Tuesday, January 31, 2012

walk this way

my grand return to running experienced a quick hiccup. after two successful (exhilarating) 1/2-mile runs, i missed the next 3 scheduled runs and 1 walk due to my skin acting up (even) more.

saturday though, was an amazing day. i had no pain, no irritations, and could actually move normally (instead of like a stiff robot) so i took advantage of finally having a good day by going for a walk with kathrin.

a 2.5 hour, 8.5 mile walk.

it was a gorgeous, sunny day in the low 60's. i am thankful this winter has been so mild. i could feel some areas starting to ache - feet, left shin, hip flexors - about an hour and a half into the walk, but that was to be expected. afterall, i probably haven't done 8 miles in a month (let alone a day) since october. pretty pathetic.

even more pathetic? my sore back on sunday.

unfortunately my skin (/whatever the underlying issue is that is causing my skin to be pissed off) went right back to the business of irritation and discomfort on sunday. not fun.

a quick(-ish) review of what's going on: for the past 4 years, my skin had been progressively getting worse. i went to an allergist, 2 dermatologists, my general practitioner -- all with no luck of finding the cause or a solution. i'm currently seeing a different allergist (better 'bedside manner', willing to think outside the box) and a nutritional response doctor. recently, i started to think that it's not my skin that is the problem and there is something going wrong internally and the symptom of it is coming out through my skin. i am hoping to see an endocrinologist soon (waiting on a referral) and am also getting on a long waiting list to see an immuno-dermatologist (she is booked for six-months).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

33 randoms

the latest circulating meme is called "eleven randoms", but since i was tagged by maurlene and kandi (both worthy opponents in words with friends) my particular assignment grew to be 33 randoms.

part 1 - 11 random things about me:
  • i prefer plastic cups over glass, with a straw.
  • sometimes i try to think about where my retainers are that i lost 8-9 years ago.
  • when i was in 4th grade my life plans were to go to duke university, become a lawyer, get married and have a few kids by the time i was 21.
  • my younger sisters and i had our own swimming olympics during the '96 olympics. naturally i won all the gold medals except one - we rigged a race so that my youngest sister (5-6 yrs old at the time) would win at least one of the events.
  • during the winter olympics i practiced speed skating around the driveway in my rollerblades.
  • i'm a sudoku-holic.
  • i hate getting gas. josh has said he can tell based on the random credit card charges.
  • sometimes i just wear a long-sleeve race shirt to work because i know i will never warm up enough to take off my coat and scarf anyway.
  • i remember whining about 1- and 2-mile time trials in college. little did i know...
  • in middle school band i wanted to play the trumpet, but they put me on the flute instead.
  • i am so glad the sc primaries are over so i don't have to see the political commercials anymore (until the fall anyway).

part 2 - maurlene's questions:

1. What is your favourite pair of non-running shoes?
barefeet. i am in the south afterall.

2. What are you wearing right now?
sweatpants and a sweatshirt. it's been a productive weekend.

3. What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?
i'm assuming you don't mean literally the first thing, as i'd probably scream. then i'd figure out which payout costs me the least in taxes. and then i'd buy a new house i guess.

4. Are you named after anyone/anything?
my middle name is slight variation of my mother's first name.

5. What is worse – being too cold, or being too hot? 
too cold. and i am always cold. i may as well not buy work clothes because i always end up wearing my jacket (zipped up) all day.

6. What is hanging on your walls at home?
 uhh, pictures? what else? various picture frames and 3 canvases that i've painted.

7. What is the last thing that you took a picture of?
my m&m's that i haven't eaten in 4.5 months.

8. Who is the last person you spoke to on the phone?

9. Where did you go on vacation as a child?
various roadtrips across the us. west coast, midwest, east coast, north east...

10. What is your favourite TV show?
i go through cycles. right now i'm into cake boss, gossip girl, white collar (mmm neal caffrey).

11. How many pieces of jewelry do you wear regularly?
3 - two wedding bands and engagement ring. or does that all count as one now? trying to get in the habit of wearing the earrings josh got me for christmas, it's been awhile since i've worn earrings regularly.

part 3 - kandi's questions:

1. What is the last thing you took a picture of?
see #7 above.

2. If you eat eggs, what is your favorite way to make them?
scrambled with feta cheese.

3. What is your favorite board game?
i like most all board games. lately we've played wits and wagers and blokus.

4. Do you prefer dogs, cats, or some other pet?
i don't really like pets for myself, but in general i'm definitely dogs > cats. i'm allergic to both either way.

5. i don't know what happened to question #5.

6. Cake or pie?

7. If you could move anywhere in the world, where would it be?
i'd love to live on a tropical island, but i'm also pretty content here in the us of a. our government (both parties) seems to be trying to screw up everyday, but at least they haven't censored the internet. yet.

