Monthly Archives: April, 2012

Veggies… In Pancakes??

I grew up in a really awesome, really loud, really BIG Italian family. Food was basically the center of everything. I associate food with great memories and a feeling of family togetherness. So as an adult, I’ve developed quite an interest in cooking. Cooking food at home is the healthiest and cheapest option so you know I’m all over that!!

Recently, Tuesday nights have become my favorite night of the week. I teach my spinning class right after work, Mike picks me up, and then I cook dinner at my apartment for us. We have a lot of fun hanging out and goofing off in the kitchen (Mike helps!). As runners, both of us make an effort to eat healthy so I’ve been experimenting a lot with different healthy recipes. Last Tuesday, I made a chicken and spinach skillet dish accompanied  by SkinnyTaste Summer Squash and Chive Pancakes.

I got summer squashes in my produce delivery (I use Washington’s Green Grocer… they are the BOMB. More on that later) and I was kind of lost on how I wanted to use them. The skin in the outside of summer squash isn’t my favorite texture, so I don’t love them cut up and sauteed in a pan. However, the idea of pureeing them into pancakes was very appealing. Here’s how it turned out… (Mike took some of these pictures too so yay! Good job honey!)

Lovely ingredients. I do not have a food processor unfortunately (it’s on my wish list) so I used a hand mixer. It wasn’t perfect but it worked.

There is nothing that spectacular about this chicken dish and I wouldn’t dare to refer to it as “original”. I did not use a recipe from the internet for this one though, so here’s a little info:

Ingredients: Diced chicken meat (this is thigh meat because my grocery store was out of breast meat… how does this happen? We may never know), a huge bunch of fresh spinach I eventually chopped up, some leftover chives from the pancakes, Fat Free Italian salad dressing, and Balsamic Vinegar. I cooked the chicken in a skillet with the Italian dressing (I hope this doesn’t seem weird – I sometimes use this instead of oil for cooking because it provides moisture and a little flavor without fat or a lot of calories) and balsamic vinegar.

Add the spinach and chives on top. Fresh spinach cooks down a TON so put a big pile on top. I added a little more balsamic vinegar and some sea salt to finish up.

Bon Appetite! I know I said I wasn’t drinking any alcohol the week before my marathon but Mike got a really nice bottle of white and it was awesome. I had one glass and also drank a coconut water, so I think it evened out 🙂
Note: I live in a studio apartment, I do not have a kitchen table so we eat at the coffee table. It’s not ideal but we have fun with it. I also don’t have place mats, so we use old issues of Runners World and Fitness magazine. You know, sometimes you just gotta work with what you’ve got!

Just to give you an appreciate of how laughably small my kitchen is, I will share this picture. Yes, this is the ENTIRE kitchen. I have like 2 square feet of counter space that is available for food prep and no dishwasher. It has definitely forced me to get creative 🙂 But it works for me for right now.

Hehe my other little kitchen helper, Fig.
(seen here sitting on my computer obscuring my view of the squash pancakes recipe)

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Packing for The Big “Away Game”

Get ready for it folks… I’m about to go negative. About packing that is (hehe almost got you there didn’t I? Look at me, cracking jokes). I really really really don’t like packing. I’m super Type A so it totally stresses me out! That and I, without exception, always wait until the last minute to do it. I inevitably forget some critical item too, every time! I one time spent an entire weekend in New York City with no bra (not a SINGLE one). This might have been something I should have considered when signing up for my first marathon in a city that is 700 miles away.

However, on a typical trip, if I forget something major it’s just an awesome excuse to go shopping! But I am traveling to my first marathon here. I need my “Tried-and-True, Nothing New” stuff with me!! I need MY STUFF not new stuff. There are also a lot of variables in play here that make packing tricky. What if it rains? Should I wear a baseball cap or a headband? How hot will it be? Tank Top or Technical Tee? What if my feet are in bad shape after the race? What if I just can’t face the thought of wearing pants? (Don’t laugh! I often feel this way after extended bouts of exercise) Will I look ridiculous if I bring my cow girl hat?? (Answer… Don’t care, it’s coming with me). Anyways, I thought I’d share my packing plan and some tips for traveling to an out of town race.

