Race Report: Run Baby Run 5K

Do you KNOW how long it’s been since I’ve tried to run fast?  A long damn time.  April 10th, to be exact, was my last logged track workout.  But I signed up for a 5k today anyway.  It was for the March of Dimes (aka “tax deductible”), it was local, and an acquaintance was the race director.  All good reasons to go out and support it.

My official 5k PR was really outdated–27:51 from March of 2011–but since my training has been all about the long, slow miles lately, I just didn’t know if I had it in me to beat it.

My race plan:   Run fast until you can’t run fast anymore.

The weather was pretty good, although not exactly ideal for me.

With 100% humidity, at least if you get thirsty all you have to do is breathe.

I didn’t really know where to line myself up at in the field of 52 people.  (Hey, it’s a small town!  That’s a good turnout!)  I planted myself squarely in the middle–behind the high school boys and in front of the couple with the stroller and a dog.

I knew ahead of time where the race was starting, but I didn’t know what direction is was going to go from there.  Turns out, it was on streets that I run regularly.  I guess that paid off for me because I picked several people off on the first long incline.  That was a confidence boost.  I’m not the girl that passes people.  I’m the girl that gets passed.  But not one single person passed me in this race.

Mile 1 was 8:35.  Fast for me, but today it felt sustainable, so I rolled with it.

Mile 2 came in at exactly 8:35 again.  I wondered if I could hang on.

During mile 3 I felt myself slipping.  I looked down once and saw a 9 as the first number of my pace and thought, “Aw, HELL, naw,” and picked it back up.  It was during this mile that I caught up with my buddy, the Sheriff.  I passed him (and MAY have made a remark about that fact), but he caught back up to me and we hung together.  Mile 3 came in at 8:47.

The last tenth, Sheriff asked if I had anything left for a kick.  I told him I was DONE, but we picked it up a little bit for an 8:13 average on the last little stretch.

Final official results:

Official time:  26:45  (I always forget to stop my watch immediately when I finish!)
Official pace:  8:37
Field placement:  12/52
Age group placement 2/at least 3

Love those small age groups!!

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At Long Last

Ever since becoming a member of the vegetarian/vegan community a year and a half ago, I’ve heard about tempeh.  Heard about it, read about it, seen pictures of it… but never tried it.  Why?  Because I live in the rural mid-south.  The good ol’ dirty south.  Where everyone thinks a meal isn’t a meal unless it contains flesh of some sort.  I’m two hours from the nearest Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, and none of my local grocers carry much to cater to those of us on a plant-based diet, other than your standard grains and produce.  I even asked my local health food store if they would order it for me, and they told me no because they would have to order too much of it to meet a minimum order requirement and they didn’t feel it would sell.  Apparently they used to carry it but quit because no one bought it.

Well, a couple of months ago I found myself in a Kroger in Clarksville and I thought I’d check there just on the off-chance that they carried tempeh.  They didn’t, but while I was there I did find seitan, another meat alternative that I hadn’t been able to find locally.  I bought it, tried it, and loved it, so when I was back in Clarksville last weekend I made a point to go back to that Kroger to get some more of it.  And guess what I found sitting on the shelf right beside it?!?!

Sunday I sliced it into strips, mixed up this marinade, and stuck it in the fridge so that Monday I could have a vegan BLT for lunch.

While it tasted good, I wished I had fried it rather than baking it.  I had marinaded the whole 8 oz. package, though, so there was plenty left, so when I made breakfast for supper (the best time to have breakfast, in my opinion) later in the week, I took a few strips of the already-baked tempeh and threw it in  a little bit of oil and fried it to a crisp.  MUUUUUUUUCH BETTER!

I had also saved another recipe that I had been dying to try when and if I ever found tempeh.  A friend had shared this recipe from Little House of Veggies a while back, and I bookmarked it because I’m a buffalo whore.  Seriously.  I followed all the directions exactly, except I didn’t have any corn or a jicama.  (because I don’t know what a jicama is), and  I added tomato and green onions, just because, and then I smothered all that shit in the ranch dressing.

BEST.  SALAD.  EVER.

Photo borrowed from the Little House of Veggies blog.  See link above.
Do you use tempeh?  If you follow a plant-based diet, do you live in an area that makes it somewhat challenging?

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 10

Planned                                           Actual
Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  4                                      Tuesday:  8 @ 10:15
Wednesday:  8                                 Wednesday:  Rest
Thursday:  4                                     Thursday:  3.4 miles naked with dogs
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  2.6 @ 10:47
Saturday:  17                                    Saturday:  2 @ 10:53
Sunday:  Cross-train                        Sunday:  17 miles @ 11:08 + a bonus 0.5 miles
Total:  33 miles                                 Total:  33.5 miles

Tuesday evening when I started my run, I wasn’t sure how far I was going to go.  The plan called for 4, but I knew that Tuesday was going to be the easiest day for me to get my 8 in.  I just wasn’t sure if my legs would be down with that since I had just run 8.5 on Friday and 12 on Sunday.  I figured I’d just play it by ear and took off.  I ran the first mile as a warm-up and knew immediately I’d be going for 8.  I felt pretty damn great.  I kind of treated it as a fartlek.  (hehehe)  I’d run fast for one song, slow for one song, fast one song, slow one song.  It was fun!  It made it FLY by.  I definitely could have kept going for a good while.  It makes me happy that I’m putting in the mileage I’m putting in and still have fresh legs.  I NEVER would have thought it.

