Month: October 2012

In His Words: Matthew’s Marathon Story

Hello readers, this is Matt writing to you again. You may remember my In His Words story featured in back in September. In that story I spoke of my intention to run the Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2012. The responses to my story and the requests to hear about my marathon experience were enough that I asked Beth if I could do a follow-up piece for you. She was more than happy to feature it and here I am again.

There are many experiences in life that no matter how prepared we feel, we cannot be 100% prepared for.  The marathon and its 26 miles and 385 yards is most certainly one of those experiences.

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Race day is always such a special day for so many reasons.  No matter what the distance or how many races I have done, my emotions always seem to be all over the map.  The marathon was no different for me.  My 4:45am wake up call came and I jumped out of bed.  I was so excited to run my first marathon.

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I had my pancake breakfast, showered, stretched and got dressed to leave.

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The Chicago Marathon is a very well-oiled machine I’ll tell you.  It was nearly a 2 mile walk to my gear check area because there were three different gear check areas depending on your starting corral. My mom came with me as I got my things in order, stretched a bit, and dropped my gear off.  She gave me a big hug and off I went into Corral L around 7:45am.

It was time.

Standing in my race corral, surrounded by 45,000 other runners was really a breathtaking sight. As we inched toward the start line I found myself becoming more and more serious.  Gone were the days where I could train.  Gone were the days where I could daydream about this moment.  And gone were the days where I was not a marathoner.  The moment had come to actually do it.   At around 8:15am, I blew a kiss to the sky (something I do at every race for certain loved ones no longer with me), started my Garmin, and was off.  It was official, I was running my first ever marathon!

Start to 10K

As I began to run, a huge smile crept over my face.  I just kept thinking “I am running the Chicago Marathon.  This is so cool!”  The 10K distance went by in a blur.  The streets were lined with thousands and thousands of spectators.  That, coupled with adrenaline, had me feeling so good.  I hit the 10K mark in 1:05:48, feeling fresh and confident.

10K to Half Marathon

This might have been my favorite stretch of the race.  I knew going into the race that I would see my friends Jon, Steph, and baby Samantha (people I consider true family) at the Mile 7 marker.  I saw them right where they said they would be.  They jumped up and down and screamed when they saw me and we shared a hug.  I gave baby Sam a kiss, took a photo with Jon and Steph, and was off and running again.  It was such a boost to see them.  Miles 7 through 10 flew by as I was feeling great and knew my Mom would be waiting for me around Mile 10.  As I approached I saw her and my friend Jillian. My mom started jumping up and down like I knew she would.  I got a hug from both of them and a “You got this.” from my Mom and off I went. As I crossed into double digits and hit the half marathon marker I felt so good.  I passed the halfway mark at 2:20:19, ahead of my projected finish time, and figured if I kept at this pace I would be just fine.

Little did I know…

Half Marathon to Mile 20

This was, by far, the most lonely and challenging part of the race for me.  As I passed the Mile 14 marker my body began to do something it had never done in two years and nearly 1000 miles of running … it began to breakdown.  My quads began to violently twitch and spasm.  At first I thought it was a temporary setback and pushed through it the way I had pushed through everything else along the way in life.  The pain became so intense that it forced me to begin walking and, eventually, come to a complete stop.  I was so unprepared for something like this, as I had never experienced it before.  To look down and actually see my muscles spasming to the point that it nearly buckled me was scary.  I did what I could for the next two miles knowing my Mom had said she MIGHT be at Mile 16.  Well, Mile 16 came and went and I couldn’t find her.

At the time it was crushing.  It may seem odd for me to tell you that in a field of 45,000 runners and almost 2 million spectators that I was lonely, but I truly felt that way.  For a split second I thought “I still have ten more miles to go.” but immediately stopped that line of thought.  I made a tough decision and decided to lay down the fierce competitor in me.  The race became about finishing and not about time anymore.  When I finally got to the Mile 20 marker I saw my Mom and she knew something was wrong.  She gave me a tight hug and said exactly what I needed to hear. “Do what you have to do Matthew.  I love you.”  It was then I decided not to seek medical attention because I knew there was a chance they wouldn’t let me back out to finish.  I was willing to risk permanent injury to make this dream a reality.  I was finishing this race … by any means necessary.

