Showing posts from 2011

18 Miles & Houston Pasta

Only days ago I was hiking around the beautiful Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while wearing my warm coat and gloves. Quite a contrast from today! I ran around Memorial Park in a skirt and tank top. It was mostly sunny and 45-60°.

I ran 18 miles with a 9:10 average pace and ran the first 6 miles with my dog. I ran negative splits (I like the challenge) with a one mile cool down and ate a Powerbar gel at miles 5, 10 and 15, like I plan to at the Houston marathon in 2 weeks. Even though I was a little cold and even a little hot, I had a great run! Now, it's taper time!

Someone found my blog by searching for: 5 mile run with dog and chicken broth! I just can't figure out the connection of the dog and the broth (!), but speaking of food...

Do you need pasta recommendations for your pre-Houston Marathon meal? There's Brio where I ate today, but it's a little far from the marathon course. There's an Olive Garden which is a little closer. There are a c…

Garden of the Gods

Fun = being in the snowy mountains, holding up the Balanced Rock.

  I made a superquick trip to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs (an hour south of Denver by car) for a fun little vacation. United Airlines bumped both my husband and I up to first class, thanks to lots of mileage points! Hello, big leather cushy seats!

I don't see a lot of deer so when I do, I take pictures. 22 pictures isn't too many, is it?! 

We walked to the top of a mountain where we saw a runner just as I was thinking that it would be hard to run on the snowy, muddy trail. She ran off and left us in the dust, or mud, really. From the top, we could see the road (about the middle of the next photo) where our hike ended. 

Today I ran 9 miles with 5 miles at about marathon pace at Memorial Park in Houston. Great run! It seems like there are more runners outside lately. Maybe everyone else is preparing for the Houston Marathon, too, or getting an early start on their resolutions.

16 Miles & PB GU

Today I ran 16 miles (9:27/mi. ave.) with 4 "faster" miles (8:41/mi. ave.) towards the end in order to train my body to run faster when I'm tired. (I hope it's learning!) I hope to do a 20 mile run next week and then I'll start my two week taper. Today's 16 went by quickly. It's nice when you're enjoying your time out there and not counting down the miles, just dreaming of when you'll be finished. 
I ate a GU gel at mile 5 and then at 10, too. I tried the new peanut butter GU today. It's good if you like slightly sweetened peanut butter, which I do. It tastes like PB with honey.
It was windy, cloudy and a little cool (50°) today so I was glad that I topped my short sleeved shirt with a long sleeved one so that I could change depending on how cool I was out there. I was comfortable in shorts. If you come to Houston for the marathon from a colder location, I think you'd burn up in anything more than shorts (unless a blizzard blows in), but …

Longest Run: 24 Miles

I completed the longest training run I've ever done today: 24 miles. I ran 23 miles once before and I think that helped me in the later miles at the Kona Marathon.

When I started my run today, I hoped to run at least 16, but I brought enough GU for a longer run (24 miles). At mile 3, I wasn't so sure I'd be running long. At mile 11, I was fairly sure that I'd be able to run long today. Miles 20-21 were fast and hard (but the whole run was great, really!) since it was towards the end of the run, but I knew I only had two of those miles and then - cool-down miles with my Weimaraner! 

Here's the plan in simple terms: run slowly, fast, faster, slow, fast and slow (I added a cool-down). I didn't run quite as fast as I'd like (I'm blaming the wind! Mostly!), but it was fun trying to run different paces throughout the run and it made the run go by quickly. I read about the long run plan at
A long run that we use here in marathon prep as a fitness …

20 Miles & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

This chicken pot pie is one of my favorite meals to make. It only calls for a top crust, making it a little healthier than one with a bottom crust, too. If you use leftover chicken and vegetables, it comes together quickly.

Preparation time: 15 minutes Bake: 30 minutes Serves: 4-6
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tspn salt
1/4 tspn pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 cup vegetables (corn, peas, celery, carrots)
1 small potato, microwaved, peeled, chopped
cooking spray
1 refrigerated pie shell
Preheat oven to 400°.Melt butter over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.Gradually add chicken broth; cook over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbly, stirring constantly.Stir in salt and pepper.Stir in chicken and vegetables.Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9.5" pie pan or 11 x 7 baking dish. Cover with pie pastry. Slit top. Bake for 30 minutes, but once pie edges have browned (after ab…

Grand Canyon Hiking & Running

Greetings from the Grand Canyon! My husband and I vacationed for a couple of days there after visiting Zion National Park.

In the mornings, I got up and ran on the canyon rim trail. Most of my running has been hilly while on vacation, but hiking seems to work the soreness out. It was cold - in the 20's in the mornings, but I warmed up quickly. I took a very short run (.6 mile) on the steep Bright Angel Trail, just for fun. The most exciting part was seeing four elk on the rim trail when I was alone. I stopped running, called my husband on my cell phone to tell him how big they were and they slowly passed me by. Phew!

After I ran, we hiked for hours (perfect hiking weather) and took lots of rest breaks.

