On the Road Again (South Carolina - 10 of 50)

FINALLY we did race #10. FINALLY we visited my family in SC. FINALLY we are back in the swing of things.  And it feels good.

I had forgotten the feeling of community and accomplishment at a race. Even though I'm not super competitive, I do get an adrenaline rush which has gotten me through races many times. This was our longest race so far this year at 12k (7.5 miles) and it kicked our booties a little bit. Our summer has been a little crazy. We've both been working and traveling (Barry traveling much more than me) and our training some weeks has taken a hit. But by completing this race it showed us that not only is it worth it to make the time to train, but that we are much better for it. Since we've been back we've been back on the training and diet wagon and we seem to have gotten a much needed boost.

The weather the day of the race was beautiful. The race began at 7am so we of course had to be there at the ass crack of dawn. The Eagle Endurance 12k (also 5k and half marathon) was held at the Francis Marion National Forest in Awendaw, SC, just north of Mt. Pleasant, which is just north of Charleston. The weather there this time of year is great because you finally get a break from the crippling summer humidity but it's not exactly cold yet. Just a little chilly in the morning and nice and breezy by the afternoon. Our morning was chilly and it was dark when we got there, but the sun was just about up as the first mile was completed. There was also a little bit of fog. That coupled with the forest scenery, felt a little spooky but very beautiful, and very different from our usual city and treadmill runs. No traffic lights or panhandlers. No trains or tourists. Just miles and miles of flat dirt path surrounded by trees and plants and wildlife. (I didn't really see any wildlife except birds and two inexplicably flattened frogs.)

One other change was that was had a cheerleader in the form of my dad there. My mom was unable to come due to work but met us with pizza that night. Dad took lots of great pictures (more than we would have ever gotten) and seemed to be really excited to be there. And, as dads are, he was really impressed by my finish time of 1:30:07, even though it didn't seem that impressive to me. Especially after a half marathoner blazed by me during my last mile. But I was happy to have finished in the time I'd expected. Barry finished about 22 minutes ahead of me and we both got plaques for placing in our age groups! After the race we relaxed for a while and got lunch. Then passed out for a few hours. That night we all had pizza together. All in all, a great race day!

The rest of our time in Charleston was spent eating (how fortuitous for us that our vaca fell on Charleston restaurant week?), catching up with friends, a fun day of antiquing and shopping with my dad, a day trip to Myrtle Beach and general R&R. Barry was blessed with some much needed decompression and relaxation. We got to eat at our favorite mexican restaurant a few times and at my fave 82 Queen in downtown Charleston. 

We are back in Baltimore now and getting back into regular life again. Our cats only ignored us for a day or so when we got back. They seem to be over it now. We are gearing up for fall (my favorite time of year) and our next race, the Apple Trample 5k in Martinsburg, WV.  'Til next time!

 

Stay sore. 

-k

Race Information:

Francis Marion Dirt Dash -- Awendaw, South Carolina

9/7/2013, 7:00 AM, Completed

Race Distance - 7.5 miles, Travel Distance - 535 miles 

Dirt/grass, 70 degrees, sunny

Results:

Barry - 1:08:46 (9:10/mile), 15 of 44, 1 of 3 (males 25-29)

Kristen - 1:30:08 (12:00/mile), 33 of 44, 3 of 5 (females 25-29)

Results Link

 

And now pictures, courtesy of Lee McKenzie! 

Running in The Rain (or, A Lesson in Badassery)

Back when we still lived in Charleston Barry and I ran 10 miles in the rain, at night. It was a pretty glorious experience. We were soaked to the bone and a little pruney, but the feeling of accomplishment was definitely magnified. Early in the run, we were trying to avoid big puddles but by the end a general feeling of "fuck it" took over. We could hear our feet sloshing in our shoes. It was great. I've long been a big fan of night running and now I am a proponent of Rain Running.

