Friday Five – Blog-ospheric Inspiration and Love

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OK, so while I noted I wouldn’t writing as much, that hasn’t stopped me from reading. And while I complained a bit a couple of weeks ago about what felt like ‘post fall-running hangover’ hitting lots of blogs with the ‘blahs’, and last week about some lazy link-ups … this week has been brimming with great stuff! To the point where I am quoting stuff below and feel bad because there is so much more great content out this week that I left behind.

As for the image at the top, it might not really seem fit with my theme – but it was in an email I got from Megan at The Lyons Share today, and she said “This quote is just SCREAMING “Michael”!!!!!!! Couldn’t help but think of you! Hope you have a wonderful day 🙂 🙂 “. It was an amazingly kind and thoughtful thing to do while I was sitting at my desk scrambling to get a ton of stuff done before heading home … and was so very much appreciated!

What I wanted to highlight was some of the amazing things I have been reading this week – there are just so many awesome people in our community that have important things to say. So I will start with posts from my two ‘Most Inspiring Runners’ and go from there:

1. T-Rex Runner – Eating Disorder Recovery

I have repeatedly recommended Danielle’s ‘Life with ED’ series as ‘required reading’ for anyone who needs to eat food, and last night she posted her last entry, about trying to normalize her relationship with food and her body especially in the wake of having had both major and minor surgery this year. Here is a little bit:

Eating disorder recovery isn’t linear, and it isn’t easy. I will probably never call myself “recovered;” I’ll be perpetually “recovering,” at least, I hope, since that is better than relapse. It’s a process and something that takes a lot of hard work. No one can do it for me. While some days it seems hopeless and that I’ll never be able to change the way I think about myself, some days are days like yesterday. And then I think, “Maybe not today, but one day.”

2. Gluten Free Treadmill – Falling in Love

Speaking of essential series, I really want Laura to re-publish her series from her ‘And This Is Thirty’ blog, but that is an entirely different topic. Right now Laura is doing a ‘Best of 2014 Series’, and the other day looked at her resolutions and bucket list. If you follow her you know she had a relationship earlier this year, so I loved reading this:

8. Fall in love. I did, and then fell out. But it was totally worth every second and I’m a better person for it and really ready for the next time.

And of course this one as well:

4. Be awesome and all-around hard-core. Obviously.

There is a ton more, and the rest of the series is great. And, oh yeah – she’s running ACROSS THE COUNTRY next year. So there’s that.

3. Fit Fresh and Funny – Loving Life While Facing Challenges

I have always enjoyed Laura’s blog, because she has had to deal with serious medical issues – and handles them honestly (i.e. they suck) but is always funny and up front with them. Recently what she thought was a migraine turned out to be viral encephalitis (in other words, swelling of the brain caused by a virus). If that sounds like serious shit – it is. But that didn’t stop her today from taking stock of all of the fortunes and happiness she has in her life:

Because I am exhausted, have a brain infection, and a relapse going on that makes me sorry I pushed myself the last week. But I also have a husband upstairs cooking me dinner while singing to the Violent Femmes at the top of his lungs.

4. Paleo Running Momma – But I Don’t WANNA!

I like to give Michele at Paleo Running Momma a hard time about being linear and structured – and she says it wasn’t always that way – but I also know how my wife doubled-down on structure and organization as a stay-at-home mom with little ones. It just works that way … or you get even more chaos! (heck, we still have a wall calendar with everyone’s stuff on it in our kitchen that we live by!). But yesterday she wrote about how without the rigor and schedule of a training plan in support of a marathon goal, she is floundering a bit finding motivation. I love that even as she is working hard to build her brand and coaching business (btw – she is doing special coaching deals right now, hit her up for details), she beings out some totally honest posts like this one. Check it out:

Because every morning I have been not wanting to get up to run. Like there hasn’t been even one day I just got out of bed without hesitating, it’s a struggle every day.

This really sucks! It’s amazing how I will complain either way. Which is it? Do you like getting up early or do you wish you could sleep later? Meh, I think it’s both. But right now I’m wishing I was happier with early. It makes for a much less rushed and stressful morning.

5. Fueled By Lolz – Body Image Insanity

Hollie can be totally hilarious – but she is often also quite pointed in what she is saying. Her post about signing a wedding dress waiver earlier this week is one such post. Because the need for a waiver is fairly new, and is based on the whole ‘bridezilla’ thing coupled with the trend of associating body image with a size number (which is why they say that the old store ‘5-7-9’ would now be ‘0-3-5’0! And so rather than think ‘I want to look my best on my wedding day’, it is ‘I am wearing a size 4 for my wedding’. See the problem for dress shops? Hollie takes it further:

It takes me back to this straight forward point: no one knows or cares what dress you are. No one cares your weight. At your wedding, people notice how happy and how glowing you are…not your damn dress size.

