Monday – 4.2 miles; strength & flexibility work
Tuesday – 8 miles (Ultimate Runner events)
Wednesday – 4.44 miles; lunges
Thursday – 6.06 miles
Friday – rest
Saturday – 22 miles (morning), 11 miles (afternoon/evening pub run)
Sunday – rest
Total = 55.7 miles; 2 non-run workouts
As the post title says – finally a week of mileage I don’t need to be ashamed of. I actually got some decent mileage in this week, although I should have worked to round off the numbers a bit better. Much of what happened over last week deserves multiple additional blog posts. But I’ll just share now that the 4.44 miles is an homage to the next ultra-marathon on my list, and the pub run was a raucous good time.
I was able to get run time with a lot of different friends, old and new, over the week. Only Wednesday and Thursday were solo runs, so it’s quite a treat to have company that often! My non-run workouts suffered compared to the week of abs and core though. Saturday’s combined 33 miles was intense.
Pancakes. That was supposed to be my best eat of the week. The Kiwanis club or lodge or whatever they are have an annual pancake jamboree, and it was held on Friday. I absolutely love pancakes. Breakfast food in general, but especially pancakes and syrup. I rustled up a few friends to go with me for Friday dinner and was looking forward to it all day. Only $6 for all you can eat pancakes! I think it even comes with sausage too. Then I get there, do an incredible job parallel parking my car, only to find a text message from my friends that the line is too long and they were heading to a nearby breakfast-all-day restaurant. I’m sure I could have gotten pancakes there but I was a bit frustrated and decided to just go home and make my own darn pancakes.
I opened my box of mix and whipped it all together. Seemed too runny, maybe I over-stirred it. I never trust “batter should still be lumpy,” it just seems like a trick. So anyway I had a lot of thin flat pancakes. Discovered I was low on maple syrup (got to have the real stuff!) and so I couldn’t just pour it all over like I would at a restaurant. You know how expensive syrup is? I swear it’s like $8 for 8 ounces. Maybe I’m too frugal. Anyway, the pancakes were almost certainly less delicious than I would have gotten at the Pancake Jamboree, but it filled the need. And I instagrammed my meal anyway.
I don’t even think I napped. Shame on me. I did plenty of running, eating and drinking though… hopefully that makes up for it.
Time for another super-hyped beer: Bell’s Hopslam Ale. Local Irish pub Finnigan’s Wake was touting the tapping of their Hopslam keg all week. Said it would go fast and all that. Bell’s is a brewery out of Michigan, so the limited time beer is truly limited here, unlike locally made and super-hyped (not to be confused with super-hopped) Foothills Sexual Chocolate, which I mentioned in this segment last week. I figured I wouldn’t be able to get any Hopslam since I had rehearsal on Wednesday afternoon until 8pm, and the keg was being tapped at 6pm. But I texted some friends who were at Finnigan’s and found there was still some left at 8pm! Another friend joined us around 8:40pm and he got the end of it – not even a full glass.
Hopslam is a 10% abv beer with – predictably – all kinds of hops. I found it quite tasty and worth trying, if not just to see what the talk was all about. However, it’s definitely not a beer I’d go far out of my way for. Perhaps my palate is just not sophisticated enough to appreciate the complexity of the hops, but it seemed like just a solid standard beer, not earth-shattering. And it was $8 for the small glass.
For my February race, I was waffling between the Pilot Mountain Pay Back heavy half marathon trail run, or a short and sweet 5k. I opted for some speed, as I had not run a 5k since September and was looking forward to letting the after burners kick in. My focus lately has been distance and trails, so a 5k seemed just the ticket as a literal chance of pace. And I decided to volunteer at the Pilot Mountain Pay Back since I won’t be running.
February has been a month where I’ve sometimes had trouble finding local events, so I was looking in a broader radius. There were really only three days of the month where a race would fit comfortably into my schedule, so the options were not exactly plentiful. When I found a 5k at UNC-Charlotte, about 80-90 minutes away, it made the short list. Then a friend in town who went to college at UNCC said he was also looking for a 5k, so with the option for company and a carpool, it was an easy choice.
