Blogging about dairy

I was thrilled to recently serve as a guest blogger for the Southeast Dairy Council’s blog, Dairy Delivers.

You can read my post here.

Their blog features recipes, nutrition tips, and of course the benefits of incorporating dairy into your healthy diet. I know I have posted about it here, but my favorite dairy products include chocolate milk and Cabot cheddar.

Enjoy!

 

Marine Corp Marathon recap

Nearly 5 months of training with

almost 500 miles ends with running

my first marathon, 26.2 miles … The Marine Corp Marathon

A few helpful details if you are just tuning in:

I followed the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan. We adjusted it slightly to match schedules & did run 20 miles twice instead of once. I did miss a few mid-week runs, but I always completed my long runs. I think they are the most important and you just need your legs to get used to the crazy distances.

I had a supportive husband and great friends with whom I trained. This was definitely helpful. For the mornings that I didn’t want to wake up and leave at 5:15AM, my husband was there to push me out the door and I knew my friends would be waiting.

If I can do this; you can do this.

We picked this one because it is known to be the People’s Marathon – very friendly and supportive. It is also driving distance, not too hilly, and not too flat.

Travel/Expo/Pre Race

I traveled with my husband, and two other couples. The girls were running, the husbands were race support. We decided to take the Amtrak – a little longer travel time wise, but we thought it would be easier since we would be taking the Metro, and we could actually stretch our legs more than in a car. With the kids safely attended to by grandparents, we all were looking forward to a little mini-vacation with a marathon thrown in. We found a townhome through VRBO in Capitol Hill – less expensive than a hotel, conveniently located, and more like the comfort of home.

We opted to skip the Expo on Friday night, but instead decided to start the carb loading with a great meal and wine at Trattoria Alberto. Just what we needed. We called it an early night and headed to the Expo on Saturday morning.

The Expo was easy to access off the Metro. They had you pick up your bib in one location then walk across the street to the actual Expo. Some people seemed a little confused by it, but it was fairly easy. It was crowded. We stood in a long line to purchase some official MCM gear at the Brooks area, but were underwhelmed by their selection. ET and I both found black hats that we really liked, and our friend Ria got a men’s shirt in a size small & a white hat. We hit up a few of our favorite vendors – Running Skirts & Sweaty Bands, but that was about it. With the threat of hurricanes and storms, they were selling a ton of “rain proof” jackets … we thought about setting up with a box of trash bags because the jackets were essentially no better, but we opted to head back to our townhouse to get off our feet. ET’s husband did manage  the deal of the century – the Wall Street Journal for 95 cents a week and a HUGE umbrella that went along with it. The umbrella became the joke of the weekend.

On the way back, we purchased our Metro cards for the next morning so we didn’t have to wait in another line. The boys watched football and the girls all enjoyed some downtime on our collective ipads, tablets, and smart phones. We forced ourselves out for a 2-mile shake out run around Capitol Hill and came back to the guys preparing dinner. Chicken, pasta, veggies, and bread. What more could a marathoner ask for?

We went to bed with weather forecasts still questionable, but we were hopeful that the skies would be clear.

Race Day!

My alarm(s) went off at 4:15 and 4:20 with our departure time set for 5:45. I got up at 4:20, knowing that the coffee should be done. ET and I like to have a little coffee time before anything else in the morning. Luckily, C had already gone downstairs to make sure it was brewing. Good guy.

We woke up with coffee, dressed, ate, visited the potty, took photos, put on our 26.2 tats, hoped we had all the necessities, wrapped up in our Snuggies and bathrobes and set off for a 10 minute walk to the metro. It was actually warmer than we expected and the forecast was considerably better than the previous night.

First metro ride was easy and uncrowded. The 2nd was more of what I expected. Standing room only, noisy, but fun in only a way that a train full of nervous runners could provide. We got to the Pentagon Station easily and somehow easily hooked up with our other running buddy, HB. Let’s just say that with 20-30,000+ people milling around, even while talking on the phone to each other isn’t an easy task.

We waited in the porta potty line, then checked our bags at the UPS trucks. Neither wait was that long – people were chatty and very complimentary of our attire. 🙂

Knowing that we would not be crossing the finish line at 7:55 when the Howitzer sounded, we casually walked to the starting line, found our estimated time corral and starting walking to the start. I was definitely nervous, excited, and anxious to find out what this experience would all really feel like.

