Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Catching Up

Latest Workouts
Yep - that stupid belt continues to be
a giant pain in my butt.
This is at 11.7 on Sunday morning.

Sunday: 11.8 mi/ 2:02
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4 mi/ 38:00 - on dreadmill
Wednesday: 4 mi/ 37:01

I started this week behind. I did my long run on Sunday, which threw the rest of my typical running schedule off. I had all intentions to run on Monday, but I got up feeling like garbage so I decided to make it a rest day instead. Thanks to Tropical Storm Isaac, I got pushed inside on Tuesday morning. Even with an old episode of Teen Mom on the television, it was painfully boring. This morning my run was way more productive outside. Tomorrow, speedwork.

I did officially register for the Labor Day 10K on Monday. No turning back now. I'm sure I will whine and bitch about the heat, but I've got my fingers crossed for cloudy weather that morning. I want to get a chip timed 10K to use for corral placement at Disney and any other crazy race I decide to run this fall/winter. I've been running pretty well despite the humidity - much better than I was in June - so fingers crossed I'll perform well on race day.

I haven't really set a goal yet. I thought about it today on my run. Under an hour seems to be a reasonable goal, especially since "the plan" has said I should run it in 53 minutes, but I'm not going to let that piece of paper decide what my goal will be. I've never run a 10K before, but I'm hoping that running with others will help energize me, not to mention I'll be running a course that I used to drive daily when we lived in Macon, Ga. I think it will be fun to look at it from a different perspective.

Tune in tomorrow for Dessert of the Week.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Run for Butter

Latest Workouts:

Brooks Pure Cadence
Wednesday: 5.34 miles/ 51:28
Thursday: 3.54 miles/33:59

I ran in my pink shoes for two days in a row. I don't know if the shoes are the issue or if my feet really hate me. Both? While my left foot (not the movie) seems to be improving in these new shoes, my right foot has gone and shown its ass. The inside arch of my that foot, especially around the ball of my foot and the joint of my big toe isn't liking something. I'm sucking it up and keeping up the ice soaks, taking Advil, and wearing compression socks. I'm not sure there's much else I can do. Eventually it will get better or I'll have to gnaw it off like that guy in 127 Hours.

Dessert of the Week: Gooey Butter Cake

I had a serious boyfriend when I was in high school and his mom baked once a week and made crazy good Tex-Mex. She called these golden bars of gooey goodness blondies, but every blondie recipe I've ever made tasted nothing like what I remember. That was until I tried this recipe for Gooey Butter Cake - bingo!

My research tells me that Gooey Butter Cake is a St. Louis, MO, delicacy. I almost don't believe this since the the over-use of butter was perfected by Southerners, but whatever. Warning: it is incredibly sweet. Make this recipe if you have company that likes sweets. While they are in a sugar-induced coma you can convince them to do anything for you - like paint your house or clean your cat litter box.

It is also important to have someone to give some of this cake to because you might eat the whole pan, no matter how sick it makes you.

Gooey Butter Cake

1 Yellow Cake Mix
3 eggs
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) of melted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1. Combine the cake mix, 1 egg and 8 tbsp of melted butter. Make sure mixture is nice and smooth.
2. Press mixture into the bottom of a greased pan. I used 9x13, but 9x9 will work too.
3. Whip cream cheese until smooth
4. Add remaining 8 tbsp melted butter, 2 eggs, vanilla to the cream cheese
5. Once smooth, gradually add in powdered sugar one cup at a time
6. Pour mixture over cake mixture already in the pan
7. Bake for 40 minutes

Check the cake so it doesn't over brown. It doesn't cook all the way through, so the knife test doesn't apply here. It should be gooey. Allow cake to cool before serving or else it will fall apart on you when you attempt to cut it.

Experiment with different flavors of cake mixes or add chocolate or pumpkin to the cream cheese mixture for a different flavor.

Link to Original Source: Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

Monday, August 20, 2012

Call Me Mrs. Maybe

Latest Workouts:

Saturday: 9.5 mi/ 1:34:21 - wicked hot even early
Monday: 3.85 mi/ 37.26 - raining

Who's the dork with the fanny pack under her boobs? 
Long run Saturday was a bit more painful than last week. I struggled most of the way. I don't know why. Maybe it was because we left an hour later than usual. Maybe it was because there was no cloud cover and by 7:30 it was 80ºF. Maybe it was because I was PMSing. Who knows. But I just didn't feel as strong as I did last week.

