Saturday, February 26, 2011

How this marathon thing is going....

So, I've been doing this marathon training for what, three months? It actually feels a little like an eternity. I'm going to blame winter for getting in my way all the time. I'm all, "Hey, I need to run 6 miles today," and then Winter is all, "Ice storm! BOOM. Roasted."

And then two days later, I'm like, "I better get my 8-mile tempo run in." And Winter's like, "What? You wanted more snow and less shoulder to run on? I'm on it."

I hate winter. It's not a secret. I just don't like being cold and/or wet. I don't ski. I tried to take the girls I watch sledding, and while we had a grand old time when it was happening, I have barely been able to put my socks on for three weeks. My spine has abandoned me.

The only thing I've been able to somewhat successfully manage in the winter is running. Which is silly, considering it's one of the hardest things to DO in the winter. Everything is against you- the snow, the ice, the freezing temps (January was so cold everyone had frosty eyelashes with sun in the sky)... basically, Michigan winters are like a big eff you to anyone who runs. (Be kind when you drive by the us bundled-up kids running out there; I know we're using some of the road up, but we are working SO hard. Slow down a little, maybe give a little wave?) =)

But then again... running in winter is a great challenge. The fact of the matter is, if you're training for a marathon and you're not injured, you need to get your miles in. So, whether like four inches of snow in the road or not, you better just run through it.

There was one day I ran a week or two ago that the wind was so obnoxious I could barely move. I felt like I was running frickin' "Chariots of Fire" out there... yeah, the slowed-down version. "Bum bum bum bum buuummmm buuummm..." I was scheduled for six miles, and around 4.5 I was ready to quit. I thought, "I could just do five. This is dumb. I don't have to take this." Then, I thought, "Jen. If you were actually running the marathon for realsies, and we had this weather, you would NOT quit. You'd keep going." That was enough to steer my mental vibe in the direction it needed to go.

So overall, how do I think my training is going? Mostly well. I have days where I don't want to run because I'm exhausted. (It turns out, marathon training is very tiring???) But I have days where I feel pretty amazing, too. Sometimes I have to run on the treadmill, which I hate, because it's like running in place. But on the up-side, I can get some great tempo work done on a treadmill. Training is all about keeping a positive attitude, even if things suck a little. Think about what great muscle strengthening running on all that snow must be! By the time these roads dry up, we're going to be basically Hulks out there. So if you see a crew of 700 muscle-y beasts out there, running, come April? It's probably us.

So get ready.

"Running has given me the courage to start, the determination to keep trying, and the childlike spirit to have fun along the way. Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running." ~ Julie Isphording, Marathon winner

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Treats!

I'm wearing red tights, I'm licking envelopes, love is in the air or something... yeah, it appears to be Valentine's Day. Normally, I hate Valentine's Day with a fiery passion. It doesn't matter whether I'm in a relationship or not; it has to do more with the fact that a) red is simply not my best color, b) it's a giant waste of money, and b) it's a holiday based entirely on candy and cookies, whoop-dee-doo. The whole thing is just kind of lost on me.

BUT. In the spirit of the holiday (and ok, I *do* really like these red tights), I thought I'd post some low-sugar Valentine options. No sense in eating a whole box of chocolates just because it's February 14th... because I guarantee it wouldn't be widely acceptable on February 15th!

#5: WARM CINNAMON BANANAS. I feel like I've posted this before (it's a favorite of both myself and my boyfriend), but few things are more satisfying (or easy) as this dessert. Slice up a banana, sautee it in a frying pan with some butter/butter spray/butter flavored cooking spray. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You can serve it a host of ways. My favorites are with applesauce, or drizzled very lightly with warm peanut butter and/or very dark warm chocolate. (And when I say drizzle, I mean lightly. A little goes a long way.)

#4: LINDT 90% DARK CHOCOLATE. This chocolate tries to tell you that a serving size is four squares... but you certainly don't need that much. One square (which is enough to appease, honestly!) has a mere 55 calories, 5 grams of fat, and less than a gram of sugar. I like to have a square with a glass of red wine when I have some calories to spare!

#3: GREEN AND BLACK'S ORGANIC DARK 85%. If 90% is too much for you (some people think it's bitter, especially if you are just weaning yourself off of sugar), try this 85% from Green and Black. It is melt-in-your-mouth delish. A serving size is 12 pieces, which is practically half of a bar- you don't need that much. Six squares give you 125 calories, 10 grams of fat, and four grams of sugar.

#2: PLAIN GREEK YOGURT AND.... Vanilla. And bananas. Or strawberries. Or warm peanut butter and pecans. Or diced ginger and pears. Or... or.... you get the idea. Greek yogurt is thick, creamy, and you can dress it up any way you like. Much better for you than ice cream, and you can pack it up with nutritious and delicious fruit/nuts!

#1: FROZEN MANGO. Frozen mango is probably one of the things I always, always keep in my freezer. Sometimes, I eat it straight out of the bag. Sometimes, I let it sit for five minutes in a bowl and then eat it ever-so-slightly softened. And sometimes I mix it with other fruit or put it in a smoothie. My point is- mango is the whip. And frozen mango is even better.

Here's wishing you and yours a happy Valentine's Day. From my heart to yours!

until later...

"I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon." ~Author Unknown