Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Smoothies!

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you probably have noticed I have been making a lot of smoothies this month. I will be the first to admit I am not the best eater, and greens have never done it for me. I started making "green" smoothies a couple summers ago after hearing about them from a friend. I wont lie, I was highly skeptical because I really didn't believe I would be able to disguise the spinach. To my surprise, the smoothies I made were always super yummy.

What recipe do I follow? Now that's the complicated part because I don't actually have a recipe! I usually use a few scoops of yogurt, some juice, spinach and fruit. I started using half frozen fruit for more of that frozen smoothie taste without ice chunks.
Ingredient #1: I prefer Cabot Greek Yogurt, I use plain for my smoothies and vanilla for Abigail's. Greek yogurt is creamier which is perfect for making smoothies, well, smooth. There's also more protein in Greek yogurt which is an added bonus, especially since my smoothies will sometimes be a meal replacement. If you want to read more about the benefits to Greek yogurt you can try HERE, HERE or HERE.
Celery, Spinach, Strawberries, Pear
Ingredient #2: My usual go to liquid/juice for smoothies has always been orange juice. When I started the Sugar Detox earlier this month, I tried using Tart Cherry Juice instead and I still really liked the results. I had read a few months back that Tart Cherry Juice was a natural anti-inflammatory and was great for runners to aide in muscle recovery and joint pain. Like it's name says, it is tart and when it's served chilled over ice it's not awful, but it's not great either. I'm sure it's an acquired taste but for now I'm loving it in my smoothies. For Abigail, I have been using milk to keep her smoothies creamy.
Carrots, Strawberries, Spinach, Mango
Ingredient #3: I love Organic Girl Greens. Spinach is one of the "dirty dozen" so I always buy organic. I have had great luck with this brand, it never goes bad before I use it all. My new little trick is to actually freeze the spinach greens, their texture is like chips but it gives the smoothies a little more umph if you are not using a lot of frozen fruit. This was an accidental trick because I froze some before going out of town and then when I used it it was great.
Ingredient #4: Fruit! The strawberry is probably my favorite fruit, so I tend to use strawberries in almost every smoothie. Strawberries are also in season right now and they are super easy to clean and slice. Bananas are loaded with potassium, help make smoothies creamy and takes absolutely no time to clean/slice, what's not to love? I like to incorporate plenty of other fruits in my smoothies: berries, mango, peaches, cherries, pineapple, grapes and, most recently, cantaloupe.
Celery, Strawberries, Banana
I've also been experimenting with other veggies in my smoothies. I have tried celery and carrots, though never together. Too much celery or too many carrots will cause your smoothie to be thicker, more fiber texture. If I go overboard, I have fixed it by adding more berries or other fruit and maybe a splash more of juice. I would also like to experiment with zucchini, cucumber, beets and sweet peppers.
Carrots, Spinach, Blueberries
Have you ever put nuts or seeds in a smoothie? I have used sliced almonds and pecans in my smoothies. The nuts add a bit of texture to the smoothies so I would not use too much, especially if you're using thicker ingredients or a grainy fruit, like a pear. I also use flax seeds in my smoothies and have been intending to pick up chia seeds for a couple weeks now. Wheat germ and oatmeal can also be added as additional ingredients, but always keep in mind all these items mentioned with make your smoothies thicker so I tend to only use one at a time.
Pear, Strawberries, Spinach, Carrots
Cantaloupe
Instead of purchasing frozen fruit, which can sometimes be more expensive, especially when a fruit is in season, I decided to purchase fruit and freeze it myself. This can also be helpful for larger fruits like watermelon, papaya, pineapple, cantaloupe and honeydew that might take you longer to eat or use in smoothies. You can also buy larger quantities in bulk or when specific fruits are on sale then freeze yourself to save on costs.

Have you ever heard the term "flash freeze"? After cutting the fruit, I spread it out on a baking sheet lined with freezer paper and place it in the freezer (see picture of the cantaloupe on the right). Make sure the pieces are spread out, if too many pieces are touching/clumped together they will all be stuck together when frozen. Once all the fruit has been in the freezer 10 minutes or so, transfer it to a gallon ziploc bag or a large container for easier storage.