Mile 20 to Finish

They say the real race begins at Mile 20.  I can’t really vouch for that, but I can tell you I learned a lot about myself during those last 6.2 miles.  My quads were still spasming but I began to figure some things out.  I shortened my running stride and was able to run easier than walk.  I ran/walked (more like a shuffle) the rest of the way.  I was able to put together a 10:45 pace when I did run and felt pretty good.  I saw the the “1 mile to go” sign and decided to run that last mile.  As I turned the corner past the Mile 26 marker and saw the finish line it dawned on me … I was about to finish.  After 5 hours, 24 minutes, and 45 seconds, I raised my arm to the sky and crossed the finish line.  It was official.  Matthew Frates had become a marathoner.

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In the weeks since then I have had some time to really think about the whole experience. While training for this took place in 2012, the real journey toward this moment started back in 2010 when I decided to get my life together.  As much as this race for was for me, I realize now that it was as much for those I hold close as it was for me.  I received an overwhelming amount support along the way and I know I would never have achieved all that I have without it.  I was fortunate to not only have my Mom there, but four of my closest friends as well.

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I will never be able to truly express what that meant to me and I know that no matter where my life takes me I will never forget this experience and everything they contributed to making it such a success.  26.2 miles is a humbling distance and the experience of running it taught me many things.  The most important thing it taught me is that no matter what life throws my way, I will never again think or feel that I cannot do it.  I am a marathoner and no one will EVER be able to take that away from me.  Thank you so much for reading my story.

Just Like That

So one thing I neglected to mention was after the run that possibly put me into crazy territory, I started to experience some soreness behind my knee. It was weird because I’m very good about listening to my body, and it didn’t hurt AT ALL during the run itself. But right when I stopped, it felt kind of tight and strange, so I stretched it out and then walked around a bit.

As Sunday went on, the pain got worse and worse. I took a little Advil and told myself to just go to sleep, nothing was wrong, I’d wake up in the morning and everything would be fine.

Not so.

After going to bed, I woke up a few times in the night if I moved a certain way with a sharp pain on the back of my knee. I woke up on Monday and it was REALLY sore. I could still walk, but it was really stiff and sore and there was no way I could run. When I was at my desk at work, I kept trying to convince myself it was fine because while sitting I could barely feel a thing, but as soon as I stood up, I would practically hunch over in pain. I called the sports medicine doctor to make an appointment, and it turned out they could see me the next day, which was two weeks ago today.

When I woke up on Tuesday, the pain was a LOT better than it had been the day before when I called the doc. If it was an 8 on Monday on a scale of 1 – 10, it was more like a 3 on Tuesday. I still decided to go to the doctor to see what he had to say and make sure I hadn’t done anything major, though the amount of relief I felt made me know nothing serious was wrong.

After seeing and talking to the doc, and having him poke around for some diagnostic testing, he told me I had strained my hamstring. He said it’s not a major injury, but more of nagging one and that I would need physical therapy. I let him know that I am training for a half marathon (which is just two weeks from Sunday – argh) and he said to just play it by ear and see how my body responds to the PT.

I was told I could run a few 3-4 mile runs that week but to stop if it hurt at all, and I was able to knock out a 3.5 miler the next day and feel good. I felt back in the game.

When I was in San Francisco, I ran only once and did 5 miles on the treadmill, which I thought would be more forgiving than running outside, and though I was told to only do 3-4, I was supposed to do 10 so I felt like I was being agreeable. Well, turns out, 5 was too much. The next day I was in a lot of pain again, and once I got back from San Francisco, I had my first few PT appointments.

I’d never been to PT before, and the first appointment was basically just a diagnostic one where I spoke to the doctor, she asked a ton of questions, testing the strength of many different muscles, and came up with a plan of action. She gave me some stretches to do twice a day, and then I went back the next day and she gave me some exercises to do (single leg presses, balancing on one leg, foam rolling, and then two things using a band).

My prescription for PT is to go twice a week for the next 3 weeks, and to play the half by ear. I’ve been able to run up to 4 miles without pain, but haven’t done a longer run since the 9 miler that caused this, and the pain flares up a lot if I run more than 2 days in a row, even shorter ones. So annoying.

