13 miles and a studious weekend

Hope you had a nice weekend!  I had the weekend to myself with no plans, so I took advantage of the time to be productive.  This semester is kind of all over the place with class work, clinic work, and research things, so my to-do list was slowly and stressfully growing out of control, and it was nice to cross a few things off!

But first, a run.  Our long run group was extra small on Saturday morning, so I paired up with just one other person for 10 miles.  He was new to the area, making me “route leader”—and if you know anything about my sense of direction (spoiler alert: I don’t have a sense of direction), you can guess how that worked out.  I led us through a route that I’ve done dozens of times with other people, but it somehow looked different without people to follow, so I added a whooole bunch of wrong turns.  I knew where we were the whole time, but our route ended up being very different from the pre-planned one.  Whoops…at least we got to spend a little extra time with the game day/homecoming weekend festivities on campus.IMG_1028 IMG_1027

We covered 10 miles in just over an 8:30 pace; I felt great, the pace felt comfortable, and the absolutely perfect weather didn’t hurt.  After our loop, I chatted for a few minutes and then went out to see how many more miles I could get in before my knee twinged and ended up with a little over 13.IMG_1029...and good thing my knee twinged when it did because I completely lost track of time, and by the time I got back to my apartment, I had 30 minutes to shower and leave for a meeting.  Made it!

I brought my backpack with me and studied at the public library for a while, and then I went home to glue my butt to the couch for the rest of the day with different assignments and a stack of articles.  I usually don’t work very well from home because I get distracted by everything, mainly the refrigerator, but I was able to zone in and focus.

Eventually, I looked out the window and saw the prettiest sunset EVER, so I grabbed a pair of flip-flops and went outside to get some fresh air and look at the pretty sky.  And the next 10 minutes of my life were really strange…I think my brain was too drained to think straight, so I broke into a sprint toward the setting sun because it was really pretty and I didn’t have a good view.  I ran, on autopilot, through fields and parking lots until my feet slipped out from under me and I realized that I was standing in the middle of a freshy-paved-and-still-wet parking lot surrounded by orange cones.  I do strange things when I’m stressed.IMG_1040So I caught the end of the sunset and ruined a parking lot…but I somehow had run to a gas station, so I bought myself a pop for effort.IMG_1041

And that may have been the most exciting part of my weekend.  Actually, no it wasn’t.  The most exciting part of my weekend was a tie between watching Hocus Pocus twice on Saturday night while doing work….and studying at Panera with free refills on Sunday.  I stayed at Panera long enough for two meals (been there, done that), but went home for dinner instead.IMG_1048

No fun adventures with Ryan over the weekend, but we did continue our weekly #exploringIndy date night last Monday.IMG_1019

We walked around downtown for a while to potentially try a new restaurant, but we decided on Ryan’s recent discovery and my long-time favorite from undergrad that I haven’t been to in a few years: Pita Pit!IMG_1022“Let’s just go to Pita Pit every Monday instead of trying new places…”

And that’s that.  I was feeling sick/congested/tired for the early part of the week, so I skipped a couple of workouts to heal up faster.

Sun: Rest
Mon: Rest
Tues: Rest
Wed: 2 miles + strength circuit (1 hour total)
Thurs: 7 miles at the track: 2, 5 miles of: 800 fast + 800 slow
Fri: 7 miles easy

What do you get at Panera?
Have you done anything fall-ish yet? (Like watch Hocus Pocus or go apple picking??)


just about fall

Another fall weekend done!  Well technically the last summer weekend.  According to this, the equinox will happen at 10:29pm EST on Monday, so I think we can call Tuesday the first day of fall!

Per usual, my Saturday began early in the morning with a pack of runners.  We had a fun and chatty group, so we finished the 10-mile loop before I really had a chance to look at my watch!  It was one of those runs that makes you love running.IMG_0990I had a few more miles in me, but I stopped after our 10 loop because my right achilles tendon was tight the whole run.  I swear, it’s just one different pain after another.  This one was totally preventable though–I knew that my calves were tight from Thursday’s speed work and I didn’t stretch until Friday night.  I should have known better because an achilles tendon injury was my very very first running injury three years ago, and in the sentimental way that first running injuries make you feel like you’re never going to run again, I am super careful about the ATs.

