Thursday, December 31, 2015

And Just Like That 2015 is OVER - TOL

It's like it was meant to be, the final day of 2015 falling on a Thursday just in time for one final Thinking Out Loud post! 

I feel like this year flew by. Is it just me or the older you get, the quicker time goes by? 

This year has been filled with some tremendous highs and some serious lows. 

The first half of 2015 was pretty damn shitty. I was in the depths of a Crohn's flare and if I am honest was pretty depressed. I tried to put on a happy face because that is what you do, fake it til you make it, right? But in all honesty looking back, I was teetering on the edge of depression. 

LUCKILY remicade has been a lifesaver. Knock on wood but I haven't felt this good in years and think that I am due some time feeling healthy. 

On the running front things were quite dismal for the better part of 7 or 8 months. I was running 12 minute miles in the spring and then bam fall came and all of a sudden as I got healthier I got fast. 

I PR'd the crap out of the 5K, 10K and 5 Mile totally unexpected but 100% thrilled that it started to click again. 

I ended the year on an awesome vacation, the first one that was totally selfish. I have had a couple years of commitments based on bachelorette parties and weddings and this was all about getting away for no reason at all; and it was one hell of a time. 

Work was a roller coaster per usual but I am happy with how I continue to grow within the company. I have set some new goals for myself and am excited to further develop. 

I am not one for resolutions and really only have a couple of goals that I have set thus far. 

Of course a running goal. Last year I was sick and was just happy with the ability TO run, be it slow and riddled with bathroom stops. 

This year, I am planning on taking down my half marathon PR. I will first attempt that at the NOLA Rock N Roll Half at the end of February. This means sub 1:53 - based on how I was racing in fall I think I have a solid shot as long as training progresses well. I don't plan on running a full again until I get that HM PR so hopefully it comes this spring so I can chase my 26.2 marathon goals ;) 

Next up is to work on debt and savings. I had to move at the end of last year unexpectedly so was not financially prepared - plus more than doubled my monthly expenses which has taken a toll.  I also had quite the expensive year with weddings and all that jazz so my finances are not where I want them. So the goal is to dig myself out of it by the end of 2016. Because to not have debt looming would be amazing. 

So basically run, and save money. 

Here's wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year! I usually do not go out but this year will be enjoying a lovely dinner and then dancing my booty off! Catch you in 2016!! 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Vacation Helped Me Relearn Healthy Habits

Over the holidays I was away for just about two weeks. 

First up was a 7 day cruise and then followed by time with my parents in Florida. 

This was to be my first time cruising but all I kept hearing was how I would come back "10 pounds heavier!". 

Happy to report, that did NOT happen. 

I actually wound up coming back home almost 5 pounds lighter! 

I was happy to see this, and I can actually thank the cruise for helping me reset some better habits (but trust me I thoroughly enjoyed myself - please see evidence of prosecco all day, every day below).

I am a definite boredom eater, and this is mainly at night after dinner. I know in theory I am not hungry but want to eat something. I also have a bad habit of not portioning it out and eating right out of a bag/container. 

On the cruise, yes, you have unlimited buffets. At dinner as we soon learned you can order multiple of each course (try all the things!) but it was a more formal sit down. But I also did not overdo it. I kept saying I wanted soft serve ice cream from the buffet but in theory I never really wanted it and never had it. Also being in a bikini basically 12 hours a day who wants to overeat? The portion sizes served at dinner were correct. Not our American sizes. An appetizer was just that, a bite before the main course. I have a very bad habit of thinking I am hungrier than I am and portioning out massive amounts; what I was served was just right.  

And let's not forget every night we were dancing for several hours. 

I did work out most days - I only took two days off in the two weeks like I normally do - but intensity was less. I will say time and time again the less I work out, the easier it is for me to lose weight. 

Once leaving the ship I made the resolution to stop the mindless eating and get back to portioning. It is an awful habit and I don't like it. I don't necessarily care about what I weigh but I do care about how I look. Today I am wearing a pair of pants I bought massively on sale prior to the holidays but had a little muffin top in prior; now I am wearing them with a shirt tucked in!

Vanity is a big motivator and I am hoping to see if I can lean out some more - which should only help with my racing goals. 

It is kind of ironic though that not only have I made it through the holidays but a long vacation and lost weight without trying. Vacation was awesome but the fact that it helped me reset my eating habits is a welcome bonus.

Now to go book another cruise asap! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Crohn's Remission

I have waited a long time to write this post. 