  1. If you are traveling to a race that requires you to get on an airplane, unless you have at least two days from when you arrive until the race, CARRY ON. This is like a Murphy’s Law thing. Don’t tempt fate! I don’t really enjoy carrying on that much (you have to lug all your stuff around, including to the bathroom, and then let’s not forget how there is like a black market for space in the overhead bins on airplanes now!) but I need to ensure I will have all my stuff in the right place.
  2. Make a super, super detailed list. Mine appears below with some pictures. People make fun of me all the time for my list-making but you know what? It’s awesome.
  3. Don’t forget the little stuff / accessories for running. If you listen to music make sure you bring iPod, charger, maybe even an extra set of headphones. Body Glide, water belt if you wear one, extra pairs of socks, Gels / Blocks / Beans whatever you use, running sunglasses, a hat, hair accessories, rain gear, maybe a pair of arm sleeves just in case, compression gear, band-aids, etc.
  4. Print out all your materials ahead of time. Chances are you won’t have easy access to a printer so save yourself the hassle and print out confirmation emails, race information, etc ahead of time. I travel with a folder filled with all my information for easy access. Boarding passes, passport, restaurant reservations, race info, parking, hotel info, all of it.
  5. Try to relax and have some fun 🙂
The infamous packing list… no I was seriously not kidding when I said really, really detailed.
The lucky few who will be making the trip to Nashville!
Ahem… excuse me Fig!
I’m all packed and ready to go! Wish me luck… Nashville HERE I COME!

Marathon Style

Tomorrow, I fly out to Nashville for THE BIG DAY! Haha oh no, not my wedding day… MARATHON DAY. As I have mentioned (probably more than you would like), I am running the Rock’n’Roll Nashville Country Music Marathon this Saturday! So this week one of my main focuses has been selecting the PERFECT marathon outfit. I love fitness and working out and talking about fitness and writing about working out… love it. However, I also love, possibly equally, WORKOUT CLOTHES. I kind of love clothes in general and would like to eventually talk a little more about that on the blog. I’m kind of nervous about talking about my “style” on here because I don’t want to open myself up to harsh criticism (hey, we all have our insecurities, just trying to be open and honest about mine!). But the idea of fashionable “designer” workout clothes has really exploded in the last few years and I find it a really interesting trend.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Lululemon when they first started entering the US market (for those who do not know, Lululemon is a Canadian based company that started out as teeny tiny showrooms in the US and then EXPLODED into arguably one of the most popular athletic clothing brands). Since then, so many cool brands have popped up selling stylish and functional clothing for running, yoga, and other athletic pursuits. Here’s the catch for us workout fashionistas on a budget… they’re EXPENSIVE. That being said, they’re also probably the best quality workout gear you can get. I still have the FIRST pair of Lululemon pants I bought (bought the Groove Pant back in December 2007 for $98). I have worn them probably 200 times and they are still good as new. My strategy for buying workout apparel is as follows: balance your workout wardrobe with a mixture of lower cost items for day to day activities and higher cost / quality items that will really last you. I wear my best quality stuff for my really tough workouts – long runs, races, really intense hot yoga classes, and my other stuff for spinning classes, weight lifting, etc. Treat yourself, occasionally, to a few really good pieces… your non chafed body will thank you 🙂

Below are some of my current workout clothes obsessions:

              

  1. Lululemon Run: A Marathon Crop in Black/Menthol/Wee Stripe White Menthol – Don’t have… WANT. Wanted to buy them for my marathon but wasn’t in the budget this go around. Still keeping my eye on them and will probably be making the investment in the near future.
  2. prAna Ashley Knicker Legging in Coral  – Have… LOVE. The color rocks. I feel like I’m ready to party when I wear these pants. Plus they’re super fitted, so they’re not going ANYWHERE no matter what I am doing.
  3. Lululemon Scoop Neck Tank in Discover Stripe White / Deep Indigo / Aquamarine – Have… LOVE. Will be running my marathon in this tank this weekend! It’s bright enough that hopefully my parents / Mike will be able to find me in the crowd.
  4. ALO Clothing Geo Tank in Tango Red / Fusion*  – Don’t have… WANT. I have other ALO items and they’re awesome. I have one of their sports bras that is close to this style. It’s adorable and really high support.
  5. Lucy Enlighten Mesh Tank in Plumeria** – Don’t have… WANT. I’m digging the trend of the sports bra with a looser top over it, especially with the adjustable cord along the bottom. There is nothing worse than trying to focus on my handstand and being suffocated by my top!
  6. Athleta Organic Cotton Brahma Legging in Black – Don’t have… WANT. I am really into the leggings with a long roll down over it. They are fashionable and cover areas where you may not want people to see ALL your details.