At first, I was realllllllllllly pissed. I started running almost 60 pounds ago and have never had an injury of any sort. I’ve trained for several half marathons half-assed where I haven’t done any cross training, stretching, or strengthening, and this time, I had been doing everything right. I honestly was feeling on top of the world with training, and so good about where I was with running and fitness in general! But now that it’s been a few weeks and I’ve had time to process it, you know what I realized?

It’s not the end of the world.

Sure, it sucks. I was 3/4 of the way into training, and I may not be able to run the half. Even if I can run it, I won’t be as prepared as I was going to be and likely won’t “kill it” because I’ve had to step down my training so much. That said, it’s much, much, much more important that I listen to my body right now and take it as easy as I need to. Being injured is frustrating, and sometimes I look at people running and am a little envious, but I’ll get back there. I just need to focus on PT, listening to the doctor, and getting healed.

Moderation with Treats–Is It Possible?

Moderation is and always has been one of the things I struggle with the most in many areas of my life. Part of this as it pertains to healthy living is because of my inclination to classify foods as good or bad. In this month’s Attune Foods post, I make an argument that goes against popular opinion – that food really is good or bad – and how much I still struggle with having treats in my diet without going overboard.

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Click over to read about when I started struggling with this mentality and where I am now with it.

I’d love it if you could weigh in over there on where YOU are with moderation in your diet and any tips or tricks you have.

Five San Francisco Highlights

I figured the best way to recap my trip to San Francisco without going overboard was to share with you the best meals and fun things I did (outside of the Mariani Walnut Harvest Tour which was awesome) so here we go!

1. Dinner at Nopalito on Friday night.

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It included the best ceviche I’ve ever had in my life, hands down.

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Ceviche Verde de Pescado y Calamari aka marinated fish and calamari in lime, tomatillo, jalapeno, cilantro, and avocado with house made tortilla chips. Seriously, heaven on a plate. I’d never had tomatillo ceviche before and it added a tang that really just took it to a new level.

And then, the Quesadilla Roja con Chicharron

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Which was a mulato chile-corn tortilla with crispy pork belly, chile cascabel, jack cheese, queso fresco, onion, and cilantro. Unreal, I tell you. I mean I’m not sure how pork belly and cheese on a house made corn tortilla could be anything short of incredible, so I doubt it’ll take much convincing. And, healthy choice, I know.

Friday night’s dinner was actually sponsored by Foodbuzz. They gave all the attendees who checked in on Friday $50 cash for dinner anywhere in the city. Pretty awesome, huh?

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2.) Getting all dressed up for the Saturday Night Gala.

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The event was held at the California Academy of Sciences, and it was so awesome to have full access to the aquarium while sipping on prosecco and eating copious amounts of cheese.

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Though my date was excellent company, the food itself was nothing to write home about, which was surprising for a food blogger conference.

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They missed a lot of the little details, like having knives available to cut the food with, or you know, plates or utensils for the desserts. At least there was an open bar! Plus, getting dressed up was fun and the venue was awesome, so those count for something…

3.) Wine tasting in Napa Valley.

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Can you believe that I had never in my life been wine tasting before? I mean, I’ve tasted PLENTY of wine, but not at a vineyard even though there are plenty very close to DC. But I guess tasting wine in Napa for your first time is a great way to kick off the hobby.

The drive itself was GORGEOUS. I could not believe how pretty and surreal it was!

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It honestly would have been worth it just to drive through wine country without tasting any wine – but that wasn’t really even a slight possibility with this pair.

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We stopped at two different vineyards and tried 10 different wines each!

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The first place – The Hess Collection – had 4 wines for $10. I had a Verdelho, then 3 reds – Charbono, Petite Sirah, and a big Cavernet Sauvignon. I don’t know much about wine (besides the basics), but they were all delicious. I almost got a bottle of the Charbono and the Petite Sirah, but shipping was $19 for the first bottle – yikes!

At the second place, the guy who poured our wine is actually from a town right next to where I grew up in Connecticut. It was funny to talk about our tiny towns and nice when he gave us 2 extra wines because of the CT connection.

So fun.

4.) Dinner at Nojo on Sunday night.

This was my last dinner in San Francisco so it was best to go out with a bang! This place divides there menu into “On a Stick” and “Not on a Stick” and are known for their various meats… on a stick. They had all sorts of different parts of animals, like chicken skin, liver, heart, etc., and literally every small plate we ordered was delicious.

