Saturday, November 28, 2009

Week 2 + 36 miles completed

Today I did my 13 mile run. I usually eat well before runs but ran today on a bowl of cocoa puffs and feel that was one reason I felt like shiz during the 8 miles I ran at marathon pace. My goal was to run an average 8:20 pace but I averaged 8:12, which I feel good about. I brought a strawberry-banana Powerbar gel, and decided to use that instead of the rest of my Swedish fish. (I used the candy for the first half of my run.) I chugged the gel with tons of water and I could barely taste it, thankfully.
This week I have 40 miles on the schedule with a 14 mile long run. 16 weeks to go!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Product Review: Recovery Socks

I've been wearing Recovery Socks for the past few weeks and posted a review here. I thought I'd share my review with you guys again on my blog, since Friday OFFICIALLY marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. Do you like our ghetto Christms tree? Anyways, here's the review:

After running several half marathons, I finally decided it’s time to knock the full 26.2 off my bucket list. Consequently, I’ve been on the look out for products that will help me remain injury free while logging more miles than I’m accustomed to. I read about Recovery Socks on several different blogs and forums, but decided I needed to check out the hype when I read in “Advanced Marathoning” that Paula Radcliffe, the Marathon World Record Holder, swears by compression clothing. Wearing Recovery Socks, may never give me her abs or talent, but if an elite athlete like Radcliffe believes in similar technology, I’ll take her at her word.

According to the Recovery Sock website, these socks are “not simply a graduated compression sock.” The site claims that “the Recovery Sock’s advantage is that it’s compression socks incorporate a Patented Graduated Compression design that enhances and stimulates circulation in the lower leg - making it a superior sock.” That sounded good to me, so I decided to put Recovery Socks to the test for a few weeks to see if they improved my performance and recovery.

I wore the socks during and after 3 runs above 10 miles, and only after a few other runs. Judging from the few weeks I’ve used the socks, I believe that the benefits of Recovery Socks increase when used for both running and recovery. My legs felt fresher following days I used the socks in my training. Furthermore, as I increase my mileage, I’m concerned with preventing cramps and lactate acid build up, and it seems the socks have helped prevent both of these problems. That being said, Recovery Socks are not a supplement for stretching and proper training. I still feel the minor aches and pains of someone preparing for a marathon. However, I think these socks are well worth the price and would be beneficial to any runner currently running medium to long distances.

My only beef with Recovery Socks is that they don’t come in more colors. I ordered mine in black but they also come in white, grey, fuchsia, and lime green. I like the grey socks as well, but would like to see more colors offered. (Not all chick runners want to rock Barbie pink.) My black socks kind of look like business socks, but my husband thinks I look good in them and frankly, so do I.;) If my Recovery Socks keep living up to all they're claimed to be, this runner won’t be bashful to wear them on race day.

A favorite food blog, swedish fish, and 10 miles

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share with you a favorite food blog that has a ton of great recipes, that are not always nutrient dense, but worth the calories. You can find it HERE. I'm not afraid of caloric food, but if I'm going to waste a lot calories on something, it better taste good! (Maybe that's why I don't lose a lot of weight running.;)

Speaking of fuel, I was reading a thread that I can't find again in the million threads in the Runnersworld forum, on what different people use as fuel. I've written on various occasions how my gels are making me want to gag, so today I bought a bag of Swedish Fish to use on my 10 mile run. Gels have always seemed to me like they'd be way more effective than candy, but after reading a few people on Runnersworld swear by Swedish Fish, I thought I'd give them a try. My problem wasn't gagging them down, but eating them too quickly. My run went well, but I'm not sure if it was due to the fish. I bought another bag to use on my 13 miler on Saturday and I'll try them again on longer runs.

Other people suggested sports jelly beans, (which I heard were nothing but glorified jelly beans with extra salt, and prunes...) I think I'll try the jelly beans next. In the end, I'll probably stick to the gels or GU chomps for my marathon, (just because I have it engrained in my mind that those are better), but it doesn't hurt to try new things.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

12 mile run completed: 17 weeks to go!

I was glad to complete my 12 mile run yesterday pretty easily, (at an average 9:27 pace,) and have a week of marathon training completed. My ankles and knees feel a little sore but I'm really being hypersensitive about any pains because I have this fear I'm going to get hurt and won't be able to finish my training...I'm gonna think good thoughts and hope for the best though.

I was supposed to run 33 miles this week and accomplished that. I was also glad that my 4 mile lactate threshold attempt on my 8 mile run on Monday was successful. I know people have different ways of calculating that but I'm just using my best half marathon pace as mentioned in Advanced Marathoning. (7:47) I'll try harder on that though, as my training progresses.