Thursday’s run was all about clearing my head.  I didn’t even wear my Garmin.  The last thing I wanted to see Thursday was more numbers.  I had been looking at spreadsheets and numbers all day long.  I only know how far we went because I know from my neighbor’s driveway to the end of the road is 0.85 miles and we did that twice, there and back.

Friday after I got off work I went to look at a treadmill I had seen on Craigslist that I thought may be a pretty good deal.  For the price I wasn’t expecting much.  The model had good reviews, but I didn’t know what kind of shape it may be in.  I didn’t go out there with plans of bringing it home, but when I saw it I was really surprised.  I played with it there at their house for a few minutes and left to go get some cash and my husband with his truck.  I goofed around on it for 2.6 miles Friday night, just tinkering with all the settings and whatnot.  I still can’t believe I bought a damn treadmill.  I hate those damn things.  I hate it so much that I got up and played with it for 2 more miles on Saturday morning before I went to work.

I was kind of nervous about Sunday’s long run of 17 miles.  During training for my first (and only other) marathon, it was during the 16-miler that my knee first started bothering me.  I was worried that history would repeat itself.  I left the house with two sticks of Clif Shot Bloks and 32 oz of Nuun around my waist.  It was a chilly, cloudy 45 degrees when I started.  I was downright COLD in my shorts and tee for the first couple of miles.  I LOVED IT!  I’ve been waiting all summer to say “BRRR!” on a run!  I planned to walk and fuel at miles 4, 8, 11, and 14, and I stuck to the plan like glue.  And once again it worked like a charm.  The run is what everyone hopes for a long run to be–uneventful.  Sooooooooo much better than last week’s hungover sorry excuse for a long run.

When I got home, I went through my typical post-run routine of drinking a Vega recovery accelerator and  protein shake while I sat out on the back deck watching the dogs play in the backyard.  I returned a phone call I missed while I was out running, and while I was on the phone I grabbed my laptop to log my long run.  After I did, I noticed that 17 miles put me at 699.5 miles for the year.  That number gnawed at me a little bit, but I let it be… until I saw that my weekly mileage record was 33.2 miles.  I knew I had just beat my weekly TRAINING mileage of 31 miles, but the week of the actual marathon back in Dec of 2010, I ran 33.2 miles.  I couldn’t handle it.  I did what any sane person would have done.  I put my shoes back on and hopped on my new treadmill.

700 miles for the year (only 10 miles short of my highest yearly mileage of 710 in 2010) and 33.5 miles for the week.  I couldn’t be any happier with where I’m sitting right now.  I WILL hit my 1,000-mile goal for this year, and I WILL break 5 hours on December 1st.  Or die trying.

Vega Sport Review

We’ve all heard about Vega by now, right?  I discovered them a few months ago when I was looking for a quality plant-based protein powder.  I’ve been using their original formula chocolate and berry protein powder in my whole fruit smoothies for a while now, but I’ve always been curious to try their other products.  I’ve secretly been hoping that Vega would send me some of their stuff for free to review and give away (like they did so many of the other bigger and better bloggers!), but, alas, it never came to pass. So a few weeks ago I shelled out $34 (sale price + shipping) of my hard-earned salary and bought a sample pack myself.

Obviously a stock photo.  I did not take the time to arrange the items in an orderly fashion, take a picture, and crop out the background.  I promise this is not my photography.

It included:

  • 2 pre-workout energizers.  Acai berry and lemon lime
  • 2 recovery accelerators:  Apple berry and tropical
  • 3 performance protein powders:  Chocolate, vanilla, and berry
  • 2 endurance bars:  Acai berry and mocha
  • 2 endurance gels:  Orange zest and raspberry
  • 2 protein bars:  Chocolate coconut and chocolate saviseed
  • 2 electrolyte hydrators:  Pom-berry and lemon lime

My opinions:

