Monday, June 29, 2009

Lunch Makeover

I used to be really good about bringing my lunch to work. I'd pack my little bag with a Lean Cuisine meal, yogurt, some fruit, and I was good. I'd occasionally go out to lunch with friends, but would always get back on track with bringing my lunch. In the last year or so, I have completely fallen off the wagon. I have been going out to lunch every day.

It's easy to see how it happened. I got sick of Lean Cuisine meals (no shock there). Then I started bringing these wrap sandwiches. Got sick of those too. But now I'm really sick of eating out. I live and work in a small town, so it's not like there are many tempting, delicious optiongs. It's expensive, and I'd rather spend my money shopping than on the same crappy restaurant meals. And it certainly isn't healthy.

Because it's summer, I've been in the mood for salads. So I stocked up on spinach and a bunch of veggies and decide to bring salads. Today was day 1: I just feasted on a bowl of spinach, red and orange peppers, cucumbers, carrots, strawberries, walnuts and dried cranberries. It was delicious. Now I just have to figure out a way to mix it up so I don't get sick of salads too . . .

Running: ran an easy three miler this morning. I have a track workout on the scheduled for tonight -- 3 to 5 1200's. It is much cooler here than last Monday, so I'm looking forward to a better speed workout.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

100th Post

I tried to think of something special to do for my 100th post. 100 things about me? Can't really think of that many. A giveaway? Too much work. So instead I decided to post a picture of my ridiculously cute child with her race medal from a few weeks ago. I'm pretty sure she's thinking about how she could have kicked a little harder at the end and taken that four year old who beat her . . .
I'm off to the wonder that is Wednesday traffic court. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Race Report - Garry Bjorklund 1/2 Marathon

Alternate Title: Grandma's Still Hates Me
Alternate Title #2: The Time You Spend in the Porta Potties Still Counts

After getting to bed at 8:30 Friday night, I woke up to my 2:30 a.m. alarm feeling pretty well-rested. I had packed everything Friday night, so all I had to do was get dressed and get myself out the door. I was at my friend Cheryl's by 3:30 and we were off. Once we got to Duluth, we had no problem finding parking, finding the bathroom, and finding the lines for the buses to the start. I felt really good and even had some moments of wishing I was running the full instead of the half.

Sidenote: I decided to go with Outfit #2, the bright pink Addidas tennis skirt and white Nike tank. This was an excellent, trampy choice. But definitely not as trampy as the girl who was wearing a short gray cotton skirt (like the one's you get a Victoria's Secret) that said "Daddy's Girl" across the ass and a matching gray cotton teensy tiny bra. With tramp stamp on full display. This? Was not an attractive look, especially when drenched with sweat. Unless of course this girl reads my blog, in which case, I think your outfit was really cute.

So where were we? Oh yes, the race. We started off and I felt strong and had no problem locking into my 9:00/mile pace. It was warm, but not unreasonable. There were tons of people, but I didn't feel like the dodging was taking too much out of me. At about mile 2, my stomach started complaining. I was able to maintain my pace, but by mile 4 I had to stop at the porta potties RIGHT NOW. With waiting in line and, um, going, my break was just under 4 minutes. But I felt much better and got right back into my groove. I kept telling myself that I would have no problem making up those few minutes.

At mile 6, I took my first Gu. Almost immediately, my stomach started making itself known again. I kept telling myself to just ignore it and keeping running. This became impossible by mile 8, when again I had to stop at the porta potties. This time, my break was nearly 8 minutes. And I felt worse after than I did before. I struggled to get back on pace. By this time, it was also starting to get much warmer, which didn't help.

During mile 9, my stomach started to feel a little better. I had one more Gu with me that I had been planning on taking at mile 10. I spent much of mile 9 debating whether I should take that Gu. I felt like I needed it, but did not want to make any more porta potty stops. Finally, I decided to just take it. With a total of 12 minutes so far in the porta potty, I knew that my time was shot. After the Gu, I was able to finish the race without any further toilet breaks. My last three miles were all under 9:00 miles. Because I was now running in a slower pack, it felt like I would just get into a groove and then hit a wall of people. The dodging took a lot out of me and felt much worse than it did at the start of the race.

About half a mile from the finish, I ran around a corner and had some girls yell, "Cute skirt." Then I heard some people yelling, "Go Heather!" I looked and had no clue who they were. So maybe they were cheering for another Heather. Whatever. I waved and smiled. I'll take what I can get.

I turned the final corner and felt a mini-rush from all the people cheering on both sides of the road. But mostly I felt disappointment because I was so far from my goal. I crossed the line in 2:14:48. Not a personal worst, but close. Fourteen minutes and forty-nine seconds worse than my goal. The part of me that knows I am capable of a sub-2:00 half was very disappointed. But for the most part, I have come to accept that I did the best I could given the crappy (literally) circumstances. And now I've got to work my ass off to get that sub-2:00 in Mora in August.

