It’s Taper Time! The Week of Training and other good stuff

It’s Taper Time!

We’re almost there! With less than two weeks to go until the SLO Marathon I can honestly say that I’ve done the best training that I could for this race. I know I’ve complained a bit, and I’ve had challenges to my training schedule, but all in all, I’m happy and feel ready for this race.

Want to learn more about the Art (and some Science) of the Marathon Taper?

I say that in spite of having a really bad run on Saturday, what should have been my last longish run before the marathon. How bad? Well, I’ll tell you.

My plan for Saturday was to run 16 miles. I changed that to 15 after heading out with Christina, my new runner/neighbor, who wanted to run 14. I’d put in my first mile while waiting for her to finish getting ready, so I figured with 15 we could run the whole thing together. That sounded great after last week, when I had to run half of my 22 miler on my own.

Christina

From another week, but this is Christina.

 

We got started about 6:45, a little late, but with a shorter distance I wasn’t too worried about it getting hot before we finished. The first half of the run was fine. An easy pace, lots of chatting, my favorite horse paths to run on. At about mile nine, I had a little hint of what I consider the precursor to my exercise induced asthma: just a little lightheaded feeling that I shrugged off. I put my focus on breathing and it seemed to pass without having to stop.

Silverrock

The best rest stop ever! Clean bathrooms and they provide cold filtered water for ME!

 

At about mile 10.5, we walked for just a moment because it felt good we reached a turnaround point. As soon as I stopped, I could feel it coming back. Tunnel vision, lightheaded, dizziness, a combination of all three. I took a couple puffs on my inhaler, we walked a little more, then it seemed to pass and we started to run again.

For about a half mile. Then it came back. It continued like that for the next mile and a half. Run a little, walk a little, completely stop and hold onto something because otherwise I might just fall. I was struggling, and Christina, bless her heart, stayed with me even though I told her that I’d been through this before and I didn’t want to spoil her run. Finally, at about 12.5 miles my guardian angel Alan came riding up on his bike, returning from his 30 mile ride.

As we spoke to him I got so dizzy I had to sit down. He asked if I wanted him to come back with the car. I hesitated, but said yes, please. I’m tough, but not so tough (or dumb) to think I can overcome something like this.

When he rode on, Christina and I tried to run a little more but I just couldn’t. We ended up walking about a mile until Alan finally got back with the car. Christina continued on to run home, I thankfully got in the car.

It took me several hours to recover. I still felt lightheaded even after we got home. I ate a little, drank a little, then slept a lot. I felt better after my nap, but not normal yet.

I’m not sure why my exercise induced asthma, if that’s what it was, was so bad for this run. I’ve had a couple issues during my training, especially during my 22 mile run last week, but nothing this dramatic. Lately I have not used my inhaler before my run because I haven’t needed to. I did sleep badly the night before, but that alone doesn’t seem enough to cause such a bad reaction. I took Sunday off, but I’ll see how I feel on my next run before I get overly concerned. Remember, I’ve been dealing with this for a long, long time. Thirty six marathons worth.

So anyway. I did have a much better hill workout earlier in the week. I dragged took Christina with me for her first ever hill repeats. We managed 10 altogether, and I was proud of her for pushing through. Like the week before, we used the mile home for some downhill training. No breathing troubles at all during this workout even though it was pretty intense.

Hill WorkOther Good Stuff

First of all, Grandsons!

Our twin grandsons, along with their parents, were in town for spring break this week. I had to work much of the time, but Alan had a great time swimming, hiking, playing baseball, and skating (he was a spectator for that endeavor) with them all week.

Cash Collage

Dane CollageThey are both good athletes. We usually get to take a run with them when the visit, but we didn’t get a chance this visit. Alan took them on an eight mile hike on Thursday! Quite an accomplishment for two 10 year olds.

Dane CashVegan Food

For the basketball finals last Monday, I made my “famous” basketball food. At various times it is also called football or baseball food too. It is basically vegan junk food, but sometimes it’s fun to eat a little junk while you’re watching a game.

basketball food

From another game, but you get the idea.

I also made vegan Caprese. I use tofu instead of the buffalo mozzarella and it absorbs the flavors nicely. Caprese was always one of my favorite salads, so I am happy that I have a plant based version to enjoy. (The recipe is here, though I made it without the baguette.)

Caprese

Sunday morning I felt I needed a little protein boost after a day full of carbs, so I cooked up some Eggy tofu and seitan bacon. (The recipe for the tofu is here, on Cadry’s Kitchen). So good!

