Wednesday, December 28, 2011

blog superlatives 2011

most popular (/viewed) post: product review: gu chomps

most popular post (written in 2011): product review: sony w-series mp3 player

most entertaining (most popular non-product-review post): ten things i know about suar

most likely to walk down the red carpet: relay with ragnar

bestest blog friends (most referrals): maurlene on the run and angry runner

most studious countries (most readers):
  • united states
  • canada
  • spain
  • united kingdom
  • new zealand

most involved (us readers):
  • california
  • south carolina
  • virginia
  • washington
  • texas

most likely to succeed (common searches):
  • chasing the kenyans
  • gu chomps
  • goofy challenge training plan
  • national m&m day
  • ryan hall

most clueless (randomest search hits):
  • floppy ass running
  • feel wife's boob
  • women who eat red clay
  • a man in a party looking his ipad
  • attitude is everything little dude
  • fat boy cries on rollercoaster
  • hippopotamus vs great white
  • i gave up sugar for lent could this cause my legs to ache
  • i need support for my man boobs
  • my butt claps when i run
  • vanilla orange roctane tastes like smoked ham

looks like we need to firm up those cheeks in 2012!

(concept from running slowly to the finish)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

pumpkin two ways

earlier this month i experimented with making pumpkin soup. it was ok. there wasn't much of a sweet pumpkin flavor to it, but i still ate it all. i didn't really measure (it's just soup after all) and threw random things in willy-nilly. i vaguely followed this pumpkin soup recipe from crepes of wrath (sans shallots).

a couple weeks later i still had some leftover pumpkin puree from the soup experiment, and i got a hankering to try to make pumpkin biscuits.

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar (i didn't use any)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons molasses (i used pure maple syrup)
1 teaspoon honey

like my dough cutter?

  1. preheat oven to 400° f. line and/or grease your baking sheets and set aside.
  2. in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. add in the cold cubed butter and mix together with a fork, a pastry cutter, or your stand mixer, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (i don't think mine ever looked like "coarse crumbs")
  3. in another bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, milk, molasses, and honey until well combined, then gradually add into the dry mixture with the butter until just moistened. lightly dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. dust your hands and rolling pin with flour, then roll out to about a 1-inch thickness. cut out 2 1/2-inch circles of dough and place on your prepared baking sheets. continue until you have no more dough.
  4. bake for 12-15 minutes, until set and golden. (yields 8-10 biscuits)
recipe from crepes of wrath.

i had more than 1 cup of pumpkin but tossed it all in the batter anyway. the biscuits still turned out ok, but i assume they would have been flakier without the extra pumpkin. it did increase the yield from "8-10" to 18-20, but we had no problem devouring the biscuits in 3 days (and by 3 days i mean barely managed to save the last two biscuits for breakfast the 3rd day).

they were amazing and i'd eat them again any day. the amazingness could be due to the fact that i haven't had a biscuit in for-ev-er because they usually have sugar / lard (soybean-based) in them. regardless, i loved and inhaled them. i will probably make them again for christmas day brunch.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

little full, lotta sap

to carry on my tradition (founded in 2010, it's long-running), i thought i'd share this year's tree and some of the new ornaments added this year. feel free to play along with my made-up meme - all you have to do is share some of your favorite christmas ornaments or decor.

2011 christmas tree
no reject tree for us this year

recipe for a marathoner
received from meagan via run dmt's ornament exchange

nutcracker ornament
we went to see the nutcracker ballet earlier this month

hand-painted charleston ornament
a hand-painted (from the inside!) ornament
from our anniversary trip to charleston

grandfather mountain ornament
keychain-turned-ornament from grandfather mountain

clemson snowman ornament
and a clemson snowman that coordinates with
the mets and yankees snowmen

what are some of your favorite christmas (hanukkah, kwanzaa) decorations? (does anyone even know someone who celebrates kwanzaa?)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

(not so) cuckoo for coconuts

way back in july i received samples of phenom coconut water. growing up, i was never a huge fan of coconut unless it was on a samoa cookie, but i've since expanded my diet and even tried fresh coconut. i do like coconut milk, and coconut water is proclaimed to have a ton of health benefits, so i figured it was worth a shot.