I used ‘bonus’ because I am sticking to ‘Friday Five’ as a theme and then cheating by adding two bonus items. So there are seven.

Bonus #1. Running Out of Wine – Phantom Technology Woes

I love when Lisa, who always comes across so structured and organized in her posts, lets things wander about with a ‘Thinking Out Loud’ that is true-to-name. This was one of those weeks – and what she said had me cracking up:

My Garmin keeps buzzing in the other room right now and I have no idea why. And I am too lazy to go check/go make it stop. Its also continued to do whatever it wants on many of my runs. Like the map will make it look like a ran through the harbor. I swear I’m not that talented.

Bonus #2. The Lyons Share – Own Your Feelings

I alreadu mentioned Megan for the quote at the top – which was an awesome event today. But I always love her posts – she is mainly doing a ‘Motivation Monday’ and ‘Foodie Friday’, but makes them all worth reading (such as this or this). Here is a great quote from her post about dealing with your feelings:

Even while there is a time and a place to put on a happy face, though, it’s not healthy to bottle up all of your emotions inside and pretend that you never feel anything but happy. I talk to my girls at Girls on the Run about the fact that emotions might be “comfortable” and “uncomfortable,” but they are not “good” and “bad.” Being angry, frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, or anxious might not be the most pleasant way to feel, but those feelings are valid and should be expressed rather than smothered.

How about me?

Well, if you follow me on social media you know I have had some good stuff happening in our family, which is exciting – more on that later. But aside from that it is just the normal wonderful life I enjoy – Lisa, the boys, the dogs and cats, great job, nice home, and so on.

What thoughts do YOU have to share?

Recipe Sharing: Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash (Vegetarian, Vegan Options Included)

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Happy Friday everyone! I have a couple of posts that are incubating but not quite ready, so I wanted to share a recipe instead!

This is a vegetarian (i.e. not vegan) meal that stands alone and is quite filling. The ingredients we bought for a pre-Thanksgiving meal when we planned for my brother to join us with his kids … but when he wasn’t able to make it we ended up with a snack-dinner instead. I had made this before, and it is based on a recipe from Vegetarian Times from a couple of years ago. We were all so done with turkey and needed a day off and had all of the stuff, so Lisa pulled it together for us on her day off.

When I made it the first time I used the Chile powder in the quantity stated as well as sprinkled on the squash (something I removed) but it was too spicy for my family (I have to be careful … I can handle just about anything, they can not). The next time I made it I partially pre-cooked the squash, because I love roasted squash – and it was good but a little overcooked by the time the center set.

This time the squash was well cooked, and the filling was moist – and it was all delicious. Lisa ended up with extra filling so we cooked it by itself and it ended up a lot like corn bread you’d make to go with a pot of chili.

Here goes – and don’t be intimidated by the seemingly large ingredient list … it is pretty easy to make!

Vegan Modification:
– You create vegan butter milk similar to normal ‘home-made buttermilk’ – 1 tbsp vinegar into 1 cup of milk. Only now – non-dairy milk. Works great!
– You can also use a non-dairy cheese, or whatever you normally substitute for cheddar cheese and cream cheese substitutes
– Also – typical vegan egg substitute.

Ingredients:
3 tbsp Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp.), divided
2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
½ tsp. Ancho Chile powder
½ tsp. ground coriander
3 cups fresh or frozen organic corn kernels
⅔ cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 large eggs
4 Tbs. melted butter or olive oil
3 oz. soft goat cheese or low-fat cream cheese (⅓ cup)
3 oz. grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (¾ cup), plus more for sprinkling tops, optional
1 ½ cups cooked black beans or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large poblano chile or 1 small red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
8 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced (1 cup), plus more for sprinkling tops

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine oil and 2 tsp. minced garlic in small bowl. Brush squash halves with garlic oil, and sprinkle lightly with Ancho Chile powder (skip to make it milder) and coriander. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and place on large baking sheet.

2. Pulse 2 cups corn kernels in food processor (we used the Nutribullet) until finely chopped and milky. Set aside.

3. Whisk 1/2 tsp. each coriander and Ancho Chile powder into cornmeal, along with sugar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne (if using) in medium bowl. Set aside.

4. Whisk together buttermilk and eggs in separate bowl. Whisk in butter, then puréed corn, remaining 1 cup corn kernels, goat cheese, Cheddar, and remaining 2 tsp. garlic. Fold in cornmeal mixture with spatula, then fold in black beans, poblano chile, and green onions.

