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Posts Tagged ‘running’

Helpful hint of the day: if it’s raining and you’re in a hurry to get into your car?  Keep your face out of the way, or else this could be you:

Yup.  Wednesday afternoon, in a rush to get into my car, I whacked myself in the face with the door.  This picture was taken yesterday morning, and all I can say is that it (thankfully) didn’t bruise up anywhere near as much as I expected.  Thankfully.  If it had, I’d have to come up with a much better story for my giant black eye than, “I hit myself in the face with the car door.”

Happily, it didn’t prevent me from enjoying my second day of vacation yesterday.  Highlights included a BBQ at a fellow PT student’s house (which turned out to be the last time I’d see a lot of people before they headed home for the summer) and a Girls on the Run practice.  I’ve been helping to coach a group on Thursday afternoons all season and while it’s been challenging at times, it’s been a ton of fun overall.  Today we played freeze tag for the workout with the coaches being “it”.  I was determined to take it easy for the sake of my knee, but once I got into it?  I was chasing those girls all over the field.  It was so much fun to run into a group of them and watch them scatter and scream, and if I hauled serious ass?  I could even catch a few of them to tag them.  I haven’t had that much fun running around outside in a long time, and it’ll be totally worth it if my knee is wickedly sore tomorrow.

To top it all off, Irwin and I had a fabulous dinner off the grill this evening, because the warm, sunny weather demanded it.  (Plus, I was craving steak after watching Top Chef right before bed last night, where they spent at least half the episode talking about it.)  The steak and asparagus off the grill hit the spot, and I even worked in a new recipe for my challenge: horseradish-roasted sweet potatoes.

The recipe called for what seemed like a lot of horseradish, and I was worried that they were going to be some horribly powerful potatoes, but they were absolutely perfect.  The horseradish added a nice amount of zing to the sweet spuds and this may very well be my new favorite way to cook them.  I followed the recipe absolutely verbatim, so I’m going to make you click over to Rainy Day Gal’s site for it.  (I promise you it’s worth the click.  While you’re there, check out these brownies for a totally unhealthy but absolutely delicious dessert.  There’s good stuff over there.)

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As of today, I am officially on vacation.  I celebrated by sleeping in this morning and then taking myself out for a run before taking Dippy to the vet.

Dippy at the vet

"What is this place?"

Let’s just say that she wasn’t really a fan.  Especially since I disturbed a perfectly good nap to dump her in a carrier and take her off to be poked and prodded.

However, the run this morning was most excellent.  Why was it so awesome?  I’m now doing more running than walking!  I’m still on a run/walk program, but I’ve graduated to doing 2 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking.  The best part is that my knee is tolerating it pretty well.  It definitely wants some ice when I get done, but it’s all been pain free.  Now I just need to get the rest of myself in shape…

Since I’m done with school, my to-do list has gotten much, much shorter.  Right now the main priorities are to brush up on my French and catch up on my reading.  And maybe my knitting, before Susan’s sock starts to make me look really bad.  (I’ve got a pair of socks I’ve been working on for over a year now.  I’ve got 1.3 of them done.  If Susan finishes her sock before I finish mine, I really don’t have an excuse, since I’m pretty sure I could find 3 minutes each day to knit.)

I’ve also decided to adopt Erin’s 21-day Make Me Something Good challenge.  Since I’ve, you know, got some time and just bought a couple of shiny new cookbooks to inspire me to do something creative with our CSA veggies.  The idea behind the challenge is this: try one new healthy recipe a day for the rest of the month and blog about it.

I can’t promise daily updates, and in my case it’ll be more of a 16-day challenge than a 21-day challenge (since we’re leaving for our honeymoon in a couple of weeks), but I’ve decided not to let those things stop me.  Full on ahead with creative cookery!

So here are the past couple days of creativity.  Yesterday, I tried out a Jambalaya-style chicken & shrimp recipe from my slow-cooker recipe book.  I swapped out the white rice for brown and added a bit more liquid to compensate, and it turned out deliciously.  This one was definitely a winner.