* Got the picture HERE.

** Got the picture HERE.

How To: Skinny Coffeehouse Coffee at Home

Are there any other java junkies in the house??? WHOOT WHOOT. As mentioned previously mentioned here, I love coffee. I have been drinking coffee since I was in sixth grade, which I’m sure some people would say isn’t that great for you but I was fully grown at that point and I seem to have turned out alright. We were just a coffee loving house. I remember my parents savoring that first cup in the morning… it was a ritual. My love of coffee grew exponentially when I discovered Starbucks, especially White Chocolate Mochas (if you’ve read the About section of this blog, you will recall that I was a very heavy teenager… I think whole milk WCMs may have contributed in some way). Fun fact… I also worked at Starbucks while in high school. That’s right… BARISTA BABY!

But I digress to the purpose of this post, and it is really two-fold. First, I love the taste of flavored coffee beverages but don’t want a ton of excess fat and calories in my diet. I love to eat so I really make an effort to save my calories for consumption in food not drink. Second, as you may have noticed from the general theme of this blog, my budget is really tight. I simply cannot afford to buy coffee from a coffeehouse every single day. I occasionally grab a drink from a coffeehouse as a treat on a Saturday or Sunday, but during the week I can’t afford such luxuries. So how do you make delicious coffeehouse style coffee that is both budget- and diet-friendly? I give you my at-home coffee system!

Ingredients are very basic. This is a hand-me-down coffee pot from my parents (Thanks Mom & Dad!). I buy basic ground Columbian coffee. I happen to be drinking Folgers at this time, but I sometimes change depending on what is on sale at the grocery store. If I am lucky enough to bum a trip to Costco off someone with a membership, I buy the big container… SUPER cheap. I really don’t like flavored coffees (like Hazelnut) brewed at home, they just don’t taste the same / right to me! My “at-home coffee” world changed when I realized that I could mix different spices in with the coffee grounds to get that delicious coffeehouse flavor! I am currently crushing on a combination of ground cinnamon and ground ginger. I started using just cinnamon because one of my favorite breakfast places in DC (Booeymongers) has cinnamon coffee and it is THE BOMB. The ground ginger gives it a little more of a pumpkin pie feeling.

Sprinkle your spices right on top of the coffee grounds when preparing to brew. You don’t even need to mix! Other spices you could use could include all spice, pumpkin pie seasoning (or any kind of pie seasoning really), nutmeg, ground vanilla, or ground cocoa. Go nuts and get creative! The flavor is so much better when it’s brewed with the grounds as opposed to just adding it to the cup after.

Next step is to identify a delicious but diet friendly cream option. I have tried probably a million different ones so if you have a question or need a recommendation… just ask! I am currently using CoffeeMate Natural Bliss in Sweet Cream at home, but I have the Light Vanilla version at the office. I love these because they taste great but are just milk and cream… no other weird non-dairy ingredients. I also try not to have a lot of artificial sweeteners in my diet, so this gives me just a touch of sugar / flavor without all the synthetic stuff. Other favorites include Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze, plain half and half, and the seasonal flavors of CoffeeMate (specifically Pumpkin Spice and Warm Cinnamon Sugar Cookie – which are sadly only available around the holidays).

Be sure to watch the amount of creamer you add to each cup… just a splash will do you! This is all I need to turn a good morning into a great morning. Enjoy 🙂


Race Review: George Washington Parkway Classic 10 Miler

My boyfriend Mike is my go-to racing buddy, and not just because he is my boyfriend. It is because I have yet to meet another person who is as nuts about racing as I am. This spring alone we have run five races together including two back-to-back 10 milers in one weekend. We don’t run even close to the same pace (he is SUPER fast and really impressive) but it’s great to have such a dedicated racing buddy. I sometimes joke with him that he’s all business on race day (I may have even referred to him as No-Fun-Mike from time to time) but it’s all in good fun. He is an amazingly supportive racing buddy 🙂

