This Weeks *delayed* Training Plan


I would have run eight miles yesterday. I truly would have. But I was on the road, coming back from a beautiful family wedding down in Milwaukee. It was in Mitchell Park, right behind the Domes. Absolutely gorgeous at night--the shot I took above hardly does it justice. And no snide comments about they might look like. Sometimes an apple is just an apple.

I would have run this morning, but my kitties were all curled up on my bed and we were comfy. One bundled up by my hip, the other by my shoulder. It was surround sound purring.

Coulda, woulda. Full of excuses, I am.

But I do not think this warrants any retribution, yet. In my defense, I had no training schedule for last week, figuring I would take a breather after the half marathon but still going out for a short run and a stint at the gym. But starting tomorrow, all bets are off. So here is my very public plan for the week:

Monday - Off
Tuesday - 4 mile run in the A.M.
Wednesday - Strength training (upper body and abs)
Thursday - 4 mile run with Vero
Friday - Strength training (lower body and back)
Saturday - 5 mile run
Sunday - Cross training - 45 min swimming

A bit of a step back in mileage, but I only have short races in October, and build up for a 10K and 15K in November. I am also excited to switch things up for the winter and work on some cross training to start some spring dualatholons, and maybe even a sprint triathlon.

Blog, I am depending on you to help keep me accountable.


On a side note, tonight I am going to make some pesto, because I have been craving it and the store bought version is so expensive. *drooling* Can hardly wait.


Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll


Another recipe I hocked, this one from With a Side of Sneakers. I saw it and knew it would be a challenge because I do not bake a lot of bread-like recipes. And I rarely back down from a challenge. *putting on game face* Bring it on recipe, bring it on. And if I can take on this recipe, anyone can do it.

The Cast:

1 cup almond milk
1 packet instant yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour (and a little extra for kneading)
1/4 cup granulated sugar.
2 tbsp. baking powder
1/8 cup salt
2 tbsp. cinnamon
4Tbs. apple sauce

2 Tbs. margarine
5 Tbs brown sugar
3 tbsp. cinnamon

Powdered sugar
Almond milk (aprox. 1/8 cup)
Vanilla 1 tbsp.

The Method:

Heat almond milk on the stove with low-medium heat and lightly stir in yeast. It should not take long to bake, and mine started to bubble on the top, this was when I knew it was done.

While the almond milk is heating, I started in with the dry mix. In a mixing bowl, add in the wheat flour, bread flour, and sugar. Stir vigorously, and add in a bonus workout for the day.

Next add in the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Now stir with the other arm, it feels a little left out, not to mention it needs a workout too.

Once the almond milk is heated (this should only take a few minutes), add it into the dry mix. In comes the applesauce, or your egg replacement material. Stir that bad boy up again, but with a little less vigor then before. Think of this as your cool down. My mixture was not very doughie yet, and I had to work a bit to get it to accept all of the flour.

Sprinkle some bread flour over your flat surface and smooth it out. Also feel free to coat your hands a bit. This will help the dough from sticking to you. Knead that little dough until it makes a nice little ball.

Now comes in the rolling pin. Except if you get to this part in the recipe and realize that after all this time in your life, you still do not have a rolling pin.

Voila! A whine bottle. Sprinkle some flour over this little bugger and start rolling out the dough into a rectangle. (Random side note: this little rolling pin is a local whine from up in Door County called Plum Loco, and it is light, sweet and fantastic. Also pretty economical, two thumbs and a big toe up from me).


Once the dough is rolled out, melt a little margarine in a pan, I used the same one as the almond milk because extra dishes are no fun. Then spread it over the dough. And yes, even though I do not have a rolling pin, I do have one of those fancy pastry brushes--the hypocrisy of it all.

Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over top, then start rolling up the dough. Make sure it is nice and tight at the beginning. Once it is rolled up, begin slicing, I stuck with the original and went with about 1 inch spacing. (Another side note, I tried the dental floss trick the original recipe suggested, and it flopped. Not sure if my technique was up to par, so I went back to a knife.)

Earlier when I melted the margarine, I was at the end of a stick, so I saved the wrapper. I used this wrapper to grease the inside of my baking pan. Otherwise, good ol' spray will do.

Cover up the pan and set in the fridge overnight.

Then eventually go to sleep. And wake up. Good morning!

Preheat the oven for about 350 degrees. While this is happening, melt a little bit of margarine and spread it over the top of the rolls. Sprinkle a dash of granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon on.

Slip the pan in for about 20-25 minutes (time will vary depending on the type of pan used (glass or metal) and how awesome your stove is (mine is not exactly top of the line and it takes a bit to start kicking in).

While this is going on, time to start in on the icing. I used a measuring cup so that it would be easier to pour after everything was mixed up. I added the almond milk first as well as the vanilla and gave them a little swirl. Then I slowly started adding in the powdered sugar. This is where it took a bit of experimentation. You want the icing to be firm, but also able to be poured.

After the cinnamon buns are baked, pull them out and let them cool for a bit before applying the icing. I was a bit impatient, so some of my icing melted and slide off into the bottom of the pan, but I think of that as a mini-treat for later. *shrugs shoulders* It happens.

Fin. I brought mine into the office and they were a big hit. I had two batches. The first with the recommended amount of salt, and the second with half the amount. The second batch did not look quiet as fluffy, but folks noticed immediately the difference in salt and preferred the ones with less NaCl inside. There was also an overwhelming amount of support to bring these in again, so I call that a group consensus hit.



