Monday, April 26, 2010

Week in Review 4/18/10 - 4/24/10

Tuesday:  7.4 mile run
Wednesday:  4 mile run, 30 minutes yoga
Thursday:  10.5 mile run
Saturday:  4 mile run

Total Running Miles:  25.9

It was one of those weeks where I worked a lot and spent more time taking care of other people and their issues.  We also traveled up to NY this weekend to visit my family.  Two weekends in a row of being away was not so good for running, but we really enjoyed our time away and that was the most important thing.  To compensate I tried to run a bit longer on Tuesday and Thursday when I had ample time.

Abby had track meets on Monday and Thursday.  She has her mile time down to 6:50 now.  Whoosh!

We had some great meals last week!  After Jerry's 50K last Sunday we came home and ordered pizza.  Monday we had soy/chicken patty sandwiches and hash brown potato casserole.  On Tuesday we tried a new recipe for Broccoli Soup.  It was really great - I'll post the recipe below!  Next came a pasta salad from Emeril, and then falafel wraps and sweet potatoes.  Friday we made twice bakes potatoes and bean salad.  Saturday my mom served us some delicious mac-n-cheese and apple salad.

Broccoli Rice Soup (from
8 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup arborio rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 cups broccoli, chopped (about 1 large or 2 small heads)
salt and pepper
grated parmesan cheese

Cooking Instructions
Bring the stock to a boil over high heat in a large pot. Once it has reached a boil, add the arborio rice. Give the soup a quick stir to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, start the red pepper and garlic saute. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a shallow frying pan. Add the red bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes longer until the garlic is a nice golden color but not burned. Remove from heat and add to the soup along with the broccoli.
Let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes longer or until the broccoli is tender and the rice is fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls topped with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Congratulations to everyone who ran Boston Marathon last week!  You guys did great and I was only slightly envious of your achievements!  Ryan Hall managed an awesome 4th place finish with Meb behind him in 5th.  Ryan's time was the fastest ever for an American at Boston - so there you go.  Running will never capture the media or public attention like football, basketball, or baseball but there is some amazing talent out there and it really deserves to be recognized.   First place in the Boston Marathon will give you $100,000 in prize money - both male and female.  For his 4th place finish Ryan took home $18,000.  Not bad, but a drop in the bucket compared to what some of these other professional athletes earn.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Last year we tried to incorporate a few changes that should help the earth.  They were simple and inexpensive.  Here are the four that we have conquered:

1.  Cloth grocery bags instead of plastic.  We collected a bunch of these at races and expos and decided to actually put them to use.  We still use some plastic bags for backyard doggie clean up and walks but our use of plastic bags has been greatly reduced.  Plus we get a discount at the local grocery store every time we use cloth bags!

2.  We stopped buying plastic water bottles and switched to stainless steel reusable bottles that we fill from the tap.  Two reasons for this change:  Regardless of what the FDA says, I don't think BPA is safe and I don't want to contribute all those water bottles to the local landfill.

3.  We replaced a lot of our plastic food storage containers with pyrex for the same reasons as above.  I have had a thing about tupperware for a long time and so much of it went out a few months ago.

4.  We started recycling all of our junk paper (newspapers, magazines, coupons, junk mail).  We just keep a box in the garage and when it gets full we take it all to one of those green paper recycling dumpsters that we seem to have on every corner now.  We have been really surprised by how much paper we accumulate. 

We hope to make more changes this year!  I always think it is easier to tackle one change at a time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Week in Review 4/11/10 - 4/17/10

Sunday:  Family Hike in South Chagrin
Monday:  15 min yoga
Tuesday:  45 minutes treadmill intervals (5 miles)
Wednesday:  30 minutes yoga
Thursday:  5 mile run
Friday:  9 mile run

Total Running Miles:  19

Since I actually pushed myself and ran hard in the half marathon, I took a few days to properly recover.  We then traveled over the weekend and focused on Jerry and his 50K (31 mile) run at Mohican.  His race report will be found eventually on his blog.  I can only say here that Gina, Abby and I had a really great time and enjoyed a much needed getaway!