I've been really bored with the treadmill lately. And our gym gets super busy in the evenings. So, Barry and I have started running here in the city in the evenings. It's great because there's less traffic but there's still tons of light being that we are in the middle of a big city. We've started changing our routes a little because Barry got one of those Nike arm bands that holds an iphone, so we can just set it to how far we want. I was initially a little weary of running too late because, it is a city and some areas of Baltimore (as I'm sure you've heard) can be a little sketchy. But where we live is great and we've been doing a loop around Federal Hill, Baltimore. There's a great park that overlooks the inner harbor and it's really high up so you can see a large part of the city. I definitely love running in scenic areas but this is definitely a cool way to explore a city. We're constantly seeing little shops or pubs and restaurants that we want to go back and check out later. 

The other night, it started to rain just before we started. But the idea of pounding the treadmill for an hour just did not appeal. So we decided to go for it. And oh, it was glorious. We were the only ones crazy enough to be out running and we got quite a few stares and even a high five from a drunk guy leaving an Orioles game. But the rain was cool and relaxing. And I have to say, it feels pretty damn badass to go through with a workout, even in inclement weather. Maybe we were dumb, because there was a little bit of lightning, but we figured we'd be okay in the city. When we got back we felt amazing. The cold water, (I guess like running in really cold temps.) helped our muscles and we ran really fast. It even feels faster when you're doing it. 

Basically, what I'm getting at is don't be a wuss. You could be missing out on your new favorite thing.

Stay sore.

-k

Know when to slow down, know when to push through

Canceling our trip to Charleston for the 10K Cooper River Bridge Run was a big psychological blow me. We had finally gotten into a good stride with training and most of all, it was a trip home for me to see my parents. I haven't seen them since December and as an only child, it's hard on my parents when I'm not around for a while. And I really miss them and the Charleston area, both of which I love (not equally of course).

So it started with me going out to do the shopping (we try to make one or two big trips month to get groceries, stuff from Costco, Target, etc.). I'm out all day and I had worn some old crocs that should probably be retired, but they're comfy and I like them. Well, I came home and had horrible foot pain. I get this sometimes and it usually passes after a few hours. So the next two days it still hurt a bit but I ran on it anyway. Stupid move. By that Saturday I was in so much pain I could barely walk on my right foot much less run. I figure, ok, I've strained it at most. So I stay off it during the weekend and on Monday I try to run again. STUPIDER MOVE.  

This is where I should have slowed down. 

At this point I figure something must be kinda wrong. The pain was intense enough that I almost considered going and getting some crutches. Anyway, I talked to a doctor and did some research and I believe that I had a minor stress fracture. This is common in runners and especially when you over train which, if I'm being honest, is what I was doing.  And it made me so mad at myself because I've read Dean Karnazes book 50/50, cover to cover a few times and one big thing he stresses is knowing when not to push yourself. Yeah, sometimes it can be laziness. But sometimes it's your body warning you to ease up. In the early stages of any kind of workout it can be hard to distinguish the two, but I have no excuse. As a runner of 10+ years I should know better.

During all this, Barry's work schedule had exploded and he's working 10-12 hours a day and having to go in on the weekends. On top of this he's running as hard as me. He's exhausted, I'm hurt...AND we had just gotten a kitten and that transition was rocky. She's from the streets and didn't take too kindly to our six year old cat Achilles. So there was the added stress of having to keep them separated at all times at that point which is difficult in a small city apartment. Normally we would have just taken Achilles on the trip with us (he's very familiar with my parents and their house) but we couldn't take them both and we didn't want to bring just one. So we would have had to get a cat sitter willing to deal with the needs of our grown cat and the needs of a cat transitioning to life indoors with humans, and be willing to break up any scuffles between the two, should they arise.

Because of all of this we decided it would be for the best to cancel our trip home (and eat the cost of the run) and go in a couple months when things have settled down a bit. My parents were super bummed. They even had t-shirts made for us which was like twisting the knife in my heart. I hated canceling on them but it really would have been a bad trip even if we had just gone and hung out; I could barely walk at this point and honestly, Barry needed to work the extra hours anyway.  

Barry had to curb the training a bit mainly because he probably would have had to have been hospitalized for exhaustion if he didn't. I had to completely abstain from running  for about three weeks. IT SUCKED.  

