Friday, July 29, 2011

The ghost of Bethany's running past...

While cleaning out my old closet at my parents house this weekend I came across some items I had totally forgotten about. Here's a look into my running past.

This is an award from my first 5k EVER. And yes, it says 1990! I was 10 years old. I asked my parents if I could run this race. I have no idea why. I ran a few times after school with my gym teacher before the race. Now I coach girls this age to run their first 5k, how fun is that?!

I remember really really really wanting the framed "Essence of Running" picture. I think I got it for either my birthday or Christmas one year. It hung in my bedroom for years. "Running is a road to self-awareness and can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet, but when you are through, exhilarated and exhausted, at least for a moment everything seems right with the world."  If I didn't get it then, I definitely do now.

I had totally forgotten I got the above award. Yes, 1995-1996. Man, I feel old now. I also found my track spikes from high school. Oh how I loved those shoes. I wanted to bronze them., but they have happily been donated now.
And last, but not bunn-bunn!
I'm not sure what this has to do with running, but I'm sure I was holding bunn-bunn and sucking my thumb when I took my first running steps ever. Bunn-bunn went everywhere with me for a few years.
                                                         Oh, the things we find when we clean out old boxes in old closets in old houses.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I feel like I've been injured and attempting a comeback. I guess in a sense that is true, it's just not an injury in the typical sense of the word. More emotional than physical. At least this week I've wanted to work out. That's a big change from last week.

Monday night Marc and I took the bikes out for about an hour. It's hard for us to ride on roads together - he worries if I don't keep up right next to him. My slowness on the bike is mostly mental - I'm afraid of running out of steam. I just don't know how to pace myself on a bike like I do with running. It will come with practice, I hope!

Tuesday I ran with Ben for the first time since before vacation. He was having a good run, I was not. He kept me going and I was glad to have had a running buddy that night. I really needed it. 

Wednesday morning I made it to swimming practice (and I even remembered my shoes for work unlike last week!). I really do love swimming outside in the morning. I need to bring my camera, or at least my phone, to get a picture of the peaceful pool deck with the rising sun. I had a very good practice and definitely felt like a few things finally "clicked". I actually can't wait to get back to the pool and see if they are still "clicked".

Unfortunately we are back to heat emergency status with a heat index of 110 or something like that. I am still trying to figure out my plan for tonight and tomorrow.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Back at it

Will the heat advisories ever end? Not that I'm complaining. I try not to complain about running in the heat, the cold, the rain. I'm a runner - it's what I do. It's what I love.

I took 2 weeks off from all exercise (minus surfing and walking on the beach). Mostly unintentionally. Today in the 84 degree heat at 8:00 (heat index of 92) I went for my first run. I realized just how much I missed it and how much I need it.

I didn't get the miles in that I intended to - if I had run at 6:30 like I had my alarm set for I would have had several more miles left in me - but today was still a victory. My 5K split was 7 minutes slower than a normal run for me, but I didn't care.

Every run is about something different. A slow, not-so-long long run, in the heat is exactly what the doctor ordered for me. Exactly what I needed.

Hopefully I'll get in a swim today or tomorrow as well. Funny story about swim practice this week for another time...

Now I'm off to make cake pops to celebrate the arrival of my favorite family from Texas!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm baaaack!

I know you missed me!

My running shoes have been missing me lately too...and so has my bike. Ugh!

We were supposed to bring the bikes on vacation, but the auto parts store failed to order the hitch that we were going to put on the SUV so we didn't have to use the old trunk style bike rack. Really, Marc refuses to use the old bike rack - he's a little protective of this car! And rightfully so!

Running shoes and outfits were packed...but not used. Honestly, it felt good to take a break. I needed it.

We did surf! And that was quite a work out. There was a professional photographer in the water with us, but this is the only picture I have of us surfing right now. It was awesome. We both loved it and are already searching for our next surfing vacation destination!
B, Phil the surf instructor, Marc

Any recommendations? We did a lot of fun things and also relaxed quite a bit. 
I am happy to say that the first time the 11 of us stayed in a house together for a week was a success!

