March 31, 2013

Weekly Roundup - March 31st

Happy Easter everyone!  We hope you have a wonderful day with your family and friends.  This was a good training week for us, finishing off with a long run together yesterday.  It is so much more fun running with a friend and the miles ticked by despite some not so perfect weather.  Post run we enjoyed protein shakes and  watched "Spirit of the Marathon" in the afternoon....Pam had never seen it and Christine did not mind watching it for the 3rd time!

Post long run with tasty protein smoothies!

Sunday, March 24th
Pam:  Run 3 miles, 500 meters rowing, stretching, rolling, walk 2 miles outside
Christine:  Yoga 40 min.

Monday, March 25th
Pam:  Bike 30 minutes, 500 meters rowing machine, weights, stretching
Christine:  Ran 3 miles easy, weights

Tuesday, March 26th
Pam:  1 mile warmup, 3 X 800 @ 8.06 pace  1 X 800 @8.00 pace total 4.25 miles,
Christine:  Rest day

Wednesday, March 27th
Pam:  Rest day
Christine:  Run 5.1 miles, weights

Thursday, March 28th
Pam:  Bike at gym 35 min. weights and ABS 15 minutes, stretching, Bosu ball, 2 mile tempo run outside
Christine: Tabata class

Friday, March 29th
Pam: Bike 15 min., Eliptical 20 min. 750 meters rowing, stretching
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, March 30th
Pam: 10.3 miles run
Christine:  10.3 miles run

March 30, 2013

An Easter Basket for A Runner!

We  love holidays and Easter is no exception.  Christine and her Old English sheepdog, Paddy will be visiting us this weekend and this mom will use any excuse to buy fun running things for my running partner!  Putting together a runner's basket was easy with just a couple stops at some local stores.

The finished product!

The basket was purchased at Michael's and most of the contents came from a running store and supermarket.

*  Peeps
*  Lindt chocolate bunny
*  clear plastic rain ponchos
*  GU chomps in watermelon flavor
*  Gatorade powdered individual packs
*  Powerade bottles
*  Experia socks by Thorlo
*  NoAd sunscreen
*  Disney stickers!
*  13.1 car sticker
*  Jeff Galloway's book, Marathon, You Can Do It.
*  Vapor reusable water bottle

While we try to avoid candy, Easter would not be complete without a package of marshmallow chicks and a chocolate bunny!  How will you indulge on Easter or during Passover Celebrations?

March 29, 2013

Healthy Meals (006): Southwest Salmon with Avocado Salad

I've been getting back into my cooking groove after taking a hiatus earlier this year.  I love to cook and try new recipes.  Given that my day job often involves very few tangible outcomes, I'm happy to enjoy things at home that show results, like mowing the lawn, cleaning, making dinner, etc.  It's nice to have a visual indicator of progress.  Given that it's National Nutrition Month, I have been trying to cook more healthy dinners and specifically more fish.  I was feeling a little bit adventurous with my salmon the other night and crafted a pretty tasty, albeit a bit spicy, meal.

You may remember from this post that salmon and avocado are vitamin-packed super foods for runners.

Southwest Salmon with Avocado Salad

  • Salmon filets - 3/4-1 lb
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice, plus lime wedge for serving
  • Southwest seasoning (like Emeril's)
  • 1 can Rotel with green chilies
  • 1 Avocado, rough dice
  • 1/4 C chopped bell pepper (I used orange)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Mixed greens (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Put salmon on plate and top with lime juice.  Sprinkle seasoning liberally (I used about 1-2 tsp).  Let rest 10 minutes before putting in the oven.  Place on baking sheet or baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.  Cook 12-15 minutes or until no longer pink (har had, salmon is always pink...just not the raw kinda pink) in the center and flakes with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, place the Rotel in a small mixing bowl.  Add bell pepper and avocado and mix gently until just combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve salmon with lime wedge and a cup of avocado salad.  Serve over salad greens, if desired

March 28, 2013

Homemade Kale Chips

Many of you have probably read about the super foods.  We try to keep our diet balanced and include many of the foods on the super food list.  Those include berries, nuts, avocados, salmon and many other nutritious and tasty food.  Kale has been in the news a lot lately for its health benefits and this is a new vegetable for us that we first tasted on Christmas Eve at a friend's house.  I did a little research to see exactly what gives kale it's high reputation for being a super food and found this great article.  Now it was time for me to cook with kale and so I chose the easiest thing possible , kale chips.