Maybe it it was my new running belt that I trotted out for the first time on Saturday morning. I looked at 100 different types all week and if I had just made a decision and ordered one on Monday I would have had it in time for my long run on Saturday, but I screwed around and waited until the last minute and had to make do with what they had at Dicks Sporting Goods. I could have just run without one, of course. I did last week, but I had it in my head that I needed a belt and I was going to have one.

Dessert Shroom
It's an okay belt. It holds stuff. The problem is I can't figure out where to wear it comfortably. I started off with it on my waist, but it kept bouncing or creeping up and it drove me crazy. So I tightened it as much as I could around my mid-section and it was comfortable there, but I looked ridiculous (see photo evidence). I used it again this morning and tried to wear it lower on my hips but it didn't stay put. Maybe one day this week I'll figure it out.

Today's "recovery run" was supposed to be 2 miles, but it felt so nice out this morning with the rain and the cloudy sky, I just did as much as I felt like at whatever pace I wanted. It was more than 2 miles, but it was a good run. Check out this weird mushroomI spotted in my neighbor's yard. It looks like flan or creme brulee to me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Run For Cobbler

Latest Workouts:

It is shocking that my size 10.5 feet fit in anything.
Thank goodness you can't see
how badly I need a pedicure. 
Wednesday: 5 miles - 3 mi tempo run with 8:24, 8:21, 8:13 splits, 1 mi each warm up/cool down
Thursday: 2.20 mi recovery run/ 19:38

I totally shocked myself with the tempo run on Wednesday. I really pushed it and I'm happy with the results. Today, "the plan" said to do 2 mi at 10:25. That's a tad slow for my tastes, although I didn't really intend to run as fast as I did. It was horribly humid out today and after 20 minutes I looked like I had been in the pool.

I'm fighting tendinitis in both of my feet. On my left foot, it's on the top of my foot and runs up the ligament from my outside three toes and up across my ankle. Changing how I lace my usual running shoes has helped the burning I feel in that foot a lot. In my new shoes, the current lacing pattern seems to be putting pressure on a nerve and I'm losing feeling in those toes on that foot.

On my right foot, the pain is in my big toe. I've had tendinitis there before and a doctor has given me a giant shot in that joint before - an experience I'd rather not repeat. The way the joint itself is swollen, it is probably the start of a bunion. It was bound to happen as much as I abused my feet dancing and wearing pointy toed stilettos. I'm using my yoga toes at night to help reposition that joint and it helps some.

For both feet, I've started doing ice baths post-run instead of the usual ice packs. It's not fun. I have no idea how in the world elite athletes submerge themselves in bathtubs full of frozen water on a regular basis. I do think it has been more effective than those blue gel packs. We'll see if I have to go to the doc and get a big needle stuck between my toes again.

This Week's Dessert: Best in Show Blackberry Cobbler
KC loves fruit-laced desserts, so we're working our way though the berry family this month. This recipe would work great with any berries for sure. It reminds me of the quick cobbler my grandmother used to make and I chose to sprinkle the finished product with a little sugar like she used to do.

I doubled the butter in the original recipe because I'm southern and adding butter is never a bad idea. It is weird to put the batter in first and top with the berries and then pour water on top of that, but people who write recipes are way smarter than I am, so just embrace the weirdness. It all works out in the end.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups blackberries (I used frozen because that's what I had and it worked out fine)
1 cup water

1. Preheat an over to 350ºF, grease an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish
2. Whisk 1/2 cup sugar together with the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Stir in the milk and melted butter until a batter forms. Scrape into prepared baking dish.
3. Add blackberries on top of batter and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Pour in the water on top of the berries and sugar.
4. Bake until the batter has risen and the top is brown - 45 min to 1 hour. Cool before serving.

Recipe source: All Recipes

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Long Run Fun

Latest Workouts:

Saturday: Long Run - 9.8 mi/1:40:38
We are still smiling post-run!
Monday: Recovery Run - 2.56 mi/ 23:45

While looking at "the plan" on Thursday afternoon for the impending long run on Saturday, I started to freak out. I'd not run farther than 7 miles all summer, and that was in NC in July where it was cool and lovely. Not in Georgia where it is hot and muggy all the time. Thank goodness I have a wonderful neighbor, Andrea, who is a superwoman, marathon runner. She invited me to tag along with her on her l2 miler. I only needed to do 8, but decided to stick with her as long as I could.

Love my Pro Compression socks
I never thought I could run 10 miles (I did run an additional .2 to make it an even 10, but I'd shut my watch off by then so it didn't track it). I certainly know that I couldn't have done it without Andrea. We had fantastic weather at 5:30a and I loved having company. If I had to do 10 miles alone, I'm pretty sure I would have gone bananas. We are both chatty, so the conversation kept my mind off the actual mileage.

