Friday, November 30, 2012

November Foodie Pen Pals Reveal!

The Lean Green Bean

November was my second month participating in the Foodie Pen Pals program and I'm hooked! I had a lot of fun putting together my box this month and I loved what I got. I sent a box to Heather at In Her Chucks and you can see what I sent her here

This month my box came from Lindsay at Itz Linz. Everything came from Trader Joe's. In case you didn't know, Trader Joe's is one of my most favorite places. There's one about a half mile from my office and I go regularly on my lunch break. The crazy thing is that I had never tried any of the things Lindsay sent me! 

Here's what I saw when I opened the box:

The first thing I noticed was the Roasted Coconut Chips. I've been eyeing these in the store but hadn't picked any up. I was so excited to see them in my box! They're delicious and not like anything I've tried before. I think they would be great as an ice cream topper. :)

Here's what I got:

2 other things I've been wanting to try are the Cranberry Apple Butter and Pecan Praline Granola. I seriously did a happy dance when I saw them! I still haven't opened either one since we were out of town for a few days for Thanksgiving, but any day now I'll be trying them out and loving them.

I love snack bars and am a bit partial to Lara Bars. I didn't know too much about KIND bars but I immediately tore open the cranberry almond one (not pictured). It was delicious!! I'll definitely be buying more! I was also excited to see the Candy Cane Green Tea. I was even more excited to see that it's decaf. I don't drink coffee and when I do, I only drink decaf. So this is great! And perfect to enjoy while wrapping Christmas gifts. :)

Also in the above picture is Roasted Seaweed Snack. An unusual treat that I was happy to try.

Lindsay also sent "17 Bean & Barley Mix" that I can't wait to make this weekend! I love making (and eating!) soup and this time of year there's nothing I love more than a bowl of warm, hearty soup. Jack also loves soup so we'll definitely be enjoying this!

Last but not least, she sent a Burt's Bees Lip Balm. What a nice treat especially for the dry, winter months. And I love the way it smells!

Thank you for an awesome FPP box, Lindsay!

For the month of December Foodie Pen Pals is going to be for charity (awesome idea!). Please go to The Lean Green Bean for all the info. And if you want to sign up to send and receive a box of goodies in January, you can sign up after December 18th. I'll definitely be signing up! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Potomac River Run Half Maraton Race Recap

I'm only a week late posting this but better late than never, right? On Sunday November 18th, I ran my 2nd half marathon. I was nervous and unsure but also really excited. I left Jack and Sidney at home (it was pretty cold and the only shelter was in the car) and got there with plenty of time to spare.

Packet pickup was at a picnic shelter and the start of the race was a little walk away on the towpath, which is also where the race took place. It ended up being an out and back- 6.5 miles out, turn around, and come back to finish. The runners doing the full marathon had to do 2 out and backs. I can't even imagine!

There weren't very many runners and once we got started and everyone spread out, I was last. There wasn't a single person behind me. I tried not to think about it and reminded myself I needed to run my race and keep a pace that was comfortable for me. I was pretty sure I'd have to walk at some point and I knew it would be a difficult race (not the terrain but my lack of preparedness). I just wanted to take it easy.

It was a beautiful run. On one side we had the C&O Canal and on the other side was the Potomac River. There were other people out walking dogs or doing their own runs. It was great. There weren't any clocks, mile markers, or other distractions.

I was so happy to see the turn around point. There was someone there recording bib numbers so no one could cheat and turn around sooner. It was a manually recorded but electronically recognized timing system. There was also a gentleman with bowls of oranges and bananas as well as water and coke. I took some water and an orange slice, finished, and was on my way. That ended up being the only time I stopped. I never walked like I had expected to!

The last few miles seemed to take forever. I had had some Shot Blocks, but I was hungry. I was tired and really wanted to see the finish. I kept thinking about the pizza that they said would be there after the race. I couldn't wait for a slice of pizza! Somewhere in the last mile I increased my speed. After a while I cursed, wondering where the finish line was. I was afraid I had sped up too soon. I just kept going, knowing it would end eventually.

As soon as I caught a glimpse of the finish, I did what I do best and let go. I gave it all I had and finished strong. The clock said 2 hours, 43 minutes. I wasn't sure what the seconds were but I knew it was close to beating my previous time. I couldn't believe it! I was handed my medal- my first (last time I got a necklace) and went searching for the pizza. There were 2 empty boxes and a 3rd box with one slice left! I grabbed it and enjoyed that cold slice all the way to the bathroom. But then it dawned on me...there were still a lot of runners out there doing the full marathon. I really hope they were planning on getting more pizza for them!

I ended up finishing ahead of 3 other women doing the half. I might start out slow but I finish strong!

Here's a pic I took before the race. I feel like I have a weird look on my face but I was freezing!

My first medal:

 And my official race photo:

I'll definitely run this race in May if I don't get into the Nike Women's Half in DC the week before. I don't know if I want to do back-to-back half marathons, especially when I'm also doing one in March. We'll see! Either way it'll be a busy and awesome spring!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

10 mile run

This past Saturday I set out for my 10 mile run. I knew it would take me over 2 hours to complete and I had mentally prepared myself. I had an audiobook on my iPhone, Sport Beans and Clif Shotbloks in my pouch, and water and Gatorade in my bottles. I headed out around 10:30am.

At about half way I stopped at a community center to use the bathroom. I also took a few very short walking breaks, which is something I never do! I ran very slowly, around a 13:00 mile, but my legs felt like they were going to give out on me. I had a few minor aches and pains and I didn't want to risk injury so I just took it nice and easy. It was one of the hardest runs I've ever done.