Anyways, here's my schedule for this week:

Monday- 8 miles w/ 10 x 100 m strides
Tuesday- Rest or cross training
Wednesday- 10 miles -general aerobic
Thursday- Rest or cross training
Friday- 5 mile Recovery run
Saturday- 13 miles with 8 at marathon race pace

Total Miles: 36

I know I won't qualify for Boston on my first marathon. I don't even know if it's realistic for me to shoot for running under 4 hours, but I think that's very possible and something I'd be proud of. I've been a little torn about whether or not I should train like I was going to qualify for Boston, (with an 8:20 race pace,) and just hope I make it in under 4 hours on race day, or if I should train at a slower pace so I don't get hurt. When I have goals in my mind I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person, and so I've gone back and forth on this. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Armenian Rice Pilaf, Yoga, Miles

Tonight I'm going to my second yoga class of the week. I took a yoga class like 5 years ago in college, and enjoyed it, but after the class on Tuesday, I really felt like a new person. Perhaps it's because I'm the world's worst stretcher, or maybe I just needed a mental and physical break, but I felt like my body was telling me, "please do this more often, Laura." So, I'm gonna go ahead and listen to myself.

I wore my REALLY worn out Brooks Ghost shoes last night to do my 9 mile run and I came back with new pains that I usually don't feel when I run so slow. I'm getting a new pair of shoes for Christmas, so I was just trying to get the last wear out of a few of my older pairs of shoes. Runner's World has given rave reviews to the new Brooks Ghost 2 shoes, and those are really tempting to me, but I think I'm just going go with my Mizuno Waverider 12's again.

On to the recipe...

I'm a quarter Armenian and really, the only thing I have to show for it, is olive skin and knowing how to cook some dang good food. I thought I'd share a good Armenian Rice Pilaf recipe that my husband loves because everyone can use another way to cook rice.

Armenian Rice Pilaf

-2 T. butter
-1/2 cup vermicelli; broken in little pieces
-1 cup rice
-1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1. Heat butter in saucepan until frothy.
2. Add vermicelli; saute until golden. (Watch this carefully or it will burn.)
3. Add rice, stir.
4. Add chicken broth, stir to mix.
5. Bring to boil.
5. Lower hear and cover and cook for 18 minutes on simmer.

Monday, November 16, 2009

8 miles: 4 at Lactate Threshold

Today I ran 8 miles. The first two I warmed up, the middle 4 I ran at a 7:47 pace, and the last 2 I cooled down. I felt good and it wasn't very difficult again. I don't own a Garmin so I do most of my lactate threshold miles on the 'mill. (I can't really think of an alternative.) Do people without a Garmin just carry around a pen and paper when they run? Seriously, I guess I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box, because I haven't figured out how Garminless people track their pace unless they are just averaging. Seems too tedious for me...

Anyways, this hasn't been a huge problem for me because I like running both outside and on the treadmill, but I understand that the closer I can get to running like I will be on race day, the better off I'll be. I'll just do what I can, I guess.

Tomorrow is a rest day and I think I'm gonna do a yoga class.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

11 miles + Ellie Krieger Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Today I ran 11 miles at about an average 9:20 pace. Sometimes it feels great to run slow. The hardest thing about my run was choking down my GU Roctane. I barely ate half of it. I don't know what to do. I've tried the shot blocks, but I had a problem with their consistency too. I've always disliked GU, but for some reason it's become less manageable. I guess I'll stop complaining and just deal with it.

This week I was supposed to run 30 miles, but I only ran 28. Oh well, at least I didn't short change my longer runs. Next week is the first week of my marathon schedule. I'm so excited to finally start! I've been talking about it forever now...Here's what my first week looks like:

Monday-8 miles with 4 at LT pace (7:47)
Tuesday- Rest
Wednesday- 9 general aerobic
Thursday- Rest
Friday- 4 miles
Saturday- 12 miles

Oh, and before I forget, I was gonna share a healthy mashed potatoes recipe. I know a lot of runners like pasta, and I think it's okay, but I'm not in love with it. Consequently, I need others sources of food to carb load. Ellie Krieger is one of my favorite Food Network chefs, and I recently tried her Parmesan Mashed Potatoes. This recipe's secret is two ingredients: Yukon potatoes and buttermilk. The combination of these ingredients makes for really creamy potatoes without using all the butter. The esposo said these were good enough for Thanksgiving, and while I think they're definitely great, I probably wouldn't serve them then. I'm usually the one who makes healthier food choices, but when it comes to Thanksgiving, I prefer foods that would give me coronary problems if eaten regularly. If you're looking for another source of carbs though, these taters' are a good bet!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

7 miles: 3 at Lactate Threshold

Tonight I ran 7 miles. The first 2 I warmed up, the next 3 were at my lactate threshold pace (7:47), and the last 2 I cooled down. Last week I tried doing my LT pace for 2 miles and while I succeeded, I felt like I was going to die. Tonight I hit that pace for 3 miles and felt great. I wish I could account for the difference. I need to be better at accounting for every little thing like Jess or Lindsay...Maybe one day, when I'm all grown up and not a novice.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

31 miles done + long run today

I was scheduled to run 30 miles this week but ran 31. Booyahh!! It felt good to finish my week running 10 miles today. (Sunday is my rest day so my week ends on Saturdays.) I ran at about a 9:30 pace and just took it easy. I came home and drank my Vanilla Whey Protein smoothie and felt awesome. I need to be better at stretching after my runs though. I'm not terrific at it...Actually I suck. Maybe stretching before I get home would resolve this problem because once I walk through the door Baby J wants all my attention. I also wasn't very good at getting my arm workouts in. I only did one.

