Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pika Food

Being someone who loves to cook (and loves to eat), I figured I'd start a separate blog and post what I made for dinner that night. Because I know a bunch of folks on Weight Watchers, I'll include WW Points for folks doing Flex and the Core symbol if it's a Core food.

So whenever I make something new, I'll add the recipe and you can just click on the link in the sidebar to see what I'm cooking up in the kitchen.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hyannis 10K

I ran this with great trepidation. I had been looking forward to this race but things kept getting in the way. First I was on track for training for the half marathon; however, I got that nasty case of bronchitis that sidelined me. So I downgraded to the 10k.

Training has been spotty at best for a variety of reasons and, when Mr. Bear broke his ankle last week, it looked like I wasn't going to be able to make it. This week I was only able to get one run in - 4.3 miles on the treadmill that felt OK, not great. The other night Mr. Bear and I had a talk. He was scared I'd fall and hurt myself but understood I needed to run and, even if I didn't run, I needed to be at Gazelle Boy's first half marathon.

Knowing I had maybe 4 or so miles in me, I was conflicted. Do I run or not? I had some high hopes for myself - what to do? I decided to run figuring, if necessary, I'd take walking breaks. I was about right in my estimates about myself. Shortly after the 4 mile mark my quads said, "Yeah, you do realize we're not as used to this as we should be." So I walked a little. One thing that I did find out was my training theory was on the mark. During the walk break, a song came on that I've been running to on the treadmill and - when I double checked the iPod/Nike+ - it turned out that I ran at my treadmill pace to the music. So when I want to push myself to the next speed, I'll pick a new album and train to it while I run at the next speed on the treadmill.

About halfway through the race, an older woman began pacing with me. We exchanged some pleasant words about the weather (which was perfect for running), the race, running - you know the typical things you talk to folks about during a race. After a kilometer or so, she kicked up her speed and kept going. Just when I started walking during the 4 mile mark, a woman who had been trading spots with me up until that point took her walk break as well. When she found out I was only doing the 10k instead of the half she said, "Oh no, what will I do for pacing when you head to the finish?"

I said I'm sure she'd find someone and we chatted a little more before I took off running. The end of the race was a little chaotic. The fast finishers for the half marathon were coming in just as I was heading up the tail end of the 10k pack for the last half mile or so. Knowing my speed was never going to match theirs, I kept to the right of the road. Some of the runners would then pass others would grumble at me as they veered away from me at the last possible second. I know when you're particularly focused that a slow runner in your path can be frustrating but I had a right to be on the road as well and I clung stubbornly to it.

In the end, I crossed in 1:26:11 (according to my iPod). Which was pretty close to what the chip time was as well. Considering my initial goal was 1:15 and then my training fell down and I almost didn't run today, I'll take it. Gazelle Boy finished his first half in 1:58 and change. Not bad for a kid who didn't train at all and tripped over his own feet at the 11 mile mark. He may have sprained his wrist when he did that - so I guess Mr. Bear's fear was a bit of a premonition as well.

I will say this, it felt good to be back outside on the street. I'm looking forward to my 5k in a couple of weeks and will set up a training schedule for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler a month from now. I'm pretty confident I can cover that distance now that I have this 10k under my belt.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Sunday is the Hyannis Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k. My original thought last Thanksgiving was to run the half. Being sick knocked me off kilter so I downgraded to the 10k. Then, when Mr. Bear slipped on the ice and broke his ankle - he became scared I would follow suit if I ran. But last night we talked it through so it looks like I'm running Sunday.

Just to make sure I could handle it - since my training's been spotty at best - I spent an hour on the treadmill today. In that time I covered 4.3 miles - 1 mile of it walking at 3.5 mph and the rest of it running. I'm feeling good about that since it brings me in about the same time I did for the Tufts 10K last October. It's not a fantastic time, but it is a respectable one.

I'll probably spend some time on the treadmill again tomorrow and take Saturday off but bottom line is I'm stoked for Sunday - my first race of the year.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Slippery When Frozen

After a decent week of deadmill time, I haven't run in a few days because Mr. Bear slipped on the ice in the driveway and broke his ankle.

So the past few days have been about getting him settled and cared for - which puts my running on hold. He was pretty scared about me running on Sunday because he's worried I'll slip and fall on the ice in Hyannis and then both of us will be out of commission - but he's starting to calm down a bit about that fear. So it's looking like I may be going down, but it's unsure as to whether I'll run or not.

Last night we talked it through and he's a bit more comfortable with the idea. He said that I could go to the local gym (the meat market) to run since the boys are home this week for vacation and they've been pretty good when I've gone out to do things like food shopping or run errands. He feels badly that I'm missing yoga and have to go to the meat market, but I'll go during the off hours so that I don't have to deal with the idiots and use the yoga DVDs I have.

So today I'm planning on trying a long run at the gym and taking it from there. I figure if I can get a long run in today and tomorrow, I should be fine for Sunday.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bend, Fold, Spindle or Mutilate

I know it's New England, but I've never been a fan of cold and ice. So far there's one sprained wrist in the house (Mr. Bear's) from a fall on the ice last week and yesterday could have been number two with my spill. Fortunately, I immediately began using some Arnica Cream on the spot and today things feel fine.