Zucchini Pasta Salad


The original version of this salad came from Dietitian on the Run. I made a couple of slight modifications thanks to the less then hearty selection at the super market, but am actually pleased with the result. I doubled up on the servings as well so I could have some at dinner last night, and save some for lunch today.

The Ingredient Line Up:

2 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta
1 organic zucchini, sliced
1/2 sweet red onion, finely diced
1 tsp rosemary,
1 tsp thyme
A dash of pepper
A dash of salt
1 cup Tomato, chopped
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Grated Parmesan Cheese

The Method:

Boil the water and add a tablespoon of olive oil to the top of water. Throw in wheat pasta and stir for 30-40 seconds before letting boil. This lets the pieces get coated in the olive oil and allows them less of a chance to stick together. Cook until al dente so it has a little bit when mixed in with the veggies.

While this is going on, throw the other tablespoon of oil into a saute pan an medium heat. Add the chopped zucchini and onion. Stir in the rosemary, thyme, and then add pepper and salt to taste.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain in cold water and then throw them into a mixing bowl. Add in the veggie mix, as well as the chopped tomatoes. Mix it all up.

Finish up with the grated parmeasan cheese, and then it is ready to serve warm, which is what I did last night--or as recommended, toss it in the refrigerator and eat it cool.

Then taunt your coworkers with your delicious lunch while they contemplate the freezer burn frozen meal in the fridge or another can of soup. Not that I would ever do that :-D



The Saddle Walk

It's two days after the half marathon, and I think there must be something in my water. Something really good.

I did not experience any chaffing, so my action plan there worked perfectly.

No blisters, a miracle within itself.

While I can feel my muscle are a little stiff today, they are not to the point where I am having problems moving around. Just the normal exertion after a hard workout.

And no saddle walk.

You know, the awkward walk after a race where it looks like you have been on a horse forever. You look stiff, and it is obvious by the grimaces on your face that you would rather be lying on your back and on some very good pain meds.

I have experienced none of that. Therefore I am a little anxious. Either one of three things happened:
  1. I trained so well and had the perfect diet so that my body was able to handle all the additional stress of race day.
  2. I am a superhero with newfound runner abilities. Soon you will find me dead lifting 500 lbs with the power lifters.
  3. It's going to catch up to me, just give it a few days.
Although I am thinking #1, I am kind of pulling for #2. Then I will really have a reason to run with a cap, and spandex. Don't forget the spandex.


Fox Cities Half Marathon ::: Recap

Last year I slipped on some gravel and my ankle bent one way and the rest of my body went the other. It swelled up pretty quickly, and the next day I went into the doctor where he immediately informed me that I tore the ligament in my left ankle. It was the middle of the summer and I was training for the fall races, but that was going on hold.

It was hard to be patient while it healed. I knew I was not going to have time to train for the fall season and that was a bit disheartening. The brisk fall air was out, and I wanted to be pounding on the pavement. Instead I was wrapping my ankle trying to be a good patient. I felt a bit lost.

Sunday was the Fox Cities Half Marathon. I have been training for this since the doctor gave me the go ahead that everything was healed up. I followed my training schedule religiously, took my cross training seriously, and have been eating like a lean-green fighting machine.

And in part of that preparation I made schedule from my anticipated pace so that my family would know where to show up and cheer me on at what time.

Unfortunately my prep work was slightly flawed, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Half Marathon Start Line

The Start

Mom proved once again why she is a saint, she picked me up at 6am and drove me to the starting line. She also served as my official event photographer.

The guns went off at 7:00, and it took a few minutes before my pace made it over the start pad. I did have my 2 seconds of fame on the local news. In their marathon video package I appear for a blip at 0:21 mark. At least they captured us when we were still looking fresh.

For the first couple of miles I just went with the pack of runners, and maneuvered my way around until I found a group of folks who were at a comfortable pace. It appeared we were all strangers, but keeping up a nice conversation. I do not know if it was the adrenaline, but I felt amazing, me legs were fresh and the weather was crisp and perfect for running.

We approached the first "hill" of the marathon, an overpass going over Highway 441. I felt confident, having added a lot of hill practices to my training schedule. I cruised over, and lost much of the group I had been pacing with the first couple of miles.

Settling in I turned up my tunes and ran to my own groove.

The Pace Sheet is Going to be Off

I hit the 5K marker and looked at my watch to see my time at about 25:25. Doing some quick mental math I panicked for a bit.

Alright, I might have slightly hyperventilated, but nothing bad enough to scare the other runners around me. I was way ahead of the pace I set for myself, but I had found such a groove that the miles just slipped by.

Worried I would overwork myself now and have nothing left for the end, I pulled back a bit. Even so, I knew I was ahead of my pace chart now.

At the halfway maker I glanced at my watch and knew I was just a bit over an hour. Still well ahead of pace. Scarfed down an energy gel and continued on my merry way.

It was at mile 9 that I finally found my Mom again. I waived frantically to get her attention. It was apparent that she was not expecting me yet, because she fumbled for the camera and tried to get a snapshot. Of course she yelled for me to stop to make sure she had a record for photographic posterity, but I knew if I did, I would never start up again. Thus starting the first in a series of amazing rear shots.

Half Marathon Backside #1

The second came a mile or so later when my Mom drove down a side street and found me again. Unfortunately resulting in another derrière exhibit.

Half Marathon Backside #2

Of course, the only shot of me actually running where my face is visible was taken at the start of the race and I look entirely too happy.

