Wednesday, September 29, 2010

grumpy runner

I was going to go on a run yesterday, but the weather was crappy. It was too warm and humid. I had a ton of homework today so I didn't think I'd be able to squeeze one in, but I started to feel a bit stir crazy and decided to go for it.
I looked around for my shoes forever until a clear picture of them in the backseat of the car, which was at a school in Queensbury where Dan was working, appeared in my mind. D'oh. The lazy child inside of me nearly ditched the run, but I decided to go out wearing a suuuuper old pair or running shoes (purchased my senior year in high school, if memory serves) which I KNOW I shouldn't have done at the risk of injuring my feet/joints. But I was already in my running clothes, and it seemed easier to just go on the run than change again. 
I headed out and hit the half mile mark at 4 minutes after nearly being clipped by a big black truck who was attempting to squeeze past me and another car coming towards him. As you may know, this is too fast, as I need to run a 10 minute mile in order to run my entire route. I slowed down a little bit, and when I was nearing the mile I realized that I was going to hit it at around 9 minutes. I slowed down even more. As I passed the mile, I started feeling a little grumpy and wanted to stop for a walking break because I had been going too fast and tired myself out, but I begrudgingly kept going because I know that I can. I brought it home in just under 15 minutes after nearly being run over by a fed-ex truck (who was looking directly at me as he made a left hand turn on top of me. nice.), so overall I stuck closely to my 10 min/mile rule. And was lucky to be alive apparently. I do miss living downtown for the access to sidewalks, which are completely non-existant in my neighborhood.
It was a really nice day for a run; it was a beautiful 70 degrees and the air smelled all fall-y. But I still managed to feel grumpy during and after my run because it was a hard one today. Dan was home when I got back, and I declared, "I HATE RUNNING!" Alas, I will continue to run. Every day is not like today, thankfully, and as I get back into it it will become easier. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Keeping It Up!

I went for another run tonight, and it was awesome. I brought a watch this time so I could track my pace, and it's a good thing I did because I was running too fast at first. I know that I need to be at about a 10 minute pace, and I hit the half mile mark at 4 minutes. Whoops. So I slowed it down and was able to complete my old route (1.5) miles without stopping to walk in just over 15 minutes. Of course, I wanted to stop and walk around a mile, like I did last time, because there is a crabby child inside of me who encourages me to be lazy at all times. I told crabby (really, I talk to myself like this. Does everyone do this?) "Come on now, you are not even winded or tired! You're just being lazy!" and I kept going. There is a certain point along my route where it would just be stupid to give up and walk because I'm only like a quarter of a mile away from home, so once I hit that I was very happy. I think that I'll run that route for a couple of days, then start increasing my time by 5 minute intervals. I'm really pleased that I'm so close to being as awesome as I was before I stopped running--only a half mile away!!
I need to get my own watch, because I wear Dan's, and besides being really big and looking ridiculous, I have absolutely no idea how to operate it, so I just push buttons like a monkey until I get the right screen. This generally takes about 3 minutes, but can take up to 6 before I give up. And there are only 4 buttons.
When I got home, I walked a few laps around my yard to cool down, and then came inside and did yoga for 30 minutes in the hopes that the stretching would stop my muscles from getting so sore this time. Either way, I love doing yoga. I kind of forgot how nice it is. And I have this theory that it is the perfect accompaniment to running because running makes your muscles so tight.
So, in conclusion, I am awesome :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Potato Leek Soup

Here's my recipe for Potato Leek Soup. Okay, I admit it: this is an old post I stole from my other blog. BUT!! We are working our way through a giant pot of that that I made yesterday. YUM! Generally, potato leek soup has cream in it, but I use a different type of recipe because it's healthier. It's vegan if that's important to you! It's also super easy.
1 tbsp-ish oil
2 or more cloves of garlic (depending on how much you like garlic. You could leave the garlic out all together, I just like to put garlic in everything), minced
Bunch of leeks (2-3, I usually use 3)
1 onion, chopped
3 large potatoes, cubed (but don't peel 'em, dummy-the skin is where all the nutrients are)
6-7 c veggie broth (or chicken if you want. I use Herb ox builon powder, which is sodium free, but still full of chemicals. I'm too lazy to make my own veggie stock.)
So, first you're going to want to deal with the leeks. Leeks are kind of like onions, but dirtier. You should cut most of the green part off, except for about 1-2 inches. Cut the root off the end. You now have a little cylinder. Cut this in half lengthwise get rid of the outer layer or two, then cut into thin slices so you have little half-circles. Fill a big bowl with cold water, and put the leeks in there, separating the layers. Swish them around and let them sit for a few minutes. Any dirt on them will sink to the bottom. Scoop the leeks out of the bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil in a stock pot. Add the garlic, and saute for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown. Add the onion, leeks, and pepper to taste. You could add some salt, too, if that's what you're into. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions and leeks become translucent. Then add your potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for, um, awhile, until the potatoes are soft. Let it cool to room temperature, and puree it in batches in a food processor or blender. When you're ready to eat it, just re-heat it in the stock pot. I like to eat this with yummy fresh bread.
See, easy!