samoa cookie
coconut i like

i was excited to try coconut water because it is a more natural beverage than gatorade/powerade/etc and the less artificial food/drink i consume the better. it's also higher in electrolytes, which i had to keep a close eye on back in the summer with my magnesium deficiency and heart issues. i was anxious for some variety! (i can only take so many bananas and spinach salads)

phenom coconut water

i chose to sample the blueberry pomme, pineapple punch, orange guava and acai peach flavors.

per the phenom website:
"Does PHENOM™ coconut water taste like coconut?
No. The #1 reason consumers are reluctant to try coconut water is the belief that it will taste like coconut. In actuality, coconut water doesn’t taste like coconut at all, rather it has a refreshing, mildly sweet flavor."
i first tried drinking the blueberry pomme flavor at work one afternoon (after refrigerating it all morning)... one sip, blech. i did not taste any fruity sweetness as the website stated, just the unpleasant (to me) flavor of coconut water. sports drinks typically taste better/sweeter to me after a workout, so i decided to save the rest and try it again after a run. unfortunately it did not taste any sweeter when my electrolytes were depleted. i was disappointed - i had high hopes for coconut water becoming my new go-to exercise bev.

phenom coconut water ingredient label

months later (/last week), josh asked what these boxes are in the fridge and where did they come from? i gave him the acai peach flavor to sample, and he found it to be "alright". he didn't think it was bad, but he also didn't really notice any strong flavor. to him it's basically water with electrolytes and a little bit of flavor, and says it's a good option for people who don't like overly sweet sports drinks.

so, i guess coconut water is an acquired taste. have you tried it? are you on team coco?

phenom water retails at gnc ($15.99 for 6x1 liters). that's the sale price and it still seems a little steep to me. it appears that only the 'regular' flavor is available right now.

disclaimer: i was sent coconut water for free in exchange for my honest review. i know some people who do enjoy coconut water, it just happens that i do not have the palate for it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

in the mail

i'm a whole day early this year (vs last year)! my run with jill blogger gift exchange present is in the mail. once again i spent the required minimum on shipping because i thought flat-rate boxes were cheaper than they actually are. whoops.

unfortunately there was no hit single to include this time as dj ctk has taken some time off, but the good news is van gogh ctk was available...

covered by a fancy kleenex, can't spoil the surprise

cost of running 2011

money is usually a taboo subject, but i've seen others tally up their cost of running for the year and thought it was interesting.

i've never considered the lump sum of race entries and travel expenses, but at least this will be a "light" year since i haven't even been running for the last 5 months. [wow, 5 months? geeeeze lindsay. didn't realize i'd been out of commission that long. time flies.]

ragnar florida keys (race entry): $90
ragnar florida keys (travel/food/lodging): $500 (estimated $200 plane ticket, $30/day for meals)
donut run: free
green valley 8k (dnf): $25
come see me 5k: $20
swamp rabbit 5k: $6
green bay marathon (race entry): $75
green bay marathon (travel/food/lodging): $500 ($250 plane ticket, estimated $30/day for meals)
sunrise 8k: $27.50

total cost of running: $1,243.50

i suppose that's probably a lot for the few number of races i did, but it sure doesn't seem like an expensive habit as you're signing up from race to race. i'd much rather spend money on an experience like these than have more clutter in my house that i have to tidy up and dust, and if finances were tight i'd certainly think twice before traveling to races further away.

edited to add: i am purposely not including the cost of running shoes because i didn't buy any this year. i did buy some new running attire but not much - a few pairs of shorts and 2 shirts (that i recall). that might be another $100 or so. i'm low-maintenance, i still run in cotton sometimes.

how did your running habit affect your wallet in 2011?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

city of angels (la 13.1 giveaway)

win it!
i was supposed to run the los angeles 13.1 last year, but ended up being unable to make the trip and gave my race entry to a friend in la. i would love to take advantage of a free entry for 2012's race but as you may know, i'm not quite in shape to run a half marathon in just a few weeks.

so, i have an entry to the los angeles 13.1 to give away to one lucky reader!

the los angeles half-marathon is described as "a new scenic backdrop along the harbor of marina del rey and the shores of playa del rey. beginning at the venice boardwalk and ending at playa del rey, the half marathon and karhu 5k race will take place amidst miles of inspiring ocean views and iconic scenery. in addition, runners will enjoy course entertainment that includes fire dancers, tokyo drummers, live bands, local cheer squads and volunteer groups."

what: 13.1 los angeles
when: january 15, 2012
cost: $85 free!

to enter: leave a comment below!

