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Movin’ on Over

In January, I wrote up my goals for 2013. One of those goals was to make a plan for my blog and either start fresh or make some updates to this one. I chose the former, and you can now follow my new blog, TooSlowForOranges.com.

Stop by and check it out sometime!

November Foodie Pen Pal

In elementary school I remember having a pen pal for about a hot minute. Our school linked up with a school in the next district over and we were matched with someone in the same grade as us. I think it was fifth grade but don’t quote me on it. I honestly can’t even remember the name of that pen pal, and admit it was something I was not good at. I tried, but fifth graders can be a little flaky :/

I heard about Foodie Pen Pals from a blog I read a while ago and decided to give it a try for November.

Foodie Pen Pals

As a Foodie Pen Pal, I was paired up with one participant to send $15-$25 worth of food to, and another participant was to do the same for me. Pairs are announced on the 5th of the month. Participants must contact their pen pal to find out about any allergies or dietary preferences prior to mailing, and must have their food in the mail by the 14th of the month. I heard from my Pen Pal after the pairings were announced and couldn’t believe I was paired with someone all the way in Alaska. I was paired with Dawn who blogs at DJ’s Sugar Shack. One of the neat things about Foodie Pen Pals is that it bridges between bloggers of so many different topic sets – nutrition, fitness, baking, etc. Dawn told me she loves to bake so I knew I was in for something homemade! I told Dawn that I was a vegetarian that loves sweets and baked goods were A-Ok, especially if peanut butter was involved. A couple weeks go by and on my doorstep is a package! Foodie Pen Pal November Items It arrived on the most perfect day. I was home from work because the day before was the Philadelphia Marathon. Not only was I spending the day lounging on my couch, now I could lounge on the couch with all these goodies!

I went straight for the baked goods – I mean, they’ll go bad if I don’t, right? They were delish – chocolate chip peanut cookies baked in a mini tart mold with Reese’s Pieces on top, along with white chocolate butterscotch cookies. I’ve never been a big fan of butterscotch, but these were so good!

The next thing I tried was the Cherry Cashew bar made by pure Organic. I read the ingredients first and was prepared to not like it because I’m just not a fan of dates. So many bars use them for substance and I thought I’d had one too many. I was way off on it – it was really good. I’d definitely buy it at the store.

I opened the Bissinger’s Campfire S’Mores Salt Caramels next and was honestly bummed that I didn’t like them more. Chocolate, combined with marshmallow, and caramel – not much could go wrong there but I think they were just not what I expected.

Earlier this week I ate the Wild Blueberry bar (also pure Organic) as a late afternoon pick-me-up to make it through a post-work workout. Like the Cherry Cashew bar, this was really good. Another winner in my book! he one thing that I have not yet tried is the Arctic Raspberry Black Tea from Alaska Spice Co. It’s loose tea, so I need an infuser, which I have looked for and haven’t found. The one place I am pretty sure I’d find one at (Wegmans) I keep forgetting to look when I’m there. It smells really good so I hope I can get an infuser this weekend.

For the month of December, The Lean Green Bean will be doing the Foodie Pen Pals for charity, benefiting the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Rather than being matched up with a participant and buying and mailing food to them, participants are to instead put that money in a PayPal account (between December 3-7) that is set up exclusively for this cause, with everything collected in it being donated to the selected charities. Visit www.theleangreenbean.com/fpp-for-charity/ for details, or to get on the list to do Foodie Pen Pals in January! I know I will be!

First-Ever Marathon Recap

It doesn’t take long to realize that I’m not a very consistent or frequent blogger, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve never blogged a post-marathon recap.  After running the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday I figured this would be a great way to start!

The Philadelphia Marathon took place on Sunday, November 18 in the City of Brotherly Love.  I live just an hour north of Philadelphia, and after not getting into the NYC Marathon lottery again this year, I decided to sign up for the Philadelphia Marathon with Team In Training.  This was my third event with Team In Training, and considering what happened with the NYC Marathon, I’m glad that this was how my Fall marathon plans played out.  This year marked the 19th year of the Philadelphia Marathon.  More than 30,000 runners participated, including 3,000 NYC Marathon registrants who were offered the chance to run after Superstorm Sandy caused the cancellation of their event.  The event has a full marathon and a half marathon.  Four years ago I ran the half marathon, so it’s nice to now say I’ve run both distances.