Half Marathon - A Little Too Happy

The Finish Line

My race settled in so well that I started to pick back up again after the halfway point. I cruised through the final "hill" aka bridge, surprising myself as I continued to pass folks during the charge. On the final stretch I began looking again for my family, needing some support to carry me through the last mile and a half.

I scanned the crowd lining the street, Mom was ahead. I gave her a grunt in acknowledgment and she cheered me on. One of my friends was there cheering on her husband and gave me a shout out. The rest of my family was MIA. I had a feeling that they were following my original spread sheet quite religiously, and were going to show up after I had passed through.

Knowing they would be there in spirit, I rounded the final turn up the lake front. The last time I ran this stretch in the half marathon I had been chaffing and feeling ready to throw in the towel. This time I was moving steadily and determined to finish strong.

The final 200 meters were killer. I wanted to sprint it in so badly and finish strong. My legs were jell-o. I ignored the pain and just pounded in. The clock overhead read 2:03, and something or another. I knew I started about a minute after the gun went off.

The volunteers wrapped us up, gave us our metals, and pushed us to the food tent to refuel. All I could think was my time was somewhere in the 2:02 range. I had beat my PR by over 15 minutes!
Half Marathon Splits
It took me a bit to find my Mom in the crowd. She was by the finish line area when I came up behind her as she was talking to a woman who had her blackberry out. The woman asked my mom, "What's your runner's bib number?" She looked at the screen, "She already finished."

"What?" I head my Mom say.

Coming up behind her I said, "Hi Mom!."

"Oh my gosh! When did you finish?"

I shrugged and looked at the time clock, "About 10 minutes ago."

"But, how did you get past me?" I shrugged again.

Mom was distraught she did not get a finishing photo, and after promising her I would buy one of the official race photos, she smiled and we took a couple of celebratory shots with my metal.

Half Marathon w/Finisher Metal

My official finish time was 2:02:56, demolishing my previous PR. I had to push myself--there were a few times during the race where I grimaced, but my thoughts were positive and I knew I was well trained. I was determined to finish that bad boy.

And now I am mentally getting to a place where I can start training for the full marathon. I felt good during the race, my recovery after it has been fantastic. Now I want to work on the next challenge.

I also want to work on pacing charts, because *ahem* apparently I am not too efficient at that.

Fox Cities Half Marathon Finisher Metal


The Final Countdown

A little less than 48 hours from the Fox Cities Half Marathon. It is slightly bittersweet because my goal was to run the full marathon this year, but an injury is an injury. Have to treat it with some respect and be thankful everything is healed up.

Nonetheless, the gauntlet has been drawn, and I am ready to get out there. Short training run tonight with my new apprentice and then some weights, and tomorrow off. Excited to check out the expo when I pick up my bib.

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ''I'm possible''"

~Audrey Hepburn


Swimming, Kale Chips, Greek Yogurt, & Yoga, OH MY!

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

I have read about these little buggers in a few different blog posts. The first time, I think was on Eat, Live, Run in her archives. Since then, I have seen the little buggers all over the place. Not to be a lemming, but I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about. Most of the recipes seem to be about the same. The first time around was so good, that I have made another batch to enjoy and perfected my methods a bit.

5 leaves of Kale
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of seasoned salt (sea salt worked too)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While it is warmin' up, wash the Kale leaves and use a salad spinner to dry them out. Or the old fashion way, swing them around in the sink to get the extra water off.

Cut out the inner steam with kitchen sheers (I find it fastest to fold the leaf in half and make a quick cut). Then cut the remainder of the leaf off into small bit sized pieces.

Now here is where artistic paths diverge. I like to get a little messy, and I do not like wasting a plastic bag. So instead of putting the Kale pieces in a baggie and mixing in the olive oil that way, I toss them into a bowl, drizzle the olive oil over top, and start using my hands to mix it all up. Or you could use salad tongs, but it is much more fun my way.

Taking a piece of parchment, lay it over a non-insulated baking sheet, and begin spreading the Kale pieces out. Take the seasoned salt and sprinkle over the top.

Pop the baking sheet into the oven for about 10 minutes, or when the Kale starts to get brown edges. This is the tricky part because the leaves can burn rather easily. Slightly brown edges-- just perfect. Totally charred Kale--an atrocity.

Put them out and let them cool off. Best when served fresh. Although I brought them into work the next day and my officemates sang their praises, so as long as they are packaged up, they will hold.

Swimming & Breakfast Goodness

This morning I was able to pull myself out of bed and drive over to the gym. It was pouring outside and although I will run through light raining, when it downpours I draw the line.

Instead I threw on my swimsuit and started in on laps at the pool. When I walked into the pool area the serious swimmers were still doing their morning workout. Taking motivation from their impressive style, I grabbed some flippers and hopped in.

Warmed up for five minutes with an easy breast stroke. Then went into some 50 meter freestyle sprints without the fins, and then a lap of easy backstroke for rest. I liked to equate them to my swim version of a fartlek workout. Maintained this for thirty minutes, and finished with a five minute easy breast stroke cool down.

I'm feeling stronger in the water and hope to build on that this winter so I can be ready to start training for some open water swimming in the spring.

Patting myself on the back for a workout well done, I headed home and made one of my favorite breakfasts.

Greek Yogurt with Granola

Honey Vanilla Greek Yogurt was the star of the bowl. Sprinkled on French vanilla granola (YUMMY!), and finished it off by drizzling on about a teaspoon of organic honey. Definitely hit the spot.

Topped it all off with a slice of whole grain bread, and what other than -- NUTELLA!

