Monthly Archives: October 2009

My Fifth Half

I love eating pasta the night before a race. I don’t know if the carbs actually help or it’s mental, but I like the tradition of it. We went to Osteria 832 for dinner last night. We started out with some sort of marinara and ricotta dip. It’s not on the online menu but it was delicious. For my entree, I got whole wheat penne with pomodoro sauce. I like this restaurant and have been here a few times, but basically the only thing I ever get is the pomodoro. Or mussels. I am not so adventurous when it comes to Italian food. After dinner, we went home. I worked on a playlist for the race and watched Jason change into a Halloween costume for a party he was going to. I was bummed that the party was last night, instead of tonight when I would have been able to go. Can you tell who he is supposed to be? He said about half of the people at the party knew and the other half had no idea.

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I went to sleep around midnight but woke up again at 3 and couldn’t really fall back asleep until 4:30. So when my alarm went off at 5:35, I was not happy. That happens to me a lot when I’m running a big race. I figured a nap was in the plans for this afternoon anyway so it wasn’t a big deal.

The race started at 7:45 and we got there to pick up our numbers at around 7. Pretty much as soon as the race began, it started to rain. I had worn a visor and was really glad that I did. Aside from the rain, the weather was perfect. It was about 60 degrees out. I don’t know if I could have done the race in the rain if it was like 20 degrees cooler.

The actual race was pretty uneventful. The three of us ran the first 2-3 miles together. Then Joan and I ran the next two and after that, I ran by myself. Around mile 6, I had a GU. I think that I like GU better than Sport Beans or anything that you have to chew. I’m not good at chewing and running. Seriously. I was also eating Sport Beans during the end of race and had one or two moments when I almost choked on them.

This race was an out and back. It was nice though, because the back was shorter than the out. So when you got to the turnaround, it felt like halfway, but it was farther. It was also fun to see people you know running in the opposite direction. I saw a girl that I work with going back while I was still going out. Then as I was going back, I saw my friends that I came with and also another girl that I know.

I felt that I was making a decent pace, despite walking through all of the water stations, stopping to tie my shoe twice and jumping in puddles. Miles 10-12 seemed kind of rough. At that point, the end seems so close, but so far away at the same time.

I really, really wanted to PR. So, did I? The answer is I don’t know. I’m thinking that I did not, but it was close which is okay with me too. I crossed the finish line at 2:19 something (I am not what you’d call a fast runner!) and I just looked up my half marathon PR (which is this race) which is 2:16:30. They haven’t posted the chip time yet, but I don’t think that I crossed the start line three minutes after the race started. It would be nice if I did, but I don’t think so.

Running in the rain wasn’t so bad. Especially since this was on a trail and the trees sort shielded everyone. But waiting at the finish line for my friends was pretty miserable. It started to rain harder at that point and I was freezing. They came in about 12-15 minutes after I did and we went to pick up our shirts. Since the race did not start where it ended, they had school buses take everyone back to their cars. Let me tell you, waiting for that school bus in soaking wet clothing in the pouring rain was MISERABLE. We were so cold. Needless to say, I took a very long, hot shower when I got home.

I was messing around on Facebook and saw that Emily had posted that she made pumpkin pancakes. I decided this was exactly what I wanted. I used a whole wheat pancake mix (the name escapes me and I don’t feel like going into the kitchen to look it up) and added 1/2 cup of pumpkin and decreased the milk to 3 tbsp. This made the batter too thick, so I increased the milk some. Topped with pumpkin butter, of course.

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Now, I’m off to be lazy. I deserve it! I can’t wait to find out my chip time. The suspense! And thank you everyone for your comments on my last post. It means a lot to me.

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My first race

I’m going to preface this post by saying that very few of my family members know about my blog. If you’re one of the ones who do, and are learning this information for the first time, please don’t out my blog!

I don’t know when or why I started running. I take that back. I know why. For a very long time, I ran to lose weight. I only ran 2-3 miles and at a very slow pace. This went on for a few years. I’m not sure why, but at some point, I became obsessed with the idea of running a half marathon. Honestly, I don’t remember really training for it. At some point, my father, who lives in Maryland, decided he was going to run it with me. He’d never run more than a 10K race. I’d never run a race period. The race was the Silver Comet Half Marathon in 2005.