I did this again with mango, blueberries and strawberries before we headed out of town last week instead of letting the fruit sit and risk it spoiling before I used it. I flash froze the mango first, then added half the sliced strawberries and blueberries, then the second half of the sliced strawberries. This wasn't necessarily intentional, I just would add more fruit to the baking sheet once I had a decent amount of additional fruit to add. I accidentally forgot the fruit overnight in the freezer and transferred it to another gallon ziploc bag the next morning.
Mango, Strawberries, Blueberries
As you can tell from all the pictures, while I do have my basic 4 ingredients, I throw my smoothies together differently everyday. I am very haphazard in my selections, sometimes I choose based on what fruits might be older or getting close to going bad. Other days I choose based on what I see first either on the counter or in the refrigerator/freezer. There really is no rhyme or reason to any ingredient beyond my basic ingredients.
Mango, Strawberries, Spinach, Pear
I love my smoothies and make one almost daily. I know I'm giving my body the nutrition and fuel it needs and I have started noticing little differences inside and out. Since these smoothies have become more regular in my diet, I decided to join the Unconventional Kitchen Love Your Greens 30 Day Challenge for May. This challenge will give beginners lots of assistance and instruction to help get you started making and loving green smoothies. I signed up this weekend, after a friend shared this challenge with me, and have already received a shopping list for each week of this challenge. I'm intrigued by some of the ingredients and look forward to receiving the daily recipes and hope to find some new favorite flavors for my smoothies. I encourage you to join me in this challenge too!

QUESTIONS:
-Do you like smoothies and make them at home?
-Will you be joining me in the Love Your Greens 30 Day Challenge?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Finish on the 50

Yikes! This is my pre-race pic?
We have been looking forward to this race for a few months now. I am so glad we all decided to run and was even surprised we would know quite a few people running one of the four races all to Finish on the 50!

Matt and I arrived at 6:30CT so we could find parking and check-in. I quickly realized this was the most disorganized race I have run to date. We pulled up our names on a laptop then were "assigned" a race number by one of the volunteers, it was a bit strange. We headed over to find a spot in the sun on the corner where the Toomer's Oaks were recently removed. There were not very many people around yet and if my race number (#404) was any hint, it was not going to be a huge race anyway.
I kept my eyes peeled for anyone I might recognize, hoping I would find Emily my "old" Auburn friend. Instead I spotted, easily, Leigh and Diane two fellow runDisney enthusiasts I've met through Twitter and runDisney Facebook boards. Then Ramona found us and it was great finally getting to meet her in real life, which was nice since we had run the same races but never actually met before.

The Half Marathon was supposed to start at 7:30CT and I don't think we were finally off an running until 7:38. We couldn't really tell what was going on then everyone just started running, no announcement or music or anything. Spectators cheered, as did runners of the other races, but my favorite was the Auburn Swimming and Diving team cheering in front of Samford Hall!

The runners headed down College Street crossed in front of the Auburn University campus before turning to run down Gay Street and through residential neighborhoods towards Wright's Mill Road. There were plenty of rolling hills and a water stop around Mile2, but it's hard to say because there were ZERO mile markers and I was going by my NikeGPS App (since I forgot my NikeGPS watch).

When we got to the turn at Chewacla Park, there was a water table with cups and a huge tub of powder Gatorade but no volunteers. This was a crucial point since runners would be running past this table twice. There was no huge cooler of water and there were no cups on the ground, leading me to believe this station was just never fully setup. Luckily there was a small pavilion with a water fountain if runners were really in need, but I didn't want to stop.

We headed back along the same rolling hills of Wright's Mill Road and I felt very strong. I decided to really try to watch my pace, hoping to stay between a 11-11:30mm pace in attempt to run this entire 13.1 without intervals. I shouldn't compare myself to others, but it was really encouraging when I passed other runners. It was especially encouraging when I passed other runners as I felt strong running UPHILL. We continued to backtrack and passed the same water stop that was Mile2, maybe around Mile 6+ on the way back. Huge kudos to volunteer at the intersection of S Gay Street and Woodfield Drive, we passed him twice and had the very important job of directing 10K and Half Marathon runners to the split in the course. On my way back through, this same volunteer was also photographing runners!