A year to be exact. 

There were some dark times as I went through my flare but it started years before even being diagnosed. 

I had been cautiously optimistic after my last remicade appointment. My wonderful GI doc had doubled my usual dose to the highest maximum allowed to try and kick me into remission. Within a couple of days, my lingering symptoms were gone. 

At the same time I received two more iron infusions as my levels had plummeted once again. Then it turned to a waiting game. 

I kept waiting for the return of symptoms but after a month or so started to think about it less. 

I raced when feeling less than ideal (usually my own fault, because, wine) - and was setting PRs. 

Three to be exact in the 5K, 10K and 5 mile and started to gain confidence. 

I went to my hematologist for blood work last week and when we got the lab results we were equally floored.

I started at an iron level of 2, peaked at 14 before it slumped again and just came back at a 181 - off the charts. 

I spent this morning hooked up to my favorite IV and based on symptoms (aka basically NONE) for all intent and purposes I am in remission (we have to do a colonoscopy to check how the ulcers are still). 

Living that Remicade life.
This is as good as it gets folks. There is no cure but hopefully I remain flare free for a very long time. 

Even as I started feeling better in the latter part of this year I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and the flare to return (case and point I refused to use my vacation due to wanting to have a bank in case I got real sick again. I now have a month accrued...and am taking two weeks of starting next weekend thank you very much). 

But now, my mentality has done a total 180. Most days I feel amazing, or you know, normal.  But to feel normal and healthy IS amazing. I still get some issues every now and again but I can push through more as an "inconvenience" versus before being knocked out and sidelined. 

I am thankful. I am so so so very thankful. For those who have supported me through the darkest time, as well as for modern medicine. There may not be a cure but the advances made thus far have gotten me to this point and allowed me to regain my life.

I am thankful for a team of doctors that would not let me accept that feeling 75% as okay. I am thankful that they never once tried to deter me from leading an active lifestyle. I am thankful for the blogging community that has connected me with others in the same position and helped me see that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. 

I've never felt so blessed. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Port Washington Thanksgiving Day Run (5 Mile) Recap

Like a lot of my running buddies I am a big fan of a Thanksgiving morning race. I have run the 5 miler in Prospect Park a couple times but this year way too much of a trek from Queens (I had to go to NJ after). I started scouring the internets early on and luckily found one pretty close to me in Port Washington. I will not really trek for a 5K but this was also a 5 miler so win!

I didn’t really set myself up too well for it. The night before maybe indulged in more than a couple glasses of wine. And ate the frosting off of 1 ½ cupcakes (love buttercream could care less about the cake part) and then had a later than normal night (basically anything past 9pm is late for me).

Morning of, the struggle was real to wake up and get out of bed. But I did. Very unmotivated but I did it. I had a lot of time pre-race. The train got me to Port Wash a little after 7 with the race at 8:30. I had planned to run the 1.8 miles or so to the start but laziness was set and I did more walking than running.

I picked up my stuff and had the half hour to chill. I wound up hiding my bag behind a tractor and hoping for the best (no bag drop so was just praying my sweats were there after).

My 5 miles PR was 43:07 so my goal was an 8:30 pace to try and PR, but was very meh about the whole effort thing.

I lined up around 8:15 a little behind the 8 marker, because I am honest about my pace. The announcers every minute would state to “line up by pace, walkers in the back and unless you are running a 6 minute mile get away from the front” lol.

Gun goes off right at 8:30 and I knew I was in trouble as we were shuffling to the start. Off the bat people are walking, running VERY slow and just clogging the start up. I decided not to weave too much and attempt to settle in.

Mile 1: 8:48

I will say I was really disheartened to see how slow that first mile clicked off – it was unavoidable as it took at least a half mile to get into pace.

I also quickly note that we are running some rolling hills. I had just assumed that the course was flat but learned otherwise, luckily for the ups there was plenty of downs as well.

Mile 2: 8:16

I was in a groove now I honestly wasn’t looking much at my watch but running more by feel. I was trying to push but stay in control

Mile 3: 8:17

Kind of surprised that I was running this pace and not feeling like I was ready to fade yet but figure “at least I have banked time” (all the lol’s bc that is always a good plan, right?)

Mile 4: 8:07

The beginning of this mile met us with a hill that basically looked like Harlem Hill. I said good bye to all PR efforts as I tried to keep the pace up it. When the mile time clicked off I was kind of amazed.

