of them lunged towards the other and his owner yelled at him. There wasn't a fight, but my lips were pulled into my mouth afterwards - holding in a scream, I think. Got my adrenaline going! : O

We had temps in the forties and I did my speedwork in shorts and a short sleeve shirt! At the water fountain, I poured cold water on my hot arms! Spring is coming, Friends!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Spring and 16 Miler

Sunday afternoon my husband and I strolled down the streets of Old Town Spring, a half hour north of Houston, where we saw art...


And walked though an Amish shop and ate raspberry peanut butter and saw a Great Dane on a store porch who posed for a picture...


And then let me pet her gentle, sweet self...


...A lovely afternoon.

Thank you for all your kind comments after I fell Saturday! : ) I followed my husband's suggestion of walking it out on Saturday ('cause all I know is RICE, but that's for runner's knee) and maybe that's why I was able to run 16 miles today. Happy dance!

In the 12th mile, a teenage boy ran up beside me and passed me just as I was whispering, "1, 2, 3, 4" along with one of my songs. I don't know, I guess that part just gets me. ; ) He made running faster look so easy. I ran faster, checked my Garmin and I was running a 6 something pace (for a second)! I gasped... And slowed way down.

After the run, I hopped into a warm bath with epsom salts. I follow Sara Hall on Twitter and got the idea from one of her tweets. Much better than an ice bath on a cold day! (Just to be safe, I iced my legs later, though.)

Today's Run: 16 miles at 8:53/mile
Goal: 12 miles at 8:47 (3:50 marathon pace) A first for me!
3 mile warm-up: 9:55, 9:42, 9:19 Gingerbread GU
Middle 12 miles: 8:46, 8:40, 8:40, 8:31 (GU), 8:42, 8:40, 8:42, 8:42 (GU), 8:33, 8:34, 8:44, 8:12
Cool-down mile: 9:36

Have a super week!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My First Fall

I need to watch where I'm going! And I need to stick to running on the road and the park path. Today I turned the corner onto my street, looked down at my Garmin to see I'd run 5.99 miles and bam! I tripped on the uneven sidewalk and went skidding across the ground and fell flat out on the sidewalk.

I've run fairly regularly since 2003 and this was my only running fall - so that's good. But my new Garmin is scratched, one glove has a hole in it, my left knee is a little scraped up, has a small bulge/bump on it and it hurts. I'm icing my knee (shiver, shiver!) and I've got it raised up on a chair.

After I fell, I got up, crossed the street and I was home. I poured the pancake batter I made last night into heart-shaped molds to make cinnamon whole wheat pancakes. To make them, I used half whole wheat pastry flour and half white flour with a sprinkling of cinnamon in my usual pancake recipe - easy and so good! I had some yogurt with cranberries on the side - good, too. 

Today's workout: I ran to a new hill which is a mile from home. I did about 4 miles of hillwork - running up and down a .15 mile hill 12 times. I did all of the uphills hard and some of the downhills fast, too. I actually liked this hillwork run, until I got to the 5.99 mile point!

Run carefully and have a happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Disappointing 800's

I've been reading about how runners are afraid of the pain we'll feel when we speed up, how we give up on ourselves too soon. I was inspired to push myself harder no matter how difficult it was. I was ready.

At 7, I started out on my 7 mile run in the rain. I ran to the track (1.5 miles away) and did 6 x 800m with 90 second recovery jogs. My splits: 7:27, 7:58, 7:52, rested 6.5 minutes, 7:17, 8:22 and 8:17/mile.

I pushed so hard on the 4th one that I could hear myself breathing over my tunes. The pace felt hard and then I pushed harder. When it was over, I had to walk instead of the usual slow running.

So I pushed, yes, but I was so tired that I had to run the last couple of 800's slower than the rest. I should have saved some energy for the last two 800's. How about you? How hard do you push yourself?