While there were arrows helping guide runners throughout the course, color coded arrows for each race might also be helpful since parts of the course overlapped for the different races. Mile markers would have also been very helpful throughout the course, as I was asked by few runners wanting to know mileage.
Half Marathon
Another huge shout out to the Auburn Police during this race! They were very attentive watching for oncoming runners and halting traffic accordingly. There were four really important locations... 1. As runners turned off College Street at the beginning of the race. 2. As runners crossed the I-85 Wright's Mill Road overpass and the police were only allowing cars in one direction at a time. 3. As runners crossed the E University Drive intersection. 4. When the runners crossed back over College Street from residential neighborhoods heading back onto campus.

Once back on campus, there was another water station. I think it was fairly close after we crossed back over College Street but I'm not exactly sure if it was there on Woodfield Drive or if it was after we turned onto Donahue. This had to have been somewhere Mile8 and Mile9. If I had known there wouldn't have been another water station until Mile12, I probably would have stopped and chugged more than one half dixie cup of water.

We turned down Lem Morrison and I was really surprised to find so many buildings I didn't recognize from my days at Auburn. I wracked my brain trying to remember if this road even existed back then, fully knowing if it was it was not developed or utilized a decade ago. This same road curved and then became Mell Street, and buildings started to look familiar again. I ran past the Arboretum and then as I was passing the President of Auburn's house is when it really hit me, I was going to set a new personal record. My pace up to this point was excellent and I still felt strong and  only time would tell by how much my new PR would beat my last, set on March 17 of 02:36:17.

I got ahead of myself. I don't think I started running faster. I don't think there were more hills, yet. I could see the stadium but I still had another 3 miles to run. My mouth was dry, I needed water. I willed myself on, knowing a water station would be soon. I mentally kicked myself for not knowing the course better because I could have asked Matt to meet me on Tatch with a bottle of water, but the race organizers never posted where or how many water stations there were along the course and I had trusted they would be prepared. Mile 11 was downright awful, I caved and did a few intervals. I realized my thighs were chaffing a bit from my shorts riding up and so was the inner section of my left arm, both consumed me as we hooked onto W Magnolia Ave (or as I knew it, "Old Frat Row").

Finally at Mile 12 there was another water station. The volunteer was enthusiastic and gave me a fist bump for running for the Boys & Girls Club of Auburn, but I told him I was going to hang out a bit. I ended up chugging SIX dixie cups of water. The volunteer was nice and sprinkled some Gatorade powder in two of my cups. I was drained but I proceeded onward. Wire Road seemed to be a slow and steady uphill before turning onto Samford to head around the football practice facilities. I'm sure I drove this road many times in my years at Auburn but I never realized their was a crazy hill as you continue on Samford toward the intersection with Donahue. Wow, a brutal hill at the end of a Half Marathon is brutal. I no longer felt strong, I just wanted to move fast enough to still PR.

Looking back, I think I was more defeated than I let myself believe because I was just on survival mode. How do I know? I have zero pictures or screen captures after that 10 Mile screen capture. I didn't even send Matt a text message to give him an update I was getting close or even entering the stadium. They weren't looking for me, but Matt said my mother-in-law spotted me on the field. I finished. I set a new PR. I got my medal and felt like I was scavenged for refreshments. Someone pointed me to a huge tub, and I actually had to dig through lots of empty bottles until I found two. I stepped off the field and completely downed the first bottle of water. Matt and family walked to me and we took a couple pictures, I think. I recovered enough to spot Aubie and start heading his way, only to learn he left! HUGE sad face.

I asked about Matt and Abigail's race. Matt was so proud of her! He said she started out very timid, wanting to hold his hand but then after watching the other kids run with their families she caught on and decided to run too. I honestly wasn't sure if she would run or not, she didn't want to run at all during The Royal Family 5K in February and "ran" just about the entire race on Matt's shoulders. This course was shorter and she didn't have to be up nearly as early for this Fun Run!
Fun Run


Finish on the 50 Fun Run
Matt took lots of pictures during their run and even got video of Abigail's Finish on the 50!

