To Be Continued…

Today I will be attempting to run my final long run before the big Half Marathon day in two weeks.  You think I’d be on edge.  Full of energy and nerves and ready to pump out ever last mile.

You’d think.

But no.  This past week with all its business and chaos has left me feeling like Stitch will a belly full of food.  Tired.  Pooped.  Completely tuckered out.  Yes.  This may very well be the run that will test my mental strength and motivation.

I’ll tell you all about it upon my return…and if you happen not to hear from me, please send the posse.  It means I’m lying on the side of the road, somewhere, in need of a caffeine IV.  😉

To Be Continued…

Wish me luck and Happy Saturday! 😀

We. Did. It!

WE. DID. IT!!!

My dad is my most favorite running partner.  Most of the time, I hate running with other people.  I usually feel guilty for slowing them down!

But my dad runs his own pace and he tells me to do the same.  He turns around when he gets too far ahead and sometimes he even lets me choose the pace.  AND, best of all, he’s just as crazy as I am when it comes to going out for an eight mile run in icy conditions. 😉

Because, it really was super icy.  It even began to ice rain at some points.  And we were chased by a silly yellow lab.  Legs began to ache.  BUT? We. Did. It!

Pre-eight mile run:

Post eight-mile run:

(don’t let that smile fool you…I was in PAIN!)

Overall, it was a really good run.  I felt strong for the first 4-5 miles or so.  I began to tire right after that, and my entire body began to ache on the last mile stretch towards home.

And then I came home and collapsed in the snow.

“Eating For Your Long Run”

There’s a lot of thought that goes into running long miles, especially when it comes to food.  I haven’t yet reached the point where I need to bring fuel on a run, but there is a lot of pre-run fuel and post-run fuel going on.  There’s no absolute, pure science behind all of my choices, but they work for me.  The secret, I think, is to experiment a little and see what works for you!

The Night Before

Eat a light snack the night before, if you plan on running in the morning.  Cereal is my personal snack of choice.  It’s light on the stomach and it helps me sleep better.  Don’t forget to stay hydrated too!

The Morning Of

This is one of those times when I throw variety out the window and stick with what I know will work.  For me, that happens to be either (a) a bowl of oatmeal or (b) a couple of whole wheat toasts smeared with almond butter, fruit and a glass of milk.

I also drink a small cup of coffee for the caffeine boost.

And, of course, water, water, water!

Post Run

Milk has the perfect combination of protein and carbohydrates, making it the ideal way to refuel after a long run.  Drink up!  Preferably within 30 minutes of running.

Post Run

More refueling is in order if your long runs are beginning to exceed 5-6 miles.  A cup of milk won’t exactly cut it.

Today I was craving a big ol’ salad with lots of greens and flavah!  Today’s toppings:

  • kidney beans
  • goat cheese
  • salty sunflower seeds
  • avocado
  • snap peas
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

I am absolutely obsessed with these Terra Sweets and Beets chips.  They’re addicting!

A little while later, I broke out some yogurt with wheat germ and a whole wheat blueberry muffin.  I am a bottomless pit on the weekends after a long run; I’ve learned to just roll with it. 😉

Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles (YIPPEE!)

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles (We. Did. It! 😀 )

Week 7:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles

Week 9:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY!

QUESTION: Does your appetite go up on the days that you exercise?  Or does it hit you like a ton of bricks later on? My appetite definitely skyrockets on the days that I exercise.  I listen up and eat when I’m hungry so that I’m back to normal by the next day. 😉

Six. Point. Five.

 

I can’t even begin to tell you how worried I was about this morning’s run.  Worried. What an understatement of a word, if ever there was one.

Why, you ask?

Well.  First, there was the sharp wind, which was absolutely howling.  Blowing ladders around like little wooden sticks.  Opening screen doors and then banging them shut again and again and again.  Showing no mercy.

And then there was me, in my winter running garb and sneakers, wearing big, thick mittens and a blue wool hat.  And what felt like a lofty goal of running 6.5 miles.  A feat that I haven’t accomplished since last January before my knee injury.

Worried.  Psshh.  What an understatement.


 

And yet I was surprised at how quickly everything came together.  All the old tricks that I used to use to pull me through my long runs never really left.   You know, those self motivating pep-talks.  They work like a charm!

“Three miles to the top of this hill.  You can do that!”

“Two more miles.  That’s easy.”

“The first two miles are the toughest.  Just get through this and you’ll be fine.”

“Don’t go too fast.  Hold on to some extra steam for the last hurrah.”

And then…suddenly…the run was over.

Six. Point. Five!!

 

 

I felt so proud at the end of this run.  Six and a half (pain free!) miles may as well have been a marathon.  😀

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My Post Long-Run Rituals

1. Foam Roll

Foam rolling hurt a lot (a LOT) the first few times that I did it, but it is much, much easier now.  My physical therapist had me doing this during my knee injury last year, and it really did help with my leg and knee pains.  It’s basically like having a really affordable, deep tissue massage.

Be sure to hold those painful positions for at least several seconds!  It takes me a good 20 seconds or so to bring the foam roller from right above my knee to the upper leg.

 

 

I’ve found this position to be particularly good for any IT band issues and/or knee pains.  Using your hands and leg for balance, roll yourself from right below the hip to right above the knee.  Back and forth, really slowly, stopping in any painful positions to let the massage go deeper.

 

 

2. Ice Baths.

Yes, they help with inflammation.

Yes, they’re totally painful.

If it’s just too painful, grab a bag of ice and compress any sore, tender areas for about 10-15 minutes.  That works well too.

 

 

3. Refuel.

 

 

Try to focus on getting some carbs and protein in for refueling your body after a long run.  Milk is known as the “perfect” choice because of the carb/protein balance that it has.  But really, anything that you feel like you can tolerate will do just fine.  Toast with peanut butter.  Half a banana with peanut butter.  Crackers and cheese.  A fruit smoothie.

Some people can’t imagine eating a large meal after finishing a tough workout, while others could eat their arm off in hunger (ahem, that would be me.)  Find what foods work for you and stick with it.

 

 

For dinner tonight, Dad grilled up some burgers.

Mom made a batch of whole wheat hamburger buns.

And I made the eazy peazy, balsamic glazed onions and peppers.

Delicious.

 

 

Balsamic Glazed Onions and Peppers

This is one of my favorite toppings for steaks, poultry, and hamburgers.  You could also use it in a veggie wrap, on top of a fresh garden salad, or chopped into brown rice with tofu.  Or, you could really just grab a fork and eat it as is. 😉

The important thing is to let the balsamic vinegar completely evaporate after you’ve added it.  It’s at that point, when the onions and peppers will begin to brown and caramelize, thanks to the heat of the pan.  It’s lovely, really.  And it’s also super easy.  Enjoy!

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1/2 or 1 whole green bell pepper
  • handful of fresh mushrooms, sliced about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  1. In a nonstick frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, pepper, and mushrooms.
  2. Continue cooking until peppers and onions are still firm but beginning to soften.  Add a healthy drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Enough to coat all the veggies.  Turn the heat to medium high and continue cooking until all of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Continue cooking and stirring for 1-2 more minutes, or until vegetables have caramelized.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  ENJOY!

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Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles (YIPPEE!)

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles

Week 7:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles

Week 9:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY!!

 

Question: What are some ways you keep yourself motivated during a tough workout?