5. Divide filling among squash halves. Sprinkle each squash with extra Cheddar (if using).

6. Bake squash halves 30 to 45 minutes, or until squash are tender and filling is set. Sprinkle with green onions. Squash can be prepared 24 hours ahead, then reheated 20 minutes at 325°F.

Serve right away – you really shouldn’t even need a knife (though you’ll look more civilized if you use one!). One half-squash feeds one person, so this recipe serves 4 people. If you have more, you should be OK with this recipe up to a 3rd squash without scaling (as I say we had a bunch of extra filling).

Do you love stuffed squash? Favorite recipes?

30 Days of Gratitude – Day #12, The Quest for New Noms to Nom

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Continuing with my 30 Days of Gratitude, I am thankful for the never-ending assortment of new foods to discover and enjoy!

Day #12 – OMG FOOD IS AWESOME

It is absolutely stunning to think about what we eat in our house today in the context of what both Lisa and I grew up with in the 70s, and even what we were cooking together in the early 90s! We always strove for ‘healthy eating’, but our understanding and palate has broadened dramatically.

This week for breakfast I have been enjoying something I wrote about here back in January and haven’t had since that first bag of Bulgur ran out a few weeks later. It is called “Crunchy Peanut Butter Bulgur with Berries”, and well … here is a picture!

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And just to break it down:
– Bulgur – never had it until 2014
– Greek yogurt – switched over in 2013 and it is a total staple now
– Peanut butter – ‘high fat’ food we got for our kids but otherwise I hadn’t really eaten since the early 80s.
– Fresh frozen fruit – another new discovery this year!

And since I have ‘gotten serious’ with running and nutrition, the amount of great new stuff that I have eaten is just amazing … things like: spaghetti squash, quinoa, kale, pistachios in my desk for snacks, chia, flax, and on and on! We have added things like parsnips and fennel and ALL the sweet potatoes to much more frequent rotation, done loads of ‘Meatless Monday’ and Vegan and Paleo and other types of meals.

Food is really awesome. I can’t wait for my next new discovery.

Food. Discuss.

And a couple of great food related videos:

30 Days of Gratitude – Day #3, Feeding Frenzy

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Continuing with my 30 Days of Gratitude, perhaps coupled with post about visiting the doctor in some ways, is my ability to eat pretty much anything I want without fear of allergy or other bad bodily response … but that my natural inclination is towards healthy foods. I have talked many times about my history of disordered eating, and that I never believe you are ‘cured’, merely ‘currently successful’ in dealing with it … this is different.

Day #3 – Eating What I want … but making good choices

Because I was born in the 60s, there was a still a large ‘quick food is the future’ sentiment, and we had canned veggies most of the time. I loved fruits and things like carrots and celery and tomatoes, but not much else. Then she traveled for work when I was in high school and my dad introduced us to something called ‘steamed fresh veggies’ … and OMG.

Thing is, throughout my life I never had to deal with ‘food I can’t eat’. Beef, poultry, pork, seafood, shellfish, soy, legumes, wheats, fruits and vegetables … I never had to worry. Spicy foods? Not a problem. My young adulthood was a culinary adventure filled with all kinds of great stuff. I had no idea about food allergies or intolerances until I was in college.

Then I started hanging out with Lisa and made us a big fruit salad for a hike full of things she couldn’t eat due to allergies and intolerance issues. I learned that dealing with spicy foods was about more than just handling the heat – the spices used in many dishes are reactive for some people.

Personally, I found out that I had an intolerance to clams after spending the day at the Boston Chowda-Fest one year … and have never been able to go back. That is my only food issue.

But through the years I have learned just how fortunate I am – I can eat or drink pretty much anything I wanted without being concerned about after-effects. I think most people I know have to work around their food issues one way or another, from what to how to when they eat. The last few years I have seen so many running / healthy living bloggers with eating disorders, digestive issues, allergies, tolerance issues, or foods that they just plain hate … wow.

Yet in spite of being able to eat just about anything, when it is snack time I grab an apple or pear, I love a fresh tomato, and pretty much any fresh whole food is what draws me in. That has been a tremendous benefit for me losing and maintaining weight through the years, and keeping my fueling on target.

Eating and food thoughts?

Six Things Saturday – Reasons to Go See a Doctor (even if you’re healthy)

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http://misszippy1.com/2014/10/runnings-role-healer.html

Hi again friends! Thanks for all of the great comments and kind remarks on my last posts!