Yoga with Whiskers

At work I realized my upper back was stiff. Probably had something to do with overexerting them when I was doing my strength training last night. Evening plans revolve around making a little dinner and stretching it out with some yoga in the living room. Good activity to do on a chilly evening.

My kitties think so too, because they are already running all over the mat.


5 am

I did not do my long run late last week.

I was suppose to do a long 12 mile run, and I bailed. I wish I could give some grandiose excuse for my insubordination to my running plan, but it simply does not exist.

The weather was perfect. I was wearing my running gear. New songs were downloaded to my iPod. Scarfed my power bar down and had some toast with nutella.

But I just could not get motivated to get out the door.

Since this blog is my accountability, I thought it fitting that my punishment reprimand should be acknowledged here. So in a act of public humiliation humility, I will post what I look like at 5am in the morning waking up for a make-up run.


Notice my failed attempt at smiling. I tried, really did. What was missed was the after shot, when I set the camera down and one of my cats pounced right onto my stomach. Nothing like a paw punch to get you going.

Hmm, maybe I should go one step forward. Just so I do not ever again think twice about skipping out on an important workout. How about I show what I look like after a long run.


My, that does look attractive. Okay, enough of the scary, half awake faces. Lets brings some pretty back to this blog.


Much better.

Note: the cat is looking a bug, not looking at me thinking that I am strange. Just in case anyone was wondering.


Chili with Turkey


16 oz lean turkey
2 garlic cloves (diced)
32 oz. of diced tomato
30 oz. of kidney beans
3 tablespoons chili powder
Optional: 1.5 cups of wheat macaroni
Also optional: a few tablespoons of colby and monterey jack cheese

Easy and simple, as well as mild. Full of carbs and protein, and a bit of childhood nostalgia. Ground turkey in frying pan on medium heat. Once meat is cooked, stir in diced garlic cloves.

In separate pot, turn on medium heat, add diced tomato and kidney beans together. Mix in chili powder. Once turkey is ground, add in and allow to simmer for twenty-five minutes.


Now for the very Wisconsin addition to the recipe. Cook wheat pasta until al dente in a separate pot (the firm taste is great when mixed in with the kidney beans. I picked elbow macaroni for a bit of nostalgia, since this is what my mom always used in her recipe, but any kind would do. My friend from Michigan says that folks do not generally add in the grain, and that it was only when she moved here that it became common. So enjoy the feast that is pasta added to the chili!


And because I have been very good this week, and it is football Sunday, a small dash of colby and monterey jack cheese sprinkled on top. Good meal for a cool (almost fall) day.



Half Marathon Power Mix additions


I once mentioned to an acquaintance, "Don't judge me by my iPod music," and that still hangs true. Normally I am an indie girl who dabbles in a few more popular artists. But lets face it, most indie artists are not known for their upbeat running music.

Therefore, I have given myself the free pass to listen to teenie-bopper, techno, and a whole host of music that would normally make me totally uncool. By acknowledging that they are only there for the beat, this automatically makes them acceptable. If anyone questions this, I give the standard answer, "It is imperative to keeping my cadence consistent."

That sounds plausible. And then I follow up with the clincher, "If you would like to come out on an eight mile run with me, I will show you how effective it is. I was planning on throwing some hills in for fun."

This comment usually receives the common response, "No, no! I believe you!"

So now the final countdown music is blaring on my internal radio. T-minus one week until the Fox Cities Half Marathon. Final preparation is underway and I am taking it upon myself to make sure everything is set up so I have the perfect race.

Of course that includes trying out some new tunes on my iPod.

Normally I would have done this a couple of weeks ago. Just like a new pair of sneakers, new songs take a bit to wear in. Knowing the lyrics is imperative to a good race. Because I will sing them out loud. Loudly. Just in case other runners forgot their mp3 players, I have their backs.

Life ::: Beckah Shae

To Travels and Trunks ::: Hey Marseilles

Rio ::: Hey Marseilles

Silver Lining ::: Rilo Kiley

Bulletproof ::: by La Roux

Wake Up ::: by Arcade Fire

According to You ::: Orianthi

What's it Gonna Be ::: Orianthi

Shake it ::: Metro Station

Lose Yourself ::: Eminem

When You Were Young ::: The Killers

Whine Up ::: Kat Deluna


"What did you do to me?"

My friend claims I broke her. She said so herself this morning in a very public fashion:
Vero said she would start training for a 5k next month, and I eagerly said I would help out a bit. So last night after work we both suited up and left from the office.

The weather was perfect. Sunny, gentle breeze, and temps in the high sixties. Simply perfect.

Knowing Vero does not run a lot, I was planning on taking it out slow, warming up, and then picking up the pace after the first mile.

But being the head strong woman that Vero is, she started pacing ahead of me.

"Are you sure you want to go out at a 8:45 min mile?"

"Yeah, yeah, it feels good," Vero responded.

"Well, just let me know and we can pull back a bit," to be honest I was looking forward to easing into the workout, and here she was kicking my rear into pace. I told myself to just take it like a champ and continue on.

When we hit the one mile mark, we were hit by a slight distraction.

"That looks like my niece up there," I pointed to a lean pre-teen with bright clothes on ahead.

"That's because it is your niece, Clarkie."

We veered off the path and crossed over to my nieceie, who happened to be holding a couple of packets in her hands. I saw the surprise in her face to actually see me out running, and then joy. At first I thought that jubilation she was exerting came from seeing her favorite auntie.

But then I caught sight of the packets in her hand and remembered she is my brother's child.