  • I hated the pre-workout energizers.  They did not energize my workout, as the name would have one believe.  I used them before my mid-week mid-distance run.  I’m tired when I get off work and need a boost to get through those.  These don’t really make me feel any more energetic.  Besides that, they don’t mix well, the shit settles to the bottom if you don’t stir it constantly, and both flavors tasted horrible.  I usually really like anything lemon-lime flavored, but this just tasted like Lysol floor cleaner.
  • The apple berry recovery accelerator tasted GREAT, and the tropical wasn’t half bad either.  I drank the apple berry immediately after a 12-mile long run and the tropical after a 14-miler.  The purpose of the recovery accelerator is to speed muscle recovery, reduce inflammation, and shorten rest periods between workouts.  I gotta say, they’re onto something with this one.  I woke up the next morning with fresh legs, ready to go again.  I liked it so much I ordered a big tub of the apple berry.  I’ve used it after every long run since and I’ve been shocked by how NOT sore I’ve been.
  • The performance protein powder was a definite winner.  It tasted great, even better than the Vega Sport original protein powder that I’ve been using for a while, and it seemed to blend better too.  All three flavors were fantastic.  I ordered a tub of the vanilla.  
  • The endurance bars are a blend of complex carbs (30g) and protein (8g) for sustained energy, but I don’t like eating anything during a run.  Gels and shot bloks, sure, but not a bar.  So instead I had them before a run.  I had one as breakfast before a long training run in place of my regular Clif bar.  Even though they had fewer grams of carbs than the Clif, they sustained me well and were gentle on the belly.  The texture of the bar was light and gooey, not sticky and dry like some of the other plant-based bars I’ve had.  The acai berry, unlike the pre-workout energizer of the same flavor, was delicious.  And the mocha flavor, which I had as an afternoon snack before a mid-week 7-miler, was THE BOMB.
  • The first thing I noticed about the endurance gels was the sheer size of the things.  They are SO MUCH BIGGER than a Gu or a Clif Shot that I’m used to.  It made me kind of nervous about trying to slurp down that much stuff during a run.  Turns out it wasn’t an issue.  The consistency is quite a bit thinner than a Gu, so it was much easier to consume on the go.  Two more bonuses for me was they were much easier to open than Gu, and they didn’t hurt my sensitive teeth like Gu.  And they were extremely easy on the gut.  No issues there at all.  The orange zest flavor was awesome. It reminded me of orange slices candy.  I love those things!  And the raspberry wasn’t half bad either.  I had the orange one at mile 5 of a 14-miler and the raspberry one at mile 12 of a 15-miler (I didn’t want to take them both out that first time until I knew how well they got along with my digestive tract.)  There were no issues either time.  I’ll be replacing Gu as my go-to gel!  I ordered a big box of the orange zest.
    • The chocolate coconut protein bar was the best protein bar I’ve ever had.  Hands down.  Like Mounds, only with no guilt.   The chocolate saviseed was great too.   The only thing keeping me from ordering a full box of these is the price.  They’re kind of steep, even on Amazon.  I’ll have to stick to my PureFit vegan protein bars for now.  They’re not quite as tasty, but they’re an affordable plant-based option.  Plus they’re a great company who supports animal adoption and spay/neuter programs, so I feel great about supporting them anyway.
    • The electrolyte hydrators were just okay in my opinion.  The pom-berry flavor tasted kind of … mediciney?  I don’t know, but it wasn’t my favorite.  The lemon-lime definitely tasted better than the lemon-lime flavored pre-workout energizer, but still not great.  I think I’ll have to stick to Nuun for the hydration.

    St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 9

    Planned                                           Actual
    Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
    Tuesday:  4                                      Tuesday:  Rest
    Wednesday:  7                                 Wednesday:  7 @ 10:17
    Thursday:  4                                     Thursday:  Rest
    Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  8.5 @ 11:19
    Saturday:  Rest                                 Saturday:  Rest
    Sunday:  Half-Marathon                    Sunday:  12 miles @ 11:39
    Total:  28.1 miles                              Total:  27.5 miles

    First of all, can I get a WOOT WOOT for a monthly personal distance record?!  Previous record was 100.1 miles in October of 2010.  This month ended at 112.5.  Yeehaw!

    Okay, moving on.

    I didn’t run Tuesday.  After a long two days of interviews, I was wiped out.

    I planned to take Wednesday’s 7 slow and easy, but it ended up being faster than I intended.  The funny thing is I didn’t even realize it until I was done.  I didn’t have my contacts in and it was dark out, so I couldn’t even see my Garmin.  Or much of anything else, for that matter.  Not an ideal running situation for a girl that trips over a crack in the sidewalk in broad daylight.  Anyway, when I got back in the truck and put my glasses on, I was stoked to see the pace that I had just run at such a low exertion level.  Hellloooooo fall!!!!!!  (And this is just with it cooling down into the 70s!  I run my best in temps under 50!)

    Thursday was an exciting day, but it was after 7:00 by the time I got home, and I was starving, so I didn’t run again.

    On Friday afternoon I just couldn’t stand the fact that I had missed 8 miles this week, so I decided to go for an easy 8-mile run.  And then I looked at my monthly mileage.  It was 92.  Eight miles would put me at 100 miles flat.  With a previous personal distance record of 100.1 miles.  Aw HELL naw.   I’ll be DAMNED if I was gonna run anything less than 8.2!!!  A super slow, super easy 8.5 miles put me at 100.5 for the month.  I was all smiles the whole run because I knew I was in the process of setting a new PDR.  I was also still basking in some very awesome news!

    Sunday… oh, Sunday.  The absolute BEST thing I can say about Sunday’s long run is I found a dime on the sidewalk.  I’m not even going to try to make excuses for this one.  It’s completely my fault.  D and I went out for a celebratory dinner and drinks Saturday night.  I know better than to drink the night before a long run, but you know what?  Training runs are a dime a dozen.  I’ll run again next week, but I’ll only have this reason to celebrate once!  Wine trumped long run this week.  I’m not sorry.