Jambalaya-Style Chicken & Shrimp

Jambalaya-Style Chicken & Shrimp, adapted from the Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes
Serves 4-6

1 cup sliced celery (about 4-5 stalks)
1 large onion, chopped
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (use fire-roasted for more flavor)
2.75 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 of a 6-ounce can (1/3 cup) tomato paste
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t white pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t ground red pepper
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1.5 cups brown rice
8 ounces (1/2 pound) cooked peeled, deveined shrimp
1 green bell pepper, chopped

  • In a 3.5-4 quart slow cooker, combine celery, onion, undrained tomatoes, 1.75 cups broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and spices.  Stir in chicken.
  • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4-5 hours.  Stir in rice and 1 cup additional broth and leave covered on low heat for another 1-2 hours or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  • Stir in shrimp and green pepper.  Cover and let stand for 10-15 minutes, or until shrimp is heated through.
My other experiment happened at breakfast this morning, when I swapped my oatmeal out for bulgur.  I cooked it exactly the same way, just with a different grain.  The results were decent – the chewier texture was a nice change, but I think I would have been happer with a more savory result.
Banana Bread Bulgur
Banana Bread Bulgur, adapted from Kath’s Whipped Banana Oatmeal
Serves 1

1/4 cup bulgur
1/2 cup plain unsweeted almond milk
1 banana, sliced
1 t cinnamon
1 T peanut butter

  • Combine bulgur, almond milk, banana and cinnamon in a small pot on the stove and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover.  Simmer for 12-15 minutes.
  • Stir and transfer into a bowl.
  • Top with peanut butter.  Let sit a minute or two before stirring the peanut butter in.  Enjoy!

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First, some bad news: my blogging gig over at Sweat and the City has come to an end.  They decided to downsize the site and focus on their workout diaries and bootcamp programs, and the guest blogs were a casualty of that.

However, for those of you that just can’t get enough of my semi-focused ramblings, I have good news!  I’ve landed a gig as the Seattle marathon fitness examiner over at Examiner.com, where I’ll be posting marathon and running-related tidbits a couple of times a week.  I’ll be concentrating on the Seattle area for most of the articles, but you’ll see the occasional General Running Information post, too.  (That said, if you’ve got information on Seattle-based races, vendors, or running-related happenings, let me know!  I can always use article fodder.)

New posts over there will be listed on my profile page and I’ll be putting notifications on Twitter as well.

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This is a project that I’ve been developing in my mind forever, and I’ve decided that 2011 is the year it’s going to happen.  I’m going to start offering online running and triathlon coaching.

Is one of your goals for the year to try a road race, trail race or triathlon?  Are you having trouble trying to figure out what cookie-cutter training plan is going to work best for you?  Or how to make it work with the rest of your life?  That’s where I come in.  We’ll talk about what you’re doing now and what you’d like to be doing, and I’ll write a training plan that is customized for you and your life.

For more information on pricing and services, check out the “Coaching” tab in the header.  As an introductory special, I’ll give you half off your first three months of coaching.  You dream big, and I’ll help you get there.

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Twitchy

My last good run was, at this point, about 6 weeks ago.  There were a few short runs in the week after that, but none of them were all that great.  I was frustrated because my knee just wasn’t feeling right and I was cutting them short.  Finally, I just decided I should give up for a while, get the knee looked at, and let everything rest and heal.

So, five weeks with no running.

That was all OK while I was at home.  I had access to a pool and a yoga studio and used both of them frequently.  I was wondering how this Christmas trip was going to go, since I wasn’t going to be able to run or go swimming.  I loaded my computer up with yoga podcasts and figured I’d make it work.  Of course, by “making it work” I apparently really meant “do nothing and sit on my butt for the majority of those 10 days.”

It wasn’t all bad, and it was probably a really good thing for my knee in the grand scheme of things, but man, did it make me a little twitchy.  It has been far, far too long since I got out for a run and I am starting to miss it terribly.  I might have to give it a shot, just to see what happens.  Just 10 minutes.  Maybe 15.  Just enough to get outside and get moving and see if things are still really, really angry.

It’s had 6 weeks of rest.  That should be enough, right?

I suppose we’ll find out.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed, that’s for sure.

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I apologize for leaving all y’all hanging on the status of my knee.  The end of the semester is upon me, which means I’m trying to wrap up a paper and study for my anatomy final and may I just say: I have a lot of information to cram into my brain in the next 48 hours.  A lot.  So this will be a super-quick update.

The good news: my knee is a little angry, yes, but there is nothing seriously wrong with it.  Everything inside it seems to be in one piece, and my knee passed all of the tests that would have elicited serious pain had I torn or ripped or seriously damaged something with flying colors and just a little discomfort.  (I hate having my knees messed with.  I knew what was going to happen when I walked into the appointment, but it doesn’t mean I enjoyed it.  At least it didn’t hurt.)  I need to continue to be nice to my knee, and it occasionally speaks up if I’m not (it did not enjoy several hours of dancing in big heels for the winter banquet the other night), but overall it’s OK.