Ready to eat!
Kale Chips
*  Purchase a bag of kale
*  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
*  Cut the stems off with scissors and tear the leafy portion into pieces
*  Clean the kale pieces using a salad spinner
*  Put the pieces in a mixing bowl and add 1 TBSP of olive oil
*  Shake so all the pieces are covered with olive oil
*  Place single layer on parchment covered cookie sheet
*  Bake in preheated over for 15-20 minutes
*  Sprinkle with seasoned salt
*  Serve immediately

Even boys like kale chips!

March 27, 2013

Why Paris?

We write about Paris. A lot.  And many of you are probably intrigued by our obsession, if not confused by it.  We've had the opportunity to spend a bit of time in Europe and Pam, much more, having lived there for 5 years.  Paris is my favorite place (at least that I've been so far).  It just has an energy and vibe that I really enjoy.  It's laid back, but formal.  It has wonderful depth in culture...and food.  The Parisians live a much more balanced life.  It's simply beautiful.

There are amazing parks and gardens everywhere!
Small gated garden on the west side of the city

Gardens at Versailles

Garden in central Paris near Embassy district
The Sunday markets at the Bastille are incredible!  Produce, bread, meat, seafood, dairy galore!  Plus made to order crepes...yum!

There's lots of gold!

Cool statues all over the city

Mini macarons...come to mama!

If you ever go to Paris, you MUST visit Angelina's and have macarons and hot chocolate!
Mille feuille and Foret Noire

Where else can you drink wine at lunch and it's cheaper than water?!

Cute little restaurants
Chez Andre, a FABULOUS traditional French Bistro in the 12th Arrondissement
A cute neighborhood Italian restaurant
You can spend all day admiring pretty things...
Monet's Waterlilies at the Orangerie

On the banks of the Seine

Les Invalides in the background of the Rodin Museum

Sacre Coeur

Yup, you could say I'm smitten!

March 26, 2013

Training Tuesday: How to Train with lots of races on the calendar!

Since we started running several years ago, neither Christine or I have scheduled many races on our calendars.  This year we have both registered for a half marathon in each of the first four months of the year.  Christine also has a race booked in June.  Throw in a marathon (Goofy Challenge) on top of that and it is tons of miles!  How do you race that many half marathons so close together?

This is precisely something we have been debating for a while now.  We had a definite plan for our January WDW Marathon weekend races.  Christine was eager to run a PR in the Donald Half (which she did) and Pam was hopeful to finish the Goofy Challenge, which included her first marathon.  With hard training and planning we both reached our goals despite hotter than normal race conditions.

Resuming training was not easy and Pam was gone for three weeks on vacation where running was not an option most of the time.  As you know by now, our March races were huge, particularly for Christine.  Since she was focusing on a PR attempt at Shamrock, she did not taper at all for the Princess Half.  While that race was not our best time, we completed it and certainly enjoyed running through Magic Kingdom, dressing up and seeing many running friends.

As we move forward into the year, we both have local races this spring that should give us the opportunity to achieve good times, if not PR's if the conditions are good on race day.  Heck, we already both hit PRs last weekend, so we are happy!  One thing we have learned, despite great training, hydrating and eating well, you cannot control race day conditions.  Certain temperatures make it impossible to achieve a best time and you cannot be disappointed because of that.

Training for lots of distance races also comes with challenges.  You cannot expect to achieve PR's each time you race if you race often.  It is important to designate certain races as A races and others as B or C races, more as training runs or fun races! I heard lots of speedy runners at the Princess Half Marathon say that they were using the race as a training run for the Boston Marathon.  That made sense to me.  The Boston Marathon is a major race, with difficult qualifying standards and to taper 6-7 weeks earlier for Princess would impede your ability to run as well at the Boston race.

This is a learning process for Christine and I. We will post about our race experiences and the frequency of races.  If you have any great tips on how to prepare for races that are close together we would love to hear from you!