And just hung around the park!

This was one of my favorite parts of our hikes - close to the rim!

We ended our vacation stargazing before turning in at the El Tovar Hotel, built in 1905. The floors were uneven. They felt funny to walk on first thing in the morning when you're k…

Zion Day 3

Today was a really great day! It started with an 8.5 mile into Zion Nat'l Park on the Parus Trail and behind our B&B up a hill. I saw 10 deer and ran along a river with a view of the mountains. (Later, I saw eight more deer.) It felt colder today and I needed my gloves. In fact, I wore my gloves most of the day.
After warming up with some hot chocolate, we drove to Kolob Canyon in Zion and hiked up Taylor Creek Trail, a 5.1 mile hike round-trip.

One fun part about this hike is that you cross the creek many times, balancing on rocks. It was fun to see a bit of snow (not pictured) near the trail and a lot of snow on the nearby mountains.
After two hours, we made it to our destination and had lunch on a fallen tree trunk with a view of the alcove and the arch in the rock. My peanut butter and huckleberry jelly (like raspberry) sandwich on homemade bread from Zion Park Deli was the best!
I did some trail running to warm my numb toes, but what helped most was getting out of the mo…

Zion Day 2

This was a very good day, a very good day indeed!

I began my morning with a 5 mile run starting up the hill behind the B&B where we're staying just outside of Zion National Park. I saw two deer up close! Later on, we saw two foxes and more deer. 

We drove to Grafton Ghost Town, a few miles from Zion and 150 years old, with a handful of buildings to look around. 

After a short trip into St. George for lunch and unplanned outlet shopping, we hiked up to Upper Emerald Pool, a 3 mile hike, I think. 

The pool was clear enough to see to the bottom. 

We walked under the water spilling off the boulders and got sprinkled on and finished the day with some soup and salad at the Zion Lodge restaurant. I can't believe how many stars you can see in the sky here - amazing!

Zion National Park

I'm on a road trip! First stop: Zion National Park in southern Utah, a 25 hour drive from Houston. We're staying in Springdale (just outside the park) at the Novel House B&B where each room is decorated to remind you of an author. Our room reminds us of our trip to Scotland, where Treasure Island author R.L.Stevenson was born, and has a view of the gorgeous mountains.
I ran 5 fun miles early this morning into the park and saw 6 deer during my run and many more later. The elevation makes running a little more difficult, but it was great to run in the cold (about 35 rather than 70 degrees like it has been at home). The early sunlight on the mountains - gorgeous!
After my run and a berry pancake breakfast, my husband and I hiked the Hidden Canyon trail. After hiking up the mountain with views of Angel's Landing, where we hiked on our last trip to Zion about eight years ago, we entered the Hidden Canyon.

I don't know how many times I thought I'd have to turn aroun…

Running with My Dog

I was so happy to finish today's three mile run pain-free! I haven't been able to run much for the last two weeks and I've missed it.

Recent runs:
11/4: 10 miles. My ankle felt painfully tight, as though a rubber band was tied around it. It hurt to flex my toes toward my knee. This happened last year, too, but went away quickly.
11/7: .31 mile. I walked home when my ankle hurt.
11/10: .15 mile on the treadmill. I stopped when it hurt.
11/14: I ran 5.56 miles, until my ankle hurt.

Since the Maine marathon on October 2, I've run one 18 miler. With only 8 weeks until the Houston marathon, I'm wondering how few miles I can run to prepare for it. I hope I'll be able to run two more long runs before the marathon.

I ran with Zoe today. To train her not to pull on the Gentle Leader leash, I tell her, "Zoe, slow" and give a quick pull on the leash. She's had a summer running break, but after a couple of reminder runs, she usually improves. At least we don…

Apple No-Bake Cookie Recipe

I've had a little extra time, since I've needed to rest my sore ankle the last few days, so I played around in the kitchen and made these copy-cat Apple Pie Larabars - my favorite flavor of the Larabars. These are really good, but they're sticky. (Update: After chilling, they aren't as sticky.) I found the base for this and many more flavors at Enlightened Cooking.

1/4 cup dates (about 7 dates)
1/3 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup apples
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Using a food processor, puree dates, walnuts and raisins. Chop the apples into small pieces in the processor. Stir in cinnamon. Roll into balls. (I made 6 two inch cookies.) Refrigerate.

I saw a recipe for bagels and a yummy sounding apple tart in Cooking Light. Since I've been running less, I've been baking more which has been fun (but I still miss running). I tried to run this week, but ended up walking home because my ankle hurt (maybe from too many miles or twisting my ankle on the trail?). On the w…

Trails & TM

Monday (10/31): I ran 11 miles. After doing hillwork on the park bridge, my husband showed up on his bike (we live just a few blocks from the park) and we went over to the park bike trails, my favorite local place to run.

I hopped over roots and around trees where the trail is narrow, finding the best place to plant my feet and looking out for branches. My husband said I run the trails faster than I bike them. That's sounds bad for my biking ability, but good for my running.

