Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oatmeal Pumpkin Protein Bars

I really shouldn't claim these are protein bars since I didn't work up the nutritional stats to back that claim up but I threw in some protein powder so I'm calling them "protein bars".  It's been a while since I've posted a recipe but I want to get back into it now that my life isn't consumed by running...for now anyways :).

These are based off a recipe I found in the peas and thank you cookbook that I'm obsessed with.  Go buy it now...I have not made a recipe I didn't love from this book.  Basically I swapped pumpkin for the silken tofu and added protein powder and voila!   

Oatmeal Pumpkin Protein Bars

Serves: 16 bars

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 scoops protein powder (I used vanilla)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 dried cranberries
1 cup milk (I used coconut)
1/2 15oz can of pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl (from oats to salt)
3. Add wet ingredients and mix
4. Fold in dried cranberries
5. Pour in greased 8x8 pan
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes (longer if you want a more crispy dry bar)

Dry ingredients
ENJOY!  I recommend topping them with nut butter of even cream cheese.  Makes the perfect between meal sweet snack!
Mama Pea claims her version has about 143 calories a piece with 5 grams of protein.  I imagine my calorie count is similar and that there is at least 7-9 grams of protein with the added protein powder.

Question: Do you have a go-to protein bar (made or bought) that you always grab on the go?  I'm also a HUGE fan of Luna bars, specifically chocolate peppermint stick!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marathon Lessons Learned Part 1 - BEFORE a marathon

I've never run a marathon before so I really had no idea what to expect come race day and how my body would react to 26.2 miles.  Even though I've poured over marathon runner blogs you don't really know until you experience it yourself. 

Three lessons learned of what NOT to do in the days before a marathon (side note: despite these lessons learned I'm still very happy with my time and performance but you can't help to think how you could have done better)

1. DO NOT walk all day every day in the days leading up to a marathon:
Ashley from Redonkulous Runner told me multiple times (via email, comments and her own blog posts) to try and not walk too much in the days before but obviously I didn't listen.  I was in a new to me city and since we had two days before the race I wasn't going to just sit on my butt in the hotel.  Looking back we probably should have utilized public transportation a bit more and I should have cut my multiple mile walk through the park down to a couple miles...oops! 
There were just too many fun sites to see!!
2. DO NOT have an abnormal meal schedule: 
On our first full day in Chicago I didn't eat a full meal until 3PM...bad idea.  My stomach did not like me and decided it didn't want to keep anything in it's stomach for the entire day.  Of course this did not help my nerves.  Luckily, the day before the marathon I was super strict about eating 3 good meals that day and on time and my stomach forgave me. 

The 3PM first meal which was delicious BTW
3. DO NOT spend an abnormal amount of your time doubting yourself and all you training:
As marathon morning approached I was very nervous and began to analyze all my training and what I might have done to be more prepared.  Maybe I should have ran more 20 milers or ran 22 or even 24 miles...6.2 miles is a lot more to run when you've never run past 20 before!  As much as I tried to squash those thoughts knowing that there was nothing I could do about my training in the days before and that I was READY they kept getting overpowered by negative thoughts.  I think this played a large part in me being SO nervous for the first half of the actual race. 
Of course there were lots of things I did right like not having one sip of alcohol the entire week before the marathon, carbo loading, drinking TONS of water including gatorade and coconut water and trying to get a full nights sleep each night.

Stay tuned for Part 1 - What not to do in the week AFTER a marathon :)

Question: What lessons have you learned about what not to do before a race?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Race Recap: Chicago Marathon

I honestly don't even know where to begin with this recap and I still don't believe I actually ran a marathon but I can tell you that it is single handedly the hardest most nerve racking thing I have ever done in my life to date and I wouldn't have changed a thing about it!  The sense of accomplishment I feel for myself and my running pals, Stacey and Katie, is still keeping me up on cloud nine.

Let's start at the beginning of the festivities with the expo!

It became VERY real as we stepped into the convention center for the biggest expo I've ever been to.
After picking up our packets we hit up the Nike area to spent way too much money on marathon gear.  We spent multiple hours at the expo looking at everything it had to offer.

Becoming more and more real by the minute!

I think the nerves were really starting to kick in for me because I had an upset stomach ALL day and all I could think about was having an upset stomach during 26.2 miles.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing and eating bland food.

Day before the race!
I woke up bright and early to meet my cousin and her family at the Shedd Aquarium.  After the aquarium we walked through Grant Park and I got to visualize what race day might be like.
Finish chute!
The "hill" in the Chicago marathon

Start line
After walking around for WAY too long I cabbed it back to the hotel to relax for the evening.  Dinner was in the hotel lobby and Katie and I had a great pasta dish that totally hit the spot.  My stomach had been calm all day and I was looking forward to the race finally being here.