Run done, and off to the Farmer’s Market.  Fall foods and decorations are coming out!IMG_0993

This week, Ryan and I bought pretty much the same fruits & veggies as last week, with the last-minute additions of swiss chard and potatoes.IMG_0994

How we ended up buying swiss chard:
Ryan: “Want to buy chard?”
Karen: “Which one is the chard?”
Ryan: *points* “That one. But I’m not sure which part you eat.”
Karen: “Me neither. Are red stemmed ones better, or are green stemmed ones better?
Ryan: “I don’t know; I’m colorblind.”
Karen: “Okay, let’s buy it!”

Along with 10 lbs of apples!  I’m on the lookout for a you-pick orchard around here…

Usually on Saturday afternoons (um and for every other meal), we make veggie sandwiches because they require minimal thinking and they’re delicious, but we finally OD’d on veggie sandwiches after eating them for a month straight.  So Ryan, being the awesome person he is, offered to make us lunch while I worked on school stuff, and he invented the lovely Veggie Conglomerate pictured below, paired with rice and beans.  I would say it doesn’t photograph well, but that’s about how it looked in real life.  Cooked veggies are hard to make pretty, but they sure tasted good!

We also tried three new Farmer’s Market hummus varieties: rosemary & basil, jalapeno, and cilantro.  So far, my winner is last week’s olive and Ryan’s favorite is last week’s curry.

Later that afternoon, we fancied up and headed down to Indianapolis for a wedding!

One of our friends from church got married, and we were happy to celebrate with him and his new wife!  The wedding was in a little white chapel, and the reception was next door in a large glass-walled building surrounded by a garden.  It was super pretty, and the reception was a blast!  Ryan and I clumsily tried to swing dance by mimicking other couples, but then the Wobble (#myjam) came on, so it was all good.

What was your first running injury?
Favorite wedding/party/line dance?

speedwork, froyo, and #exploringindy

Surprise!  Thursday post.  I met Erin and Stacy at the track this morning for social hour.  We chatted so much between repeats that Stacy joked we should just order a pizza and call it good…And then we realized that we were all wearing blue, so we took another long break for a photo shoot.  The best way to enjoy running is to make it fun, right?IMG_0984

Between conversations, I completed a ladder workout: 2 x 400, 1 x 800, 1 x 1600, 1 x 800, 2 x 400, sandwiched by 2 warm-up miles and 1 cool-down mile.  It felt GREAT (except for the last 0.25 mile of my cool-down, where my knee started hurting again, boo)–I am loving this crisp fall weather, and catching up with running friends is a fabulous way to start the morning.

On Thursdays, my cohort makes an hour-long commute together to a 3-hour class in Indy, so when Andrea “jokingly but really” asked if we wanted to stop for frozen yogurt on the way back, we said YES.  I said EXTRA yes because frozen yogurt is a miracle cure, and I felt kind of headachy and nauseous—does anyone else sometimes feel queasy and headachy later in the day after speedwork?

We went to the Pink Walrus, one of my favorite froyo places.  Reasons why it’s better than other froyo places: top-notch topping bar, unlimited sample cups (and they’re big sample cups!), a cool & cute ambiance, free & easily accessible water cups, and spoons that are my favorite color.photo-18IMG_0988
Vanilla + berry + peanut butter froyo with Reese’s pieces, M&Ms, & sprinkles.

Speaking of delicious things, Ryan and I added another new restaurant to our #exploringindy list on Monday: Yats Cajun Creole Restaurant, a New Orleans inspired food joint.  The chalkboard menu listed a bunch of different sauce-like dishes, all served over rice.

I went half-and-half with the White Chili Chicken and the Red Beans & Smoked Sausage:

And Ryan went all in with the Jambalaya:

It was a lot of food for a reasonable price, and really tasty!  My only complaint is that I like a little more texture variation in my food, so sauce-like entrees aren’t my thing.  I made up for the missing crunch with chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels nuggets that we totally eyed up a few weeks ago.
“Nug me”

Here’s a random yet pretty picture of the sky on Monday morning:

Sunday (9/14): 50 minute cardio + weight circuit (R knee hurt)
Monday (9/15): REST
Tuesday (9/16): 8 miles, pm fartlek–no knee pain!
Wednesday (9/17): Run + strength circuit (1 hour)

What is your favorite kind of fartlek run?
Favorite color??