My last post a few Sundays ago was pretty random and reaffirmed a few things for me:
– Almost no one watches the videos … or at least no one comments
– There are only so many random topics people can absorb in one post
– Titles really don’t matter.

Why do I mention that? Because:
– there were no comments about either video (ok, mamaSalt came in late to mention the Panda 🙂 )
– Most of the comments were about one or maybe two items
– My title was only marginally related to the post I actually published!

ANYWAY, here is one subject I meant to talk about but never got there – going to the doctor as a critical thing to do every year.

My annual physical was originally scheduled for late August, then they had to reschedule, then I forgot to do my blood work so I had to reschedule, and it finally happened in early October. Because of my hypothyroidism I make it a point to get to the doctor … and also because of my age, family history and so on.

Also, I included these pictures with this post for two reasons: because it is Halloween (duh) and because these are the people I want to be with for a long time. The picture below is a #TBT to Halloween 2004, a time when the boys were 8 and 6.5 and Lisa and I were just in our late 30s.

The top picture is from the National Honor Society induction this week, where our younger son was inducted and older son reaffirmed for membership. It was a great proud moment, and a reminder I want to be around for a long time to experience many more.

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1. Make Sure Everything is OK / Prevention

I mean, this seems obvious – but it is also the reason many people avoid going! I have heard many people say ‘I don’t want to go to the doctor – I am fine and every time I go they find something!’ By going to a doctor regularly you can get a better idea of how your health is at the moment, and by checking in you gain more perspective on how you feel when things are good (or not).

Also, do not underestimate the human ability to adapt – we get used to just about anything, and it is not until we feel better that we realize how bad we felt!

2. Learn Your Numbers

Our bodies are unique systems, so it isn’t surprising that we will have some tests where we run high and others where we are low. Some of these numbers mean something important by themself, others only in conjunction with different tests. More than ever it is critical to be informed and in control of our own health, and the first part of this is knowing how we function when ‘normal’.

3. Establish a Relationship with Your Doctor

When I walked into my doctor’s office … well, really, when she came in, she already knew my lab results, had seen me running pretty much everywhere in the last year, knew what to be looking for on my results and the things we needed to discuss for now and for the next year.

Why is that important? Because rather than trying to start from ground zero, we already have solid basis of understanding of my health, her approach, and how to interact. That way when we have to address an issue she will know how I normally handle things and can factor that into her approach.

4. Establish a Tracking History

Two years ago when I was still losing weight my potassium was on the low end of normal, but still in range. I can now admit that I was still restricting my intake (while running 50+ weeks … moron), but had I seen a new doctor or not had a history it wouldn’t have flagged anything – because it was still in the normal range. It was only through looking at my history that she noticed it was low – and since I love bananas and sweet potatoes and other sources of potassium, and had lost a ton of weight … she just gently told me a banana every morning would be a great thing.

The same is true for everything else – we spent a lot of time this year going through my numbers and how they showed the impact of my healthy eating on everything going on in my body. Between my thyroid issues and getting me into the cardiologist last year due to family history, she has carte blanche to order loads of bloodwork for me … and does.

5. Put Your Running/Eating in Context

It was a bit of a joke when I went to the cardiologist last year and they put me on the incline treadmill to get my heart rate up for the stress test – because my resting heart rate was around 50 and they couldn’t seem to get it much over 100. They laughed because I was the longest test either of them had ever seen because it took so long – which was directly attributable to my endurance running.

Same with my blood work and eating – by looking at all of my numbers in terms of cholesterol and other criteria, the doctor could tell that I was eating good stuff – and also getting enough of it, even if she still wanted to make sure I didn’t lose any more weight.

But by the same token if you were not eating well or overtraining or otherwise not taking proper care, and had convinced yourself that everything was fine … maybe a visit to the doctor could help you realize otherwise. I have said it before, but I believe that two of the big reasons for injuries with many run-bloggers are over-training and improper fueling.

6. More Thoughts on ‘Your Numbers’

I can’t reiterate enough the importance of knowing your numbers – it is easy to think that the pants don’t fit because they shrank, or that because your blood pressure and cholesterol were fine 10 years ago that you don’t need to stress over what you eat and so on … but it isn’t true. There are many things that happen over the course of our lives that change the biochemical systems inside our body – women have even more stuff going on with natural hormonal changes throughout their lives!

Our bodies evolve over time, often slowly enough that we can’t tell the difference easily – which makes it even more important to establish a relationship with a doctor and their office, get yourself checked out regularly, and know how your habits impact your health.

What are your thoughts on doctor visits and knowing your health numbers?