My day started with a hotel wakeup call at 4am.  The phone ringing was like an awful fire alarm and all three of us (I shared my room with my friends Niki and Mike) were awake quickly.  I’m not sure if it was the combination of a couple beers in the hotel bar the night before (Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale) with the TNT Pasta Party dinner along with not as much sleep as I would have liked, but I knew early on that I was going to have to puke.  Not a normal pre-race thing for me, but I did it and felt better.  This did, however, leave me unable to eat as much of a breakfast as I’d have liked.  I had a banana and one and a half PB&J Uncrustables.

I got ready, threw together my gear check bag and headed downstairs to the lobby to meet with everyone else.  Niki and Mike soon joined me there, along with all the TNT’ers I’d met the night before, or was just meeting then.  We began walking over to the start line (1/2 mile or so away) around 5:45 and Niki and I tried to assuage the nerves of the runners who were there for the first time.  I can’t tell you the last time I was nervous at a start line, and I think it’s important to try and help those I’m with keep calm as well.  We took our time going to gear check and then got in the Porta-Potty line.  It amused and perplexed me that there were signs with QR codes on the outside doors of them.  The lines were so-so when we got in, but kept growing so we were smart to go when we did.  The lines were slow and one of the runners I was with couldn’t wait any longer in fear that she’d miss her corral start.  Since I knew I was in one of the back corrals I wasn’t concerned.

I made my way through the corrals to find mine and decided that if I could get into one of the two before mine I’d stay there so that I’d start a little quicker and could try to get back to the hotel before my 2pm checkout for a shower.  I started in the Orange corral which was one ahead of my own Blue corral.  I got into the Black corral, but knew that if I started there I’d be run over and that’s just rude.  My strategy was to stick as close to my training ratios as I could (9 minutes run, 1 minute walk) and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I wanted to either PR, or at least do better than Disney in January.  I’m admittedly a VERY SLOW runner and my PR was 5:46 at the Marine Corps Marathon in October of 2010.

Half and Full runners follow the same course for the first 13 miles.  The course takes runners through much of the city, which makes it a great event for out-of-towners who like to take in the sights.  The first 13 miles go from the Ben Franklin Parkway in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum, down Arch Street through Old City and past Independence Hall, along Columbus Blvd to go past Penns Landing, then up around to South Street. At this point my toe felt funky, kind of like a toe nail had broke and was stabbing me.  I thought it through and felt I needed to at least check it out and pulled onto the sidewalk to see my toe.  Nothing wrong with it, so I put my sock and shoe back on and felt that I was going to have to deal with it and just keep running.  Within the next ten minutes I didn’t notice it.

From there we wound our way into Center City toward City Hall.  I came upon a cheer station on Chestnut Street just before Broad Street that was being run by my childhood friend Jane.  I was desperately in need of pretzels and made a beeline to the table with pretzels, and was so happy to see her there.  Around Mile 7, I did my first set of Gu Chomps.  At this point runners are in University City and pass by the frat houses of Drexel and Penn, then head past the Philadelphia Zoo into Fairmount Park.  This was the most challenging part of the run, with a nice hill to climb between 9 and 10 as we made our way to Memorial Hall (home of the Please Touch Museum).  We moved onto Martin Luther King Drive and made our way toward the Art Museum.