The highlights for me were the Albacore Tuna Tartare.

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Which was flavored with chives and pink peppercorns, and then served with lightly fried nori chips for scooping and was seriously of this world. The tuna was so fresh it melted in our mouths and was so nice against the crunchy nori. I’d never seen or heard of nori in chip form, and they were incredible.

Also, the Tsukune, which is Japanese chicken meatball in sausage form, with egg yolk sauce for dipping.

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Our waiter instructed us to break the yolk and stir it into the soy glaze sauce below it, and then dip the cut up chicken sausage in there. The sauce underneath was slightly warm and the yolk stirred and dissolved it into a creamy, delicious sauce that perfectly complimented the chicken. I thought the presentation was SO COOL and loved being able to do the honors of breaking and stirring the yolk.

And last, and also probably my single favorite of the night, was the pork and wheatberry rice ball.

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It was crunchy on the outside and filled with a small amount of pork and wheatberries, with a mustard miso sauce on the plate. I loved how the crust on the outside of the rice ball contrasted with the warm, sticky rice and the slightly sweet pork inside. It was so amazing, even if I did feel like a rice ball myself at the end of that meal, and the end of the 5 day eating frenzy that was my trip to San Francisco.

5.) Ending my last morning in San Francisco with a skim latte from Blue Bottle Coffee.

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I looooove coffee, and it wasn’t until my first trip to San Francisco this time last year that I realized what I’d been missing out on. Blue Bottle Coffee is seriously the best I’ve ever tasted, and they make each cup so artfully. When you get drip coffee there, they even brew each cup to order. Last time I was there, I had the steel cut oatmeal that had whipped BUTTER and brown sugar and it was out of this world. This time though, I woke up feeling like I needed to get it together and had Greek yogurt for breakfast instead, and then treated myself to this latte as a last taste of San Francisco!

Mariani Walnut Harvest Tour

Hello! I am back from San Francisco (and super glad I’m NOT weighing in this morning…) and wanted to share a really cool experience with you guys. I booked my ticket back in July because I had been talking with my friend Robyn about coming to visit, and then when they announced that the FoodBuzz festival would be this past weekend, I figured why not see what plane tickets were looking like and hit two birds with one stone. That day, I checked out tickets and found a round trip fare from DCA to SFO for $313, with taxes!! I bought it right then and there.

When I got an email a couple weeks ago from the people over at the Mariani Nut Company asking if I’d be interested in a trip to visit the walnut orchard, have lunch, and see the harvest process on Thursday, the one day I had zero plans, it seemed like it was meant to be.

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A group of about 10 bloggers gathered at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel (sorry for being the last one there guys… whoops!) and we took the 1.5 hour trip on a cute little private bus to Winters, CA, where the orchards were.

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On the bus ride there, we got to hear from an RD who works with the nut company, and I found out a few interesting things.

    1. Walnuts are really good for you. They’re loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. OK, I guess that wasn’t that interesting.
    2. Walnuts can actually help you LOSE weight. What? Apparently, a diet that includes healthy fats such as walnuts can help you feel more satiated, and there have even been studies done where people ate walnuts on top of the calories they were already consuming and still managed to lose weight. Good to know!
    3. I asked the RD how she recommends people who have a tendency to overdo it (HELLO WORLD) can manage to have walnuts in their diet, and she said portion control is key, obviously. She said that at some health expos they hand out little boxes that hold exactly 1 oz. of nuts (5 Pts+ on Weight Watchers) that help with portion control and are completely portable. I’m going to look into getting one of those.

And then, before I knew it, we had arrived at the orchards!

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We honestly could not have asked for a more gorgeous day. The weather was in the high 70’s, sunny, clear, and perfect the entire time we were there.

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There were rows and rows and rows of walnut trees.

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Before this tour, I barely knew that walnuts grew on trees, much less that they had a soft skin around them that begins to brown and break open as the walnuts ripen.

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I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many walnuts in one sitting (guess I really do need one of those boxes!) but man does it get any fresher than this!?

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They don’t call them the ultimate brain food for nothin’!

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The COOLEST part was that there is this little machine that comes down the rows of walnut trees and tree by tree, shakes the nuts off.