Oh, and because next Tuesday is mid-term elections, here is a tool WordPress provides to help with voting info:

Run-Fessions, Blog-Fessions and Third Quarter Running Summary

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Happy Friday everyone! (OK, so let’s just agree to NOT discuss how many times I have changed the day in that greeting!?!)

Wait – WHO am I again?!?! Yeah, it has been more than three weeks since my last post. And it might be another three weeks unit my next … or three months … or forever! Who really knows. But I decided I wanted to check back in and share some quick thoughts … so let’s jump right into it!

Runfessions

Run-Fessions

I loved Harold’s Runfessions a couple of Fridays back, so naturally I stole the idea! It is only fair since he stole it himself, citing Michelle who in turn grabbed it from Marcia … whew! Anyway, here are some of MY run-fessions!

I love that top picture! – that was posted by the Wineglass Marathon on their Facebook Page in a post celebrating volunteers … but honestly all I saw was ME! We are a decent ways into the race as I can tell by how saturated my shorts are with sweat, but I am still running happy!

I love running – yeah, I know that is a theme I harp on, but Judith was writing recently about someone who pounded out miles and races and so on … and didn’t even LIKE running, I had to ask – WHY?!? Who the heck would do something they don’t like … find a new exercise!

It is REALLY hard figuring out how to dress for the weather – over the last few weeks we’ve had warm & humid and near-freezing and everything in between. I don’t like being cold, nor do I like feeling like I am overheating! I have done OK, with a couple of days where I wished I wore gloves or wish I had worn shorts instead.

I am not invincible – no, I have not been injured, but after running 8 days straight, including ~32 miles of speed & hills last weekend, I ran 9.75 miles on Monday in my Virratas … oh, boy are they DONE! I really felt it in my legs – nothing injury-like, just general fatigue that went away the next day with the Kinvaras.

Runners are gorgeous – this is non-gender-specific, but this year I saw more runners out and about than ever before, and I loved it. There is the son of a woman we chat with regularly when she is walking her dogs, who visits once or twice a year and is incredibly graceful and speedy (18-minute 5K range fast). There is a young woman who runs after dinner along the route that we drive taking the kids to marching band. There is the cyclist I see most mornings, the two women who moved from walking to running this year, and the various others I see on my weekend runs. They are all gorgeous … you are all gorgeous. WE … are all gorgeous.

Blog Confessiom

Blog-Fessions

While I am at it, how about blog-fessions? I would say that Michele made a blog-fession talking about how she wants to earn an income through blogging. Here are some of mine:

I am still reading ALL of your blogs! – Yes, I barely even comment anymore, but every day (or week, depending on the person) I look forward to reading what is going on with Harold and Suz and Ange and Em and Hollie and Amanda and Lisa and Sara and Sarah and Sara and Sarah (hmm, trend?) and Laura and Laura and Annie and Cori and Megan and Ann and Danielle and Rae and Nicole and Carmyy and Michele and Falyn and Sami and welcome back Olena and … several others in my feed! I don’t always even manage a ‘like’. But you are all awesome and I love what you are doing!

I have NO interest in making ANY money blogging – I don’t say this to counter Michele’s post above … in fact, I have been thinking about a post along the lines of ‘Are You Branding, Blogging or just blogging’. I differentiate them as follows: ‘Branding’ is what Danielle (T-Rex Runner) and Megan (Lyons Share Wellness) are doing, and Michele is doing with her three-prong attack of Paleo, runner, and Mom. Pretty strong brand material, really. Then there are Bloggers, people who have a focused approach and voice, and are trying to make enough money to support their blogs, getting ambassadorships, promoting products, doing giveaways, and so on.. Finally there are ‘bloggers’, people who have a blog and write. Like me. All are valid, but very different approaches. I think it is important to know what you WANT from your blog … I thought I might want to be a ‘Blogger’, but not really.

While I haven’t Published in 3 weeks, I have 7 new drafts – and that isn’t counting this one. I have also deleted several. Bottom line is that I haven’t come to any conclusions about what I am doing with this blog other than it is a lower priority than pretty much everything else in my life, from work and family and home and pets and running and music and so on. It isn’t like ideas dry up, or the process goes away … it is a matter of how I choose to spend time.

Some of the ‘blogging BS’ is more apparent – I feel like I can now see more stuff going on, things like humble-bragging, body-shaming, passive aggressive statements, run-snobbing, link-baiting, and YES, sadly this does occur in some of the blogs in my RSS and WordPress feeds on occasion. I suppose all of us do some of this – sometimes I assume it is pride at accomplishments. My tolerance for these sorts of things has definitely gone down considerably, and I have definitely not been reading as much as before. Let me be a bit more clear – over the last 2.5 years I lost 110lbs and took >33% off my pace – but that fat & slow person from 2012 is *ME*. If I spend time in my blog putting down my former self or speaking disparagingly about my speed or weight, I am putting down (a) me and (b) others who have and continue to struggle with these things. Enough said on THAT.