This was four years ago, so the details of the race are kind of foggy. My dad flew in on a Friday afternoon. I picked him up at the airport and we raced over to pick up our numbers. It was cold out. Much colder than he’d planned for. We had to stop at Target and get him a long sleeved shirt. I remember starting the race and almost tearing up. I was actually doing this; I was actually running a half marathon. At one point, my father told me that if I wanted to run faster, I could. I felt like a badass and ran ahead. I thought I’d left him in my dust. Not so. As I turned around at the halfway point, he was right behind me. We ran the second half of the race together and at the end, I managed to beat him by one second.

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As some of you already know, when I was blogging about my family member with the health issue, I was talking about my father. He went in for a routine physical a few months ago and came out with bladder cancer. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. He’s had the tumor removed and we’ve sort of gone through a roller coaster of events. First it looked kind of grim. It looked to be a rare sort of cancer that was aggressive and possibly invasive. There was a lot of talk of bladder removal surgery. Then he had another biopsy. The doctor told him that his bladder looked healthy and that from the naked eye, it looked like the cancer had been removed with the original procedure. Today we got the biopsy results. Well, I did. He might have gotten them yesterday. The cancer cells are still present and it’s an unusual type of cell. They have not invaded the walls of the bladder, which is good, but they are still there. He begins a treatment therapy next week which consists of injecting something into the bladder one day a week for six weeks in the hopes that it will kill the cancer cells. This has a 30-40% chance of working. The cancer has not spread anywhere and is contained within his bladder, which is a very good thing. But if this treatment does not work, he will probably have to have his bladder removed, which is a major surgery.

I’m running the Silver Comet Half Marathon again tomorrow. I cannot help but to think of my father when I run it. I feel in my heart that he is going to be okay and that I am somehow running this race for him.

Restaurant Meals

This week has really flown by. I have this project that lasts for a few months that always keeps me insanely busy on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I end up having to stay late and almost lose my cool each week, but ultimately, it makes the week go by really quickly. I actually really thrive when I’m insanely busy. But on the downside, when I’m busy, certain things fall through the wayside. Fortunately, it’s not usually exercising. I’m pretty good at getting a solid five days of excerise a week in, occasionally it drops to four, but never less. What does suffer more are my meals. I don’t start going to McDonald’s for lunch or anything like that, but I do find myself eating out more often, mostly dinners.

To illustrate my point.

After work last night, I did a 2 quick mile run on the treadmill in my office gym. It actually passed very fast which kind of surprised me because my ipod decided to die (hopefully not for good) and I had to do the whole treadmill run sans music. After I finished, I rushed home, showered and Jason and I went to Macy’s to do our wedding registry. We were there for probably an hour. Registering for stuff is much more stressful than it sounds! I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of key items! After Macy’s, we decided to use our restaurant.com gift certificate for a nearby place that neither or us had tried, Urban Flats. Do you guys use restaurant.com? It’s awesome. They have all of these local restaurant gift certificates for at least half price. When it gets close to the end of the month, they go on super sale. We were able to get this one ($25 gift certificate) for $4, I think. You have to look at the fine print; usually you need to spend a certain amount of money and sometimes they aren’t good on the weekends, but it’s a really cool website and we’ve gone to a bunch of restaurants that we wouldn’t have normally gone to because of it.

Anyway. Urban Flats. I’m not sure what I thought of this place, honestly. The inside was nice and open. In order to use the gift certificate, we had to spend a certain amount of money so we got a hummus appetizer. I really liked the presentation!

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Not sure what the differences were between the hummuses (hummi?) but the black one was an olive tapenade. They were all pretty good. What I did not like, however, was that the pitas had cheese on them. Not necessary at all, in my opinion. I would have asked for them without, but the menu didn’t say that it was going to be on there. I hate when a menu doesn’t specify how an item is prepared. If it’s something that I really don’t like, like mayo on a sandwich, I’ll send it back, but I can deal with some cheese.

This restaurant was one of those that I thought it was going to be relatively healthy, but when my food came out, I realized that was not the case. I ordered the artichoke, portobello and goat cheese sandwich with a side salad.

