09 June 2012

i do things aside from the running, i swear.

today i ran my first 10k.
this was sort of a reward for getting through the month of may and the first week of june.  it was also a trial because i will be running one in october that i wanted to try out a 10k under race conditions before then so i don't lose my mind on the race i should be able to run well (cooler weather, flat course, etc).

may was all about prep for june 6th and 7th.  on the 6th my students hosted their fashion show.  the next day i had my annual review at work.  both of these things require a lot of prep work.  preparing for something i have no control over is mentally draining, and i recover by doing more...  stuff.  make that "stuff i like".  so, may was nutty with activities.  my mother and my college roommate both came for visits.  i sewed 5 new dresses, all from stash fabrics.  i also took care of a few administrative life tasks like renewing my passport, getting my cholesterol checked, buying new running shoes, and other boring adult things.

la de da!
so, the race.  i was going to do a different one a few weeks ago, but my foot was bothering me, so today was my last chance for a 10K before fall.  the heat held back pretty well until the last mile when i was running into the sun and cursing it with every fiber of my being.  at one point i was literally running down the center line of the whitehurst freeway with my eyes barely open mumbling profanity.

the actual running of the race mile by mile went as i expected, for the most part.  i know i am great through mile 3.5, i start to lose my mind around mile 4 and regain some sense of self around 5 and can usually finish strong.  these are under non-race conditions, of course.  i didn't finish as strong today, but i will attribute it to the heat at the end and the adrenaline at the start.  i would have PRed in a 5K today, which is sort of bad because it means i was running the first half of the race way too fast.  then again, the second half was so hot (i dumped water on myself, which i hate, so i was obviously desperate) that covering the first half too fast probably helped me make up time on the average.

it did feel good to look down at my watch at the 5 mile marker and realize that even if i finished the rest of the race at a 10 minute pace, i would still come in under my goal of 55 minutes.  that was when i decided to go for the goal time a friend had said i could make.  he felt confident with my 5k pr, i could do 10k in 52 minutes, so i went for it.  the last turn of the race is down a freeway ramp and under a bridge and as i crossed into the shade i looked at my watch again.  i could see the finish line and i knew that if i kicked it in the ass i would make it in under 50.  i felt like i was going to puke, but i did it anyway and finished in 49:52.  8:02 pace.

i then learned what every vegetarian who loves vegetables and nuts and is less hot on starch and sugar should know: carbs are really really important if you are going to race.  i felt like death all day and i have only snapped out of it (for the most part) since about 8:30 tonight.

no more races until the fall.  my garden and knitting both feel neglected.

28 April 2012

5k, final race!

last night i ran the last 5k in the series.  i really wanted to finish the race strong and, hopefully, have my best time.  i did both!!

no friends could make the race either to run with me or cheer, so it was oddly a pressure off situation on that front.  then!  i saw her!  in the second race i had overheard a pair of friends talking about their race pace and this man said of his friend, "she's great.  she does an 8 minute mile."  so in race two i used her as my pacer and chased her fancy newton running shoes for three miles.  she was back this week and i used the same strategy.

i started to feel disheartened after the second mile marker because this woman is a very effective racer.  she runs well for the first two miles and then kicks it in the ass for the last mile.  she walked off and left me last night at the second marker, and i was sure my hopes of beating my own pr were dashed.  my shoulder was aching a bit, but otherwise i felt really good, especially in my legs.  och, but my brain was just everywhere.  closing in on the last half mile i just snapped out of it.  "yvette, you feel great.  what the hell are you saving it for?  run faster." and so i did and i started to pass a bunch of people in that last half mile, which i have never done.  this course has a stupid wide U-turn in the last 150 meters and two (!!!!) different idiots trying to cross the race course (they were not racers) almost took me out.  i actually grazed one of them as i made the final turn and he yelled at me!

at that point i was angry with those jackasses, but when i saw the clock at the finish line, my brain straightened out again...  "forget them!!  sprint for it!!" and so i did.  just having the ability to break into a sprint in the last 50 meters made me feel like i accomplished something.

i don't know what is next.  maybe i should just be happy about this for a bit.