Around 8:20 AM, the four of us crossed the start line prepared to tackle 26.2 miles.

The first two miles were slow. Lots of people, plus we were starting on a hill. Nothing major, but enough to slow you down. We went through a tunnel early on and my Garmin stopped for a bit, but nothing drastic. Miles 3-6 were really pretty. We were in Rosslyn – parts reminded us of the Blue Ridge Parkway – windy roads, lots of beautiful trees. Then it turned somewhat residential with a few neighbors out cheering. Around Mile 7, Ria and I got separated from ET and HB. We kept expecting to find them again, but sadly we didn’t find each other until after the finish. We made it to Georgetown and there were lots of people cheering and it was definitely a lot louder than Rosslyn. Fraternity boys, groups dressed like cows – lots of spirit, cheering, Halloween candy offerings, etc.

At mile 10 we were heading toward the Potomac River area and this was the first place we saw the boys. It was great to see them – they had our bananas. We were equally excited about both! We stopped quickly, grabbed the banana, gave a kiss, and we were off. The Potomac River area was pretty long. Mile 10-15 were at this stretch. It was windy and got a little cold. There weren’t as many crowds in this area, but someone had placed TONS of signs with funny sayings, celebrity race times and that definitely helped lighten the mood. Also there were many Remember the Blue signs with photos of fallen soldiers – so many were so young, pictured with children, and at the end of the signs were volunteers all standing with American flags. Definitely a touching part of the race and I was thankful for the distractions of funny and humbling signs here.

I was glad to be back to a different part of the course and sped up quite a bit … to the point, I had to shout at Maria that we  were way too fast and we backed off. Oh well, at least I had a little surge of energy. We knew we were going to see the guys around mile 17 and I think she and I were anxious to spot them again.

At Mile 17.5 is the Gauntlet area where you have to maintain a 14-minute mile in order to continue. We knew we were OK and just kept watching for the guys. We saw them shortly after this, gave another kiss, grabbed another banana. C said “I am so proud of you!” and we were off.

At this point, my mind was a little fuzzy, not feeling bad – just trying to think about how much time was left, how many more miles to go. I’m bad enough with math period, but trying to do it around Mile 18 just wasn’t happening.

This was a neat area of the course – running past the Smithsonian, Capitol Building, etc., but I found myself running out of steam. I ate my banana, asked Ria for some stories. At one point she had said, “I know we aren’t talking, but it’s just nice to have someone to run with.” and I totally agreed. There were people calling our names and cheering and I was thankful to have my name on the front of my shirt.

We made it to Mile 20 and “beat the bridge” – another area of the course that you have to pass by a certain time. After this, things got a little strange. Just felt slow and sluggish, but kept on going. Gatorade tasted too sweet, but I knew I probably needed it. We ran into another friend AK on the course which was fun. I think seeing her picked up our spirits as it did hers. I will say, Ria never seemed uncomfortable, tired, or otherwise. She just kept going, waving, taking photos as I felt like I was giving half-assed waves and smiles at people. I popped in one earbud to have a little music for a bit and then we were at Mile 23.

We saw the guys one last time. No stopping – just waves and a sense of digging in to get this thing done.

I hadn’t stopped at any porta potties along the way, but was now feeling the urge to go. At mile 24, we came up to an area with port a potties with virtually no lines. I told Ria that I had to stop. I was afraid that there wouldn’t be any more, or waiting in a long line at the finish would cause serious problems. She went ahead knowing how close we were to 5:00.

I was worried that stopping at that point would totally throw me off, but I felt so much better. I popped in my earbuds, gave myself a mental pep talk and set off for the last 2.2 miles. Even though I felt like I was speeding up, I was still pretty slow, but I knew I could finish. I had stopped my Garmin and since I had so many issues at the start, I really wasn’t sure of my time and at that point, really didn’t care.

I kept going and passing people. So many people were walking. Or hobbling. I felt good about my training that I was doing neither. With about a mile left, I took out the ear buds as there were lots of people around and I wanted to just be in the moment. I saw the huge sign for Mile 26 and broke out into the biggest smile. I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time.