Now I have to get back into my routine. I seriously have NO motivation. Can someone send some my way? Pretty please?

The 105+ heat isn't helping. Among other things. But I guess everyone has their own struggles, distractions, etc. 

I guess it's time to put on my big girl running shoes and get out the door!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Recipe to Refuel

I am blessed to have such wonderful and talented people in my life to call friends...and here is another one, the multi-talented Sarah (and Sidney's boyfriend's mom) from this amazing little blog. My mouth is already watering from this recipe and I can't wait to try it!

1.  Grill steak to your liking...after  cooked, cut the steak into bite size pieces.  Keep warm.

2.  To make corn relish, heat olive oil into a large skillet over  medium heat.  Add corn kernels, tomatoes, cilantro, salt and pepper.   Cook for 5 minutes, until warm and fragrant.

3.  Spread butter onto one side of a tortilla.  Place butter side  down onto a large skillet over medium heat.  Sprinkle one side of  tortilla with goat cheese, then a couple spoonfuls of chopped steak.   With a spatula, fold tortilla over filling and cook each side until  browned and crisp.  Transfer to a plate and top with spoonfuls of Corn Tomato Relish.

I served these with some Mexican rice (an accomplishment in it's self) chips and guacamole.  For some reason, I can NOT make rice.  Every time I make it it sticks to the bottom of the pan.  I think I get too impatient or distracted and don't stir enough.  However, this time it managed to go very smoothly! 


Wow, looks deeeelish, huh?! Whoever makes these next, make sure to invite me over!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Race for Life 5K (UK Style)

My fabulously gorgeous and super amazing friend JennyJ agreed to share a little about her training for her first half marathon and a race she participated in this past weekend. I've talked about her before, so here's your chance to see for yourself how remarkable she is! Make sure you check her blog here too!

Hello all. B has asked me to guest-blog while she’s away and of course I said a big fat YES to that. She’s been a tremendous inspiration when it comes to running and this is the least I can do to pay her back. 

People delight in other people’s mishaps, catastrophes and outright failures, don’t they? I don’t mean that in a horrible way but there’s something comforting about knowing that those kinds of things don’t just happen to you. And as our B is so wickedly good at whatever she does, I thought I’d tell you a bit about my past week – which did not go at all as I had hoped. 

Although I’m currently training for my first half-marathon (the Run to the Beat Half-Marathon on September 25th in London), I thought I’d mix up my training a bit and sign up for the Race for Life 5k. This event is huge in the UK and takes place from late spring all through the summer. It’s a women’s only race that raises huge amounts of money for Cancer Research UK. Last year’s was my very first race and I thought I’d give it a go again and try to beat last year’s time as well as participate in a great event and have some fun doing it, while giving cancer the proverbial finger.

As ever, things didn’t go as expected. My long run the previous weekend consisted of eight miles. This was the very first time I’d ever run that distance – and my body felt it. Instead of going straight for a nap as soon as I finished (and really wanted to!!!), I gave in to my overly active boyfriend and went on an exploration tour of the surrounding villages (FYI, Royston, England, NOT worth a visit….). I had already signed up for a three-hour yoga workshop Sunday morning and was actually quite looking forward to a good ole’ stretch. And stretched I was. I then went out again with above-named overly active boyfriend for a game of tennis in sweltering heat and finally collapsed in our hammock around 5pm that afternoon. Monday and Tuesday I could barely walk, but I figured no pain, no gain, right?! Wednesday I had a Pilates class and Thursday I went out for an ‘easy’ 3-mile run. I suppose that wasn’t a great idea as my legs were feeling seriously leaden – again! So, after seeking advice from my virtual running buddies (on Facebook), I decided to take it easy for the rest of the week to be ready for Sunday.

Aside from refusing my body the adequate rest it so obviously needed, I still prepped sufficiently in all other areas, having made sure that my new running outfit was bought and laid out in time for the race. After all, if you’re gonna get all hot and sweaty, better make sure you look stylish doing so, right?! 

