Thursday, October 20, 2011

Glorious Autumn!

Today was the first day I ran in long tights and a jacket. The weather is absolutely wicked out there. Blustery and cold! I ordered a rain shield for the baby jogger, but it has yet to get here, so I had to wait until Don got home from work today so I could go for a run. I suppose I could've run on the treadmill, but I'm just not in that state of mind yet.

Yesterday I did my first tempo run by myself. I ran on our usual tempo loop that I've been running for years. I used my GPS to try and keep myself at a decent pace, but the stupid watch is always a bit off, so here I thought I was running about 6:30 pace and I was really running about a 6:15 pace. Not that I'm complaining, but I do feel like I would've been more likely to go 10 miles instead of 8 if I hadn't been pushing the pace a bit. I had to get back to the kids anyway so I didn't have the extra time. It's a nice step in the right direction with Philadelphia Marathon 4 weeks away!!

On Saturday I went up to Oakland, Maryland and ran the Autumn Glory 5k with some friends. In my old age I start out a lot slower than I used to, but I make up ground quickly. By the time I hit a mile I was leading the entire race. This is both a blessing and a curse for a woman! I'm used to having guys around me to pace off of and to block the wind. So when I hit the turn around point of the race it was like running into a wall! The wind was rediculous. A race that should be a fast course turned out to be a not so fast 19:20 for the win.

Sunday was my first 20 mile run in more than a year and a half. It felt great! Most of my runs have become progression runs simply because I am usually pushing the kids or I have to shake the rust off of the old legs, and Sunday was no different. Our last two miles were the fastest, so I was ecstatic! My toe is still bothering me some, but it really only hurts after runs, when it will throb for a while. I'm fairly sure that the toe nail will fall off, I'm just hoping it happens before Philly and not during.

Recipe of the Week

Pulled Pork Burritos

Put some pork loin in the slow cooker and cover with Root Beer. Let it cook on low for 6-7 hours. Pull and cover with Bar-b-que sauce. This is the pulled pork recipe I had, and while I was on my run I thought wouldn't it be great with some red beans and rice in a burrito. But I got home and I only had jumbalaya rice. So I used that instead. We loved it!! Simple, without the burrito shell it is gluten free too!

Picture of the Week
                                      Eileen and her pumpkin (Cousin JD's hand-me-downs)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just call me mountain goat!

This past week Don was away on business, so I was a single mom. Again I utilized the baby jogger, and also some good friends, so I could get in my runs.  I had one big test this week, I took the kids camping up at the Mountain Institute in Spruce Knob, West Virginia. I packed up the car and headed into the mountains all by myself, including setting up the tent for the first time in my life.

Now, you may be sitting there saying, SO What! But for this Jersey Girl, it's kind of a big deal. I wasn't in girl scouts, my family didn't go camping, and I was only allowed to go to 4H camp one year. So until the age of 25 I had very little outdoorsy experience. I do love it now though!

The trip to the mountains was also to run the half marathon portion of the WV Trilogy. Some crazy ultra runners, who will remain nameless, thought up this weekend of torture. On Friday there is a 50k, Saturday a 50 miler, then Sunday the half.  They also have a 5k that Don and I ran last year when I was pregnant.
                               finish line of the trilogy

Once you get outside of Elkins, you have no cell service. I was driving dirt mountain roads with two young kids and no cell service. I was a little nervous. But, I had enough food and water for two days and I wasn't completely isolated, there were some homes along the way, and it was a beautiful fall weekend, so there were lots of people around checking out the leaves.

Thanks to Lara Lehman I was able to run the half without worry. We started at 9 am and I left the kids in her capable hands at the finish line. After our first little 2 mile loop around the Mountain Institute's property, we headed down a huge downhill to a creek which we had to cross not once, but twice. I managed to stay relatively dry, although my friend Pete did splash me as I came through the creek the second time.  After heading down the creek for a bit, we started back into the trails for what seemed like forever uphill. This is where I stumbled a bit and may have broken my toe. I'm no doctor, but it hurts! I was about 5 miles in, so I just kept on running! Up and Up and Up we went until I'm pretty sure we were at the top of Spruce Knob (the highest point in WV). We finally got to turn around. We were on a road section of the course at this point, but I couldn't take full advantage of it because of my painful toe.  We headed back the way we came, then headed down a different trail. This took us to an open field, at which point I lost the trail. I stood there for about a minute trying to figure where we were supposed to go when two guys came from behind me and we finally found the marker down the field. I was being blinded by the sun and couldn't see it before. We then headed back onto a trail which went through some fields at which point we had to jump some farm fences. I had heard talk about a fence the night before and I thought "surely they are joking", but no, they were not, and there was not just one, but four. I think. I lost count!  While going over one of the fences I thought to myself  "I can't believe I am 36 years old and I am jumping friggin fences!" Then I thought "Good for me!!"After all that we came out along the creek again. Almost home at this point, but not before we had to climb back up the huge hill we went down in the 3rd mile.  I was happy to be at the finish line. But I must say, it was a fun race and a beautiful weekend for the second year in a row.
                                Eileen is a happy camper!