Race day is here!
Katie and I woke up bright and early at 5 am when our breakfast was delivered.  I was sooo nervous eating anything was really hard but I knew I had to so I tried to choke down as much eggs and toast as possible.  We ate, put on our race outfits, stalked our race belts with fuel, wrote our names on our arms and headed out the door.
We cabbed to the start line and met Stacey at the bag check.  My long sleeve throwaway shirt wasn't even necessary at 7AM, it was already 60 degrees and sunny...I could tell it was going to be a sweaty sweaty run!
Ok ladies, it's time to run a marathon!
Miles 1-6
We squeezed into the start line around the 11:00 pacers and danced around with nerves until the race started at 7:30am.  We crossed the start line close to 8 and just like that it was happening.  I was REALLY nervous and sweating by the first half mile.  I really don't remember much of the first 6 miles because I was just trying to calm myself down, I don't remember ever being this nervous for anything in my life. The course was very crowded and getting through the water stations without stopping and walking was virtually impossible.

10K - 1:08 - 10:44 pace

Mile 4
Around mile 6
The cutest spectator on the course...thanks for the sign Brady!

Miles 6-13.1
I was still nervous and it was getting WARM!  Luckily, Chicago knows how to run a marathon.  There was water stops before you knew you even needed one and tons of people on the streets with hoses.  The fire hydrants on the course were even open to spray runners and cold sponges were available twice on the course.  Stacey and I split off around mile 11 and we all ran our own races after that.  I thought I wouldn't like that but I actually enjoyed running by myself.

I think this is mile 11...
Half Marathon - 2:23 - 11:04 <--a little slower than planned but with the heat and sun I was happy!

Miles 13.1-20
I finally calmed down and got in my groove...what took so long?!  My hips and IT bands started barking at me at this point so I stopped to stretch for a minute during this stretch.  I didn't end up seeing any of my spectators during this stretch of course and was a little bummed out about it but just took in the surroundings and all the spectators!  Each neighborhood in Chicago came out to entertain runners and spectators and it was really great to see everyone coming together to enjoy one event.

30K - 3:26 - 11:20 pace <---slowing down...it was HOT!
Only professional photo of me with my eyes open and not looking like I'm going to die!
Miles 20-26.2
I was feeling pretty good at this point.  Once I hit mile 20 I knew every step I was taking was farther than I've ever run before.  I tried breaking down the distance to make it more bearable. I knew I would see Lindsey and Mandy on the course at mile 23 so I focused on getting there.  Once I did I stopped to drink some water with them and then they ran with me for a couple blocks and kept my mind off the fact that I wanted to be done running now! Once you go around mile 23 you hit a straight away where you run until almost the end.  I think I was in a daze because I don't remember miles 24 and 25 very much.  I do remember seeing signs for 800 meters left, 400 meters left and finally 200 meters left.  You take a right off the straightaway and up the "hill" before turning left down the finish chute.  Right as I turned left I heard my cousin and her husband screaming my name and I couldn't have been more happy.  I remember I couldn't stop turning around to see them raising my hands and cheering. OMG...I'm going to finish a marathon and just like that I was across the finish line.  I high fived some strangers and started walking...the best feeling on earth!

26.2 miles - 4:54:29 <--Goal 2 met!

With the heat and sun I honestly had NO time expectations but once I hit mile 20 and knew a sub 5 hour marathon was possible I knew I had to try my hardest to accomplish it.

Post race was spent walking through a LLOONNNGG finish area that included my medal, water, mediocre snacks, a cold wet towel, and picking up my bag.  I went to the runner reunite area where Stacey's family was waiting and I was greeted with hugs and roses. I saw my cousin and her family shortly after and celebrated with them.

I was feeling pretty good at this point, although walking VERY slowly and with a little pain.  I decided to switch out of my running shoes for flip flops and glad I did. I discovered some HUGE blood blisters courtesy of wet shoes and socks and took advantage of the medical tent to get them taken care of.  All that hard work building up calluses on my big toes is over...they will be coming off soon (I'll spare you the photo I took of the grossness!)