Abigail couldn't wait to show off her medal to Aubie! She even told me Aubie kissed her medal and picked her up. Hopefully it wont be another 3yrs before we get our next visit with Aubie.
We headed out of Jordan Hare to get to the Tailgate Party at the Transportation Center. I saw a couple lines of people, and had to ask what was going on. Runners were supposed to be able to look up their finish time but there was some sort of error and none of the times were posting. There was another line to pickup race shirts around the side of a van and they were out of all the sizes we needed. Luckily, the ladies behind us in line were trading their Women's Medium for a Small so I was able to get my correct size. Abigail ended up with a Women's Extra Small and she's going to wear it as a nightgown. The only Men's size remaining was XL so we had to put his name on a list for reorder. The was no signage and I did see some Powerade, I never figured out how to get additional refreshments and we decided to just leave and head to lunch.

On our way to lunch Matt told me before his race the runners were being told some of their volunteers were missing in action. Unfortunately, there was more lacking than just volunteers. I should have remembered this was the first year the Half Marathon was being offered, and I should have been more prepared. I should have worn my fuel belt with my own water and I should have run with some GU or Clif Shot Gel. I still do not know how I forgot to run with fuel, but then again I forgot my watch at home too. (Sigh.)

While this was my FORTH Half Marathon, it was definitely the smallest. I'll chalk a lot of it up to a learning experience for me and while this race was still lacking in a few areas, I am still really happy that I was able to set a new PR. It was amazing to run through the city of Auburn and the campus, because when I was in college I thought the sororities who hosted races as fundraisers for their philanthropies were out of their minds. Now here I am 10yrs later and I couldn't be more thrilled to drive in from out of town to run/race here. I hope we'll be able to Finish on the 50 again next year!

I am not sure if it would be possible, or if the race organizers had already reached out, but it would have been pretty amazing if some of Auburn's organizations were present on the race course or helped at the water stations. Ideally, this race could work with Auburn's Student Government to allow the different organizations to earn spirit points if they have members running, volunteering at water stations or set up cheering sections along the courses. This "2013 Finish on the 50 will benefit Student Affairs for programming for intramural sports, group fitness and club sports for the student body" so it would only be fitting for the organizations to also be more involved on race day.

It seems like there are plenty of people unhappy with many aspects of this race but I hope they realize it's still a newer race and decide to register again in future years. The course was great, the organization with the city seemed to be great and if a few campus organizations would step up to assist, this race would be absolutely perfect.

QUESTIONS:
-Have you ever Finished on the 50 yard line of a race?
-What do you do when you run a race that is not organized as well as you hoped?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Training Recap: April Week 4

While I don't feel like I worked out nearly as much as I have compared to April Weeks 1, 2 or 3, it has been a very successful week of training.

Monday: Fun Workout
From what I gathered, many running stores across the country were hosing Boston Solidarity Runs Monday night. I decided to join a friend to run with Phidippides, an Atlanta running store. When we arrived, there was a decent showing and I counted at least 8 2013 Boston Marathon shirts throughout the crowd. Phidippides was "selling" mini race bibs for a $5 donation to contribute to One Fund Boston.

The run was great, a little hilly but I tried to keep my pace slower in order to run the entire 3mi without intervals. I kept my music off to keep my mind on those grieving in Boston. I ended up running the last mile with Barbara Galloway and didn't even know it until later.

When we finished the run, there were chair set up for "Reflections of the Boston Marathon". Jeff Galloway, former US Olympian and designs all the training plans for the runDisney races, thanked everyone for coming out and a shared a few of his own favorite stories from running Boston himself. In my photo with Jeff above, he's holding his 5th place Boston Marathon trophy which is the best he ever finished in Boston. He introduced Mike, a runner from Boston, who then shared a bit of his race story then shared about a friend who wasn't able to finish, but instead finished his last half mile on another street without a true finish line. Mike then proceeded to give his own medal to the other runner.

