12 miles and other weekend things

Hope you had a nice weekend!  Ryan and I explored parks, ate an absurd amount of vegetables, saw Frozen, and visited our favorite date spot, Sam’s Club!  Or is it Pizza Hut?  Doesn’t matter because we went to both.

Fueled with Friday’s Pizza Hut pizza and questionable salad bar, I hit the road on Saturday morning for the 12 miles I wanted to run last weekend!  I ran the first 6 with a group and the last 6 solo.  This was my longest run since November, and the first in a while with solid footing.  My pesky left hamstring was hurting a bit for the last 2 miles, so I rested on Sunday and it felt better.
I was just happy to get in the miles.  Unlike this season’s round-up of long runs (the really cold run, the other really cold run, the really REALLY cold run followed by the snow plod, and the ice skate), it was absolutely gorgeous outside, and I cherished every single one of the 28 degrees that we had.

After the run, Ryan and I made another round of Veggie Smash (fondly referred to as the ‘smash) and another batch of experimental banana bars.  I told Ryan that I pretty much buy bananas just for them to go bad so I can bake with them.  Two hours of Saturday morning cooking=healthy food for the entire weekend.
Gross-looking but good-tasting.  Ryan and I are perfecting the art of cheap, healthy, and looking like barf.

Speaking of those three features, I figured out a way to use the other 10 servings of the flaming mustard greens of spicy death: Mustard Green Chips!DSCN1637
I popped the greens in the oven for a while with low expectations (though the taste couldn’t have possibly gotten worse), but the crispy version was pleasantly palatable.

Then we park-hopped because it was 40 degrees (Midwest winter translation=almost summer).
Our little possum/opossum friend from the nature center.  How cute is he?!

Sweet swings

Ryan’s new set of wheels.  This was actually a children’s book shaped like a car that we found, so we had fun with depth perception illusions.  In other words, Ryan was sitting on the ground 50 feet away from me and making goofy poses in the middle of a public park.

And then we saw Frozen!  It was excellent.  I knew all the songs beforehand because Bre and I listen to the soundtrack during our Catan, homework, and froyo parties…
(from Thursday)…so it was neat to find out what the songs were really about.

Best thing you did this weekend?


Melt-fest 2014 and mustard greens

One last snow storm on Monday:
(The person with the umbrella knows what’s up)

And a giant melt-fest on Tuesday:

Our Tuesday afternoon heat wave reached 47 degree, and it. was. awesome!  The sunshine did a number on our snow, so the ground is quite puddly.

I had afternoon and evening obligations, so unfortunately I enjoyed today’s run early this morning on the sunless indoor track.

Today was “easy” speed: 2 miles warm-up, 3 x 1 mile @ 7:30 (tempo pace), 2 miles cool down.  I’m slowly introducing speed back to my runs, so I don’t want to push it yet–though honestly, this is the only kind of speedwork I did leading up to my marathon PR last March, so I don’t plan to go crazy with speedwork this spring either.

It’s hard to feel awesome or fast or anything positive when running inside, so the fact that my miles felt reasonably okay was good enough for me.
I ended with about 2 minutes of ab work, 5 minutes of stretching, and 5 minutes of laying on a yoga mat…stretching my back?

Switching to leafy greens, does anyone eat mustard greens?


If it looks like lettuce, you can make a salad with it, right?  Wrong.  Those little leaves are so spicy that I thought I was going to die, and it was totally unexpected.  The bag did not have little chili pepper warning labels like menus do.  My immediate reaction, after gagging down my first bite, breathing fire, and wiping the tears from my eyes, was to sprint to my computer and google “can you eat mustard greens raw?”  Apparently you can, but I don’t think a whole salad of them is recommended.

Have you eaten mustard greens?
What’s worse: wet socks or too-tight shoes?


I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

My run goal for this weekend was 12 miles.  Didn’t happen, but A for effort.  I ended up with 10 slow miles on Sunday afternoon through uneven snow, with mile splits that I will be taking to the grave.

On Saturday morning (original long run day), Weather.com predicted the temp to be -1 without the windchill and -14 or something crazy with the windchill.  Inspired by my running friends who were meeting in the wee hours of the morning for a 20-miler, I layered up to join them for 12 miles: tights AND pants, shirt base layer+middle layer+jacket, gloves+mittens, 2 pairs of socks, balaclava+headband+headlamp.

The route they planned circled back to our cars every 6-7 miles to pick up or drop off runners.  I joined in on the 2nd of 3 loops, and we ended after that loop for safety because it was seriously so cold.  The layers kept my body reasonably warm, but my face/cheeks (the only body part exposed) felt weird and lethargic, so I called it quits.

photo-3 - Version 2

Since we started super early and also ended early, the gym wasn’t even open yet to run the last 6 on the treadmill, so I decided to save the 12 miles for Sunday morning.

What do you do when it’s still dark out, your run is complete, and you have no obligations?  Take a nap at 7am!  Actually I tried but couldn’t fall asleep, so I rode the post-run high and was massively productive: grocery shopped, cooked, baked, listened to this about 100 more times, and worked on school stuff.

Later that day I visited a friend and her two week-old baby (so so tiny and precious!) and then spent the evening with Bre, Ed, Andrea, and Alex.  It was almost a triple date, but Ryan wasn’t able to visit this weekend.  No worries, I had a good time with my date, Andrea’s pet bird Helen:
Helen sat on my shoulder and we talked about the olympics while she pooped on me.

Dog person or cat person?

Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Didn’t wear red, didn’t eat festive candy, but DID see this beautiful pink sunrise!

