Saturday, March 29, 2014

I'm Waking Up to Ash and Dust

When Radioactive came on during my run today and I heard the opening line, I thought it was so apropos to today in Des Moines: last night, the Younkers building, a famous Des Moines landmark, caught fire and burned to the ground. Apparently the fire's glow could be seen from nearly halfway across town. Firefighters from all over the city worked tirelessly to put out the fire, and when I ran downtown this afternoon, they were still there.

And the scene was nothing but destruction:

I have never seen a fire truck "in action," so it was really quite disturbing to see, actually. I know it's tough to see from the pictures (the road was blocked off, obviously, and the Des Moines skywalk system, which is usually awesome, obstructed the view), but the ladders were extended and the hoses were still spraying away, nearly 13 hours after the fire started.

I don't know if I saw this correctly or not, but it looked like the building had partially collapsed onto Walnut Street. It was crazy.

The scene was just utter destruction.

As you can imagine, the air was full of smoke, of fiery fumes. And, I saw the aftermath of the fire before I even got close to the scene:

I was running from Gray's Lake to the East Village via MLK, and the street was littered with ash and soot and remnants of the Younkers building.

I am so, so thankful that no one was hurt, and I am so grateful for the firefighters who protected (and who every day protect) our city, especially my good friend Cindi's husband, Ahman. 

Now that I've rehashed the fire, let's chat about the run.

I absolutely love running through the city (as opposed to on a trail, around a lake, etc.). First, there is always something to look at, and second, I get to see my city, the streets that I drive and the buildings that I pass every day, from a completely different vantage point. It's awesome.

I mean, just look at some of what I saw today:

A super cool mural (even larger than what you see here) in the
East Village -- 4th and Locust.

Awesome architecture, the river, the lake, the bridges.

Some dude wearing a box on his head while
he circled Gray's Lake. Weird.
I had eight miles on my training plan for today, but I told myself that I was going to run between seven and eight, as the most I'd run this year was six (last weekend).

I drove down to Gray's Lake and then set off not around the lake but toward downtown. As I mentioned already, I ran down Martin Luther King to E. 4th Street and then to Locust, where I ran until about 5th Street (maybe?), up to Walnut, and over to 6th (as far as I could go due to the fire). I then headed south to MLK and ran back to Gray's Lake where I circled the lake and ran a quick out and back (the way I had originally started my run) to get an even eight miles.

I am really, really proud of myself. Check this out:

I know that this is not a fast pace (12-minute miles) for anyone else. I get that. I am a slow runner. But, this is a really, really good pace for me. I am really proud of myself, especially since this is the furthest I've run in a long time and since my weekday runs have not been what they should be (i.e. relatively non-existent). I am not in wonderful shape right now, but I was still able to crank out a pretty steady (and pretty fast-for-me) pace.

Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 12:54
Mile 2: 11:44
Mile 3: 12:17
Mile 4: 11:52
Mile 5: 11:55
Mile 6: 12:29
Mile 7: 12:15
Mile 8: 12:16

The first mile included a five-minute warm-up, which was why it was a bit lot slower than the others. Obviously the last three miles were the toughest: I felt awesome for the first five miles, and then my legs started getting a bit heavy, I got back to Gray's Lake (not my favorite place to run since there's not really anything to look at), my Achilles started hurting quite a bit, and I was just kind of ready to be done.

Interestingly, when I got back to my car, I had only run 7.3 miles, so I just kept on going. I obviously wasn't hurting that badly, as I really wanted to hit eight miles after my overall awesome run.

Here's what I did: walked for five minutes as a warm-up and then ran for three minutes and walked for one for the entirety of the run. (Funny how I just said that I don't like that method, huh?) I discovered today that that is exactly what I need to do for every training run, every race. I killed it. I felt so good. I liked running for three minutes, knowing that I'd get a quick reprieve (you can do anything for three minutes). And after my one minute of walking, I was rejuvenated enough to keep on going.

It was awesome.

And, I was kind of dreading the run! Last night, I had some tummy issues, and this morning, I had even more tummy issues, so much so that I had to pop a couple Immodium. And if that wasn't enough, I had to pee pretty much from the get go -- although that sensation did subside the further I ran (and no, not because I just let it go -- it wasn't that bad).


Today I had a big ol' plate of carbs for breakfast, as I knew I would need energy for my run. I sauteed a huge sweet potato with jalapeno and a bit of salt and then mixed in three scrambled eggs. It was so tasty -- and a bit spicy today!

Before I hit the road for my run, I had a meeting for See-Us Run Des Moines that lasted about an hour, so after that, I ate a Larabar.

Lunch: I had a hardcore workout today, so obviously I wasn't in the mood for lunch. (Seriously, what is wrong with me?!) Instead, I stopped by The Juice Company for a huge Mean Green juice (kale, celery, apple, cucumber, lemon, and ginger root). It got better the more I drank it, but it definitely wasn't as awesome as the green juice I had from New World Cafe.

I also had a small handful of mixed nuts (walnuts and macadamia).

So while it wasn't a real lunch, I don't think I did too shabby: I had a shit-ton of vegetables, a bit of fruit (with the apple mixed in the juice), and some healthy fats. I was obviously lacking a protein, however.


For dinner tonight I made Shrimp Fried (Cauliflower) Rice. It was amazing, and I seriously had to keep myself from eating the entire pan.

Instead of peas (which are a no-go on Whole30 due to their status as legumes), I chopped up some snow peas (which are, interestingly, Whole30-approved since they're mostly pods). Also, I didn't add any seasoning whatsoever, and while it was still ridiculously delicious, I may experiment with different spices -- or coconut aminos -- next time.

Go make this, friends. Seriously. It's super easy, super fast, super good. (In fact, had I waited to post my Five Favorites -- Whole30 Recipe Edition until later, this may have made the cut.)

Well, it's Saturday night, so I'm off to dance the night away at the club catch up on the last three weeks' worth of Parenthood and wait for the drain people to come and fix my kitchen sink (yet again).

See you tomorrow morning with my weekly menu, weekly workout plan, and grocery list.

Sleep tight, friends!

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