Mile 5: 8:11

The course FINALLY leveled off and I knew it was flat to the finish I was holding on for dear life now.

Official time: 41:43, 8:20 pace

Splits: 8:48, 8:16, 8:17, 8:07, 8:11

Thoughts – I knew a PR was doable based on recent race times. I really had to work for this on the rolling hills and was very smart about the tangents – my Garmin mileage was 5.01 miles. Effort wise I am learning how to pace myself in shorter races much better if my negative splits say anything. Also happy how I handled the hills considering I rarely run them. Kept effort even on the up and really let my stride open on the down.

I will say I still shock myself with my race times these days. The majority of my miles are run slow but I race frequently these days and have PR’d the 5K, 10K and now 5 Mile in the past month or so.

I know in theory it is probably good that mile 1 was so congested because it lit that competitive fire inside of me being held back. Lately I have gotten to the race start and raced even when I wanted to phone it in.

But a serious PSA: people that line up purposely out of place – you ruin it for people like myself gunning for a PR. If you start at the 7 min mile marker and are running 10 – 12 minute miles or worse, WALKING, you are an asshole. Sorry, not sorry.

And with that I have one last 10K left this coming weekend then might be done racing for 2015. I had planned a half marathon this Sunday but it reached capacity so settled on the 10K another time.

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Some Life Lately Updates

Happy Turkey Week!

I am actually not really a fan of the whole Thanksgiving stuff yourself theme but I am happy that this year my parents are still in NJ so we are having a Thanksgiving at our house here instead of trying to get to Florida.

My sister was married last weekend and so they stuck around a bit longer for the holiday. They jet off a day after. Sadly my one sis is on her honeymoon so will be missed but we have the majority.

My lovely Fam with the newlyweds 
Just some random ramblings since I haven’t posted much lately.

First off haven’t mentioned much lately but on the Crohn’s front things are good. My last Remicade appointment my doctor had received approval for a double dose and within a day or so the lingering symptoms seem to have disappeared. Next week I get my next dose and seems we have made it the full 8 weeks! Folks, I think this is remission.

Also saw my hematologist last week and waiting for final lab results but iron levels seem improved as well (mostly expected since the bleeding has stopped). Still feeling tired but I think that whole shortened days lots of darkness isn’t really helping the anemia.

Second let’s talk running! I ran both 5K and 10K PR’s. Feels pretty good to have some speed back in my legs. I got my half marathon time down to 2:02 and had planned to run one more in a couple weeks to see if I could break 2.

I’m on the fence. I have had some lingering hamstring issues since that HM and also some motivation issues from long runs. I think if the race is still available a couple days out and the weather isn’t frigid I will go for it but am holding back on that registration.

However I am running the NOLA Rock ‘n’ Roll Half at the end of February with the CCFA team and am going to be gunning for a PR. Now if only this hamstring will sort itself out. It isn’t hurt/pain necessarily but it is annoying. I have cut back on my mileage and amount of days running but it seems the longer/harder efforts definitely aggravate it.

And finally, I am getting close to my vacation countdown. I am heading on a week long cruise and then spending the following several days in Florida with my parents. It is my longest holiday and time taken off work EVER (kind of ridiculous at 34) and I am so ready. Any cruise tips that I should know of?

Hope everyone is enjoying a nice shortened week. I am ready to run a nice Thanksgiving Day 5 Miler (SO happy for longer than a 5K) then bust a move to NJ to be with the family.

This year I am so very thankful to have regained my health and to have my family near – that is what the holiday is about! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Team Daniel Running for Recovery from Mental Illness 5K Recap

Another weekend, another race! Fall has been pretty busy! 

I am really a fan of seeking out these local races and this past weekend was no exception. 

I took a ride into Long Island to run this one. Port Washington. Home to North Shore Animal League. I'm lucky I didn't return home with a puppy. 

It seemed perfect logistically - the start was about 2.5 miles from the train station which I figured would serve as a good warm up and cool down and also get my mileage up to double as a long run. 

Things I didn't count on, waking up to a very upset stomach (the sad cause: overeating a ton of broccoli the two days prior) and some sore legs thanks to running around Central Park on Saturday morning with my CCFA team training. 

I got myself out the door though and figured whatever happened happened. 

Other things I did not expect was that the run to the race would be hilly. My body was not happy at the start. But at least it was a GORGEOUS fall morning. 

I got there about 15 minutes before go time which was just enough to hit the bathroom and get to the start line. 

Other things to note - the start did not run over a mat - which means gun time is your actual time. 

