Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New: Gloves, Chews & Audio Books

This week I did a couple of new things while training for my May marathon.
  • I watched a show about ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes. The show made me want to go for a run even though I had already run that day. 
  • While running, I listened to an audio book. I downloaded the free Librivox app for free books. It worked great except for the buffering trouble I had one day. Karnazes' wrote about listening to audio books with a couple of suggestions at Long Running Favorite. Have any suggestions for ear buds with volume control? 
  • On my last long run, it was warm, but today was cool. I wore my new Asics mitten gloves. They have a pocket to hold the mittens when you want to only wear the gloves that I put some tissue into for my nose. They gloves are a little bulky with the pocket, but they're practical. I bought them at the Houston Marathon Expo for $10. 
  • Today I ate some new fruity tasting Cytomax Energy Drops (chews) that I bought at Academy Sports for $1.50 each (two servings/packet) that I liked. I experimented with taking in a little more fuel than usual - 4 fuel stops/servings instead of 3.
Today I listened to 8 chapters of Jane Eyre while I ran 17 miles. It's nice to do two things at once!

Friday, March 22, 2013

16 Mile Run: 5 Great Things

At the two mile mark, I was sure I could run 16 miles. Watch out for those confident thoughts! You never know what will happen. By the 14th mile, I really didn't know if I could finish because it was warm and humid here in Texas today. I did run 16 miles, though, so it couldn't have been too hard!

Something I like to do on long runs is to break them down into shorter chunks. I broke the run down into four parts and I ate something every four miles. Today's fuel had a raspberry theme and it was my first run in which I tried a PB&J sandwich. Thankfully, I had lots of water (PB is sticky and bread is dry) so that worked out fine.

Jenny Hadfield wrote an interesting article, What is Cardiac Creep?, about the many things that slow you down on a run like weather, nutrition or stress. Her point was that you should run by effort and not get wrapped up in the numbers too much. I like to keep track of my pace, but I don't want to stress about it.

5 Great Things About My Run: 

  • Strangers who unexpectedly said something cheerful to me and made me laugh, like the runner who said she was glad I stopped (to look at a duck!) because she needed a walk break! 
  • Seeing great blue herons beside the lake and pretty wood ducks in the creek.
  • Spotting new spring blooms. Hello little field of red paint brushes
  • Clifbar raspberry gel tastes like jam.
  • Having a smoothie waiting for me when I finished.


  • Pre-run: cereal (low fiber) with milk, banana, Gatorade (about 400 calories, 85 carbs)
  • During run: Gatorade & 8 mini pretzels (24 carbs), 1/2 peanut butter & raspberry jam sandwich on white bread (28 carbs), Clifbar raspberry gel (24 carbs)
  • Immediately post-run: Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie (my Good Food! Pinterest page): 1/2 Tb. peanut butter, 1/2 banana, 5 oz. milk

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

11 Mile Run / Geocaching

My Dog Geocaches!
I ran 11 miles today. I'm running a marathon in May so I'm increasing my weekly miles. My pace was not where I wanted it to be and the run seemed a little too long. Since I'm increasing my miles, that's probably normal. Still, it made me think about how I need to be careful about getting enough protein (0.5 - 0.8 gram per pound of body weight). I'll use My Fitness Pal to keep an eye on that.

To help the miles go by, I distracted myself. When I ran by the place where my husband and I recently searched for a geocache, I wondered if the cache is actually hidden in the leaves or if it is just gone. That's because we never did find the cache (a hidden container found with a GPS). That's okay. It's still fun to get outside and to hunt through the trees for a hidden treasure even if you don't find one.

Friday, March 15, 2013

10 Mile Run and a Mint Smoothie

My Running Path
I love mint so today I made a mint smoothie. I blended 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup Dannon plain yogurt, 1 cup spinach and 1/8 tspn peppermint extract. This smoothie has 210 calories, 25 carbs, 17 protein, 8 fat and 3 grams fiber. What an easy way to get 1 1/2 servings of fruit and vegetables! Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe?

This week was a recovery week for me. Just like Olympian Pfitzinger says, I think it's a good idea to decrease the miles every few weeks. So instead of a longer run, I ran 10 miles today.

After 7 miles, I ate a couple of spoonfuls of honey and then I ran 3 more miles. Except for the time I made a homemade sports drink with honey, the honey was a first for me and I liked it.