While I really only knew one person on my run, I knew many others also running with their local running stores. I really enjoyed reading about Lena and Rachel's blog posts about their meet ups in Seattle and Tampa, if you'd like to read a bit more their names are linked to their blogs. I am still so blown away how the running community has come together and although I now have many running friends sprinkled from coast to coast, this Boston Solidarity Run really brought us all together.

Tuesday: 7 Miles
Abigail is currently taking swim lessons 3-5 days each week. She sweetly requested I swim with her so I had to oblige. I swam my first 10 down and pack laps using a kickboard and Abigail even swam a few laps with me before her class started. I swam a few laps freestyle before Abigail's class was finished and she wanted to swim more laps with me. She kicked on her back with her flippers, and she's FAST. I would push off the wall and kick only under water (holding my breath) and I could barely keep up with her (and I had flippers too!). Swimming with Abigail will need to be at least a weekly happening because she then asked me to swim both Wednesday and Thursday with her!
I went to the gym to run after Abigail's dance class. Matt was able to watch Abigail, instead of her coming with me, so I took advantage of not having a 2hr time limit at the gym. I decided to quicken my pace each mile and I felt great. While my last 10 minutes were definitely tough to finish, my overall average was a 11:18mm pace AND I ran for two straight hours non-stop. ZERO intervals!

When I finished Couch to 5K, I could run an entire 5K without walk breaks. Then I switched over to interval running for all training and racing, and I lost the ability to run 3.1mi straight through. I am sure some of this is mental. Or maybe it's just stubbornness, since I have to keep a slower pace to run without intervals. Whatever it is, today I ran two straight hours and my pace was less than a 12mm. I know it's not much improvement, but I am pleased to see improvement as it is encouraging and helps keep me working towards my goals.

Wednesday: XT or Rest
I completely intended on attending the Gold's Power class again this week but it didn't happen. Abigail's swim class ran late and the weather was rainy, so by the time I got to the gym I was 20mins late for the 50min class. Sigh, oh well.

Instead I came home and decided to attempt a new recipe I read about on another Atlanta runner's blog, Hello Fitness We Meet Again. Jen has a Foodie Friday weekly post on her blog and the Spaghetti Squash Alfredo recipe from a couple weeks back sounded right up my alley. I followed the directions and was confused when the sauce never thickened leaving it very soupy. I went back and read the rest of Jen's post and she noted the same result when she tried this recipe. Maybe I should have read her post all the way through before starting to cook mine, ha.

I wasn't sure what Matt would think about eating spaghetti squash in leiu of "real" spaghetti so I decided to tweak the recipe. I cooked up some whole grain spaghetti but drained it well before I normally would, leaving the pasta extra al dente. I then mixed the spaghetti with the spaghetti squash alfredo, it was still fairly soupy which I expected so I transferred all the spaghetti to a glass 8x8 dish and baked it for 20-30mins. The extra soupiness was baked into undercooked pasta and I sprinkled more Parmesan before serving. It was a success, especially since Matt devoured his serving before I ate half of mine!

Thanks again Jen for the new recipe and inspiration!

Thursday: 3 Miles Speed Training
Another planned work-out gone wrong. I was going to head to the gym for today's scheduled speed training but Brewer had so much energy! I decided to take Brewer out for a run. The pollen counts have been down over the last few days so I didn't have be be all drugged up to be outdoors. We only ran a mile and a half. Brewer is still not used to running on a leash and he is very easily distracted! He was distracted by vehicles, birds and pine cones  I'm sure he will become a great running partner after some more practice.

While I was exhausted after that short run, I'm not used to the extra workout of controlling a dog on a leash, Brewer was still ready for more. He played fetch a bit but really likes to play keep-away more. He really likes playing keep-away from Abigail because she will chase him. Brewer would pause and lay down, allowing Abigail to slowly creep toward him before he would sprint away at the last moment not to be caught. When Brewer was finally exhausted, Abigail was able to catch him a couple times.

Friday: 4 Miles or XT
Today will be a rest day for me in preparations for my half marathon scheduled for tomorrow!