26 April 2012

5k, take three.

seeing as i am running the fourth race tomorrow, i suppose i should report on the third, right?

i was slow.  yes, i know you cannot expect to have a better race every single time, but it was disheartening none the less.  it was a generally difficult run all around.

first, it was really hot for an april evening.  hot enough that i was in shorts and a tech tee and before reaching mile one i wanted to take my shirt off.  my feet were also sweating like crazy, which makes me very very grumpy.

second, i was really sore because i over did it during the week.  that monday i ran hill repeats as the middle mile of a 3 mile work out and then on wednesday i did 7 miles, with a lot of downhill. (downhill is hard for me, i get scared.)  on thursday i could barely lift my legs to get dressed and walking down stairs was a nightmare.  i was still sore when i work up on friday, so i knew i was going to suck at the race.

finally, i was running on my new shoes.  i like my new shoes, but we are still in our period of adjustment, and the race was only the third time i had worn them.  this week i think i have settled into them a bit more and i have been focusing on my running cadence, which has helped me in so many ways, not the least of which is reducing my calf strain.  someone has a nasty habit of landing a little too far forward on her foot and this makes for very angry calf muscles when running distances.

tomorrow is the last 5k in the series.  they were a useful experience, but i am ready to not spend my friday evenings in crystal city for awhile.  i started running as an experiment of sorts, and having a standing date with a race has taken away some of my freedom to play around with the running experiment because i need to save something for fridays.  last week when i did the 7 miles, at the end i asked myself..  okay...  do you have another 5k in you?  the answer was, yes, i could run 10 miles.  i have 10 miles on the brain now and i will be glad to have the chance to try it out soon.

at this point i have not signed up for any other races until the fall when i have one 10k on the books.  i am very tempted to sign up for one next month in ohio when i am visiting my family.  the cleveland marathon, half marathon, and 10k are the weekend i will be home, and that 10k is looking appealing.

23 April 2012

pumpkin yum

i really love food.  a lot.
since i stopped eating highly processed foods and have been avoiding wheat, i have had to let go of many treats.  i don't miss the actual food items per se (cupcake?  meh.  pass.) but I do miss some of the flavors that are treat flavors.

pumpkin pie is a flavor i really love.  at thanksgiving i made a pie with GF crust made from almond meal.  it tasted good but the crust was kinda lame.  it got too brown and didn't hold the pie effectively, which is what a crust ought to do.  i am still working on GF pie crust because i like savory pies to, but i solved the pumpkin pie flavored treat problem in a way that is natural and super yum!

i adapted a recipe i found on the web to my pumpkiny needs.  the original features no spices and uses carrots.  any squash or root veggie you can cook and mash would work for a variation of this.

pumpkin pie powerballs
adapted from  zuzana's powerballs via bodyrock.tv.

1 cup GF oats, ground to coarse flour/meal
2 cups almond meal
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or to taste)
3 tsp baking powder

4 tblsp honey
4 tblsp virgin coconut oil, liquified
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1/3 cup almonds, crushed
1/4-1/3 cup sunflower seeds, crushed

  • preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • crush almonds and sunflower seeds together for coating, set aside.
  • combine all dry ingredients, set aside.
  • combine all wet ingredients, then incorporate into the dry ingredients.  the batter will be somewhat sticky.
  • scoop heaping teaspoonfuls of batter and gently roll into balls.  roll balls in the nut and seed coating and place on a cooking sheet covered in parchment.  i used a silpat.
  • bake for 25 minutes.
  • remove from oven and let cool so the balls will hold their shape.
yield: 38
calories: approx 75 per ball

these are super yum.  
if you go off the deep end and eat three it will equal as many calories as a candy bar but full of happy vitamins A, E, a few Bs, plus fiber with far less sugar.  snack happy!