Today I was running along, staring at the ground when I looked up and noticed the trees and the sky peeking through them. I just had to stop to take a picture!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cake Batter Muddy Buddies Link

Cake Batter Muddy Buddies are a quick and easy treat to make. They taste a little like those pink and white animal cookies that you can buy. I shared this dessert with friends last Saturday at a picnic - my first picnic of the year. Here in Texas, we had great picnic weather - clear blue skies and a perfect temperature.

The 5 Ingredients You Need

Tips? Work quickly when using melted bark so that the sprinkles will stick to the bark when you mix them in. I used about 1.5 oz. sprinkles for a 5-cup Rice Chex batch. More sprinkles would be even prettier!

Time? About 20 minutes. That includes clean-up!

Thanks to Christy at The Girl Who A Everything for posting the recipe! I thought that her measurements were just right and her blog photo of this dessert looks so good!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

15 Mile Run / Pancake Link

I ran 15 miles Friday. I wasn't sure how I'd feel doing a long run so soon after Saturday's The Woodlands Half Marathon. Before I started the run, 15 miles seemed like a long way. But after 6 miles I felt confident that I could finish. That's how it usually goes. Running is nice like that!

Fuel pre-run: Light and Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes. In the recipe, there's a great buttermilk substitution: 1 cup buttermilk = 1/4 cup plain yogurt + 1 tablespoon vinegar + 3/4 cup milk.

Is full fat dairy actually better for you? (audio link) I used whole milk for the pancakes. I used to use non-fat, but now I like to use whole milk. It fills you up and bodies need some fat.

Looking into my Spibelt: Phone, Raisins and Spray
Fuel during the run: Raisins sprinkled with salt at miles 5 & 10. I don't carry raisins during a marathon, but since I run a lot, sometimes I like to eat something other than gels in training. I like the taste of gels and how compact they can be, though.

Today: 5 mile run with my dog. I like doing short, easy runs after long run days. They make my legs feel great when I'm done!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

5 Tips for Running with Dogs

Post-race Pics with Zoe  
I have run many miles with my dog. Here are my 5 tips for running with dogs:

  • Start out with low mileage and gradually add more, just like you do for yourself.
  • I use the Gentle Leader collar, which decreases pulling. Because even though you think you'd like someone to pull you up the hill, you really don't. 
  • If your dog lags behind, it's probably time to rest.
  • In hot weather during long runs, carry a small, collapsible bowl for water. Carry it between a fuel belt and your waist. 
  • I allow my dog to choose how much to drink rather than coax her to drink. I think dogs probably know to "drink to thirst"! 

Yesterday, I ran 9 miles. I ran the first and the last few miles with my 8 year old Weimaraner, Zoe. This was the first time that I took her out twice during a run, but since our new backyard backs up to the park where I run, it was easy to pick her up for my cool-down mile.

Special thanks to my husband for the photo collage! 

Do you run with your dog? Have any tips?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Homemade Arm Warmers

Before running my last race, I bought a pair of tights and cut off the feet and the waist to make arm warmers. I wore them during  The Woodlands Half Marathon and I'm glad I did!

Homemade Arm Warmers:

  • Inexpensive ($5)
  • To make: just cut, I don't even hem them
  • Pull over hands when cold
  • Pull down off upper arms when warm
  • Tie around waist when hot
  • Great for about 30-40 degrees
  • Thinner ones, like my previous homemade arm warmers, are nice, too. Thicker ones tend to slide down a bit.
  • Or just buy some Asics ones for about $9!

What's for breakfast? 
One variation of my Throw Everything in the Cereal Bowl Breakfast: uncooked oats, Maple Morning Crunch cereal, molasses, banana, cinnamon, walnuts, unsweetened almond milk and 50% less sugar Craisins (they may be less sweet, but they're sweet enough for me).

Recent Workouts-
I got in a good 8 mile run yesterday and I did some strength training today. We've had some beautiful running weather lately in the Houston area!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Woodlands Half Marathon Report

Post-race with my Training Buddy
I loved today's Woodlands race! It was a small race held in Texas. I've run in both small and big races. I like them both.

Results: So excited to see this on my Garmin at the finish: 1:59:54 with a 9:07/mi average. My goal was about 2 hours and I thought sub 2 would be very nice. The finisher's chip times aren't up yet. Update: Chip time is 2:00:34; 464/1453 female. I'm glad I got so close to 2:00.

