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Forgetting Fourteen

6 Feb

This weekend was one full of celebrations (Donnie’s birthday, Super Bowl, it being such a beautiful weekend, etc… ), but before I could start celebrating, I had to run fourteen miles.

First, we did a four-mile route: two out and two back. My times are slightly off because I didn’t stop my watch immediately after the route.

  • Distance: 4.12 miles
  • Time: 58:11.24
  • Pace: 14:07/mile

We picked up the late starters and ran our (almost) 10-mile route.

  • Distance: 9.91 miles
  • Time: 2:16.53
  • Pace: 13:48/mile

My long runs are with intervals (run five, walk one). For a good while we managed to maintain an average pace of 11:22 miles during the runs, which is faster then we’ve been running.

I’m not sure if it was our pushing the pace, or a combo of the running hills Thursday then the pace and longer distance on Saturday, but I was super sore several hours later. I think it would’ve been a good day for an ice bath, but I typically don’t need one for anything less than 16 miles so the thought hadn’t even occurred to me. I guess my body forgot what running fourteen miles was like.

Saturday night we celebrated Donnie’s birthday with the most yummy dinner at KRES Chophouse and sans ice bath I found it uncomfortable to sit still for so long, especially in a dress. I must’ve looked odd constantly shifting my body to try to get comfy. But the white chocolate bread pudding at the end made me forget all my pains. Ha! Everything we had was incredible: Steak Tartare, Filet Mignon served Oscar style (topped with asparagus, crab cakes and béarnaise sauce), Mushroom Risotto and of course, that bread pudding! And as always, the service was amazing.

Sunday was spent with friends laughing, eating, drinking and playing bocci ball, and watching football. For dessert I served a dessert inspired from one we had at Jam Rum Bar & Bistro in Puerto Rico last year: coconut ice cream topped with mango, blue berries and strawberries and served with cinnamon pita chips. When we went to the store earlier that day we couldn’t find coconut ice cream so I bought some Blue Bell Vanilla Bean ice cream, let it melt a bit, then mixed it with coconut cream in the blender and put it back in the freezer to harden again. It was delish!

What did you do this weekend? 

A 10-Mile Run and a Boat Tour Kinda Day

23 Jan

Saturday marked the official start of Marathonfest Spring Training. It only being two weeks since my marathon, I was unsure of how Saturday’s 10-miler would go. Lucky for me it was a great run:

  • Body parts felt good: check
  • Easy breathing: check
  • Maintained pace: check
  • Completed 10 miles: umm… does almost count?

Technically we ran 9.86 miles or something like that. However, I didn’t feel like running up and down the street just to hit that 10-mile mark (though I have done this plenty in the past) so I counted it as a run complete and called it a day. Don’t ask me how long it took because I didn’t charge my Garmin so I ran with a naked wrist. Hmm… I wonder if that’s why the 10 miles went so quickly…

Afterwards I skipped our group’s usual breakfast outing to rush home and shower and prep for the day. D and I had talked about taking a day trip and I had to get home to get ready.

In the end we dilly-dallied until noonish, making it too late to head to St. Augustine or St. Pete, so instead we decided to do some sight-seeing in our own town.

Since my Saturday runs having us winding through the streets of Winter Park, I’ve noticed canals that I never knew existed. My running group seemed surprised to find out I’d never taken the Scenic Boat Tour in Winter Park and suggested I go on it. Since Saturday was a gorgeous day, this is exactly what we decided to do.

The dock for the tour is only a couple of blocks from Park Avenue. Tickets were $12 per adult and the tour was approximately one hour. The boat captain also doubles up as your tour guide, serving up cheesy jokes and a plethora of Winter Park history bits for your enjoyment. On several occasions we commented on how we felt like we were on the Jungle Cruise Disney ride.

When we got on our half-filled boat, we were surprised to find that no one had taken the front seats. I can see how the front seats would be bad during muggy or hot weather because of the bugs, but with weather like Saturday’s I jumped on the chance to sit up front. Because of our front-row seats we got lots of great pics and video.

My favorite part of the tour were the canals. I’ve only first noticed the canals this past year during our long runs, and riding through them made me feel like we were somewhere else in the world.

I took two videos in the canals. If you listen closely you can hear our tour guide.

Afterwards we walked over to Park Avenue and tried out a new restaurant that I’ve been wanting to try: Prato.

It was around 3:30 pm when we stopped in. Their kitchen closes down from three to five, so you can only order pizza between lunch and dinner. That’s okay, we had the most delicious pizza: the Widow Maker.