"Want to buy some wrapping paper or cookies?" She said with a grin on her face. Yeah, all she really wanted was my money. I stopped the watch while Vero and I did the obligatory peruse through the catalog's for her choir's fund raiser. We placed our orders and continued on our way.

"So, do you find it ironic that out of everything in the catalog, both of us decided to buy cookie dough while we are out for a run?" I asked Vero.

"Hmm--" Vero grunted and I took that as a signal to ignore the obvious and pick up my slack to start moving again.

On the running graph there is a drop at mile two.

That is when I was told we would start going slower. Vero is very demanding.

It did not bother me though, I felt good, and the slower pace was okay. I think I started to annoy Vero though when I started doing donuts around her and veering around the path. I swear I was not showing off.

Okay, maybe just a little bit.

But we finished just over 30 minutes. I figure that not being a regular runner, that was a great place for someone in Vero's shape to be at. She does cardio at her gym several times a week, including strength training. She has run before, just generally not as far or fast. If we put together the right training program for her, she should be able to vastly improve her time for the 5k.

So I really did not break my friend. We finished in a respectable time, did not even have to walk (other than our distraction at mile 1). And if she says anything to the contrary, I will remind her again that I tried to pull her back, but she pushed the pace.

And if all else fails, I will blackmail her with the cookie dough.


How to Practice for a Triatholon Start

Watched this and snorted some water through my nose. I was obviously shocked by how educational a commercial could be! It was blatantly apparent that this needed to be posted within the confines of my blog so I had it book marked for future reference. Check-and-mark.

Gosh, I wonder if my friends would be helpful enough to hit me with American Gladiator pugil sticks?

UPDATE: I surveyed a couple of my buddies and they were more then willing to help out with this type of training. I have such caring, and compassionate friends who understand my dedication to the sport.


Ode to nutella


Ode to nutella

I discovered you in Paris, a breakfast addition to the pastries, I was told. Inexpensive and available at any Tesco. Come home to the states and cannot find you in any of the local stores.

My heart breaks slightly.

Alas, I wander those same aisles some years later and my eyes grow wide. There mixed amongst the peanut butter and other spreads is a little row of nutellas. Pricier then London, but worth the sacrifice.

But more than just pastries, your delicious hazelnut adorned strawberries, gram crackers, bagels, oh my!

Full of sugar, pushing the glycemic index. Add to banana and the combination is purely lethal. Some argue that the sugar is too much, I say, "Is good taste too much to hope for?" But there are alternative recipes that may give the same punch with less of the sucrose.

Despite the small controversies, nutella, you are my preferred treat, a small serving size of umph to carry me through a workout. A walking advertisement I have become, but you taste so yummy I give you my support.

After all, you fit in my backpack with no refrigeration, easy to carry on journey's away. A simple solution to give taste to the tasteless foods. Smooth as peanut butter, but tasty as chocolate.

Nutella, you complete me--and my dietary needs.


Homemade nutella recipes

The small jars are just over $3, and the large are over $6. I am a cheap little bugger, so I am wondering if it would be more economical to make my own. Maybe tweak the recipes a bit to healthy them up a little (but not too much, I like my suga').

The reason nutella is on mind

Last night was a short recovery run, with this evening being my longer 12 mile run. I woke up at about 5am and after hitting the snooze button a couple times, and my cats jumping on me with annoyance. After feeding the felines, I headed out to the gym.

I did a light strength training workout because I have found it helps give my carriage better posture throughout the day, and consequently when I run later on.

After pumping iron, and dodging all the gym buffs, I had this sudden craving for nutella. Knowing I had none at home, I made a stop at the grocery store and picked some up. The store clerk gave me a curious glance. I am sure she was thinking, "What an intelligent, young, fit lady coming into the store before even the retirees to beat the crowds and pick up some of this magnificent nutella. She is a smart one!"

I smiled at her for recognizing my intelligent decision before swiping my card and headed home to cover all the food in my refrigerator with this delectable spread and begin my morning grazing.

Thursday is off to a wonderful sugar-high start.

Quotable ::: Lynn Jennings

"The freedom of Cross Country is so primitive. It's woman versus nature."


That one time I was passed by a speed walker

My mom and I apparently cannot talk enough. Even after my impromptu stop at her house during my last cross-training workout, we had an hour long conversation on the phone. We live about ten minutes away, I probably could have just biked over, but ehhh *shoulder shrug*, I just finished a short three mile run and just felt like being lazy. The bon-bons were calling.

We got on the conversation of speed walkers. I am absolutely fascinated by them, especially the uber competitive variety.

My mom and I were chatting and she suddenly broke out laughing.

"Wouldn't it be funny if you were passed by a speed walker during a race," her laughter continued, but suddenly halted when my end of the line remained silent, "Honey, are you still there?"

"Yeah, um actually--I have been passed by a speed walker before."


"It was kind of cool though, she had the motorcycle following along side and everything, you were there..."

At first I could hear the remorse in my Mom's voice about bringing it up, but then she started laughing again, "You were passed by a speed walker!"

Why I associate speed walking with comedy

The first time I had ever heard of competitive speed walking was during an episode of Malcolm in the Middle. It's the one where Hal decides to take up completive speed walking. Bryan Cranston who plays Hal always cracked me up, but when he put on the whole outfit, and topped it off with the helmet, it made me chuckle.

To top it off, Hal was naturally talented at it and trying to figure out why one of his rivals was suddenly so much better than him. He went so far as to video tape his competitor and analyze his gate. The punch line of the show was when Hal realized his competitor was letting both of the feet leave the ground ever three steps, an illegal move that made the walk be considered "running".

I loved how ruthless and competitive Hal was.