8. If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?
all over europe. all over asia. back to the french poly.

9. What is your favorite color?

10. How many siblings do you have?
3 sisters. 2 brothers-in-law.

11. If you were invited to a wedding reception but not the ceremony, would you be offended?
hmm. at first thought, i would say yes. but after i thought about it for 5 minutes i realized it was no big deal.

part 4 - questions that i'm passing on:
1. you have the skills to go pro in any sport (except running/triathlons). what sport would you choose?
2. what is your favorite vegetable?
3. they're making a movie about your life. what actor/actress would play you?
4. last book you read?
5. last text message you sent?
6. what is your favorite meal/recipe to cook?
7. do you prefer dusting or vacuuming? (and when are you coming to do my house?)
8. if you could go on vacation to anywhere in the us or canada, where would you go?
9. what something you love about where you live?
10. something you don't love about where you live?
11. what do you do when you have trouble falling asleep?

and the tag-ees who will answer them:
neon blonde runner
fancy nancy

feel free to answer a random question below too!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

point five

monday, january 16th
- decide i will toughen up and commit to an actual comeback plan.
- remember how much i loved making excel spreadsheet training plans.
- leave plenty of clauses on plan for rest days, taking it one day at a time, etc.
- be incredibly cautious and don't build up to 20 miles/week until may.
- feel a little ridiculous because may is 4.5 months away.
- make fun of yourself because you used to run marathons.
- decide you need one more day off and schedule new training plan to start tomorrow.

tuesday, january 17th
- forget to put garmin on the charger in the morning (it's a little dead and dusty after 6 months).
- work all day.
- josh makes fun of you asks if you are nervous on the way home from work.
- attempt to give garmin a little juice since you're only going out for a whopping mile.*
- try to remember what you would wear for a 54° run.
- put on garmin with 13% charge.
- "bezel locked".
- do what you think will unlock the bezel.
- it doesn't work.**
- assume garmin is broken from all the non-use.
- head off on a warm-up walk.
- after about 1/4-mile, slightly lift knees higher, feel burning in your lungs and "run".
- appreciate the fact you went this direction so you can run downhill instead of up.
- announce the obvious to josh - "i'm running!"
- to which josh says "you're on the road and you're running!"
- after running for 1/2-mile, slow to a walk for the last 1/4-mile.
- notice how out of breath you are.
- make fun of yourself and claim you need to make a protein shake.
i'm running! i'm on the road and i'm running!

*i only wanted to bring my garmin so i would know when to walk and when to run (my "workout" was based on distance) as well as for the heart-rate data. i want to get back to tracking my heart-rate data because it worked well for me in the past and if i focus on that i can ignore my pace.

**it took me a full day to remember how to unlock the garmin, but i figured it out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

gone goofy, again

this time, as a spectator.

back in the spring of 2011, josh got a wild hair and decided he wanted to do a marathon. (he ran his first half in the fall of 2010). he entered the nyc marathon lottery (unsuccessfully) so of course the next logical thing to do was sign up for the goofy challenge.

poll: who needs psychiatric help?
a) someone who runs their first marathon in cotton spandex and only a 14-mile long run under their belt
b) someone who runs their first marathon the day after running a half-marathon but did actually complete a good amount of long training runs
c) both a and b
d) neither. these are both perfectly wise actions.
we arrived in orlando late thursday night, and hit up the expo first thing around 10am friday before spending the day in hollywood studios.

saturday we woke up dark and early at 3am, got stuck in traffic on the 7-mile drive from the hotel to the epcot parking lot, and arrived at the start/finish area just in time for josh to take the additional 20-minute trek to the start line.

half-marathon day

for the half-marathon, i spectated at the start and mile 13. due to josh's anticipated pace, there wouldn't be enough time to catch him up by magic kingdom. while i waited, i took a few random photos and chatted with an older woman who's husband was running the half-marathon after having suffered a heart attack last fall, pretty amazing.

half marathon - 2:02

josh was aiming for a sub-2 (he can easily run this) and ran pretty much on target, but he had to deal with a lot of congestion in the early miles of the race due to being placed in corral d. ultimately the 3 extra minutes weren't a big deal since he still had 26.2 miles to go.

marathon day

for the full-marathon, i spectated at the start and mile 4 (same viewing area), mile 9, mile 12.5-ish, and the finish. the only way to see your runner between miles 12 and the finish is if you have a park ticket to animal kingdom, hollywood studios or epcot (i wish disney could improve upon this).

josh's goals for the marathon were a) survive, b) sub-5:00, c) 10:00/mile pace. it was his first marathon afterall, and the day after a half no less.