Last year after reading about adding an egg to my frozen pizza on a blog, I decided to try it for myself (I blogged about it here) and have been enjoying it ever since. Well, this pizza kicked my frozen pizza’s butt! With toscano, fennel sausage, kale, farm egg, romesco and a perfect crust, I would have to say this is the best pizza I’ve had in a while. I also discovered my new favorite stout: Southern Tier Mokah. The stout has an amazing chocolate aroma, and the mocha taste is amazingly smooth. If you love stouts and mocha, I suggest strongly suggest this!

Next week is a 12-mile run. I sure do hope it’s as fun.

Do you have any suggestions on hidden gems to visit in Central Florida? 

One Final Long Run

2 Jan

Saturday morning I started my New Year’s Eve with one final long run for 2011. Our schedule suggested 8 to 10 miles.

Before long runs I typically get the baked chicken platter with a salad and black beans and rice from Black Bean Deli in Winter Park. I’ve found this to be the perfect pre-run meal.

However, Friday night I might have fun its competition at Antonio’s in Winter Park.

D and I each started with the soup of the day, which was a potato soup with sausage and spinach. The soup was hearty and absolutely delicious. Honestly, I would’ve stopped there if I wasn’t running the next day! For my entree I had the Pollo all’Aglio e Rosmarino.  The chicken was perfectly cooked. Even the white meat was moist, which is really hard to come across. The best way I could describe the meal was that it was clean. All of the flavors were subtle and simple, and the entree as a whole was delicious.

Here’s a pic of my meal:

I only ate half my meal. We skipped dessert because we were stuffed, but by the time I got home I wanted a little something sweet. Seeing as it was International Bacon Day, I thought it would be fitting if I finally tried this:

I knew that bacon made everything taste better… but even chocolate?? It was surprisingly delicious!

Saturday morning I was up early. Earlier during the week I slept through not one, but TWO runs and couldn’t sleep because I was so nervous I would sleep through my alarm yet again.

We did something different for our last long run: laps around Lake Baldwin. Each lap is approximately 2.4 miles. One of my running ladies and I were running the longest: we ran approximately 9.5 miles, then stopped to get coffee on our final lap.

When we got back to where our cars were, the rest of our group was waiting for us so we could start the Most Awful Christmas/Hanukkah Gift I Got and Want to Get Rid of White Elephant Gift Exchange.

Those gifts look pretty, right?

Here’s what was amongst them:

  • A 1lb. gummy bear
  • A travel-size can of shaving cream and a razor blade
  • A tacky Christmas mug and a ‘Welcome’ frog statue
  • A bag of coconut candy and a March birthday plaque
  • Christmas shot glasses and a flask

I didn’t think the last one was so bad. Neither was the shaving cream and razor blade. That’s what I took home and will definitely use it.

My last run before the marathon went well and helped me end a bad running week (missing two runs in a row) on a positive note.

I can’t believe that I’ll be running my first marathon on less than a week!

Any words of advice?

What are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

30 Dec

I’m starting my New Year’s Eve with one last longer run before my first marathon! Let’s hope that this 10-miler won’t be as frustrating as the last 8-miler and the 10-miler before that. Why, oh why is it the shorter long runs are getting to be so much harder than the really long ones?

Afterwards I need to get my nap on because we are joining friends in ringing in the New Year at the Enzian’s James Bond New Year’s Eve Party tomorrow night. I’ve been scouring the internet this afternoon looking for ways to ‘Bond Girl’ my outfit. You better believe I’ll be sporting some Bond Girl eye liner and red lips!

2011… I hate to see you leave, but I love to watch you walk away! 2012 welcomes me to my very first full marathon.

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? 

Pain is Temporary

27 Dec

This is totally how I felt last week during my 22-miler, that turned into a 20.8-miler.

Only twelve days left until my first marathon!

Road Kill Saturday

19 Dec

On my last long run before my taper for the Walt Disney World Marathon, we saw no less than four dead carcasses on our run. The road kill was horrid, and the run was almost as bad. Let’s start at the beginning.

Friday night I had trouble falling asleep. Because I didn’t leave my job until almost 9 PM and still had to go buy dog food before grabbing dinner, I didn’t actually walk through my front door until 9:30 or so. Perhaps it was the eating dinner so late that made it difficult for me to fall asleep. Or the nerves. Or both. I even typed up my fears in this post as I laid in bed.

My post must’ve been a premonition of what was to come.

The first thing to go wrong: I slept through my alarm for an hour. It was one of those times where the alarm becomes part of your dream, and for the life of you, you can’t figure out why the phone won’t stop ringing in your dream. And then you wake up and realize it was your alarm the whole time. This is exactly what happened. I woke up in a startle and looked at my clock. The time read 4:21 AM. My alarm had been going off for an hour.