The half marathon and full marathon split is right in front of the steps of the Art Museum (yes, the Rocky steps).  Full runners bear left and follow Kelly Drive toward Manayunk, while those running the half finish triumphantly and get their pics with the Rocky statue, or if they are adventurous enough, give the steps a try.  Kelly Drive is a popular running and cycle route along the Schuylkill River.  The famed Boathouse Row is along Kelly Drive, so there are crews cheering along runners as the go either direction.  This section was only full marathon runners, and was much more solitary than the earlier miles of the run.  I did another serving of Gu Chomps and soonafter I stopped for a bathroom break around mile 16 and was happy that soon after I passed a woman who had been driving me crazy with weird outbursts of songs or cadences.  I saw Mike going in the opposite direction and gave him a high-five.  I started to see those who I’d been running or jockeying with for several miles start to falter, and began making some kills as runners ahead of me slowed up as well.

After going over and back on the Falls Bridge I knew we were getting close to Manayunk.  I had been warned about the hills I’d experience there, but as we got there they weren’t as bad as I’d expected.  With my run/walk ratios I was able to time the worst part of any of the hills with my walk breaks.  There were hashers around the 18/21 mile point handing out beer which I really hoped I would be up for on the way back.  I hit the turnaround in Manayunk and set my sights on pushing through the last 6.2 miles.  One of the TNT coaches caught up with me between 20 and 21 and ran with me a little bit.  I did another set of Gu Chomps and grabbed a pack of pretzels at a cheer station for later.  Then I hit the hashers again and passed on the Yuengling :/  I’m not sure what I was thinking to pass up beer, but at that point I was starting to see the end of the tunnel and didn’t want anything to get in the way.  My pace was looking very close to a PR which I desperately wanted.  Another coach started running with me a little after Falls Bridge and was great company.  She grew up near my hometown and we had a couple common connections.  We ate pretzels, chatted and kept running.  I knew the miles remaining were getting fewer and fewer.

As I came upon mile 24 the coach who spoke at our Pasta Party the night before joined me briefly.  I was afraid to say much about his speech the evening before but it was so inspiring.  This coach had lost his son to leukemia five years ago.  His story was tragic but it was incredible to see how he has channeled the loss of his son into support to find a cure to blood cancers.  It’s the kind of motivation you need to go out and kick butt the next day.  Running with him for only a little bit was what I needed at that point.  Soon after I came across two guys who weren’t much older than me who were walking, one very clearly with a cramp in his calf.  I slowed down and offered a salt tab which they were both very appreciative of.

Then I got to Mile 25 and shit got real.  This was it, the last mile, and it was a gradual incline, but not steep enough to wreak havoc like I expected it to on the elevation chart.  Coach Glen joined me until I got to the crest of the hill before reaching the front of the Art Museum, and as the course wound down to the finish I just kept going.  Just after the 26 mile marker along the side of the course I hear “KIM” being screamed and look to see my mom, brother and niece waving frantically.  I ran over to them and gave my niece a kiss through the fencing.  I waved them off and said I’d go back around to them after I crossed the finish line.  I crossed with a clock time of 6 hours and a few minutes.  I got my medal and walked over to the TNT tent to check in and get my pin, then met up with the fam in front.  Abby gave me a HUGE hug and I let her wear my medal.  My mom showed me the text she got for my chip time – 5:47:25.  I missed the PR by just 2 minutes, but finished 9 minutes faster than Disney.  If only I hadn’t stopped to check my shoe, or gone to the bathroom.  I am so happy that I proved to myself that I could run that close to my PR again, and it now has me thinking further about what is next.

The last two weeks I’ve thought about what I would do next, and if I’d run another marathon after Philly.  I was leaning strongly toward going into retirement after Philly, and I think part of that was because I was coming close to the end of the training cycle and knew I needed a break.  I wasn’t getting injured, and I was recovering fine from all the long miles, but I just wasn’t sure how many more of these I could possibly have in me.  I haven’t locked in a decision in either direction right now and am letting my body recover physically and mentally.  I know one thing for sure, if I am going to go out and do at least one more, I am dead set that I’m going to PR.

Philly was a great experience for me, and I would highly recommend this marathon for anyone.  It’s well organized, has amazing crowd support, and is a great course.

 

Disconnecting

Well, I suppose “Word Wednesday”, while thought of in the best of intentions, is not a realistic regular idea for me. Three weeks after writing that, I have yet to use extrapolate in conversation. So we’ll just table that idea for now and focus on things I’m more attuned to.

