Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Utah Valley Marathon race recap

This was absolutely my favorite marathon I've run so far.  Partly because I finished 21 minutes faster than my last marathon (3:34:12) and qualified for the Boston marathon, but the course itself was absolutely gorgeous.  When I lived in Utah, I don't think I ever realized how beautiful the mountains are! 
This was the first marathon that I followed an actual training plan for, and it made a huge difference.  My time was way better, but the race itself was also much more enjoyable.  I never really reached a point where I wanted to cry.  (That came on Monday when we decided it would be a good idea to hike Mt Oympus on a day when I found it difficult just to walk up a flight of stairs.)

We got to our hotel in Provo at 11:00 Friday night, took pictures of our race outfits, and went to sleep for a few hours.  Woke up at 3:00 am to eat a PB sandwich, get dressed, and get on the bus to the start line.  One of my favorite parts of a point-to-point race is watching how long it takes to ride the bus to the start line and realizing that I am about to RUN that entire distance.
I brought along a new running treat this time: Huma chia energy gels!  They are the first fuel I have tried during a marathon that did not make me want to vomit.  In fact, they are really delicious!  They taste like strawberries (mostly because they are made from strawberries).  I will definitely be buying more for my next race!
Here I am around mile 10(ish?) staying hydrated and enjoying my strawberry goodness.  If it weren't for that dude totally getting in my way, these would be my favorite race pictures (mostly because I don't look like I'm about to keel over.  I have very high standards.)

 Crossing the finish line!!  I'm not really sure what is going on in this picture.  I look like I'm terrified of something:

As most of you know, I base my love of races on the post-race treats.  This race did not disappoint.  Although the water and Powerade were warm, they had Creamies popsicles, orange slices, Jamba Juice, and chocolate milk.  It was HOT, so I went for anything frozen.  Now I am excited to take a couple of weeks off from serious training before I start getting ready for the OBX marathon in November!

Friday, June 07, 2013

recipe recommendation: one pot wonder tomato basil pasta

If you haven't already tried one-pot pasta, you really need to.  It involves cooking pasta in broth, along with tomatoes, veggies, and other spices.  You only use one pot in the entire cooking process, and don't need to strain the pasta.  The starch transfers to the water and creates a nice flavorful sauce.  For some reason, I find straining pasta to be unreasonably burdensome, so I was very excited to try this recipe.

I followed it almost exactly, with just a little less garlic and added in a can of diced green chiles.  It was absolutely heavenly.  Give it a shot.  You won't regret it.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

happy national running day!

I am running my fourth marathon on Saturday!  And, for the first time, I signed up for McMillan Pro (at a whopping $1.99/month) and started following a real training program.

For those who are not familiar with McMillan Running, it is a website run by Greg McMillan who is both a running coach and exercise physiologist.  He provides explanations, both from a coach's standpoint and a physiological standpoint, justifying all of the workouts he recommends.  So, as a sucker for anything backed by scientific evidence, I totally bought into his program.

After signing up, I had a little chat with Greg (well, technically, I read a blog post he wrote, but it felt like we were talking) during which he said that most runners have PR's slower than what they are capable because they only set goals that they know they are capable of accomplishing.  So he recommended setting a goal that I may or may not be able to achieve.  So I decided I was going to try to run a sub-3:30 marathon.  Maybe a little extreme, considering my current PR is 3:55, so I will have to run this race almost a full minute-per-mile faster than my last marathon (which was only 12 weeks ago), but I am going to give it my best shot.  I figure the worst that can happen is that I don't finish in under 3:30.  And having a real goal made my training so much more fun.  (Actually now that I think about it, actually training for real made training so much more fun.)

Some of the highlights from my training:

  • After only 2 months, my tempo pace (the pace at which you can race for 1 hour) dropped from 7:45/mile to 7:15/mile.  Tempo runs are probably my favorite workout of all time.
  • I finally understand why people wipe down the treadmill after their workout, since I do actual workouts on the treadmill now.
  • I have learned to LOVE treadmill running.  Not for every day, and definitely not for long runs, but speed workouts are awesome.
  • I ran Yasso 800's a couple of weeks ago.  (Yasso 800 is a workout developed by Bart Yasso, editor of Runner's World.  According to him, a workout of 10 x 800 m with a 400m jog between sets can predict the marathon time you are capable of.  If you can do all 10 800's at 4:00-minutes each, you are physically ready for a marathon at a 4:00-hour pace.  If you can do them all at 3:30-minutes each, you are ready for a 3:30-hour marathon.)  I finished all ten at just under 3:30-minutes.  

the bomb-dot-com

My teaching career officially ended last Friday (unless you count proctoring and giving exams, which I do not).  I have to say, I was sad to see it end.  The group of kids I taught this year was my favorite group since my first year teaching.  Mostly because they thought that I was the "bomb-dot-com" (their words, not mine) and I pretty much felt like a celebrity every time I walked into the room.

My fifth period class (right before lunch) recently discovered that I keep snacks hidden in my bag, and now happily help me consume them every day.  Which I am thrilled to do, partly because it makes them love me even more (which, let's face it, is really good for my ego) and because I am happy that the girls are not afraid of eating real food.  A lot of our girls are "just really into being healthy" which translates into "just really into being skinny".  

On the last day of school, the girls in my last class insisted on getting pictures with me, and, despite the fact that lunch was starting, the boys all hovered by the door zipping and unzipping their bags (so I would think they were looking for something and not waiting for me) so that they could tell me "it's been real".  It totally warmed my heart, especially considering Pizza, Pizza, Pizza! was on the lunch menu, and they are 14-year-old boys.  

(This is the note my kids left me on the last day...  For those of you not fluent in text-talk, ILY means I Love You.  I am going to miss this job.)