I was reunited with my running buddies and spectators shortly after where we shared stories of the course and reveled in our huge accomplishment!
We did it girls! What's next? ;)
With spectators Lindsey and Mandy who waited on me hand and foot all weekend!
Our cheer signs!
Some final thoughts:
  • There is NO way I could have completed this race without all the spectator support from my family and friends.  Knowing I would see them at certain miles was what pushed me through many of the miles!
  • I never really hit the so called WALL...yippee! There wasn't a point in the race where I thought there is no way I can finish this which was a huge relief.
  • Would I run another marathon?  SURE!  Of course I was dreaming of how I would do if the weather was a little cloudier and cooler so I'm sure I'll try to find out someday ;)
  • The Chicago Marathon is hands down the most well organized race I've ever been in.  The aid stations, the volunteers, and the start and finish line areas were perfectly organized.  One teeny tiny suggestion would be to stagger the start a little more too avoid so much crowding at the aid stations but that might be impossible with 45,000 runners.  
  • I have never been more proud of myself or my running pals Stacey and Katie, we did it GALS!  I love them both to pieces and couldn't imagine a more exciting marathon experience without them.  It actually makes me kind of sad that it's over now and I want to plan our next adventure so we can start planning now!
I'm sure I will have many more thoughts and things to share about this experience in the coming weeks but I'll leave you with this super long post to start with :).  I don't know what is next for MarathonLar but I'm going to try and keep this blog up to keep in touch with all my friends, family, and new blog friends.

Marathon Lar

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

26.2 DONE!

Just a quick note to my bloggy friends that I finished 26.2 miles all in one piece. It was hot...it was crowded...it was hard but totally worth all 4 hours and 50 something minutes of it!

I just got home from Chicago with a lovely cold as a parting gift.  After I'm healthy I plan on gathering my many thoughts and feelings on running 26.2 miles for all of you to enjoy :).  Congrats to everyone who completed marathons this past weekend, I now understand just what an amazing accomplishment it actually is!

pre-race and VERY nervous!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's the FINAL Countdown - 3 Things Thursday!

First things first, go to Redonkulous Runner's blog and donate to her NOW!  She is giving away some super awesome runner swag that you'll be eligible for by just donating $5 to St. Judes.

Okay, so the anxiety that I will be running a marathon in a couple days has finally set in.  I've had millions of fears, doubts and excitements running through my head but I'm trying to keep the thought that I AM READY for this marathon in the front!

So, what have I been up to this week to prepare you ask?  I've been trying to rest as much as possible with minimal running.

Three things I've found online to help motivate/prepare me or just make me laugh :)

1. Spirit of the Marathon documentary: A couple friends told me about this documentary which is about the Chicago marathon.  It follows a handful of people from first time runners to elite athletes, including the women who won that year Deena Kastor. I'm not gonna lie...I cried for them as they crossed the finish line and realized what an emotional mess I might be when I do the same thing.  If you are running Chicago or any marathon WATCH IT!  If you have Netflix you can play it now.

2. Reading every recap from last year's Chicago Marathon I can get my hands on:  Luckily this was easy since another fellow Chicago runner blogger put them all together...thanks These Happy Miles:
    1. Theodora of Losing Weight in the City (recap)
    2. Susan of Nurse on the Run (recap)
    3. Page of Twenty-Six and Then Some (recap)
    4. Meghann of Meals and Miles (recap)
    5. Kelly of Beneath It All (recap)
    6. Bobbi of N Her Shoes (recap)
    7. Morgan of Caution Redhead Running (recap)
    8. Brie of Brie Fit (recap)
    9. Carla of I Run, You Run (recap)
3. LOL Marathon Video: Another blog I stalk is Run Eat Repeat and she is also running a marathon this weekend (who isn't?)!  She posted her favorite marathon video and I was laughing so hard I was crying and secretly hoping I don't have the same experiences as this guy.

If you are running a marathon soon or even thinking about taking on the challenge I recommend checking out everything in this post!

I'm flying out to Chicago tonight with my favorite gal pals and meeting many more friends and family in Chicago in a couple days!  Not sure I'll be able to blog before I get back next Tuesday but I'll try to at least post that I didn't die before crossing the finish line.

Hi 82 °F

Mostly Clear
Lo 59 °F

Hi 79 °F
If you thought you were getting away without an updated weather report you were wrong.  I've been analyzing the weather daily and figured out that Chicago doesn't see it's high temp until around 4PM, so I'm confident it won't get above 70 before I cross the finish line, I'm ok with that!

GOOD LUCK to all the Chicago runners and everyone else running a race this weekend!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The G-Word!

I still can't quite wrap my head around the fact that I'll be here on Sunday...a little farther back than those folks up front!

GOALS that is...it is something I've been thinking of for the past couple of weeks...that's a lie, months.  For my first half marathon I had one goal, FINISH and I did.  Even though I walked a little and was disappointed that I did I was proud that I finished.  But then came the need to beat myself, over and over again and try to obtain personal records with each race.  I'm still dreaming of a sub 2 hour half...

I know I've trained well, I know what pace I will probably run for 26.2 miles, but I'm still not sure I want to put it out there for the blog world to see and hold me accountable for.  Okay, fine I will...in three parts!