Things are finally calming down and we are able to see a little more clearly what we want to do regarding this endeavor. We are Running the Nation. It is going to take us longer than a year but Barry and I have discussed this at length and neither of us want to let this goal fall by the wayside. We are now training for a half marathon with will happen in a few weeks in a destination as yet to be determined. We are going to Charleston (hopefully!!!) in a couple weeks and will do a race there. 

I'm sad that we've had so few updates the past few weeks but it's honestly been depressing to even think about writing about all this. For a while it felt like we failed. But we're pushing through. I've also been dealing some other health problems (which I'll talk about later because I know you're just DYING to hear about it) and Barry has been in London for the past week but we are planning to do a race somewhere when he gets back. I feel like this will go a long way towards getting us back in the swing of things. It's weird, I've actually missed racing. It's really fun to be around other runners and the adrenaline rush is really cool too. :)

Good news is, we are both back to running 5-6 days a week, work is settling down and the cats are finally learning to co-exist and I feel certain they will eventually be BFF's. 

I ran in the park today by myself and it was beautiful. And I thought about all of this. I did some hard hills today and there were a few moments when I wanted to slow down or walk but I pushed through. The feeling of completing the miles far outweighs any temporary relief I'd feel from stopping. Once I set a mileage goal in my head I'm pretty good about staying with it. It also helped to clear my mind and realize that slowing down is not failing. Sometimes, goals have to be modified because situations change and that's okay. Know when to slow down. Yes, we all have to push through all kinds of situations in life. And that's good. You have to be able to put your head down and power through at times. But you also have to know when to slow down and take a second look. Often, I've found that life takes you on all kinda of topsy turvy paths and you have to learn to not give up on something just because it's not going exactly as you'd planned. As one of my favorite Yiddish proverb says: Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht. And I've said it a million times; make a plan, God laughs. 

I also feel we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the tragedy of the Boston Marathon. It struck close to home and I even have a cousin who was there and Barry has a friend in med school at Boston. The running community is a peaceful one of camaraderie and inclusion. And more often than not, races are run to benefit a cause of some sort. So to have something so joyous be marred by such evil is a sad thing indeed. Barry and I wish to send our thoughts, prayers and condolences to everyone affected. 

Stay Sore

-k

 

 

Baby Icarus! She's a sweetie who loves catnip, naps and fresh human flesh.

Baby Icarus! She's a sweetie who loves catnip, naps and fresh human flesh.

Icky (that's her nickname), showing her true colors.

Icky (that's her nickname), showing her true colors.

Achilles, who is getting real tired of Icky's shit.

Achilles, who is getting real tired of Icky's shit.

My beautiful Running the Nation t-shirt courtesy of my wonderful parents, Chris & Lee!!!! Barry has a matching one and I can't wait to wear them at our next race!!! :)  Isn't the graphic awesome? We love it!

My beautiful Running the Nation t-shirt courtesy of my wonderful parents, Chris & Lee!!!! Barry has a matching one and I can't wait to wear them at our next race!!! :)  Isn't the graphic awesome? We love it!

It's May 1st (err... 5th) - Do You Know Where Your Goals Are?

This is the fourth post in a series of eleven -- we'll be checking in on 2013 goals on the 1st of each month - just look for the "do you know where you goals are" tag!

Today is May 1st (5th).  The first third of the year is over.  Are you where you expected to be by now?  How do you know?

Kristen and I each have three running goals for 2013:

  1. States: Run a 5k in each of the 50 states
  2. Miles: Run 1000 miles
  3. Time: Run a 5k in 17:00 (Barry) or 20:00 (Kristen)

Priorities

There is a popular aphorism among business/personal development/20-something blogs: "There is no such thing as a lack of time, only a lack of priorities."

Obviously, we haven't prioritized this blog over the last month.  I've prioritized an intense period at work, while Kristen has been working on preparing for her NASM certification exam.

With respect to our overarching goal of running a race each state, I've come to realize that we can't right now prioritize the necessary travel financially or from a schedule perspective.  As such, we've decided to make some adjustments.

Means and Ends

Time to provide an aphorism of my own: "Goals are not a location on a map, they are a heading on a compass."

Goals are a great tool to drive us towards what we want, but we can never be sure that they'll lead us to what we desire.  Blindly pursuing a goal can mean you travel off course for a long time.  It's critical to not only keep tabs on your progress against goals, but evaluate whether they're bringing you the desired success/results/feelings.