I tumbled out of bed and for the next 45 minutes was in a hazed panic. I called my group and arranged to meet them along the route at 5 AM. Unfortunately there was a bit of phone tag and a voicemail message was left on my phone instructing me to meet my group in a location I was unfamiliar with. Meanwhile I was tearing my house apart looking for my ankle brace, which had apparently gone into hiding.

After also having difficulty finding my fuel, I finally gave up on the ankle brace and raced out the door without stopping to pull up directions. I got lost and missed the 5 AM meet-up time, so I headed to the next  water stop.

I thought I would only have to wait 20 minutes for my group to arrive at this next location. It was cold, but I jumped out of my car to do some dynamic stretches. Soon, twenty minutes turned into forty minutes. I started to run around in a circle in order to stay warm and start working up my mileage. As the clock hit 6 AM, I realized I was losing those precious before sunrise hours and had to get going. Just as I headed out to start 20+ miles on my own, my group showed up. Thank God. That would’ve been a long, long run without my iPod.

My group was 6 miles into their run. My laps around the waiting area had knocked my mileage up to 1 mile, so I was only 5 miles behind them. I’m usually pretty chatty when I run, but at this point I was so frustrated with my morning that I was silent. Silent for 2 whole miles. This is unheard of for me. But all I could think of is after my group finishes their 22 miles, I was still going to have 5 more miles to run… by myself… without my iPod. I was horrified.

A couple miles into my run, we got to play my favorite game “Find an open bathroom” for one of my group members. Lucky for her I just happened to know where a nearby 7-11 was and led the way. We then headed to our next stop to meet up with the rest of the group that was joining us for the back half of the run. I think I was at 7 miles when we met up.

It was soon brought to my attention that I had taken over the role of group bitch. This distressed the former holder of said title and she vowed to regain the title. Meanwhile I just laughed. It took my group six months to figure this out? Impressive.

Every couple of miles we stumbled past some road kill. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was what I would look like towards the end of my run.

There were three highlights to the run:

  • The Street Drug Game – Go through the alphabet naming as many street drugs as possible for each letter. Things got a little hairy when I insisted (very loudly) that ‘beer’ was indeed a street drug.
  • The Sex Swing – We ran past this swing early during the training season and I’ve been wanting to capture it on camera since then. This totally looks like it belongs in someone’s bedroom, not their front yard:

  • I Sweat Pretty – This is exactly what the back of my group leader’s shirt said to me with her heart-shaped sweat mark on her lower back.

I broke off from my group around 16 miles into my run. They ran back to their original start point while I ran back towards my start point. By this point the sun had come up and was beating down on me. “Crap,” I thought, “I forgot to put on sunblock.”

My original plan had been to run to my car, get some water at the water stop, and then extend the run for whatever mileage was needed for me to hit 22 miles and end up back at my car. But when I got to the water stop, they were taking the water down. I filled up one last time and changed my route to run home. That would get me to 20 miles, I could grab some water from my house and then add on another 2 miles and have water available at the end of my run. I would just ask Donnie and his dad, who was visiting, to go get my car for me.

At the end of a long run, there’s not much rational thinking going on, so I was impressed that I had even been able to come up with that plan. However, halfway to my house I realized I had forgotten to grab my house key. At this point I wasn’t turning around, so I kept running. I decided to run on a more popular road in case Donnie and his pops happened to drive by. Thank God I did, because they did drive by on their way to breakfast and pulled over when they saw me. We did a quick key exchanged and I kept chugging along.

Around this point (18 miles), my IT band started to hurt. At 19 miles it was throbbing and by 20 miles I was having trouble bending my leg. I knew that if I stopped at my house for water I would end the run, so I tried to keep going. But I didn’t make it far. Whilst grunting I realized it was time to just call it and walked home.

It took 5:02:22 for me to cover 20.85 miles with some breaks along the way. I walked unto my front porch and sunk down into one of our porch chairs. Then I mustered the energy to make it inside my house, sprawled out on the hard wood floor, just like the unusually high amount of road kill we had run by all morning, and fell asleep for 10 minutes.

Then Team Hemarie (Donnie and his Pops) arrived with a big breakfast and three bags of ice for me. Their words of encouragement and the french toast made me feel better. And the ice bath made me curse. And scream. And helped reduce my swelling.

The first 16 miles of my run weren’t bad at all. I actually felt pretty good! And miles 16 to 18 were just lonely and hot. But when the IT pain hit me, I knew I only had a matter of time before I would lose the mobility of my leg.

I’m going to have to pay extra attention on leg before the marathon to try to delay the inevitable IT pain for as long as possible.