With a few remarks they counted down from a minute and we were off. 

This was another 2 loop course. I started running and just tried to get in a decent groove. I actually forgot to turn on my music while I was running I was trying to focus on my breathing (and eventually not dying). 

First mile clicked off in 8:07.

I was not feeling good. As I finished the first loop I felt my stomach start to get really angry and so I dialed it back a little. Also the guy I was following and pacing off of went out too fast and realized he was fading so had to pass him to not get caught up in his slowing down. 

Mile 2 in 8:18.

Now came a woman who looked a little older than me but was trying to pass me. 

Bring on my competitiveness. I was NOT about to let her out race me at the end so I was in beat her mode. 

And basically survival once I hit the 2.5 mile mark. 

Mile 3 in 8:03.

The end seemed interminable - goodness I just wanted to race to end and would not like to see any photographic evidence of me pushing to the end. 

Finished the last bit at 7:24. 

I don't have official times and they are not posted so for now it is going by my Garmin time.

3.12 miles / 25:19 

WHICH is good enough for a PR! (Previous 25:27 so unless I royally fucked up I got it).

And also for a 2nd place AG win. 

Very happy with how this went. I was not feeling good by any means and it was nice to be able to push it for that second half. To PR when I was having stomach issues and also my legs felt like lead is a good feeling. I feel like I am doing something right in my training and really progressing. I have my eyes on another 5K in a couple weeks I would love to get under 25 minutes!

Oh and other things that didn't suck, winning a $100 Steve Madden gift card in the raffle. 

Overall a great day of racing for a great cause. I will definitely be back to do this race again. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

NYCRUNS Haunted Island 10K

Ever since I have been feeling better and running faster I have had the urge to race. I suppose I missed all year due to the Crohn's flare (update totally over due) and got the bug to get back out there. 

I have also been branching out from the old and done NYRR loops of Central Park and this weekend found myself on Roosevelt Island to run the NYCRuns Haunted Island 10K (I LOVE their races).

I had to go back and check but I knew my 10K PR was something looking to be taken down. I don't race them too much and also always have trouble pacing them - like 5K just ride the pain train and half get comfortably hard...what the hell do you do for a 10K? 

At 57:04 which is a 9:11 mile I knew I should be able to best that.

I woke up Saturday morning with my stomach feeling crappy. I came very close to staying home but figured I just would not eat or drink anything and pray for the best. 

The commute to Roosevelt Island was SO EASY, and the morning was gorgeous. 

These morning views aren't too shabby.
I had 45 minutes prior to the race and was able to wait around and drop my bag literally 5 minutes before the start. 

I should also note my Garmin was dead. It was on the charger all night but took it off and knew it was pointless to bring it, so decided to use mapmyrun. In the end kind of helpful to not have the watch to look at while running. 

Weekends are for starting lines.
The race was 2 loops. My "plan" was to run a comfortably hard pace for the first 5K and then to drop it the second. 

Now I don't know how I ended up running a quarter mile extra I more suspect as always map my run is not reliable but I will go with those paces. 

Miles 1-3 were a steady 8:28, 8:30, 8:27 

I had a girl that was running in front of me at a good clip and I basically just coasted with her. 

The second we went through the first loop I started to pick it up a bit. Mission pick people off was in effect. I didn't want to burn out but I was feeling pretty good. 

I had one minor moment of panic around mile 4.5 when my stomach all of a sudden was like slow the f down. So I eased off for a second until it passed and luckily all was good. 

Somewhere in the final mile I started to get really hungry and thirsty and ready to be done and was happy that I was side by side with a girl who clearly didn't want me passing her so she kept me pushing until the end. 

Miles 4-6.45 8:14, 8:15, 8:23, 7:43 (again going on tracking splits since that is what I have).

Final official results are 53:52 / 8:41 pace for a 3+ minute PR!

My 6.45 miles gives me an 8:21 pace but again think that the app is very unreliable.  

Hello shiny new PR.
Overall very happy with my race. I am a lot better with pushing myself these days. And as a testament to my Crohn's being better - yes, my stomach was very queasy and I made several port o potty trips prior; but I was able to gut this out. This was just sensitive stomach issues and probably too much wine the couple days before, NOT flare issues. When I was flaring there was NO WAY in hell I could just gut it out when it acted up. 

I can't wait to see what some more racing brings to me. Feels so good to be getting back to where I used to be! Another weekend with another great race. I like this feeling. 