Like I said, I was mentally prepared for this run and having an audiobook really helps on my long solo runs. But physically it was challenging. I pushed through and finished in 2 hours, 11 minutes. I was so happy when it was over!

Here I am before starting out:

After showering and icing my legs for a few minutes, I enjoyed a rewarding lunch at Elevation Burger with my family. Definitely worth it! :)

Last night I was able to join a group for an easy 4 mile run. They run every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. After Thanksgiving I'm going to try and join them on Saturdays, but it's hard for me to go during the week. Sidney works most nights and I won't take Jack out in the cold. He ended up being off last night and I was able to get in 1 last run before the half.

It was great! I've gotten so used to running by myself that I had almost forgotten how nice it is to run with others. I kept a good pace and afterwards I felt like I could've kept going. The 10 mile run made me nervous but I got my confidence back last night. I know I'm going to be fine on Sunday. And dare I say I'm actually looking forward to it?!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Must Be Crazy

I told you all that I ran a lot in October. In fact, it was my best month in the 6 years I've been running. So good that I might be ready to run a half marathon in less than 2 weeks? Depends on your definition of ready. It doesn't matter because on a whim, I signed up for a race that's on November 18th. Yes, a half marathon less than 2 weeks away. I must be crazy.

I did run a 10K, then an 8 mile run, then another 10K all in the last 3 weeks. And I felt great and still do. I'm on week 4 of Ripped in 30 and I really think that it has helped to make me a stronger runner. But 13.1 miles when the most I've run in 3 months is 8 miles?

I'm planning on doing a 10 mile training run this weekend and I'll just run the half with finishing as my only goal. The most I ran before my first half was 11 so I definitely think it's doable. No matter what, I'll be finishing my 2nd half marathon in less than 2 weeks!!

So why did I decide to run this race? I got an e-mail listing upcoming races in my area and it caught my attention. According to the race website it's "the easiest marathon in America". It's a Boston Marathon qualifier, although that means nothing to me. It's supposed to be an almost totally flat, out 'n' back course. Because there will be a full marathon going on as well, I'll have 6 hours to finish. Definitely doable! They're only accepting 350 entrants so it's not going to be overly crowded. Despite my "late" registration, the entry fee wasn't too steep. I'll get a technical shirt, goodie bag, post race picnic, and even a finisher certificate and printed results mailed to me. And the best part? I'll get my first medal!! That right there sealed the deal!

This Potomac River Run Marathon is apparently held every spring, with the 10th one scheduled for next May. They're holding a special 91/2th one now in memory of Dean Shulman who I think worked with the Safety and Health Foundation, the company putting on the race. They're also giving anyone who was entered to run the NYC Marathon a $20 discount. In case you didn't know, it was scheduled for last week and was cancelled due to the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy.

I'm excited and a bit nervous, but I've done it before and I know I can do it again! My only real concern for this race is the weather. I hope it isn't freezing! We're expecting nice weather for this weekend so at least my 10 mile run should be a pleasant one. Fingers crossed!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Rockville 10K Race Recap and A Zombie Run

My local Fleet Feet holds fun runs every Thursday night. Basically you just show up and run about 3-4 miles. Some weeks they hold raffles, and have games, pizza, and beer. I was taking Jack over the summer before it got too hot. I still shop there but haven't run with them since July. When I heard they were doing a zombie fun run on the day after Halloween I knew I had to go!

I left Jack with Grandpa and headed out not knowing what to expect. We ended up doing the same 3.2 mile route I was used to and right from the beginning I was on the lookout for zombies. They weren't allowed to grab you which was good to know! There would be 2 or 3 standing around any given point. Not scary, just really funny. I even laughed out loud a bunch! See, running can be fun! In the last half mile or so there were 3 zombies out in the open and as soon as I passed them, one jumped out from behind a fence right in front of me. That got a scream out of me!

Afterwards we were given a ticket to take to a wine bar in the same shopping center for a free drink. I grabbed a bottle of beer and tried my best to socialize. I recognized some people but don't really know any of them. I stepped out of my comfort zone and ended up having a great time. I had to relieve Grandpa and couldn't stay too long but all in all, it was a fun experience! I'm really glad I went and will definitely participate again next year.

Yesterday was the Rockville 5K/10K. I ran the 5K in 2006 and the 10K in 2008. This was only my 6th 10K and I was hoping to get a PR. I knew it was going to be close. My fastest 10K is 1:04:10 and my fastest time for the Rockville 10K is 1:05:39. If nothing else, I wanted to beat my course record.

It was freezing! Jack and Sidney came to cheer me on with Jack bundled up in the stroller. I wore a hat and gloves, it was that cold! I ended up taking my gloves off with about 2 miles to go. There were some rolling hills but mostly it was a pleasant enough race.

The last quarter mile I gave it my all and sprinted to the finish. My official time was 1:05:29. 10 seconds faster than in 2008. Not a 10K PR but I'll take it!!

This happened to be my 35th race overall and it's crazy to think I've run 35 races! But that is over a 6 year period. I love running and I love racing even more. Here's to 50 and beyond!

Here's my official race photo. Notice how I'm smiling and waving this time? Looks much better than my "running face" right?

I also got to see some friends I hadn't seen since April at the last 10K we all did. They commented on how skinny I look. That definitely made my day and gives me motivation to keep going!

Sorry for the super long post. I should've broken this into 2 posts but it is what it is!
Have a great week!