Tag Archives: running

Pear Blossom Race Recap

Pear Blossom

Via Instagram The face of somebody about to relief-eat her way through all the cheese.

Good news! My allergies didn’t kill me! Let’s start off with a quick by-the-numbers review before getting into the actual recap:

– Miles covered: 10
– McDonald’s bathrooms destroyed due to pre-race nerves and an ill-advised decision to eat jalapeno mac and cheese the night before: 1
– Same question, except port-a-potties: 2
– Level of rage on a scale of 1-10 when I realized they weren’t handing out medals at the finish: Voldemort.

Deathly_Hallows_-_Voldemort_Protego

Source   ACCIO MY MEDAL, BITCHES.

Seriously though, I really enjoyed this race. Mostly because it contained only one hill, at the top of which sat a DJ blasting “Hot Blooded” on repeat. Because a good song to inspire a pack of sweaty runners who have just crested a giant hill is one that mentions having a fever of 103.

Anyway, the recap. First of all, you should know that I subscribe to the “slow but steady” philosophy when I run long distances. Part of it is due to my heart condition that causes tachycardia (and my addiction to fried foods covered in cheeses might play a role as well), but I have a really hard time sustaining a decent pace for more than three miles, no matter how many sprint drills I do. I finally decided to stop berating myself over the fact that I’m not fast and just let myself enjoy running. And the pre- and post-run fueling it allows me to engage in. Because what IS running, if not an excuse to eat more?

Understand+the+importance+of+exercise

Source   Whatever.

I was averaging a 10:30 pace when I was actually running. However, factoring in short walk breaks, taking pictures of the scenery, digging pebbles out of my shoes, and a visit to the medical tent to inquire about a Band-Aid for a blister, it took me around two hours to finish. See? Not fast. But I felt strong and had zero IT band pain, which tells me I’ve at least gotten stronger since my half marathon last year, when I kind of just wanted to ask the medics to amputate my left leg above the knee.

I also loved that it was an out-and-back course, not only because it didn’t require shuttles, but because I love seeing the leader pass me going the other way. I always get all emotional when I see that person running faster than I’ll ever be able to, and for a few seconds it makes me want to hire a running coach and start eating a raw food diet and get all serious about it. And then I remember how much I like Taco Bell and I’m like nah, I’m good with my mediocre abilities and Nacho Cheese Chalupa addiction.

Christian Bale Taco Gif

I don’t know. It seemed appropriate.

The absolute best part about this race, though, was the crowd support. Entire classrooms of kids lined up outside a local elementary school to hand out water, offer high fives, and spray sweaty runners with a garden hose. Residents along the entire course were out in their driveways cheering us on, and at one point there was even a senior citizen bluegrass band jamming away and handing out water. How awesome is that? I figured the finish line area would be pretty empty since the leaders had finished like 45 minutes before I even got there, but when I rounded the corner for the final stretch, the crowd was almost as full and loud as it was when we started. I totally had a Chariots of Fire moment for that last 200 meters, as much as you can have a Chariots of Fire moment while Lil Wayne is all up in your ear buds threatening to pick the world up and drop it on your f!$#ing head.

I texted Dave after I finished to let him know that he didn’t need to come ID my body at the morgue, and when I got home a little bit later I found this on the dining room table:

Table

You guys, he bought polka dot ribbon to tie the candy bars together and the balloon to the mojito bottle. He is the best.

And then I spent the rest of the day watching Netflix. The end.

 

 

EVERYTHING IS BROKEN

In keeping with my current life theme of “EVERYTHING IS BROKEN,” I’m pretty sure I broke one of my toes last week. I didn’t mention it here because I was already doing so much whining about our stove breaking. Also I figured if I wrote about it people might ask how it happened, and then I would have to admit that I drank too many Skinny Girl margaritas and then ran full-speed into the coffee table while sprinting to the kitchen to make a hot dog during an Olympics commercial break.

So yeah, my toe swelled up and turned all sorts of fun shades and it hurt pretty bad just to walk all week, which meant that running was out of the question. Then on top of not running all week, I ate a ton of microwave food and take out on account of OUR STOVE. IT WAS BROKEN, HAVE YOU HEARD? And then even though my toe felt better by Saturday, I spent all weekend like this because Desperate Housewives wasn’t going to binge watch itself:

Whiskers

I had yesterday off work and figured it was finally time to get my ass back in gear. I laced up my running shoes and was fully prepared to feel like crap the entire time, but instead I felt great and beat my current 5K record by over a minute. Running is so weird.

Also, here is the latest installment in our broken stove saga: Our new range was delivered on Saturday, so I decided to finally bake the red velvet brownies I had planned to make for Valentine’s Day. When I went to open the oven door to check on them, the door handle was scalding hot. Like, I had to use an oven mitt to open the door. That didn’t seem normal, so I called the Sears manager yesterday who confirmed that no, our oven door handle should not be giving us second degree burns. Now we’re waiting on a call from the service department.
I foresee more hot dogs in our future.

