Well, since my last post, the hot hot heat has relented a little, but it still hasn’t been back to my preferred conditions for running. What are my preferred running conditions you ask, Oregon. (Mid 60’s to upper 70’s and dry! in the mornings and late evenings).
Well, this morning was a beautiful exception to the humid East coast summer I’ve been enduring. 62F with the dew point at 42F. Amazing.
I slept in a little longer, then pulled on my favorite PRC top for a quick 3ish miles before work.
What’s better than 3.5 miles with a nice cool breeze? Meeting a friend and his always-happy-to-see-me Labrador at around mile 2! Science and the whole 60+ hrs a week thing has been kicking my butt lately. Friends have been great, but they’re still not the best friends who know me through and through. And that’s when that bounding, unconditional, I-cant-remember-who-you-are-but-I-LOVE-you from a dog is just what this scientist doctor ordered for an immediate pick me up.
To do this weekend: Turn 31. Spend time at a pool. Hang out with Peyton the Labrador. Try not to worry about my F32 fellowship application every waking second like I have been for the last two weeks.
It is Hott with two T’s here in pretty much all of America this July. If you’re unfortunate enough not to be on the west coast, it is also humid 😦 Can I move back to Portland now?
To combat this heat and humidity, I’ve been trying to come up with as many cool, light dinner recipes as I can lately. Most often, I resort to salad wraps – a tortilla smeared with hummus – sometimes basil hummus if I’m feeling fancy, topped with a big handful of salad greens and occasionally some cheese. Last week, I decided my salad wraps were getting a little bland, so I spiced them up with a different type of protein. Instead of the hummus spread, I made a bean salad to pair with the greens.
Black bean guac:
1/2 sweet onion diced
1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
2 avocados mashed
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Voila! Mexican-inspired salad wraps. From the Mediterranean to central America without turning on the oven.
When salad wraps got a little boring… correction, I ran out of tortillas. I moved on to chicken salad. This one does require some cooking. I’m no raw foodist. And although I think bacteria are super neat and all, eating Salmonella isn’t really my thing. I’d much rather mutate it and see what it looks like under the microscope.
Chicken Salad with Yogurt Dressing:
2 diced cooked chicken breasts, 1 c celery, 1 diced apple, 1/2 c raisins, 1/3 c chopped pecans, 1/4c salted sunflower seeds, finely diced 1/4 sweet onion. Dressing: 1/2 c vanilla Greek yogurt plus 1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar to thin it down and 1 Tbsp dijon mustard.
Finally, tonight’s creation was inspired by Shauna and Danny over at www.glutenfreegirl.com. Danny made a delicious roasted beet salad last Friday. A former room mate of mine made it earlier this afternoon and sent me the recipe but it was hot, so I knew turning on the oven to roast the beets was out of the question. I knew I had some feta cheese in the fridge, but the recipe called for chèvre. I had some lemon thyme, but the recipe called for dill. I had apple cider vinegar instead of champagne vinegar. I had French stone-ground mustard with horseradish instead of fresh horse radish. I consulted the Flavor Bible… it said my substitutions were going to be okay. I went with it. it was delicious. Vinegary. Refreshing. I paired it with a big handful of baby salad greens and a beer.
Earlier this year, I took a much-needed mini vacation to Disney World with five of my girlfriends from Portland for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Thanks to an awesome cast member hook up, we got the friends and family rate for our “Cars” themed hotel room and thoroughly enjoyed being treated like the princesses we truly are.
Ready to race!(walk) this was at the height of the peroneal tendonitis this winter and I finished my first half marathon walk in roughly 3:35. Definitely the most entertaining half marathon I’ve completed!
Well, onto the real reason for the post… At the beach house in Maine a few weeks ago, G. and I were playing with his sister’s princess crown…
Turns out I happen to have a spare set of two five foot long blonde braids and a sparkly princess tiara…
Tada! Oh, the cuteness!
First off, I say “the livin’ is easy” because it has been, for the most part. I’ve had some really excellent chances to escape work and get away for the weekend, or meet up with friends, or spend hours quietly (<–key word there) weeding the garden. Work has been busier than ever before because now I'm in charge of a summer student three afternoons a week! Yes, I asked my boss if I could have a student and I knew it would eat a major hole into my productivity at work, but the chance to get some mentoring experience was something I did not want to turn down.
So, it's been a busy summer so far! Busy working, busy playing. The cleanliness of my apartment is definitely suffering, but as the placard above the phone and mail table in my parents' house says "An immaculate house is the sign of a misspent life".
A quick re-cap of what's been keeping me so busy lately:
A trip to Boothbay Harbor, ME with many, many work friends. We stayed with family of one of my coworkers at their summer home right on the ocean. I did not want to leave. It was by far the most relaxing three day weekend I've had in years and reminded me of spending summers "Up North" at my grandparents' house in northern Michigan.
The garden is also taking off! Thanks to the extra sunlight and consistently warmer weather. Also thanks to the wild animals that have decided to stop chewing the tops off of my bean plants and letting them grow. There will be beans this year after all!
My goal as summer continues (and gets even busier and more stressful on the work side of things) is to take a little time out each day to celebrate, to contemplate, to be thankful, or to be in awe.
My most recent 5K was last March. There were several over the winter and late spring that I missed out on due to the tendonitis. With all the time spent not running this winter, I was beginning to think my new year’s running goals might not be in the cards this year.
My fears of decreased pace and fitness have been squashed several times in the last month. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the “fast” pace I’ve been able to pull out on several occasions.
The most recent pace surprise was this weekend at the First Hamden 5K on Saturday. My previous PR was 27:45. I wanted to beat 27 minutes so I set an ambitious pace into my Garmin of 8:40/ mi to ensure that I’d be over the line before 27 minutes, even if . This pace is about 20s/mi faster than my tempo runs for my half marathon training plan.