giveaway open until midnight tuesday, december 20th (east coast time). winner will be notified via email.

disclaimer: giveaway generously provided by the 13.1 series organization. i receive no compensation for giving away this race entry, but it's a race i would love to do one day!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

november 2011: mile high

november 2011
total mileage: 13.44
time spent walking: 4hrs 1min
other exercise: two leisure strolls after thanksgiving dinners; one strenuous hike.
days off: 25
avg temp: not recorded
trip of the month: grandfather mountain, nc

for (part of) my birthday present from josh, we were supposed to go on a trip this fall. technically we were supposed to go on said trip back in february, then march, then april, and then it was postponed til september/october in which it became my "birthday present". now it's december and our passports are not getting any action for 2011. sigh. i have, however, made josh sign an affadavit that we will take a 2-3 week (hah yeah right) vacation next year.

i did approve the downgrading of the "vacation" from somewhere tropical to somewhere within driving distance because of my skin and it's whole situation. it's just easier to stay closer to home / haul your pharmacy with you in a trailer.

so, at the recommendation of fellow life/home decor/crafty blogger katie of bower power blog (who doesn't know me but i may have stalked her for over a year) i planned a little weekend in the mountains of north carolina. specifically, driving on the blue ridge parkway and going hiking at grandfather mountain.

after a lunch at tupelo honey cafe in asheville, we hopped on the brp to "enjoy the leaves".

dead scenery
whomp whomp
(the fail noise again, becoming a recurring theme here)

we made it about 13 miles down the brp before coming to a road closed sign. whoomp whooooomp.

haw creek valley overlook

we turned around and took the road more frequently traveled to banner elk a little "ski" town with sugar mountain and beech mountain nearby. i had reserved a night at the little main street inn, a quaint b&b offering single or double suites with jacuzzi tubs and full kitchens (great value at only $89/night!)*.

little main street inn
(photo from their website)

we arrived after 4pm but it was a little too early for dinner, so we tried checking out some of the local shops. apparently in the winter they all close at 4pm. we settled for a beer and wine shop - i guess that's the only thing to do on a friday night - and then went to dinner at sorrentos bistro (carb-loading for all that exercise i do).

the next morning we hit up breakfast at the sugar mountain cafe and then went to grandfather mountain**. here we crossed the swinging bridge, one mile above sea level, and stood on the edge of the mountain. this whole ordeal was big for me as i am a big scaredy cat of heights. i faced some of those fears, but not all of them.

swinging bridge - mile high

west view from the swinging bridge

the swinging bridge

after checking out the bridge, we started up grandfather trail. i'll let the pictures do the talking. it was intense. i ran into a rock wall and chickened out just feet from the summit.

grandfather trail trailhead

running into the rock

icy rock

climbing out of a crevice

macrae peak
view from almost-the-summit of macrae peak

ladders to macrae peak
what the ladders to the top look like from 1.5 miles away
(with some camera zoom)

in summary, grandfather mountain is a worthwhile adventure.

roughly 1.5 miles in 1hr 18mins

*little main street did not compensate me in any way for the pr blurb. in fact they don't even know i blog unless maybe they googled me.
**grandfather mountain did not compensate me either***. in fact it costs $15 per adult to enter the 'park'. you can however hike in for free from a few different trailheads but i hear those are pretty intense hikes.
***while i'm clarifying/disclaiming, no business mentioned in this blog post compensated me. this trip was fully funded by our own personal bank account.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

happy thanksgibbing back

because it was (recently) thanksgiving and i know you all need one more thing to be thankful for...

a drawering. two actually. they're not ms paint but i hope you will still enjoy:

you've got mail
playing "guess that movie" with my sisters
(i texted them pictures from work)

status meeting
enjoying another meeting

my brain was slightly ready for the long holiday weekend. and now it's depressed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

a's to the q's (part 3)

(you know, that meme from july i was answering back in august. here's part 1 & part 2.)

and now for the third installment. also the final one, unless someone asks more questions and then i may get to them by march.

Zoë said...
Pardon me,do you have any Grey Poupon?
fresh out, sorry.

Zoë said... Ok ok ok, in all seriousness:
Do you prefer a certain color M&M over another?
i group(ed) them by color and then start with whichever has the fewest. i always save brown for last, and i give josh the blue ones. if i'm feeling generous i might give him a few red or orange ones too.