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The menu said that it would be in a grilled flatbread, but this was almost like a pie crust. There was definitely mozzarella cheese in there as well. It was good, but not sure how “splurge-worthy” it was. Oh well.

After dinner, we decided to walk across the street to Taco Mac to have a beer. Do they have Taco Mac in other parts of the country or is it just an Atlanta thing? It’s a chain of sports bars that have tons of tvs tuned to different sports and also, tons of beer. Check it out!

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This is just the draft selection; they have many more that come in bottles. I had a Shock Top. I only drank maybe 3/4 of it though. I was tired and ready to go home.

I was supposed to go out to dinner tonight with a friend but she cancelled. I’m secretly glad though. Sometimes I start to feel nervous when I go out to dinner too often. I’m also supposed to do the pasta dinner thing tomorrow with my running friends. So that would have been three nights in a row. How often do you go out to eat? I’d say that out of the seven days, I probably go out at least twice, sometimes three times. I feel like this is on the high end of the spectrum. I’m curious what others do.

Since I ended up eating at home tonight, I actually did follow my meal plan and had chili and cornbread for dinner.

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See our thank you notes in the background? The cornbread muffins were just from a mix. I used to eat Jiffy mix as a kid, but it has trans fat in it, so I picked a different one. The chili recipe is found here. For once in my life, I followed the recipe exactly. It made a lot, more like 3 servings.

Burnout

I was all set to follow my meal plan and have Baked Shrimp with Feta for dinner. But, I didn’t get home until like 7:30 and I realized that the frozen shrimp I bought was not peeled and I just didn’t want to deal with it. So I had a tortilla pizza with salad instead. And pumpkin ice cream. Oh, pumpkin ice cream, I don’t think I can buy you anymore. 12 servings in that container, my ass. Actually that’s a pretty accurate statement; the 12 servings probably did go to my ass. Ha.

No pizza picture. You all know what they look like. Today was rainy and yucky out. I worked about an hour late and went to the gym after to run on the treadmill. I did three miles. It wasn’t the greatest of runs. Not sure if runs on the treadmill ever are though. For one, my chafed boob still freakin hurts (i never know what to say – breast sounds too formal, but boob sounds stupid. What do you say?) when I have a bra on. (Yes, I still am wearing a bra to work, but the bouncing of running on the treadmill was irritating.) I don’t know what to do about this. It needs to heal by Saturday. I’m supposed to do a short run of 2 miles tomorrow and that’s my last run until the race. Should I skip it if the area is still chafed?

Besides my chafing issues, I’m also experiencing some training burn out. This always happens to me right before I run a half marathon. It’s like once I starting running upwards of 18 or so miles a week, I just get burnt out. And then I always stop running after the race and lose my endurance. It’s especially hard now that it’s getting darker earlier. What can I do to keep myself motivated? I guess sign up for another race but there aren’t really that many in the winter.

Mr. Murphy was just complaining that he hasn’t been featured on the blog in a while. So, here he is:

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Attention ATL (and some casserole)

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This doesn’t look that appetizing, but Jason just referred to it as “amazingly good.” The recipe can be found here but I’ll type it out for you so you don’t have to search.

Cheesy Baked Rice

2 teaspoons SmartSpread
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup brown rice
1 jar (4 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

Add broth, rice, roasted red peppers, and black pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, combine rice mixture, spinach, and mozzarella. Spoon into prepared casserole. Sprinkle parmesan on top. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

I forgot the parmesan cheese topping, but otherwise followed the directions. Although it was delicious, it took nearly an hour to make, which was sort of a pain for a Monday night.

So, I’ve been thinking about trying to arrange an Atlanta blogger (or reader) dinner for a while. I keep seeing other bloggers do it in their cities and it seems like a fun thing to do. I know that there are at least 5-6 of us in the ATL. Maybe a Friday or Saturday night in November? Let me know if you’re interested!

Fishy Burger

I managed to squeeze in an hour and a half nap. I am a big time napper. Always have been. I used to get made fun of a lot in college for always sleeping between classes. Okay and maybe a little bit during. After I arose from my beauty sleep, I went to Kroger to pick up the ingredients for next weeks meals (holla! still following the meal plan!) and get some additional items for tonight’s dinner.