My goal was to break into the elusive 23 minute range. Six of the seven 5ks I ran in 2012 were 24 minutes and change, and the seventh was the last event of Ultimate Runner where I certainly wasn’t going to get any sort of PR time. 24:44, 24:20, 24:10, 24:58, 24:32, 24:11. I was thinking something in the 23:5x range would be awesome.
It was a chilly morning, around 28 degrees. The race started and finished on a track on the campus, and my friend and I stayed huddled in his car in the nearby parking garage as long as possible before heading down 10 minutes or so before the race was to start. Bigger crowd than I’d anticipated. There were nearly 600 finishers.
The group moved en masse to the far side of the track for the start. There were signs reading, if I recall correctly, “fast,” “medium” and “walkers,” which I suppose is better than nothing, but doesn’t really offer enough guidance. Estimated finish times would be more helpful. As with nearly every race I’ve ever attended, there were a series of inaudible announcements (can nobody ever get them loud enough?!) then a start gun went off and it was time to run.
I’d set up a bit farther back than I should have, so I took to the outside lanes of the track to start passing some of the other “medium” runners. Quite a range of times among the mid-pack! It was about 3/4 of the way around the track when we headed out onto the road for a couple quick left turns onto a paved trail through the woods. Surprisingly the narrow path wasn’t too congested, even at this early stage. There seemed to be a lot of turns in this course, and plenty of hills as well! I don’t know Charlotte all that well, but for some reason it was hillier than I had anticipated.
The first mile found my numb feet starting to thaw out, and by the first mile marker (7:30 split), I was pretty well warmed up. Dodged a spot where the automatic sprinklers had left some ice in the road, and an odd glaze of ice on the lower half of a number of trees. Mile 2, as per my usual, was the slowest at 7:41. My hands were getting hot at this point and I wished I hadn’t worn my gloves, but it wasn’t worth it to try and peel them off with just a mile to go. We finally got to some downhill on this stretch and I started letting it fly. There was a blonde girl ahead of me who I was trying to catch.
The course wove back onto some narrow paths as we approached the track again for the finish. Mile 3 was a nice 7:05 split and I still had some left in the tank. I was able to pass the blonde girl just before the finish. You can see me peeking over the shoulder of the guy in the hooded sweatshirt in the photo above. Stopped my watch and was amazed to see my final time of 23:15! To think, I’d just been hoping to break into the high 23s… I guess I’ve got to think about 22s now, instead of chipping away at the 23s bit by bit.
I think cold weather is my friend when it comes to good races. I didn’t warm up before the race, which I probably should for 5ks, especially in low temperatures. Temps in the mid-30s would be my choice over high-20s, but I’ll take this result all day long.
23:15. 7:29/mi pace
Sex place: 6/306 women
Age group place: 2/49 females 25-29
However, I won age group first place as the overall winner got a separate medal as first student finisher. Grad student I guess.
I was correct that the blonde girl was in my age group, so I just edged her out. She didn’t stick around for the award ceremony, but they snapped a photo after awarding the female 25-29 medals.
If you can’t tell, I’m pretty pleased with my run at this event. While I have a lot of distance in the hopper for the near future, perhaps I’ll spend a couple months this summer focusing on getting FAST! But I know me, more likely it’ll just be 5ks sprinkled in among training for longer events.
Monday – 35 minutes “yoga for runners”
Tuesday – 6 miles; core workout
Wednesday – 8 miles; core workout
Thursday – 100 crunches
Friday – 5 miles; 100 crunches
Saturday – 5k race; 100 crunches
Sunday – 16 miles; 100 crunches
Total = 38 miles; 7 non-run workouts
I challenged myself to core/ab workouts every day last week, and I was successful. I’ll totally admit that at least a few of the batches of crunches came at like 11pm or later. Saturday night at a friend’s house we were crafting and drinking wine, noticed it was 11:30pm and I hadn’t done core that day. So I plopped down on her slate kitchen floor and crunched away. Sunday night was post-Super Bowl and I was in my pajamas. It is kind of nice to be able to complete a “workout” in like 5 minutes without sweating or changing, and just pop back up, back to your glass of red. I’m not necessarily going to continue the daily challenge, but I do need more of this.