Eggy Tofu

From Last Week

In case you missed it, I guest posted on Run to the Finish last week.

Run until 90

Don’t forget about ASICS Gear for a Year Sweepstakes. They’re giving away $3,000 in ASICS gear ($300 per month for 10 months). You can enter once a day through April. Enter here.

Asics gearAnd Finally

Okay, I post a lot of pictures of Johnny. And he is usually on this chair, in this pose. But what was cute this time is that he made himself a little nest by pulling down the sweatshirts that I had piled on the back of the chair. Of course, now that he’s done it a few more times it’s not as cute (um, maybe I should just put those things away?).

Johnny

How was your weekend? Any races, events, great training moments? Any bad ones? I’d love to hear about both!

Pin It Party V7

pin-it-party

It’s that time again! Another Pin It Party is coming at you! Lindsay, over at the Lean Green Bean, I, and a lot of other bloggers will be sharing some of our favorite pinnable posts from the last few months! Make sure to check out Lindsay’s post, where you will also find a list of all the participating bloggers, and start reading (and pinning) away! While you’re at it, why don’t you follow me on Pinterest! Party on!

Train Smarter: 5 Ways to PR Running 3 Days a Week

Race PRHave limited time? Don’t we all? Here are some tips to get that PR running three days a week.

12 Running Myths You May Still Believe

Running MythsDo you still think running is bad for your knees? It’s time to banish this and other running myths.

Vegan “Tuna” Salad with Jackfruit, Avocado and Quinoa

Jackfruit Tuna 4Have you tried Jackfruit? It is sometimes called the Vegetable Meat, and is a delicious, non-processed, meat alternative. Here is an easy Tuna-less salad to try.

Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita

Lentil Cakes7These Lentil cakes are delicious and easy to make. And the riata is out of this world!

The Top 5 Marathon Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Marathon MistakesWhether you’re training for your first or your 50th, here are some potential mistakes to avoid in your next marathon.

If you missed the previous Pin It Parties, and want to check out the favorite posts that I shared, here they are:

Pin It Party 1
Pin It Party 2
Pin It Party 3
Pin It Party 4
Pin It Party 5
Pin It Party 6

I hope you found something worth pinning (and reading) today! There is still time to join the party! Here is the link to Lindsay’s original post with directions and the Pin Party graphic. Then you can join the party and share your own link here. Or you can share one of your favorite posts in the comments.

Recap: The Week in Training and Life

Countdown to the SLO Marathon

(Still haven’t signed up? Click here and use the code WOODAMB at checkout to save $10)

SLO Marathon

The countdown to the SLO Marathon has begun! In less than four weeks I will be in San Luis Obispo at the start line of my 37th marathon. Will I be ready? Yes! Will I be able to rock the race as I’d planned? Um, maybe.

If you’ve followed my training recaps you know that life has interfered a lot in my training plan. While my long runs have been pretty much on target, my mid-week training has not been what it should. I’ve been getting in some of the planned speed work, but my efforts to get my total weekly mileage up where I’d like it have not been very successful. Last week I managed for the first time to get over 30 miles. This week, a long run cut-back week, I just barely managed 28 miles.

So to look at the big picture, and to stop whining about things I can’t change, I will have an okay race. Not great, but, barring any severe exercise induced asthma issues, I’ll be fine. And I still have two weeks before I start my taper, so I have hopes for these next two peak training weeks.

This week I got all my planned training runs done {high five!}. On Monday I was out the door at 5:15 in the morning. After a one mile warmup I did four half mile intervals on the road followed by two quarter mile repeats. I was running out of time, so I couldn’t get the three miles total in intervals that I wanted, but I’m happy with that.

morning run 2It was barely getting light when I finished my interval workout on Monday. Can you see the old man in the mountain in the picture below?

Morning run 3On Wednesday I ran a total of six miles, with three miles at half marathon pace. I ran with my neighbor Christina, and we got going at 5:15. I’m not crazy about running alone so early, so I was happy to have a running partner.

As I mentioned it was a cut-back week for my long run this week. I had 15 on the schedule with four miles at marathon pace in the middle of the run. Christina ran with me for most of it, and we did manage to run miles 5-9 at my goal marathon pace, which is about 10 minutes per mile. At that pace it’s not like I was sprinting, but I still found it challenging (which I have to admit concerns me at this late point in training). Anyway, I got it done. After I split off from Christina I had about four more mile to run, but I was really dragging, so I ended up finishing with 14 miles for the day.