And a PR. I haven't PR'd a race shorter than the marathon in almost 3 years! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Totten Trot 5K Recap

It is no secret that I am a distance junkie and way prefer the steady "easier" pacing of a half marathon to short distances.

But I am trying to get faster and as a coach friend has said, 5K's are a great way to gain "sneaky speed" by racing them periodically. 

When one showed itself in my town and I could run to and from it I couldn't say no. Until the forecast called for rain, that put some serious doubts in my mind. But I woke up Sunday morning and it said rain was done, so all was good. It was go time. 

Being the fantastic googler/run nerd that I am I input last weeks half to estimate what a goal time should be. It spit out 26:30, 8:30ish miles for me and I made that my loose goal. 

I ran the 2.5 miles to the race and was able to register with plenty of time to spare. I took off all week from running and then ran a few miles Saturday and happy to say that the cross training paid off (spinner/weights each day) - the lingering pain in my glute/hamstring is mostly gone. 

Bayside Historical Society - the race began in Fort Totten
Then with only a few minutes to go until the begins to drizzle. By the time the race was going off it was really raining. I have been lucky to never have to race in the rain until yesterday! 
Oh hello very casual start line.
So the race begins and my only focus is to find my pace. I was feeling really good and start finding a groove. I was really trying to run by feel so was avoiding looking at my Garmin as much as possible.

The road was also wet and it was windy so I was focusing on not slipping (because leaves and acorns).

Mile 1 was hit in 8:10 (although I didn't hear it beep).

I started gaining on and picking off people. I found a woman who looked around my age in my sights and it became my goal to pick her off. Happy to say around 1.75 in I did. But then I was kind of in no mans land. Everyone else was pretty far in front of me and I was starting to lose steam.

Mile 2 in 8:13

It felt like an eternity to get to the cone where we would make a turn around before the final .75 or so. My lungs were feeling it more than my legs but now I started looking at my pace and see it is starting to slip. (and is it just me or is turning around the cone just a killer to your momentum)

Once we turned I am just giving myself pep talks. The final .25 or so is a very very cruel hill to have at the end of the race. Then, a man passes me and it was just what I needed. I told myself to stay on his heels. He was the motivation I needed.

Mile 3 in 8:33

I am chugging along the best I can but still feel like I am running in quick sand. See the finish line and try to kick it.

.12 (going on Garmin) in 7:52

And DONE!!!

Garmin = 25:51 for 3.12

I knew it being a small race I had done well and probably paced. Unfortunately the computer got wet and preliminary results were messed up. I wasn't on them but looked like I had placed 2nd. Eventually they apologize that it will take longer to get the results and it will be emailed etc.

Then I got this email. First place AG win!!! And apparently I somehow added 8 seconds on my Garmin. Can't wait for my trophy, only my second one.

Overall, I am happy. I beat my goal (this is not a PR though) and I think on a flatter course in better weather I can do even better. My mental game has been on point the past few races as well. Not to sound corny but I think everything I have dealt with health wise the past year has really helped me on this front.

And now, maybe just maybe I have found another small 5K in a couple weeks to test my speed out at again.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon Recap

This morning I decided to travel to Brooklyn yet again for the Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon. (note this is REALLY long, I don't know why I cannot do short recaps). 

I had originally planned to run the Yonkers Half but between logistical issues and that I have been dealing with some pain in my hamstring/glute since the last half, I decided hills would probably aggravate it and this flat, smaller half was a great option. 

I admit, I awoke this morning to 30 degree temps and was less than thrilled.  I began contemplating blowing $39 dollars on an uber or just not going due to the slight "injury". 

I arrived around 8 (9am start) and was immediately in line for bibs. It was eternal. It took about 30 minutes to get mine and then I immediately went to the eternal bathroom line. (TMI) I was unable to go. Why my body choose today to be difficult I will not know. I was basically fine, not stressed, knowing I would have to make a pit stop at some point most likely. 

Due to how behind they were checking people in, the race was delayed about 15 minutes. 

I knew the high was 50 for the day and I was wearing shorts (Oiselle distance short, I am seriously in love) a t-shirt, arm sleeves and compression socks and if one more person in a sweatshirt told me I was going to freeze I was going to strangle them. Spoiler alert all those people were whipping them off soon enough. I win. Today was running weather perfection! 

Without much fanfare (literally did not hear any start) we were off. My body was slightly numb when we started running but warmed up after a mile or so.  There was no coral system they told us to place ourselves (and you all know how that goes walkers go up front) so it took a while to find a rhythm. 