When the next summer Olympics were broad casted, I watched the speed walking race with my brother. He was hesitant at first, but I wanted to see the real thing in action, seeing as my only exposure was a thirty minute sitcom. It did not take long, we were soon both mesmerized.

"Look how smooth they are," Bro said with wide-eyed amazement.

"How do they move their hips like that?" I pulled out a notebook to take diagram notes and planned to dissect them later.

"They look like gazelles in water, with hideously colored lycra feathers."

"So beautiful," A stopped myself before the drool started to drip from my chin.

Speed walkers are even more amazing in person

Flash forward to the same fateful half marathon that RB and I ran together. The same one that the chub rub incident occurred. Just after the time my chaffing started to kick in somewhere between mile 11 and 12, I heard a motorcycle pull up behind me.

An official placard donned the front of the bike and the rider was cheerfully talking with the leading speed walker. The speed walker, a rock star woman was leading the pack (victory fist pump for women's awesomeness) and keeping up her part of the conversation without even sounding winded.

"I've finished second and fourth place the last couple years," she told the cyclist, "But this year I want to be first."

They passed me, and a whole pack of folks up on our right side --see, no shame if it was a mass passing, she obviously was just that good--and continued on for the last two miles.

After I reminded my Mom about the race she suddenly gasped, "I remember that now! I was by the finish area and everyone was cheering her on. That was really neat."

Neat-o indeed. I wished I could have seen her finish too, but I was still about a mile back grimacing with my red, irritated chubby thighs.

No shame

There is just something about speed walking that is so mesmerizing. It is not like most folks go out and say, "Honey, I'm going out around the block for an amazingly fast walk. Be back before supper."

No, its that they will go out for a run. I am a runner. I do not think I would have the patience to go out and learn the technique to be a competitive speed walker. But there is something about that just makes you want to watch. There is no way to look away.

I suppose it might be a bit of an ego blow for some to be passed up by those walking gazelles, but I thought it was awesome to witness. No shame in watching someone so talented in their craft that they can just leave you in their dust.

I will eat it humbly.

Quotable ::: Robert Frost

"The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."
~Robert Frost

And today I only had three of those miles to go, but many more tomorrow. So now I will rest and find my own sleep.

Chub Rub

I know what if feels like, but I did not know it had a name. In fact, I am intimately familiar with this particular phenomenon. That phenom would be “chub rub”. Such an affectionate name for what is essentially the most painful chafing I have ever encountered.

The worst part is that it could have been deterred.

But I get a head of myself. Let me jump back to the events that lead to my fateful experience with chub rub.

Prepping for my first half marathon

I stood in my local sports outfitter store with my accountabilabuddy. We had already picked out the fateful Pepto-Bismol pink matching race shirts and now moved over to the shorts.

“I’m getting these,” RB said holding up a pair of soccer shorts.

“Alright, if you want too. But I am thinking about these,” I pulled a pair of long compression shorts, “They look comfortable and won’t bunch up during the run.”

“Oh, no—you don’t want those,” a voice came from behind us. A tall, lean women in a store shirt stood behind and reached into the rack and pulled out a short, loose looking pair, “I’ve run several marathons, and these work the best.”

“I don’t know, these look comfy—”

RB cut me off, “Clarkie, she obviously has a lot of experience. I think you should get those.”

Two-to-one. I wanted to ignore both their advice and go with my gut. They were both built differently then me. I was short and a little stout. They were both taller and thinner. Despite going with my gut, I put the compression shorts back onto the shelf and took the pair from the saleswomen’s hands. Darn you passive-aggressive personality.

They were cheaper then the pair I was going to buy, so that did make me feel like the experienced saleswoman was trying to legitimately help me out.

Mile 10 of the half marathon

I felt my inner thighs start to burn. I knew my skin had been hitting itself throughout the race. I call this the skin wobble.

When you are just standing still, the thigh skin stays a respectable distance apart. However, add in the bounce from running and that once stationary skin starts to act a little like jello and moves all over the place.

The shorts had been fine the first few times I had worn them before the race, but now when I think about it, they had only been out on short runs and cooler days. Obviously my second mistake after purchasing them was not wearing them in race conditions.

With the midmorning sun beating down and the extended distance, I could feel the pain coming from my legs. Not to mention they kept riding up and giving me a wedgie, and I am fairly certain that I gave the runners behind me quite a show as I dug them out.

I grabbed some Vaseline from one of the water stations off what I believe to be a very sanitary piece of ripped of cardboard mounting the gel in a big glob. But the damage was already done. The gel on my legs made it even more painful as the skin was red and raw.

The aftermath

At work the week following the half marathon, I waddled around the office. Every time my thighs would come in contact with each other I would cringe. Of course the waddling style would not win me any bonus points as the awesome long distance runner that I am. So I spent the entire week hiding in my office and only came out when I was able to get a hold of one of the office interns and ask them to roll me around in my office chair.

I just told everyone it was part of my effort to get everyone else in the office to be as in shape as me, and that started with a chair pushing workout.

Lesson Learned

Although the woman at the sporting outfit store had good intentions, she was thinking about the experience purely from her own perspective, not the perspective of a then novice runner who had still has chubby thighs.

In the future I could rectify the situation by doing the following:

  • Only shop with other thick thigh gals. They understand my plight, and we can work together to deter any pesky sales folks.
  • Only shop primarily online. Sure, I can’t try the stuff on, but there is no one to stop me from purchasing what I want and manipulating my passive-aggressive demeanor.

