You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2011.

Well, another year has passed – time to wrap it up:

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

  • Went to New Zealand
  • Bought a house – and all the things/projects that go along with it
  • Hosted a party for 35-40 people

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t do new year’s resolutions, but I did set some goals.  Let’s see how I did…

  • Buy a house! – Check!
  • Work on building our savings back up after buying said house. – Check!
  • Get working on my Ph.D. – Yes and no.  I started it, went to New Zealand, checked out my field sites, got all registered and set up as an official student, and then promptly found out I had no funding – while I was standing there, on the other side of the planet.  Awesome.  Long story short, I had to withdraw because there was no funding to pay for my tuition.  But that’s okay.  Perhaps down the road things will work out better.
  • Continue cooking and experimenting in the kitchen.  Get better at creating recipes myself. – Not so much.  I’ve been cooking, but not attempting my own recipes.  Perhaps in 2012?
  • Run more marathons! – Check!  I ran marathon #2 with Chelsea in May (read here)There was also a failed attempt at marathon #3 due to illness (read here).
  • Run injury-free – I’m going to put this down as a success.  I didn’t have any injuries that prevented me from racing.  There were little things here and there, but nothing debilitating.  So all in all, a success!

Overall, not bad!

3. What places did you visit?

  • Schroon Lake – I loved it in 2010, so I attempted to run the marathon there again.  Too bad I got sick the week before.
  • New Zealand – Woooooohoooooo!  There are no words that can describe how totally awesome this was.  If my husband and dogs hadn’t been here, I never would have come back.

4. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

I’m going to stick with a better marathon time!

5. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 4th – the day we closed on our first house

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Buying our first house (I’m sensing a theme here…)

7. What was your biggest failure?

I really wouldn’t say there were any this year.  There were little things here and there (illness before/on race day, random little injuries, etc.), but nothing really terrible.  Some might say the Ph.D. thing was a failure, but I don’t really consider it to be one.  That was just a weird combination of circumstances that all added up to things not working.  But I wouldn’t call it a failure on my part.

Also, like last year, I didn’t run much after the ADK marathon this year, and I’d love to be better at not falling into ruts.  There’s something to work on, I guess.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Injury – Not really.  Random annoying aches and pains, but nothing major

Illness – Unfortunately.  I ended up not being able to shake a cold for one of this year’s marathons, which ended up with a big old DNF.  Bummer.

9. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Just like last year, my family and friends – for supporting and encouraging me through all my training.  And for coming to the race and cheering me on!

10. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Buying our first house.  It was a HUGE deal!

11. What song will always remind you of 2011?

I’m not proud, but anything by Ke$ha.

:: Hangs head in shame ::

12. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

My answer from 2010 stays: Overall, I’m pretty darn happy with life.

b) thinner or fatter?

Probably about the same.  I think 2012 will be good for this…  Ironman training, anyone?

c) richer or poorer?

At this exact point in time?  Poorer, but that’s not by much and is due to the fact that we bought a house this year.  But things are just fine and right on track.

13. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I’m keeping my answer from last year.  Running, lifting, swimming, cooking, spending quality time with my family, husband, and dogs.

14. What do you wish you’d done less of?

I’m also keeping my answer from last year here.  It applies to many areas of my life.

Stressing – about anything.  Particularly beating myself up on days when I didn’t run, or ate junk.

Making excuses

15. Did you fall in love in 2011?

Not particularly.  However, I am even more appreciative of my great husband who is exceptionally handy around the house with projects.

16. What was your favorite TV program?

  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Big Bang Theory (Why did I resist this show at first???)
  • Glee
  • Amazing Race (I really need to be on this show.)

17. What did you do for your birthday in 2011?

My husband took me to a local vegetarian/vegan restaurant that he found.  It was very sweet.

18. What was the best book you read?

Hmm… I know it’s totally weird and out there, but one of my coworkers is a big gardener, and I’ve gotten into it now that we have a house.  He found an old book and gave it to me and I read it cover to cover:  Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.  I was already basing my garden on this method anyway, and there was a ton of useful ideas in there.  I’d definitely recommend it.  And hey, we’ll see how the garden does in 2012!

19. What was your favorite movie of the year?

No contest.  HARRY POTTER 7 (part 2).  DUH.

20. Did you make some new friends this year?

Not particularly.

21. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A better marathon time.  Come on DC RnR marathon!!

22. What kept you sane?

Working out and cuddling with my dogs.  One look at their adorable little faces always cheers me up or calms me down.

