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The big weekend was finally here!  I registered for the Buffalo Marathon back in October, so this had been a long time coming.

My husband and I headed out after he got out of work on Friday.  I love that he likes to do the driving, because I like to do the sleeping.

The dogs came along with us and were exceptionally good for the ride.  Four and a half hours without a peep!

Yes, we are THOSE PEOPLE.  Our dogs travel with us.  They’re actually really, really good on trips.  And when we go to Buffalo we stay with my in-laws, so it’s not like we’re in a hotel.

We arrived in Buffalo and got to their house.  We took a while to chat and let the dogs play in the yard.  It was so nice for them to have some time to run around and enjoy the yard.  Since we’re in an apartment, they don’t get that luxury every day.  Hopefully in a year we’ll be ready to buy a house.

Such happy puppies! (PS – I love this camera.  How sweet are these pictures?)

Once the dogs had had their chance to play, we made our #1 MUST DO stop when we get out here…

DUFFS!

My husband’s best friend’s family (did you follow that?) owns Duffs, which is the best wing place in Buffalo (No, seriously.  They just won the Travel Channel “Food Wars” show versus Anchor Bar – the inventor of the wing.  They also just won the “Best of Buffalo” award for best wings.  And just recently, Obama skipped all other wing places and made a visit to Duffs on his trip to Buffalo.  They are THAT GOOD.)

Now, if you’ve read my blog for a bit, you’re probably saying… “Wait… aren’t you a vegetarian???”  Why, yes, yes I am.  And I seriously miss those wings.  But it helps when the owner is a good friend.

A couple weeks ago, I was talking with said friend (while planning his surprise trip to our neck of the woods) and told him how of all the things I could miss since going veg, the only thing I miss is Duffs wings.  So I asked if I could bring my own fake chicken for them to put in the sauce.  Which, being the totally awesome and wonderful guy he is, he said of course.

So before we went out to Buffalo, I stopped at the store and picked up a box of frozen Quorn Chik’n Nuggets.  I’d never had them before, but I’d heard they were pretty good.

My husband was so embarrassed.  But I didn’t care!  And for the record, our friend didn’t care either.

What Buffalo veggie heaven looks like.

OH. MY. GOD.  SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!  (Pardon me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.)

I am now lobbying him for a permanent veggie wing on the menu.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

The rest of Friday night was pretty uneventful.  I was still in my veggie-wing-induced-happy-coma.

Saturday morning we headed downtown to the expo to pick up my race packet.

This marathon is a pretty small one, so the expo really wasn’t anything to write home about – I was actually kind of disappointed by it.  Oh well.  The only thing that was a slight bummer was that the shirt is a MEN’S small, so it’s pretty big on me.  However, I think I can fix that with a little hemming of the bottom and the sleeves when I get home.

Now, at the expo was when my aspirations started to get a little lofty…

When I was going through my race packet, I came across a sample of “Biofreeze,” which I had heard about before, but then forgotten about.  The fact that I now had some Biofreeze in my possession made me start to think about perhaps using that to get through any aches so I could run the full like I had planned in the first place.  Until then, I had been planning to do the half due to my recent knee issues.  I wasn’t happy about it, but I had pretty much accepted my fate at that point.  Now… not so much.  On the way back from the expo, I actually made a pit stop at Walgreens to pick up a larger tube of it so I would have it with me for the race the next day.

For dinner the night before the race, I was in absolute former-Buffalonian-heaven…

Oh, Wegmans, how I love you…

I would seriously move back to Buffalo just for two reasons…

  1. Houses are cheaper than where we are now
  2. Wegmans

Siiiiiiigh… I love that place so much.  I spent quite a while just wandering up and down the aisles like a kid at Christmas.

Dinner was the standard pre-race meal… spaghetti!  I didn’t take a picture because it wasn’t all that beautiful.  Just plain old spaghetti.  I didn’t want to do anything too ambitious since it was the night before a big race.  No changing up my routine at this point!  I also topped it off later that night with a TON of dried cranberries (yum!) and a Chocolate-Banana-Peanut Butter Green Monster.  Delicious!