..Oh wait, I did eat festive candy.

I ran too early this morning to see the sun come up, but I snapped the picture from the parking garage at school because it was too pretty to pass up.

After a full day of clinic and classes, Ryan and I had a fancy Valentine’s Day date:
Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 7.47.22 PM

I dressed up.
Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 7.47.22 PM
Both the balaclava and the fancy rechargeable headlamp were birthday presents from Ryan, so I modeled how awesome they are.

Side note: until two minutes ago, I thought the balaclava was called a baklava, like this layered pastry:

We almost had a real Valentine’s Day date in person (aka round 2 of veggie smash, Sherlock, Nutella-covered carbs, and probably still the balaclava because I feel cool wearing it), but another storm came through, and the roads were too nasty to make the drive.  Skype was better than nothing, but hopefully the roads are better tomorrow morning so we can spend the rest of the weekend together.

Here’s a video that is incredibly happy: Let it Go: Alex Boyé (Africanized Tribal Cover) Ft. One Voice Children’s Choir.  Bre showed me this version of a song from the movie Frozen, and it’s the happiest and most refreshing three minutes of music EVER.

And finally, guess who turned 20 on Thursday! Baby brother is no longer a teen!  What?!

Have you seen Frozen?
How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

emergency game party

Very exciting news to share: the entire 10 day forecast (minus today) is above 20 degrees.  This calls for celebration!  And only one layer of pants!

It was pretty chilly (understatement) this morning, so I headed to the indoor track for a run. For the past few months, I’ve been cross training more (AMT and weights) and running less to avoid tearing my upper left hamstring while I strengthen it with endless single leg toe touches.  The running I have been doing has been sporadic and slow, but I re-introduced myself to semi-speedwork today!  Tempo mile repeats (is that a thing?).  Six total miles with the middle 3 at a tempo pace (7:30) with a rest between each mile, and it felt great to run faster again!

Later in the afternoon, Bre and I met for our weekly MATLAB date, and my productive day  quickly body-slammed into a wall of signal processing frustration.  Whatever we were supposed to be doing/plotting/calculating was not working out for us, frustration was climbing by the minute, and not even our large fountain pops could not save this one.

These pictures were taken sometime in the first hour, while we were still physically capable of anything but the stink eye:

How do you shake off exasperation? Go for a run in the fresh air.
How do you shake off exasperation when it’s negative degrees outside? Play an emergency game of Settlers of Catan.

I brought over my new Happy Light and two flavored waters to Bre’s, and we played two games of Settlers while listening to the Frozen soundtrack and petting her dog Chunk.  Insta-better mood!


How do you cheer yourself up?
Have you seen Frozen?

Week again

Sorry for the lamest title in the world.  But it’s Monday again, and that weekend went by way too quickly.

After Saturday morning’s (literal) butt-freezing 10-miler, I almost traded in my running shoes for a permanent pair of fuzzy slippers.  Fortunately, my body temperature returned to normal soon enough to leave my apartment that afternoon for the second installment of Karen’s weekly trip to Sam’s Club.

I bought a cheap fountain pop–the membership will pay for itself in fountain pops–and sipped my diet Coke while Ryan drank a free sample of chocolate milk.  I think it’s adorable to see someone over 6-foot drinking a little juice box.

Then more Olympics, more Sherlock, and more food items covered in Nutella.  Does anyone else think that Hawaiin sweet bread + Nutella tastes just like a donut?!

Ryan’s post-dinner snack plate

On Sunday morning, I went out for a short and quiet trudge.  A few inches of snow had fallen overnight and the roads were unpaved, so it was very icy yet peaceful outside.  All I could hear was the sound of my slipping feet and the beep of my Garmin in double-digit increments.  It was one of those runs where you don’t even want to know your mile splits.

Monday’s workout was split between free weights and cardio at the gym.  I scribbled down a list of exercises and did each group 3x and then zoned into a quick interval workout on the AMT.

Have a good week!  One day down!

Favorite way to eat Nutella?
What do you put on your toast?

Veggie smash

Happy Saturday!

I met a group of running friends this morning for 10 cold miles.  10 “I should have worn 2 pairs of running tights” miles.  10 “I can’t feel the lower half of my body” miles.  My eyelashes froze again, and I am almost positive my butt is frostnipped, but the run was worth it.

Frozen profile (thanks, Fleet Feet!)

Though the run was slow, I BOOKED IT from my front door to my room afterward to put on warm and fuzzy pajamas, in which I huddled until I was thawed out enough to take a shower.  Now I am nice and toasty and open to the idea of going outside sometime again before May.

Ryan (here for the weekend!) and I just ate the healthiest lunch ever from leftovers of last night’s healthiest dinner ever.  We’ve made veggie burgers multiple times before that were loosely based on a recipe, but last night we smashed any and all vegetables in a bowl with some beans.  Actually, we mashed them in a large pot with an egg whisk because I didn’t have a big enough bowl or a potato masher.
Yum! (Okay, super gross.  Imagine what the leftovers looked like!)

Burger form

While on the topic of mashing things together without measurements or recipes, I mixed together old bananas, canned pumpkin, applesauce, oats, the end of the Bisquick box, Rice Crispies, and chocolate chips for this masterpiece.  I also shook in some baking powder and baking soda for good measure and baked it.

They turned out delicious!

And that’s the end of the healthy streak.  Ryan and I watched the Olympics with a giant Hawaiian Sweet Bread round loaf, a jar of Nutella, and a spoon.  USA sweaters FTW!

Did you watch the opening ceremonies?