The finish of the race is up a steep hill by Iwojima and it was steep. I typically can rock a hill and I was determined to do so, but there were just too many people. I just kept going as fast as I could. It flattened out and I passed one of the finish lines, but kept going until I knew it was the final “finish” line.

AMAZING. I did it – I am a marathoner! My Garmin said 4:59, but my real time was 5:04:42.

Shortly after crossing the finish, I saw Ria and AK. So happy to see them and we met up with ET and the guys soon after that.

Finish

Things moved a little slowly. Lots of people not knowing where to go, what to do. I just wanted to keep walking so I could take off my shoes. We grabbed water and gatorade. Volunteers passed out small bags which was so helpful. I think we next got our box of food (pretzels,hummus,dark chocolate, fruit, and trail mix) all in a box. So much easier than grabbing  10 different items. I think they also had bananas. Instead of the mylar blankets, we received white hooded jackets to keep us warm. Wish these would have been at the beginning of the line, but it was OK.

We got back to the guys and ET and made our way to the UPS trucks after taking a few pics. Sweet relief was taking off my shoes and putting on flip flops. I don’t think I had ever been happier to see the Snuggie in my bag. It had cooled off and the wind had picked up considerably.

The guys were hungry (no they hadn’t run a marathon, but they are ALWAYS hungry), so we grabbed some ribs, BBQ, bratwurst from a vendor and sat for a bit. After eyeing the line for the metro that was looked a mile long, we opted to walk 8 more blocks to the next. I think we were definitely smart in that decision.

Finally made it home and celebrated with bubbly, snacks, ice baths, hot showers, and mini-naps. We were meeting friends out to celebrate, so the naps were cut short, but it was a good time and worth it.

Looking Back

Would I run another one? Yes. I would probably choose a smaller marathon and possibly one for a cause. It takes A LOT of time to train, even when you are trying your best to schedule runs early/late and on weekends, it definitely pulls you away from family, friends, and other obligations.

Am I sore? Yes. Monday was pretty awful, plus we had a 5 hour drive back in the rain. Oh yeah, Sandy shut down the Amtrak, so we rented a van to get us home. Tuesday, I was still sore. I usually take 3 flights of steps up & down to my office. I could handle the up, but couldn’t go down. Wednesday, I woke up feeling so much better and I think walking around the neighborhood for Halloween helped. Thursday, I still feel a little soreness in my quads when I sit, but it’s much more manageable. I wish we would have had the opportunity to walk/jog on Monday, but there was no time. I’ve stretched every night since the race and look forward to a little jog/yoga/spin or something this weekend. Otherwise, I’ve been taking it easy.

A comparison of childbirth and marathon training

Two seemingly different events, but somehow feel eerily similar to me right now.

1. I think I want to have a baby/run a marathon. Feelings: excited, nervous, scared,  and possibly unprepared. You receive “atta boys” from friends and comments like “Why in the world would you want to do something like that!?” You may question if you’ll be a good parent or could possibly run 26.2 miles.

2. The training/gestation can be a lengthy process. 9 months, 18 weeks … it’s all a long time. I think people even say during pregnancy, it’s a marathon; not a sprint.

3. Your body changes, aches, and you realize that certain body parts may never be the same again. I have accepted that my stomach will never look the same after having twins. I am also coming to realize that my toes may never feel or look the same again either.

4. You buy a lot of gear. My Mom always tells me that she didn’t have half of what we have when she had a baby. According to her, all you needed were a few blankets, bottles, and cloth diapers. There is a rumor that I slept in a drawer for a while. I used to think the same about running. All you really need are good shoes, but somehow find yourself in a garmincompressiongusweatybandrunningskirtfoamrollerspecialsocksheadlampinserts  induced shopping event. I did the same thing at Babies R Us, but it was blanketsbibsstrollersbreastpumpslingcribsbouncyseatsbathtubboardbooks.

5. Both cause strange dreams, anxiety, planning, schedules, charts, lists, and reading of books.  Dreams of leaving your baby on a school bus, dreams of never ending hills, or leaving your running shoes at home on race day. I knew how far along I was and I know how many weeks I’ve been training. There is a lot of talk of what it will be like, how I will feel, preparing for what could happen. I used to spend a lot of time on babycenter.com seeing what size fruit the baby was compared to this week. Ooh, look – an english cucumber! Now, I’m google searching for “how to run a 4:30 marathon” and over-analyzing race recaps.

