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?

 

in the early morning

I have always been a morning runner.

There have been different reasons for this over the course of my life.  Originally—back when running a mile felt like absolute torture—I hated running.  My morning runs happened only because it was the thing to do.  A means to losing those freshman 15.  I wanted my runs to be in the morning and out of the way so I that could enjoy the rest of my day in peace.  Harumph.

And then—gradually, not overnight—I fell in love with running.  A morning run became my sense of peace.  An accomplishment.  My alone time.  The perfect way to start my day.

Now—as a busy Dietetic Intern—I literally have to run in the morning, if I want to run at all.  It doesn’t matter if the temperature is frigid.  Or if it’s too dark to even be considered the morning.  It doesn’t matter.  My schedule demands a morning run.  And since I’ve fallen so in love with running—it’s still my sense of sanity and peace!—I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to get me out of bed and on the road.  In the early morning.

First things first.  Breakfast.

There’s no such thing as a good run without the proper fuel to keep you going.

For some people, this means a quick snack and a “regular” breakfast upon return.  For others—that’s me!—only a big ol’ breakfast will do.  Do what works for you!  Just remember that our brains and muscles need the energy for every day living and for your running regimen.  Fuel up!

Secondly, let someone know when and where you’re going.

This is especially true if you’re a female runner (not that it’s not also important for the guy runners out there to practice safety too 😉 ).  Just give a heads up to someone that you plan on heading out. 

Third, bring a flashlight.

I don’t like carrying extra stuff on my runs.  But when I’m running in the early morning, a light source is a *must.*  Keep it small, and you won’t even realize that you’re carrying it.

Fourth thing, don’t run at the same time every morning on the same route.

This is just a safety precaution.  Don’t be paranoid but don’t be ignorant either.  Change up your routes or times to play it safe, never letting yourself become predictable.

Fifth point, carry a set of house keys.

This will ensure that you can get in your house safely.  You never know when a family member will accidentally lock you out.  On a cold winters’ day.  After an 11 mile run.  I’m not mentioning any names. :mrgreen:

Here’s an extra safety bonus: keys can be used as a weapon as necessary.  Just sayin’. 😉

LAST point.  Bring kleenex! 

I know some runners who have learned to blow their nose without kleenex, but I believe that is meant solely for the hardcore runner who doesn’t want to mess with carrying kleenex.  I’ll opt for toting along a couple tissues. 😉

And there you have it.  Running in the morning (or late at night) is totally doable with a few easy steps.  If you’re lucky enough to have a running partner who can join you on such a time, that’s great too.  Just be safe, stay cautious, and enjoy those gorgeous, early morning sunrises too!  Morning runs have soooo much to offer.  😀

Question: If you’re a morning/evening runner, what would you add to this list?