23. What is a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011?


24. THE BEST OF 2011:

a) Recipes (the yummiest cooking from the past year):

Without a doubt, this vegan ice cream.

b) Project (something you started this past year that you’re proud of or really enjoyed):

All of our house projects!

c) Best Trip:

New Zealand, no contest.

d) Night Out:

I’m not a “night out” kind of person.  I’d prefer a night in with my husband, friends, and/or dogs.

e) Moment of Peace:

I still love relaxing on the couch with my dogs passed out and sprawled across my lap – like right now.  🙂

f) The Best Place:

Anywhere with my friends or family.

g) New Food:

Discovering how to make amazing vegan Duff’s “chicken” wings and blue cheese dipping sauce.

h) Best Accomplishment:

Buying our first house and getting started on house projects.

i) New person/people:

None in particular, but I’m sure I’ll meet plenty of awesome new people in 2012.  I’m looking forward to working with my DC RnR training group through No Meat Athlete, and I’ll be joining my local triathlon club.

25. My goals for 2012:

  • A better marathon time!
  • Complete my first Ironman triathlon!
  • Train and race injury-free.
  • Cook more actual meals – there are too many “fend for yourself” nights in our house.

I created a new running log for 2012!

Want to log your runs for 2012?  Get the Google Doc here!  (The link will also be permanently available at the top of my blog.)

Before you input your runs, make sure you save the file to your own computer so you can modify it (File -> Download as).

Let me know what you think!

With my new foray into Ironman training, I’ve been learning about heart rate training, and just started incorporating it into my workouts.  And MAN is it frustrating!

I normally run at a 9:30/mile average pace.  It’s comfortable, but fast enough that I feel like I’m pushing myself a little.  If I really want to push, I can go sub-9, but that’s reserved for speed workouts and races.

With heart rate training, the idea is to find your lactate threshold heart rate – the point at which you switch from exercising aerobically to anaerobically.  You then determine your heart rate zones (recovery, aerobic endurance, and anaerobic/power, etc.)  The point of heart rate training is to spend most of your time in zone 2, which is just beneath your lactate threshold, and is the aerobic endurance zone.  When you train in this zone, you are conditioning your body to become more efficient and to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs.  So you can go longer without fatiguing.  Over time, you are able to run/bike/whatever at faster paces while still staying in this aerobic endurance zone.

Well, today I did my first HR-guided run and it was good, but SO SLOW.  Like, PAINFULLY SLOW.  I had a hard time settling into a good pace at first – I kept wanting to go faster and my garmin heart rate alarms (which I set before I started running) kept beeping angrily at me.  But after a few minutes I found my pace and just shuffled (or so it felt) along for my 8 miler.

Overall, my pace for this run… 13:16/mile.


I know that’s normal, and totally okay.  But it’s very discouraging to go from consistent 9:30s or so to a 13:16/mile.  I need to keep reminding myself that this will be really good in the long run, and that I will speed up over the course of the next several weeks/months.

Now I’m very curious to see how quickly that happens.

Well, it’s Christmas Eve and we are here visiting my sister and her husband in DC.  It’s delightfully warm here (relatively speaking, that is) and it’s been great getting out for some runs in a new neighborhood.  On the down side, their neighborhood is CRAZY HILLY!!!  And I thought ours was bad.  Oh my goodness.  But it’s a great hill workout!

Since I’ve been here I’ve gotten in two nice slow 5 milers, and tomorrow I’ll do an 8 sometime in the afternoon.  I’ve met some of their (very nice) neighbors while out running and apparently there’s a group meeting on Monday for a morning run, which I’d like to tag along with as well.  So even though we’re on vacation, I’m staying plenty active.

The other challenge has been managing my sweet tooth, especially during the holiday season.  Now that I’m delving into the world of Ironman, I really don’t want to have to carry any extra weight for that 140.6 miles.  So I’m trying to pay more attention to what I’m eating.  I’m a big bored/mindless/habitual/emotional eater, so I’m trying to be very purposeful.  It’s been a couple days and I think I’m over the hump.  In the beginning I have a hard time breaking those sugar cravings (SO REAL), but once I get past it, things are much easier.  It also helps that I’m the only vegan in the house here and there’s absolutely nothing vegan to eat.  So even though the cookies look great, and there’s lots of them, I have an easy time passing them up.

Although, what’s the holiday season without a little baked deliciousness?  I’m going to make a batch of Peanut Butter Pillows (best cookies EVER) for everyone to enjoy tonight, and also a batch of Angela’s Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast tomorrow.  I made these for Christmas last year and it was absolutely incredible.  There are no words to describe it.  You just have to make them yourself.  I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I’m off to start baking.  Have a happy holiday!