Saturday night I got everything together and laid out all my race stuff…

It’s amazing the amount of STUFF that can be involved in running!

Pre-race checklist:

  • Clothing – can’t forget the good socks!
  • Sneakers
  • Timing chip
  • Bib and safety pins
  • Headband
  • Running sunglasses (actually my motorcycle glasses, but they double nicely for running!)
  • Garmin and heart rate monitor strap (Okay, I got it a little early.  But that was only because it was on CRAZY SALE for almost half the price and I figured it would be a good idea to get it then and pay way less.)
  • Ipod, headphones, and armband
  • Bodyglide
  • Sunscreen
  • Fuel belt – 1 pack of strawberry Gu Chomps, chap stick, small packet of Biofreeze
  • Camelback (full!) – 2 more packs of strawberry Gu Chomps, larger tube of Biofreeze, tp, cell phone

Wow!  That’s a lot of stuff!  I apparently don’t pack light when I run.  I’m like a boy scout – always prepared.

Then it was time for some relaxing before bed…

Hmm… Not really sure where I’m supposed to fit on there…

Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep too well (or much) that night.  I kept running through “race emergency scenario X” and “race emergency scenario Y” – most of which involved bathrooms (the small number of port-a-potties on the course was making me nervous).  You don’t know it until you become one, but a good plan, and well managed restroom stops are two of the most important things to most distance runners – myself included.  I managed to fall asleep around 1:15am or so, but then had to wake up at 4:30am to get ready and out the door in time.  Yuck.

The race started at 7am, so I wanted to get there around 6am or so.  We found an AWESOME parking spot about 50 feet from the finish line (score!) and headed over to the start.

The area filled up quickly, and I also quickly realized there were more people running than I had expected.  I believe there were around 5,000 people running the half alone!  There were also at least 1,500 running the full, and many, many four person relay teams.  All in all, I’d guess around 9,000 or 10,000 people.  It was a good crowd!  (Whoops – I found out later it was only 6,400 people total.  So apparently their bib numbering system had nothing to do with it.  Whatever!)

One thing I really liked about this race was that they had pacers and pace flags at the start to give everyone a good idea of about where to line up.  Since I didn’t have any big pacing plans for this race, I hung near the back(ish), around the 10:40/mile pace flag.  This was a GREAT method for the race organizers to use because there was absolutely no jostling for open space once we got going.

7am rolled around, and we were off!

The race started in downtown Buffalo outside the Convention Center.  We worked our way down toward the waterfront in the first three miles.  It was a beautiful day!

How about that weather?  66 degrees and BEAUTIFUL!

My knee was feeling alright for the first couple miles.  Around mile two or three it started to get a little sore, but nothing that wasn’t manageable.  So I kept on going.  At this point I was feeling good and ended up striking up a conversation with a guy running next to me.  That made the next couple miles go pretty quickly.

The crowd cheering at mile 4.

At mile four, I was really happy to see that my husband had ventured out on to the course and was waiting there to cheer me on!  (He took all these pictures – I wasn’t carrying a camera with me.)

Me saying “Hey!  There he is!”

Mile four – continuing on our way

I also found my husband waiting for me at mile six.  He was busy running around that course!

Mile six – feeling good so far!  That Biofreeze helped take the edge off for sure.

Once we made it past the waterfront, we started to work our way into one of the not-so-nice areas of Buffalo.  To be honest, it’s a little skeevy, and I would never go down there if I wasn’t doing an organized event like this.  But still, the running was fun, it was a beautiful day, and I was still feeling good.  So smiles all around!

Running under the Skyway, past HSBC arena (where the Sabres play) – this was just before heading into the seedy area.

While I was running from mile 7 to the halfway point, my husband amused himself by taking pictures of downtown.  He loves photography, so he was having a good time…

The city center

Oh!  Is THAT what I was supposed to be doing???  Whoops!

I stopped for a quick bathroom break at 7.7 miles and was really excited that my knee was still bearable.  Thoughts of completing the full marathon were running through my head, and continued to do so for quite a while (miles 7 through 9.5 or so).

