Monday, June 4, 2012


Today was productive - but a little different than I had planned.

I woke up bright and early to go run with See-Us Run Des Moines.

For breakfast, I ate a Kind Bar.  Have you forgotten how much I loooooove those?

At practice, we ran one mile for a warm-up, and we followed that by three one-third mile loops with core and strength exercises after each third.  For example, we did burpees, supermans, push-ups, crunches, triceps dips, etc.  And then we ran one mile for a cool-down.  For those of you who are math-impaired, that was a total of three miles.

And it was tough today!  My muscles are still exhausted from Dam to Dam on Saturday, so I was moving pretty darn slowly.  Oh well.

I was planning on going to Y-Pump after the workout, but I had to stay a little after practice to meet with a Des Moines Register reporter who is going to have one of our kiddos blog about her experience training for the marathon.  I'm really excited to see how it turns out.  And don't worry: I'll totally hook y'all up with the link as soon as she's published.

So anyway, I was too late for Y-Pump, and since we had done some strength training at practice, I went home and did my abs exercises and ate some almonds and an apple.

I did not eat the bamboo - but how pretty is that?!  From a good friend on a bad day.  :)
After scarfing down my snack and taking a shower, I went back to bed.

And slept for three hours.

I must've needed the sleep.  (Shockingly, I'm absolutely drained right now, too.  I might go to bed before 9:00, and it's not even a school night!)

I woke up just in time to make lunch: the California sandwich, adapted from Ezra Pound Cake.

Make this.  Now.  It's sooooooo good and sooooooo filling.  I toasted some bread and topped it with a Greek yogurt and chive spread and a piece of pepper-jack cheese.  On top of that was a mixture of tomato, avocado, and cucumber.

It was absolutely delicious, and I'm excited to eat leftovers tomorrow.

I ran up to school for a quick errand and then headed out west for my last pre-paid massage.  After running that crazy race on Saturday, the massage was very much needed.  It was so relaxing, but I could also tell she really worked out the kinks (ouch) - especially in my upper back.  For some reason that is where I carry all my stress.  And, apparently there's been a lot of that lately!

Finally, at 3:15, I hit up Caribou for my productivity for the day.  The grant that I coordinate has a proposal due very, very soon, so I spent a few hours sipping on a white peach berry smoothie and crunching data.

When I reached somewhat of a stopping point, I headed home to whip up dinner: Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole, inspired by Iowa Girl Eats.

Again: go make this.  Now.

First, the portion sizes are huge for not a whole lot of calories (oh, because I substituted Greek yogurt for the sour cream).  Second, it is so freakin' good.

I suppose it's good that it's tasty since I'll be eating it for the rest of the week.  Oh, the woes of cooking for one.  :)

Tomorrow looks much like today did: practice with the kids followed by grant stuff.  And honestly, I think I'm going to be going to be shortly so that I can be well rested.

I am such a nerd.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Week Ahead

Before looking ahead at the coming week, I want to rewind to last night.  After I ran 12.4 miles and relaxed a bit, my mama came to town!

First, we had celebratory champagne with BFF, and then my mom and I headed to Americana for tapas and cocktails.  I was absolutely starving, likely because I did not refuel properly after running.  I inhaled a small pomegranate salad, and we split the scallop lollipops (duh) and the brie crostini.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.

After, to kill some time before our event, we drove a little of the half marathon route since she (and my sister and my aunt!) will be walking/running it in October.

And then we showed up to Jasper Winery for Uncork Your Passion, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland's annual event.  It was set up beautifully:

And I have decided that in a million years when I get married, I want it to be at this venue and with this minimalist decor - but probably some nicer chairs.  :)

Tangerine catered the event and had an amazing array of food.  Turns out we didn't even need the tapas from Americana.  There were sliders, Cuban sandwiches, fruit and veggies, different crostini options, Thai noodles, desserts galore, and more.

And...there was an open bar.

A dance party definitely happened.

