Category Archives: Running

Oh Deer!

Since I was running or recovering from running most of the weekend, there wasn’t any cooking or baking going on and therefore, I’ve got nothing very exciting in the food/kitchen department to report.  However, I’ve had a few random things going on and a super adorable picture I just have to share.

Race Recovery

It’s been 48 hours since the half marathon and I’m still moving a little slow.  😉  Surprisingly, it’s nowhere near how sore I thought I would be feeling, but mainly just some tightness in my calves and pain in the top of my right foot.

foam roller

Meet my very best friend as of late – the foam roller.  Although it occasionally inflicts incredible amounts of pain, it works wonders to relieve tension and tightening in your muscles.  One of those “hurts so good” moments, ya know?

Ok, so sore calves, I get it.  But pain in the top of my foot?  And the onset was nearly 2 hours after the race?  Not sure what this is all about.

advil

Advil to the rescue!  I rarely take medicine, even as common as Advil or Tylenol.  But I have been researching this foot pain to get an idea of what it could be and taking ibuprofen helps reduce pain and inflammation.  All I know is it definitely helps!

I found one diagnosis that seems to make the most sense – extensor tendonitis.  According to this article, “tendonitis is caused by overly tight calves, tying shoes too tight, or overused tendons from repetitive movement such as running. Tendonitis is experienced during the latter portions of training for a marathon when high mileage runs are prevalent.”

Seems spot on, if you ask me!  I’m predicting my shoes were tied just fine during the race but as my feet started swelling afterwards, my shoes became tighter and irritated my foot.  Additionally, my calves were sore to begin with so I’m sure that was a contributing factor as well.  If my diagnosis is accurate, the good thing is rest will help it heal, which is exactly what I’ve been doing.

Oh Deer!

As I have mentioned before, living out in the suburbs is quite different than city life, especially in terms of animals.  For example, I am used to seeing 8-10 deer in our neighborhood on any given day.

Well, that is until the last couple weeks where I haven’t seen a single deer.  I recently learned this is prime time for mothers to have their baby fawns, so they are hiding back in the trees away from all the activity.

Last night, Dave showed me a picture one of his coworkers took over the weekend.

baby deer

How stinkin cute is he??  To put the fawn’s size in perspective, this baby is approximately the size of a pair of shoes.  So so tiny!  Only a couple days old at most.

Dave’s coworker was out mowing his lawn one afternoon and came across this little guy curled up in the tall grass.  When the newborn realized someone was near, he got up and wobbled away on his brand new, weak little legs.  So precious, I can’t even stand it.  You better believe I’ll have my eyes peeled for these little ones near our house. 🙂

Chicago Spring Half Marathon 2013

We did it!!

me cassie amanda 2013 half marathon 2

*Above picture courtesy of Cassie 🙂

Not only did the three of us run the entire half marathon (no walking), but we all finished with great times!

As I mentioned before, my goals were to 1) run the entire 13.1 miles, 2) pace myself, 3) push myself a little bit, and 4) finish with less than a 10 minute per mile pace.

2013 chicago spring half marathon time

Well, I accomplished all of my goals.  Plus, I finished with an overall average pace of 8:28.  I was shocked!  I had no idea I had it in me!

cassie and i 2013 half marathon 2

A lot of the credit goes to this girl right here.  Let me tell ya, Cassie is speedy! 😉  I decided to begin the race with her and try to keep up as long as my body would let me.  I figured I would end up trailing way behind at some point but I just kept pushing myself to stay with her.  I did keep up with her until about the last mile when I began running out of gas.  I tapered off a little, but still finished exactly 30 seconds behind her.

Although I was beyond exhausted by the very end, I was soo glad my knees and IT bands didn’t ever give me a problem during the race which I had been a little worried about.

me cassie amanda 2013 half marathon

The weather was nearly perfect!  The temperature started out around 60 degrees and as we finished, it had climbed into the mid-70s.  It would’ve felt hotter if the sun was out in full force, but it hid behind some clouds most of the morning and there was a cool breeze off the lake.

We celebrated afterwards with brunch at Kirkwood’s and a few drinks.  I finally headed home and parked it on the couch to relax for the rest of the afternoon and evening with my two favorite boys! 🙂

Race Day Prep

Happy Friday!

It’s hard to believe in the less than 2 days, I’ll be running the Chicago Spring Half Marathon!

half

Here are a few thoughts I’ve had leading up to Sunday:

Training

I have to say, I had hoped to be a bit more prepared for this race but due to some personal issues, my training was sidelined for a couple weeks.

