Sunday, February 26, 2012

Next-to-last long run!

Before the big one, that is!

This morning, Alisha and I dominated the 9 miler.  We walked for an extra mile for cool down, so make that 10.  We had a HUGE brunch at Relish (Hellloooo gingerbread banana pancakes... you are the JAM - also pimento cheese deviled eggs? AH-mazing.) and then I came home for a nice long bath.  I use Burt's Bees therapeutic Bath Crystals and I really think they help.  It could also just be the hot water and the stretching, but a bath after a long run is heaven.

I'm a little sore just around my tailbone, but other than that I feel pretty good.  Shin is twingy, but felt fine during the run, so I'm officially less worried about it.

Fueling was solid - bagel thin with almond butter about 45 minutes before, 2 amphipod bottles of water during, 1/2 luna bar and about 10 gummy bears during.  It was pretty cold, so I didn't need much water, but I have had gallons since.

I'm feeling pretty good about the race.  I think I could have gone another 4 miles today, so that feels good.  Next week, 10 miles, then the next saturday is taper weekend - a 6-miler is planned. 

Then, race time!  A lot of our friends are coming to Wilmington to celebrate St. Patty's day (we'll be staying with our friend Jade while they get their drank on) and then they'll all be there at the finish the next morning (probably hungover, but still there!)

I'm starting to get excited!

Big shout out to everyone who finished the Disney Princess Half today - including my friend Regan!

Happy Sunday, all!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Updates - how're those goals comin along?

Phew!  Work has been nutty!  Sorry I've been MIA.

I think it's time to check in with those strategic goals I put forth earlier in the year.  2 months in, how are things going?

Eating goals:

  • I've been rocking the farmers market/ fewer processed foods thing.  Not losing weight, but whatevs.  I haven't been able to just do the farmers market every single week, but I have been pretty good about avoiding anything in a box or bag.
  • I was supposed to cook one new food - well, this isn't a new food, but it's a new way to cook it - Roasted broccoli.  I hate broccoli.  Excuse me, hated.  Before this Alton Brown recipe.  Try it!
Fitness goals:
  • Run 1 race/month. - Oops.  Missed February.  Weekends were just too busy!
  • Run a 33 minute 5k.  - check!  I did that at the Shrimp and Grits 5k!
  • PR a half-marathon.  Training is going really well - 9 miler this week, 10 next.  We're totally ready.
  • Do 20 "real" pushups.  I haven't even attempted this with all of the half training.
  • Try 3 new classes at the gym. 2 down!  I tried yoga (mildly successful) and today I went to Zumba, which was a LOT of fun!
  • Ride bikes/walk with my husband more! Tax season.  This will wait until after April 17.
 Family/personal goals:
  • Visit my grandmother once/month.  Pretty good.  Still need to get february in, but I'm trying to go today or tomorrow.
  • Save $2000 to my Roth IRA.  I'm glad I revisited this, because I forgot about this one. 
  • Reduce "screen time." meh.  This one is proving to be harder than I thought.  I don't do well with a quiet house!
  • Learn to cable knit.  Forgot about this one, too!
  • Learn bluegrass fiddle! Getting there!

Overall, I'm doing well.  Still aware of most of the things and keeping on track.  I'm ready for the half-marathon to be over so I can stop stressing about it!  My stress fracture has been twinging a smidge, but I'm gonna run through it since it really  just feels like a bruise. 

What races do you have coming up during this marathon season?  Anything new and exciting?


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

See? I'm cool.

Good GOD I love a chain survey.  Even better when you can broadcast it over the interwebz.  I'm traveling for work today so I'm already tucked in bed in the Morganton Hampton Inn, so this is a fun way to kill some time.

Thanks to cousin Brandy for tagging me on this one.