Or, I could:

  • Just go with my gut and tell the sales folks, “No thanks, I’m good. Been in a couple of these races before, and this is what works for me.”
Another lesson learned; why did I let RB help me pick out shorts in the first place? She never ran a race in her life and picked out soccer shorts. Smart move, runner girl.

In conclusion

I had always just assumed what I had was a really bad case of chafing. Imagine my surprise to learn it did indeed have a technical name: chub rub.

So aptly defined in my latest issue of Runner's World:

“When the inner thighs chafe, causing redness and pain. You don’t need to be chubby for this to happen.”

Ahhh, you don’t have to be chubby, but it certainly helps. But I do appreciate they are trying to help us big thigh gals feel better about ourselves that this could happen to anyone.

But I have found my own way to help. A combo of my compression shorts and some glide gels and I’m good to go.

In fact, I think the sporting goods store should hire me and help them attract a whole new group of customers: runners who have experienced extreme chafing. I’m telling you, there is a huge untapped market out there.


Swimming Laps

Today I spent my day doing a little cross training. My game of attack was to start out with a nice and easy bike ride, followed by some time in the pool, and finishing up with another leg of biking. Really, I just did not want to take my car to the 'Y' and therefore the two-wheeled addition to the workout.

So I have this crazy idea that next spring I would like to try my first sprint triathlon. 1/4 mile swim, 15 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. The bike and run are right up my alley, but I have not been in the pool in quite some time. Thus my brilliant plan for the day began. It might not be open water, but the 'Y' has a pool, and a lifeguard if I start to look like I'm about to keel over.


Started out after watching the first game of Venus vs. Peers at the U.S. Open. I was slightly inspired by Venus's red, sparkley dress and decided to bring out my own bit of red in my riding shirt.

Took off and headed across town. Of course my attention span being as short as it is, I became distracted at the sight of dozens of seagulls hanging out by the dam. Stop the bike, whip out the camera. Work it seagulls, work it.


1:18 PM

Arrived at the 'Y'. Tried checking in with my debit card instead of my membership card. The check-in folks were polite and did not say anything about my gaff. Apparently this not the first time this has happened.

1:27 PM

Head out of the locker room and head down to the pool. I immediately go to the cabinet and pull out the fins. Figure that it might be good to help get my legs back since its been a while from the last time I did laps. The pool is mostly cleared out. Only a teen using the diving well at the far end, and two other swimmers already doing laps.

After a ten minute warm-up, I pull off the fins and start rotating laps between freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke. The breaststroke has always been the swim that I am most relaxed in, but I know my speed will come from the freestyle.

Ten minutes of the rotation I take a quick break, and start in on pure laps of freestyle. It is amazing, but when I stopped thinking about the strokes and just let my mind wonder, the laps just started to vanish. Everything started to feel like a cocoon of quiet and peace.

It was in that moment that I chastised myself from staying away from the pool for so long.

2:34 PM

Wander down to my bike after cleaning up and changing back into my road gear. Start out on a small bike trail route and head over to my mom's. I have run out of toilet paper, and she acquired some of the really soft kind, an accident on her part. She prefers the thin variety and I am happy to take the problem paper off of her hands.


I just planned on stopping by for my random toilet paper acquisition and to say "hi" to mom during my afternoon route, and she mentioned how she "just had to get a picture of me". Being the girl who wants to maintain favorite child status, I quickly agreed and this little beauty came to fruition.

This photo says a few different things:
  • My thighs will always be massive, and I embrace that.
  • I am kind of a bike poser. The gloves, bike shirt, shorts--um, yeah, I'm not really that hard core.
  • My mom loves to take random photos.

3:09 PM

Finally on the road after chatting with Mom. A workout in itself, but a welcomed one. TP in the backpack and heading home.

3:18 PM

Back at home, and make myself a quick snack. Steamed broccoli with garlic salt. Happy tummy. *drool*


A good day overall. My muscles are feeling good and ready for a nice easy run tomorrow.

A Little Bit -- Dirty?

Oh my blessed washer and dryer this looks awesome! Even better then the Run Amuck event is the Run Amuck photo gallery.

Seriously laughing so hard. I want in on this race so badly, I would even consider buying an airline ticket and flying out for this next year.


The Spirit of the Marathon


I have been putting off watching The Spirit of the Marathon on purpose. It is two weeks to the Fox Cities Half Marathon, and figured this would be the time in my training I would need a little inspiration. It has been sitting in my Netflix queue taunting me for quite some time, and after my distance run today, it felt right to pull it out.

"The triumph over the adversity, that is what the marathon is all about. And therefore you know there isn't anything in life you cannot triumph over after that." -Katherine Switzer
The premise of biopics following these six runners in various stages of training and experience is well thought out and relatable. I loved the little bits of running history thrown into the documentary. And oddly enough, the tension building music was not too terrible either.

It is interesting because the film points out how non-runners see this almost obsession with such a personal sport as crazy. The motivators for every runner is different, but the commonality of the race binds us together. The elites along with the "others".

Entirely unrelated to Spirit of the Marathon:

And onto a mini rant. The comment of the day happened during my long run by a man who resembled Al Borland, "Look at her, she's wearing shorts--she's crazy!"

No Sherlock, its only 60 degrees, which is in stark contrast to last weeks high temps. However, contrary to popular belief it does not warrant snow suits and stocking caps quite yet. In fact, if you were up to about six miles of running, you too would need to cool off. But it appears you are drinking a beer outside of your garage and making random comments about folks who you think are not listening because they are wearing earphones instead.