This past Sunday, Mike and I are ran the George Washington Parkway Classic 10 – Miler sponsored by Pacers. If you live in the DC area I seriously suggest checking out / participating in any of the Pacers racing events. They are always extremely well organized, which I hold paramount in racing. This weekend’s race was held on the ten mile stretch of the George Washington Parkway from Mount Vernon to Old Town, Alexandria. The course was GORGEOUS – through the trees / suburbs outside DC with views of the Potomac River. It was also pretty challenging! While the point-to-point course had a net downhill grade, the rolling hills still proved a fun challenge.
Parking was a breeze (at least for us). We got there amazingly early because we’re kind of anal and don’t like to be rushed. We parked on the street in Old Town at 5:45 am, boarded the shuttles to the starting line, and arrived at Mount Vernon at 6:10 am. Annnnnddddd then we had almost two hours until the start of the race. Luckily, Pacers provided some AMAZING pre-race ammenities at Mount Vernon. Some examples are below:

PLENTY of bathrooms… lines were amazingly short even right before the race. CHA CHING.

Food was available pre-race including free coconut water from the people of Vita Coco.

FREE COFFEE!!!!! And that was great because it was cold / raining and I ❤ coffee.

There were also space blankets, which were totally clutch because, as mentioned above, it was cold and raining. I personally won’t be deterred by rain, especially a light rain like Sunday. I just throw on a hat to keep the rain off my face and I am good to go. Luckily, Pacers had gear trucks, so I was able to keep my fleece on until 7:45 am when we checked our bag and made our way to our respective starting positions.

Mike lined up in the 7 minute mile corral, and I lined up at the 10 minute mile corral. I was supposed to be taking this race “really easy” because my marathon is this weekend but, as I kind of expected, I couldn’t hold myself back! The road was totally closed for the race so there was plenty of space. Even though I lined up with a slower group, I quickly broke through to the 9:00 – 9:30 group. There were a shocking number of spectators out considering the weather, and that certainly helped me maintain my pace. Pacers had well stocked water / gatorade stations about every two miles with bathrooms (I didn’t stop, but the lines didn’t look awful). They also have a clock at every mile, which I think is a really great perk. I wear a Garmin Forerunner 210 so I know my pace / time, but, if I didn’t, I think this would be a very welcomed feature. The race felt like it flew by and, even though I was starting to feel a little tweak in my left hip flexor from all the hills, I managed to maintain my pace to cross the finish line in 1:32:30 (My previous 10-mile PR was 1:37:01 so… I basically killed it!).

The post race festival was held on the water in Old Town Alexandria. I think we would have stayed longer if it wasn’t raining / cold because it was set up really well! There were bathrooms, water, gatorade, bagels, granola bars, and bananas (that, like all race bananas, needed another 5 days to ripen before I would consider eating them… but I’m weird about bananas). We even got a sugar cookie with a big green leaf on it because it was Earth Day! There was beer available too but we didn’t venture into that area. I occasionally enjoy a post-race beer, but we were heading to a beer tasting event that afternoon so I didn’t think a 10 am beer was necessary.

Run a Pacers event, you won’t be sorry!

For those interested, Mike ran 1:07:41, just off his PR (which he set at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler earlier this spring).
He rocks 🙂

Five Days to Glory

As unbelievable as it may seem… I made it through my marathon training!

I have been training for 18 weeks… I have run almost 500 miles to prepare (it will be 525 miles TOTAL after the race on Saturday) including two half marathons, three 10-milers, one 8K, and one 5k. I have had great runs, crappy runs, runs ending in victory, and runs ending in a pile on the ground with leg cramps. I even cried once for two miles of an 18 mile run. I have had days where I felt like an amazing, unstoppable, female athlete phenomenon, and other days where I have resigned to quitting this whole thing and crawling into bed with a gallon of ice cream. This has been a ridiculous and crazy journey and in just FIVE DAYS I will be able to say I ran a marathon.

Here’s me after yesterday’s Parkway Classic 10-Miler in Old Town, Alexandria.
Final Race Pre-Marathon!

So here’s the big question… what does one do to prepare for 26.2 daunting miles? Here are a few things I’ll be doing to prepare.