Saturday: LR: 7 Miles
Instead of 7mi, I will be running 13.1 down in Auburn! I heard about this race sometime in the fall and thought finishing on the 50 yard line of Jordan Hare Stadium would be so fun. Also on my radar was Nashville's Country Music Marathon was the same day and this was a race I dreamed of running, err participating, when we lived there April 2008. Since this Nashville race is now being organized by the Rock'n Roll Marathon Series and I'd like to race that series a some point, it'd probably be best if I chose Auburn his year and RnR for another. I made this choice before Auburn decided A-Day would be the last rolling of Toomer's Corner and before Auburn announced the Toomer Oaks would be removed before Finish on the 50. It will be really strange returning to Auburn where the start line of all the races is Toomer's Corner.




QUESTIONS:
-Are you discouraged when your training is botched more than one day in your training week?
-Do you have any fun plans this weekend?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Bittersweet Auburn A-Day


Our morning started earlier than we expected, Abigail woke up at 5:30CT telling us "the sun is up". Matt's alarm went off about 15mins later, I think when he set his alarms he didn't realize our clocks switched over to Central Time. We decided to get ready and pop over to Toomer's Corner before the crowd arrived in the afternoon. It was perfect, very quiet and very few people around at the early 8am hour.

The Toomer's Oaks look so sad, they had been poisoned by a very disgruntled Bama fan the weekend after Auburn won the 2010 Iron Bowl. This hateful man called to brag about his actions on a sports talk radio show the week after Auburn had a huge rally to celebrate their 2010 BCS National Championship. Auburn proceeded to test the soil around the oaks and eventually confirmed the poisoning. Immediately there was an incredible outpouring of love and sadness from the Auburn Family, and beyond. Auburn's Horticulture department and Auburn's Tree Preservation Committee tried effortlessly, for two years, to repair the damage of the "very lethal dose" of herbicide. Unfortunately, the destruction could not be repaired and this A-Day game would be the final rolling of Toomer's Oaks.

Matt created this Toomer's Oaks design, right, when all the reports were being released in early 2011. I remember many Auburn fans making this design their Facebook and Twitter profile pictures (without permission). Matt was even requested to change the colors of the tree to crimson and white because there were plenty of Alabama fans also disgusted that one wretched fan can be so hateful. Yes, we each want our own teams to be successful on and off the playing fields, but to intentionally destroy property and another school's tradition is outright awful. So on this sad day, we will roll the Toomer's Oaks one last time.
Photo courtsey of AL.com
As Matt, Abigail and I were examining what was left of the poor trees we were approached by a photographer for AL.com. She asked us a few questions including "In one word: What does Toomer's mean to you?". The one word we selected was MEMORIES. Matt and I rolled Toomer's Corner while students at Auburn, it was always amazing to watch thousands and thousands of fans exit Jordan Hare Stadium walk around the Haley Center, down Thach and cross Samford Lawn to Toomer's Corner. A few block down from this iconic spot for Auburn fans, Matt and I first met while working at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center. Our first date was to the SEC Championship Game against University of Florida on December 3, 2000 (there is another story behind this, ask one of us sometime). Fast forward years ahead, and we couldn't wait to return to The Plains to bring Abigail to her first Auburn A-Day game.
April 18th, 2009
It wasn't until we returned after Auburn claimed the 2010 BCS National Championship, when we first shared the tradition of Rolling Toomer's with Abigail. She had recently turned 2yo and had fun with the orange and blue shakers, we danced to the music of the band and applauded the players and coaches for this amazing achievement.
Rolling Toomer's at National Championship Celebration, January 2011
On this A-Day in Auburn, Alabama we celebrate Auburn University, the traditions, the Auburn Family, the memories we have made on The Loveliest Village on the Plains, the new head coach Gus Malzahn and we plan to send off our Toomer's Oaks with a huge, amazing goodbye. We stopped into the newer Auburn Arena to buy tickets and we ran into Michael, he and Matt were classmates. Abigail had fun meeting Madison and we were surprised to learn a new Walker will be arriving during the 2013 football season!
    
A-Day is always the perfect event for families, especially for the children to be introduced to Auburn football. There are plenty of kid friendly activities like jump houses, face painting booths, they can throw footballs and baseballs and run drills on the football practice fields. Oh, and game tickets are priced MUCH cheaper than fall tickets!
   