Not Blogging Has Propogated into More Offline Time – I have come to love my non-blogging time, but at the same time I don’t relax any more than before! I have been on a tech frenzy lately – Galaxy Note 3, Garmin vivoSmart, iPhone 6, Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, Bluetooth keyboards, iPad synthesizer software (love iPhophet!), and so on. I was also away for business for a week. We’ve also had a lot going on between two birthdays, marching band madness, a newly licensed driver, and busy school year! I am looking forward to getting settled in and figuring out how to allocate some time, between music and writing (NaNoWriMo is beckoning!). My satisfaction with other stuff will dictate how/when/if I return to regular blogging.

Third Quarter Running Summary

So what were my goals? After the end of June I said “From now through the end of September, here is what I would like to do”:
– Keep my weekly volume between 50-60 miles (I honestly think 65-75 is too much and don’t want to do something stupid)
– Hit the track for some speed drills at least once or twice
– Sign up for at least one race this year … regardless of distance.

OK, well, here is the result:
– Not so much – my numerical average is 63 miles/week, but if you take out my ‘non-running vacation’ week the average jumps to 68.
– I basically did just that – I did the local high school track twice. Really, not great … but better than zero.
– OK, my last real chance is the Red Baron Half Marathon in November, let’s hope that happens!

Here are my thoughts on the last three months:

Running

Last time I said “I am running a solid volume and at a pace that feels pretty good to me.” I continue feeling that way – although I probably held my mileage too high this summer, I feel great and have had mostly great runs the whole 3rd quarter. I really didn’t attack anything, just worked to keep up my fitness and endurance, which worked great as I continue to be able to toss off ‘longer than half marathon’ runs regularly all summer.

Racing

Um, yeah. Nothing to report here. My feelings on the Wineglass Marathon were interesting – I decided back in January not to run, when it came to race weekend there is just so much activity here and I know so many people who ran and the weather was just absolutely perfect … I couldn’t help but feel a bit sentimental about not running.

Weight

During the summer the weight falls off me and I need to be extra careful about keeping fueled – and I have been really happy with how I have done. My goal since last year has been to follow my doctor’s orders, which were ‘do NOT lose any more weight’. Balanced with my own desire to not gain weight, I was worried about how it would work. It has been great – and easier than I thought.

Food & Eating

In a word – consistent and confident. My good eating is a habit, as is being careful on rest days. My intake remains great, dominated by fresh whole foods, balanced fruits and veggies and lean meats. I still have little desire for processed foods or packaged sweets. This is great, and I hope it keeps up that way!

Tracking/Tech

I am still loving the Garmin FR-15 and Magennal Echo for tracking runs, as well as the Polar Loop for fitness tracking. I switched to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for much of August and September, and found that Android is a total crap platform for fitness. Sync-ing the Loop took ~5x as long on the Note as the iPhone 5, the Echo was wonky and lost connection, and none of the fitness apps were as robust.

I have since moved back to iOS with the iPhone 6, and things went back to perfection immediately. I recently got Garmin’s new vivoSmart, which is a fitness tracker and ‘smartwatch’ that syncs with your phone. It is really cool, but occasionally problematic – which I hope continues improving through updates.

Everything Else

I have been much happier with not blogging than I would have thought. I have felt balanced, and so long as that holds I will not go back to regular blogging. Part of that is everything else is just nuts – work is super-busy and I seem to have doubled my responsibilities and the number of people reporting to me, Lisa’s work schedule has been busy, the kids have a crazy schedule which has made OUR schedules even crazier, and so on.

Lisa and I have made sure to take plenty of ‘us’ time as always, most recently taking a date night to see ‘Gone Girl’. We’d both read the book, but over a year ago so we knew all the basics but some details were sketchy. It was good enough that it made us want to re-read it!

We each also try to get some ‘alone time’ with the boys, which is challenging with their crazy schedules … but we try.

Outlook for 2015

I know it is early yet, but here are my basic thoughts for next year:
– Run more than 2000 miles.
– Maintain my weight and healthy eating habits
– Work on pace improvement.
– Run at least one 5k, a 10k, a half and full marathon.

Will I manage it all? Probably not! I know work will be busy through the whole year, as will Lisa’s work, and we will have Danny going off to college and Chris heading into his senior year. Crazy, eh?