15 April 2012

5k fridays, week 2.

Add caption
tree pollen is giving DC a nice coating of greenish yuck and makes running less than enjoyable sometimes.  this week after working all day and suffering from the pollen all week, i really did not want to run a race.

that said, i did the race, felt fine (perhaps too good, maybe i didn't kill it out there) and didn't slow down from the previous week.  i shaved 14 second off my time, probably from a combination of already knowing the course and starting out in a better position.  i didn't have to spend the better part of the first mile clawing my way through people, so i wasn't as tired by the time i reached mile 2, which is when i will start to get shoulder pains if i start any run too hard or tired.  no shoulder pain at all this week!  yay!

i learned two funny things.

first, drinking from a cup while running is hard.  i don't usually drink while running because i don't do crazy distances.  with the allergies this week i took a cup and as soon as i had it i realized i had no idea how i was supposed to do anything other than get it all over my face.

second, men running next to women are just like men driving next to women on the highway.  there were two men about my age running together who run at my pace. if i passed them, they immediately sped up in order to pass me and then paired up together again in front of me and slowed down.  this happened with the same  two men three or four times.   nice, fellas.  nice.

11 April 2012

5k, part one

this doesn't make me a real runner, you know.
last friday i ran my first 5k race and achieved the two goals i set for myself.

1. finishing.

2. finishing in under 30 minutes.

it was strange and much more different from just running than i thought it would be.

the most obvious difference is that there are a lot of people at a race, and they are all trying to do the same thing you are doing.  i don't really like large groups of people all together in one place.  i find it a bit overwhelming.  but on the other hand, they are a nice distraction from the fact that you are trying to run really fast and not fall apart.  my brain will give out before my legs do, so having the stupid tee shirts of the people around you to read is a great diversion.  i did my part to create an amusing spectacle for others by wearing a flower in my hair.

one of the things a close friend is often marveling at when she is at races is how different the people are who are there running.  it is very interesting to see who is running beside you and how they are doing it.  i followed a darty little kid for the first mile while weaving through the pack because everyone yields to a moppy-haired 10 year old. (thanks, kid!)  for a bit, i was running next to someone who reminded me of my father.  my favorite runner was a huge burly generously tattooed fellow wearing a bandana, shirt with the sleeves cut off, and moving generally like how you imagine a refrigerator would if it could run like all hell.

i signed up for a four week series of races, so back at it in two days.  in the spirit of having goals for myself, this week i want hang on to my time.  i finished with a much better time than i was expecting, but until i replicate it, i consider it an outlying data point.  i will be satisfied if i don't add more than a minute to my time.  goal number two is to finish stronger.  i was beyond dead at the finish line last week.  i want to give it my all again but not be a zombie.  full report if i don't puke/faint/die.

27 March 2012

the one that got away?

we are on break from the quarter at work right now, and i took the first half of my time off and translated it into a road trip to nyc.  on saturday i had to entertain myself solo for about an hour while my traveling companion got a hair cut, so i went vintage shopping.

i hit three shops in an hour, and the last one, A Little Wicked, was by far the best fit for me.  they have great pieces, and they buy (thus stock!) pieces in my size range.  prices we not at all bad for vintage in nyc. sorry nyc, dc will always have better prices for vintage.

i did go home with a yellow gingham number that i am very excited to wear soon, but i have been pining after the dress i left on the rack.  i certainly hope someone as rescued her because she is a lovely thing indeed!

look at those polka dots!!!
i justified leaving her behind because she is probably a size or two larger than what i need, and i was trying not to be a spending nut.  still, i pine.

other shopping highlights include a fabric trip to Mood, a pilgrimage to purl soho, and a last minute purchasing of buttons for my current knitting project at M&J trimmings.  one can buy from all of those places online, but there is nothing quiet like going to the shop in person.

i have a lot of sewing in my future!  the balance of my break, however, we be spent gardening and visiting with family who are coming in from out of town.  good times, indeed.