If I Can Do It, You Can Do It (No, Seriously)

I consider myself to be the foremost expert on non-runner's running. I am the least likely person in the entire world to pursue running as a form of exercise. I've never been very athletic, and running in particular has always been a huge challenge for me. But to my surprise, once I decided to try it out (because my hatred for running is eclipsed by my love of efficiency, and really, what exercise is more efficient than running? None.), I'm not that bad at it. I imagine that if I hadn't taken the summer off, I'd be a champion marathoner by now, gracing the cover of Runner's World. Alas, I have to start the process over again. I am just easing back into things, and my body is sore from yesterday's run, so I did not run today (probably couldn't have if I tried), so I have nothing exciting to report. Instead, I will give my top 5 expert tips (read: whatever the first 5 things that come into my mind are) for any non-runners who are beginning to run. Because I made a lot of bone-headed mistakes, and had I known better, my life would have been easier.

1) Take it slow. Seriously. I know it's all exciting and new, but you're going to hurt yourself if you overdo it. I'm being smarter this time around, listening to my body. When you're really sore, stay in, dummy!
2) Find your pace; it's slower than you think. This was the difference between running being totally miserable and running being bearable. When I started getting into a running grove, I was running around an 8 minute/mile. That's obviously too fast for me. I was always winded, took frequent walking breaks, and really had to push myself. One day I just slowed it down a little to see what happened, and suddenly it wasn't so bad! It was like, DUH! Once I slowed it down to around a 10 minute/mile pace, I started really making progress and no longer needed walking breaks.
3) You have to run consistently in order for it not to suck. I do other active things like walking, tennis, and hiking mountains, but none of those things are running, and if you start slacking, it starts sucking again. You have to get out there several times a week, okay?
4) Get your goals in order. Why are you running? You want to lose weight? That's nice, but you're probably going to gain weight (as fat turns to muscle) before you lose weight, and you will probably give up before you see any significant weight loss. When I started running, I explicitly didn't have weight loss as a goal, rather I want to achieve overall fitness. And I did notice a lot of things-my lungs got stronger, my heart stopped pounding, I had more energy, I was happier. These things kept encouraging me.
5) Don't listen to Salt-N-Pepa. It'll make you all cocky and you'll run too fast and far. Trust me!!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Back to Running

I've been on a running hiatus for about 4 months now. My attempts to run have been continually foiled, and I just didn't have quite enough motivation to work out a solution. First it was just too hot, I got really dizzy despite drinking water all day before a run. I was working full time at the coffee shop, which means going to bed around 9 and getting up around 5, so I couldn't run at night after it had cooled off a bit and although I could have, I sure as hell wasn't going to get up at 4am to go on a run. I took 3 weeks off work around my wedding, so I was pumped to run at night during those three weeks, since I wouldn't have to get up early, but we were struck with a major heat wave and it didn't cool off at night.

I accepted that I wasn't going to be running during the summer and was anxiously awaiting my semester to start when the temperature would go down and I could run at night if necessary. The temperature did indeed cool significantly during the first week of classes, but I got hit with a nasty chest cold. AARRRGH! And I've had the damn thing for over 2 weeks at this point. WHY CAN'T I RUN???

Well, my cold is finally clearing up, and though I'm still coughing a lot, I decided that I wasn't going to wait any more. I set out on my first run in forever today, not knowing what to expect. When last I ran, I was comfortably running 2 miles (20 minutes) and was closing in on my next goal of running non stop for 30 minutes. This from the girl who couldn't run 30 seconds without a walking break in January. I wasn't sure that I would even be able to do a mile this time, just because of how long it's been. Thankfully, I was able to do the mile, and it wasn't bad! I didn't feel at all uncomfortable until about the 3/4 mile mark, when I thought, "Huh. I really wish THIS was a mile." But I kept going and made it to the mile. I thought about going farther, but my cough was really starting to act up, so I took a walking break. I alternated jogging and walking for about 1/4 of a mile, then I ran the last 1/4 mile home. I planned on stopping then, obviously, but I spotted Dan on his way back home from his run (he found out which route I was taking and took off in the opposite direction because he's a total snob and I don't run fast enough for him! HOW RUDE!) so I ran over to him and we finished up together. I then pretended to do stretches while he did serious stretches and push-ups and crunches.

I'm really happy that I got back out there, because I was feeling a little anxious that I would seriously suck. I did better then I thought I would, and now my expectations of myself are higher so I'm pretty confident that I'll be back to where I was in a couple of weeks.