The girls have literally grown up going to these types of events since 1999.  The transition of hauling around little girls with strollers, snacks, crayons, books, and stuffed animals has really been amazing.  This weekend I only had to worry about snacks and that was pretty easy.  I was worried they would grow tired of attending these races and behave like teenagers - ipod in ears, phone in hand, eyes rolling, clueless to their surroundings, but that was not the case at all. As evident in the photos we found plenty of ways to stay entertained and the 6 hours passed fairly quickly.  There was the obligatory trip to the playground, piggyback rides, and a spontaneous game of pinecone baseball.  It's always fun competing in an event, but spectating has its own set of special joys.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Time to be a Spectator

This weekend it is my turn to spectate and encourage Jerry as he participates in the Forget the PR 50K ultramarathon in Mohican State Park.  He did this race last year but the girls and I did not go.  This year it seemed like a fun way to spend a weekend so we have a reservation at the Lodge (with a greatly reduced rate thanks to their Stays for A's program where they will discount the rate $10 for every A on your child's report card).  On the way there we want to drive through Kenyon College where Gina will be attending a swim camp in June.  We've done some preliminary research on where to have dinner to accommodate our vegetarian needs and we are thinking we will dine at Malabar Inn.  The weather looks good and the pet sitter is arranged to look after the dog and two cats.

Abby had her first track meet yesterday!  She clocked a 6:53 in the 1600 (that's one mile) and a 3:12 in the 800.  The uniform choice is ridiculous.  She's the one in blue.  I love watching her run and admire her tenacity.  I think she is mastering the art of a well-paced race.  The whole middle school team is very talented for a bunch of 7th and 8th graders.  Our fastest boy went a 5:10 in the 1600!  The fastest girl went 6:15.  OF course I really only pay attention to the distance events but the sprinters did a great job too - I'm just not so familiar with their times!

Meals this week have so far included barley chili, eggplant parmigiana, veggie loaf from the freezer, and avocado/rice salad served with cheese and tomato on English Muffins!  Everyone was wrinkling their faces at the English Muffin idea but it was quick and pretty darn tasty.  Dinners are tricky now because Gina needs to eat early so her stomach can settle before 6:30 swim team practice.  Abby prefers to eat a little later since she has track practice or a meet in the afternoon.  So in addition to trying to plan healthy, not-too-expensive meals I also need to keep in mind that it might be served over a 2-hour span.  Tonight I'll cook up some pasta with veggies for Jerry to feast on AND I think we can all sit at the table and enjoy a meal together!  Yea!

I'm excited for all the runners going to Boston this weekend for Monday's Boston Marathon!  I REALLY hope to be there one day.  I will be getting text message updates for two of my running friends and then anxiously awaiting results on the others.  I am cheering for Ryan Hall to win the men's race.  Meb winning NYC Marathon in November was wonderful, but Ryan crossing first in a major marathon would just make my day!  I love that he is forthright about his beliefs and that he uses running to glorify God.  Go Ryan!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week in Review 4/4/10 - 4/10/10

Sunday:  Family Hike in South Chagrin!
Monday:  4 mile run
Tuesday:  4 mile run with Jerry, 2.5 mile run with Gina
Thursday:  4 mile run, 2 mile run with Gina
Friday:  30 minutes yoga
Saturday:  13.1 mile run

Total Running Miles:  29.6

We had an absolutely great day at the Spring Classic Half Marathon and 5K.  Abby won the girls 10-12 yr old age group in the 5K.  Gina scored second in the girls 13-14 yr old group in the 5K and by some miracle Jerry also came in 2nd for his age group in the 5K!  The three of them were holding their trophies proudly as I passed by the finish area on my first lap of the half marathon.  I was so happy to see them all smiling.  It really gave me a boost that I needed desperately.

As previously stated I didn't have huge goals for the day.  I always feel better having several small goals and then letting the day unfold.  It was going along pretty well for the first 6-mile loop.  I followed behind a runner I named Bob in my head.  He kept a nice pace going and I wanted to keep him in sight just for reference.  I was running most of the miles between 8:30 and 9 minute pace.  Towards the end of the first lap a woman seemingly in my age group passed me and we continued to flip-flop the rest of the day.  We made very limited small talk and it made me a bit more tense than I like.  I kept telling myself I was not racing her, but the more I heard those little footsteps behind me the more I wanted to get away from them.  At mile 11 I was feeling pretty good and passed some geese standing along side the road.  I said "honk honk" as I went by and then I guess I got a little loopy because "honk honk" turned into train sounds and I started going "Whoo Whoo" in my head and picturing myself like a train rolling along passing all the people up ahead.  Whatever - it worked.  Mile 12 clocked in at an 8:17.  I passed Bob, but I knew the other woman was still close behind because I could still hear those feet.  As we approached the final half mile I recalled something our pastor said once about his wife who is a teacher.  She would look out at a classroom full of unruly students and say, "One of us is going home happy today and I'm thinking it's gonna be me!"  Up ahead I saw three more female runners and I decided to try and pick them off one by one.  I actually did it!  I went home happy having finished in 1:54 and collecting a second place trophy for my effort.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Goals for Tomorrow

Tomorrow we will all get up and head to Strongsville for the Spring Classic Half Marathon and 5K.  I will run the half marathon while Jerry, Gina and Abby run in the 5K.  It looks to be a great day in the weather department and for the most part we are ready!