However, at mile 10, my knee was getting to the point that I wouldn’t be able to push through the discomfort for another 13.1 miles.  At 10.2 miles I called my husband to let him know I would be ending at the half.  He was there waiting for me along with his best friend (Duff’s guy), his wife, and their son.

Hanging out at the finish line

I had decided to just do the half because even though I could have gone further, my knee was getting progressively worse as I went on, and I didn’t want to end up at 17 miles (or the like) and not being able to finish.  I wanted a finisher’s medal, darn it.  At this point, I just wanted to finish SOMETHING.

One unsettling thing was when I passed a collapsed runner at about mile 10.4.  There were lots of people there helping them already, and EMTs were on their way.  They must have been down for at least a couple minutes before I had passed.  I hope they’re okay!

When I got to mile 11 I started to pick my pace back up.  Now that I knew I didn’t have to conserve my energy for another 13.1 miles, I figured I could go a little faster.  My knee was hurting, but it was still okay enough that I could get through it.

The miles were ticking off quickly and I was feeling good, considering the circumstances.  Energy-wise, I felt great.  I definitely had the conditioning to do the full.  The only thing that was holding me back was the pain in my knee.

At mile 13, I could hear the noise from the finish line.  I took out my headphones and just enjoyed the crowd.

Just before the finish line for the half, the full marathon splits off.  Since I was still registered for the full marathon, I was wearing a full marathon bib (blue number instead of a red – half – or green – relay – number).  So the volunteers kept telling me I needed to turn.  Every time, I just smiled and said, “I’d love to!  But my knees have decided I’m done for the day!” and continued on my way.  People were very nice and encouraging, and I was happy with my decision to end at the half.

Crossing the finish line for the half.  Hooray!  I finished in 2:33:00.  Right around where I figured I’d be.

I got my finisher’s medal!

Me and my hubby, post-race

We headed back to the in-laws house to rest and so I could ice the heck out of my knee.

Ahhhh…

Pretty!

Now we have headed back across the state and are home safe and sound.  Everybody is tired and passed out on the couch (dogs included).  So I think it’s time for me to join them in the napping!

Overall, this race was really fun.  It was well run and (other than that one section) a pretty course.  The spectators and volunteers were great.  I’m looking forward to running it again next year – and this time doing the full!

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Oh my have I ever been lazy these last two days.  It was in the 90s here in upstate NY yesterday, and then again today.  So I’ve spent these two days sitting inside with the dogs, fans on, lights off, giving the dogs ice cubes every hour or so – we have no A/C in our apartment.  I did, however, manage to clean a little bit.  So it wasn’t a complete waste.

I actually woke up early and got a run in yesterday morning before it got to be too hot.  Even then, it was already mid-80s and pretty humid and gross.  Today, it was already beyond my comfort level, so I passed.  I might head down to the basement later tonight for a treadmill run.  We’ll see how it goes.

I feel like such a lazy bum.  A gross lazy bum.  One good thing is that our apartment stays around 80 as long as I keep everything closed up.  So that’s a relief.

Okay, I’m done complaining about the heat.  The thunderstorms will roll in any time now and make it feel MUCH better.  Can’t wait!

I read a great blog post today about body image and the media that really hits home.  I highly recommend that you take a minute and go read it and watch the two youtube videos that are included.

While I feel that I have a much healthier relationship with food than I did a year ago, I still find myself comparing myself to others at times.  It’s such a shame and infuriating that we have these “ideals” drilled into our heads from every direction.  And no matter how much you know those images are retouched and don’t represent reality, it’s still very hard to refrain from making unrealistic comparisons.  I am a healthy individual.  I am active and maintain a healthy weight.  There is no reason for me to allow the media to make me feel unhappy or frustrated, or not good enough in any way.  I definitely bookmarked that post to save for a “down-on-myself” day.

Also, those videos kind of made me want to go play with Photoshop.  How sick is it that they can do these things so easily?

I had an impromptu race tonight!  Yesterday at our faculty meeting it was announced that a couple spaces had opened up in our school’s team, so I signed up the day before.