My running progress these past few weeks has been really great. I’m less than 60 days from Philly and on track for a 16-miler this weekend. I have a couple busy weekends coming up where my long runs will be iffy, one of which is Ragnar weekend. My Ragnar legs add up to 18 miles so I won’t be doing much more than 10 or 12 miles for a long run that weekend, if anything. I’m waiting to get Coach Marney’s take on it. Pace-wise I’m feeling really I good and I hope I can keep up this momentum.

Another thing I have come to realize over the past month or so is how comfortable I am running without music. In all the years I’ve been running I’ve relied heavily on music for runs of any distance. The exceptions have been the random instance of forgetting my iPod, the battery running out, or forgetting the earphones or belt/armband to hold it. When I ran Disney I had my iPod with me and was all set but knew I wouldn’t have enough battery for the whole run. I figured I’d start the run without it and turn it on further in when I needed some motivation. With all the characters and music throughout the course, I never wound up turning it on. Once I got home I went back to using pandora or my playlist on my iPhone but every now and then I didn’t bring it along. I started listening to music less and less, to the point where I now can’t think of the last time I did. No matter the distance, I don’t feel the need to tune in, and just fall into the flow of my run.

Anybody else out there going (or tried going) tune free in their runs?

Word Wednesday

Last night I made fan-freaking-tastic stuffed peppers, inspired by this blog. I did not take a pic (I know – whoopsies!) but they were meatless and were filled with black beans, mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, zucchini and tomato. I thought about including some Morningstar crumbles but am glad i didn’t. These peppers were stuffed to the brim with veggies. Yum! I made two, ate one last night, and had the other for dinner tonight :)

I like how so many blogs have theme days – Meatless Monday, What I Ate Wednesday, Fitness Friday. I don’t know if it will stick but I thought Word Wednesday would be something fun, and no, it’s not related to religion. Let’s talk vocabulary!

I have always felt that I was pretty good with vocabulary, using important-sounding words in an appropriate manner. Every now and then I hear someone use a word that I rarely, or maybe never, have used. So I am challenging myself (and hey, if anyone on bloggyland wants to join in feel free), every Wednesday, to choose a word I don’t know and use it correctly, preferably in conversation, at some point in the next seven days. taking my cue from a colleague today, the word I’ve chosen for this week is:

Extrapolate
ex·trap·o·late\ik-ˈstra-pə-ˌlāt\
transitive verb
1 : to infer (values of a variable in an unobserved interval) from values within an already observed interval
2 a : to project, extend, or expand (known data or experience) into an area not known or experienced so as to arrive at a usually conjectural knowledge of the unknown area <extrapolates present trends to construct an image of the future
b : to predict by projecting past experience or known data <extrapolate public sentiment on one issue from known public reaction on others

Definition courtesy of Merriam Webster Dictionary

So, what word do you challenge yourself to use?

Running Buddies

When I started running it was on a treadmill at the gym I belonged to. I saw other people running around me and felt very out of place, but still did it and felt good. I hardly ever ran outside – it was always too hot or too cold, or at least that’s what I thought! Because of this, I was very comfortable running alone, even when I started running outside more often (and anymore exclusively). Alone gave me an escape to mentally let go of or ponder things going on, or just zone out from it all. It was therapeutic which I think we can all relate to.

After i started doing 5ks and my friend Carrie started running, we would go to races together but could never run together because we are a good two minutes per mile difference in pace. I trained for my first few half marathons alone, mapping out routes through the neighborhoods I lived in. I was fine with it, and had no idea what I was missing out on. Once every now and then Niki and I would get together for a run which was good because we are close in pace and she could push me a little bit. Our schedules made doing this often challenging so it was only a couple times here and there.