BUT the good news is I’m back up and running!  The longest run during my training was 11 miles and I’m not going to lie, it was tough.  I maintained about a 9 minute pace the entire distance which is really great for me personally.  Since my last (and first) half marathon a few years ago, I have come strides <pun intended> in physical ability and strength (mostly thanks to CrossFit), and have consequently shaved off about 1 minute per mile in time, so I can’t complain.  It’s crazy what your body can do when you challenge yourself!

Goals

With that being said, my goal for Sunday is ultimately just to finish the 13.1 mile distance, but I also hope to pace myself, as well as push myself a little.  Although I won’t be focusing too much on speed, I’m shooting for (and would be happy with) finishing with less than a 10 minute pace.  Since I’ve only run 11 miles thus far, I’m hoping my adrenaline carries me the remaining 2.1 miles across the finish line. 😉

Most importanly, no matter how things go (i.e. weather, fatigue, etc.), I know I’m going to have a blast!  I am so excited to have Cassie running this with me this time around (although I know she’ll kick my butt) and I can’t wait for our Sunday Funday afterwards!

Race Day Gear

Cassie and I decided we both wanted to wear something with bright colors or crazy design… something to stand out!

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I originally purchased these capris in a bright orange/pink and purple color but I haven’t decided if I want to wear capris or shorts yet so I may return these.

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I also bought this shirt which I’m totally loving.  I have another Nike Pro brand t-shirt like this that I absolutely love running in for its comfort, as well as the fact there is no chaffage.  (<– is that a word?)

BUT I’m being really indecisive and have my eye on a tank top at Dick’s Sporting Goods… so we’ll just have to wait and see what I end up with.

Playlist

I’ve been working on putting together a solid playlist to last me through the race.  I want to include songs that are upbeat and motivating!

ipod

So far in the queue, I have:

  • Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch
  • Alive by Krewella
  • Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia
  • Set It Off by Timomatic
  • Crickets by Drop City Yacht Club

Apparently, my taste in running music leans towards techno-ish songs.  I guess I just like to have energetic music to help keep me motivated!

I obviously need a lot more to cover 13.1 miles, any suggestions?  What genre of music ‘pumps’ you up?

***

Have a great weekend and wish us luck!

Simply Roasted Asparagus

Last night, I got home after a long day to a fantastic little surprise.

patio

Our patio was completely bare!

lawn furniture

Apparently, the wind had a little fun throwing our patio furniture out into the yard and the cushions practically in the neighbor’s yard.  Awesome.

Reassembling the patio wouldn’t have been quite so bad but, holy hamstrings!  Mine are still screaming at me from the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday.  Luckily, lots of stretching and foam rolling were incorporated into Crossfit yesterday morning which helped stretch them out a bit and ease the soreness.

the stick

I also spent a solid 30 minutes yesterday evening using “The Stick” to work out any additional knots.  My experience with The Stick is, well, complicated… one of those love-hate relationships.  I understand it must be a little painful in order to get the feel-good results later on, but man, does it hurt!

julie convo

Julie claims we’re getting old and that’s why our bodies hurt… but I’m just not ready to accept that quite yet! 😉

Yesterday’s Lunch

Lunch was a good one yesterday!

asian ginger chicken and veggie bowl

In the mix was diced grilled chicken, roasted veggies (zucchini, summer squash, asparagus, red onions), cashews, and Annie’s Gingerly Vinaigrette Lite.

asian chicken and veggie bowl2

It took me all of about 4 minutes to assemble since I prepared a boatload of food on Sunday.  Quick and delish!

Simply Roasted Asparagus

Although I always prefer when Dave cooks asparagus on the grill till it gets extra crispy, he often is not around for dinner so I rely on the oven to do the cooking.

simply roasted asparagus

Ingredients:

1 bunch of fresh asparagus

Olive oil

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut off the bottom ends of the asparagus.

asparagus1

I hate biting into the ends of asparagus when they are all dried out and taste like wood, but I learned a very useful tip from a cooking show a couple years ago.

asparagus2

It’s a bit hard to demonstrate through photographs but I’ll do my best to explain:  hold both ends of an asparagus and gently bend in half towards the bottom end of the asparagus stalk until it snaps.  This breaking point marks where that dried, woody end begins.

asparagus3

I typically cut just below that breaking point, about a half inch or so.

2.  Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or tinfoil and lay asparagus on top.

asparagus4

3.  Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus stalks and season with salt and pepper.

asparagus5

4.  Put baking sheet in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes (or until desired crispness), flipping the asparagus occasionally.

asparagus6

You can always play around with other seasonings and flavors as you feel – i.e. steak seasoning, squirt of lemon juice, toasted sliced almonds, etc.

asparagus9

Enjoy!