Running Rut

I took the last month off from running, partly because I wanted to let my IT band heal and also because this one time we bought a house without realizing it would force us to spend every minute of the rest of our pathetic lives fixing leaks and trimming branches and replacing flooring and touching up paint and WHY IS THAT GODDAMN FAUCET LEAKING AGAIN, WE JUST FIXED IT.

I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m going to be busy fixing stuff for the rest of my life, so I’ve been easing back into my workout routine. Dave mentioned recently that he wants to start running, so I convinced him to get up early on Labor Day to run a four-mile loop with me.  I felt great when we started, though I should note that our house sits on top of a giant hill so really the first half mile was just gravity exerting its pull on my (rapidly expanding) mass. Or something. I hate science.

But once the road evened out I went from this:

phoebe-running

to this:

tumblr_lpoxu6Zewh1qii6tmo1_500

Except less cute.

Dave, of course, was trucking along like Hal Higdon and I really hoped the volume on his iPod was high enough to mask the sounds of my Darth Vader breathing. Fortunately, he was wearing crappy shoes and his ankle started hurting at the end so we had to walk up the giant hill back to our house. I kind of felt like an ass being all happy about his pain, but he sometimes reads me passages of his physics textbooks while I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy  so I think it evens out.

Thankfully, my pathetic four miles has inspired me to get back into running shape, and I think I have convinced Dave to do a half marathon with me. What he doesn’t know is that I’m looking for Halloween-themed runs. That we can do in costumes. I’ve been begging him for years to dress up as Tobias and Lindsay Bluth with me for Halloween, but I think getting him to run 13 miles in blue body paint and man-jorts will be a hard sell.

tobias gif

Maybe he’ll do it if I promise to buy him a hot dog cooker.

“You’ll never be a runner”

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with a heart condition called Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia. After suffering through several incorrect diagnoses (one doctor actually told me I’d have to make sure I was never far from a defibrillator), I was finally referred to a well-known cardiologist at UC Davis.

“The good news is, you’re not going to die,” he told me after looking over my test results. “You’ll never be a runner, but you should be able to live a fairly normal life.”

And I was like no shit I’ll never be a runner, I weigh 175 pounds and my idea of athletics is spraying Cheez Whiz on crackers while watching half-naked men swim at the Olympics. Instead of taking it as a challenge, I looked at it as a get-out-of-exercise-free card. And for the next year or so, my weight continued to balloon to the point where I glanced at a photo on Facebook from a friend’s wedding and thought to myself, “Who is that fat girl wearing the same dress as me?” When I looked closer, I realized I was the fat girl. So that kind of sucked.

And in case you think I’m exaggerating:

July 2008

Fat girl wearing my dress.

Me at my heaviest (with my two superfit siblings).

Giant me in front of a giant sequoia tree (along with my super-fit siblings).

Obviously I knew I had weight to lose, but was too self-conscious to go to the gym since I could barely use the elliptical machine for more than 10 minutes without becoming drenched in sweat. So instead I counted calories. I had friends try and convince me to do all kinds of gimmicky diets (even one that involved drinking hormones from pregnant ladies’ pee!) but instead of “dieting,” I decided to create new eating habits that I could sustain my entire life. Instead of depriving myself, I left myself eat a cheeseburger for lunch if I felt like it. I’d just eat veggies for dinner instead of a huge helping of pasta and half a loaf of bread, like the old Heather would have. Slowly but steadily the weight came off, until I felt comfortable enough being seen in public wearing gym shorts. There was a lot of self-tanner and internal pep talks involved.

My first day at the gym I thought about what that doctor said about me never being a runner, and out of curiosity I hopped on the treadmill just to see what I could manage. The answer was: Not much. Like, I could barely run for a minute straight at a 12-minute pace. So I lifted weights occasionally and stuck to the elliptical for my cardio, and managed to shed close to 40 pounds.

My fitness/diet routine stayed pretty much the same until January of this year. I was going through a bunch of life changes that at the time felt pretty shitty. I needed a goal; something to work toward and feel good about. And for some reason that damn heart doctor popped back into my mind.

“You’ll never be a runner.”

That night I texted my mom and told her, “I want to run a half marathon this year.”

So I did.

Medal

Suck on that, Mr. Cardiologist.

Healthy Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins

Healthy Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins

My half marathon is less than a month away, so I’ve been trying to be good about eating right and sticking to my training plan. I was doing great until I re-discovered Dawson’s Creek on Netflix on Saturday, which led to a little marathon of its own. It also sparked an internal moral debate about whether it’s OK for me to be in love with teenage Joshua Jackson because I am currently in love with adult Joshua Jackson on Fringe. I am one bad blowout and a dowdy collared shirt away from being Tamara Jacobs.

Tamara Jacobs

Anyway, about three hours into my Dawson’s marathon I decided I needed something sweet, so I headed to the kitchen to see what I could find. Instead of breaking out the ice cream, I put a couple of old bananas to use and made these healthified banana bread muffins. It turns out they are great running fuel – I ate one before an 8-mile run on Sunday, and I had great energy and no weird stomach issues (something that tends to happen to me whenever I eat before running). I even cruised up two giant hills that normally force me to slow to a power-walk.