14 miles and FALL

So with the fall semester in full swing, looks once-a-week blogging is going to be my thing.  ….Unless I add a midweek study update, but I don’t particularly want to relive those moments, so I’ll stick to the fun stuff.  Like weekends!

I met the Saturday early crew for a long run in the … wait for it … 43ish degree weather!  I can’t believe how quickly the weather turned, considering the muggiest run of my life was only three weeks ago, but these low temps are awesome!  50’s is perfect, but 40’s is close enough for me.  I seriously think that snowpocolypse2014 had long-term shift on my comfortable temperature range because right now I’d rather run in 20 degree weather than 70 degree weather, no question.

I covered 10 miles with Erin and a few others at an easy pace, and we relished in the air that didn’t feel like death.  The miles passed by quickly and the next thing I knew, we were back at our car and not even drippy.  No costume-clad bar-going Breakfast Clubbers today; Purdue had an away game (and lost to Notre Dame).

I chatted in the parking lot for a few minutes after the run and then headed back out for 4 solo miles.  My right knee, the one that hurt for 8 weeks in the summer but has been fine for the last month, tightened up at the end.  I’m not sure why it’s being so dramatic, but it also tightened up two weeks ago and felt fine two days later, so I’m not sure what’s up with that.

I iced my knee, changed out of my sweaty clothes, and hit up the farmer’s market with Ryan, our new Saturday morning thing to do.  Also the last time I go anywhere without showering after a long run…”I hope I don’t see anyone I know” always seems to backfire when your face is smeared with salt and your hair is plastered yet frizzy.
IMG_0951Ryan and I divided and conquered: watermelon, zucchini, cucumber, peppers, apples, tomatoes, jam, and hummus.IMG_0956

You’d think we would have some sort of produce for lunch, but pizza and chicken nuggets sounded much much better.IMG_0959

We saved the garden for dinner and revisited the ever classic veggie sandwich, a Ryan and Karen specialty.
Hummus + zucchini + cucumber + tomato + shredded carrot + sweet potato + grated parm.

Those three mini hummuses (hummi?) behind the sandwich are from the farmer’s market.  I picked out the black olive & oregano (best), spicy curry (second best), and dill (worst) varieties, but they also had blueberry, jalapeno, and a few others, so I’ll need to do another taste test next weekend.

Later that night, we went out to celebrate a running friend’s big recent running accomplishment: 20 marathons!  Wow!

Other than that, I had papers to read and papers to write, so it was a pretty low-key weekend.

Have you ever made hummus?
Do you have a long-term running/race goal?  A race every month?  A race in all 50 states? 20 marathons??


Ironman 70.3 World Championship

Whew, that was one whirlwind of a weekend.  Lots of travel and a very exciting race!

My dad competed in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, on Sunday (which I’ll get to at the end of the post), so the fam flew out for a Canadian weekend.  This beautiful planescape made the painfully early alarm worth it.  I still can’t get over how gorgeous this picture is!  The clouds on the bottom look like a cloud ocean.IMG_0820

My dad was already in Quebec because he made the 13+ hour drive with his bike a few days earlier, so he picked up my mom, brother, sister, and I from the Montreal airport, and the five of us explored historic Old Montreal.  Explored might be too glamorous of a term–we drove confusing circles around French road signs with GPS systems that could not locate anything–but finally we found our destination and ate lunch at a cute historic Polish cafe.IMG_0827

I got pork & rice cabbage wraps in tomato sauce with purple cabbage salad and potatoes, and it was the best meal ever, potentially skewed by how hungry I was. IMG_0829

We walked through the center of the old historic city, and if you look closely, you can see TWO brides/weddings!  One is on the right side, and the other is probably too hard to see, but the bride is standing between the pillars on the left-side building.  There was also a festive flugelhornist playing in the background.IMG_0838

I looked at this unique statue while Greg checked out the dead bird on the ground behind it.IMG_0840We found our way from Montreal to our chateau in Mont-Tremblant a la Laura’s and my dad’s expanding mental maps of Quebec, and left this quaint location for a more modern athletic venue: Ironman Village and the race course!