March 25, 2013

Dopey Challenge Part of WDW Marathon Weekend!

The runDisney community was abuzz at the end of last week with it's big announcement about the expansion of marathon weekend to add a 10k and officially recognize a more extreme event, the Dopey Challenge.  For years, runners have unofficially called the marathon weekend trifecta of races (the 5k, half marathon and full marathon) the Dopey.  runDisney is not only recognizing this challenge, but has really upped the ante with adding a 10k!  This comes to a grand total of 48.6 miles in 4 days - wowzers!

You all know that Pam is a little cookoo so she's very actively contemplating this challenge...probably already has her credit card in hand to register in a little less than a month!  Even I am a bit tempted, but I know this would be an extraordinary undertaking, from simply the training standpoint alone, considering my work schedule...and just the simple physical undertaking.

So let's get to the details, shall we?  Marathon weekend is slated to take plan the second weekend in January and will now start on Wednesday!  Yes, that's right, the expo will open on Wednesday, January 8th, with the races starting on Thursday.  I can imagine that for families who looked to participate in the 5k, this may present a bit of a challenge with school and work schedules.  There will be one race per day, culminating with the marathon on Sunday. 

Snow White and the seven dwarves took it upon themselves to announce the weekend expansion.

Can we pause and take a moment to revel in the new Minnie Mouse-themed 10k?!  I am so excited!!  It's going to be difficult to decide which Minnie Mouse skirt to select for this event - pink or red.  These are tough choices, y'all!  I know this race will be on my list, but the complete Dopey challenge...that's an even tougher choice!

Given that there are 4 races and 6 events for the weekend, there are loads of details and we tried to simplify them a bit.  Based on the fact that the Dumbo Challenge sold out so quickly, we can only assume that there might be a rush on Dopey Challenge registrations.  It is an inaugural event after all, but this one will require much more physical stamina so it's tough to tell when this one will sell out.  Registration for all of the events opens April 9th and you can sign up here for an email reminder.  As with all runDisney events, the earlier you sign up, the cheaper it is. 

Yes, there's a bit of sticker shock with Dopey.  Once you've recovered, keep reading.  There are 6 medals involved and 6 shirts.  You can get your running wardrobe set for the rest of the year! 

All of the information is available on the runDisney website here.  How do you feel about this announcement?


March 24, 2013

Weekly Roundup - March 24

This week was really about race recovery for both of us.  Pam has been more sore after this half marathon than any other.  I guess that little sprint at the end at a pace of 6:58 took it's toll!  Even though our workouts weren't terribly exciting, there was some fun runDisney news, with the announcement of the official Dopey Challenge.  We'll have more on this tomorrow, so check back!
Spring may FINALLY be coming to Virginia! Some forsythia blooms from the backyard.
Sunday, March 17
Pam: Quintiles Half Marathon, walked 9 holes golf (crazy right?)
Christine: Shamrock Half Marathon

Monday, March 18
Pam: 20 min bike, 20 min weights, stretching
Christine: Stretching

Tuesday, March 19
Pam: Rest day, lots of rolling and stretching
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, upper body weights

Wednesday, March 20
Pam: Walked 3.5 miles
Christine: Rest

Thursday, March 21
Pam: 30 minutes bike, 20 min weights, stretching
Christine: Tabata class

Friday, March 22
Pam: Long car ride...exercised my mouth and fingers
Christine: Rest

Saturday, March 23
Pam: Rest
Christine: 20 min stationary bike

As you can see from our efforts, we both needed a bit of recovery after last week's half marathons.  Christine will be working to get back to running this week to start prepping for her April half marathon - the Dismal Swamp Stomp.