Second Quarter Running Summary

Once again I decided to take my weekly summaries and chart them up. Here they are:

3rd Quarter Miles

Overall I am very pleased with my second quarter. By the numbers:
– Total miles – 821 miles (713 miles Q1, 812 Q2)
– Average weekly miles – 63* (55 Q1, 62 Q2)
– Half-year total – 2346 miles (on track to break 3000 miles)
– Longest run – multiple 23+ mile runs
– Shortest run – 5.25 miles (my ‘oh no, my mojo’ run!)

I have kept up with ‘runs with purpose’ throughout the period, which were mostly brutal hills, but also some speed work. I have hit the track … but I wanted to get in much more speedwork than I did.

Again, considering my goals for the year included staying injury-free, breaking 2000 miles, and running a couple of races … I am doing well on the key item. Which is being injury-free. I have already broken 2000 miles … and well, as the song says two out of three ain’t bad.

Fourth Quarter Goals

From now through the end of the year, here is what I would like to do:
– Break 3000 miles total (as of right now I am already over 2400 … so this is very doable)
– ‘Keep on Keepin’ On’ with the running – last week I ended up with an on-off-on-off-on-off schedule for Monday – Saturday due to birthdays, and it worked great for me. No stress, just running.
– Keep up my ‘runs with purpose’ – especially as it gets cold!
– Sign up for at least one race this year … regardless of distance.

How was your third quarter of running? How is your weather and have you broken out warmer clothes yet? What plans do you have for the rest of the year?

Step (Way) Back Week, Running Thoughts, and August Summary!

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Hi Friends! Well … when I said it had become much easier to disconnect, I wasn’t lying! In fact, I have enjoyed it so much I suddenly find myself very much disconnected on a regular basis … my posts two weeks ago were erratic, and I hadn’t done any since the previous Thursday until just a couple of days ago!

But when I say ‘step back’, I am really just talking about blogging – my running is still on track, as you will see below.

What are my blogging plans?

Well, I don’t know.

Here’s the thing – this was supposed to be posted on Sunday … or Monday … then Tuesday. Wednesday ended up with a different post – which is good because I don’t think this would have made it.

Funny thing – Wednesday’s post eased into one for Thursday and then Friday … and reconnecting through catching up on reading all of your posts and reading comments reminded me how much I love this community.

But at the same time I cannot deny that my relationship with blogging, and writing for the internet in general is evolving … and I really don’t know where it is going. So I will do what I always suggest to others – write when I want to, but never out of obligation.

So here goes!

Running Shoe Lifetimes

This past week seemed to be ‘how long do my shoes last?’ week, as there were great posts by Nicole and one from Cori where she referenced an earlier post about how she determines when to replace her running shoes.

In one comment I noted that my Saturday run of 18.5 miles put my Saucony Virrata 2s up over 1200 miles. They seemed to be doing fine – and I can generally start to feel it on runs or the same day. That tends to be my first indicator. And now that I have been rotating with the much newer Saucony Kinvara 5s (about 300 miles now) I really expected to notice it on my runs – and have been doing about 4:1 Virrata to Kinvara at this point.

But what I noticed was on Sunday. We picked up Danny’s girlfriend at Cornell in the morning and headed to the Destiny USA Mall in Syracuse (apparently it is the 6th largest in the country now) for back to school shopping and some fun. I noticed some tightness while driving in my calves and ankles, but we took Lisa’s car and … well, my 18.5 mile run had concluded after 8:30PM the night before.

We did a ton of walking on Sunday, close to 10 miles according to my S-Health app on my Galaxy Note 3 (yes, still loving this monster!). … and even though I’d walked more in Boston and New York City – I definitely felt it more in my ankles and calves.

My assumption? The Virratas are about done. I am wearing the Kinvaras all week and will rotate the Virratas in on a limited basis next week to see how they feel on shorter runs.

Update: I have worn the Virratas three times since writing this and feel fine. It wasn’t the shoes, apparently … it was me!

How do YOU know when it is ‘time to go’?

Shoe Reviews – Old and Used

Harold had a great post about why he is reviewing ‘last year’s shoes’. His thought:

Just because brands have a newer models to sell, that doesn’t mean the old running shoes, the ones that suddenly become much more affordable are irrelevant to runners?

And it is true – I handed off my Kinvara 4s to my son to use for bang-around shoes once they were ‘done’ as running shoes. But I have looked at them on Amazon and Running Warehouse, and they are now about $60 – but in very limited supply in my size 13.

But the point is, just because the Kinvara 5 arrives doesn’t mean the Kinvara 4 is suddenly of no value. I LOVED the Kinvara 4, and would buy another pair in a second … except that the sales on the Kinvara 5 are starting to ramp up as well.