ChristinaAlan’s hamstring is bothering him, so we didn’t do our normal dog run on Sunday. Instead I ran four slow recovery miles on my own, choosing perhaps the most challenging route, which is a big loop around our neighborhood that finishes all uphill for the second half. Oh well, I got it done, and took a few photo breaks so I survived.

Recovery 3Pretty, huh? You wouldn’t guess that the day was going to heat up to about 100 degrees (on March 29!!!!).

The Life Recap

I’m not really sure why I’m including a life recap this week since it was generally pretty boring. Alan was away for a few days visiting our twin grandsons in Huntington Beach and cheering them on at the Jogathon at their school. Cash managed 31 laps in 30 minutes! I think this put him in second place overall.

CashAlan also went to their baseball game where both boys had some great plays. They all also played baseball with grandpa, rode bikes together, and of course, went to the beach (it was in the mid-80s!).

DaneMeanwhile, I stayed home to work. I also have been having afternoon headaches this week, which sucks. Unusual for me, they come on in the early afternoon, send me to bed for a couple hours, then seem to go away by early evening. I think it is because I recently got back on my hormones (Obamacare finally kicked in!), and my body is adapting. I’ll have it checked if I’m still having problems next week, but the last couple days seems a little bit better.

I did drag myself out on Thursday to see Cinderella with Christina. More on that tomorrow, but I will say that I loved it. I was fighting the stupid headache through the whole movie though, so I may just have to see it again when I feel better.

Pizza!

The food was pretty boring while Alan was gone. Between having only myself to cook for and not feeling good I kept it simple. Leftovers for the win! Also my favorite comfort food when I don’t feel good: a baked potato with salt and (vegan) butter. Not sure why this makes me feel better, but it’s been my go-to since I was very young.

Alan got home on Saturday and I was feeling pretty good so I made a pesto pizza. It was really, really, really good.

Pizza 2And worth a second look.

PizzaI have a 22 mile run on the schedule for next Saturday. I’ve been fighting a lot of doubts throughout this training cycle, so I admit that I’m fearing this distance. I’ll have to get a really early start too because I don’t think the weather is going to cool off very much.

Coming up on the blog this week I’ll have a comparative review of Cinderella 1965 vs. 2015, a great giveaway for desert locals, and the return of the Pin It Party with Lindsay and many other bloggers.

And finally, here’s something to make you smile:


How was your training week? Any events, races, or other fun times? Want to join the Pin It Party (it’s on Thursday if you’d like to participate)?

The Week in Training: SLO Marathon and Yoga Challenges

SLO Marathon Training Recap, Week 8

For what may be the first time during this current training cycle, I am actually happy with my training. I know! I’ve been pretty negative about it all, with illness and work hours interfering with my plans. This week, they (illness & work) tried to interfere, but I overcame them! Win!

On Wednesday, which is supposed to be my second speed work day of the week I woke up with a migraine. It was bad enough that I couldn’t run, but I also had to cancel five clients! I hate doing that, but it couldn’t be helped. I stayed in bed all morning, then finally fell into a good, solid sleep and woke up around 1:30 with the headache gone. One of my shorter ones, thank goodness.

I decided to get out on Thursday morning with Alan and our neighbor Christina, to see if I could get in some type of tempo run. It would have to be short because I have to be at work by 7:30, but that always encourages me to run faster. Christina decided to run along with me, and we ran three pretty fast miles. No real warm up, though the first mile was the slowest. I was just happy to get it done.

Christina and I also ran together on Friday, four easy miles, and Saturday, for part of my long run. It’s nice to have a new training partner. She’s a very nice girl, a new runner, and about 25 years younger than me so I’m getting my ass kicked on a regular basis a good push.

Alan announced the Desert Triathlon this weekend. It is held on both days, with the sprint and duathlon on Saturday and the international on Sunday. They had quite a treat this year. Saturday brought wind, with gusts up to about 50 mph, and on Sunday it rained all day. At least the wind died.

When I headed out for my long run with Christina on Saturday, the winds weren’t too bad yet. She ran with me for the first five miles, then I was on my own. I was scheduled for 16 miles, and it just seemed so long to run my regular out and back route, all by myself, especially when the winds started to rise up. After much deliberation (and a lot of running route math going on in my head), I decided to add on mileage as I headed away from home, then finish up at Lake Cahuilla, which is where the triathlon (and Alan) was (were?).

