Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snow Day

Backyard this morning
For the past week the big talk has been the blizzard of the year, upwards of 15" of snow combined with ice and sleet, yuck! In the end we have about 7" of heavy snow along with a nice of sleet and an icy layer on everything.I would have been okay, well at least accepting of this in January but now I am done and ready for spring. I'm fine with our mild winter a lack of snow, why make up for it in one day?!

It appears the entire area is shut down and roads are awful. So happy I have a new car this winter and the Saab is gone, I still have bad memories of getting stuck at the end of our driveway on Christmas Eve when I was 8 months pregnant only to be given dirty looks by the crabby neighbor for leaving my car there. All this over only a few inches of snow, one of the reasons I hated that car!

With all that wonderful weather we are experiencing our first snow day with a cancelled art class. I thought I'd have a few more years until I needed to look at the list of school closings, but today it appeared that all the districts were closed (except the one I went to growing up, they never close!) so I looked and sure enough class is cancelled and the district school's closed.  Leading to an unhappy toddler wanting to go to art class so we brought art class to us, although very limited. Thanks to my mom for saving everything I found an old pair of safety scissors and we started cutting, gluing and drawing.

The art project we pulled together, good way to make use of old magazines!
Nothing compared to last week's class project. No, she is not wearing pants, got to love this phase!
Looks like another treadmill run is in the plans for today considering the BOB wouldn't make it through. Hills on the treadmill, ick! Hoping this clears soon so that running isn't bad on the weekend. Hopefully the treadmill run will be inspiring for dinner ideas considering I need to get to the store and currently have 4 feet of snow at the end of the driveway thanks to the plow!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekend Ups and Downs

Poor kiddo is sick, worse then I have ever seen in her in her short 2 years. It started a few days ago with a slight runny nose, but nothing I would even call a cold. She seemed fine on Saturday morning, even going to the gym and spending time climbing and playing. This all changed in the afternoon when she woke from her nap. She was shivering and shaking, crying, coughing and having some breathing trouble even sounding a little stridorous and croupy. She had a fever of 102.1, so much for the birthday party we were about to go to, instead she got herself a trip to urgent care, the breathing was making me nervous.

Our pediatrician urgent care closed at noon so our only option was a family practice clinic only open 1 more hour. This was an experience I hope to never repeat and reinforced every reason I have for a pediatrician instead of a family practice doctor (not all are clueless, some are great). By the time we were seen the Tylenol was kicking in so her fever was down to 100.8 and her breathing slightly improved so we were basically asked why we were there. The doctor tried looking in her ears and throat but lacked the skills to work with 2 year olds especially this one who is great with doctors. He agreed her lungs sounded bad, but wanted a better look in her ears so insisted the nurse irrigate them. This did not go well and didn't work to clean her ears, so in the end I was cuddling a crying girl with painful ears who was once again not breathing so well and her ears were still waxy! All this and the doctor tells me it doesn't matter because he is prescribing antibiotics anyways for her lungs (bronchitis). Why did he insist on something so pointless and painful?! I made sure he was giving us something to cover strep too and didn't even worry about a culture.

Poor little girl :(
The experience continued to get worse when I got to the pharmacy (15 minutes before closing) only to learn that it would not be covered by insurance because the dose was so weird and not the formulary resulting in needing two bottles. I tried calling the clinic only to be told by the rude lady on the phone that no one was there and to call another number that she didn't have. 5 minutes later she somehow found the doctor, in the mean time the pharmacist was fixing the order and filling the correct prescription (just waiting for the official okay) which in the end cost $200 less then the incorrect one.

This morning I was even more worried and almost skipped my morning run to stay home with a wheezy girl. Somehow luckily Tylenol, ibuprofen and antibiotics and watching Happy Feet with daddy resulted in an excited greeting when I got home from a happier girl who even ran to me. The day was filled with ups and downs, now just hoping the ups continue to increase.