The Rules
  1. Post these rules
  2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
  3. Answer the questions set for you in the post you were tagged in
  4. Create 11 new questions for your tagees to answer
  5. Tag them on Twitter, Facebook or your blog
11 Random Facts about Sarah:
  1. I used to work at the front desk for an oral surgeon.  Sometimes, I even had to assist in wisdom teeth surgery.  I HATED that job.
  2. I don't think Monty Python is funny.  Or Ace Ventura.  Or Austin Powers.  This disturbs my husband.
  3. I'm allergic to cats.  But I have 2 of them.  
  4. I. Hate. Cantelope.
  5. I've visited more foreign countries than I have states in the US. (unless you include airports.)
  6. I learned to water ski when I was 6.  I'm pretty good at it now. It's a rite of passage in the Mann family.  The skis had snoopy on them.  We were tied to the skiis, the skiis were tied together, and the skiis were tied to the boat.  You learned to ski, or you drowned.
  7. Seeing dolphins in the wild never gets old to me, even though I've seen hundreds at the River.
  8. I teach the violin part-time (I've been playing since I was three!) and my favorite kids are the ones everyone else gives up on... teenagers.
  9. When I'm in my car by myself, I pretend I'm being interviewed by Terry Gross.
  10. Or on the broadway stage.
  11. I'm pretty sure Kelly Clarkson and I would be BFFs.
Questions I was asked to answer:
  1. Where do you buy most of your clothes?  Ann Taylor Loft and Banana Republic Outlet.  Not regular banana, it doesn't fit right - only the outlet.
  2. What is your favorite drink recipe?  Grown-up drink?  I'd say the grown up lemonade we're so fond of... It has coconut rum, regular rum, peach schnapps, mango rum, and countrytime lemonade mix.  YUM.
  3. Describe your most memorable high school experience.  Probably playing "Landslide" at senior prom.  I wasn't that cool, but on stage with a guitar, mic, and a kickass cello player - well, at least a couple of people knew who I was after that.
  4. Is there a song that you always have to sing aloud every time?  Like, every broadway song, ever. Also, Party in the USA. 
  5. Do you prefer beach or mountains and why? Mountains - less chance I'll get dangerously sunburned.
  6. Do you still hang out with any of your childhood friends? Yup!  Shruthi has been my dear friend since we were 10.
  7. Coco Pebbles or Coco Krispies? Neither.  Regular Krispies (with a scoop of sugar) please!
  8. If you could meet one blogger (besides me of course), who would it be?  I think Gina at  I wish I could learn how to tweak recipes to make them healthier.
  9. If you were deserted on an island and could only have 3 beauty items, what would they be (not basic hygiene)?   Charleston Soap Chef body butter, Kiels face cream, and as much sunscreen as I could carry.
  10. What is your favorite fancy coffee choice?  Calories notwithstanding? Mint Condition from Caribou Coffee.
  11. When did you get your first cell phone?  Junior in college - so 2002.
Questions for you to answer:
  1. What's your favorite TV show?
  2. If you could pick any career - regardless of skill, education, etc. - what would it be?
  3. What's your favorite breed of dog?
  4. Which app can you not live without?
  5. Think back to the 9th grade (or thereabouts) - what was your favorite song?
  6. What was your first car?
  7. Marry, F*&%, Kill - Ross, Chandler, Joey?
  8. Why do you blog?
  9. Any toys, blankets, trinkets, you still have out from your childhood?
  10. What's your favorite chain restaurant?
  11. Family Guy, the Simpsons, or South Park?

So.  Now.  To tag. 

Regan at Regan's Ruminations
Lyn at Escape from Obesity
Alissa (A Journey to Thin) at A Journey to Thin
Ros at life's a wheeze
Jodi at BulmerFamily
Alisha  at Alisha Waits because she needs to resurrect her blog.

That's not 11, but I don't know that many people.  :-)  Go right on and tag yourself if you're reading this - just make sure to send me the link so I can see your answers!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why I love spin class.

Spin is not famous for causing warm, fuzzy feelings. (Ok, warm feelings, but that's more about excessive sweating.)

We all know that running is my first fitness love.  But I went to spin when I was hurt and I've kept it up.  I've got to tell you though, I was nervous as hell for my first class.

My husband thinks it's an abomination.  He actually cycles long distance, so he does not understand the appeal of working hard but not actually going anywhere.  And I totally get that.  But, as I've told him, spin isn't trying to replicate cycling outside.  It's a completely different animal.

If you've never tried it, you should.  Classes vary, but I can tell you how mine go. 