And what was on the menu for this lovely Sunday night? A burger and fries. In My Tummy style, of course.
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A salmon burger on an Arnold’s Sandwich Thin (which my Kroger only sometimes has. Have I mentioned my disdain for this particular Kroger? But it’s literally next door to my house, so I continue to shop there and complain about it.) with zucchini and carrot “fries”.

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For the fries, I used baby carrots and half a zucchini. I tried to make them sort of uniform in size. I used my Misto and sprayed them with Olive Oil and then coated them with Emeril’s Essence. I baked them for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees.

My mother bought me the salmon patty yesterday at Whole Foods. I just put it in the George Foreman for about 5 minutes.

I liked the fries, but was iffy on the burger. I like fish a lot, but apparently don’t like my burgers to taste fishy. I don’t like them to taste beefy either; I guess I just like them to taste like vegetables which really contradicts the idea of a burger, I guess. In any event, the salmon patty was only so-so. I still ate it though.

While I was at the grocery store, I sort of had a revelation. I am always trying to get Jason to eat more like I do and it kind of occurred to me that I might be pushing too hard. While I like to look at ingredients and try to stay away from unpronouncable things if I can, maybe it’s too drastic for him. Not that he eats badly; he eats what I cook a lot of the time, but I am not sure if he actually likes it. It occurred to me that maybe it’s better to make small changes and have them become the norm, rather than overhauling everything at once. So, I bought him some frozen stuff that wasn’t too calorie laden and some individual bags of Baked Chips (not gonna lie, I’m sure those will find their way into my mouth) for him to take for lunches. If he doesn’t like something uber-healthy like plain greek yogurt, is it better to get him a Yoplait that does have sugar or HFCS but is still yogurt? Is it all or nothing or a lesser of two evils. (A moot point because he doesn’t like yogurt.)

How does your significant other eat?

Ow

My friend Joan and I set off for the Silver Comet Trail around 8:30 yesterday morning to do the 10 mile run. I was having a lot of trouble getting into it. My legs felt heavy and sore and I was cursing myself for doing those squats and step ups the day before. At the 5 mile point, I had a GU and that did seem to give me a burst of energy. Miles 5-8.5 were probably the best of the run. I got into a groove and felt fine. But I guess the sugar rush wore off when I had 1.5 miles to go. I just felt drained of all energy. The last mile seemed to take forever! But we managed to finish. I didn’t have my Garmin on but I imagine we were running about a 10:45-11 mph pace. Fine with me for the long run.

On the drive home, I kept feeling like my skin around my chest was stinging. When I got ready to shower and took off my sports bra, I saw that there had been some major chafing going on. Weird thing was, it was only on the left side. I think that after I saw what it looked like, it started to hurt more. Psychological reaction maybe? Anyway, I couldn’t wear a bra for the rest of the day. I do have some Body Glide, but didn’t even think to use it because I have never experienced boob chafing before! I don’t know if it was the specific bra I was wearing, or just that I’m running more mileage, but holy hell, not fun. It feels much better today though.

My mother and I did some shopping and then she wanted frozen yogurt. We decided to try a new yogurt place in Decatur that I’d never been to called The Yogurt Tap. This is sort of the best thing ever. (Well, besides Yoforia which holds a near and dear place in my heart.) They had six different kinds of yogurt on the wall and you just got however much you wanted.
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Then you go over to the toppings bar and put on whatever toppings you want. They weigh the yogurt at the end and charge you by weight.

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I got original and caramel apple yogurt, topped with strawberries, kiwi, cinnamon toast crunch and chocolate chips. My eyes were a little bigger than my stomach, though, and I didn’t finish it all.

After yogurt, my mom and I walked around a really big and nice Whole Foods for fun. She loved it. Like mother, like daughter, right? My mom actually said that she didn’t understand when people didn’t like to go to the grocery store. Me neither.

I just dropped my mom off at the airport and I’m debating taking a nap or walking the Murphster. He’s chilling on the back stoop and seems content so the nap might win.