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I even made a little video which I posted on my Facebook page where you can see that machine shaking the trees.

After the machine was done, the ground was covered with fresh walnuts.

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And then another machine came down and sucked all the walnuts up and transported them back to the plant for processing. We got to see that whole thing too, but first – lunch!

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Literally right in the middle of a walnut orchard. Gorgeous.

We started off with a delicious butternut squash soup, garnished with crème fraiche and toasted walnuts.

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It was so creamy and delicious, and the walnut provided a nice crunch against the smooth texture of the soup. Yum.

For the main course, we had a spice rubbed salmon along with a penne pasta and veggie dish. The pasta was out of this world and had brussels sprouts, rutabaga, red peppers, green beans, and toasted walnuts. It was in an olive oil based sauce and was something I’d never think to throw walnuts into, but it totally made the dish. The salmon was perfect too, and a great contrast to the pasta.

For dessert, we had a persimmon tart with toasted walnuts and fresh whipped cream.

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It was SO GOOD. The crust was so light and flaky and the persimmon were perfectly ripe and juicy with a lightly sweet glaze. My plan was to just eat the fruit off the tart and leave the crust, but I am sure you will not be surprised to hear that I actually all but licked the clean plate. Oh well, it was the theme of the trip.

After that incredible lunch, we were brought back to the processing plant to see what happens with the nuts after they are collected from the trees.

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We got to (had to) wear really fashion-forward hairnets before heading into the processing facility to see how it all goes down.

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Basically, they have these incredible high tech machines that sort the walnuts out from the shells (and any other dirt that is picked up) and they go through this sorting process many times, so by the end there is nothing but fresh nuts. They use the shells for fuel and other industries, so nothing goes to waste!

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They are broken down from half nuts all the way to walnut meal (very fine powder) and everything in between. The final step of the process includes two sets of human eyes and hands checking them before they go to packaging.

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How cool is that!?

Seeing the entire process from tree to package was a really cool and eye opening experience. I hope you enjoyed hearing about it (almost) as much as I enjoyed being there. Thanks Mariani!

What’s your favorite kind of nut? How often do you eat ‘em?

Mine’s a tie between pistachios and almonds. I think the reason for that honestly is that they are the easiest one for me to control my portions with (10 pistachios = 1 pt+, 7 almonds = 1pt+) but the walnuts were REALLY good and worked so seamlessly in the dishes we ate, both sweet and savory, so I think I’m going to give them more of a chance!

Wednesday Weight Check #10

Another Wednesday, another weigh in vlog…

Not the best result this week, but also not the end of the world.

Wow I look ecstatic…

This week I was up a little bit, but I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if I was up by much more so I’ll take the small gain.

For the most part since recommitting 10 weeks ago, I’ve felt really in control with my eating. I’ve splurged many times throughout those weeks of course, but it never felt like it was spiraling out of control. This week though, it started right after weigh in and just wove itself throughout the week. I’ve felt like over the last many weeks theres been a day or two where I’m like, “Woah there Beth, reel it in” (I don’t talk to myself, I swear…) but it’s never been more than 1 or 2 days during a week.

I’m not really sure what caused it exactly, but this week I felt off track more than on track, and it just wasn’t a good feeling. I’d had a big dinner planned for Saturday night which I was looking forward to (and could have reasonably induldged on without gaining had I planned my week better, but I just had slip up after slip up leading into the dinner, and it just sucked. Especially because I knew this week would be even more challenging…

But, enough of that – today is a new day.

I’m actually leaving for San Francisco tonight and I am SOOOO excited. My goal for this week is to have fun, try to make good decisions about when to indulge, keep up with exercise, and enjoy myself! If I can maintain or keep my gain to less than a pound, I’ll be happy. If it’s more than that, I will deal. If I lose, something isn’t right. Winking smile

What’s your favorite place to visit in the states?

Mine is a tie between New Orleans and San Fran!

Crossing into Crazy Territory

Yesterday I did something that I never thought in a million years I would do – I ran more than a 5k BEFORE running a race.  The Boo! Run for Life holds a special place to me because it was actually my first ever 10k in 20 and my 10k PR in 2011 (before last weekend’s 10k), so when I got an email about it again this year, I signed up immediately.