Course: Mostly flat, some hills, quiet, peaceful, some concrete streets.

Weather/Clothes: 43 degrees at 6am, race start: 7am. Beautiful day! I didn't wear shorts as planned, but I was happy with hand warmers, arm sleeves, shirt and pants (see photo).

Pace Group: I finished very close to the 2:00 pacer.

Volunteers: Volunteers are the best - encouraging! They needed more volunteers at most of the fluid stops, though.

Spectators: Not many at this small race. I'm thankful for the encouraging cheers and the high-fives.

Expo: Small. For more info: The Woodlands Half Marathon/Marathon Expo Post.

Fuel Pre-run: white rice, banana, citrus Nuun

Fuel During Race: Gatorade@Mi.3 & 6, Citrus Clif gel @Mi.8 (if cold, tastes like key lime/lemon meringue pie!), Water at Mi.9

Post-marathon Food: If I wanted to stand in a long line, I could have had: Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches (really wanted one!), egg burritos and bananas. Instead, I went where there wasn't a line and got some Honey Core Power. I was glad they were there - you need to eat or drink after a hard workout. At home, I ate a banana. We went to Lupe Tortilla for a tex-mex lunch and I wore my finisher's shirt. At the restaurant, I saw other half marathoners wearing their medals. By the way, Happy Texas Independence Day!

Parking: I felt a little lost when I left for the race (at 6:10), but I was glad that a race person gave me good instructions at the expo: I-45 to Woodlands Parkway and follow the signs. Parking turned out fine and I  found my car after the race. I met a runner who couldn't find hers - so many trees and few landmarks in the area. 
Great Finisher's Shirt & Medal!

To Improve: Long lines! I talked with a couple of other runners while waiting in a long line for my finisher's shirt and they said the line was terrible for packet pick-up for them, too. The computers went out yesterday, but the pick-up lines were bad last year, too, they said. Personal improvement: I want to get some speedwork in before the next race. This time around, I was just building up my mileage after running the Houston Marathon 7 weeks ago in 4:00:29.

What Went Well: My Asics finisher's shirt fits me! I like Saturday races, real restrooms at the start/finish, and encouraging signs on the route. I wore my Denver Marathon shirt and that started a conversation with another runner. Just before the finish, we ran through a long chute where a runner was screaming, "1:57!" That encouraged me to run as fast as I could, hoping for sub 2.

Just Soar! I saw "Isaiah 40:31" on a runner's shirt. I tried to remember the verse and then I shortened what I could remember just to "soar" and kept thinking about soaring down the road. The funny part is that while I was running in the race, I couldn't remember the line about running! But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Woodlands Half Marathon/Marathon Expo

Here's my review of The Woodlands Half Marathon/Marathon Expo - the good, the bad and...There wasn't any ugly! I'm running the half marathon tomorrow. I'm looking forward to running my sixth half marathon. The Woodlands is within an hour's drive of Houston.

Good Stuff: 

  • Clifbar is a sponsor. They'll hand out a gel during the race. I sampled the gel flavors that were new to me. They all taste good so I'll be fine no matter what flavor I end up grabbing. My favorite Clif products that I tried: strawberry gel - it tastes like jam, the Chocolate Mint Builder's bar (I'm a chocolate mint fan) and the blueberry crisp bar (fruity). We received Clif bars in our race bag. 
  • We received Headsweats (Coolmax fabric) hats in our race bag.
  • Bikeland handed out a water bottle that fits my bike's bottle holder.
  • It only took 20 minutes to get to the expo/race location from my home. Parking was easy. I only had about a 3 minute walk to the expo and it was free (at The Woodlands Mall).
  • The expo was on the small side so I was surprised to find a booth with a unique product: medal holders by Frame Your Event. I also like the medal holders with just one hook, not pictured. I had a chance to talk to the two ladies who make the holders. If I remember correctly, they're training for The Army Marathon, a brand new race held near Ft. Hood in April.

Medal Holders

To improve: 
  • I arrived 10 minutes after the expo opened. I waited in the race packet line for 30 minutes. The end of the line was fine, but it was a mess when we neared the front of the line. I think this is only the second year that they have held this race. Hopefully, they'll improve this next year.

The good outweighed the bad and I can't wait for tomorrow. Now it's time to gather my race bib, clothes, safety-pins, etc. See you on the other side of the half marathon!

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