The first few miles clicked off quickly enough: 9:21, 9:18, 9:13 

This felt like a pretty decent pace. Then my stomach began to ache a little and I knew a bathroom stop was imminent so slowed a little. We finally passed one but there was a line several people deep. I was willing to stop but not wait several minutes. 

I don't know why but any half marathon after a few miles I start to question all my running choices until I hit the half way. These are always my least favorite and I was trying to back off effort wise so my stomach didn't blow up: 9:29, 9:27, 9:43 

Then we came up on a bathroom right around 6.5 - I THOUGHT the turnaround was at 7 so decided to just wait until the way back but unfortunately the turnaround was until almost mile 8. But, once I turned and had an idea of where the bathroom was and decided to pick up the pace which felt REALLY good. I was surprised. My leg/glute was definitely feeling some strain but it wasn't effecting my stride. I was ready to really negative split the run: 9:25, 9:29, 10:19 (picked up but bathroom stop - estimate probably a minute or so in there).

I had been keeping pace with a few pretty similar paced runners from mile 3 on and they had similarly dropped the pace after the turnaround as well so my mission was to catch back up with them after the stop. 

This wound up being really great to focus on for the remainder. I was definitely feeling the effort by the end which was not helped by the logistics of the course or the wind that randomly picked up.

I should note, it was a really nice run BUT not great for a race or if you are gunning for time. A million turns and cobble stone, small paths/side walk running etc. but I did enjoy it. 

Once I hit 11.5 or so I was just focused on being done. I am really proud of my mental game these days. I have 100% improved with being better and not coasting. The out I give myself these days is that I can back off the pace for a little and more or less fartlek if it gets hard but to just keep pushing. 

The last few miles: 8:54, 9:19, 9:09, 9:04, 8:35 (.1)

I also hadn't run more than 8.5 for a long run since the last half due to whatever is going on in my leg so was impressed by being able to drop the last few. 

I finished and honestly was kind of done. I was dehydrated and lightheaded (no fuel/drink at all during the run) and took a moment to gobble a banana, drink some water and coconut water.

Should note this is Garmin time I still cannot find official results. 

Overall, happy with how I raced this and that I shaved 3 minutes off of last months half. I would love to find one in November that I don't have to travel to but can't yet so am contemplating one the first weekend of December. I think I can get closer to 2 hours before the year ends. 

I would be back to run this. The pre race stuff they were not prepared for. Taking 30 or more minutes to get your bib is unacceptable. Also being unprepared bathroom wise. 

But the staff was very friendly, bag drop was easy. I was literally able to keep my pants, long sleeve shirt, sweat shirt and gloves on until about five minutes before race time. I am really loving these smaller races, I have yet to do an NYRR race this year and am happy to branch out. I would recommend it but hope that next year they make it a little bit more seamless. 

It took me some time to warm up but I have happily spent the afternoon sipping wine, and eating my favorite post race food: this massive cobb salad from one of my favorite restaurants near me. After two days of limited greens this is a thing of beauty.

Hope everyone that raced this weekend had a good one! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Plantain Pumpkin Muffins

I am by no means in the absolute slightest way a food blogger. I honestly know that I can cook well (thanks Mom) but the majority of the time I am cooking solo and whip up random concoctions to feed whatever craving I have.

I always have plantains on hand because I am obsessed but now that fall is upon us pumpkin is creeping into everything.

Which is how these plantain pumpkin muffins came to be!

 (I also have awful lighting and an iPhone and these photos are oh so awful but the final product is not).

These have gotten the stamp of approval and recipe asked for by my sister and coworkers so I figured I would share it.

I have made a batch every week the past several and one night maybe ate three as soon as they were cool enough.

They are also on the healthier side with no added sugar but I don’t think they need them – and also right around 80 calories a pop if you care about that sort of thing. Very dense and moist (ugh makes me cringe describing as such) and delicious.

This is the basic recipe but I have made subsequent batches with chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, coconut, nut butter…the possibilities are endless.

Make them and see for yourself! But without further ado:

1 very ripe plantain
½ can of pumpkin (pure not pie mix)
1 egg
1 egg white
2 tbsp of coconut oil
½ cup of oat flour (have also made with wheat and almond – would have to tweak for coconut since it absorbs the liquid they would probably be dry with it)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Not measured:
Vanilla extract
Pumpkin pie spice
Sea salt
Baking soda

I threw everything into my ninja and pressed blend. Then into the pan (I spray mine and don’t use liners).