  1. Running – I am only running three miles today, two on Wednesday, and two on Thursday. I will be running those at a VERY easy pace. I just want to shake out my muscles and keep my body moving.
  2. Eating – I’ll be upping my calorie intake a bit this week to prepare. I’ll be focusing on healthy carbohydrates (whole grains, starchy veggies, and lots of fruit) and lean proteins.
  3. Drinking – TONS of water / other hydration materials. No alcohol (sad face).
  4. Sleeping – Going to make a concerted effort to get at least 7 hours a night for the entire week. Hopefully I can even get 8 a couple nights. I want my body primed and ready to go and sleeping is probably the most important part of any recovery.
  5. Other exercising – I plan on scaling back a bit in terms of my other workouts. I will still teach my spinning class on Tuesday but I may skip the Pilates class I normally take at lunch. I normally lift weights about three times per week, I may only go once this week and ease up on my weights a bit. This is certainly not the week to be sore from lifting! I think I’m going to try and focus mostly on yoga this week. That will help me stretch out pre-race and also keep my mind focused and relaxed.
  6. Packing – oy. Flight leaves EARLY on Friday morning so I need to start thinking about packing. Probably will write a post about it so more to come on that soon!

How To: Bargain Running Shoes

Let me start off by saying: I… LOVE… SHOES. I love them love them love them. I own probably over 100 pairs (no, that’s not an exaggeration… I can feel your judgment coming through the computer screen). In the words of Lady Gaga, I was born this way! When I was a little girl and my parents would have visitors over to the house, I would go upstairs, take all my shoes out of the closet, bring them down, and show them to everyone (score 1000 blog points for adorable childhood story).

However, when I took up running my experience was a little different. As is pretty evident at this point, my budget is REALLY tight. I am the queen of bargain shopping and I have come up with many crafty ways to have over 100 pairs of really fabulous shoes on my budget. But running shoes are totally different. First off, they can be SUPER expensive and they wear out kind of quickly (especially when compared to the shoes I have owned since freshman year of college and are still going strong). A good pair of running shoes can get about 500 miles on it, but some really vary. I run a lot of miles, so 500 miles goes by a lot quicker than my budget can handle at $100 a pop. On the other hand, you really don’t want to skimp when it comes to your running shoes. I have a knee injury that needs kindness, and I want to be running for a lot of years to come. So here are a couple tips for buying great running shoes when you’re on a budget.

  1. Shop the sale section (DUH!). Do your research ahead of time. Make sure the shoe is the right kind of shoe for your stride (if you haven’t had a stride analysis you can usually get a free one at a running store, or you can get one over the internet here!). You also want to pay attention to things like weight and heel drop.
  2. Buy closeout models. Running shoe companies release new models of shoes ALL THE TIME. Find a great website where you can buy the “old” model on closeout.
  3. Use a discount website. I might get some heat for this and, trust me, I would love to support small local running stores more. I just can’t ignore the deals online… SORRY!  My go-to running shoe website is Running Warehouse. Free 2-day shipping, Free Returns, always great closeout sales.
  4. Keep a spreadsheet of the mileage you track on each pair of shoes in your rotation (or just your current pair if that’s how you roll). This can let you know when a pair is getting close to retirement, and you can make some room in your budget.
  5. Keep “retired” shoes for other activities. Just because a shoe is done for distance running doesn’t mean you have to throw them away. I have old shoes EVERYWHERE. I keep a pair under my desk, a pair at my parent’s house, and two pairs at home. I wear them to my softball games, walking around the city, to the gym for a non-running workout (like lifting, spinning, etc.) You don’t need a special pair of sneakers for those activities.

Here are the shoes that are currently in my rotation with some information on price etc.

Adidas Marathon 10 Women. These are actually reaching retirement sadly (I might just get another pair if I can find them). They are a great distance trainer. I wore these on almost all my long runs during marathon training. I don’t typically race in the them even though they’re really nice and light. I got these on sale at CitySports for around $50 (originally $80).

Asics Gel Speedstar 5 in Hot Pink.  I LOVE these shoes and will be running my marathon next weekend in these. They’re so light and the fabric is really cushy around the sides / top of your feet. I have raced my last two half-marathons in these and did my last 20 miler of marathon training in them. I got these from Running Warehouse (closeout sale) for $57.96 (originally $89.99) Although the link to the picture has them on sale at Lady Footlocker for $39.99 now… very interesting 🙂 There might be another pair of these in my future.