Photo: Memorial Park at night. Early this morning it was only a little lighter than this because of clouds.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cookies and 12 Miles

This weekend, I made red velvet cookies. Just like finishing a good long run, by the time I was done, I had almost forgotten the little difficulties I had in completing them.

I made the cookie tops and bottoms on Friday, getting red cake batter everywhere. Then on Saturday I filled the cookies with cream. I cut out paper hearts and sprinkled powdered sugar on top, too.

I might make them again someday, but in a different flavor - one not involving red dye - and I need to work on my circle technique. Half of the cookies weren't circles or even ovals, but that's okay because the recipe only made enough frosting for half of the cookies. These were messy, but they were unique and it was fun sharing them at our church lunch.

I ran 12 miles this morning in shorts. I'm sorry about the shorts ; ) -not trying to make everyone jealous!

My splits: 9:37, 9:14, 8:59, 8:59, 8:56, 8:57, 8:50, 8:55, 8:38, 8:34, 9:50, 9:36. Average pace - 9:06/mile. There was some wind and a few easy hills I pushed through to stay on pace.

I ate a gel at miles 4 and 8. I tried Jet Blackberry Gu today. It tastes slightly bitter to me. Maybe it's the 2x the caffeine it contains.

I was trying for negative splits and seeing them as I finished most of the miles made me a happy runner. That's one thing I like about running -  sometimes all it takes to make me happy is speeding up a little. If only that's all I had to do to solve all of my problems! And if only I could always speed up!

I added this later... I can't believe I forgot to post about my post-run ice bath. As I was stepped in I was writing my blog post in my head... The hardest part of my 12 mile run was the ice bath, well really it was mostly just a cold water bath today. Very cold!

There - didn't I say that you forget the hard stuff once a good run is finished?!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hello Sunshine!

You should have seen all of the runners outside enjoying the sunshine early this morning! It was 45 degrees and I wore shorts - I knew my tempo run would warm me up.

I hoped to run two or three tempo miles at half marathon pace, or a comfortably hard pace, on the three mile loop at Memorial Park. I was careful not to start out too fast and before I knew it, I was in the last tempo mile and I was running up the hill.

Before I started, I thought that if I ran out of gas, I'd just call it a day and quit there, making it a hard two miles for the day instead of three, but I felt pretty good and scooted up that hill and then tried to keep the speed for almost a half mile longer. In fact, since I was near the end and didn't need to conserve energy, I sped up -fun!

I ran 6 miles today. 2 mile warm-up and 1 mile cool-down. Tempo mile splits: 8:28, 8:23, 8:10/mile. My goal was 8:10-8:30. Goal accomplished!

Photo: Taken on a geocaching adventure. Wild berries at Memorial Park.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hello Hills!

I ran 6 miles today. After a 2 mile warm-up, I ran up and down some hills - something I haven't done since the Houston Marathon.

It wasn't very structured hillwork. When I got to a hill, up I went. Sometimes I rested on the downhills and sometimes I pushed hard and only rested on the level trail.

It wasn't long before I was running up the very last of the ten hills. What a feeling of accomplishment I had - it's good to run hard! I got a drink and ran two miles home.

Then it was time to stretch, eat and ice. My insides were warm from my banana walnut oatmeal, but my knees were chilly beneath my frozen bags of peas. Brr!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy February!

Running is getting back to normal now and that's nice. Not that racing isn't nice, but starting back to the familiar routine is good, too.

I ran my long run for the week today. I'll slowly ramp up the miles on these long runs, but today I started with 9 miles at a 9:18/mile average. The splits - 9:47, 9:28, 9:12, 9:05, 9:13, 9:10, 9:13, 9:05, 9:24. When I got home, my dog really, really wanted to go somewhere, too, so off I went again for a short walk - a good cool down.

I ate my mint chocolate GU at mile 4. It tasted like the melted chocolate mint candies I used for frosting on a chocolate cake recently or thick chocolate pudding flavored with mint. Yum! One great thing about running... We need this stuff to run well! Ah, the little luxuries of life!

I hope this month is a lovely one for you!