Sunday morning I stuck with my plans of meeting a group to run at 7am, hoping for 20 miles but knowing I'd quit as soon as my leg was too painful. We were waiting for others (who never showed) so did 1 mile warm up on the treadmills, which ended up being the toughest part of the run. Once leg warmed up I felt fine 90% of the run, uphills were still sore. The run was still tough and a little slower then planned. We ran mainly an out and back with the out into the wind of 20+ mph sustained, yikes! The way back provided a wonderful and much needed tailwind and push. I think I headed this injury off with some stretching, massage and a few days rest :) Fingers crossed it stays away!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

More then a mental thing

After yesterday's failed attempt at a 10 mile tempo it looks like the calf/shin pain/tightness is more then just something messing with my head. Almost 3 years since my last injury and I thought I was doing good, but I guess I was wrong. Now I sit here wondering what I did? Should I have stepped back when I started feeling this? How much time do I wait to run again? What's the best cross training until I can run? Do I need to work more on flexibility? This one I can answer...Yes!

I wish I knew the answers and what was ahead, but I don't, no one does. This is where I fight with myself to give up some control over my training and focus elsewhere when running seems like the thing I need to be doing. Right now I am 52 days from Boston, so plenty of time to recover and catch back up with training. I've been out 6 weeks, only being able to get back to running 5 weeks before a marathon and managed to run a decent time.

Right now my plan is a few days off, focus on core strength, biking and elliptical, stretching, massage and ibuprofen. I hope to get in an easy run this weekend, fingers crossed this is just a tight muscle and nothing worse. I have a problem with thinking the worst, I guess with a history of 3 stress fractures and tendon problems I've experienced the worst with what I thought could have been simple aches. This time will be different, I will be fine...positive thinking, right?!

Time to step away from dr. google, although I think I now sgree with my self-diagnosis of compartment syndrome (actually now more likely deep posterior chronic exertional compartment syndrome). And the answer is stretching, rest, ice, and massage.

Monday, February 20, 2012

55 Days!

Let the mental messiness of marathon training begin. Today I begin week 9 of Boston Marathon training and the weird aches and pains are starting to mess with my head. Over the last couple weeks I've started noticing a weird ache and pressure/tightness in my left calf inner left. It isn't too painful (most of the time) just achy and annoying, enough to start messing with my head, ugh! One of the worst parts of marathon training. I know I need to stretch more, I even planned to go to yoga today but a meeting ran late so I missed it. I start thinking about all my past injuries and compare how this feels and start to think the worst. I think I've been training smart, but have been running 50-60 miles per week again. So here I sit thinking the what ifs and considering my I take time off or continue to run since it isn't changing my stride and goes away after a short warm up? do I focus on stretching, massage and ice? do I cut back and do more cross training? and how will all this effect my race? No one knows these answers

Today's run was hills, 9 miles with warm up and cool down. I did decide to cut this down a little and warm up on my bike, run some hills and then cool down back on the bike. I even finished with stretching which I always skip, I know bad! So my goal for the next week is to focus more on stretching and make it yoga at least once. And get in the pool! I am strongly considering a triathlon again, even have one picked out, so I better if I want to get over my fear of open water swimming. The last thing I need is a repeat of my last triathlon one of the two times as an adult I've had issues with my asthma. Re-reading that I start to wonder if I am crazy or do I go back and face my fear head on? Any advice to become a better swim and get over the weirdness of open water swimming with fish and people touching you?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Things you don't see in February

I've said it many times but this winter is the strangest I have ever experienced but I love it. Today while running I saw all of the following which I don't think I have ever seen before in February...
  • Rollerbladers
  • Kids playing on the playground
  • Motorcycles and convertibles on the road
  • Pole people: you know those people with the combo ski/rollerblades who "ski" on dry land with poles. (No idea what it is actually called so a few years ago I gave them this name)
  • Kids skateboarding in short sleeves
  • People BBQing, not so unusual since we do it year round, but I don't think I have smelled so much BBQ on a run in the winter
  • Park police and plenty others out on road bikes
  • Me running in anything other then a hat, mittens, heavy jaccket and tights. I'm sure the capris with knee high compression socks was very cute!
The best part is that this weather is supposed to continue! I can handle this, just hoping we don't get dumped on in March. I got home to Matt grilling, like I said not unusual for us. After dinner I am conflicted: I have nto eaten red meat for 20 years and any meat (expect fish) for almost 3 years. I've gotten many questions from people regarding how I will raise my daughter and I keep saying she can decide what she wants to eat, but today she was thrilled with Matt's steak. I'm a little conflicted over this; I want her to try all foods and have a varied diet, but I don't know if I like that she wants to eats meat. Oh well, I guess I stick with my original thoughts and let her decide.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What a day!