I am so thankful my mom was able to attend this event with me.  Planned Parenthood is obviously something I wholeheartedly support, and I attribute so much of my passion for social justice, equality, and community involvement to my parents.

After we left Jasper Winery, we weren't done for the evening: we headed to - wait for it - Star Bar.  And of course, fueled by a glass of champagne, an Elderflower martini, and a few glasses of wine, I had to add to my cocktail attire - with my Dam to Dam medal.

Because you know what I am?  Classy.

We listened to live music and watched some hippies dance around for a while, and then it was time to head home.  After a nice chat on the living room floor (what?!), we headed to bed, only to wake up bright and early for breakfast at Waveland.

I love, love, love my mom and am so happy that she was with me this weekend.  I so wish we lived closer.

And now with absolutely zero transition, I bring you to my weekly meal and workout plan:

Creating this plan actually made me a bit sad.  One of my besties - Mags - left for Chicago this morning, and she's not going to be back until August.  She and I have dinner quite regularly during the week and have been working out together fairly often as well.  And now she's gone.  :(

I'll fill you in on my food plans day by day, but I thought I'd give you a preview of the weekly workouts:

Monday: running with the kiddos, likely about three miles, followed by Y-Pump and 20 reps of #1-5 of the Fitnessista's 10 Ways to Crunch.

Tuesday: running with the kiddos, likely a speed workout, followed by 20 reps of #6-10 of the Fitnessista's 10 Ways to Crunch.

Wednesday: Y-Pump, followed by 20 reps of #1-5.

Thursday: running with the kiddos, likely about three miles, followed by Y-Pump and 20 reps of #6-10.

Friday: spin class, followed by 20 reps of #1-5.

Saturday: running with the kiddos, likely about six miles, followed by 20 reps of #6-10.

Sunday: 20 reps of #1-5.

It seems ambitious, I know.  But I can.  And I will.

Best Dam Race

For 33 years, Iowa has sponsored the country's largest 20k: Dam to Dam.  It is a favorite race among many Iowa runners, and since this is the first year I participated, I would have to agree.

Before I get into the details of the race, let me tell you that I have gotten to be quite the pro at pre-race planning.  I mean, just check out the gear:

There is A LOT that goes into running: shoes with time chip, vaseline (that didn't seem to help, but I'll spare you those pictures, GU, ear buds, the backpack with number affixed for bag drop, the Garmin, blister-resistant socks, sports bra that actually holds the girls in place, "One Hot Mess" headband (that I couldn't find at first and was obsessively freaking out about), Immodium (that did the trick, thank God), earrings, bracelet that says "miles to go before i sleep," tank with bib attached, capris, long-sleeved top for pre-race, rubber hair tie, Spibelt, and I think that's it.

One thing I still haven't figured out, however, is how to properly eat prior to a race.  I have the hydrating part down (finally).  I was guzzling water - more so than usual - all week.  The day prior to the race, I ate a bagel for breakfast, Jimmy John's for lunch, and salad, pasta, and bread for dinner.  I just don't think the particular pasta I ate sat well with my stomach - or maybe it was just too meaty and not enough pasta-y.  I don't know.

But anyway, race day:

I woke up bright and early at 4:30 a.m. so that my two friends and I could head downtown and grab a bus.  Note to self: get there earlier next year so that we have more time at the actual start.

A school bus at 5:15 a.m. is quite dark.
The first thing we did when we got off the bus was drop off our bags.  We had to strip down to our race clothes and throw our string bags into designated (by bib numbers) garbage bags.

Then we headed to the porta-potties.  And stood in line for 25 minutes.  It was ridiculous, but we knew that it was a definite necessity prior to starting a 12.4-mile run.

After taking care of business, we started the half-mile trek to the start line.  