at the start/mile 4 i stood next to a guy holding up his ipad with "inspirational running slogan" typed on the screen (great idea to use the ipad as a "sign" in the dark morning hours). i also chatted with two older women both watching their husbands. after josh passed, i took the monorail to the ticketing center/mile 9 and josh wasn't far behind.

as josh ran on into magic kingdom, i walked over to the polynesian resort to mile 12.5-ish. all this walking and i hadn't had anything to eat yet, i was tempted to buy a $14 muffin (disney extortion fees) but was able to resist. they're all sugar anyway.

josh ran by one last time - i told him he was running sub-10:00-miles and that he could "relax" a little. i had suggested before the race that he 'just run' the first 20 miles and then pick up the pace if he felt like it for the last 6.2. he ran two 20-mile training runs and was a big baby after both of those whining about his aching legs, but they paid off. his knee was bugging him a little at mile 12.5-ish and he said he might slow down, but he held on to the 10:00/mile pace for the remainder of the race.

i met up with his parents after seeing him around mile 12 and we took the monorail back to epcot to wait on him at the finish. i commiserated with fellow clemson fans standing near me about the recent basketball bowl game and soon we saw josh coming down the homestretch of his debut marathon. i was proud.

marathon - 4:22

back-to-back races at goal pace, he must've had a pretty good coach.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

product review: vega sport nutrition

i have confessed my love for gu gels and chomps before (i'm sure i've admitted eating both as a "snack" at one time or another), but i knew i'd need to find an alternative fuel source when i went sugar-free 4+ months ago.

vega sport advertisement

the people of vega sport contacted me about sampling their product, and after checking all of the nutritional facts online it looked worthy of a try. i admit i'm not doing intense workouts that require extra fueling, but should i have an adverse "reaction" to a vega sport product at least i wouldn't be stuck in the middle of a long run with the sudden urge to go to the bathroom...

Vega Sport is the first, complete, all-natural, plant-based sport performance system, specifically developed in three comprehensive stages to help you perform at your best, without compromise—before (prepare), during (sustain) and after (recover) training. -[from vega sport] 

nutritional facts
vega sport prides itself on using organic, vegan food sources in their products. luckily for me, they don't use nut-based products in their bars like many other protein-type bars do (i have a nut allergy). the only products with sugar in them are the recovery/protein bars - the sugar is in the chocolate coating.

which would you want to eat? (only 1 is a vega sport product)

vega sport chocolate savi-seed nutrition label
exhibit a

zone perfect protein bar nutritional label
exhibit b

snickers marathon protein bar nutritional label
exhibit c

taste test
i received a sampling of each of the products and flavors, and though i have yet to try them all, the ones i have tried have satisfied my taste buds.

vega sport chocolate savi-seed protein bar

chocolate savi-seed protein bar - tastes pretty good. the sorghum crisps give it a nice little crunch in. does contain sugar in the chocolate coating so it was very sweet to me (because of the sugar i only tried a little and shared the rest with josh).

vega sport chocolate coconut protein bar

chocolate coconut protein bar - also tastes good. i expected to see a white center like a mounds bar but instead the coconut is hidden in with the dates, savi seed, pumpkin seed butter and such.

vega sport acai-berry bar

acai-berry mid-workout bar - surprise, this one also tasted good. fruity, not too chewy (could easily eat during a long run), but you'd maybe want to cut it up into bite-size squares and put in a ziploc bag to make mid-run eating more convenient. a similar type of chewy, granola-y bar could probably also be "diy'ed".

vega sport lemon-lime pre-workout drink

lemon-lime pre-workout energizer - this did not have a strong flavor like most lemon-lime sports drinks, but it did not taste bad either. the powder dissolved easily so there were no random chalky chunks. it looked like stagnant water but tasted fine. the pre-workout energizer claims to provide immediate and sustained energy, increase endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and enhance mental focus and recovery. i can't vouch for the endurance boost (as i'm not exactly doing endurance-worthy workouts at the moment), but it did 'wake me up' when i drank it one groggy morning.

murky river at disney
a river of vega sport?

i am happy to report that none of the products i have sampled thus far gave my bowels any irritation.

my only complaint is the use of sugar in the chocolate coating of the protein bars. with all the other super-healthy ingredients, it would be nice to see agave or some other natural sweetener used in place of sugar.

amazon lists a 12-pack of vega sport protein bars at $32.43, or about $2.70 per bar. compare this to clif builder protein bars listed at $28.49 for an 18-pack, or $1.58/bar.

vega sport is not the cheapest, but it's comparable. some may argue it's better value for the money since the ingredients are more wholesome. in my case, it's one of the few exercise fuel sources i can have since it's (mostly) sugar-free and doesn't contain nuts.

overall, i've enjoyed the products i've sampled thus far and will definitely buy vega sport products for running fuel once my training is back up to "normal" levels.

disclaimer: vega sport sent me a sample pack of product in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

calling all units

we have a 207/484 in progress.

last week

this week

i returned to work after the new year long weekend and found my new santa gnome missing. i'd really love to know the reasoning behind stealing random knick-knackery from someone's cubicle.

in other news, i received my blogger secret santa gift last week. here are my goodies from shelly of it's just one foot in front of the other:

thanks shelly!