We headed down around 5 and it had already been a long day.  I didn’t sleep much last night (couldn’t get my brain to stop going 100 miles an hour – isn’t that the worst?), so I was really tired.  We got there, got our bibs, and met up with our team.  It was really nice to meet more people from work.  Since I teach at a college, there’s still a lot of people I haven’t met yet – even after two years there.  Everybody was really nice and friendly.

It was CROWDED!  There were 8,600-something people running.  I know there are many, many races that are much larger than this, but this was huge for our area.  Apparently it was the biggest year ever.

We all crammed into the starting area.  I was a little way back, but not nearly as far as some people.  Once the gun went off, it took me 30 seconds to get to the starting line.  Other people on our team had to shuffle for FOUR MINUTES just to get to the start.

Once I got across the line, I had to dodge and weave through the crowd to get into some open space.  It took almost a full mile until I really felt like I wasn’t stuck in the crowd any more, and that first mile was all slightly uphill too.

Did I mention it was HOT?  REALLY HOT.  It was at least 85.  I know that’s not super hot for some places, but for here, at this time of the year, that’s hot.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t had enough water during the day and had (stupidly) left my water in the car.  So I started out the race thirsty, and ended up getting pretty dehydrated.  They had two water stations on the course and I stopped at both.  Even still, I was so dehydrated that the tip of my tongue was tingling.  It was kind of weird.

I did alright.  Not what I was aiming for, but between darting through the crowd, the heat, and not getting enough water, I can’t really complain.  When we got to the three mile marker, I picked it up a little.  I was operating under the assumption that this race was a 5k.  But then that last .1 of a mile just kept going, and going, and going…  Guess what?  It turns out it was a 3.5 mile race!  Whoops!  Note to self: make sure you know exactly how long the race is before you start.

So I eventually crossed the finish line.  I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but it wasn’t horrible.  I ended up running the 3.5 miles in 33:41 (9:37/mile).  I wish I had been able to push harder, but I didn’t want to pass out from the heat/dehydration.  I am, however, happy to see that my race pace has been consistently faster than 10:00/mile.  I was stuck at that pace for a long time!

One thing that was really interesting about this race was how the timing was done.  There were no chips, and no one checking bibs at the finish.  You actually report your own time to your team leader.  The team leader then takes the times from everyone on the team and puts together 5 person (I believe) teams, and the team time is the total time from all those people.  I thought it was interesting to report my own time.  I actually did it wrong, I think.  I reported my time as 34:11 because that’s what the clock read when I crossed the finish line.  But I didn’t subtract the 30 seconds it took to get to the start after they started the clock.  So that’s why I’m counting my actual time for my own record as 33:41.  Live and learn!

All in all, a fun evening.  I’m glad I went, and I’ll definitely run it again next year.

Well, today didn’t end up quite like I had planned, but it wasn’t bad…

Wednesday I will…

  • Eat a healthy breakfast. – Check!
  • Eat a healthy lunch. – Check!
  • Go to the gym and lift. – Had a change of plans.  Will explain in a minute.
  • Take the dogs for a run when I get home. – Change of plans, see below.
  • Make a healthy dinner for both of us. – I ate well.  I can’t speak for my husband since we had a “fend for yourself” night.

At our faculty meeting this morning, someone announced that there were a couple open spaces in the workforce-something-or-other-5k tomorrow.  So I snagged one!

With the new plan of racing tomorrow night, I decided to forgo the lifting and running for today.  I want to run this race to the best of my ability (Goal time = 26:21, which is an 8:30/mile pace), and don’t want to be sore or tired.

I have been very frustrated.  I haven’t really run well since my 18 miler, which was 6 weeks ago.  The week after that was my failed 20 miler (only made it to 17.5 with knee issues), then my DNF in the half marathon, and then since then I’ve been so sporadic.  I’m angry with myself that I’ve let my consistency disappear.  I’m angry that I’ve “failed” at so many runs, and just plain didn’t DO many of them too.  This isn’t something that I can take lightly.  And every time I don’t do what I should have done, I’m angry with myself.  Which makes me feel like a failure, which makes me disappointed, which makes it even harder to do what I need to do the next day.

Every morning I tell myself, today is another day to start fresh.  And usually things start out well.  But by the end of the day, plans have changed, or I just don’t feel up to it.  There always seems to be something that gets in the way, or some “good” excuse.  I need to stop making excuses and just do what I need to do.