We met back up with Matt's cousin Johnree and his wife Mandy to sit with and watch the A-Day game. Abigail really enjoyed being able to hop from Matt and I to Johnree and Mandy. I was really surprised how fast Abigail warmed up to them, she even shared her popcorn with them!
 

 

Since this A-Day was extra significant,  two of Matt's old classmates also brought their families to Auburn to bid a fond farewell to the Toomer's Oaks. Because life happens, our wedding 7yrs ago was the last big Industrial Design reunion. Jessica now lives back in Kentucky with her husband and twin girls, it was so nice finally getting to meet Alice & Nora and introducing them to Abigail. Uma lived abroad for a few years, her husband is military, but while they do live much closer to us (compared to Europe) we don't see them often either.





















It was so great seeing all five of our girls playing together. They were running around (maybe playing tag? we couldn't tell), collecting sticks and putting them in a big pile (you can see it in the picture at our feet). They even had lots of fun rolling one of the smaller trees in front of Samford Hall, a couple of them kept saying they were decorating a Christmas tree.
While we were able to spend time with old friends, Matt and I had lots of friends who were unable to attend this special day. There are so many amazing memories we made during our Auburn days  and while we know there are more memories to be created in years to come, it will never be the same. We mourn the Toomer's Oaks but trust that Auburn University's plan for Toomer's Corner will become an even more special place for all of the Auburn Family to continue this tradition we all love. Trees can die but their memory and spirit will live on.


War Eagle!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Training Recap: April Week 3

Going into this week, I knew it was going to be a bit crazy. We will be heading down to The Plains on Friday to enjoy all the Auburn A-Day Festivities: celebrating the new head coach Gus Malzahn, view the 2013 Auburn players and enjoy one last roll of our beloved Toomer's Corner Oaks. Knowing our travel plans, I expected Friday and Saturday to be rest days so I would try to rearrange my training with that in mind. Little did I realize how crazy this week would unfold.

Monday: 3 Miles + 4 Strides or XT
I woke up and enjoyed coverage of The Boston Marathon. I was able to watch live online and the elite runners blew my mind.  I was tracking fellow runDisney enthusiasts Leah Conner & Linda Bachand and cheering them on from my living room. One of the guy's I ran the WDWMarathon with lives in Boston and his cousin was running and another Twitter friend was there spectating as her husband ran. It was fun following Twitter, so much excitement for those running in Boston! I have learned Boston isn't just another marathon, you actually have to qualify before you can register. I am in awe of these runners who qualify, they have great speed and great dedication for running!

I stepped away from my laptop and returned to find a ton of tweets about the finish line explosions. I immediately switched on the news while pulling up the runner tracking site to see where everyone was. Two runners had finished and two runners were halted before the Mile 26 marker. My heart broke for all the runners who had their race cut short, unable to finish after so much training to get to Boston. My heart broke as news clips replayed the explosions, knowing many people had to be injured or dead. My heart shattered when one of the reported deaths was an 8 year old child. I was speechless.

The runners didn't seem to be injured, it was the spectators. All those amazing families, friends and complete strangers who came out to watch and cheer on all the runners. My family has been there, at the finish line of my races. I am still speechless.

I couldn't take it anymore, I had to go for a run. I wanted to run away from the heartache. I wanted to run for those who were unable to finish their race. As I ran I couldn't stop thinking of the 8 year old child. A child getting to experience the tradition that is The Boston Marathon. I'm sure this day was to be remembered for many years, possibly dreaming of one day also running this prestigious race, just like Shalane Flanagan.

I was introduced to Shalane earlier in the day as one of the elite female runners, she was from Boston and first watched her dad race Boston when she was 8 years old. This was her dream and she placed forth in her first appearance of The Boston Marathon, after years of dreaming and training. But dreams can be cut short so devastatingly quick. So I ran and I ran, watching news coverage from the treadmill at the gym, I ran. I didn't intend on running 8 miles, that was not my plan, but I did. I just could not stop thinking about this child and his family.