Monday, January 2, 2012

goodbye 2011

2010 was the year of nausea and 2011 was the year of irritated skin (or as big clyde said, my redshirt season). here's hoping 2012 brings a full return of "normal" health.

the obligatory mileage tally:
2005 - 735.94 (started march 14th)
2006 - 623.43 (did not log may-september)
2007 - 1335.95
2008 - 1618.95
2009 - 2025.10
2010 - 1545.00
2011 - 873.76 (no running august-december)
january - 130.10 miles. ragnar relay. 12-days of no-running; longest run, 11.5 miles.

february - 106.11 miles. had the plague. my first dnf. 14-days of no-running; longest run, 14.1 miles with the redhead!

march - 166.53 miles. nothing too exciting. 6-days of no-running; longest run, 17.35 miles.

april - 138.93 miles. new 5k pr. 11-days of no-running; longest run, 14 miles.

may - 107.24 miles. got a ride home from a stranger during a hail-storm run. ran a windy green bay marathon. 13-days of no-running; longest run, 26.2 miles.

june - 100.66 miles. went to the emergency room. new 8k pr. 12-days of no-running; longest run, 9.15 miles.

july - 59.20 miles. 20-days of no-running; longest run, 9.05 miles.

august - 0.00 miles.

september - 31.25 miles. went sugar-free mid-month. 15-days of no-running; longest run, 3.5 miles.

october - 17.95 miles, mostly walking. 24-days of no-running; longest run, 4 miles.

november - 13.44 miles, all walking. 25-days of no-exercise; longest walk, 2.55 miles.

december - 2.35 miles (one walk). extremely lazy. 30-days of no-exercise, but still sugar-free! longest walk, 2.35 miles.

"trip" of the month - tour of my own town. hey, christmas was expensive.

went to a "painting class"
(those new trendy ones where you paint drink wine)

dined at trio
(photo from flickr)

went to a minor-league hockey game

and learned that babies will find every morsel on the ground
and try to put it in their mouth

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 report card: whoomp whooooomp

running - F
  1. run some marathons. preferably more than 2. D, only ran 1.
  2. race a half-mar. i wanted to prove to myself that disney wasn't a fluke. F, didn't even run a half-marathon.
  3. 5 pr's. C-, got 2 new pr's. had hoped to include:
    • 5k - sub-21 A+
    • 8k - sub-35 B i pr'd but didn't break 35mins
    • 26.2 - sub-3:30 F didn't happen
  4. run lots of miles. preferably more than 2009's tally. F- 3rd worst year ever at 873-ish miles.

non-running - X because an F would be too generous
  1. 30-minutes of activity per day. F
  2. abdominables: 25,000 abs / 250 planks. F actuals: 10,200 abs / 117 planks
  3. commute to work via bike regularly during daylight savings. F i think i biked once all summer and it wasn't to work.
  4. drop a few pounds. C although the only reason my weight is decent is because of the no-sugar for 3.5 months, not because i made better eating and exercising decisions all-around.

life - A+
  1. one weekend-getaway every month. A+ 
    cities i saw in 2011: ft. lauderdale, miami, key west, st. petersburg, rochester (mi), washington dc, hiawassee (ga), boston, milwaukee, green bay, bryson city (nc), knoxville, edisto island (sc), charleston, block island, niantic (ct), new york city, syracuse, clemson (sc), virginia beach, banner elk (nc), linville (nc). this was a fun goal and i highly recommend it. they don't have to be major trips, you could make a goal to see 12 new places in your state or try 12 new restaurants in your town.
  2. get the tree guy out to actually trim the trees. A+ 
  3. purge crap and not purchase any new clothes unless replacing something old. A, i did get rid of a bunch of stuff, mostly clothes, and i cleared out a whole dresser for josh. i was doing ok on the don't buy new unless replacing something old until september, and then went to banana republic practically every week. oops.

for anyone who thinks i'm being too hard on myself for giving myself F's (and an X) - lighten up. this is just a blog and running-talk, i'm not beating myself up for missing almost-all of my goals. it is what it is. life happens and things pop up that cause us to change our plans and i'm ok with that. i should have referred to these goals more often though - i could have done a much better job of 30 minutes a day and gone for regular walks. at least i'm winning at life?