I had 9 miles on my half marathon training schedule for this past weekend, and since I’d already signed up for the 10k, I decided to just run the extra distance before the race since I knew I would not be interested in running more after the race, and so yesterday marks the day I turned into a crazy runner, in my book anyway.

Per usual, I set up my race gear the night before, including a Peanut Butter GU which I’d never tried before. It was alright, but I still favor Vanilla Bean.

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This time I decided to do the run to the race site with a light backpack so I could bring something to change into after the race because I knew I’d be sweaty after clocking in 9+ miles. I got all geared up

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Self portrait #2340872349898 taken in my bathroom.

And knotted the backpack around my chest so it wouldn’t bounce around:

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And it actually worked out great.

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Creepy.

I ate my standard pre-race breakfast:

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A toasted english muffin with banana and chocolate peanut butter with some coffee on the side, and then was out the door.

I’d mapped out a route to run before the race of about 3 miles, and I can say that those were the worst 3 miles I’d run in a while. I was out to dinner the night before for a friend’s birthday, and while I only had a couple glasses of wine, it turns out oysters aren’t the best pre-race dinner. That’s all I’ll say about that but my stomach was not feeling the best.

    • Mile 1: 9:09
    • Mile 2: 9:08
    • Mile 3: 9:05

Before too long though, I was at the race site so I got to stop running while I waited for the race to start.

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I picked up my bib

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Checked my bag, and then met up with one of my best friend’s Lianne who was also running the 10k.

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Before long, we were lining up at the start line and the gun went off!

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The first mile or two was tough because I didn’t really know how to time fueling since I’d run 3 miles, then waited around for 40 minutes before starting again. It was also cold and windy and my body was confused why I was making it run again so soon right after I’d stopped.

    • Mile 4: 8:43
    • Mile 5: 8:40

I decided to take a GU after 2 miles of the race (which was 5 miles into my total run) and it worked out perfectly because there happened to be a water stop right after. The GU definetly picked me up a bit and miles 6-7 were pretty uneventful.

    • Mile 6: 8:56 (included walking through the water stop)
    • Mile 7: 8:29

Once I passed the 7 mile mark (which was mile 4 of the 10k) I got kind of annoyed with the signs that marked the miles. Obviously that is completely illogical, but I just wanted to shout IT’S NOT MILE 5 IT’S MILE 8 FOR ME! But, I resisted. The next 1.5 miles went by pretty uneventfully, but once I was around mile 5.5 of the race it was HARD. I kept looking for the Mile 6 sign and it came way later than I was hoping, and of course the finish line was much further after the 6 mile mark than it should have been.

But eventually, I made it.

    • Mile 8: 9:01
    • Mile 9: 8:43

Crossing that finish line felt SO good.

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I’m still awaiting my official 10k time and will update it when I have it, but I think it was around 56 – 57 minutes, so a bit slower than last week, which was to be expected.

Even though the run was frustrating in some ways, I will say it was pretty awesome breaking down a long run like that. The 3 mile pre-race felt like no big deal since I’ve been running so much lately, and then the last 6 of the 9 miler was part of a 10k so there were tons of people around and cheering and adrenaline. It was also awesome to have a timeframe in place since the race started at 8, so I was done with 9 miles by 9am, which I definitely wouldn’t have been if I was just running it on my own! It also just made the distance feel more manageable, and it’s something I won’t rule out doing again if it works in my schedule!

How do you define a crazy runner? Have you ever run extra before or after a race to meet mileage goals? Would you?

Wednesday Weight Check #9

Another Wednesday, another weigh in vlog.

I had a small loss on the scale this week and was honestly pretty upset that it wasn’t more when I weighed in, but after reflecting on it, I am OK with it. I know that weight loss is especially slow going when I’m this close to my goal, so I’ll take it.

I did a really good job of getting in my healthy fats this week, mostly in the form of avocado and olive oil,. While it obviously didn’t make the scale move much more, I did feel more satisifed, and absolutely love avocado, so I think I’m going to keep it up.

I leave for California a week from today which I know is going to be really challenging as it comes to weight loss, so my goal for this week is just to stay on track and keep the scale moving in the right direction before my trip.

Are you good about getting healthy fats into your diet? What are your staples for getting in it?

