Sunday 3/25 ~ Me and about 39,999 other runners completed the Shamrock Shuffle.
Time: 52:42 ~ 8k. 10:36/mile pace. The best word I can come up with for this race was CRANKY.
I am part of a great group of runners and Weight Watchers members who met when we started Couch to 5k about the same time. This year, a lot of the ladies got together and ran races in Virginia Beach and Minneapolis around St. Patrick’s Day, and we had t-shirts made up for our Turtle Trek! So much fun!
So, one of my favorite parts about this whole Shamrock Shuffle experience was going to the Fitness Expo at Navy Pier. It was inspiring to see such a well organized and executed event, and so many people who were interested in fitness and health. A lot of fun.
I packed up my bag Saturday night, with a change of clothes since we were going to see the Hunger Games in the afternoon! I ended up oversleeping a bit, so the day started… off. This was the most crowded event I’ve ever been to, and the trains were PACKED at 6:45 on a Sunday morning. I made my way to the CARA Compound at the Congress Hotel to drop off all my things and get ready to head to the corral.
I ended up meeting up with my group members, which was fun. It was good to have company. 🙂 This course was great, it goes through most of downtown. It was about 60 degrees and the first wave started at 8:30. I am not sure what time we started, but there were a lot of people there!
I don’t quite want to rehash the entire run, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it just was not right. I think I started too fast, and stayed too fast. It got hot, and I was just not a happy camper. I wanted to stop a lot, I wanted to complain A LOT, and it just was not great. I got in to some pretty negative head space and it just was not cool.
Highlights included: Seeing Liga around mile 4. Apparently I was too fast for her sign, she had an awesome sign made up for me. 🙂 Making it to mile 4. Being at the corner of Michigan and Van Buren put me in some great “homestretch” territory. Sweet Home Chicago. Blues Brothers came on right as I turned that corner and ran towards Roosevelt Rd. Ran past work, ran past the most spectators I had seen all day, and knew it was almost over.
Turning the corner and heading towards the finish line, I had major tunnel vision. Was lightheaded and had a headache and was just praying I didn’t pass out. No. It was not a fun ending. But I finished. This was a hard day, but a lesson learned.
After I changed and refilled my water and got all my things from the hotel, I stuck around and cheered on the finishers. It was great to see so many determined people working their way to the finish line. So inspiring.
I had a great 5 mile run tonight with Fleet Feet’s Chicks Night. It took me a few recovery days, and one good, at my own pace just for fun run, to get my head around this weekend. It was a reminder to be proud of what I CAN do, and beware of what my body is telling me (like when I start too fast). On to another week of training!
Monday = 3.6 miles on the treadmill. Had a really long day at work, but was able get away to the gym and did a new interval workout. Nothing too exciting, but the interval was good. I created my own workout as adjusted from Dashing Dish. Tuesday = DOR. And I rested. And then drank WAY too much wine. But I was at Mortified: Chicago listening to people read from their high school diaries, so that was fun!
Wednesday = Chicks Night. YAY! I did 4 miles with the group, then we did some “roll-ates.” We used the foam roller and learned a lot of great stretches. It was really nice, and a good night! Really glad I went. Weigh In Wednesday 3.20.12: -0.2. Moving slowly but surely! Thursday = 25 minutes on the elliptical before the midnight showing of The Hunger Games!!! But I had a mega headache. BOO!!! 😦 This headache became a big pain in the bum all weekend. Friday = After the midnight movie, and very little sleep, Friday was a rough day. Ended up walking about 3.5 miles to the Shamrock Shuffle Expo. It was a lot of fun seeing so many fit and motivated Chicagoans out and about today. Saturday = 6 miles. Was another great group run. We were scheduled for 8 but with the Shuffle, I asked if anyone wanted to do less. Ended up turning back with Sue, Andrea and Shannon, another girl in the group. We were all planning on meeting up at the CARA room at the Congress Hotel for the race. Sunday = 5 miles @ Shamrock Shuffle. Race Recap to follow. Preface… not my best.