Nike Lunaracer + in Peach Cream / Glacier. Ahhh, my latest additions and aren’t they FABULOUS? They’re also a totally amazing running shoe. Super light, just the right amount of support under the foot (although a little less cushy than my other pairs). Great racing shoe. I have worn these up to the 10 mile distance as of right now. I expect to use them for longer distances though. I also got these from Running Warehouse (closeout sale) for $54.88 (originally $99.99) Once again the link I put up here has them for $39.99. Now might be a good time to buy some back ups for my current rotation…

** All the links under the shoes are where I got the pictures. Want to give credit where credit is due 🙂

Fit-tastic Potato Salad

If I had to describe my family, I would probably call us delightfully quirky. We just love a lot of weird stuff and we take our traditions REALLY seriously. For example, potato salad is less a dish at a summer picnic and more a way of life for us. Every summer I can remember included countless servings of my dad / grandmother’s famous potato salad, and the summer was not complete until the Labor Day barbecue featuring the Lady Josephine Potato Salad Contest. Oh no, you didn’t misread that. My family held an annual potato salad contest… and it.was.amazing. So every time I get the itch for summer, the first dish I think of is potato salad. Unfortunately, my family’s potato salad recipe is less than ideal on the nutrition facts (we use real mayonnaise, BACON, hard boiled eggs, and something my dad refers to as the “Bacon Fat Slurry”, I’ll let your imagination run wild there). Family potato salad is more of a treat for me.

But last night I came home from work after a solid six-mile run and I was HUNGRY. I only had an hour before heading out to a concert (saw Washed Out at the Black Cat … it was awesome). I also had a bunch on potatoes in my refrigerator that needed to be used, and I’m not 100% confident how long until a potato goes bad. I wanted potato salad with a healthy spin. When looking for a healthy-fied version of a favorite dish, the first place I always look is SkinnyTaste. If you haven’t been to this amazing blog… do yourself a favor and go!

I took the SkinnyTaste recipe for Baby Red Potato Salad but modified it slightly based on what I had / didn’t have in my refrigerator.

Here are my fabulous ingredients. Yeah, you like all my grocery store generic brand condiments? They’re my secret weapon for extreme budget cooking. Don’t knock the generic until you’ve tried it. As you can see, I did not have green onions or green pepper, but I had some leftover fresh green beans I made with dinner on Sunday, so I decided to use those. I also only had Canola Mayonnaise (as opposed to Light Mayonnaise) but I like it, so it was ok with me. Oh yeah, and one non-red potato ended up in there but I wasn’t about to leave a solider behind.

All chopped up and prepped!

Stir it all up and VOILA!

I decided to enjoy the potato salad with a salmon fillet sandwich. The sandwich is just wheat bread, a Gorton’s Grilled Salmon Fillet , some raw baby spinach, and a little mustard / canola mayo.

This recipe was REALLY good. It had more of tangy flavor than my family recipe (not surprising considering the mustard and red wine vinegar) but I really enjoyed it. My boyfriend also liked it, so I have a feeling it might be making another appearance in the future.

Combine One Training Program with a Heaping Tablespoon of Faith…

In the Fall of 2010, a mere three months after graduating from college, starting a job, and getting a big-girl apartment, my friend Elsa somehow managed to convince me to sign up for the Veteran’s Day 10K in Washington DC. Up until this point, I LOATHED running. I will choose to blame it on lingering scars from the mandatory mile in 5th grade gym class (if you read my “About” section you would know I was horribly overweight as a child… that mile was ugly). Even though I loved working out, I had never gotten up above 3 miles on a treadmill without stopping. I had a million excuses why I didn’t want to do it. “I like to exercise but I don’t want to turn it into a competition. I don’t think that would be good for me” “Runners are weird” “Runners are mean” “I’m not a runner”… the list goes on.

But for whatever reason (READ: I gained 40 lbs in college) I decided to give this 10K a go. I vaguely followed a training program I found online and was lucky enough to have the support of both Elsa (fellow WordPress blogger… check her out!) and our friend Haley the day of the race. Astonishingly, I finish the 10K (ran the whole time… whoot whoot) in 1:07:03. Just like that… I was hooked. Racing was literally the most addicting experience EVER. I had never felt more accomplished in my whole life, and the environment was so much more supportive than I ever thought it would be.