Into the oven at 350 degrees – mine have been done anywhere from 12 – 15 minutes but my oven sucks so after 12 check to see if the tooth pick comes out clean.

This recipe yields 12. If you make them let me know!

Plantain and pumpkin everything. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Braving the Elements

Okay so quick question - how do we go from sucking it up through 90% humidity in the beginning of the week to being chilled to the bone in rain and wind at the end of the week? 

I have to admit I totally hate running in anything less than ideal conditions. 

I am not one that looks at the rain as a cleansing awesome running experience. 

I look at the rain and think wet shoes and socks and chafing. 

So when I looked at the weather when I woke up this morning I was less than thrilled.

However, I had promised to finally meet up with my CCFA Team Challenge peeps this morning. I am 100% the best at flaking on plans but I told myself that I had to. 

And with that I was off to the city. 

I wound up running up to the meet spot at Columbus Circle and then funny enough the majority of people DID bail. I patted myself on the back for the fact that for once I did not. However as the meeting went on and we started to chat I started to also talk myself out of running more. We wrapped up and I was like I am just running back to Penn and heading home. 

Then I started running. And I just got in the groove. The weather actually felt really good. The misty drizzle that was there on my run up was gone and it was just windy. 

I wound up having a really fantastic run! I had no route or distance in mind, I just wove around the UWS depending on what lights I hit. My pace felt comfortable and I gave myself a pat on the back after for manning up in less than ideal conditions. 

My Garmin went on the fritz though and lost satellites and then clocked one mile at 11+ when I was indeed running in the 8's mostly so the calculations for distance/time were slightly off when it wasn't clocking accurate mileage. I think it might be time to replace because it also decides to erase my runs after the fact. Argh. 

I also was breaking in a new pair of Kinvara 5's. I would like to thank Amazon for the fact that I am able to score these bad boys that I love for $40. Amazon Prime for life. 

And with that, happy Saturday and happy running! 

I am going into hibernation mode for the rest of the day since I am STILL feeling chilled. Note to self, invest in a windbreaker and some waterproof gear. Anyone have any good recommendations? 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Narrows Half Marathon Recap

This weekend I had my first race since NYC Marathon last fall and my Crohn’s diagnosis, The NYC Runs Narrows Half Marathon. It has been a really long and tough road back but I finally feel like I am coming out on top. My doctors still say to not be complacent where I am at because I will improve further, but MOST of the time, I feel better than I have in a long time.

So let’s put it out there up front – I said in my previous post that I really thought I should run 2:05 – official time = 2:04:57. Woo!

Let’s recap days leading up.

I took a lighter running week, rest days on Monday / Thursday. Did intervals Tuesday, Wednesday easy and Friday easy with strides.

Food wise, I went on a high carb, low fat/fiber route. I lived on banana oatmeal, turkey sandwiches and pasta for three days. Basic stuff that would hopefully keep my gut happy. And maybe I had a half glass of wine Friday night, which had me going to bed a bit scared because my stomach felt AWFUL.

Woke up Saturday with lots of time to do my thing and get out the door. Started drinking water and ate a plain roll on my way to Brooklyn. Also took an immodium because I figured, can’t hurt. Was feeling more nerves than anything.

I was stressing because there is only a bathroom at the start and it is a double looped out and back. You turn around at 2.5 and 9 miles. So not a single bathroom to be had while racing #scaredshitless in no man’s land out there!

I can’t not mention the weather. It was a swampy mess. 89% humidity. I knew this would be a race run on feel versus hitting a pace.

The beauty of NYC Runs races are the size. I think there were less than 200 people. At 8am with minimal fanfare, we were off!

Miles 1 – 2.5:

We were immediately running into the wind. I start strategizing and want to maintain an easyish effort and make sure that I am not exhausting myself against the wind. Find a couple people who seem to be doing my pace and plan to keep them in my sight.

Miles 2.5 – 5:

Hit the turn around and immediately feel the wind fall off. It is nice, try not to pick up the pace too much since it is still early on. I want to be on cruise control. Also scared that pushing it will cause GI distress. Running pretty easy still.