Why do your bangs always look so freaking cute in pics on Facebook and such? Mine suck balls.
yours don't suck balls, i promise. i actually have an auto-immune condition called alopecia that keeps me from growing hair. it wasn't always this way, i started losing clumps of hair my junior year of college (good timing right?) and at first some would fall out, but it would regrow. a few years later, it progressed to alopecia universalis and all fell out. it sucks and i still haven't come to terms with it/myself, but i'm doing better. i wish i was super comfortable with it so that i could inspire others with the condition to do great things, but i'm not there yet. on the plus side, it's not life-threatening and i haven't had to shave my legs in 6+ years. so, not to guilt trip you, but appreciate your bad hair days!


time to fess up - who wanted to ask?

Would you consider coming to Seattle for a race to meet some of us Washingtonians in the near future?
of course! well, maybe not "near" future since i'm not exactly in any sort of shape other than round. i'm always down to travel though.

Miss Erosion said...
Do you stretch regularly?
definite n-o. sometimes i stretch before/after a race... i'm a bad role model.

What is your favorite recovery food?
hmm. it's been so long since i've been "in training" that i'm not sure anymore! after a run/workout, i like making a smoothie or a carblicious cinnamon sugar bagel. i don't know if either of those really count as "recovery food" though. i also like a healthy meal of rice and veggies.

Do you take any supplements - if yes, which ones?
yes, but not for running/exercise purposes. back in the summer i took magnesium for my heart/electrolyte imbalances, cod liver oil (because efa's and omega-3's are good for so many things) and b6 and inositol for their role in hair/skin health.

now i'm on a number of whole-food supplements from my nutritional response doc - they are the "standard process" brand so most of them are not supplements you'd see on the shelf at cvs (such as biodent or congaplex, but some are more normal like sesame seed oil or echinacea).

Johann said...
What would you rather do: Ultra or Tri?
ultra. i'm just not comfortable with open water swimming!

Do you only chase Kenyans or will you chase after South Africans too?
until i start winning big races ('cause that will happen and all) i guess i'm chasing all kinds of people :)

Christina said...
I like Johann's question about chasing Kenyans. I'll piggy back on that. Why did you chose chasing the kenyans for your blog name?
i wanted something unique/fun/catchy - i don't know if i accomplished that with the general public but i like it (and i assumed other runners would find it humorous or catchy). most non-runners think of the kenyans when they think about distance runners. now, i know there are many other nationalities with successful runners, but i think the kenyans hold the stereotype. since i don't quite run a 2:04 marathon yet, i'm still chasing after the kenyans, and all the other speedsters.

i did consider versions like "chasing paula radcliffe / kara goucher / deena kastor" but they weren't as 'catchy' to me, and i'm not a big enough fan or follower of any of their careers to warrant naming my blog after them.

Jen said...
1. What are your 1-3 favorite workouts (specifics, with approximate paces)?
i don't really like "fancy" workouts (with various interval lengths/paces). i prefer straight to the point workouts like yasso 800's (your goal marathon time hh:mm = your yasso time mm:ss) or mile repeats (goal 10k pace).

however, i did have a lot of fun with "the marlene" workout.
  • 800@5k, 1600@10k, 3200@gmp (no rest in between them)
  • 1000 recovery
  • 3200@gmp, 1600@10k, 800@5k
you go straight from one interval into the next (or into/out of the recovery 1000). absolutely no rest whatsoever! it's a tough workout, but an amazing one.

2. What's the coolest place you've ever run in?
moorea, french poly. then again i've only ever run in the us or on islands. one day i'll hit up africa or something; get an action shot running from a leopard.

3. What were your favorite parts of doing Boston?
finishing :) i was nauseous/dizzy, especially near the end of the race. i did enjoy all the different towns the course runs through as well as the multitude of spectators - many of them were entertaining. there are some bare spots, but the course is well-lined with support from start to finish. it's fun to be in town a few days leading up to the race and enjoy all the excitement building up for the big day!

4. What races are on your bucket list?
i actually don't really have a running bucket list, other than to run a marathon in every state + dc. i also think it'd be cool to run all the world marathon majors (boston, london, berlin, chicago, new york) - especially to do so all in the same year (hah, yeah right).

5. What would be your ideal way to refuel and relax after a good workout/race?
eating brunch with friends and/or family. putting on recovery socks/sweats and relaxing on the couch. (i'm imagining post half- or full- marathon here, i don't think i'd need to veg out after a 5k!)