Yesterday was filled with many reminders of why I could not be a stay at home mom. Don't get me wrong, I love my days home (okay most of them) but also enjoy my adult time at work. I should have known that when the days starts at 5am with a crabby toddler that there is strong potential to go downhill fast.

I'm not above bribery!
We have been working on potty training for the past few weeks and all had been good until last week when she just wasn't into it anymore, this is when I got the idea of bribery. We were at Target and I saw a bag on animal crackers and now each successful potty results in one cracker. Until yesterday we had gone 3 days without an accident then she just wasn't happy about it, along with anything else. Time to figure out my next step (or bribe)!

I attempted a conference call for my run job which I had to cut short due to toddler tantrums, so we headed to the gym so I could be part of a promotional run video with some Olympic runners. Sounded so much fun. The child center was the site of our next breakdown, first due to needing to leave shoes on then who knows why. Once I realized I was out of time to change and make it upstairs before the filming started I decided to just call it a day and leave. The walk to the car resulted in broken sunglasses and another screaming fit by a toddler who now wanted to go to the gym. I now have a headache an want to throw a tantrum as well, some days I wonder why parents can't do the same in public. Wouldn't we all just feel better?

Helping mommy cook.
Instead we hit Costco and then headed home hoping for a nap. She attempted to sleep in the car as I sang very loudly and threw toys to keep her awake at stoplights, I knew the 10 minutes in the car would be enough to ruin anything further at home but not enough to fix the crabbiness. I finally got a nap and some quit but only after listening to singing over the monitor for nearly 45 minutes. These are the days I am thankful for a treadmill at home. Yes I am that mother who will let her child go while I workout. I know she needs her nap and that it will eventually happen (usually) so I let it go, the way I figure it if she is happy then she can stay happy alone while mommy runs off some stress and frustration on these days.

Prior to our multiple tantrums I decided we needed some more snacks in the house since we finished the pumpkin bread I had made last week. The one mushy banana wasn't enough for bread so the next best thing was granola. I will be the first to admit that I am addicted to any form of cereal or granola and have been attempting to find the perfect, healthy recipe for a couple years. I think this one may be one of the better attempts I've had so I decided to share on wellness weekend

The finished product: Banana/almond granola
Banana Almond Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1 banana
1/2 cup dates (soaked)
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup flax
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup seeds (I used pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup dried fruit

In food processor puree banana and dates until smooth, add apple juice concentrate and mix. In bowl mix oats, flax, almonds, cinnamon, coconut, seeds. Once mixed add in banana mix and stir until combined. Pour into greased baking dish and bake in preheated 300F oven for 45-60 minutes until dry but not too brown, stir frequently. It will continue to dry as it sits. Once cooled stir in dried fruit.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Outside my normal

On Monday I got an email from one of the trainers and triathlon coach at the gym where I work as the run coordinator asking if I wanted to join him and few others for 11 miles on Sunday, he was "only inviting fast, serious runners". Wow, what a compliment and truly needed on the day after such a tough long run. I debated with myself all week whether or not to go since I don't normally like to get myself in new situation where I don't really know people. My contact with him had been a short conversation one morning before a run at the gym and a couple emails. As the weekend got closer at Saturday was bitter cold with negative wind chills I decided Sunday would be a better day for the 20 mile run on my schedule, so why not run part of it with others. Sunday morning ended up being colder then forcasted so he pushed the run back until the afternoon and I once again debated going.

Ducks swimming in open water in February!
After a morning of coffee, quick grocery shopping and making lentil enchilada bake to have ready for dinner I decided to head out early to get in some miles before meeting the group. I was hoping to get in 9 first so I could finish with the group, but I of course couldn't get out of the house quick enough. I hate getting dressed for winter running! I was able to get in an easy 6.5 miles on hilly paths alone as a warm up for the anticipated marathon pace 11 miles.
Loving the lack of snow! Usually these paths are completely convered all winter.