I came home, soaked in an ice bath for 10 minutes, drank some low fat chocolate milk, and slid on my Pro Compression socks for the rest of the afternoon. Sunday morning, my legs felt great. No soreness in my legs of any kind. The tendinitis in my feet is bothering me today, but I plan to soak my tootsies in an ice bath this afternoon so maybe it will help.

Brooks Pure Cadence
I was pretty proud of myself all weekend. I needed to run that far for a number of reasons, the most important being my mental state. The self-doubt that I could actually run 13.1 miles is fading into the background quickly.

The short recovery run on Monday was used to break in my new Brooks Pure Cadence. I love the pink color, although I think the pink socks and pink shoes might be a difficult combo to pull off, so the next sale they have at Pro Compression, I think a pair of black and white socks will be in my basket.

Movie Review: Bernie

This movie is actually a true story of a Texas funeral director who befriends a wealthy widow and ends up killing her. While that's the general plot, there's so much more to this story. Jack Black, who is genius in this role, plays Bernie and Shirley MacLain plays the widow. Black's performance is award-worthy. Director, Richard Linklater's documentary style approach to this scripted dark comedy makes you feel like you are one of the towns people enjoying some juicy gossip. Incredibly funny in so many ways, this is a quirky film that will tug on your heart strings in unexpected ways. Free Bernie! A-

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Run for Pie

Latest Workouts:
Wednesday: 5.1 mi/ 49:17, speed work
Thursday: 2.2 mi/ 19:28, slow run

I'm still not sure what these two mile runs are supposed to be doing for me, but I almost feel like I shouldn't even bother putting on shorts and a tank top because I'll be done so quickly. I guess I could actually do something else to make the effort of putting on clothes worth it. Don't even get me started about the effort involved in showering and washing my hair.

I loved everything about my speed work on Wednesday. On the three 800m repeats, I ran a 3:52, 3:52 and 3:44 which was a pleasant surprise. I like picking up the pace a bit. That's really all there is to it. I've not mastered the long run, zone-out yet. But, I better start figuring that one out.

To celebrate my swiftness, I made my aunt's Blueberries and Cream Pie as the dessert for the week. Blueberries are a super food, right? I'm sure Dr. Oz would approve.

Just a word of warning on this one - use fresh berries and not frozen. There's just too much liquid in frozen berries and my pie never sets up correctly when I use them. If you know a trick of how to add more flour or whatever to help it set - you'll need to use it if you use the frozen fruit. This pie is good with fresh peaches or a mix of raspberries and blackberries if blueberries aren't your thing.

Blueberries & Cream Pie

1  Frozen pie crust - or you can make your own if you are BFF with Martha Stewart
1.5 to 2 cup  Blueberries or other fresh fruit (see note above about frozen fruit)
2/3 cup  Sugar
1 cup Whipping Cream (do not whip)
4 tbsp Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 400ºF
Line pastry dish with pie crust
Pour berries/fruit in bottom of the pie crust
Mix together all other ingredients and pour over fruit
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes
Let cool to allow the pie to properly set up

I know you will want to dig right in as soon as you smell it, but believe me you want the pie to have time to cool so it doesn't run off of your plate. We put it back in the microwave for l0 seconds to warm it up and serve with fro-yo on top. Enjoy!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Plan the Work, Work the Plan

Today's Run:
2.2 mi/19:15

No, I wasn't swimming.
It just looks like I was.
Who runs just two miles? I mean, I know my mileage last week was less than impressive, but 2.2 miles? I should be embarrassed. It wasn't because I didn't want to run farther. I did. The weather was semi-bearable. My legs felt good. I was ready to run. And then in less than 20 minutes, it was all over.

I've come to the realization that I need a plan. I need something or someone telling me what to run and when. I started running using the Ease Into 5K app and I loved it. I finished the Bridge to 10K app as well, although I never ran an official 10K race. Like every newbies, I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to actually training for a specific distance, but there's an app for that.

All summer I've been kinda waving in the wind with my mileage with no real plan on what and when to run. I've been more concerned with not passing out halfway through a 5 miler in the 82 degree sauna I wake up to each morning. Now that cooler weather is supposed to be right around the corner, I need to figure out what to run and for how long and how fast and how often.