Miles 5 – 9:

Running into the wind again. At this point I am on a mission to get to mile 9 turn around. I want water but do not want to ingest anything until we are on the way back. My underarm is chafing like a mofo and I am slightly miserable by that. Still have my little pacers in front of me. I start questioning life choices in running as I am not half way yet. And THIS is what it looked like:

Miles 9 – 11:

Water! Sweet, glorious water. I walk through the water stop to drink down 2 cups and make myself stop so I am not sloshing around. Start running again and get a burst of energy that the end is near. My clothing is DRENCHED. My shorts are literally dripping and my socks are soaking wet. I now decide that I am going to be okay (stomach wise) and it is time to start making this a race. I begin reeling in those pacers in front of me and picking them off. I am never able to do this at the end of a race and it is a bit of a rush.

Miles 11 – 13.1:

Definitely exerted myself too early. I am now tired. I am feeling the need for fuel. There is water station around 11.5 and I ask for “waterade” can we say dehydrated much? Lol. I take a water and Gatorade and continue on. I basically fartleked the rest of the race. My legs were pretty shot. With one mile to go we come into a 5K race sharing the course with a bazillion people run/walking at me. They would not move so I am stuck weaving in and out of them. Angry thoughts are circling through my head.

I cross the finish line and eat all the grapes and drink all the water. I saw bagels and have never NOT wanted a bagel more in my life after all the carbs the days before.

Final splits: 9:43, 9:22, 9:29, 9:29, 9:24, 9:29, 9:33, 9:31, 9:51 (water), 9:19, 9:23, 9:41 (water), 9:29, 8:41 (.16)

I cannot be more thrilled with how this race went. Both executed based on conditions, not walking when it got rough out there and how I prepared the days before (and dear everyone who tells me to go gluten free with Crohn’s – considering how well I responded to carb loading I would say there is NO problem there for me).

I felt better about thinking how much humidity played a part stumbling upon a depressed man who ran a 1:24 and the race shot his confidence for sub 3 for NYCM. It was killer out there.

I think in another 6 weeks or so that I should get even closer to 2 hours. But for now I will bask in the glory of the first healthy race I have had in YEARS (my 1:53 PR is WITH a bathroom stop even).

And spent the rest of the day stuffing my face with multiple salads! Good lord I missed greens.

Overall, loved the race and the people that run them. My confidence has skyrocketed. I don’t know if there will ever be a day when I will 100% trust my gut to behave but success on Saturday has put me one step closer.

And good lord it feels good to recap a race. A GOOD race. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Today is NOT Friday - TOL

It has been a while but since I am a lazy blogger I though that linking up for Thinking Out Loud to share my ramblings this week would be a good idea. Lucky you. 

First up, I thought today was Friday until I got a reminder at 7:00am to complete payroll approvals. So there is that. I guess it has been a while since I have worked a 5 day week and my body, and brain, are a little confused. I think I need to use up some more of my 3+ weeks of vacation. 

I would also like to note that I am an idiot. Tuesday when I went to run my Garmin, which was hooked up to the charger, was dead. I pulled it on and off the charger and nothing. I said f it since 5:30am is way too early to deal with those shenanigans and did my speed workout on the treadmill instead. Proceed the next 48 hours through to this morning unplugging and plugging it back in and it remaining dead. Today I had the brilliant idea to change the outlet the usb is is now charging itself. So yup, idiot. 

Which leads me to the fact that I am running a half marathon this weekend. I have been a little mum on the whole thing because I have NO clue what to expect. Thinking my garmin was dead I was contemplating running it blind BUT if it is working that will not happen (because, data). I am stiff this week and legs feel dead and that is with me tapering back mileage and taking TWO rest days leading up (Monday/Friday - race Saturday). It will still be warm out so I know that will slow me down. I would really like to hit 2:05ish. Goal is to get close to 2 this fall (more on deck in October/November) and sub 2 when I run NOLA. 

Oh wait have I not mentioned I am running the New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll half marathon? I am. With Team Challenge! (post for another day too).

Can I also talk about how mentally challenging it is for me to take a rest day? I do not work well with laziness and definite guilt starts to creep in. I know that whole recovery thing but still taking a day off messes with me. Forget taking two off like I am this week. HOW do people not workout? 

On a different and unrelated note, I am starting the countdown to my cruise. It is in December but as I realized the remaining payment is due I got really excited! Hello to sailing the Caribbean! And then another several days in Florida. It is going to be a glorious 2ish week escape of NYC winter! (#alltheexclamationpoints)

And now off to eat my pumpkin oats and drink my pumpkin coffee, because as much as I tried to resist, I want ALL THE PUMPKIN. But never a pumpkin spice latte because those are disgusting. Sorry, not sorry. Hate that sugary stuff.