Ok, so it’s Wednesday… But I cooked this on Sunday!
Macaroni and cheese has been a favorite staple food of mine. I used to make Paula Deen’s Cheesy Mac a lot. It was my staple comfort food, and also a “go to” for potlucks or dinner parties. Easy, delicious, totally unhealthy.
I have tried a few recipes for lightened up mac and cheese, and have been pretty disappointed in the results. Usually it ends up bland & flavorless and not worth the Points. Until I discovered Skinny Taste Baked Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese. I literally can’t stop thinking about how good this is. I’ve been going to a lot of lunch meetings this week, so I haven’t been bringing food, and I am genuinely regretting that!
Skinny Taste Inspired Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese
(This reflects the changes I made to the original recipe. It is half of the original, and makes 5 1 cup servings.)
1 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni (I didn’t have whole wheat, but it can of course be used)
1 tbsp butter
1/8 cup flour
1/8 cup minced onion (I used red onion and just chopped some of it up, not an exact measurement)
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 cup reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used what I had left, 1/2 bag shredded reduced fat taco cheese, and 1/2 cup full fat cheddar)
1 lb fresh broccoli
1/8 cup shredded parmesan (this is the same amount as in the full recipe)
1/8 cup bread crumbs (I used whole wheat panko)
Preheat the oven to 375°. Prepare a baking dish by spraying with cooking spray.
Chop up the broccoli to bite sized pieces, discarding the stems. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add broccoli and macaroni to pasta cooking directions (7-9 minutes)
In a skillet, melt the butter. Add onion and cook on low, about 2 minutes. Add flour, stirring until flour and butter combine and slightly brown. Whisk in milk and chicken broth, and raise heat to medium high. Bring to a boil, whisking mixture smooth. Allow to boil, while stirring often, to allow the sauce to thicken and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove sauce from heat and mix in cheese. Stir until melted. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Drain pasta and broccoli. Pour pasta mixture in to prepared baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over pasta, stir to combine.
Top with breadcrumbs and parmesan. Spray with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. You can also broil it to get the breadcrumbs more golden brown, but I don’t have a boiler, and it worked out just fine!
3.12-3.18. I guess the middle is where it gets difficult difficult lemon difficult…
Monday = Did not get a run in today. Completely hectic and sadly I was also attending a funeral for a friend’s grandmother. Just feeling totally frazzled. Ended up changing my flight, so I headed back to Chicago Tuesday instead of Monday. Tuesday = Normally I would call this “old school” but I wasn’t a runner back in the day… So, new old school? Ran to my high school, did a mile around the track, then channeled my inner Tim Riggins and ran the steps at the stadium. Granted, I did not go to Dillon, so my stadium was much smaller. Anyway, continued through the neighborhood, about a 3 mile day. Wednesday = Gorgeous day for a run. Originally I was planning on a trip to Fleet Feet for a Chick’s Night Run. Brought all my running gear with me, and got back in to things at work after a crazy weekend at home. It ended up being 80° when I got off work, so I decided on a lake front run home. Today’s goal was 7 miles, which honestly seems pretty quick. I had my REI bag with me. I made it about 1.5 miles and I wanted to CRY. Such a beautiful day, and I was just not having a good run. In fact, it was terrible. I ran/walked for 4 miles, but knew I would not be making it the full 7 today. My right knee was bothering me, I was hot, my bag felt like it weighed a million pounds, I just felt EXHAUSTED. Came home, had dinner, showered and used the foam roller then off to bed. Also ended up with a huge blister on my right heel. I am guessing this is a result of the new shoes I wore to work! What. A. Day! Weigh In Wednesday 3.7.12: -1.4 LOWEST SCALE NUMBER TO DATE! Thursday = Ended up doing yoga this morning, just needed to take it easy and stretch today. Friday = Elliptical. I popped in to the gym and did 25 minutes on the elliptical. I ended up making an appointment to talk to a PT about my knee, it wasn’t hurting too bad, but I figured better safe than sorry. Elliptical felt fine, and I got in some good stretches afterwards. Saturday = What a difference a pace leader makes… Holy cow was this a good run for me. 7 miles with the group, we averaged exactly 11:30 pace and it was a warm one. Probably 75 when we were finished. Almost every body in the group said they had at least one terrible run this week, and that it is true that your body takes just as much time to adjust to warm weather as it does to cold. It really made me feel so much better. The pace felt right, the group was friendly, I was able to start off not talking, which I pretty much prefer, and it was all in all a great day. Need to get some new shorts and warm weather gear now! Sunday = Once I drag myself off the couch, it’s time to enjoy this GORGEOUS day. Planning on a walk to the gym, then 30-40 minutes on the elliptical, some weights, then groceries and errands the rest of the day.