And they are almost as delicious as (adult) Joshua Jackson.

Healthy banana bread muffins

Healthy Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins

Adapted from this recipe at Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 small bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1  egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup plain applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon PB2 **
  • ¼ cup oats
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 oz dark chocolate chips or half of a dark chocolate bar, chopped roughly

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mash the banana in a large bowl with a fork. Add the sugar, oil, egg, applesauce, and vanilla, and mix with the fork.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, and add to the wet ingredients in several batches. Fold in the chocolate.

Spray 10 paper liners with cooking spray and then dust the liners with flour, tapping the excess out of each cup into your hand or over the sink (I know this seems like a pain, but low fat baked goods are notorious for sticking and this works like a charm).

Bake for 10 minutes and then test with a toothpick. Mine took about 14 minutes for a toothpick to come out clean, but ovens vary greatly so it’s best to start with 10 minutes and go from there. Allow the muffins to cool completely, and then store in an airtight container. Eat while watching teen soap operas from the 90s.

Banana bread muffin and chocolate almond milk

I may have eaten a second one when I got back from my run, along with a glass of cold dark chocolate almond milk (read about why chocolate milk is a great choice to refuel muscles here).

** PB2 is an all-natural, low-fat and low-calorie alternative to regular peanut butter. Roasted peanuts are pressed to remove the oil, resulting in peanut butter in powdered form. You can mix the powder with water to make it have the same consistency as peanut butter, or you can use it dry like in this recipe. You can find it in many grocery stores next to the regular peanut butter (Wal Mart even carries it now!) or you can buy it on Amazon.

My brain on a run

03.18.13 Running gear

My brain is kind of a scary place … after college, my knowledge of quadratic equations, world history, and geography packed up and moved out to make room for Center Stage quotes (Did you see how ON I was tonight?) and various bits of life-altering wisdom from Tyra Banks. I may not know where Bahrain is, but I will NEVER lose my neck in a photo.

I’ve come to realize, however, that my brain is even scarier when I’m running. Maybe it’s the lack of oxygen. I tried to remember some of the stuff I thought about during my run on Saturday so I could show you guys the crazy (which was probably even more pronounced than usual since I took Benadryl for my allergies right before leaving). So here it is, my brain on a run:

Huh, I feel kind of drunk. Maybe that pre-run Benadryl was a bad idea.

Why did that biker laugh when I smiled at him? There better not be a bug in my teeth again.

Ooh a parked car, I can check my teeth in the window.

Well I don’t see anyth … SHIT there’s a person in there.

I have Bob Seger on my iPod? I am the least cool person alive.

WORKIN’ ON OUR NIGHT MOOOOOVES!

I wonder if anybody ever called Nostradamus Nostradumbass when he got stuff wrong. God, I’m hilarious. I should tell that joke to Dave when I get home.

Crap, another biker. Should I smile? What if there’s still a bug in my teeth? I could just wave, I guess.

I totally smized the shit out of that guy. Thanks, Tyra.

I miss Bob Seger.

I’m really dragging today. I should have had two cups of coffee this morning. I wonder if there is a high-caffeine variety of Shot Bloks.

Shit, I’m totally Jessie Spano.

That dog looked like Ryan Gosling!

Thank God it’s over. I’m never running again.

Hey Dave, do you think any body ever called Nostra … actually, never mind.

10 Miles

Things I liked about my 10-mile run on Sunday:

– The cute elderly man who held out his hand for me to high-five when I ran by.

And that’s it.

Things I did NOT like about my 10-mile run on Sunday:

– Being an idiot and not hydrating properly the day before. And by “not hydrating properly” I mean “not drinking ANY WATER ALL DAY, and following that up with a couple beers at dinner.” I’ve been running long enough that I can’t chalk this up to a newbie mistake. I’m just dumb, apparently.

– Telling myself I’d run 10 miles anyway, and just hydrate using the drinking fountains at the two parks along my route. It was warm and I started feeling lightheaded around 4 miles in, so I sprinted to the first fountain I spotted, even though it was quite a ways away. I bent down for a refreshing drink, only to remember that the city shuts off the water to the fountains in the winter and doesn’t turn it back on until May.

– The geese around the city reservoir. They hissed at me the entire time I ran around the reservoir, and one actually tried to peck my leg when I went by. Sorry I didn’t think to pack a baguette for you in my running shorts, asshole.

– My knees randomly started hurting around mile 8. I’m hoping this won’t become a normal occurrence – they have never bothered me on long runs before. I’m wondering if it’s because I’ve been doing the 30 Day Shred on my non-running days. There’s a lot of jumping/squats/lunges involved with the Shred, and it’s not exactly easy on the knees. I had imagined a more glorious 10-mile victory photo, but since I was unwilling to remove the ice from my knees, this is what I’ve got:

04.22.13 10 miles

Three (.1) more to go, and I’ll officially be a half-marathoner!