I met up with the other five runners and we headed out on a hilly course running 8:00 mile pace with some pick ups thrown in. I was feeling great, I had forgotten how nice it is to run with others who will push you especially when you think the run will be tough. Even better I got to meet five other runners who live close by. They are all mainly triathletes and were making it a point to convince me to sign up for a tri this summer. I've been considering it again, but I must get myself back in the pool first! I finished up one of my best long runs of this training with an easy 2 miles on my own to total 20.5 in 2:52:03, not too bad considering I start out feeling pretty sluggish. I work my compression socks for the first time while running instead of just afterwards and think they helped. My question: they were great in 30F but doesn't it get warm wearing knee high socks running in the summer?

New favorite socks!

I returned home to my little girl waiting for me. She asked if I was chilly and immediately headed over to turn the fireplace on. I enjoyed a very large piece of the leftover tiramisu I made for last night's dinner while relaxing on the couch by the fire. This is my favorite dessert and the one I'm willing to splurge on, I did make it a little healthier although with some of the chemical of sugar free foods that I try to avoid so still only an occasional treat.

Tiramisu: Low fat/Low Sugar
1 box sugar free vanilla pudding
8oz low fat cream cheese or 12 oz plain Greek yogurt
2 cups nondairy milk
2 tsp vanilla
24 or so lady finger cookies (can sub vanilla wafers)
1 cup espresso
1/4-1/2 cup dark rum

Mix pudding, milk, cream cheese/yogurt, vanilla with mixer on high. Depending of desired consistency may need to add more milk or water to thin. Layer half cookies in dish and cover with enough espresso/run mix to moisten but not too soggy. top with half pudding mix. Repeat with second layer. Top with unsweetened cocoa powder. Chill at least 2 hours.

Today during the run we were discussing the foods that you could overdo and you just can't give up. Mine would have to be cereal, tiramisu, and red wine (I know not really food).

Friday, February 10, 2012

Biking, running and cooking, what more do you need?

What a great day, minus the bitter cold outside. Winter has returned for a couple days to remind me why I hate it so much! Needless to say there was no outside workouts for me.

I love my mornings and always get up early to have time to myself whether this is to read the paper, play on the computer, workout or just drink coffee. This morning I was up at 5am even though I didn't need to leave the house until 8. I got in a nice 45 minute bike ride on the trainer while I finished listening to the course lectures that I started on Sunday. I have a tough time running this early in the morning so this is my time to make myself get on the bike.

After a short meeting and some grocery shopping I was home to stay for the day. I took advantage of naptime to get in an easy 8 mile run and some core work. I don't know what I will do when naps end, since she finally started napping at 10 months I have loved this time on my days home to workout and start preparing dinner. Today I did both.

Today was also a crazy kitchen day, one thing let to another because of leftover ingredients. Tonight's dinner will be stir fry with miso soup so I decided to make some veggie/tofu dumplings. I made a batch of these but still had 3/4 of the wonton wrappers left so I thawed some pumpkin puree to make pumpkin ravioli but when I got done running pumpkin bread sounded good and I knew there would be leftover. So a loaf of bread went in the oven while I worked on the ravioli. And I still have wonton wrappers left, what will be next?! Can you tell I am now addicted to Pinterest? It has saved me from my food rut. I like using it to find ideas and then adapt my own recipes.

I love double workout days! Such a good way to wake up in the morning and start the day and the second workout does wonders for the afternoon slump.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

11 Random Things

I was tagged by Laura at Mommy Run Fast and Laura at Faith, Family, Love, Joy for the 11 random things post. After all my negative posts lately I thought I'd play along and post 11 fun facts and answer the questions posted by Laura (FFLJ).

1. I started dancing when I was 3 years old until college. Many years of recitals, competitions and costumes.

2. I have a huge collection of Little Mermaid stuff. It is now packed away but for years when I lived at home I had everything displayed in my room

3. Until about 10 years ago I hated running! After college I decided to run a charity marathon and was hooked.

4. I had a job in college as a research assistant where I travelled to local tattoo shops and observed. What a fun experience and I got published out of the deal. I since have gotten 2 tattoos and am planning my third this spring.

5. I could live on sweet potatoes, cereal, pumpkin and coffee.

6. I have a terrible sweet tooth, but can't eat chocolate.

7. I hate mushrooms and brussel sprouts! and haven't eaten red meat in probably 20 years (or any meat in 3 years). Early pregnancy made any meat awful so I figured why not just stop and I haven't missed it.