E= express.  This one is only 45 minutes at the Y, but it's on Thursday night and it's good for a good sweat session. It's not as hard, but they do expect you to work a little bit harder since it's shorter.
I= intervals.  This class is all about "1 minute sprint" "30 second recovery" "2 minute sprint" etc.  Now this, as with anything, is based on what you decide to do.  It's not like the teacher has control.  But I believe that if you're going to show up for class, you might as well push yourself!
H= hills.  My favorite.  This is when you start cranking up that little red knob on the bike.  And then you crank it some more.  And then a little more. And then, it feels like you're riding up hill through peanut butter and you crank it up a little more.  And by then, if your heart rate isn't in a crazy place and you're not pouring sweat, you need to crank it up MORE. 

I can hear the chorus of you: "Why, Sarah, that sound like pure-t hell."

Ok.  I get that. But there is something really fun about pushing yourself to a kind of uncomfortable place.  Only spin does that for me.  When running, I'm so conscious of form and aware of injuries, that I never push myself *that* hard.  But in spin, I go all out.  And it feels AWESOME.

A couple of things to remember when you go try spin class:
1.  If you've never been, ask the instructor to help you adjust the bike.  It's not complicated, but there are settings that will make your life easier.
2.  Bike shorts are acceptable, and will help you get used to sitting.  You need these more in the interval type classes because you're "out of the saddle" a lot in hills classes, so the extra padding is not necessary. 
3. If you have them, clip in shoes.  I wear regular tennis shoes and use the clips on the bike.  You want to pull up during spin class - not just push down as you're probably used to on a real bike.
4.  Bring lots of water.  (see aforementioned pouring sweat comment)
5. Also, bring a towel.  (are you getting the whole "sweaty" thing?)
6. Try not to lock your elbows.  A  good instructor will try to remind you of this periodically.
7.  Remember, you control your resistance.  No one knows but you.  But, that doesn't give you license to punk out.  I just tell you this so you know you can take a moment to recover if you need to!

So, go give it a go!  Cross training isn't all bad, and this is a great way to get that heart pumping.

What exercise have you done lately that you never thought you would try?


Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I just ate 3 - count 'em - 3 pieces of pizza for lunch.  This is sometimes a problem when I work at home on Wednesday.  Don't get me wrong, I will never complain about this particular job perk.  Let's face it, working in your PJs with a kitten in your lap is a good thing.  Especially when you can do it at your wicked-cool new secretary desk.

Cute, right?

 So, anyhow, sometimes on Wednesdays I get a little carried away on the snacking.  As in, I eat EVERYTHING in the house.  Today is no exception.  We had leftover pizza from the game Sunday, and flatbread from last night's last-minute dinner.  And I ate. it. all.

Yikes.  Even with a 3-miler this morning, this ain't gonna balance out and I'm feeling the over-eater's guilt.

What to do?  Well, first off, I'ma have an awesome healthy dinner, so no major harm done.  Also, not going to beat myself up over it. (too much.)

Oh, and I think I need to throw out pizza when we don't eat it.

How do you keep from snacking when you're home during the day?  (And yeah, not keeping it in the house is how I should be doing it!)


Monday, February 6, 2012

Trying a new way to eat.

Ok, it's actually not "new" at all - Americans just haven't done it in a while.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I've been struggling with eating.  I've tried Weight Watchers (I lost about 25 pounds, and then got stuck for a year) and then I switched to tracking just calories.  (Not working.  At all.)

So, I've switched tactics again, thanks to the book "In Defense of Food."  (review to come.) It details how the "Western Diet" is likely our health downfall, causing a myriad of diseases that were non-existent 100 years ago - heart disease, diabetes, even some cancers.  He reasons (and backs up confidently) that because food companies can make a bloody killing feeding us fortified and processed foods, we've dug ourselves into a pretty scary hole.  It is, in fact, a recent phenomenon that children can be both obese and malnourished.

I can go into the details, but I wouldn't want to tell you something wrong, so I'll just suggest that you read the book.  Scare tactics in there? Probably.  A little bit conspiratorial?  Sure.  But it's a good book and he makes some really good points.

So.  That said.  I'm trying to eat more "real" food.  Mostly plants. 

I went to the Farmer's Market today. We're really lucky here.  We've got a HUGE market that runs 7 days a week year-round.  Time to take advantage.  So, instead of my regular trip to Harris Teeter, I grabbed $60 out of the ATM (about half what I normally spend on a week of groceries) and hit the (cold) market.