It's one of those homeopathic creams that's supposed to reduce swelling and bruising. All I know is it kept me from looking like a Klingon last October when I walked into the sign post and it seems to have worked it's magic again.

Because of the snow and ice, I was late getting into the gym - which meant I had a 15 minute run instead of a 35 minute one if I wanted to go to yoga. It was a good run. In fact I was 10 minutes into it before I was sweating enough to use the towel. Draping a towel over the control panel makes all the difference in the world.

Of course being back in the comfy gym where most everyone is older and less likeyl to be calling me names just makes up for seeing myself from a dozen different angles in the mirrors. At least I wasn't undulating today.

I needed yoga today. I needed to bend and fold my body (hell, after "mutilating" it yesterday in the fall and I don't even want to think about spindles....). We didn't work on a lot of postures today but each twist was pretty intense and in depth. I'm glad I went. It was a great relief.

Tomorrow I meet with the trainer. I was tempted to back out... I don't like going in for special trips, but I think I need to get out or else I'll be on the couch all day. So I'll get a long run in before the session and then let Tony abuse me for 45 minutes. Besides, it gives me the chance to buy some yarn on the way home and work on a sweater I'm crocheting.

Current 10 days show race day should be in the low 40's - which is the low side of where I like the temp when I'm running. Now if only the ice would clear up. I suppose in July I long for days like today, but in the meantime, I'm longing for far more temperate days. Good thing I have the gym, at least I've been able to get my running in.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Stand Up, Stand Up

After yesterday's snow day, I needed to run... badly. So after picking up Mr. Pi at school, I dropped him and headed for the meat market - I mean the Brighton branch of my gym. Fortunately I hit in an off hour, so I didn't have to deal with giggling 20 somethings taking great delight at who expected to get a ring yesterday (but didn't) and discussing my size in a stage whisper while I'm right there.

The other night I did come close to saying, "Um girls, I'm fat - not deaf. By the way, I can't wait to see you after a couple of kids in 20 years..."

Going in the off hours are nice - only a handful of folks watching Oprah while they're chugging away on the elliptical and a few of the serious weightlifters who can do their work outs without having to deal with guys who read a couple to many issues of "Mens Health."

To me, I wanted to push past the 30 minute mark in my running today. The short goal was 35 and the big goal was 40 minutes at a 12 min pace. I made it a little bit past the 35 minute mark when I threw in the towel and hit the cool down button. It felt pretty good, not as good as the other night, but it felt good.

I felt strong.

What made it better was an incident that happened just before my workout. I realized I forgot a running bra, so I ran next door to New Balance to get one. About 10' away from the store entrance was an ice block frozen solid to the sidewalk that I didn't see and I went flying. I scraped my hand up a bit, but I stood up and kept going. I didn't make excuses to myself, went back into the club and got on the treadmill to run. So yes, strong is a good word for today.

Tomorrow is yoga, so I think I'll go in early and go 40 minutes at the 12 minute pace and then I'll be ready to just twist, stretch and cool down.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I love deadlines

Especially the "whooshing" noise they make as they go flying past.

The only thing worse than busting your butt to make deadline is when your editor decides to hold off a week without telling you. I didn't need to be making phone calls and doing research to the intensity I did if I had known I had another week. :grr:

I hadn't been running lately. I'm not sure why beyond a combination of dreading running on a treadmill and the extra bonus of doing so in front of that damn set of mirrors. But the other day I sucked it up, stopped making excuses and hopped on to run a solid 20 minutes at a 12 minute pace.

It felt good. In fact, it felt so good that last night I braved the meat market environment of the closer branch of the health club and did a solid 30 mnutes at a 12 minute pace. No playing with speeds, times or anything else. I just set the pace and time, threw my towel over the panel, put on the iPod and started running.

They say running is psychological, so I figured maybe it's time to think about applying psychology to my running.

Over the season I've been playing with training techniques. For example, I use different BPM mixes from DJ Steveboy to monitor speed and rhythm. Right now, because I've been running pretty exclusively on the treadmill, I'm trying to "reprogram" myself right now. I listen to the same album on the mill, Soulfarm's Unwind, to see if I can associate the music with the steady pace on the treadmill. My hope - and I will be testing this on the 25th - is that I will associate the pace with the music when I'm on the road. It's a technique called anchoring, associating two things together - or anchoring them - to create a predictable reaction.

If nothing else, it's an interesting experiment.

Today it's snowing and the kids are home from school. (C'mon people, it's New England, we should be able to handle a little snow.) I'll give a call over to the health club in a bit to see if there's yoga class, if so I'm braving the elements to head in. It's funny how I've grown to love my yoga classes and how happy I was when I realized my heels reach the floor on my downward facing dog and other moves I can now do that I couldn't a month ago.

If there's no yoga today then I'll probably head into the meat market to do some time on the treadmill there where I'll set the time for 40 minutes and a 12 minute pace.

Happy Valentine's Day y'all.