6. You get a lot of unsolicited advice. It feels like every week I hear, “My Aunt’s cousin’s friend ran a marathon. You better buy a lot of Body Glide.”  or “My brother’s co-workers Uncle has twins. You better start saving for college.”

7. It’s going to hurt before it’s all over.  No matter how strong you are, how high of a pain threshold you have, it hurts. Natural birth, C-section, home birth. There are definitely times of discomfort. Running for 26.2 miles, I expect that it’s not going to feel like a stroll in the park. I will be proud of both scars ~ visible or not.

8. I eat like a man. While pregnant, it was nothing for me to “out-eat” my husband. Until closer to the end when I ran out of room. It was depressing to be able to eat what I wanted and not care and after a few bites, I felt full. So sad. Ice cream wants to be eaten. Training for a marathon = I’m hungry. All the time. Carb loading? Heck, yeah! Bring on the bread!

9. Pregnancy and marathon training may both cause strange sleep patterns. Night sweats, multiple bathroom visits, stacks of pillow, and middle of the night acrobatics all caused me to sleep in short bursts. This also caused my husband to move to the spare room/sofa by my third trimester. During marathon training, it has been super early alarm clocks for training runs, sore or restless legs, and the constant threat of “I have to get up early … don’t wake me up!” Spouses of pregnant women or those running marathons deserve medals too.

10. The rewards are plentiful. Ok, so no medal or race shirt is ever going to top my beautiful daughters. I do think that both experiences have given me more than I would have ever thought. Both have pushed me, made me stronger, more humble, and a better person. I love the challenge and seeing first hand that the human body is an amazing machine.

Last 20 miler

The last big training run was yesterday before MCM. All week the forecast was calling for cool temps in the 50’s which was wonderful news.

Fast forward to Saturday and they were now forecasting a 30-40% chance of rain. Eh. By Saturday night, I heard rain coming down hard, but I chose to ignore it and rolled over.

Even though we weren’t meeting until 8am, I was up a little before 6 to enjoy some coffee in silence. I poked my head out and it was drizzling and windy and cold. By the time I was getting ready to leave, it was raining pretty hard. I was wearing a hat, a water resistant vest, long sleeve tech tee, skirt, and compression sleeves. I packed extra clothes, socks, and shoes.  I just told myself that we could always run some on the treadmill, I’ve run in the rain before, and at least we would have dry clothes/shoes if we needed to change.

As I was getting in my car, I saw a flash of lightning. Not cool. I called ET and she confirmed it was also lightning/thundering  at her house. Ugh. I may take some risks, but running 20 miles during a thunderstorm wasn’t going to be one of them.

ET, M, and I were meeting up with 2 other runners who had been out since 6am. They came through and were soaking wet, looked hot from the running, but cold from the conditions. They told us the lightning wasn’t hitting the ground and they were just going to stay close to the cars.

Yeah. Running 20 miles back and forth on the same mile long path and worrying about lightning doesn’t sound like a fun time. We finally told them to go on as we were figuring out our options. Luckily, we noticed that the sky was clearing, the radar showed the storm was moving quickly, so we opted to wait it out and by 9am, it was clear. Hallelujah!

Finally … we were running.

We changed up our route and it was nice to change the routine. I felt like the first 7 or so miles really went quickly. Sidewalks and acorns tend to cause me a lot of problems, so we all tried to stay on asphalt as much as we could and it was nice to have some drivers who moved way over.

We all commented that we weren’t nearly as sore at Mile 10 as we had been on the previous 20-miler. We did seem to take a few breaks ~ potty, leaky water bottle, M’s hubby and kids who delivered salt bagel pieces to us, photo opps, refueling, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to get going after the little breaks, but since we weren’t trying to break any records, none of us minded.

All in all, it took 3:35 for 20.01 miles. A wee little bit quicker than last time, but nothing to brag about. I felt good the entire way, and even though I felt tired the last few miles, tried to push it as much as I could. Again, nothing record-breaking, but I was determined (and did) stay under an 11 minute mile. I would like to ban any 11 minute miles from race day, but we’ll see what happens.