13 weeks of training baby!
This is a goal I'm very confident will happen and even if it takes me 6.5 hours (the course limit) I will still be ecstatic when I go up the only hill of the race and cross the finish line.  Since this is the first time my body and mind will ever run this distance I really don't know what to expect from my body or mind and I'll have to adapt as things happen.

I'm not sure why under 5 hours sounds good, but it does.  I also know that if I maintain a 10:30 pace for most of the race this gives me quite a bit of time to significantly slow down towards the end and still come in under 5 hours.  Again, I will just be happy to be crossing the finish line.

Secretly, I would like to finish in around 4 hours, 30 minutes.  During our 20 miler, Stacey and I were figuring out that if we kept up the pace we normally run at a 4:30 time is totally doable, but again we didn't want to put such lofty goals out there...until now.

So, it's gonna be warm...time to mentally prepare!

I honestly can't even put into words how training for a marathon has made me feel, especially since we are in the final countdown.  Maybe post race I'll have some words of wisdom to share.  Right now I'm still pretty numb to the idea that I'll be running 26.2 miles in 4 days.  In fact, I just realized that I'll be visiting a city I've never been to before and how I'm going to jam everything into a few days in the middle of this race of my life.

Question: Do you make goals for every race you set out to do?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week 13 - Marathon Trainin Recap

It's the final countdown!! As I'm typing this post I'm realizing that one week from now I'll be a marathoner!  I can honestly say at this point I'm not really stressed out about it and I'm actually just excited to get to the start line.  I feel confident in my training and know at this point there is nothing more I can do to train.

Let's recap, shall we? Side note: Sorry for the lack of pics this week...you'll have to be entertained by my words instead.

Monday - REST - DID IT
Wasn't feeling well today, so took it easy and decided on an extra day of rest.

Tuesday - 5.0 miles +YOGA - Just 5.0 miles
49:00 - 9:50 pace
Coming off a really bad long run on Friday, I was actually kind of nervous to run but I got my mojo back and the run flew by.  The pup even came along on this one and I'm proud that she kept up with the slightly quicker pace in her old age.  Yoga fail for the day.

Wednesday - Personal Trainer - DID IT
It was my last session with Sara and I really wish I could afford to keep her every single week for the rest of my life.  This last session consisted of lots of weighted lunges, pushups, tricep dips, and a really really long plank walk plus more core work.  I truly believe Sara has helped prepare me for this marathon more than I probably realize and I'm super thankful to her!

Thursday - 3.0 miles - DID IT
29:00 - 9:39 pace
Took the pup again on this run and we kept the pace up the whole time.  It felt pretty amazing to only run 3 miles.

Friday - BodyFlow - REST
Couldn't leave work for enough time to make the class so made it a rest day.

Saturday - 6.0 miles slow - DID IT
Didn't take the garmin or ipod.  Just me, the pup and the open trail.  I realized during the run that Stacey, my four-legged friend, ran all my training runs with me this week.  Needless to say she has been sleeping well this week!

Sunday - REST- DID IT
Went to Issaquah Salmon Days with my brother and couldn't believe HOW crowded it was.  It was so crowded no one could barely get a cell phone call to work, all the activity was overloading the towers.  Excellent people watching including a man with a snake and a lady giving out free haircuts...why didn't I have my camera when I really needed it?

Good taper week!
Total Mileage = 14 miles with the pup in tow
Total Strength = 1...last personal training session...tear!
Total Yoga = NONE...major fail

This last week of marathon training is going to be all about super short runs, stretching, hydrating and eating a well balanced slightly carb heavy diet all week.

Marathon Training Week 14 - Say It Do It - October 3 - 9 
Monday - 3.0 miles easy as pie
Tuesday - DO YOGA!
Wednesday - 3.0 miles easy as pie
Thursday - Rest and travel to Chicago
Friday - Rest and have fun in Chicago!
Saturday - Rest and begin stressing out about Sunday
Sunday - 26.2 miles...CHICAGO MARATHON!

I'm sure you are all dying to know what my goals are for the marathon, so stay tuned for my thoughts on goals for my first marathon in the next couple of days.

Also, according to weather.gov it is going to be 73 and sunny on race day...I will not stress out about the sun and heat, I will not stress out about the sun and heat.  I will be grateful it isn't snowing, pouring rain, or 100 degrees.

Question: What are some of your pre-race crazy dreams?  I actually haven't had one yet but I know I'll have at least a dozen where I can't get to the start line on time or find my outfit.  My friend (who will remain anonymous since I didn't get permission to publish her dream online) had a dream last night that after the first 20 miles of the race the rest of the race was a maze!