The race starts on the dam at Saylorville, and being absolutely surrounded by water (obviously) is a breathtaking view.  Plus, we could see downtown Des Moines (the finish line) from up north:

Looks kind of far, huh?
While we waited for the Star Spangled Banner to be sung and for the fast runners to take off, we took some requisite pre-race photos:

My training buddy, KW.
KW, me, Amber, and Alexson - I love this photo.
About ten minutes after the gun went off, we started running (we were back with the 11:00 pacers, and there were quite a few people in front of us).

Kiara took off, and Amber, Alexson, and I stuck together for about the first mile, and then Amber - training with the Jeff Galloway method - took her first walk segment.  Alexson and I continued to stick together, which was really, really nice.  I was a bit nervous at first because I know that Alexson doesn't take walk breaks (and I pretty much don't care: if I'm tired, I'll walk), but we kept it up.

The first 10k were through rural Iowa: we saw a lot of cornfields, soybean fields, and gravel roads (which many runners used for potty breaks).  It was an absolutely gorgeous, overcast day, and being in the midst of the prairie made me love my state even more.

Around mile six, I realized that this was the furthest I had run - ever - without taking a walk break.

(Okay, I took a 10-step walk break in order to GU and water since I couldn't figure out how to do all of that while running.  I timed it better for my second GU and was able to do so without breaking stride.)

And I was feeling GOOD!  Rarely do I feel amazing during a race, but I felt just fabulous during Dam to Dam - and I attribute so much of it to Alexson.  We were trekking right along, chatting, listening to music the whole way.

Then came mile seven.

As you can see from the first picture in the post and the elevation chart at the bottom, I was dreading mile seven:

It's really hard to snap photos while running, but this is a hill.
Actually, it wasn't that bad.  Alexson and I just kept on running, taking it one step at a time, offering encouragement the whole way.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but both sides of the hill were lined with American flags with the sentiment to "remember those who've served."  It was really, really neat and honestly gave me goosebumps.

Alexson and I passed loads upon loads of walkers and made it to the top of the hill and started winding through the city: the second 10k was all urban, looping through neighborhoods and downtown.

Around mile 8.5 or 9 (?), I was so surprised to see my good friend Cindi, her husband, and three of their children.  It was the exact boost of motivation that I needed: running 12.4 miles is hard work, and it was really nice to see a friendly, familiar, encouraging face on the course.

Shortly thereafter, Alexson and I ran into her husband, and that was another nice piece of encouragement before we hit the trail to wind alongside the Des Moines River.

This is when it got tough.  Around mile nine, Alexson started really hurting.  Around mile 10, I really started hurting and honestly wasn't sure that my legs could work any longer.  But, we kept telling ourselves that we really only had one mile left since the last mile was filled with live music, the Isiserettes, other fun entertainment, and throngs of people.

But still: it was really, really hard.

Finally, we reached the chute.  We saw the 400 meter mark and started taking longer, faster strides.  It felt so good to know that we had run over 12 miles and had not walked at all.

And then the 200-meter mark came.  And I had to stop.

I was literally choking back vomit and dry heaving into my hands.  There was nowhere to "let it out," as the chute was surrounded by spectators.

I thought I was going to puke into my hands - or, what I thought might be a better option, down my shirt.


This girl.

And honestly, I was too sick and too sore and too oblivious to my surroundings to care.  I had someone (who?!) cut off my timing chip while someone else (who?!) shoved a medal into my hand.  And then I found a trashcan.  And then some Powerade.

Alexson and I about ten minutes post-race - after we could motivate ourselves to stand back up and stretch.
It was an absolutely beautiful race, and I am so extremely proud of myself for finishing in 2:27.  That is by far the best "dam" race that I have ever had, but it is also by far the worst I have felt upon finishing.  Not only was I nearly throwing up, but my muscles just pretty much refused to work.  No amount of stretching, walking, stretching, sitting, stretching, or anything would help.

After trying everything (and eating a banana and drinking some chocolate milk), I met up with Amber, and we decided to just head home.

I am very, very proud of myself.  I pushed myself harder than I ever thought possible, and while I'm definitely a hot mess today, it was all totally worth it.

I can't wait for next year.