What I ate:

Pre: coffee, water, oatmeal with almonds, craisins, and a little granola on top.

During: water in my fuel belt. 3 Shok Bloks around mile 4 and again at Mile 9. Banana and a little Gatorade at Mile 13. Small bite of salt bagel. Mile 16, I had a piece of a Luna bar. Refilled water during the race and drank a lot of water afterward. Chocolate milk when we finished.

Post: let’s just say that my treats included pizza, chocolate chip cookies, and a glass of vino. Yum.

Like so many others who are training for a fall marathon, bring on the taper!

rambling, re-committing, running

So, I am at the point with this marathon training that I am d.o.n.e. I no longer want to get up at 4:30 and go run in the dark, or go run circles quickly on a track. Heck, this morning I really didn’t want to get up, but I did and knocked out 5 miles on the treadmill because of the rain.

Well, almost 5 miles because the treadmill crapped out at 4.8 miles and I hadn’t looked at my time in a while. So frustrating. What was even more frustrating is that I was at a good pace and finally not feeling the strange hamstring pain that I had on Sunday.

However, I only have just over 3 (!) weeks to go before crossing that finish line and I understand how important training is to a good race. So, I had to have a little talk with myself and said, “self.. you better suck it up.” Ok, so I really didn’t call myself “self”, but I did tell myself on Sunday that I needed to be focused and committed to the rest of the training runs.

We have one last 20-miler to go and then we are tapering and 4-mile mid week runs and 8-mile long runs will feel wonderful.

From the beginning, I have been saying that I just want to finish and I don’t want the bridge to beat me. Now that we are getting a little closer, have a better idea of what our pace has been like on long runs, my competitive side is starting to come out. Just a little.

With the help of one of my running buddies. we have started a list of Suckas we would like to beat on race day.

Oprah ~ 4:29 Did they have chip timing in 1994? Who doesn’t have Oprah on their list?

Jared of Subway ~ 5:13

Al Gore ~ 4:54

Jill Biden ~ 4:30 Dang. and she was 47 when she did it.

I have to say, this article made me laugh.

Wish I could beat P.Diddy, but at 4:14, I think I would need a miracle or roller skates.

I know we have a few others that are a little more personal, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Who is on your “to beat” list?

20.

So, yesterday was the longest distance that I’ve ever run and I guess what a lot of people would call the “make it or break it” distance in marathon training.

Due to crazy schedules, we ran on Wednesday. Kind of nice to break up our week, but a little crazy making sure vacation was taken and kids were shuttled.

I met three other runners and we got started around 8AM. We were running on a fairly busy road for the first few miles, made busier by school drop off traffic. It was a little unnerving and we finally had a chance to cross over so at least we were looking at the cars zooming towards us and not just hearing them zoom past us.

The first 4-5 miles went by pretty quickly and then we were on the greenway that always feels like home.

We made it to mile 10 and where we had dropped off our cooler. When we stopped, I noticed that my legs were definitely more sore than usual, but it was great to stop for a few minutes, refill water bottles, eat bananas, swig Gatorade, and try to stretch.

We were off again with “just 10 more” left to go.

We lucked out with cool temps and mostly overcast weather. Fast forward to around mile 16 and I realized that my legs were hurting by this point. Nothing that was too unbearable, but they just felt like one solid cramp from about my knees down. I sped up a little trying to just shake it out, but that didn’t really seem to help, so I just kept going.

We were back to the home stretch and it’s always great when you realize you aren’t going to have to run circles in the parking lot to get to your final distance. 20. Bam. We did it!

Once I stopped, wow. My legs were definitely sore and crampy. We walked around, put on flip-flops, refueled, Facebooked our accomplishments, and all headed our separate ways with talks of ice baths, cheeseburgers, and naps.

I was pretty pleased with my pace. 20.02 miles at 3:36.  I averaged 10:48/mile. I had a few that were low 10 minute miles, a couple of 11’s and one 12. Oops. I blame the big ass hills on that one.

So, I can remember this later or if anyone is interested, here are a few boring details:

What I ate:

Pre-run: 1/2 cup of coffee, bowl of raisin spice oatmeal with craisins and almonds. Water. Woke up early enough to digest everything and no issues on the run. Whoo!

During: I brought a 21 oz. bottle of water in my Fuel Belt, 2 full packs of Shok Bloks, and a Luna bar cut into two pieces.