Tuesday: 5 Miles
Since I started running, I have enjoyed the encouragement and support of the running community. It doesn't matter where we live or where we race, we are united as runners. This unity was only enhanced by this tragedy, it was and is truly amazing. The running community decided to wear race shirts to show their support for the Boston runners, the Boston community and for those injured and killed from the explosions. Abigail and I proudly sported our shirts from the WDWMarathon.
Abigail wearing her "My Mom Ran 26.2" shirt.
Adidas
Adidas, one of the Boston Marathon sponsors, quickly designed the Boston Tribute Tee with all profits being donated to The One Fund Boston. Other companies followed suit...these companies were also represented in Boston for the Marathon Expo and could have had employees running or spectating, everyone is taking this tragedy personally.

I was extra pleased when I learned two businesses I have fallen in love with since I've started running also created designs with all proceeds being donated to One Fund Boston. Sweaty Bands had 3 Boston designs and added 3 new Boston Strong styles. Raw Threads also had Boston specific items then added new Boston designs in order to help those most affected. There are so many opportunities to support Boston and I hope everyone is able to contribute something.
Raw Threads

Wednesday: XT or Rest
I tried my best to make it to the same Power Class I've attended the last two Wednesdays. I was a few minutes late, as we were coming from Abigail's swim class, but instead of bailing on the class all together, I just hopped on in. After Power, I even intended to run a few miles on the treadmill after Power but failed to wear the correct sports bra. I barely ran a half mile before deciding to walk. I logged two miles, walking. I was not pleased but it would have to do for today.

Thursday: 3 Miles Sprint Training
Abigail and I attended a skating rink playdate where for $5/kid admission you can skate (includes skate rental), play on their indoor playground or bring a ride on toy to share on the skating rink. Abigail prefers to skate because there are "skating helpers" (made from PVC pipe and wheels from inline skates) so she can be independent. We have been here a few times and Abigail really enjoys skating which thrills me because I used to love to skate when I was a kid too, and I love how this is something fun we can do together. She gets better each time we return! I can tell she's anxious to skate better because she kept trying to imitate me as I did a skating spin to turn around to watch her or try to take pictures/video.
Abigail had asked if I would skate with her so I decided to wear my Polar FT4 and see what type of calories I would burn skating. We skated for a bit over 30 minutes and I burned about 150 calories. If I had been continuously skating for 30min straight, I'm sure it would have been a higher calorie burn.
The lady helping Abigail is Miss Denise, she's an employee of the skating rink and couldn't be nicer! She is so encouraging with all the children and helps them learn to skate without the skating helpers. Abigail is definitely cautious but you can tell she seems to appreciate the help because she's doing it more independently than with the skating helper. So much fun!

Friday: 4 Miles or XT
Abigail and I attended another morning playdate before coming home to pack for our weekend in Auburn. Brewer was also getting his own separate weekend outing, so I had to get his stuff together as well. As expected, there was no working out or running done. On our way to Auburn we stopped to have dinner with my in-laws, nephew and niece. I was nervous about the not fried options at O'Charley's. I ordered tilapia and sweet potato fries (my new favorite) and managed to resist THREE baskets of their delicious rolls.

Saturday: LR: 8 Miles
While I'll post separately about A-Day in Auburn, as expected I did not get a true workout or run but from all the walking we did around the campus I had to have walked a good couple miles throughout the day. I tried to make good food choices throughout the day, and while they were not great choices, I did also resist the funnel cake Abigail wanted (and we waited at least 15mins for). It was slight torture seeing the sad bit of funnel cake that would not get eaten, but I was very proud of myself for not giving into the "there are hungry children in this world" mentality.


Sunday: Rest
We took it easy coming home from Auburn which was much needed after a very long Saturday! When we made it back home, Matt took Abs to pick up Brewer while I headed to the gym to get in a run. I managed a 5mi run at an 12mm pace. I struggled the first two miles like I usually do but by the time I was almost finished, I didn't want to stop. It's probably better I did stop at 5mi because I don't need to overdo it before the new week even starts.

QUESTIONS:
-Have you purchased any item contributing to or donated directly to The One Fund Boston?
-How do you manage crazy weeks, when they are expected or unexpected?