March 23, 2013

Shamrock Recap 2/2: The Race...aka the race of life

This post was intended to be all about my race day, but I've decided to rethink it a bit.  Here's what you need to know about my race: it was freezing at the start; I stayed at my goal pace until mile 12 when I was dead; I saw and chatted with Bart Yasso at mile 3.5ish; and I PR'ed by 5 minutes.  I saw friends at the finish line and shared high fives and celebratory hugs.  It was a big relief when my final time showed up on the website today - 2:08.37.  But these things aren't really important.  Sure I worked REALLY hard for this race, but it was a moment in time.
Happy finish line moment - new PR!
I want to write about something else today.  I want to write about the race of life.  We don't often stray into personal territory but today is an exception.  I ran this race with someone in the back (and sometimes front) of my mind - my Grampy.  It hurts every ounce of my being to admit that his health is very poor.  At 91 years old, it appears that God may call him home very soon.  
One of my very favorite photos of us...I was probably 7 or 8
He is an incredible person and has left an indelible mark on me as a person.  Without a doubt, he's been the biggest inspiration in my life and this started at a young age.  My Grampy is very special to me; I was the only grandchild until I was about 10, so I was fortunate to get lots of attention as a girl.  He is kind, generous and fair.  He believes in hard work and always taught me to keep trying until I succeeded.  He is immensely proud of the fact that I studied and graduated with my engineering degree.  He is loyal to my University and continues to follow their sports, specifically football (even though they suck!).  He often told me that it was a better school than his alma mater (Yale) this day I'm not sure the reason for that or even if it's a remotely legitimate comparison!

Throughout the race, I carried a small reminder of our relationship - a report that I wrote in the 3rd or 4th grade on a person we admire.  Of course, I wrote about him, citing his kindness, excellence at golf, enjoyment of riding bikes on Cape Cod and most notably, beating a highly deadly cancer.  This inspiration was safely tucked in my running belt, always reminding me to keep pushing.  At miles 11 and 12 when the going got tough and I just wanted to walk and give up, I reminded myself of him and that he beat cancer when no one gave him a chance. I could hear his voice in my head telling me to keep on chugging and just push through it.  I know he was with me that last mile as my legs ached and my lungs burned for rest.  
At the finish line with my "I admire my Grampy report"
He has had a remarkable race for the last 91 years - selling eggs during the great depression, serving in the Pacific during WWII, playing baseball at Yale, marrying my beautiful grandmother, 4 amazing children (my Mom is the 3rd), a successful career as a stock broker, 3 grandchildren, beating cancer and every odd that every doctor gave him and being a really good human being.  He taught me to play golf at Cape Cod when I was a young girl.  We went crabbing in the summers, using hot dogs as bait.  He taught me how to eat a Maine lobster properly...with a giant bib and a huge trash bucket in the middle of the table for the shells.  He was kind to me in moments of defeat - a high school knee injury that sidelined me from collegiate swimming and a failed grad school endeavor.  And while he was kind, he never coddled me, always challenging me to be better.  It is this sentiment that I shall carry with me in every road race and in life.
Learning to play golf, circa 1989 or so
The last time I spent with him one on one was on December 26, 2011 to return some Christmas gifts while I was up in Boston for the holiday.  My parents had already headed back home early that morning and so the two of us were left on our own to go to the local mall in the morning with a mission on our mind.  It was one of those everyday chores that was really fun.  As my grandparents have gotten older, they travel less and my time with them has been less than I would like it to be - this was one of those moments that I quietly treasured.  Anyways, back to our errand.  The mall was mobbed (a favorite word of my Grampy), but we found a parking spot towards the back of the lot (he refused to use his handicap tag) and we headed inside.  This man, small in stature and walking with a cane, can really maneuver!  Dressed in gray slacks, a navy windbreaker jacket and some ball cap, he navigated us to where we needed to be in the mall.  Upon arrival at the store, it was still closed - odd since the rest of the mall was open.  I walked ahead of him to get to the mall security booth to inquire if they were appeared that someone overslept!  Fast forward a bit and we got the presents returned successfully.  He inquired if I wanted to check out any of the sales and I wasn't interested.  We headed home to get some lunch and enjoy some time with my Grammy before I had to get to the airport.  As mundane as this may be, it will likely be the final time I spend with this incredible man.
A Christmas Eve when I was a girl
Acknowledging that someone with such a strong and resilient personality will not always be here to talk to me is difficult.  Please keep us in your thoughts in the coming days.  
My "report" and inspiration

March 22, 2013

Five Favorites Friday!