Anyways, next week is my last week before I start my marathon schedule. Hurray. I'm gonna shoot for 30 miles again. Here's what my week looks like:

Monday: 3 miles + arms
Tuesday: 7 miles (3 at lactate threshold pace 7:47)
Wednesday: 3 miles + arms
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 11 miles (Between 9 and 9:46 pace)
Sunday: Rest

Vanilla Gu Makes Me Want to Vomit

Friday I went to my local running store to find a replacement for the Vanilla Powerbar Gel and GU I've been using. Recently, I've barely been able to get down even a little bit of it without wanting to hurl. So, with the recommendation of the store owner, I bought GuRoctane, Accel Gel, and E-Gel. I'm gonna give them all a try and see if my gag reflexes subside. I'll use them on my next long runs and write a review when I get a chance. The Jelly Bellys looked better than anything but I've heard the sport version are just glorified jelly beans with added salt. What looks too good to be true, probably is.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lactate Threshold Test

Last night during my 6 mile run, I decided to try out my Lactate Threshold Pace since I'll have to run it for 4 miles on the first week of my marathon schedule. According to Advanced Marathoning, your Lactate Threshold pace should be similar to your half marathon pace, so I shot for a 7:50 pace for two miles. I accomplished this, but I didn't think it would be so hard. Granted, I ran that pace for my last half marathon in August, and I'm not in as good of shape, but I was a little bummed that I looked like I had just gone through labor when I got off the treadmill. (Actually, I might have looked a little better on the hospital bed.) I'm going to shoot for a 3 mile 7:47 lactate threshold pace next week and see how I feel. Hopefully I was just having a bad day, but I kind of regret just logging miles instead of doing speed work during this time that I've been building a base again. I opted for just logging miles because I've wanted to save my energy for my 18 week schedule and I haven't wanted to get hurt. Maybe I'll have to readjust my goals.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A remake of Mark Bittman's Spinach, Bacon, and Sweet Potatoe Salad

I've decided to care about my blog more. Consequently, I've made the goal to post 3 times a week. One of those days, I'll devote to a nutrient dense recipe I've recently made.

After coming across Mark Bittman in the October 2009 issue of Runner's World, I decided he's definitely my new culinary crush. I first tried his Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables with great success, and then I made his Spinach, Bacon, and Sweet Potato Salad. I LOVED both of these recipes and have now added them to my food rotation.

Bittman's Culinary philosophy is a lot like Michael Pollan's, in that he believes in eating less meat, more plants, and in keeping food as close to it's natural state as possible. That mindset sounds logical to me. I don't always eat this way, but I'm constantly on the look out for tasty recipes that at least loosely follow this culinary viewpoint.

I decided to try Bittman's Sweet Potato Salad because a)I loved his Cassoulet and b) I heard the fastest man in the world, Hussein Bolt, grew up on sweet potatoes.

I think it's very logical to deduct that Bolt's amazing speed and muscular physique have almost everything to do with his consumption of sweet potatoes and only a small part to do with genetics and training. In fact, in preparation for LA I may stop running all together and just start eating sweet potatoes in large quantities.

Anyways, today I made Bittman's Sweet Potato Salad for the 2nd time, but instead of adding cumin to the potatoes I drizzled them with honey and used my own salad dressing. (Two parts balsamic to every one part olive oil + oregano to taste.) Sometimes I add sugar to my dressing, but I didn't today because I had already added honey to the recipe. Bittman's citrus dressing is also great; just don't feel like you need the exact ingredients in order to try this salad because it's very versatile. My results were DIVINE!

PS: If you're interested in trying more Mark Bittman recipes, How to Cook Everything and Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express are on my wish list. I'm currently reading Food Matters, which is a great book, but there aren't a ton of recipes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

27 miles and Sarah Palin

This week I was suppose to run 30 miles but I ran 27. I missed my 3 mile run on Friday because I had an appointment to get new glasses and went to a Halloween party...Just didn't fit it in. I don't really feel that bad though. All my runs went well this week and I'm excited to have 2 more weeks before I officially start my marathon schedule.

This week I'm going to follow a schedule similar to last week, but just run a 10 mile long run instead of 9. I read in Advanced Marathoning that one of the best things you can do for your leg muscles as a runner is hills. Consequently, I'm gonna make sure I get in one hill workout this week. I'm also gonna drop my lower body workout and add another upperbody workout.

Here's the run down:

Monday: 3 miles + upper body workout
Tuesday: 6 miles (hills or progression run)
Wednesday: 3 miles + upper body workout
Thursday: 6 miles (hills or progression run)
Friday: 2 miles + upper body workout
Saturday: 10 mile long run

Total Miles: 30 miles

For kicks and giggles, here's a Halloween pic of me as Sarah Palin:

I was going for sort of the Tina Fey version. Palin is kind of irritating to me, but I've gotta give the woman some props for being a runner!