8. My favorite singer is Prince. I knew Boston 2011 was going to be a good race when the first song played on the bus to Hopkinton was "Let's Go Crazy"

9. I hate feet! I always wear socks, even in summer I put socks on as soon as I get home.

10. I was a tomboy/girly girl growing up. I was in a pageant as a child and refused to wear a dress instead wearing sweats and a t-shirt to the interview, I was 6 years old and already not letting anyone tell me what to do.

11. I am a self proclaimed wine snob. We are members of 4 wine clubs and have a collection of wine at home. I could drink red wine nightly (or a white in the summer).

The Questions I was asked by Laura Faith, Family, Love, Joy
Best thing that happened this weekend? Dinner with friends on Saturday, I don't think I have laughed that hard in a long time.

What is the last book you read and would you recommend it? I've basically been in school all my life, honestly I haven't read a fun book in years! The last book I read not for school was for my daughter: Potty Time Elmo

What is something you want to try? Running related: Ultra marathon (looking at a 50K in July). Nonrunning: This summer I was to successfully grow vegetables and also start composting, long term I'd love to write a cookbook.

Are you crafty? No, I've started scrapbooks that are unfinished, can't sew and have no artistic ability.

What is something that annoys you? Is it bad that I am having a tough time narrowing down to just one thing? Right now I think the biggest has to be bad dog owners who think they can let their dog run free and chase after me when I'm out running, Put your dog on a leash on public paths!

What’s for dinner tonight? It was a weird night since I was at the gym recruiting for our run club during dinner so I had raisin bread with sun butter, cutie and root veggie chips

If you are on Pinterest, how do you come up with your board names? {Straight to the point or creative?} I love Pinterest! I use it mainly for food and kid things. All my boards are pretty straight forward.

What is the last movie you watched {home or theater} and would you recommend it? Bridesmaids, sure it was funny.

What is your typical order when you go to a coffee shop? Soy latte

Last song you listened to? The last thing I remember from my drive home was Loser by Beck. There is a new local radio station that plays a mix of 90s alternative and recent alternative a pop, strange combination but I think I like it.

Are you happy at this moment? Sure, right now I am relaxing after a busy day. Overall I am in a good place (working to get where I want to be) and have a great husband and daughter.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Training frustrations

Once again due to working this weekend I was stuck with an afternoon long run. After last weekend's miserable 18 miler I was hoping for a better 15+ miles today, not the case. I thought I was preparing well, ate an early lunch at work and then got home a quick snack of an English muffin with cashew butter while I read the Sunday paper and relaxed for a little trying to convince myself to run. You know things aren't going to be wonderful when it takes a debate to get moving.

I finally made it out of the house 1/2 hour later then I wanted. Armed with an iPod loaded with 2 weeks worth of primary care lectures I started my run. Let me tell you this was not a great idea when I already lacked motivation. Learning how to diagnose and treat anemia, fatigue and skin disorders is not great running music! Why did I think this was a good idea? Next time I'll stick to Prince and my 90s music.

I considered heading home after 4 miles, my stomach never felt great and the cold I've been fighting the last few days was kicking my butt. Then I started feeling a second (actually first) wind and decided to keep going. Too bad that only last a few miles. I guess I can be happy about the unleashed dog that ran at me, giving me that extra boost to go another mile. No idea what is up, but this is the third time in a week that I have been chased by an off leash dog in the park reserve with the oblivious owner ignoring all the "dogs must be on leash" signs! Ugh! I finally made it home 15.1 miles later and still didn't feel too good.

10 weeks until Boston and my long runs are awful, I know there are ups and downs in training but this is making me happy. Things started so well and I was even considering aiming for a 3:15, now who knows! I know I can blame a lot of this run on being sick, running in the afternoon and being tired. Time to push it behind me and focus on the next and how I can learn from this runt.

Questions for other runners: how do you deal with a bad training streak? how do you get through bad runs and refocus?

I promise I will stop complaining and focus on the fact that in 10 weeks I will be back in Boston celebrating my 10th anniversary with my husband, running my second Boston and being just a few weeks from graduating with a second graduate degree.