So yesterday I made a little goal list for today.  How did I do?

Tuesday I will…

  • Get up, out of bed, and dressed for my run when my husband leaves for work (8am) – Not a chance.  But I did wake up at a reasonable time, so it’s a half-win.  I really need to stop staying up so late.  My routine just takes a pounding when classes end.
  • Take the dogs for a run – Check!
  • Not eat any peanut butter unless it’s in a green monster – Check!  I actually had some peanut butter today, but in a healthy way.  My intention when I wrote that goal was not to have my toast with peanut butter again.  I get in ruts.  I probably should have just written that.  But I count today as a victory in this category.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast – Check!
  • POSSIBLY go for a bike ride – Nope.  But this wasn’t a “must do,” so I’m okay with that.
  • Eat a healthy lunch – Check!
  • Go to the gym and lift – Nope.  I wish I had.
  • Put my laundry away – Check!
  • CLEAN MY CAR – Check!  Hooray!  It was crazy gross.  But I guess two dogs who shed a lot will do that to a car.
  • Go for a run/walk with my husband? – Nope.  He is having back problems again tonight so he’ll be parked on the couch with the heating pad all night instead.  Doctor’s appointment tomorrow!
  • Cook a healthy dinner for both of us – Check!  And delicious!
  • Play “doggie in the middle” with my husband and the dogs – Nope.  See above.  That’s okay!
  • Continue my husband’s juggling lessons – Nope.  See above.  No big deal.

This seemed to work well.  Whenever I really didn’t want to do something, I knew I would have to come back here and write that I didn’t do it.  Which I didn’t want to do.  Accountability is a good thing.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I will…

  • Eat a healthy breakfast. (This will require some creativity, as we are all out of my normal breakfast food.  Wah!)
  • Eat a healthy lunch, even though we are going out for a department lunch tomorrow.
  • Go to the gym and lift.
  • Take the dogs for a run when I get home.
  • Make a healthy dinner for both of us.  It might end up being leftovers from tonight, but it was good!

I keep talking about tonight’s dinner, so what was it?

Angela’s (from Oh She Glows) In A Jiffy Spelt Veggie Burgers with Nut Butter Parsnip Fries.  Heaaaaaaaaven!  I didn’t take any pictures this time because they didn’t LOOK amazing, but they tasted amazing.  I will take some the next time I make them when they’re a little less blackened.  My suggestions for the fries would be cut the parsnips in to pretty thick fries, because they crisp faster where they are narrower, so they get burned on the narrow ends first.  Also, shake them up/flip them while they’re baking so one side doesn’t burn from sitting on the baking sheet.  My husband the carnivore took one bite into the burger and immediately said “This is great!”  Definitely a make-again meal.

And just a reminder to anyone who knows me and reads this (COUGHmomandmyhusbandCOUGH!)… I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY want a food processor!  Making those burgers in a blender was a PAIN.  Here’s a pretty picture for you…

Pretty…  I promise to cook you delicious things with it.

I need to set some small goals for myself.  I feel like I’m getting overwhelmed by the enormity of training and when that happens, things fall apart – which I don’t want to happen.

Tuesday I will…

  • Get up, out of bed, and dressed for my run when my husband leaves for work (8am)
  • Take the dogs for a run
  • Not eat any peanut butter unless it’s in a green monster
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • POSSIBLY go for a bike ride (bicycle, not motorcycle – although I will probably do that too…) – I really need to start working that in to my routine
  • Eat a healthy lunch
  • Go to the gym and lift
  • Put my laundry away
  • CLEAN MY CAR (YUCK)
  • Go for a run/walk with my husband? (It’s really up to him, but I’d go!)
  • Cook a healthy dinner for both of us
  • Play “doggie in the middle” with my husband and the dogs
  • Continue my husband’s juggling lessons (No, seriously – I was teaching him how to juggle tonight.  We are laaaaaaame!)

I got my first blog award today!  Wohoo!

Lisa, from The Pursuit of Happiness sent a Sweet Blog award my way!  Thanks Lisa!