I spent $49.  Here's what I got:
Yummy, right?
9 Apples
1 red bell pepper
4 organic pork brats
2 pork chops
3 sweet potatoes
1 butternut squash
1 big ol bag of pecans
2 beets
12 eggs
A gazillion collards
1 ginger root (my new favorite way to flavor things)
1 huge bag of spinach
4 new potatoes

For us, that's definitely enough for dinners this week - and of course, Preston's daily apple.  We'll probably get a lunch or 2 out of it and I imagine we'll have eggs for breakfast a couple of days.  So, let's say, 8 meals.  That breaks down to $3 per person, per meal.  Not too shabby.  Also, amazingly healthy.

So really, it's just a bonus that it's giving money to local farmers and the meat is certified organic and humane.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to go all "locovore" on you here.  Just trying to shake things up a bit and eat in the way everyone always says they "should."  I mean, why not?  It seems like a great time to give it a try.  I'm sure there will be things that I'll still buy from the grocery store - cat food, greek yogurt, Luna bars, etc. - and I'll probably fill in from the cabinets and freezer - but big meals?  Market.

I'll keep you posted.  There are still things I'm wondering:
Is it more expensive?
Does it take more time to cook/plan/shop/prepare?
Will it help you lose weight?
What can't you get from the farmer's market?
Is it a lot more effort?
Does this all make you look really pretentious? 

Feel free to chime in if you have opinions on all of the above questions.

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Running playlists - Strange ones.

Let's face it.  Sometimes running can get a little boring.


I know.  Blasphemy.

But sometimes it does.  I know EVERY TREE on the oak park greenway.  When you've got a friend to distract you, your not nearly as aware of how far you have to go, or when you should hit a certain landmark, etc.  So on days when I'm by myself, I rely very heavily on a rocking playlist.

Actually, let me rephrase to say, "A playlist of songs I really, really like."

Because, here's the thing - some of my favorite songs to run to aren't exactly heart-pumping jams. 

My playlist secret is to only put on songs I'm really excited to hear.  You know the ones - they come on the radio and you turn up the volume.  You find them on a random mix CD in your car and start to giggle.  These songs remind you of special times and special people.  And it doesn't matter how many miles you have to run, you're probably going to do it with a serious smile on your face.

I mix up my list every so often (and also use runs as a way to listen to full albums - because who has the time otherwise?) but there are a few songs that are ALWAYS on my running playlists.  And usually, I'm looking forward to them showing up.

1. Don't Stop Believing.  This song reminds me of my very best friends in the whole world and I don't care how bad I'm feeling - that comes on, and I'm good.  Case in point, this song randomly came on when I came into the arena to finish my half.  It was like my friends were running with me.  Awesome.
2. We Built This City.  Voted the "#1 most awesomely bad song EVER" by VH1, I've loved this song since I was a toddler.  It rocks.  And the fact that it was prominently featured in the new Muppet movie is a bonus.
3. Almost There.  Yup.  The one from the Princess and the Frog.  This is my "I hope it plays when I'm on a hill" song.
4. Come Pick Me Up, by Ryan Adams.  Case in point.  This is NOT an upbeat song.  But I love it.  So it stays on the playlist.
5. Don't Rain On My Parade.  Because I'm the type of girl that would listen to Barbara.  Watch out, sometimes I skip when this one comes on.
6. American Tune. Darrell Scott.  Made our wedding CD.  Darrell holds distinction as being the only person I wasn't able to talk to.  I adore him. So this, (and Dreamer) usually make the list. And along those lines...
7. Party in the U.S.A. By, well.  You know.  This song actually makes me think of my sister because I refused to listen to this song for a long time.  She converted me with a couple of car trips where I was a captive audience.
8. Dancing in the Dark, Springsteen.  Because it was featured on Kids Incorporated circa 1980something and I think it's just swell.
9. Every Other Time, LFO.  Because the lyrics, "sometimes we swim around like 2 dolphins in the oceans of our hearts," is genius.
10. Elephant Love Medley from Moulin Rouge.  Just 'cause.

So folks, what songs do you hope and pray will show up on your running playlist? 


PS, I also sometimes go through phases where I listen to the same song over and over when I run... this week it is "Moves like Jagger."  I blame spin class. 

PPS, Congratulations!  It's now in your head.