The best part of the race? Coming home to find Sophie down for a nap. I had time to shower and lay down and take a half hour nap myself!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day & Race Goals

First, just a little tribute to the dads in my life. Neither of them run, but both of them support and inspire me to keep running. My husband constantly says he doesn't get running. He says he stopped running and riding his bike when he got his driver's license. But even if he doesn't get it, he is (most of the time) very good about watching Sophie so I can go out and get my miles in. And he's a wonderful dad to Sophie, so I can run nearly guilt free knowing that Sophie is getting the chance to have some one on one time with daddy.

My father-in-law is also a big inspiration to me. I have always looked up to him, but last year he was diagnosed with diabetes. He was placed on meds, but immediately changed his diet and started exercising. In less than 3 months, he was able to go off the medications because he had completely overhauled his lifestyle. Everytime I get tired during a race or feel like slacking off, I think of the commitment he's made to being healthier and the example he sets at every meal and it helps me keep going.

So Happy Father's Day to the two Eugenes, and to all the other dads out there!

Finally, some race goals. I mostly want to have fun. I really, really want to break two hours. But I won't cry myself to sleep if I don't make it. I haven't been doing any real specific training since my marathon last month - rather, I've just been trying to maintain my fitness. I developed a little plan to really work on my half-marathon speed between now and my next half in August, so I know I'll have another chance if I miss my goal tomorrow. It's going to be an early morning - I'm meeting my friend Cheryl to drive to Duluth at 3:30 a.m. I thought I would get a good night's sleep in the bank last night, but Sophie had other plans for me (specifically between the hours of 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.). Oh well.

To pump myself up for tomorrow (and because I finally have a court-free day!), I'm wearing my run like a mother t-shirt I picked up at the expo last night. Check it out here. These girls have lots of cute stuff.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I'm currently holding some auditions that I'm certain are as well attended and as popular as those for any Broadway show. Yep, I'm auditioning outfits for my half-marathon this Saturday. I really only have two standards for judging the outfits - comfort and appearance. I've only got three runs left until the race, so the top three are making the call backs.

Outfit #1: blue Nike shorts w/longer tank top. This outfit is super comfortable, and looks good too. I am loving the longer shirts that are in style this season. (And if longer shirts are no longer in style, please don't tell me. I live in the woods and we are a little behind.) So much better (and more flattering) than the short crap that was popular for so long. One drawback: the shorts tend to bunch in front while I'm running, especially once I start to get sweaty. Bunchy crotch area is never attractive.

Outfit #2: hot pink Addidas tennis skirt w/white version of longer Nike tank top. Hands down, cutest outfit that showed up for auditions. And the skirt's short length gives it some nice built in air conditioning. Downside? My husband thinks the whole outfit is a little trampy. Two things he may not realize: (1) when you are, um, well-endowed, like I am, most outfits are a little trampy, and (2) a little trampiness never killed anyone (at least not the kind of trampiness that I can pull off).

Outfit #3: Nike capris w/short sleeved shirt. This is my go-to running outfit this year. It was solely responsible for my kick-ass marathon PR. It is so comfortable. I love it in every way. But my prior experience in Duluth for Grandma's is that it will be melt your face off hot. So my beloved outfit might need to go to the bottom of the drawer until fall.

So there's my big, boring dilema. Once the call backs are final I can make a decision. Of course, I'll then have to get my act together enough to do some laundry so my race-day wardrobe selection isn't limited to whatever stinks less.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I'm waiting for Garmin Connect to decide it wants to upload my latest activities. And by latest, I mean everything from the entire month of May and June so far. Guess it's been a while . . . maybe my own fault that the website isn't cooperating?

I'm waiting for my mom and my sister to get here so we can all go on a long(ish) bike ride together. I've been building up the bike miles slowly, mostly to get Sophie used to riding. But I've got the 50-mile tour (call it a tour, not a race) in September so I want to start adding on the miles.

I'm also waiting to get re-acclimated to summer running. I ran 8 miles yesterday (started at 8:30 a.m.), and even though the temps were only in the mid-60's, it was hot! Kind of humid, and the sun was very warm. Note to self: get out of bed earlier.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Little Stir Crazy

I've heard of taper madness, but has anyone ever heard of post-marathon stir craziness? Symptoms: inability to focus on anything other than running another marathon, ignoring work-related tasks in order to search the web for fall marathons, frequent and prolonged fantasies about finding a training program and sticking it on the fridge. A little self diagnosis? Yep, I've got it.

Since Green Bay, I have not been able to stop thinking about running Twin Cities in October. I really, REALLY want to. But for many reasons (the preservation of marital bliss tops the list), I really can't. I didn't experience this problem after my first two marathons. Of course, the circumstances were a little different. After Twin Cities '06, got knocked up. And Grandma's '08? Well that just plain sucked. No need to fantasize about repeating that. But Green Bay was awesome. If ever I have experienced a "runner's high," it was the last half mile of that race. And I'm anxious to get back into some serious training and continue to improve upon my PR.