As for running, it was a weird week. I was all ready to be diligent and pile on the miles, but it didn’t really happen. Monday I rested after 10 and 18 the prior weekend. Tuesday and Wednesday were alright, then I rested again Thursday with some knee pain that had been bothering me since Saturday. Friday I took it easier than I should have in anticipation of Saturday’s 5k. I will post a full recap on that, hopefully tomorrow, but it went very well. Had sort of planned for 8-10 more miles that afternoon, but we got back from Charlotte later than I thought and I had to make an afternoon appointment for some technical difficulties I’d been dealing with. Sunday brought an okay amount of miles, but not enough to make up the week.
One thing I’m noticing today – my quads are pretty sore. I think it’s from pushing hard in the 5k on Saturday. I haven’t really run that fast in quite some time, and I’m feeling it. Weird that such a short run could have that effect! Maybe the longer miles Sunday compounded it.
This week was full of eats. Monday I broke my streak of not going out to lunch, and got a big burrito at Moe’s. Delicious but a calorie bomb! I hadn’t prepared a lunch because I thought I was going out with a friend-coworker, but we had to push that to Friday. Then we went out for sushi which was brilliant. I haven’t had sushi in a while so it was nice to eat from a different flavor profile. Then Saturday and Sunday were train wrecks.
Saturday I met some friends at Foothills for some beer and we got a couple appetizers to split: fried pickles, cheese dip, guacamole, spinach & artichoke dip. Then I went on to a friend’s house (aforementioned in the abs section) and we had wine and more snacks. Sunday was, of course, the Super Bowl. That came with all the requisite junk food. I think I need a detox.
Honesty time – I napped through the apparently exciting ending to the Super Bowl. Whoops.
Oh it’s that time of year again… Sexual Chocolate. The amazing chocolate imperial stout Foothills makes once a year as their February seasonal. That was the purpose of my trip to the pub on Saturday night.
If you like great beer, I hope you can have some of this. People travel from all around for the one-time bottle release. Since I live so close to the pub, I don’t need to mess with camping out overnight for the bottles, and can instead just get this sweet nectar by the glass whenever I drop in this month. They do have some available in other bars across the state, and perhaps in nearby states as well.
Many things are not, but I definitely think Sexual Chocolate is worth the hype.
Ah, winter in North Carolina.
Last week, the temperature during my morning runs was about 21 degrees on Wednesday and Friday. Today it was about 64 degrees.
On Wednesday I did not dress appropriately on my bottom half and my behind and back of my thighs were totally numb. My ankle length running tights are a bit loose in the waist, but I always forget this since I rarely need to wear them. So I was needing to hoist them back up throughout the run, but by the end I wasn’t even sure if I was touching my skin or my pants or perhaps just a nearby person because heck if I had any feeling left. I was just pulling on whatever was there. I could have had my bottom hanging out for all I knew. One thin layer of poly blend is just not enough! When I got home, I had to sit on the radiator for a while to get feeling back.
So on Friday, I opted to wear knee length capris under my long pants with a drawstring. This worked so much better and I didn’t lose feeling! Hooray! I was, however, quite amused by the ultimate quantity of what I wore. Sports bra, base tank, long sleeve, mock neck long sleeve, undies, capris, pants, gloves, earband, socks & shoes. In the summer, this much fabric could be made into a week’s worth of running clothing!
Then, after all that cold weather, temperatures reached 70 degrees today. It was about 64 on my run this morning, and I wore shorts and short sleeves. It felt very light and freeing, but the heavy humidity that came along with it was stifling. In the summer I’d love it, but right now it felt just so thick. I guess I’m just never satisfied! I’m in luck though, storms are coming through and we’ll have cold weather again tomorrow.
What is your ideal running weather?
I think I’d choose sunny, dry and 40-50 degrees. Thinking of the two extreme (for NC winter!) temperatures mentioned above, I’d probably choose the 21° over the 64°, and I would just buy some lined tights with a drawstring if I was going to face it often.
What makes up your essential winter running gear? What kind of temperatures are you dealing with this winter? I know my Canadian readers (hi Mary @ Running In Transit has just made a post about winter running gear) are probably laughing at my 21°F being oh-so-cold.