I love reading her recipes and checking out her craft ideas.  Very inspiring!  I’m planning on making pickles for my husband sometime in the near(ish) future.  Check out her DIY pickle recipe!

I’d like to pass the Sweet Blog award on to a couple blogs that I enjoy…

  • Nicole at Prevention RD – So knowledgeable!  Nicole always has great recipes and information.  I love reading her blog!
  • Angela at Oh She Glows – Angela always has delicious food inspirations, gorgeous pictures, and her recent try-a-tri training has been really interesting to follow.  I’m planning on getting into triathlons within the next year and really like seeing what that would entail.
  • Ashley at Healthy Ashley – A recent Half Ironman finisher!  Go Ashley!  She definitely inspires me to keep working hard.
  • Heather at Then Heather Said – From my neck of the woods.  Looking forward to running with you!
  • Katie at Health for the Whole Self – Katie always has very insightful and motivating things to share.  I always end up nodding as I’m reading her posts and thinking… “that’s me too!”

I finally set up my Etsy store!

There’s not a ton on there yet, but I’ll be adding things.  Any suggestions?  I love sewing/quilting, knitting, and jewelry-making.

Liked the headbands but don’t want to make one yourself?  They’re available on my Etsy shop!  (I figured out a better way to make them.)

Just a quick note – the jewelry descriptions will be much more detailed in the future.  I made those things a while ago and don’t remember exactly what type of stones they are.  I didn’t want to write something that was wrong.

Rocket thinks he’s a cat.

Jade: KISS ME!!!; Rocket: PLAY WITH ME!!!

Just a typical evening in our house.

My project for today was a make a DIY workout headband that would STAY IN PLACE!  (I love my BondiBands, but sometimes they slip a little.)

I was inspired by Sweaty Bands.  I really, really like them, but they are more than I can afford for a workout headband on our budget.

So today I made a stop at JoAnn Fabrics and got my supplies…

  • 1/4 yard black velvet ($12.99 per yard) = $3.25
  • Package of 3/8″ black elastic = $1.29
  • A spool of really cute ribbon (make sure it’s not wired) = $4.49 (normally – I used my 40% off coupon so it was actually $2.69)

Grand total = $7.23 (The supplies I got will make at LEAST six headbands.  So that’s $1.21 per headband)

NOTE:  If you don’t already have thread, make sure you get that too!  I already had a TON.

Step 1: Measure your head to determine how large to make your headband!

Step 2: Cut your ribbon to a length roughly three inches LESS than what you measured.  For example, here I measured my headband length as 22.5″, so I cut the ribbon to 19.5″.

Step 3: Lay the cut ribbon out on top of the velvet and cut a large enough piece of velvet that there is roughly 1/2″ extra on all sides.  (If you have less than that, it’s likely that the velvet will fray while you’re working.)

Step 4: Cut a 3 inch piece of elastic.

Step 5: Lay out the pieces with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER (velvety side of the fabric touching the nice patterned side of the ribbon)  and the elastic in between the two layers at one end.

Step 6: Pin everything together.  This is the most frustrating part, since the velvet likes to slide around.  Make sure that the elastic is CENTERED so it doesn’t get sewn anywhere but at the end (red dashed box).

Step 7: Sew closed the two long ends and the short end with the elastic (make a “U” – blue dotted line).  Stay as close to the edge of the ribbon as possible.

Step 8: Trim the threads and remove pins.  Use something long and skinny to turn the fabric right side out (I like to use a chopstick).

Step 9: Fold in the raw edges of the fabric at the open end.

Step 10: Insert the loose end of the elastic into the open end of the headband.  Make sure nothing is twisted.  There should be roughly 2 inches of exposed elastic at this point.  Pin the elastic and fabric in place.

Step 11: Sew closed.  You can do this by hand and do a hidden stitch so everything looks neat.  Or you can do the quick and dirty version and use your machine.  For this one, I used the machine since this part will be at the back behind my hair.  If I make these for other people, I would do a hand stitch so it’s neater.

Step 12:  Remove the pin and admire your work!

Voila!

Need to contact me?

geonerdette at gmail dot com

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