2600ish bikes, all lined up and ready to go.  The buildings on the hill are all chateaus/condos/whatnot where we stayed, along with many other athletes & families.  It was nice to be so close, though that hill was a monster.

Dad with the three kids.  Thanks for being photographer, Mom!IMG_0874

We walked around enough to get a feel for the best places to cheer on Sunday, and then we headed up the hill for an early bedtime.  Irondad needed sleep, and the rest of us were soo tired…we joked that between my mom, Greg, Laura, and I, we maaaybe got 8 total hours of sleep the night before.  Except it wasn’t a joke and it wasn’t funny because it was completely true.

The next morning, I got up at 5am with my dad and walked down the giant hill with him to the race start.  Dark chilly air…loud music…people warming up…exciting atmosphere…I felt like I was about to run a marathon and started to get an anxious pit in my stomach, HA.  Classical conditioning at its finest.

I wished him good luck and went on my own run before the race started at 8am.  There was a nicely marked bike path right from the race venue…fool-proof for those of us who get lost easily…and I went out for a slow run, just as the sun was starting to rise.

The path was adorned with signs in French.  I hope Courbe Raide means something along the lines of “turn right”?

I came across this sweet-looking bridge.IMG_0906

I saw seven deer, and none of them seemed the least bit frightened by me.  And because of that, I was kind of frightened by them and imagined myself getting hooved or trampled or something, so I turned around when I saw these two blocking the way with no intention of moving.IMG_0925

The weather was perfect.IMG_0930I ran 25 minutes out, 25 minutes back, and ended with 10 minutes of hill repeats.  My glutes were on fire.

After a quick shower, Laura and I went down the hill to start our day of spectating.  We headed down to the swim exit first and watched the first few waves get out of the water.  The atmosphere was so so exciting!  A man on a loudspeaker announced each swimmer’s name and country, and he kept switching between English and French.  Laura commented that it felt like we were at the Olympics.DSCN1891

Then we watched the “Wetsuit Strippers,” which I had never seen or heard of before.  After exiting the water, the triathletes had the option to run over to the Wetsuit Strippers, who were people who systematically threw you to the ground, yanked off your wetsuit, and  pulled you back to your feet.  The whole process took 3 or 4 seconds.DSCN1892

Then it was time to start watching for my dad, so Greg and my mom joined Laura and I at a clear spot along the swim to bike transition (it was probably a quarter-mile long transition), and we saw him run by!  We cheered and then sprinted farther down the transition area to catch him again as he headed off on the bike.  The bike is the longest section, so after that, we had plenty of time to walk around the venue, cheer on other athletes, see the first place runner, and eat lunch.

We saw him again at the halfway point of the run!DSCN1902

And at the FINISH! DSCN1904Yay Dad!  We’re so proud of you!

The energy at this event was awesome, and watching so many people cross the finish line after so much work and training was one of the most inspiring things ever.

Then we drove home for many, many hours.

Ever watched a triathlon?

Week of workouts

Helloooo Weekend!  Short post because that week flew.  And I’m flying tomorrow morning! To Canada!  My dad is competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Sunday in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, and I’m going over to cheer him on! So exciting!!  I drove home to Ohio after my last class today, and I’m all packed up and ready for the 3:30am alarm.  My back pack (to Bre & Andrea, my Otipack!) is filled with research articles…we’ll see how that turns out.

Switching gears to this morning, I started my day with some 800’s at the track.  I figured I could either do a long run or a speed session on Friday morning since I probably won’t have time to run this weekend, and I’m proud of myself for picking the track because it’s the one I didn’t want to do…doing hard things makes you stronger, right?