Running math is kind of funny, especially when you start to get tired (which I was from mile 10 on). I know the distances, I’d figure out where I needed to turn because I had to add on six miles, but my brain had a hard time holding onto it. I’d figure it out once at one total mileage, then it would be different the next time. Well, at least it gave my brain something to think about as I plodded along. It all worked out perfectly in the end. I finished up about 25 feet from where Alan was at the finish line.

Long RunI was glad I was just running 16 miles (if you can believe that). The triathletes had to deal with a horrendous headwind as they headed back toward the park, not to mention the buoys in the water were blown way off course, so many swimmers got a little extra distance in. We all had sand in our hair and gritty teeth at the end though.

After I finished, I snagged some of Alan’s Gatorade, stretched, bundled up in one of his sweatshirts, and hung out until he was done. I even managed a couple yoga poses (see below)! One of the vendors brought me a smoothie, so I even got some refuel. Oh! And celebrities!

Two Hollywood stars competed in the sprint triathlon. Sadly, I am so out of touch that I have no idea who they were. There were good looking though. Even sadder, I was tired, stinky, and looked like I had just run 16 miles.

Chris Pratt

This is Chris Pratt. He played Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation and Bright Abbott in Everwood.

Chace Crawford

This is Chace Crawford. He played Nate Arhibald on the Gossip Girls.

 

Sunday is usually an easy, run with the dogs day, but since I ran Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and plan to run Monday, I took a well deserved day off of running.

This is week eight of my SLO Marathon training. I’m still a little short of my total weekly distance goals, but I feel happy with my training this week. I’m running the Run Through Redlands half marathon next Sunday (and have to work at 6:45 on Saturday), so this coming week will be a bit of a cutback week. I do plan to run the race at my goal marathon pace, so that will be interesting.

Remember, you can save $10 on registration for the SLO Marathon with the code WOODAMB.

Here’s the recap:

Monday: Intervals: 8 x .25 miles intervals at about 5k pace. Yoga warm up
Tuesday: Pilates Reformer workout, 20 minutes Balancing Flow from Yoga Download
Wednesday: Migraine. I did manage a little restorative yoga in the early evening.
Thursday: Tempo run. Three miles at lactate threshold pace. 30 minutes Pilates Reformer workout, 10 minutes Sun Salutations.
Friday: Four miles easy. A little yoga stretching after the run.
Saturday: Long run. 16 miles. Not much yoga, but I did manage to put my legs up the wall, er, up the tree.
Sunday: 90 minute Vinyasa class.

Take the Leap 30 Days of Yoga Challenge

We are approaching the last few days of the Take the Leap 30 days of yoga challenge with prAna and Fit Approach. I have loved this so much! I’m sorry that it is almost over, but I plan to keep up my yoga practice. Here is the last week of posing.

Week 4Week 4 2

Week 4 3Week 4 4

Week 4 5Week 4 7

Week 4 6

Just a few days left!

Vegan Eats

I made some of my favorite recipes this week, including Pot Pie (though I used Beyond Meat chicken instead of tofu) and Pizza. Both were delicious.

Pot PiePizza

I also made a great smoothie on Sunday. I called it a “Kitchen Sink” smoothie. It was also delicious. Here’s the Instagram post:

How was your training week? Any events, races, or simply fun times?

The Best Smoothie. Ever. Truly.

I really suck at food photography. I mean, this really is the best smoothie ever, and yet after multiple attempts I can’t capture that yumminess in a picture. I’m still working on it, the photography that is, but for now, just enjoy the recipe.

I was recently challenged to enter a Smoothie Recipe contest by Sunwarrior. They sent me a few samples of their products, including both vanilla and chocolate protein powder. I had fun creating variations on my usual smoothies, using both the classic and warrior blend vanilla powder. I made a great recovery smoothie, using the Warrior blend vanilla, Immune Shield, fresh berries, spirulina, almond milk, ginger, apple, and banana. It was delicious.

Recovery Smoothie 3

Then I needed to figure out how to use the chocolate Sunwarrior. Although I love chocolate, the idea never appealed to me for my smoothie. But I decided to get my creative juices flowing and see what I could come up with. I think you’ll agree that this just may be the Best. Smoothie. Ever.

Berry Peanut Butter Cup Protein Smoothie

Berry Peanut Butter Cup 5

As the commercials have told us, chocolate and peanut butter are made for each other (though if you don’t eat peanuts you can easily substitute another type of nut butter). This smoothie tastes like the most decadent of milkshakes, but it is full of the nutrients of fresh fruit, plant based protein, and pure peanut butter.