Because I cannot afford to hire some hot trainer to motivate me daily or to at least plan my runs, I decided to try out the Smart Coach on Runner's World Magazine to help me get ready for the Labor Day 10K, that is if I grow a pair and sign up. It's only five weeks away, but the mileage on the plan didn't scare me and seems manageable. I thought it would be a good way to see if I liked their training recommendations before committing to a half-training plan, which I will need to decide on soon enough.

So, I did what I tell my clients - "plan the work and work the plan." The paper said two miles, so who am I to argue. They know a heck of a lot more than I do.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Twitter Road Race - Summer Edition

Latest Workouts:
Friday: 3.38 mi/ 29:21
Saturday: 3.11 mi/ 27.01

My Friday run was uneventful, although my neighbor saw an ENORMOUS snake (dead) on her route. I chose to avoid that road all together as my fear of snakes, dead or alive, is significant.

This morning I participated in my first ever virtual road race, hosted by Doug at I Run Because.... I signed up for the Twitter Road Race - Summer Edition a month ago after realizing the lack of racing opportunities throughout July and August in my area. Obviously, the experienced runners in my area know that no one likes running in 100 degree heat/humidity at 8 a.m., so they don't even bother to host a race.

I love the idea of a virtual road race - people from all over the world running on the same day and compiling the results. I love looking at this race results list and seeing participants from the UK or New Zealand. It was like our own Olympic 5k or something. I will absolutely participate in another virtual race.

My time was not a PR, but it was respectable. I even got a new running skirt for the occasion. More on that tomorrow. My 15 year old cat, Walter, was the only spectator cheering me on and I celebrated with a glass of low fat chocolate milk, post-race.

The rest of the morning was spent at a Southeastern Region Little League playoff game. The kids from our area are the Georgia State Champions and the SE Little League tournament is hosted here, so we sat out in an oven for two and a half hours. Our boys came back to win their second pool-play game 7-6 against Florida. Good, sweaty times.

I got home in time to cheer on Galen Rupp in the Men's 10,000m race. Is it just me or do they look like they are barely working to run that hard and fast? I know I look nothing like that when I run twice as slow as they run. Inspiring and sickening all at the same time.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ruby Berry Run

Latest Run:
3.36 mi/ 29:22 min

A nothing special run on Wednesday. I worked while I ran, brainstorming about a theme for a client campaign and it made the time go by faster. The humidity was horrible so just thinking about anything other than the weather was what I needed. 

Also on my run I thought about what I would cook for dinner for the next few days. It's only been about 9 months since I made the commitment to really changing my lifestyle where eating and exercise are concerned. KC and I ate out entirely too much. It is almost embarrassing to admit how frequently we went to a restaurant. I now cook dinner two times a week at a minimum, sometimes three. We eat leftovers or have a "do-it-yourself meal" the rest of the week and go out to a restaurant once or twice at the most. 

In sticking with this plan, I've found that I'm a pretty good cook. I can't do fancy meals, but I've learned how to make a number of different dishes that have become fast favorites. I like that I have control over what goes in it and how much I put on my plate at each meal. 

I've started making one dessert a week as a part of my menu planning. Cobblers and pies are popular this summer as I try to take advantage of the fresh fruit of the season, but I plan to add in cookies and brownies as the weather gets cooler.  The goal is to do everything from scratch. No box mixes. Our desserts last as long as we allow - again portion control and self-discipline come into play here. 

Yesterday, I decided I must make my favorite cobbler of all time - Ruby Berry Cobbler. Strawberries and rhubarb with an oatmeal topping and it's made in the microwave in a total of 15 minutes. I grew up eating this as it was my dad's favorite too. Served warm with some vanilla fro-yo and it might be my favorite dessert in the world. 

For the record - I know this it has sugar in it. Feel free to doctor it up as you would like with honey or agave or Splenda. I know it isn't great for me, but other than partaking in a bite or two of dessert throughout the week, I don't eat sugar in anything else. Moderation has worked for me and I'll stick to it until it doesn't. 

Ruby Berry Cobbler

3/4 cup of sugar
3 tbsp of all purpose flour
1 10 oz pkg of frozen sliced strawberries
3 cups of rhubarb, chopped 

1/3 c butter or margarine
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsifted all purpose flour
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

In a 2 qt baking dish, combine sugar and flour. Add frozen strawberries and cook uncovered 4 minutes on high (microwave), stirring once to mix in thawed berries. Stir in rhubarb. Prepare topping by melting butter in mixing bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients until crumbly, sprinkle evenly over berry mixture. Cook uncovered for 8 minutes on high or until mixture is bubbling toward center. For crisper toppings, place under broiler for a few minutes. Serve warm