Let this be a lesson to you beer drinker man, runners usually keep the volume down low so we can hear traffic, and random comments from guys like you. Thanks for the chuckle though.

And for the record I am not crazy, just a runner.

Quotable ::: Prefontaine

"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."

~Steve Prefontaine

Now it is time to go out for my long run.

Plast'o' from the Running Past'o'


Mom is in a cleaning kick. In the last week my old bedroom that has not been touched in the nearly decade since I went off to college, is the sudden object of her obsession. Yesterday I walked into my apartment to find eight massive black garbage bags filled with my childhood possessions lined up in my kitchen. I contemplated changing my lock, but remembered that she feeds my cats when I am out of town and leaves me yummy treats as surprises and decided to just let it go.

While I spend the better part of the evening emptying out bags to clear a path to my refrigerator (note to self -- highly effective diet plan) I also came across several treasures. One of which was in the same frame I was presented during my senior year of high school.

It was a collage of photos the underclassmen collected over the season and presented at our awards banquet. They had a hard time finding photos of me because I am a tad camera shy, especially when you throw me into one of our skimpy high school running uniform. As a result, most were just random left over shots. The one "good photo" is the goof ball one in the middle that we took at a regional meet on a golf course.

But I love it nonetheless. It reminds me of so many memories, the pain after hard practices, the joy improving over the course of the season. The feeling of belonging.

Running brought together a group of teenagers who most likely would not have come together in any other instance. With a graduating class of roughly 500 students, and a school with about 2000, the odds of this group coming together is nearly unimaginable.

This morning I am going to challenge myself to be even better than that young woman in those photographs. 12 miles scheduled, and it is going to be a chilly morning. Last week we were reaching into the 90's and now it is going to feel like the low 40's when I start me run tomorrow morning.


Looks like I am going to be digging out the underarmour tonight. Love me some Midwest cool runnin'!


Mingling with the Gym Buffs

The weather is recking havoc on my run schedule. A little light rain I can work with, but as a general rule I do not like to take on thunderstorms. As a runner I like stats, graphs, anything that helps to track my progress. I believe in the power of well executed statistics. So when the U.S. National Weather Service tells me the odds of being struck by lightening in my lifetime are 1 in 6250, I pay a little attention.

And I figure my average is higher since I run outdoors and the stat encompasses the couch potatoes and gamers who perpetually live in doors and pull the number down.

While the last few days have been threatening with severe weather I have moved my workouts indoors and added in some strength training.

Which brings me to the gym buffs.

I have never been a tiny gal. Even at my peek physical form in high school, I had some meat on my bones. On an all girls team I did not necessarily stick out, but I did not have the average teenage physic.

By my astute *cough* statistical analysis, about 85% of the people that workout at the gym while I am there are male. And not just any breed of male, manly men. The kind of men that talk to the hair on their chest and encourage it to grow. The kind of men that crush beer bottles with their fists (note, not cans, but glass bottles). The kind of man that can bench press me and my extra pudge without even batting an eyelash.

It is always with some trepidation that I enter the gym for my workout, because by my outward appearance I always feel like I am being judged. When I walk in with my Peto Bismol pink shirt and frou frou pony tail there are side glancing stares and raised eyebrows. The men pound on their chests a bit and let out grunts to show that this is their territory, and I am merely a visitor.

My little chubby behind wattles over to the treadmill to warm up for a couple miles. Any longer on the dreadful thing and I contemplate taking a dumbbell to it. Of course a couple minutes after I start the thing I am flanked by two runners who push up their speed to seven minute pace miles after glancing over and seeing that I am merely at a 9:30 pace, in order to show their awesomeness. They jump off after a mile and hold back their wheezes until they think they are out of sight.

At least I imagine their wheezing and chalk that up to my own awesomeness as an endurance athlete.

I finish up my run on the devil treadmill and scurry through the gym and out into the open track area for some stretches and ab workouts. There is a girl who cannot be more then 12 years old out there and I think she looks adorable in her little purple tank and pigtails. Then she drops to the floor and starts pounding out push ups like she is in the Navy. Her military precision is intimidating. I lower my head in defeat and retreat to the back weight room.

It is quieter in here. The bulk of the serious gym buffs are out by the free weight section, so I have the standard machines to myself for a bit. A couple other guys come in and I hold my breath expecting more judgment. But then I notice they are like me, slightly skittish and trying to stay out of the eye of the more serious weightlifters.

I finish up my arm and leg circuit and know it is time. The final workouts for the day are the free weights, and it is time to come face-to-face with the gym buffs. When I enter the main room I am meet with the worst possible scenario.

The power lifters.

These are the ultra gym buffs. They compete all over the country, and I know a couple of them are world champions in their weight class. Not only can they bench press me and my flub, they can do it standing one handed and dancing a jig.

"Hi Clarkie!"

Oh, and they know me too. So I cannot just hid in the back and go through my reps, I have to walk over and engage them in polite conversation. To be fair, they are pretty cool people who really work well together and encourage each other. They look like they belong here at the gym, because they do.

And so do I.

We chat a bit, I let them get back to their massive weights, and I go grab my little ten pounders. It is then that suddenly something in the gym drastically changes.

Everyone stops looking at me funny. They just acknowledge me and go on with their workout. I am almost positive it is because the power lifters who are the kings and queens of the gym have shown me their favor. But I also want to think that it is my confidence in myself that I exude changes their view on me. Whatever it is, I am thankful for acceptance.

Thanks to the weather, I will probably be back there again tonight and postponing my long run until tomorrow. Here's hoping that newfound grace follows me through.