I have only run three previous half marathons.  In 2003 I ran my first half at the Buckeye Half Marathon in Peninsula.  I finished in 1:52.  It was the first time I ever received a medal for any type of athletic event!  I was 37 years old and smiled like a little kid with that medal around my neck.  Two months later I ran the Fall Classic Half Marathon with Jerry.  He dragged me through the course and we finished in 1:48.  In my log book I only wrote one word - OUCH!  In the last mile I had visions of serving him with divorce papers.  The third half marathon was the Buckeye Half again in 2008.  Jerry and I went together but had no plans to take a single step of the race in tandem.  I finished that one in 1:56.

Tomorrow I will shoot for something between 1:55 and 2:00.  No major goals, definitely never a PR.  I will view it as a chance to practice pacing strategy and positive thinking.

I am really excited for Abby!  Her running is coming along beautifully.  Her previous 5K from last summer was a 26-something.  I think she can crush that one without a doubt!

Gina's been struggling with her running.  Her exercise-induced asthma is exacerbated by the pollen and there has been lots of wheezing, groaning, cramping, and complaining during the runs we've taken together.  I know it's hard and I'm super proud of her for trying to get ready for this race.  Jerry will run with her in case her lungs do something nasty and together they will make their way to the finish line.  I'm kind of bummed I won't see their race but I hope to hear the nitty gritty details all the way home.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

To Ham or Not to Ham

Monday:  1 hour yoga (1/2 with Gina)
Tuesday:  4 mile run, 2.5 mile run with Gina
Wednesday:  6 mile run
Thursday:  2.5 mile run with Gina, 3 mile walk with Abby, Jerry and Mia
Friday:  5 mile run, 5 mile run with Abby
Saturday:  3.6 mile run, 2.5 mile run with Gina

Total Running Miles:  28.6

Abby got in lots of running at track practice so I tried to get Gina out a few times to get ready for the 5K coming up soon.  Jerry seems to be always running and getting ready for his 50K.  I've been finding myself somewhat bewildered as to how to get it all done and ever so thankful that I am not trying to prepare for a full marathon.

The 10-mile run on Friday was one of the toughest training runs I can remember.  It was HOT outside and I was just not acclimated to this freakishly warm Ohio spring weather.  Since I was going to do two laps of a 5-mile loop (Old Hickory) I decided against carrying water which proved to be a mistake.  My brain was sort of thick after several insomnolent nights.  Within one mile from home I was dying for water.  I finished the loop and returned home to pick up Abby.  She was ready to roll and I was scared!  I downed some water but I was really feeling shot after only half my run.  We started out and I told her she could go on ahead and wait for me at the school.  It is just so frustrating to watch her little legs cruise away from me while I plod on at my old-lady pace.  Long story short - she went out too fast so we struggled in silence until Mitkarian parkway when we happily ran into Jerry.  He was about 18 miles into his 22 mile run.  I swear I have never been so happy to see him in my life!  He had WATER!  Abby and I proceeded to drain his water bottle and then the 3 of us ran up through the woods until Jerry split off for the rest of his trail run.  Abby and I made it home and ran straight to the freezer for Edy's frozen fruit bars!  Lesson learned:  when it's hot you must carry water......duh.

We pondered the Easter menu ad nauseum.  We could not decide whether or not to include ham in the menu.  In the end we did buy a small Honeybaked Ham which went uneaten by all except Jerry.  Another lesson learned:  when your family is transitioning to a vegetarian diet best not to waste money on Honeybaked Ham!

The Easter Menu ended up to include above-mentioned ham, 3-cheese macaroni and cheese; green beans tossed with buffalo mozzarella, chives, olive oil; rolls, coleslaw, and deviled eggs.  We had an amazing time at church teaching saturday night and then returning for early service on Sunday.  We spent easter afternoon strolling through South Chagrin up and down the hills.  It was really a great day!