I spent last weekend visiting my family in Ohio. Earlier in the week, my dad sent me an email about the “Long John Run.” I think he sent it as a joke, but my interest was piqued. Running in PJs?? OK!
The other reason for signing up was that my training schedule called for a 5 mile run, and I tend to do better either with a group or a goal for these longer runs (although 5 miles is not quite “long” anymore). The other thing about the run was that it was through Highbanks Metro Park, so it would be a definite change of scenery, compared to all the Lakefront runs. I ended up spending the night at my brother and sister in law’s house, they live close to the race location.
Saturday morning was chilly, about 20-25 degrees at 7:30. I packed running gear, and wore a silly pair of boxers over my running tights (I didn’t go full PJs, sorry guys!). Headed out about 8:15 and drove over. The sun was out, it was a beautiful day. It is always great to see people out and committed to activities at 8:30 on a cold Saturday morning. This was a pretty small gathering of people, I’d say under 100 total. The race was broken up in to a 2 mile run and a 5 mile run, but everyone started together. A few people were indeed in their pjs, but there were just as many people in running gear, and a lot of them seemed to be training or from running clubs. FUN!
Race started out at a picnic area in the park, then joined up with one of the wilderness paths. It ran along the Olentangy River path for a bit, then curved in, crossed the road, and joined with what I’m guessing was a main hiking path. The one mile turn around saw most of the younger runners (like 6-15 years old) turning around, and some of the faster, more serious competitors sprinting back. And I was just getting started. 😉
It is just a fact of the matter that running can bring some latent competitive natures to the forefront. This was no exception for me. It was hard to start “towards the back” when there were less than 100 people running, so I was more middle-ish. Immediately, people started passing me. No matter what, that is disheartening. While running along the river, I passed a few people who clearly started too fast. I hit a decent pace. Then we got to the main path. And hills. LOTS OF HILLS. I wasn’t really anticipating what this would do to me, mentally. At this point, the “crowd” really spread out. I had my eye on a couple who were from a training team, they were in bright yellow jackets. They were pretty much my only indication that I was still on the correct path, and they continued to get further away from me. Around Mile 2, I was passed by a woman running in her full winter coat. She stayed ahead of me most of the time. On a huge hill descent, I was passed by two other women, in the same bright yellow. Another training group passing me up. At this point, I stopped obsessing over what everyone else was doing, got a handle on my breath and my stride, and truly started enjoying my surroundings.
It was a beautiful day, and I was out there running, so who cares what everyone else was doing? That turned everything around. At Mile 4, I really did feel completely isolated, there was NO ONE around. Jay-Z and Kanye on the iPod, eyes on the prize of finishing this weirdly difficult race. Saw the finish line and turned it up a notch. Finished strong and felt great. And my time? Ridiculously fast for someone who, one year ago, was nearly 60lbs heavier and out of breath walking 3 flights of stairs.
10:26 pace. My first 5k in July had me at a 13:52 pace and I walked at least a mile. I love seeing progress, and I am proud of myself!