Run for the Parks 10k Recap

This past Sunday, I ran my fifth 10k! I love the 10k distance – 6.2 miles is far enough that I feel like I’m getting a really solid workout, but short enough that it doesn’t take too much out of me and doesn’t require much training as long as I’m running regularly.

Before Sunday came, I was really hoping to PR, or finish the distance faster than I ever have. Lately, as I mentioned in my half marathon training update last week, I’ve been running more mileage and covering it faster than I ever have, so I figured it would be no problem. But then as race day drew nearer, some circumstances made me readjust my goal and just want to finish the race strong.

Last week I ended up getting super sick and was out of work for two days, completely knocked out from a cold! Because of that, I hadn’t run since Monday by the time race day came (so almost a full week), and then, to boot, the weather ended up being very cold and drizzly on the morning of the race. Good conditions to run in when you’re getting over a cold, I’m sure.

Saturday during the day, I went and did my packet pickup to get my bib and was THRILLED to see the jackets we got for the race instead of t-shirts:

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How nice is that!?

I laid all my stuff out the night before, per usual:

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And then woke up in the morning and made a standard pre-run breakfast:

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A cinnamon raisin whole wheat English muffin toasted with 1/2 a sliced banana and chocolate better ‘n peanut butter.

I made myself some coffee and got a water bottle, and then headed to get in my car. When I got down there, I realized that overnight someone had decided to park right next to me and essentially blocked my car into the space so I couldn’t move it. I was glad I’d left enough time and surprised myself by not freaking out at all, and (calmly) ended up walking to the race site, which was about 2 miles. I could have biked, but it was raining, and I get nervous biking in the rain so I just used my feet instead.

Walking to the race site kind of threw off my game-plan. I couldn’t bring my coffee or water bottle, and I just hadn’t planned on walking 2 miles before the race, so I wish I’d have brought more fuel with me for the race itself, buuuut I didn’t. So I dealt. Plus, the views weren’t too bad on the walk there…

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The other issue was, when I got to the start area, there was a HUGE line that I figured was for on-site registration and was glad to not be standing in.

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But then, I looked around and realized the line was actually for bag check (that little blue tend towards the left side of the above photo), so I needed to get in it after all. It was pretty much a cluster, so I just waited and hoped for the best, and then 5 minutes before gun time, they yelled “BAGS” and everyone just charged the tent and somehow I ended up checking my bag and getting to the start line in time.

I met up with my friends who were also running the race:

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Me, Stacy, Rhea, Caroline and Amber.

And off we went! The course itself was fast and flat, and an out-and-back. When I passed the mile 2 mark, the runners leading the pack were running past me in the other direction, already passing the 4 mile marker. They were going SO fast! It’s always fun to cheer for the people leading the race and get that extra pep in my step.

Miles 2-4 were pretty uneventful since before long I saw the 3 mile mark, and then it was time to turn around at the 5k mark, and then the 4 mile mark came and went.

Once I got past that marker, I started to struggle a bit. I was cold, wet, and was feeling pretty hungry because of the extra unplanned 2 miles I tacked on beforehand. I had to dig pretty deep to keep going, and just kept picking runners that were ahead of me to try to keep up with and follow their pace.

Before long, I saw the 5 mile mark, and then after what seemed like a VERY long mile, I saw the 6, and was almost there. I didn’t have it in me to sprint much for the last .2, but I knew I was cutting it really close to PRing so I just tried to go as fast as I could. And then, I crossed the glorious finish line and was DONE.

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Yessssss!

I waited and cheered for the runners after me while I waited for a few of my friends to finish, and then went and checked the time reports to see if I had PRed.

And, despite the rain, despite the cold, despite the sickness, and despite the extra 2 mile walk, I did it! I finished 20 seconds faster than my fastest time yet, for a final time of 55:21, which is an 8:54 pace.

I was SO HAPPY to be done, to have a new PR, andddd to get out of the rain. This race left me feeling really confident with where I am with running, and that’s what matters the most.

Attune Foods: Back to the Basics

As you know by now, I am struggling to get back to my goal weight. Click over to the Attune Foods Blog to read about some of the reasons I think I gained back the weight, and what I am doing to stop this in its tracks to get back to a healthy weight.

I do not want to get back here.

beeeeeeefore

or here

before11

But I do want to get back here:

Time to get back to the basics!

Leave some love over there in the form of a comment!

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