Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Running Review

Me and USA Olympian, Nick Symmonds at the Lakefront Marathon
2012 was a great year in running for me. It was definitely a lot of miles and hard work, but I don't regret one second of it. I learned a lot about myself - priorities, abilities, things I can work on. I plan to take this year's running and build on it in 2013. I have big goals for the next year but here are some of the highlights from 2012:

2012 Lighthouse Run Champion in the Women's 4 Mile

  • One of the most exciting and heartbreaking days of my whole life - winning the Women's 4 Mile in the Lighthouse Run in my hometown (Racine, WI.) You might not recall or maybe you never read about my related heartbreak; you can find THAT story here. I'm still not over it and I plan to get even when I rock the shit out of that course this summer. I digress.
  • I started Lace & Race as a direct result of my performance and the review of my run at the LHR. L&R has been a fun way to vent and connect with the rest of you runnerds. (@laceandrace)
  • I started a "Running Savings Account." This sounds weird, I guess - but I decided to reward myself for all the time I spend running. The gist of it is this: For every 1 mile I run, I deposit 50 cents into a savings account. It might not seem like a lot, but it adds up. I will be paying for my trip to Boston (which is RIDICULOUSLY expensive) with that silly little idea. You should try it - at the end of the year, that's a sweet little pot to spend on fun.
  • I trained for and ran my first half marathon in the summer as part of my build up for my full marathon in the fall. I ran the Summerfest Rock 'n Sole in Milwaukee. I was pretty satisfied with my time, considering it was my first! 1:35:24  I did learn that I am not a huge fan of this distance, as a race. I like it as part of my training plan but I like shorter distances or fulls much better. I'll keep running halves though.
  • I ran my first full 26.2 at the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee! I loved this distance so much. I ran 3:18:45 - and I think I was a little conservative, since it was my first. I plan to spend this whole year training to run the same course in the fall, but I want to run a sub-3 hour marathon. I think its reasonable. Go big or  die trying!
  • During my marathon, I achieved the only goal I set for myself that day: run a BQ! So - I'll be running the 117th Boston Marathon in April. I don't quite have the words for how excited I am. I love that I get to participate in such a prestigious event - such history and so many talented people have run (will run) that course. I could just explode with happiness. I'm currently training my ass off for it, so I can compete confidently. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Resolution Number Two: Stay Positive

My second runner resolution for the next year (and the next 100 years) is to stay positive.  It seems simple enough, but every year - I find myself frustrated and like I have lost some amount of control in my life (I am a Virgo; control issues are part of the gig.) Let's face it: grumpy and negative people suck....literally, they suck the life and fun out of things. I don't want to be one of those fun-suckers, so I want to do what I can to be HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY. Happiness = Success!

Stay Focused Poster from TriciaODesign/
 I really hope that I am able to do exactly what the poster says: stay focused, stay positive and keep moving forward. I have a lot of lofty, kinda crazy goals for myself this year and they will require a tremendous amount of determination and commitment. There is no room for self doubt, doubt from others or negativity that could detract from my master plan.

How will you stick to this resolution, you ask? Well, here you go:
  1. I will have reasonable and attainable goals
  2. I will allow myself some flexibility in my life, including time for myself and the things I love
  3. I will quit hanging around with negative, icky people. I don't really do this now, but I will protect my time by ditching the complainers or nay-sayers
  4. I will eat well because eating badly = lazy and crabby
  5. I will diligently stick to my workout plan, come hell or high water, because THE MASTER PLAN
  6. I will tell bad jokes that I think are hilarious and I will laugh at them
  7. I will get good sleep that lasts more than a few hours at a time
  8. I will say "No, thanks" to things I don't want to do
  9. I will try to find a career that I actually want to pursue - something that I am excited about
  10. I will try new things this year. If I love them, cool. If I fail or hate them, at least they were new!
I think we could all stand to take a step back and think about what is keeping us from being happy every day. I know that I don't have the time to let a lack of focus or negative thoughts keep me from achieving my goals for 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Resolution Number One: Clean Food

Normally - like 90% of the time - I eat well. I think I eat impressively well. It's not that I'm SOOO concerned about the food that I put in my mouth; I just prefer things that grow in the ground. I think they taste better, so that is a no-brainer to me.

Tonight's Dinner: Acorn  Squash, Wild Rice and Rosemary Roasted Veg
I do plan and cook all of my own food, with the exception of a Friday night dinner date. I have lots of veggies growing in my yard - kale, tomatoes, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, peas, radishes, etc. Nothing beats cooking with items right from my yard, so I do it all the time. I take a lot of care to prepare things as freshly and cleanly as I know how. Everyday. So yes - I care about what I eat and how I fuel my body. We runners have to care about it or we cannot compete well.

BUT...the holidays. Oh, the holidays. I still try to make good choices but it is inevitable that diets change over the holidays - if only for the fact that you are not making all of your own food anymore. It would be rude to show up to the pot luck at work or Grandma's Christmas party and ask if the ingredients are organic. Normal humans suck it up and pig out! Plus, holiday food is FUN! It's usually traditional or naughty or loaded with fat and sugar or...just different than usual! There is a lot of love in those meals and the times built around them.

My scale does not care about Christmas memories. Nope. My scale is a rat bastard that stands around with a calculator adding up every naughty calorie I stuffed into my pie hole. What a jerk. Then - when all the fun has ended and the holidays are done - that rat bastard hands me the bill in the form of a few extra pounds and a grumpy attitude. I hate that guy.

All that being said: I vow to get back on track with a clean diet just as soon as I put my champagne glass down when the ball drops. Promise!

Runner Food: (The Best Ever) Power Scones

If you're a runner, then you understand that this whole runner's diet can be a complex and sometimes annoying beast. Did I get enough protein? How many carbs today? Too much fiber?

I think these same questions can be even more confusing if you happen to be a vegetarian. People ask me all the time, "How are you able to train for a marathon AND be a vegetarian? You can't possibly eat enough." False! I eat like crazy, run like crazy and it's all fueled perfectly well.

One of my favorite post-run recovery foods is the recipe below for power scones. I can't say that I came up with it, because I didn't - but I did adapt it a little. They're wonderful on-the-go food, they make a perfect breakfast, they're delicious, they'll make you full for a long time AND they are loaded with the good stuff. They are worth the trip to get the weird ingredients (Whole Foods has all of it for really reasonable prices in the bulk section!) I suggest buying enough ingredients so you can double, triple, quadruple the recipe because you WILL eat the hell out of these.

(The Best Ever) Power Scone


½ C rolled oats (old fashioned oats, not quick oats)
2 C whole wheat flour
¼ C wheat bran
¼ C almonds (ground or chopped)
¼ C pecans (ground or chopped)
2 T millet
2 T ground flax seed
2 T whole flax seed
½ C brown sugar
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
6 T cold butter
¾ C low-fat or non-fat greek yogurt
1/8 tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp orange zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries (Craisins work fine)


1. Mix all dry ingredients through salt.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the dough looks like fine bread crumbs.
2. Mix yogurt, egg, vanilla, lemon zest, orange zest and lemon with a whisk.  Add to dry ingredients with the cranberries.
3. Form scones into the size and shape you desire.  Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes, depending on size, until golden brown. (If you make super huge scones, keep baking until the tops are turning golden brown.)
4.Voila! Enjoy. You can eat these right away. Save them in storage containers for up to a week or freeze them for later!