When I did get back to the finish (in first place), Eileen was playing on her blanket with her blocks and Travis was playing in the woods with some other kids. Neither seemed to be effected by my absence.  After I showered and packed up our tent, they had a pig roast and awards. We were then on our way back home, another adventure into the wilderness, with my broken toe on the pedal!

Recipe of the Week
Pumpkin Turkey Chili
I tbsp Vegetable oil, 1 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup green bell peppers, 1/2 cup yellow peppers, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 lb. ground turkey (I used two), 1 can diced tomatoes (I used two), 2 cups pumpkin puree, 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1 dash salt, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream.  Cook up the oil, onions, peppers and garlic in a skillet. Add the ground turkey to brown. Throw it all in the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 4-5 hours and then add the cheese and sour cream.

I added Corn because I didn't have yellow peppers and I like corn in my chili. I also added a can of kidney beans. Right now this is cooking in my crock pot.

 Picture of the Week
                                   Leaving the Mountain Institute

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Baby Joggin!

Lately I've been doing a lot of my running while pushing the kids in the Baby Jogger. I am fortunate enough to have a couple of hand-me-down baby joggers. The one that I am currently using is probably 10 years old and comes from my sister. So far it's working just fine and both the kids seem to enjoy trucking along in it, as long as it's a nice day.
Along with my awesome baby jogger, I am fortunate enough to have easy access to rail trails. This is nice because it is the only flat place in West Virginia to push 2 kids for 8 miles. My favorite new spot is the Cheat Lake Rail Trail which also has a nice park for Travis to play after we are done running. I do often take the kids up to Big Bear and push them there, but it is hillier and I don't like to do that more than a couple of times a week.

It would be very hard for me to push the kids from here at home since we only have about 1200 meters of paved road, and it would be difficult to get out of the way of any on coming cars.

I also have a treadmill in the basement, but I save this for winter. I really like to wait until the last possible moment to have to get on the "dreadmill" and run. I think a big part of what I love about running is being outside, so getting on the treadmill just is not appealing to me at all!

Race Recap!

Since my last post I have run 3 races. Two of those races were in one day. I really don't know what I was thinking!? I had planned on running the Scottdale Fall Festival 10k all along, hoping to win and get some cash. But then there was also the September Stride 5k in Morgantown that I always run and also had money. The 5k was at 9 am and the 10k was at 2:30pm, so I talked myself into doing both.

In the 5k I placed 3rd. There is always stiff competition there! I knew I wasn't going to have a great race because Eileen didn't let me sleep much the night before, so I felt tired from the get go. But then I took a nap in the car on the way up to Scottdale and I felt much better for the 10k, which I won.  Although I don't recommend doing 2 races in one day, I feel I am better off having done it, simply because I am partly trying to race myself into shape, so running two hard efforts in one day is good marathon training.

Yesterday I ran the Great Allegany Run 15k. This race in Cumberland, Maryland is slightly downhill for 10k and then a flat 5k on the end. I've run this many times before and knew what I was in for, I also knew my competition. After 2 miles I struck out on my own and tried to run a hard, even pace and finish strong. I wound up running 6:19 pace and getting the win. I was hoping for a bit faster, but I ran by myself for a while.

I now have 7 weeks until the Philadelphia Marathon, and who knows what will happen there!

Recipes of the week

Today was the 3rd in a series of blustery, cold, rainy days here. October has brought an early threat of snow to our little mountain. So I was thinking, after Don's request, that a chicken pot pie would be a good Sunday dinner.  I got some mixed stew veggies and some chicken, low fat cream of chicken soup, some all spice, and mixed it all up in a casserole dish. Then I whipped up some low fat biscuit mix and poured it on top. Pop it in the oven at 400 degrees. The recipe says 30 minutes, but this wasn't long enough to cook the chicken and veggies, so it wound up in the oven for an hour. It was delish!!

I also made a homemade apple pie with apples from our own apple tree! I used a frozen pie crust for the bottom and then made a pie crust from scratch for the top. Remembering our old neighbor Bea, I made a "healthy" crust using canola oil! It too was delish and probably the best pie that I've made. I've had better, but hey, this pie cost me about $2!

Pic of the Week!
Travis at the Buckwheat Festival