6. To be as wicked fast as you are, and to be able to push yourself during training and racing as you do, you must have some strong motivators... what are they?
honestly, i don't feel like i've been a great runner in 2011 (prior to august and the skin troubles) so it's hard for me to remember what used to motivate me. i think i was motivated a lot by the successes of my everyday training runs - i'd run my easy runs (instead of skipping them), work hard on speed days and log the long runs. getting to cross each completed workout off the training schedule was a lot better than having to admit i'd slacked off.

reading books or watching movies about pre also gives me an "adrenaline shot" of motivation. i wish i could just show up to a race one day, a nobody, and blow everyone out of the water.

Kathrin said...
Diving right in:
1) What is on your travel bucket list given the premises that money and time didn't matter?
i'm going to add in safety-concerns too, because i'd really like to explore all those troubled countries of the middle east/africa/eastern european region. i also want to do a tour of asia - china, thailand, philippines, japan, vietnam... and i hate being cold but i want to go to antarctica too.

heck, everywhere. i want to see the world!

2) Any news from the cardiologist?
like i said... i'm way behind on answering this. here's what was going on with my heart and here's the 'answer'. in recent months, i've had a lot less episodes, and i'll take it.

3) Since you are such a M&M connoisseur... What type of M&M is missing in their product line-up??
i'm not sure if i still qualify as a connoisseur of m&m's now that i'm sugar-free, but i was perfectly content with the plain and pretzel ones. i've seen the candy corn ones they had out this fall but didn't try them (did you?). i'm not entirely sure how this would work, but i think cream cheese/cheesecake m&m's could be pretty amazing.

Monday, November 21, 2011

sat to death

mini-updates to address some of the various questions that have been asked recently:
  • sugar - haven't noticed much of a direct change. my skin is a little better in general, but that could just be from the overall cleaner diet. i think i do feel more "alert"/focused though, and i know that sugar-free is healthier all-around.
  • caffeine - haven't had any since june. strictly decaf or tea for me!
  • sleep - i haven't been the best at "no electronics at night/in the bedroom". i know i should read, but sudoku is more enticing. i'm usually not tired at bedtime, but i try to force myself to be. typically, i might sleep from 11:30-1:00, 3-6:30 (have to get up for work). not ideal! on the weekends i avoid making morning plans so i can sleep in, once i slept until 1pm. yikes. i know sleep is important for your body in a number of ways, including healing, and i need to straighten this out soon. one small victory - i'm off the sleep-aid medicine i was taking and some nights (usually the weekend) i do sleep for 7-8 straight hours.

following up on my previous post about my extreme laziness, here's an infographic to motivate us all to get up and move a little more.

Sitting is Killing You
via: "medical billing and coding"

Friday, November 18, 2011

milking it

not in this sense.

i'm calling myself out:

i've been milking my health issues and being lazier than necessary.

yes, for a few weeks in august and september it was physically painful to move, but it's now mid-november, and there have been plenty of days where i could have at least done something. i know i'm not ready* to resume normal levels of activity, but i do need to enforce regular walks and some ab work or lunges or something. i may not be gaining weight due to the no-sugar but i am getting 'looser'. plus, week after week of next to 0 activity is just not good for me!

so thursday after work, i went for my second (!!!) "workout" of the month. pathetic that it was the 17th and only my second time exercising, but i blame that on my 100+hour paystubs. unfortunately the bank account doesn't reflect the 100+ hours because i've been a little plastic happy at banana republic and ny&co (purple corduroys!) and off broadway shoes and you get the picture.

i haven't worn heels since april,
but that's ok let's buy some new ones anyway.

thursday (11/17) workout - 2.5 mile walk @15:00/mile, 48°
a few abs, squats, pushups and a very quivery 2-min wall sit.

anyway. i'll probably wake up sore tomorrow, which is even more pathetic.

*in my opinion i wonder if my issues stem from or are influenced by some whack cortisol and/or hormone levels which are influenced by exercise and stress (in my case both stress from work-life 2009 to present as well as the stresses of marathon training) and are not helped by a lack of sleep (haven't slept well in 2 years or so). but i'm not a doctor. this is just a theory.

unpaid, perk-less advertisement:
sign up for the 2011 bloggy gift exchange over at runwithjill! last year's was super fun and it's a great way to 'meet' a new blogger or get to know one better. go sign up and join in the fun!

what i sent my secret santa last year