In our case, the whole point of the "running the nation" goal was to get us to run more and travel more.  I think it was pretty effective to this point, but we did run into some issues.

Though the ambition of the 50 states in a year goal was motivating, it forced us to focus on travel in the literal sense rather than "Travel".  While it is fun to figure out the puzzle of getting to each state, and fun to find races in two states two hours apart, we felt that we weren't really getting to experience the different states.  What did we really see in Connecticut except I-95 and 3.1 miles of road obscured by sweaty eyes and knee pain?

Additionally, the pressure of finding money or sponsorships, and racing back to avoid taking days of work ended up being a bit demotivating.  Once we fell off the wagon for a few weeks, it was hard to own up to and blog.  Even our personal running fell off a bit, and that's no good.

The Pivot

In response, just like a good startup, we're making a pivot.  We still want to run the nation and travel to each state.  We still want running to be a central part of that travel.  We still want to push ourselves and our bodies.  We want to travel with depth and experience each state, and that requires making this a longer term goal.  At the same time, we don't want to let our foot off the gas with respect to running.  We're going to figure out the best way to keep our running goal intense and ensure that we can keep travel and running priorities in our life.

Of course, this is all for ourselves, so we can do whatever the hell we want!

Tasty Tuesday #1 (Spicy Pasta Salad with Morningstar Chik'n)

As you may have gleaned from previous posts, Barry and I love to eat. I used to have an attitude about cooking. I didn't want to do it. It didn't interest me and seemed totally boring. But then, a year ago when we moved to Baltimore, I suddenly caught the cooking bug. This has been in no small part, in effort to help save money and eat healthfully. And I've so far mastered some really good ones (if I may say so myself). So, every week I would like to share some of our favorites that we eat regularly and that are great when working out a lot. I'm going to start off with my personal favorite: Spicy Pasta Salad with Morningstar Chik'n. It's a modification of a recipe I found in Real Simple magazine a while back and it never fails to be a hit.

You will need:

  • Dry Pasta : 1-1 1/2 servings per person (We love farfalle or penne rigate the best, but whatever you like or have on hand will work just fine.
  • Fresh Tomatoes: 1 per person
  • Garlic: 3-5 Cloves (Or more depending on how garlicky you like things... it's hard to do too much and garlic is super good for you!!)
  • Cayenne Pepper: 1-2 teaspoons (again this is to taste, some people like things spicier than others)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 3-4 tablespoons
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper: 1 teaspoon
  • Basil: 2 teaspoonfuls (dry or fresh; I use dry as it's easier to keep on hand for me.)
  • Morningstar Farms Chik' n Strips: 1 package

How to Do It:

Prepare the Tomatoes

Tomatoes and Herbs

Tomatoes and Herbs

  1. Remove the membranes and "goop" out of the center of the tomatoes.
  2. Chop the flesh into chunks, about 1/2 inch on a side.
  3. Put the tomato chunks into a bowl.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, and basil
  5. Refrigerate (you can do this in advance).

These tomatoes are pretty clean, and provide a nice cooling element to the spices we're going to add.  They should end up looking something like this:

Start the Pasta

  1. Set some water in a pot to boil.
  2. SALT THAT WATER!
  3. Wait for the water to begin boiling (then add the pasta) - meanwhile...

Construct the "Sauce"

INFUSION

INFUSION

  1. Chop the garlic as finely as possible.
  2. Put 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a small saucepan, and heat on low-medium.
  3. Add the garlic and cayenne to the olive oil.
  4. Cook until fragrant (but watch out - you don't want the garlic to smoke/burn).

This is really just some spices in oil, but it sounds great to call it a sauce.  The hardest work in whole dish is just chopping the garlic.

Heat the Chik'n

  1. Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Add the Morningstar Chik'n
  3. Stir/Flip as needed

Finish

  1. Pull the pasta off (and drain) once al dente!
  2. Pull the chik'n off when browned!
  3. Pull the sauce off when fragrant!
  4. Combine in a large bowl.
  5. If desired, grate some parmesan cheese on top, then serve!

Enjoy!