At mile 4, I ate 2 Bloks. Mile 10, I had 1/2 a banana and Gatorade. Mile 13’ish, I had a piece of Luna bar. Mile 16ish, I had 3 more Bloks and a sip of Ria’s Gatorade. I refilled my water at mile 10 and was pretty close to empty when we finished.

What I wore: All Brooks, all the time.  Seriously. My Brooks EZ tee with run on the front, Brooks Mesh skirt, and my Adrenaline’s.  Feetures socks and one of my Sweaty Bands hair bands.

Recovery:

I kept meaning to buy compression sleeves, but hadn’t done so. After this run, my first stop was our running store to pick out some socks. These things look kind of crazy, but feel amazing. I wore them out of the store and to the dry cleaners where another customer asked what kind of condition I had. I had to tell him it was self-induced.

 

Those are some ugly, non-pedicured feet, but ones that can run 20 miles.

I wore these home, took a 15-minute ice bath, and put them back on for a couple of hours later in the evening.

Bottom line: I did it, never felt like I couldn’t finish, and if someone would have told me I had to run the full distance yesterday, I could have done it. I’m sure there would have been grumblings and curse words, but I know I could have finished. Ok, Marine Corp Marathon, see you in less than 40 days!

Welcome.

So, it’s the same blog, but at a new space and a pretty new header.

Bear with me as a learn a new platform, and stay tuned for updates on 20 mile training runs and trying very hard not keel over while doing it.

19 miles done

I think my exact words when I finished were “19 miles. Who’s your mama?” No idea why I said that, but it just came out with chill bumps and everything. It’s really hard to think that just 7.2 more and it will be a full marathon!

I have been trying a few things this week and so far, so good.

No more Nuun, and a switch from Balega to Feetures socks.

For pretty much every long or long-ish run we’ve done, I’ve been having some GI issues. Nothing crazy like sprinting to the woods, but definitely not comfortable either. The only thing that is different from the last time I trained for a half was the addition of Nuun. I really didn’t think it could attribute to everything, but after talking to a friend who is an RD and she mentioned that some drinks or energy gels use sugar alcohols which can hurt your stomach. Then, I was reading Runners World and noticed an article that mentioned Sorbitol can cause GI issues, and then realize that Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol and Nuun has Sorbitol.

So, that got nixed and replaced with good ol’ water and Gatorade. I tried it for our 8 mile run on Wednesday and our 19 miler today and so far, so good.

I have worn Balega for years, but just seem to keep getting a few blister/callouses after long runs. The Feetures feel really good and seem to almost compress your feet. I still got a few hot spots today, but not as bad as previous weeks.

The first 13 miles felt pretty good … relaxed and steady. When we got back to our cars at a little over 13, I was tired and hungry. After downing some Gatorade, eating 1/2 a banana, etc., we started out again. Those last 6 miles were hard. My legs just felt like they didn’t want to go. It’s also not the most scenic part of the route and includes a big hill during the last 1.5 miles.

But, we did it … now just 20 and 22 mile runs left to do before the biggie. Gulp. 13 weeks of training down, 7 more to go. We actually realized that this was our last really long run on a Saturday. Due to schedules, we are running our 20 and 22-milers during the week. Gotta love that two of us have taken new jobs recently. Atleast we will be doing something positive on those vacation days!

Oh, and don’t you love M’s chevron skirt? I think I may have to go for it … so cute & she said it was really comfortable too. 3 compliments from other runners today as well.

Question …

I’m sure that most of you have seen those magnets on cars with various numbers: 13.1, 26.2, 70.3, 140.6

No, they aren’t bible verses, they are distances.

Half marathon = 13.1 miles, marathon = 26.2 miles, half IronMan = 70.3 miles, IronMan = 140.6 miles

And, yes, we will tell you that the .2 matters.

Last night while on a run, one of my running buddies mentioned that she had placed her 26.2 magnet on her car and her husband was giving her a hard time about it.

We haven’t actually completed the 26.2 yet.

She said it doesn’t matter, that she’s training for it.

So, what are your thoughts on the matter? Is it ok? Bad luck? Does it need an extra “in training” magnet to go with it?

Would you 26.2 before you 26.2’d?