Shopping for discount shoes often means dealing with older versions, and what you find searching for reviews is stuff that is old and almost always ‘first impressions’. I have talked about my disappointment at how quickly the New Balance Minimus 2 broke down … but have I written a full review? No. What I love that Harold is doing is his 50 mile reviews and longer term looks at shoes. You get not just the first impression, but a solid feel for how things last over time.

I would love to see that become more of a standard practice.

Injured Runner ‘Epidemic’

I mentioned this in a couple of comments, but so many people I know both ‘in real life’ and through blogging and otherwise on the internet have gotten injured that it is astounding. And something that really drove it home over the last week or so is the messages I have gotten from the Wineglass Marathon talking about opening up new entries. I intentionally didn’t sign up this year, but I know THREE people (including Hollie) who have deferred.

Now the Wineglass is a pretty popular marathon, enough that it allows 2000 people for both the full and half marathons, and also a decent size wait-list … and sells out by the spring. So for them to send along this message stunned me:

We have gotten enough Deferrals in that we have been able to open up 100 more slots in the Full Marathon! This is for the Full Marathon only at this time! If you or someone you know would still like to run please go to our web-site and click on Register Now for the Full Marathon! Thank you!

Still want to do the Half? Just opened up 100 Half Marathon entries.

So I was thinking – they already went through a couple of hundred people on wait-lists for each race, THEN they were able to add 100 more. They actually had opened up more slots for the wait list once already right after sign-ups closed.

I didn’t see this either of the last two years I have run the marathon, and it makes me wonder if there actually are more people getting hurt this year, and if so … WHY? What do you think?

Running Thoughts

Hollie had an awesome collection of posts she shared yesterday (she actually has had some great ones of her own this week – check them out if you don’t already follow her). A couple of my faves:

20 Things Every Seasoned Runner Knows (That Every New Runner Learns The Hard Way)
, which included gems such as:
* 12. Even if you’ve been running for years, every once in a while there’s just going to be a run that blows.

Which was my Wednesday theme.

Then there is this one I think many of us can identify with, I know Laura was talking about it this week as she returns from her summer off:

* 13. If you take a few weeks or even a few months off, getting back in the groove of things is going to feel impossible.

And finally something I do very well … but would rather not have to do quite so well – and certainly not so SOON!:

* 14. How to survive running in winter.

Grab a Gal: Why Men Should Run with a Woman
– there were some interesting things there, but one interesting one is about women and pacing:

Women are natural pacers. Studies of marathon runners have revealed that women have even pacing, which is a huge plus in long-distance racing. Biological reasons explain why. Males burn a greater percentage of carbohydrates for fuel, which deplete more quickly, whereas females will use more fat stores that last longer. Men tend to start out fast when the carbs are high and run out of fuel over the long haul. Pairing up with a woman might help even out this tendency, at least mentally.

Which explains why I never reading any blog posts from women about going out too fast! 😉 haha But seriously, the carb vs. fat stores thing is supported in at least one recent study.

But I had to double-check that the author was a woman, because of things like “Women smell better”. I mean, I certainly think that is true as a general rule – but my wife thinks she stinks after we do a long bike ride or whatever … weird.

Either way, I think running with others of either gender is a great thing – and I hope that we can run together if I am ever in your neck of the woods! Speaking of which – I will be in Cary, NC for the week of September 15 – 19 … anyone reading live down there?

August Running Summary

August was a big of a strange month for me. I had a half-marathon I had planned (Catharine Valley) that I decided to skip – and was glad I did because Lisa ended up with the morning off and we had a fantastic time together. The following weekend was a 5k/10k I thought about, but when Lisa’s plans at work shifted, I lost my gusto to get up and do it alone. Oh well – I still kept chugging along with my normal daily runs.

We had a whirlwind Boston college tour weekend, moving Danny’s girlfriend into Cornell, and a busy school shopping weekend. My month at work has been busy, and I ended the month getting into a technical area of exploration that is the deepest research stuff I have been able to do with this project – which is awesome.

Here are my weekly totals for August, by ‘week ending’ date:
– 8/1 & 2 – 24.5
– 8/9 – 54
– 8/16 – 72.57
– 8/23 – 68.55
– 8/30 – 67.5

And since I didn’t run on the 31st (but walked more than 10 miles!) my total for the month is 287.1 miles! I actually managed more than 300 miles in a month last summer … but this is still pretty nuts considering everything else that has been going on! No wonder I am exhausted!

How Did You Feel About Your August? Do You See More Injured Runners Than Usual This Year?