Ingredients

2 Bananas
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used cashew because I love its richness)
6 ounces vanilla coconut milk yogurt
1 scoop Sunwarrior Warrior Blend chocolate protein powder
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup frozen mixed berries (mine were strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Berry Peanut Butter Cup 3

But now, I had a problem. I had used up the chocolate samples that Sunwarrior had sent me, and all I had was my own tub of vanilla. I needed to make this smoothie again (if only because my husband didn’t get to try it the first time and I knew that he’d love it). That and it is my new obsession favorite. This was easy as it turned out. I simply used a scoop of the vanilla Warrior Blend protein powder and added a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Everything else remained the same. It was a winner!

Sun Warrior 2

Now, you can help make me a winner too. Entries are judged based on a variety of things, including comments on this post, likes on my Instagram post, and retweets of the link above. If you like chocolate, please vote for me in one (or more) of these ways. If you don’t like chocolate, maybe you’ll do it because you like me?

Berry RecipeWhat’s in your favorite smoothie?

Weekly Recap: SLO Marathon Training & Yoga

This whole work thing is taking its toll on my marathon training.

SLO Marathon Training, Week 7

While I’m happy overall with how my training is going, I still keep having to cut some of my weekday morning runs short because, well, money. If I have a client that wants to see me at 7:00 in the morning (or even 6:00, but that hasn’t happened yet), I really need to take them. Because in about three months they’ll be gone for the summer. It’s called making hay while the sun shines.

So, while I’m getting in the runs, they are shorter than I have on my schedule. In the coming week I’m going to work on getting out a little earlier, but I don’t like to go too early because I’m running by myself and, well, I’m scared of the dark. Here’s why…

This was a cutback week though, with my long run scheduled for 10 miles with five at marathon pace. That went well, though I did four at MP pace instead of five. I was running with my neighbor Christina, who is a new runner, but tough as nails. She did the whole run with me and kept me going during the faster parts. She even challenged me as we approached the end to pick it up to the corner. Bitch! I keep reminding myself she’s young enough to be my daughter. That helps.

run 3The picture above is from a couple weeks ago. Same crew though. Alan was with us but he had a steady pace 10 mile run on his schedule.

Here’s my post-run selfie. Mostly because I like taking pictures of our wind-kitties.

Run2

So I ran four times, 19 miles total. I’m still not happy with my total weekly mileage, but I’ll be working on that this week. I started off this week with a three mile run, and I managed eight 1/4 mile intervals, so I’m pretty happy with that.

The countdown to the SLO Marathon is on! Two months from today! Yikes, better get going. I have a 16 miles run on the schedule for the weekend, which is good, but I think the key is to get in my mid-week mileage.

By the way, the price will be going up on February 28, so if you’re planning to join me in San Luis Obispo on April 23 now is the time to register! You can save an extra $10 with my code WOODAMB. Do it!

slo

Take the Leap Challenge

At least my yoga is going well. I have managed to practice a little yoga every day since February 2. I haven’t made it to as many classes as I’d like, but I’ll do a few sun salutations to warm up, some hip opening and hamstring stretching poses to cool down, and take the time daily for a pose-of-the-day.

We working on a warrior series this week. Here are my first three days:

Week 3Warrior I

Humble WarriorHumble Warrior

Warrior 2

Warrior II

I’m so happy with this Take the Leap Challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink. The support of the other participants is amazing, and I love working with prAna. Not only do they make amazing clothing, but they care about creating a lifestyle of sustainability, kindness, and focus. My goal, once the challenge is over, is to continue on with my practice, maybe not daily, but several times a week. Yoga is good for my soul.

Random Stuff: Movies & #Vegan Food

Alan and I went to see McFarland, USA on Saturday. In a nutshell, we loved it! As a cross country coach I appreciated everything about the story of how running (and a good coach) helped to change the lives of the children of migrant workers in Central California in 1987. It was based on a true story, so even though it seemed a little formulaic, I didn’t care. I believe in the power of running and high school sports to help develop successful and confident adults.

We headed to lunch at Whole Foods on Sunday. We had their vegan Artisanal Cheese platter again. It was so good! And we shared the Taro Burger. Sadly, they no longer have the Jackfruit Crab Cakes on the menu {sad face}, but we did enjoy our meal.

lunchI also cooked up a great Tofu Scramble this week. In fact I’m still enjoying the leftovers!

Tofu ScrambleHave you seen McFarland, USA? What did you think? How was your training week? Any events, races, or great meals? Share!