Shamrock Shuffle 2013

How are you on this Monday morning?  Not sure why, but I’m actually feeling oddly great for a Monday so I’m going to roll with it.  Nothing beats starting the work week off on the right foot!

Shamrock Shuffle

shamrock shuffle 2013 shirt

Julie and I woke up early and ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8K downtown Chicago.

julie and i pre shamrock shuffle

It was an absolutely gorgeous day and we could not have asked for better weather!  Hovering right around 50 degrees with blue skies and the sun shining, ya just can’t beat that!

shamrock shuffle 2013 results

Both of us were very satisfied with our results!  I fully intended on using this 8k solely as a training run for the half marathon coming up in a little over a month (eeks!) and was not trying to hit any certain time, but yesterday marked a PR for me, so I was definitely a happy girl!

julie and i post shamrock shuffle

After the race, Julie and I took full advantage of our free beer ticket and enjoyed an ice cold beer at 10 am!  We deserved it. 😉

kt tape

You may have noticed the pink tape on my left leg.  Julie had some knee pain about a week ago from running so she picked up KT Tape from the Shamrock Shuffle Expo.  Basically, this tape is supposed to relieve pressure and increase circulation to speed up recovery from athletic injuries.  Although, I do not have any injuries currently, I have had issues with my IT band in the past and since I haven’t been running outside too much lately, I applied some tape for prevention reasons.  Who knows if it was because of the tape, but so far so good!  I think I’ll invest in some as the weeks wind down before the half marathon. Can’t hurt!

Sunday Night 

I spent the rest of the afternoon getting things ready for the week.

dog park

Of course not before taking Mac to the dog park!  Again, the weather was just too darn nice to go sit inside the house quite yet.  Apparently, everyone else had the same idea as there were probably 30 dogs at one point!  Mac was in doggie heaven.  😉

food preparation

Immediately upon walking in the door, Mac bee-lined it straight to the couch for some serious nappage (<– totally a word!), while I headed for the kitchen to prep some food for the week and Dave golfed.

Can’t tell you how good it feels to have a fridge full of healthy foods to make packing breakfasts, lunches and snacks this week a breeze!

Later in the evening, Dave and I met my parents and brother out for dinner at Tap House Grill – 3rd time in 1 week!.  My brother is in the Coast Guard living in Mississippi and he is home for a few weeks so it was nice to catch up!

New Kicks

Good morning and happy Friday!!  We have some fun stuff planned for this weekend, so I’m hoping the work day goes by in no time!

Dinner

A little more deja vu coming at ya…

dinner collage

Yet another steak dinner on the grill last night!  Dave and his cousin, Ryan, found an awesome meat market in Elburn and brought home excellent pieces of meat!

lobster tails

Lobster tails as an appetizer course – sauteed in a white wine garlic butter sauce.

dave and ryan

Ryan taught Dave and I a few lessons on preparing the sauce and sauteeing lobster tails.  Although I’ve never been a huge fan of lobster, I ate several pieces…  I mean, how could you not when it’s drenched in butter, garlic and white wine??  Three of my favorite things. 🙂

dave

After our mini cooking lesson, Dave headed outside to grill up a few different cuts of steak, as well as asparagus and zucchini, all of which tasted amazing!

New Kicks

Upon registering for the half marathon coming up in May, I knew I would need to purchase a new pair of running shoes fairly soon.  Well, that was back in January and now it’s nearly April… time flies!

NEW SHOES 3

I finally bought myself a new pair of Reebok RealFlex shoes.  My old pair treated my feet extremely well and I wanted to stick with the same style.

NEW SHOES 2

I was really hoping for some in a bright, fun color but they only came in black or blinding yellow at Dick’s Sporting Goods so I settled on the less-than-exiting black pair.  Function over fashion!

OLD SHOES

Like I said, my old pair was very good to me and I didn’t feel like I really needed a new pair, but ‘they’ say you should replace your running shoes every 500 miles (who really knows when that is?) or when the soles become worn and broken down.

DSC_1020

I honestly had no idea just how worn my previous shoes had become until I compared them to my brand new ones.

worn shoes

Each little section of the sole was starting to crease on the sides, an obvious indicator I was due for a new pair… probably back a couple months ago! 😉

NEW SHOES

What I’m even more thrilled about is the chance to break them in outside this weekend!  It’s supposed to be in the mid-50s tomorrow so you better believe I will be jumping at the opportunity to get a run outside to enjoy the fresh air!

What are your weekend plans?  Anything planned outside to enjoy the weather?