The better news: The source of my angry knee has a definite and fixable cause.  It is not, as I suspected, patellofemoral syndrome.  There’s probably a bit of that going on, since my IT bands are a little tighter than they should be, but that’s not what caused the problem.  The problem is some little tiny muscles in my low back are slacking off, which is resulting in the beginnings of a pinched nerve on my left side.  That pinched nerve is causing some serious muscle weakness in my ankle and, well, if you run on a weak ankle long enough?  You’re going to piss off your knee.  Much like I did.

(The best part about all of this?  As the PT was explaining this to me, I knew exactly what he was talking about and fully understood all of it.  It was, quite frankly, the most fascinating medical appointment I’ve ever had.)

So, how do we fix it?  Be nice to the knee to let the irritation and swelling inside it heal up and retrain the muscles in my back and my ankle to do what they’re supposed to be doing.  Retraining the muscles in my back will get full strength back to the muscles in my ankle, and retraining those ankle muscles will improve the stability at that joint so that this doesn’t happen again.

Like I said: totally fixable.  The plan to continue rocking and rolling with exciting racing adventures next year continues apace, which is good since the fine folks at Brooks have offered to renew my sponsorship for next year.  I’m still waiting for a few things to fall into place next summer before I decide on my big goal races, but as soon as I do?  I’ll be sure to let you know.

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During the summer of 2006, I wound up working as a finish line volunteer at the Girls on the Run 5K.  I spent a couple of hours on a sunny Saturday morning handing out medals to upper elementary school girls as they crossed the finish line of their first 5K.  All of them were just so happy and proud of themselves for crossing the finish line, and I thought that any program that could get these girls this excited about running, jogging, skipping and walking 3 miles had to be a good thing.

When I moved to Seattle a couple of years later, I looked into volunteering with the Puget Sound chapter.  It seemed like a fun way to get more involved in my new city, and it would give me something awesome to look forward to since my job at the time was, shall we say, less than awesome.  Sadly, my 9 to 5 work schedule didn’t allow me to spend a couple of afternoons a week volunteering as a coach, so I just filed it in the back of my mind for a while.  When I realized my school schedule this semester gave me those free afternoons, I got excited.  I applied for a coaching spot.  And then I had my first few days of grad school and freaked out about the time commitment, because OMG SO MUCH COMMUTING AND HOMEWORK GAAAAAHHHH.

I stayed in touch with the organization, though, and when they started looking for running buddies?  I signed right up.  As a running buddy, I’d get paired up with one of the girls in the program and would run the final race with her.  The total time commitment would be a couple of hours on a couple of days which was much more up my alley.

In mid-November, I headed to one of the regular practices to meet my running buddy and run a practice 5K with her.  We did laps around a loop near the school, and at the end of every lap the coaches were there to give her a rubberband to keep count.  We ran until it got dark and started raining, and while we didn’t quite finish the full 3 miles, we came pretty darn close.  More importantly, I had a blast getting to know my buddy and sprinting the last chunk of every lap with her.  I knew that the race itself would be a good time.

This morning, I woke up bright and early and layered myself up for the run.  I knew that we’d be walking most of the 5K, not to mention the fact that there was going to be a lot of standing around pre-race as I had to check in an hour before the start.  It was downright cold this morning, but it was a beautiful sunny and, more importantly, dry day.  I picked up my t-shirt, found my group, and got outfitted with a tiger cape for the race.  (The theme of the race was Super Heroes and the school’s mascot is a tiger, so one of the buddies made tiger-print capes for everyone to pin to their shirts.)  After some jumping around to warm-up, we took our buddies over to the start line for the race.

I will just say: my buddy did awesomely.  She smiled the entire time, and we ran, walked, and skipped through the whole 3.1 miles.  It was the slowest 5K I’ve ever done, but it didn’t feel like it at all.  At the first mile marker, they were giving silly bands out to the girls and, oh my goodness, it was better than Christmas.  All my buddy has wanted for months was a silly band of her own, so to have someone just give her one was like Christmas and a birthday and Halloween all wrapped up into one.  It was, in short, adorable.  I helped her decipher the shapes (which is easier said than done by a long shot) and she decided on a blue bunny.

The route took us along a running path through a local park that was right on Lake Washington.  We talked about ducks and the lake and swimming and airplanes and boats and all sorts of things.  When we passed the mile 3 marker, we could see the finish line and I didn’t even have to ask her if she wanted to run into the finish.  She took off and crossed the finish line as fast as she could and with a big smile on her face.

I was so proud of her – that was the first time she’d walked or run 3 miles – and it was so much fun to see how excited she was when her coach handed her a medal at the finish.  Her mom and grandmother met us at the finish with flowers and balloons for her.  She must have felt like she was on top of the world, and I hope she was able to keep that feeling all day long.

I’m already looking forward to the spring program.  Being involved in this was such an awesome experience, I can’t imagine not doing it again.

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