We have loads of favorite things, but here is Pam's list for the week!  It was also a great race week, and the weather is turning to spring.  While shopping at Trader Joe's I discovered several new products (to us) that we really enjoyed too.  Here are my picks:

1.  A shiny new medal and PR!
Quintiles Half Marathon, Wrightsville Beach

2.  Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip by Trader Joe's  This dip is so tasty I could eat it with a spoon!  It has reduced fat for those counting calories, and health benefits with the yogurt, spinach and kale.  Give it a try on some wheat crackers or with raw vegetables.  I already need to go back to the store to buy more!

Yummy good!

3.  Thorlo Experia Socks  My only comment is that my feet were blister free post race Sunday! (Post on these awesome socks coming soon!)

4. Shorts Season  It is time for running in shorts and the compression capris can be put aside until fall.

5.  A new hydration cup with lid!  One of my all time favorite gifts is this Tervis tumbler given to me by one of my good buddies Kathy.  She will be traveling with me to the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend in Florida in November.  I am hoping to talk her into walking the 5k! (Shhh...she doesn't know yet, so don't tell )!

Last but definitely not new hydration cup!  

March 21, 2013

Shamrock Recap 1/2: The Expo

I was really looking forward to the Shamrock expo for a few reasons.  I love an expo at the Virginia Beach Convention Center because it's spacious, easy parking and generally an enjoyable place to be.  I also was very much looking forward to their speaker series, a new part of the expo this year.

I headed down to Virginia Beach mid/late morning-ish and easily found a parking space at the convention center.  I headed inside and snapped a few pics.
Very festive!
I was easily able to get my bib and packet.  Every runner was given a string backpack, race booklet, bib and pins.  Next stop was grabbing my shirt.  Again, no lines - score!
Shamrock swag!
After the obvious reason I was at the expo, it was time for fun - shopping and speakers!  I figured I had ample time so a map was unnecessary and I happily wandered among the booths.  I stopped at Sparkle Skirts to say hi to Leah and met some fab girls who also know our friend Allie - so fun!  Their booth was very busy, so I figured I had better be on my way.  I headed to Nuun and tested every flavor...and some multiple times and decided to purchase Citrus Fruit and Strawberry Lemonade-yum!  And I got a free water bottle - an expo promo with the purchase of two tubes.  Not that I necessarily needed another water bottle, but I love free things!

And then, I realized I had missed my first stop - Raw Threads to check out their shirts.  I had seem some super cute green St. Patty's Day themed shirts on their Facebook page that intrigued me so I had to check them out.  I ended up not liking the green shirts as much as I expected and picked up a cute half marathon shirt instead.  I chatted with the girls at the booth about Disney races.  Apparently many people were confused by the 39.3 magnets and princess-themed merchandise. Their loss.

I perused many other booths selling all kinds of things - headbands, earbuds, nutrition, race entries...the works.  And before I knew it, it was speaker time.  

I planned to see Joe Muldowney speak at noon on making each day a personal best.  He had some great anecdotes for the group and I really enjoyed his presentation.  He talked about the importance of good running shoes, keeping a running log and being realistic about training and race goals.  He spoke of his best race in the early 1980s - the Boston Marathon where he ran his fastest marathon, a 2:22.  Smoking fast!  He said that as he turned for the finish, the crowd really roared and he enjoyed the enthusiasm for his finish.  He later learned that the roars were most likely for Joan Benoit as she went on to break the world record in that race.  Bummer!  He provided great wisdom to savor for my race on Sunday.  
"It's as simple as going as hard as you can for as long as you can...
don't over think it"
Next up was Bart Yasso, the main event, if you will!  It was standing room only and I was lucky to be able to find an open seat.  
Bart shared some awesome tales of running around the globe...literally!  East Africa, Death Valley, Antarctica, Europe. He spoke of his favorite race experience - the Kilimanjaro Marathon in East Africa.  When he ran it, he was not only the tallest participant, but the only non-East African.  When he finished, at about 2:40, the finish chute was already gone and he caught glimpses of his competitors hooting it up in a local pub, celebrating their races.  Crazy, huh?!  I can't imagine being last in a marathon with a 2:40 time!  One of the most powerful things he shared was to never lose sight of what we're able to do culturally with running.  
I wish the photo on the screen had come out...this was one of his Africa photos.
His parting words for us included discussions on the running community.  He encouraged us to remember that everyone is some one's mentor.  So true, right?!  Remarking on Sundays races, he instructed us to 'think of the acceptable and community when you're out there tomorrow'.  Very inspiring.  I ate up every minute of his presentation.  