I've been using the banana chocolate chip muffin treatment that worked so well for my taper madness, but it's just not dulling my crazy marathon fantasies. I briefly toyed with idea of getting knocked up again (but hubby quickly vetoed that plan). I've also tried focusing on some great races I have on the calendar (Grandma's half next Saturday, and another half in August). Monday night I created a little training plan to take me from post-Grandma's to my Mora half marathon. An eight-week, FIRST inspired "see how much we can break two hours by" type of plan. I'm very excited about these races and looking forward to improving my speed at shorter distances. But, BUT I still can't stop thinking about the marathon. Help!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Race Report - Grantsburg 5K

I decided to run a 5K on Saturday because several friends from church were running. And, of course, I'm always looking for an excuse to run another race. This one is nice because, although Grantsburg is across the border in Wisconsin, it's only about 15 minutes from my house. I don't often get to have such a short trip to a race.

I've driven through Grantsburg many times and somehow got the impression that the town is flat. The race course (just a few blocks off the main drag)? Not so flat. It was an out and back course with rolling hills. Large rolling hills. (Why does rolling look like it is spelled wrong?)

About 200 people ran the race. I lined up and prayed for the gun to go off soon because Sophie was standing with my mom on the side of the road screaming. The race started and we were off. We went down a steep hill about 1/4 of a mile in, and for the rest of the race, I was dreading coming back up that hill. After the turn around, I was able to run past all of my friends from church (several of whom were running their first race ever). It was fun to be able to cheer them on and give out high-fives.

Finally, the hill of death was upon me. I pushed up the hill, repeating over and over that it was just a couple of short blocks to the finish. I saw my mom and Sophie (Sophie was standing in the road jumping up and down and clapping for all the runners - so cute) and gave it everything I could. Crossed the line in 25:05. Not a PR, but not too shabby. Especially considering that my pre-race ritual on Friday (which is usually lots of water, relax and early to bed) was replaced by an all-afternoon/evening golf tournament, several of my new favorite drink (UV Blue & Diet Mountain Dew, in case you're interested), and not so much sleep. I ended up fourth in my age group, but I'm calling it first, because at least two of the people who beat me were 20. And I'm about a month away from checking in to a whole new age group. So really, I was first. See how that works?

The best part of this race was the kiddie race, which ended up being Sophie's first race. They lined up on the football field and did a 100-yard dash. Sophie was by far the youngest kid to run. I ran with her and held her hand the whole way. She took last place (but there was one kid who broke down sobbing halfway through who took a DNF), but we finished. The race director was running behind the kids and grabbed her other hand to cross the finish. She showed off her medal the rest of the day. My mom got a couple of pictures that I will have to post when I get them. I've got my future running partner in training!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cross Training

Try to ignore the creepy chick on the right who may or may not be me.

Around Easter, I bought a new bike. My hubby installed a bike seat for Sophie, and tonight we took the bike for its maiden voyage. Gotta say, I don't really remember, but I'm pretty sure I was not this nervous when I rode a bike without training wheels for the first time. I was really worried about falling over with Sophie on the bike. The whole "You better not fall" lecture from my husband didn't help.

Our first trip was a whole two miles and took about thirty minutes. Not because I was riding that slow (although I was going pretty slow), but because we stopped to visit our friend Anita and her horses. And then we stopped to visit the new baby alpaca at the alpaca farm around the corner.

Sophie loved the bike, I didn't fall, and we made it back home in one piece right before bath time. I think this whole cross training thing might work.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Track Star Triumphs Over Stressed Mommy

Hmm, chronological order means mommy stress comes first . . .

So yesterday, our daycare e-mailed out the summer schedule. And apparently once a week they are doing "bring your lunch to daycare" day. You wouldn't think this would be that stressful, but it sort of freaked me out. I mean, I have to buy Sophie a lunch box and then once a week pack it with some sort of lunch that (1) isn't so lame that she gets teased by the other kids and (2) isn't so unhealthy that our daycare lady calls child protection.

I went to Walmart straight from work and found an acceptable lunch box (slim pickings this time of year). I also looked at their toddler swimsuits because they are supposed to have a swimsuit that can stay at daycare all summer. You wouldn't think it possible, but all of the swimsuits in the 18-month size at Walmart are made for toddler whores. Every single one of them.

I left Walmart and headed to the track, determined to run out my feelings of being convinced I am a bad mother and convinced that Walmart is indeed the evil empire. First 800: still nervous about whether packing a Lunchable in Sophie's new Cars lunchbox will make daycare lady judge me (they are pretty high in sodium). Second 800: if I'm already this worked up about stuff and Sophie isn't even two, what am I going to be like when she goes to school? I need therapy. Third 800: hey, I just lapped that chick. And she doesn't even look like she is running that slow. Fourth 800: I lapped her again. Awesome. Fifth 800: wow, I'm getting tired. But not too bad for my first speed workout since the marathon. Sixth 800: Just make it to the last straightaway, you're almost done.

So there you have it. Proof that running indeed does calm the nerves and reduce and release stress. I should have been a scientist.

** Oh, by the way, I know that this whole lunch issue is not something I should have stressed about to begin with. But I'm sort of lame like that.