As I crossed the starting line, I knew I had to push my pace for the whole race if I wanted to PR. The first mile and a quarter was uphill! What the?! Note to self: pay more attention to the course when setting time goals. My tempo run mantra cycled through my mind. “Push it!”
Just after mile 1 at 8:10 pace, we turned the corner to continue running uphill. Will it ever end? Thankfully, the first short downhill was just before the halfway mark. I made up some time employing my attempts at Chi Running, leaning forward as I ran down the hill, increasing my foot turnover to use the downhill to my greatest advantage. Then another uphill till about mile 2.5.
The downhill finish was a real boost for me. Even so, I definitely wanted to stop. I think that’s a good sign that I was pushing it enough. As I came around the corner toward the finish, my friend Justin yelled “Push it, Carole!”. I kicked it out through the finish and saw a very gratifying 25:07 on the clock.
So much for being under 27 minutes! 25:07?! That’s crazy talk! Talk about satisfying. Note to self: who cares about the course? Don’t let anything throw doubts into your race plan, you may be very pleasantly surprised by your abilities.
5K: Sub 25:00
10K: Sub 53:00
1/2 Marathon: Sub 2:00:00
Full Marathon: Sub 4:30:00
What are your race goals for the summer?
Happy National Running Day!
I’ve really been enjoying all of the running pics up on Twitter today. Some people posted pictures of themselves, others posted pictures of their running route. Whatever the image, it was great to see so many people supporting the running community and encouraging others to join in the fun.
The friendly and infectious peer pressure of my runner friends and the runner-friendly community of Portland, OR got me hooked on running five years ago. The #nationalrunningday campaign (can we call it that?) is a prime example of how runners can encourage a healthier, more active culture. Even the not-so-subtle peer pressure totally works, just ask my coworkers – none of whom at this time last year would have thought that they’d complete their first half marathon before the end of the year.
How did you celebrate National Running Day? Me? I ate a 5K for breakfast:)
Whooowee! It’s been a while!
Science has been moving at a frantic pace for the last couple of weeks and so have I! Riding the motivation train in work, AND in running. Sweet!
What brought on the running motivation, you ask? Feeling close to recovered from the tendonitis in my ankles, and receiving this little baby in the mail a week ago!
Now I know why so many of my runner friends are addicted to their Garmin’s! I wasn’t intending my run on Thursday to be particularly speedy, but that lap pace notice each mile is a huge motivator for me. The competitor in me loves to beat my previous times, an the scientist in me loves to analyze the data when I’m done. So addicting. In a good way.
Another engine on the motivation train is seeing that despite the tendonitis and not running for most of February and all of March, my pace hasn’t declined as much as I thought. I think my New Year’s goal of a sub 2:00 half marathon is still within reach!
Speaking of trains… I hopped on the Metro North at 5:45 this morning to head into New York for a #werunnyc meet up. The run was hosted by Greatist, and sponsored by some of my favorite sports companies. Lauren Fleshman’s Picky Bars were there- I tried them all. So good! Nuun hydration was there keeping us from dying of thirst on a hot, hot day. And the event was organized by Oiselle Ambassadors, and twitter friends of mine, Jocelyn @jcbonn, Meggie @mbsthinks and Abby @nycrunninggirl.
I thought I might the farthest travelled runner this morning taking the train from New Haven into Manhattan, but the two girls from Scranton, PA beat me! Amazing. We ran from Greatist HQ down to the East River and along the FDR to the Williamsburg bridge for 4, 6, or 8 miles depending on the turnaround. It was a hot, hot day but running through the spray park with my new running buddy, Gabby made it a great run.
Flocking through NYC
In short, life is good.
We’re in the thick of Spring here in Connecticut. My garden is sprouting, I’ve worn shorts consistently for every run in the last week, and a can’t help but stock my fridge with all things green and crunchy!
This week, I’ve been inspired by a great Cook’s Illustrated recipe I found several years ago. Brown rice with peas, mint, and feta. It’s the perfect balance of flavors, and embodies freshness with the sweet peas balanced by the salty, feta. All of the tastes are brought together by a bright spritz of fresh lemon upon serving.
I served this side, along with lots of other delicious things last Sunday when I had a few friends over for dinner, but come Thursday, I was hungry for the fresh taste of spring again so I whipped up a similar mixture, adding in sweet tiny salad shrimp, and subbing quinoa for the brown rice.
That’s when it happened. I finally used up my 4lb bag of Quinoa. Only took me 14 months. Good thing it’s grocery day and I could stock up again before I had to go without;)
For two weeks in a row, my coworkers and I have celebrated Tempo Tuesday!
For the uninitiated, Tempo Tuesday is where I try to keep up with the guys running at their normal pace, and they force me to do intervals of 1-2 blocks from about 9:30 to 8:50 pace. (Not everybody who writes a running blog is fast, m’kay?}. During this time, they ask me questions and push me if it’s easy for me to talk. Not super scientific, but it gets the job done. Tempo Tuesday is also WAAAAY more fun than pushing myself to run fast just for the heck of it.
On last night’s Tempo Tuesday run, my partner wanted to do some hills as well. Here’s a map of our “ooh, let’s do that hill, ooh, let’s do that hill” run. *This is a map to the best of my memory. I don’t have a fancy watch – more on that soon, so I mapped what I could remember on gmaps-pedometer.com http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5931689
We also stopped by the garden to check in and give it some water. The lettuce blend is forming nice little rows of two-leafed sprouts. Some of the rainbow chard is sprouting. The garlic and the onions are about an inch tall already! Here’s a shot from Sunday afternoon.
The best part about Tempo Tuesday this week: I felt great! My feet and ankles feel good this morning too. Now, time for some serious stretching!