Monday – zero
Tuesday – zero
Wednesday – 5 miles
Thursday – zero
Friday – 5 miles
Saturday – 10 miles; core work
Sunday – 18 miles; arm weights
Total = 38 miles; 2 non-run workouts
I was having some weird hamstring pain early in the week, so I took that plus the dropping temperatures as an excuse to rest my legs on Monday and Tuesday. Temperatures were extra cold last week, with morning temps just peeking above 20 degrees on Wednesday and Friday. It was very tempting to use that as an excuse to stay in my nice warm bed, but I was stronger than that and made it out both mornings. Even took some lessons from myself and dressed far more appropriately on Friday morning.
We had an ice storm on Friday afternoon, so I waited until there was time for things to melt on Saturday, as temps climbed to around 40. I hit one slushy spot and almost wiped out on the sidewalk, but I fought for and maintained my balance. Stepped into the grass when I was concerned from then on! Sunday for my long miles I headed to Salem Lake in the morning where the water was frozen in places. Fun to watch the ducks navigate throughout, and to watch the ice melt some in the nearly 3 hours I was out there. It was a good weekend of mileage to bring up a half-assed week.
I repeated the core workout I had done the previous week on Saturday, and felt a bit stronger in the plank section, which was nice. Really need to continue focusing on my weak core. I realized on Sunday night around 10:30p, when I was getting home from an evening with a friend, that I hadn’t done my second non-run of the week, so it was time for biceps and triceps.
Challenge for this current week 1/28: work the core some every day!
Best Eat of the Week: I mean, I’m sure I ate something tasty last week but mostly it was just another week of homemade breakfast, lunch and dinner. For my 18 miler on Sunday, I used my last slice of loaf bread from when my parents were here a couple weeks ago, and made some little peanut butter sandwich slivers. Ate a couple of those after my first hour for fuel. Worked out pretty well, so I guess my experience at Frosty 50 with pb & bread was not an aberration. I’ll consider getting loaf bread again, instead of the tortillas and Flat Out Wraps I usually have my sandwiches on, for this purpose.
Worst Eat of the Week: I was craving chocolate chip cookies for a week or so, when I finally caved and bought a package at the grocery. Pepperidge Farm soft baked chocolate chunk. Obviously not as good as my mom makes, but I guess it satisfied the craving. Mostly I’m just guilty about it and not sure what to do with the remainder of the cookies in the pouch!
Ah, the day of naps. Friday my office closed early for safety on the roads as the ice was coming. I was home a little after noontime, had lunch, and fell asleep on the couch for at least an hour. But that’s not all… I napped at least twice more that day, as I was just home watching TV and movies on the couch. I’m terrible about staying awake if I’ve got a couch and a blanket. Then I even slept until almost 11am on Saturday. Must have really needed that rest!
Have I ever even had a non-alcoholic drink of the week? I think chocolate milk may have made it once. This week’s drink goes to orange juice + tonic water. This is something my dad likes to drink after his runs. I had picked up a bottle of OJ when my folks were in town a couple weeks back, so it was still sitting in my fridge. I never keep juice around. Decided to refuel with that instead of some Gatorade when I finished Saturday’s 10. (Yes I realize 10 miles doesn’t really call for refueling.) It was quite refreshing! I was also amazed that the tonic water still had some fizz to it. I mentioned it with my vodka tonic last week, but that bottle has been open and untouched for a few months probably.
I’ve been quite slack with my weekly recaps lately. It’s because I’m not happy with what I’ve been doing – well more specifically, I’m not happy with what I’ve not been doing. The holidays, the cold, and the dark have led to the laziness. Oh and then I added some minimal shoes that gave me the excuse “well I can’t run too far yet in these shoes!” which is rather convenient.
Also, the best eat, best nap, best drink… part of me thinks that feature is a little tired, but I’ll continue with it… once I get back to actual weekly posts. I can’t think of the best thing I’ve eaten in the past 3-4 weeks. Hm. Surely there are weeks that just haven’t been recapped, but I’ll start with the week of the 50k then go from there.