Tuesday: 8 miles on the treadmill (TM) because it was dark outside. Need treadmill motivation? Read Train for a Marathon Indoors.

Wednesday: 11 miles back at the park on the mostly flat trail, as usual. I was tired the second half, maybe because it was a warm 70°. Happiness is pulling out your Fig Newton cookies and finding them in one piece!

Thursday: Easy 5 miles on the TM before heading to the doctor for my annual exam - 2 1/2 vials of blood taken. We'll see if upping my vitamin D intake to 2000 a day help…

Great 18 Mile Run

Today I had a primary goal: run 18 miles. I did that!

I also had a secondary goal: run 6 miles at marathon pace just before my cool-down mile. That's the part that I wasn't so sure about.

It was very windy and I was averaging a 10 minute pace until mile 11. Then I jumped on the Memorial Park track thinking that it would be easier to fight the wind in short spurts rather than running into it for a mile or so at a time.

My goal was 8:47 pace or better for 6 miles and I averaged 8:41. It's only a 1/4 mile track and I ran around and around it 23 times! (I ran 1/4 mile off the track.) Finishing those 6 miles felt great because it was a tough workout that I wasn't sure that I could finish.

Today I ate three vanilla Gu gels. Just for fun, I've been experimenting with eating raisins (1/4 cup) or Fig Newtons (2 cookies) in place of a gel packet while running. They work fine. Have you eaten regular food during your runs?

15 Miler & Apple Crumble for 2

I ran 15 miles today. At first, it was cool outside and I didn't have any problems, but after almost two hours, it was warmer and the running got harder so I turned on some music and stopped more often at the water fountains. It's great to be adding on the miles in preparation for the marathon.

Mile 13 seemed to go on forever, but when I figured out that I was almost done, I felt a lot better and picked up the pace for a mile. And then came the lovely, slow cool-down mile, and not too soon!

Temperature: 63-70° F
Running Fuel: (pre-run) Gatorade, bagel with honey; (during) 6 shot bloks; (post-run) chocolate milk
Mile Splits: 9:40, 9:31, 9:05, 8:50, 8:28, 8:53, 9:03, 8:50, 8:55, 8:44, 8:56, 8:54, 9:56, 9:19, 9:58; Average Pace: 9:09/mile

Apple Crumble for Two
I bought some extra apples so that I could make Apple Crumble for Two (Cooking Light recipe) and I really like it. Orange juice sweetens the apples. The recipe makes two small bowlfuls and I ate one already. This is so good…

My Crazy Scale

Oh, the scale... The number goes up. The number comes down. And life goes on. It's not a big deal. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind losing a couple of pounds.

A few days ago, I stepped on the scale and I was finally at my goal weight. After chowing down on cake for a couple of days, it didn't make sense, but I wasn't going to argue with my scale.

A couple of days later, my husband asked me about my weight. I told him that I gained 4 pounds overnight. That seemed high and I carried on and on about how much my weight fluctuates when he finally, finally told me that he'd played with the scale this week, bumping it down a bit and then up four pounds. Are you kidding me? No!

I should have known better - he loves to tease me. The good part is that he's always making me laugh, usually at him, but sometimes at myself, and this time was no different.

I'll tell you one thing - I checked the scale for accuracy before I stepped on it this morning. I'm over my go…

Air Show and 13.1 Miles

When my husband suggested that we go to the Houston air show today, I had no idea that it would be such a fun day. The pilots did fly-bys with breath taking head-on passes. A helicopter flew upside-down and people sky-dived from a plane, too. It was amazing!

The Maine Marathon was 13 days ago. Now I'm training for the Houston Marathon in January and I'm running more miles than usual after a marathon. You never know just how far you can push yourself until you try. The first week after the marathon, I walked a lot and I ran 4 miles. This week, I ran 35 miles.

Before I started yesterday's run, I wasn't sure if I'd do a short run or a longer 13 miler. I wanted to play it by ear and see how I felt. After 6 miles, I decided it was a long run day because I felt great so I took a Gu gel and continued running. During the middle 9 miles, I averaged a 9:28/mile pace, thanks to the cooler temperature of 61-68.

I still felt great when I neared the finish and since I only need…

Mt. Desert Island Drive

Since it was rainy on our second day on Mt. Desert Island (north of Portland, Maine), rather than ride bikes on the carriage roads (roads closed to motor traffic) like we planned, we took a drive across the island and down to the coast with Bass Harbor lighthouse our target.
When we got there, we took a short walk down to the light house. That walk takes you right up to the lighthouse for a close look. Then we saw this other path to the side of the parking lot. If you visit this lighthouse, take this path!

Go down these steps. (See the water?)

And these granite steps, too. 

Because you can get a nice view of the lighthouse from this side with the trees and the water, too.
And the rocks along the water are really something! I skipped the rock fun - not completely recovered from the marathon two days before. I could walk quickly and climbed up the steps without much trouble, but going down the steps was a little uncomfortable. But, worth it, of course!
Except for the rain, I can't …