But, alas, even with the new outfit it wasn’t meant to be. I woke up to a bright blue sky and sunshine, in itself not a bad thing, but not in July where even in England it can get quite hot. Yet again, the MET was wrong when it predicted an overcast day (perfect race-day weather) and instead the temperature kept rising steadily. Lathered in sunscreen, I made it to the start line and upon setting off my woes began. While people were passing left, right and center, I kept getting the one slow person in front of me I just couldn’t overtake. After my first k I was suddenly parched. I never take water on my short runs as I’m usually ok until I get home, even on hot days. But go figure, the one time I do need it is on race day. We ran straight through town and there wasn’t a breeze in sight. Although I still ran faster than I usually do in training, I just couldn’t quite make my target time (perhaps, with hindsight, a bit over-optimistic?!). I stepped it up during my last k and a half, but again, I just wasn’t able to push myself to reach the pace I wanted. Growing ever more frustrated with my lack of performance probably didn’t help either. At 4.5k I suddenly realized that if I really pushed for it, I could still manage my goal time but at that point we entered the green and went from running on a paved surface to uneven lawn. Oh yes, and the wind picked up. You need to understand that Cambridge is incredibly flat. So when the wind blows, it’s more like a gale! What I wanted was a breeze, what I got was a storm, and not helpfully blowing in my back, but rather at my left, making the last 500m feel even longer as I now had to run with a tilt. Worst of all, as soon as I entered the green, I could see the finish line. But in the worst tease ever, I had to round the green along its far edge before doubling back on myself and making it to the finish, i.e. getting closer, closer, closer, passing it, going further and further away, before turning a corner and finally aiming straight at it. NOT nice! Unfortunately I just didn’t have it in me. And despite some lovely cheers by a friend (who had finished five whooping minutes before me!!!) and a last-minute push, my sprint-finish just didn’t materialize and I only finished the race 20 seconds faster than I did last year. So still a success but not the earth-shattering PB I had envisioned. 

But it’s all good. Because look what I got out of it: THE action shot of the year!!! J A friend of mine pointed this out to me, it was posted on our local paper’s website. I’m personally chuffed (oh what a British word!) by it, particularly by the swinging pony tail. Never seen myself in action. Ok, jokes aside, it wasn’t a race as I’d hoped but it was still good and I have to learn that sometimes I just have to chill out and not push myself too much. At the end of the day I’m still a newbie to running, having been clocking up the miles for only the past 16 months. So for that, methinks, it ain’t half bad. 

And now… well, it’s exactly 12 weeks til the half marathon, but don’t fret. The outfit planning is well into its second stage: my charity’s color is orange, so I gotta make sure I match (and not just with the color of my face!). 
JennyJ in a sea of pink!

Love, peace and Zen to you all,  JenJx

p.s. Thanks for reading. Please visit my page and maybe even sponsor me, I’d much, much appreciate it! ( 
p.p.s. I actually do train properly for the half-marathon, it’s not just all fun and games and shopping. So feel free to check out my blog at Run, Raise, Race! to see for yourself. (

Hope you enjoyed Jen's tale and positive attitude even when a race didn't turn out as expected. Looks like I'm not the only one who runs for the accessories either!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Feeling hot, hot hot

Tonight's run was much hotter than anticipated (it was about 92 degrees) and we picked a poor route for such a hot night. There was hardly any shade at all. It was a rough run. My legs felt like I was dragging the barbells from this past weekend. I haven't had many bad training runs lately, so I guess I was due for one. Ben had a hard time too, which made me feel a little better. It's nice when your training partner isn't having a bad day and can pull you along, but sometimes it is nice to have simultaneous bad days. 

So to make me feel are the pics you have been waiting for!

First Sid got her teeth brushed for the first time
Then she turned into a Viking!
She must have just finished a turkey leg

Red, White and Barbell

This 4th of July weekend was full of fun things...and barbell!

My body didn't really like the barbell overload and yesterday I walked around like an old woman. Today I'm feeling better and not quite so old-woman-like, thankfully! I do love the differences I can tell from increasing my weight training though and barbell is my favorite class at the gym.

Sidney had a lot of run this weekend too. There will be pics of that later :)

Hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July!