12/31 – 1/6
Monday – zero
Tuesday – zero
Wednesday – 4 miles
Thursday – zero
Friday – 3.1 miles
Saturday – Frosty 50k
Sunday – zero miles; arm weights
Total = 38.1 miles; 1 non-run workout
As you may recall from my 2012 recap post, I’ve decided to commit to doing two non-running workouts per week. I really need to work on strength and toning and using muscles besides those in my legs. This first week was a bust, but I rationalized by saying I didn’t want to overdo it on abs or something in the days before my longest run ever. Fair excuse I thought.
Monday – zero
Tuesday – zero
Wednesday – 4 miles; ab workout
Thursday – zero
Friday – zero
Saturday – zero
Sunday – 6 miles; yoga
Total = 10 miles; 2 non-run workouts
This week I did get my extra workouts in, but barely ran at all. Also I felt weird calling the yoga a workout, but will admit I could feel some of the moves the next day in those wee muscles between the ribs. Plus I fully know I don’t stretch enough, and the idea is wellness, strength and toning. Yoga counts. As for the minimal mileage, most people with any sense would be like “yeah! but you just ran a 50k” but frankly my legs felt fine, and I took the excuse. Jeez there are a lot of excuses so far this post. Such is my life. I also went to the zoo with my parents on Saturday and we did a bit of walking there. I referred to this mentally as “an Undeserved Recovery Week.”
Monday – zero
Tuesday – 6 miles
Wednesday – arm weights
Thursday – 6 miles
Friday – zero (snow!)
Saturday – 14 miles
Sunday – 8 miles; core workout
Total = 34 miles; two non-run workouts
Getting a little better here, but still not where I need to be. (spoiler alert for next week’s version of this post – current week isn’t better either!) My core workout on Sunday was intense. I didn’t think it was, until I got to the plank segment at the end. How does 5 reps of 10 seconds of plank – yes that is 50 seconds total – get my heart beating harder than it did during a whole damn 31 mile race? Gracious I am weak. But I need to get better, and it takes work. And I definitely felt it all throughout the ol’ body on Monday and Tuesday.
Not going to go through best and worst meals, but I have been quite disciplined in bringing my lunch to work so far this year. The standard is: turkey wrap or sandwich, baby carrots, Greek yogurt, Granny Smith apple, Diet Mountain Dew. When I made the big pot of white bean chicken chili a couple weeks ago, I was eating that for dinner nearly every night, and having that same lunch every day. Weekday breakfasts are all also the same (big bowl of Cheerios and Wheat Chex mixed together with raisins; mug of tea) so I was eating the exact same meals all day every day for too many days in a row. I have a pretty good tolerance for food repetition – living alone has definitely led to that – but it was getting so incredibly dull. I was so glad to finish the chili and the package of turkey lunchmeat. Oh and I ran out of tortillas so I had one of the sandwiches on sliced bread instead. So exciting…
Anyway, this whole bringing my lunch thing is twofold to save money and calories. I was getting into the habit of going out for lunch 2-3 times a week, and it was $7-9 per meal most times. I’d be going places like Moe’s Southwest Grill (quesadilla, chips, queso dip) and Penn Station Subs (8 inch sub, french fries) where the meals weren’t exactly healthy either. Delicious of course, but not healthy. I think I’ll still “allow” myself one lunch out per week, but if I actually make my lunch each day, even better. I am meeting a friend for lunch tomorrow and believe that will be my first lunch out during the week in 2013.
Plus, I have a lot of evening activities at bars and restaurants, so I’m having the chance to dine out now and then. It does seem like I’ve lost a couple pounds since the holidays, which is encouraging.
I love napping. Just think that’s relevant. The last nap I can think of was Monday and that day isn’t included in these recaps. I encourage naps for everyone!
So many new beers. All the time. I was chatting with a friend recently, and he was choosing between some familiar beers on a menu while I was trying to find ones I’d never seen before. I start to lose track! Don’t get me wrong, I have favorites that I like to go back to, and I often purchase cans and bottles of beer I already know I enjoy, for drinking at home. But when I’m out and about, it’s nice to try something new. Can’t find a new favorite if you never try something different! As for buying 6-packs, I’ve had a few instances of purchasing something and discovering I don’t like it. Then it just sits in my fridge for a long time. I either force myself to drink it, or it languishes there and prevents me from buying more beer, because hey, there are still 5 of that other bottle in the fridge. If I’m lucky, I can find someone who does enjoy it and share.