And soon enough, it was nearly 2:00 and high time that I headed home to relax.  I took a few parting shots, filled with enthusiasm and excitement for what lay ahead on Sunday. 
I heart Shamrock!
  Oh yea...I couldn't forget a final shot of my expo swag...pretty sweet, huh?

What are you favorite parts of an expo?  Shopping?  Speakers?  Grabbing your bib and getting the heck out?


March 20, 2013

Quintiles Half Marathon Race Recap

Apologies in advance for the long post!  It is always fun to write a race recap after a good performance.  This one is especially happy for me, since my race PR Sunday at the Quintiles Half Marathon was a big surprise.  Life sometimes gets in the way of training and it certainly has for me since the Goofy Challenge and WDW Marathon weekend.  I worked for half of 2012 to be well prepared for my races marathon weekend and a letdown afterwards was inevitable.  It was about a week before I laced up my running shoes and then the runs were really just runs without a purpose or plan.  Less than two weeks later, my husband and I left for a three week trip that would include very little running.

Fast forward to March 17 and it was race day.  It was over a year since I had a half marathon PR which happened at the Chip and Dale Relay in January of 2012. (2:03.47).  I was curious to see if I could hold that speed for another half. My race preparation really consisted of two weeks of really good training (and one long run of 8 miles).  A carefully chosen race strategy was necessary so there I sat staring at my computer trying to come up with a plan. I looked up the Cool Running Pace Calculator to check my prior PR and settled on a hopeful finish time of 2:05!

Since our small race expo did not offer pace bands, I used my beer band for that purpose!  I turned it over and wrote food/fuel stops on the top and then wrote the pace/time per mile necessary to reach my goal of 2:05. (By the way, the graffiti on my wristband did not prevent me from enjoying an adult beverage post race!) The other decision made was to be very cautious the first few miles and then decide if I felt good enough to attempt to run that pace.
Tom got up to take this photo, but I would not let him drive me...too early!
Race morning came way too early as I left my house at 4:30am after getting up at 2:45am.  That was not planned, but I woke up and just could not get back to sleep!  Race day nerves were in full force at this early hour. After quickly getting ready and eating my banana and English muffin with peanut butter I got in my car to drive to the race. I hopped the first trolley to the start and waited and waited with another girl, Suzanne who had also arrived early. It was so nice to have someone to talk to, especially since we both had  race day jitters.  She was running the her seventh full marathon and all her races are run to benefit needy children. We passed the time chatting about children, the race, needing to use the porta potty too many times etc!

Finally it was time to start and at 6:40 the gun went off.  For some reason, I was placed in the fast corral, but after talking to the race director on Saturday, he assured me that is where I should be.  There were many very speedy runners around me, but I held my planned pace and finished the first mile in 9:35.  The miles ticked by and soon we were crossing the Wrightsville Beach Bridge and moving toward the beautiful gated subdivision, Landfall, where we would run miles 5.5-11.  Lou, from my local running store, TrySports, saw me and we chatted for a bit.  I asked what his goal was and when he said 2 hours, I told him that I would try to keep him in my sights! Lou navigated the next water stop with ease, while this klutzy girl wasted time and spilled more than she drank, so Lou was now 200 yards ahead. Keeping him in my sights was helpful and I picked up the tempo at around mile 6 and thereafter kept trying to increase my speed mile by mile.  I always try to negative split a race, finishing strong at the end.  When I saw the finish line, my adrenalin kicked in and my last .12 was run at 6:58 pace! Next time I will try to speed up for the last mile!  By the way, if anyone wants to run a fast, flat course, this is the one, and Wilmington has great restaurants, the beach and nice locals! :)

3.5 miles: 33:34 (9:36 pace)
7 miles: 1:06.10 (9:27 pace)
13.1 miles: 2:02.05  (9.2:0 pace)

Placed 379/1193 females
6th in age group (55-59) 

Back at home post race, drenched but happy!