I actually had a decent run tonight!  It’s been a while!  It’s always exciting when you finally have a run that doesn’t suck after a long string of crappy ones.

It was a simple little 4 miler on the treadmill, but I decided to slow it down just a little bit (by 30 seconds per mile) and that made all the difference.  My legs didn’t feel heavy anymore, and I didn’t feel like crap.  Hooray!

I definitely tend to push my speed when I’m doing shorter runs, especially on the treadmill.  But not every run can be for speedwork.  For me, constantly doing speedwork = burn out.  I need to remember that.

So for these next few weeks of training it’ll be nice and slow(ish) and just getting the miles in.  Unfortunately, I can’t get into the pool until the end of January unless I get a gym membership or am constantly getting day passes to the Y, which adds up.  I’m fortunate that I get free gym and pool access at work, but since the semester is over, the pool is closed until classes start back up again at the end of January.  Bummer.  However, when it’s open, I have a whole pool almost completely to myself, which is awesome.

On the biking side of things, I spent some time today checking out trainers at all my local bike shops.  I’m trying to decide between the CycleOps Mag+, CycleOps Magneto, CycleOps Fluid 2, or the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine.  I’m leaning toward the Kurt because I’ve heard nothing but great things about it.  Any suggestions?

I’m a little crazy, and that’s okay.

I know it’s very unorthodox, but today I signed up for my first Ironman triathlon.

On September 23, 2012, I’ll be racing the HITS Cooperstown full Ironman triathlon.

I have a couple marathons under my belt, so I’m comfortable with that part of it.  And I have nine months to work on my swimming and biking – neither of which is really that bad, but I need work for sure.  I’ll also be doing several shorter (olympic and half iron) tris in the spring and summer to practice my transitions.  I’ll also be working with the local tri club and figuring out strategy (fueling, pacing, etc.).

I know there are people who would disagree with this plan, and I know it’s not typical, and that’s okay.  I like to go big and set my sights high.  I like to be a little scared of the event that I’m working toward, because it makes me work harder.  If I just signed up for another marathon or a shorter tri with nothing large looming, I wouldn’t train hard or push myself.

So instead I reach for the stars.

I have a 20 week training plan, and the race is 41 weeks away as of today (Sunday).  I like to give myself a few extra weeks of cushioning in a training plan, so I’ll start the official one with 25 weeks to go.  So that gives me until April 1st to improve my swimming and biking technique and improve my base.  When it comes to the running, it’s about strategy, pacing, and fueling.  But my base is good there.

So I know some people (most, probably) will give me the side-eye, but that’s okay.  I like to do things a little different.  I’ve always been just a tad weird.  Why stop now?  🙂

Hooray!  Winter break is here!

I teach, and our last class was yesterday.  So now I’m off (kind of) until late January.  I’ll still be going into work almost every day (lots of prep to do for spring), but there’s no classes and it’s much less structured.  So this is the perfect time to really dive into training for DC.  There’s 14 weeks of training until the race, and I’m really looking forward to it.

I haven’t run much since my big illness-induced bonk at the Adirondack Marathon in September.  There’s been a few runs here and there, but house projects and work have taken a front seat this fall, and running got pushed to the back.  So my conditioning isn’t quite where it should be, but I find that it comes back fairly quickly once I get into a routine.  But those first several runs are HARD.  On Monday I did 5.5 miles on the treadmill and my legs felt so heavy, but I just need to push through it.  It just takes a little while to get things feeling good again.  The plan is a 6 miler today and an 8 tomorrow.  I’m sure my legs won’t like that, but they’ll manage.

I really want to train well and hard this time around.  My family will be in DC to cheer me on and I’d like to have a good race and make them proud.  Plus, since this will be my third marathon (should have been my fifth – stupid illness/injury), I’ve already done the rookie mistakes – now it’s time to learn from them.

I’m so excited, I had to share.

One of my favorite blogs, No Meat Athlete, is putting together a training and support group for the 2012 DC Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon (and half marathon).  I was already registered for the marathon and I signed up for the training group as soon as I could.  It’s going to be great to meet other veggie athletes and have others to talk to during training.  Having that support group is really something that can’t be matched when I’m training by myself.  I can’t wait to meet Matt and Susan and all the other great veggie athletes who will be participating!  This is a great chance to support others and be supported through the journey to my next marathon, and a chance to make some great friends along the way.

So training is beginning.  I’ll keep you updated!

And now, on a less healthy note, I’m off to the kitchen to get back to baking hundreds of Christmas cookies for work.

Need to contact me?

geonerdette at gmail dot com


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