Over the weekend, the guy in my apartment building who controls the heat for all of us (yes that’s a thing) had it turned up to almost 80 degrees. It’s usually 68-72. I was so hot, that I needed a nice warm weather drink, and I made myself a vodka tonic. So refreshing, and so incongruous with the cold weather.
I also want to highlight the Troeg’s Mad Elf beer I drank a couple weeks ago. My brother-in-law gave me a bottle at Thanksgiving and I didn’t allow myself to drink it until it would be the featured beer of the week here… and then you notice my posting went kaput. Mad Elf is a holiday seasonal, a high-gravity ale (11% abv) brewed with honey and cherries. It was very smooth for such a high alcohol content, and was quite nice. Thanks to the bro-in-law for sharing. I don’t know if this would be available for purchase anywhere near me here in NC, so getting it from the source (well they live like 30 minutes from the brewery; remember my trip up there?) was perfect.
Anyway, thanks for sticking with my blog even when I’m out of my weekly recap routine.
A few years ago, my tailgate had a big chili cookoff before a late fall football game. Fairly last minute, I decided to submit a chili. The problem was, I’d never made chili before. I paged through my crockpot cookbook and chose a white chili, then made some changes, substitutions and additions based on some other recipes online and my own choices. I submitted it under the name “Not Gonna Win White Bean Chili,” which shows how confident I was. And well, I was right, I didn’t win, but I got second place out of about 20 chilis! Some of the judges told me they actually liked mine best – it stood out by being the only white chili there – but they wanted a more “traditional” chili to win. Racists! Anyway, it turned out really well, and I want to share it here.
Emily’s ‘Not Gonna Win’ White Bean Chicken Chili
4 cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed (15.5 ounce cans)
1 large onion, diced
4 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 jar Salsa Verde (16 ounce jar)
1 can diced green chiles (4 ounce can)
1 can diced jalapeños (4 ounce can)
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chiles (10 ounce can)
1 can white corn, drained (15.25 ounce can)
1 can yellow corn (vacuum packed 11 ounce can)
4 cloves minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground red pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
This is SO easy! Mix all the ingredients, except the cheese, into a crock pot. Heat in crock pot on low 7-9 hours, or on high 4 hours.
Before serving, stir in 2 cups colby jack cheese until melted. Serve. Makes about 10 servings.
It has a little kick to it, but isn’t too spicy. If you want to tone down the spice, replace the jalapeños with a second can of diced green chiles. You can also get the mild Rotel tomatoes (I actually use store brand instead of Rotel brand, but you get the idea). If you’re a spice lover, you can double the jalapeños and make any number of other changes to heat it up a notch!
It seems like every time I make this chili, I end up using a different type of salsa verde. My grocery store doesn’t have a huge selection and it seems to vary, so if you can’t find a 16 ounce jar, no big deal. Also if you use canned corn that isn’t vacuum packed, just drain it. Not an exact science in crock pot cooking.
And I’m totally lazy… I use precooked canned chicken. Don’t hate. It’s good, quick and easy. You can obviously cook your own chicken for this recipe, but be sure the chicken is already cooked before going into the crock pot.
In the past, I’ve used the Harris Teeter store brand for the chicken broth, but I was checking out the sodium quantity, and even the reduced sodium variety was still 570mg/cup. I paid a little extra for the Pacific Organic Free Range Low Sodium Chicken Broth which was only 70mg/cup.
I recently checked the prices on dried/bagged beans and it really didn’t seem like it would be too much cheaper to prepare those beans, so I will continue with the ease of canned beans.
Can you tell I am lazy here? I even bought pre-chopped onion. This recipe will fill your recycle bin!
I have been eating this chili for two weeks now. It makes a lot. Could be more than 10 servings if you’re a lighter eater than I am, or obviously could be fewer as well for big appetites. I’ve been pretty well satisfied and full with the serving size that pans out to about 10 servings though.
This is also great with cornbread, sour cream and/or avocados sprinkled over the top, but I don’t have all that around the house.