And now I’m officially tapering for my marathon. Let’s hope my alarm goes off for that one!

My Rational (and Irrational) Running Fears – Part Deux

16 Dec

Laying in bed and unable to sleep. These are the thoughts that are currently running through my head:

  • What if I can’t fall asleep?
  • What if my 3:30 AM alarm clock doesn’t wake me up?
  • What if I forget which meeting spot to drive to and accidentally go to the wrong one?
  • What if my watch dies mid-run because I forgot to charge it? (Quickly get up to find my watch and check to see if it needs to be charged. It does need to be, so I plug it in.)
  • What if I forget to grab my watch from the charger in the AM? (Set reminder on iPhone)
  • What if I get stuck on an ‘X’ name while playing the name game? (Quickly Google ‘celebrity names that start with the letter x’… Xander Berkley (actor) and Xavier Hernandez (former baseball player)… This should be good.)
  • What if my thighs rip a hole in my pants?
  • What if my ass rips a hole in my pants? (Decide that I most certainly must wear underwear under my running tights for this very reason)
  • What if my tendonitis flares in my left ankle?
  • What if new tendonitis decides to introduce itself?
  • What if my IT band tightens up?
  • What if I run out of fuel? (Set reminder to run with cash)
  • What if we run out of Atomic Energy Bites? They don’t make these any more!!
  • What if I run for so long that my shoes start to fall apart?
  • What if this is a hard run?
  • What if it’s not just a hard run, but the hardest run ever?
  • What if I don’t make it? How will I ever run the full marathon?

More to come… after the run.

Things That Don’t Make for a Good Run

12 Dec

1. Christmas parties the night before a long run.

2. Cobb salad for dinner the night before a long run.

I only had two adult beverages at my company Christmas party Friday, but that was apparently two too many. I’m such a lightweight.

Also, while the cobb salad that Donnie made for dinner was not only delicious but also very pretty, I don’t think it made for a great pre-run meal. I felt like I had no fuel in my tank only a couple miles into my run.

These two things combined made for a long, sluggish 10 mile-run Saturday morning.

This makes me wonder, what’s with my 10-mile runs becoming harder than my 16+ runs?

At least Saturday was beautiful. After my bad run I nursed myself back to happiness with some good old-fashioned laying out with my boo.

Here’s our attempt to turn our back yard into a Corona commercial:

This upcoming Saturday morning is our final long run (20 to 22 miles) before taper. Friday night you’ll find me eating lots of carbs and drinking absolutely zero adult beverages. And if I’m lucky, I’ll spend the rest of the day in the backyard catching rays.

(Florida does have its perks.)

Post-Turkey Run

26 Nov

Is the first run after Thanksgiving Day always painful? Because this morning was brutal.

This morning we were scheduled to run 10 to 14 miles. I opted for the 10 and mid-run downgraded to 8 miles.

Actually, we were scheduled to run 20 miles today, but we swapped out our weeks and ran the 20-miler last week. I’d like to thank my group leaders for this suggestion, because running that 20 miles this morning wouldn’t have gone well.

I wonder if it’s the turkey that slowed me down… or the pumpkin pie… or the Black Friday shopping… or all of it combined.Whatever it was, it seemed my entire group was suffering from the same ailments.

Speaking of pie, Tuesday morning we ran four miles then had our usual coffee at Starbucks. One of my group members had been baking pies the night before and surprised us with this early Thanksgiving treat:

Post-run pumpkin pie

One of the reasons I run... DESSERT! Nom nom.

How about you? Have you found it hard to get moving this post-Thanksgiving weekend?

My First 20-Miler

20 Nov

First 20-Miler

Yesterday I did something that I never thought possible: I ran 20 miles.

I just looked up the distance from my house in downtown Orlando to my mom’s house in Lake Mary and it’s 18 miles. The fact that I could’ve run home to visit my mom is absolutely insane to me. And yet I more than covered that distance yesterday.

My morning started up early Saturday with a 3:25 AM wake-up time. As I rolled out of bed, I couldn’t help but think that there were people probably just finishing their Friday nights. I rolled my legs with my BFF foam roller and got dressed while Donnie went out to the living room. Since we had fallen asleep at 9 PM the night before, he was wide awake.

When I walked out to the kitchen, I stared in the pantry and asked him “What do you think I should have for breakfast?” “Life,” he said. (If anyone watches The Soup like we religiously do, they you’ll get the reference to a bad scene from a soap opera where the dumb hunk says “It’s not what’s for breakfast any more. It’s what’s for life.”) Since life was too much for me to handle at that hour, I settled for some wheat bread with my new favorite peanut butter: Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams.