Then along came Team In Training, where every week I was getting together with other people training for the same races I was, and with all different paces. I started getting used to running with certain people and got used to The long runs where I could talk about my week and gossip or get advice about something. The therapeutic feeling I used to get running alone I now get when I go out with my various running buddies. And even better, if I don’t run with someone often, those long runs together becomes an awesome way to catch up on life. On those long runs with friends I’ve even gotten in the habit of not taking along earphones and am now seldom listening to tunes during my solo runs during the week.

Today I went for a short run with Casey. I’m so proud of her for giving running a shot earlier this year and discovering how enjoyable it is. We’ve been doing short runs every couple weeks and our schedules work that we are going to try to get together twice a week and on one of those days mix in some circuit training.

How often do you run with someone else or a group? How often do you run solo? What are your favorite things about each?

In A Relay State Of Mind

This morning I had enough time for a super-quick circuit so I decided to try to do part of the Peanut Butter Fingers 10 to 6 circuit. I made it through 10 and 9 completely and halfway through 8 before I had to wrap it up to get ready for work. Awesome workout that definitely challenged me. I haven’t done any nearly enough circuit since CrossFit closed so I was slower moving through it than if I was better conditioned. I have no more excuses to put it off though so I’m glad I tried it out and will be doing another workout again this week. Tomorrow is a run day so I’m going to do my best to roll out of bed and out the door for a run in the morning.

Several of the bloggers I’ve started following ran Hood To Coast over the weekend. Reading their posts before, and now after, have me thinking two things -

1) I am ridiculously excited for Ragnar in a little over a month
2) I totally want to do Hood To Coast sometime!

This will be my second Ragnar, which is with a handful of people I ran it with last year. We are doing Ragnar Pennsylvania because of how much easier it is to coordinate for everyone than one further away. I am stoked to be co-captain and be in charge of van 1. I am so type A that I think it will be better for me to have some authority. I’m not good at not being in charge… :/

My friend Niki moved to Tacoma, Washington a couple weeks ago, so Hood To Coast next year is not as out of reach as it would seem. I am already looking at when next year it would make sense to make a trip out there to see her, planning it around doing some run either in Washington or maybe even B.C. so a trip through Oregon would be right in line too. It’s definitely something I’ll be bringing up to her to think about!

Any relays in the future for anyone else? Any advice from relays you’ve done that’s worth sharing?

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Freshening Up!

After posting earlier today, I decided to play around with my settings to see if I could jazz up the look of my blog. I also decided to revert back to the original name. With Ragnar Relay coming up shortly I am especially hoping that the course will be well marked and I don’t fall off course, especially in Reading!!

I’ve been reading a bunch of really great and inspirational fitness blogs lately.  Reading them makes me want to keep up with this blog more frequently, and to also move my butt more!  For as much running I do, I could definitely do more cross training and strength work, and be more conscious choices in the food I eat, maybe…  A little more of this -

And less of this stuff…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Always challenge yourself

Since I began running there’s always been a “what’s next” thought that comes about after I’ve conquered my latest challenge. I’ve been laying relatively low since finishing Disney in January, not running as frequently or pushing myself too significantly. For the third year i entered the lottery to run the NYC Marathon and spent today crossing my fingers that this will be my year to be picked for it. It’s not looking too good…. And up until this past weekend I hadn’t really thought about a backup, if I’d even want to have one. I’ve already done a full this year, do I really want to do another one if it isn’t New York? But I guess deep down I do because I’m already starting to think about Philly and possibly doing it with Team, especially since my mom wants to organize another NYC bus trip and I can do letters from Santa again. And who knows, maybe ill find a different one. New Challenge #1….

New Challenge #2…… I’ve started Crossfit and plan to do that twice a week. I am anxious to see what impact it has on my running, in addition to how it will hopefully improve how my clothing fits ;). I wish I had started it sooner. I feel sore after every workout but know that it’s exactly the change in routine I need to shake up my fitness level and improve my pace.

Amidst all of this I’ve joined a tennis league for the first time in a few years. I miss spending time on the court and think it will be a great workout for me. I need practice! I can’t even think how to serve right now. But I’ll get there, and will have a lot of fun along the way!

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