Since my first 10K a year and a half ago, I have run one 5K, two 8Ks, two 10Ks, two 10-milers, and five half marathons. I still can’t even tell you how this happened but somehow, in spite of myself and all my doubts / insecurities / childhood gym class scars, I became a runner. And in 10 days I will do something that I never ever ever ever ever believed I could… run a marathon. That’s right ladies and gentleman, on Saturday April 28th, 2012 I will compete in the Rock’N’Roll Nashville Country Music Marathon.

The main purpose of this post is to share with you what I have found to be the best tool for training for a new distance… get a training program and stick to it. I know that wasn’t that revolutionary but seriously I’m about to make an awesome point so just hang in there. When I decided to run my first half marathon, I didn’t actually believe that I could do it. The thought that I would run 13.1 miles was just too crazy to even consider a possibility. But I got a free training program (I used this one) off the internet and just decided to trust it. I took it one day, one run at a time… and it worked. So when I decided to just go for it with the marathon, I employed the exact same approach. I’ll write more in the future about some of the ups and downs of marathon training but for today here is the training schedule I used. I decided to start off with Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Training Program (available for free on Hal’s website… woo hoo I LOVE free stuff). I modified it slightly around my personal schedule / some spring races I really wanted to do. Here’s what I ended up with:

WEEKLY
MILEAGE

MON

TUE

WED

THU

FRI

SAT

SUN

19

3 m Run

Cross

5 m pace

3 m run

Rest / Cross

8

Rest

20

3 m Run

Cross

5 m run

3 m run

Rest / Cross

9

Rest

17

3 m Run

Cross

5 m pace

3 m run

Rest / Cross

6

Rest

23

3 m Run

Cross

6 m pace

3 m run

Rest / Cross

11

Rest

24

3 m Run

Cross

6 m run

3 m run

Rest / Cross

12

Rest

27.6

4 m Run

Cross

6.5 m Pace

4 m run

Rest

13.1

Rest

26.5

4 m Run

Cross

7.25 m pace

5.25 m run

Rest

10

Rest

30

Cross

5 m Run

4 m Run

7.5 m Run

Rest

14

Rest

33.5

Cross

6 m Run

8 m Pace

Cross

4.5 m Run

15

Rest

36

5 m Run

2 m Run

8 m pace

Cross

4 m Run

17

Rest

42

5 m Run

3 m Run

8 m run

Cross

3 m Run

18

8K

29.1

Cross

3 m Run

8 m pace

5 m run

Cross

Rest

13.1

37

Cross

4 m Run

8 m Pace

Cross

5 m Run

20

Rest

37

5 m Run

Cross

8 m run

4 m Run

Rest

10

10

38

Cross

5 m run

8 m Pace

Cross

5 m Run

20

Rest

28

5 m Run

Cross

6 m Run

Cross

5 m Run

12

Rest

24.1

5 m Run

Cross

6 m Run

Cross

3.1 Run

Rest

10

33.2

3 m Run

Cross

2 m run

2 m run

Rest

Marathon

REST


Welcome to Pennies on the Run!

Well here goes nothing! My best friend in the whole world (I’m sure a post will appear at some point about our wildly successful post-college long distance friendship) recently suggested that I consider writing a blog and my immediate reaction was, “Everybody and their mom has a blog! There is nothing exceptional about my life… who would want to read about it?” But then I got to thinking (what else is there to do on the 45 minute drive to my boyfriend’s house? yeah, we’ll get to that later too), maybe writing a blog isn’t completely narcissistic? Maybe it could be a really fun outlet? Suddenly, I had a million ideas of things I wanted to write about!

Here’s the general theme I came up with: a fitness blog that explores my burning love for exercise and shares some of my adventures in healthy (and occasionally not so healthy… I’m only human here) cooking, sprinkled occasionally with some light fashion, home decor, and lifestyle stuff. All of this on an EXTREME budget. (Get it… Pennies on the Run? hehe, another friend came up with most of it… she gets the credit!)

I want to have it all when I can barely afford half of it… I figure maybe we can help each other out through this blog 🙂