My new favorite peanut butter. Don't mind the smudge... I was just snacking on some. 😉

I left Donnie on the couch watching the movie Heat and drove to the spot where I was meeting the rest of my group. My friend, Christina, is training for the Walt Disney Marathon too and this was going to be her first time running 20 miles too. We started our run both excited and nervous. I reminded myself to take it one mile at a time.

Surprisingly, our first 10 miles went by pretty fast. I didn’t even check my distance until we were about six miles in and that’s because someone asked me to. I remember at one point asking my group to not ask me how far we’d run because I didn’t want to know. Don’t worry, this ignorance-is-bliss thing changed around mile 16. 😉

Our first 10-mile loop took us back to our meeting spot, so I took the opportunity to use the bathroom real quick and run over to my car and reapply glide under my sports bra. After a short break, we were on the road again. This time there were only three of us: Christina, Emily and me.

I need to mention that since the majority of our group has already run their fall marathons, our support for this long run was scarce. Our awesome group leaders, Sue and Emily, wanted to make sure that us noobs had support, so they developed a plan. Sue was experiencing some ankle problems and is running the Space Coast Marathon next weekend, so she decided to drive her car along the route and make sure we were okay. Emily, who’s also running the Space Coast Marathon, was on a taper, so she ran every other 2 to 3 miles with us, and rode with Sue the rest of the time.

The best parts about this plan:

  • This resulted in making Sue that creepy lady sitting in parking lots by herself. She got quite a few dirty looks from other runners, parents, etc. Awesome.
  • Emily’s little breaks gave her extra energy for the portions she did run with us. We fed off that energy.
  • It made us laugh every time they would ride along our side and yell encouragement as they sipped on their Starbucks Gingerbread lattes.
  • When it was dark, the car lights lit the rode ahead of us.
  • I was reassured knowing that if something happened to either of us, help was nearby.

What they both did for us was pretty awesome. They both went above and beyond and I can’t thank them enough.

Somewhere in the midst of our second 10-mile leg, Sue leaned out her window and told us that at the next stop we would be getting Atomic Energy Bites. This seemed to put a little pep in Christina’s step since she’d had some before. I, on the other hand, had only heard of this energy chew so I lacked her enthusiasm. I told Sue that it seemed like she was dangling a carrot in front of us. She said she was.

They don’t seem to have a website, so I still question the legality of Atomic Energy Bites and whether they are in fact FDA approved. But let me tell you, these things WORK. Within minutes I had a newfound pep in my step.

Here’s a pic of us right either right before or right after we took the Atomic Energy Bites:

Feeling strong around mile 17

If you ask me, we looked pretty strong regardless. 🙂

We then started to play the name game in order to distract us. This did the job for a couple of miles. But then we got bored and moved to the Food Game after Sue suggested it from her car.

She explained the rules of the Food Game: For your first mile, try to name as many food items that start with the letter A. For the second mile, do the same with the letter B and so on and so forth. We decided to break it down into 5-minute increments instead. I don’t think she intended for this to be such a funny game, but that’s what it became. I’m pretty sure delirium (and Atomic Energy Bites) had settled in at the point. Let’s just say that for the letter D, the first food I could come up with was “dead animal” and then I almost peed my pants laughing. I also insisted that “anaconda” was a food that people ate (people eat snake, right?).

At this point we were laughing uncontrollably. At one point we got to an intersection and realized we didn’t know which way to turn. We turned back to look at Sue’s car and then laughed so hard that it took approximately 20 seconds for me to spit out my question, “Which way do we go??” Sue took this opportunity to capture video. I swear, I look drunk in the video.

At mile 18 Emily joined us for the final two miles of our run. By this point my IT in my left leg was hurting me and the laughter had wore off. It was a quiet two miles where I started checking our distance every few seconds while Emily shouted the occasional encouragement.

Finally, my watch hit mile 20 and I yelled “stop!” and we started walking. And then the neighborhood tyrant rode his bicycle by us and cursed us out. I’m told he has Tourette Syndrome, but I think he must have something else too, because I didn’t think Tourette made you flick people off too. I pretended he was the crowd at the finish line, and instead of yelling “You stupid motherf#%@” he was yelling “Awesome job!”

Afterwards I went home and sat in my car for a few minutes while I contemplated how I would get out of the car. Donnie poked his head out of the front door and sent Rex, one of my two pugs, out to get me. I managed to get out and pet Rex and shuffle into my house, where I took an ice bath, a nice long, hot shower, and remained on the couch for the rest of the day.

Have you ever tried Atomic Energy Bites? Or do you have another other energy chews you use on your long runs?