IMG_08102 miles easy, 6 x 800m, 1 mile easy

The intervals felt good, they were consistent, and they were a liiiittle bit faster than last week.  I had to dodge squirrels the whole time…has anyone else had that problem?  At this particular track, squirrels like to run on to the track with one of those green tree balls, gnaw at the green tree ball, and then scurry when you approach.  The problem is that they scurry to you instead of away from you, and then switch directions at the last possible second.  And they leave tree ball on the track.  But squirrels or no squirrels, speed work makes for a good morning.

The rest of this week:

Monday: Rest/dune climb
Tuesday: 5 miles (3 tempo)–This was an evening run after a 6am-6pm day with a long commute, and I really didn’t feel like doing anything except sleeping.  The only reason I ran was because my gas tank was on E and told myself that if I made it to the gas station before coming to a complete stop on the highway, I would go for a run.
Wednesday: 2 miles + strength circuit
Thursday: 7 miles easy

Have a good weekend!
What’s the biggest race you’ve seen or competed in?
Which do you prefer: intervals or long runs?

12 miles and Labor Day fun

Hope you had a nice (long) weekend!  Mine consisted of a long run, a whole day of school things, visiting a friend, and exploring the outdoors with Ryan.

On Saturday morning, I met up with Erin to run the last 10 miles of her 18-miler.  We had an itty bitty breeze and scattered sprinkles, which felt like a spray fan for an hour and a half and was awesome.  But even better…it was game day morning here at Purdue!  I couldn’t care less about football, but game day means that campus is alive at 6am.  It means that you’ll likely pass hordes of students dressed in Halloween costumes walking toward the bars at 6am. (It’s a Purdue tradition called Breakfast Club.)  It means that you can hear the marching band warming up in the practice field.  (Though I didn’t think those early morning game-day practices were cool when I was in college marching band).  And it means that you can wear a Purdue shirt that day and feel really cool even if you’re sitting at your kitchen table with 5 research articles.

But back to the run.  The sunrise was one of those purple-blue-yellow ones with streaks coming from the middle, and it was absolutely gorgeous.  See the bell tower in the distance?!IMG_0756
Right before this photo, Erin and I felt like we were at the finish line of a race because the marching band was playing, and the atmosphere was happy.  We hung out for 5 minutes to stretch and soak in the scene.

After our 10 miles together, I went out for 2 more solo miles for a total of 12.  I wanted to run 13, but my right knee started hurting in the same spot where it recently finished hurting.  Noooo.  I’m hoping it’s because my quads were suuuuper sore, tight, and shredded from Thursday’s track workout, but I’ll keep an eye on it.  I iced when I got home and then spent the rest of the day with a pile of research articles and other random school things.  I worked extra hard so that I’d be able to spend the rest of Labor Day weekend guilt-free.

Ryan arrived on Sunday morning, and we drove up to spend the day with my friend Sarah and her friends at lake Michigan.  Lake-swimming, beach-lounging, game-playing, pizza-eating, casino-going fun.  I bet (and lost) a total of $2, all at the penny slots, in case anyone was wondering.

The next morning, Ryan and I ventured over to the Indiana Dunes.  I’d never been there (though I’ve been to the Sleeping Bear Dunes!), but I’d heard great things about Indiana’s own little dune collection off the shore of Lake Michigan.

We walked along the beach and found the largest grasshopper(?) ever.  The poor little guy was struggling to hop along the windy beach, so I coaxed him on to my sandal and carried him across the beach.

Lake Michigan

Then Ryan and I went on the “3 Dune Challenge” course: a hilly 1.5 mile hike over 3 sandy dunes.  They had stickers and t-shirts available for finishers, ha.IMG_0787
Ryan was in charge of holding the map and figuring out where to go, and my job was to take pictures and not get lost.

We hiked up steep sand inclines…IMG_0793 IMG_0798

And saw nice nature views:

We finished the course relatively quickly, though some of the steep sandy climbs were difficult!  We were sweaty, bug-bitten, and thirsty by the time we reached the car.  And just in time for lunch!

We stopped for food on the way home, and I got the best salad that I think I’ve ever ordered from a restaurant.  Thumbs up, Third Coast Spice Cafe.IMG_0804—–
Did you go anywhere for the long weekend?
Have you ever climbed a sand dune?