Sunday Workout

Today's workout was sort of  a fail, but mostly turned out okay.  Fail because I forgot both my phone and my iPod so I had no tracking device and no music for entertainment.  Sigh.  So I created a new plan.

Run - 2 miles on the track.  First mile was a warm up, second mile was holding steady.
Lift weights - 10 minutes, arms.
Run - 1 mile on the track.
Lift weights - 10 minutes, arms.
Run - 1 mile on the track.
Lift weights - 10 minutes, legs.
Run - 1 mile on the track
Lift weights - 10 minutes, legs.
Run - 1 mile on the track.
Cool down and stretching.

Total of 6 miles run and 40 minutes of weights.  I felt like I was at the gym forever.  I had a preview of the January gym crazies.  The track is always really full in the winter, especially with walkers.  So when parents think it will be fun for their kids to play tag on the track, it messes with everyone else who's trying to work out.  And it's rude.  Go away.  Since I didn't have a phone or music or an iPod, I have no pictures for you either.  Sorry.


2013: Year of Running

I'm taking this post idea straight from Miss Zippy.  Thanks for the idea.

Best Race Experience: I'm going with the Flying Pig 3 Way Challenge which was two races on Saturday and one on Sunday, including my current half marathon PR and one of my slowest 5K races ever.  Being at race weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday made me feel much closer to the experience.  I'm just glad I didn't have to run a marathon on Sunday.  Honorable mention to both Brew to Brew and Ragnar Relay Great River.

Best Run: It's a toss up between my second 20 miler and third twenty miler of marathon training.  It was nice to have a friend run with me at the end of both of those runs.  It really made running alone easier, gave me something to look forward to, and just generally put the fun back in running.  Honorable mention to running in Washington DC and Virginia which was an unexpected amount of fun.

Best Piece of New Gear: My iPhone.  Seriously.  Running with reliable GPS tracking, taking more pictures, and even getting to listen to Pandora on select runs was awesome.  I'm having some serious issues with the battery in the cold though, and wondering if anyone else has noticed this?

Best Piece of Running Advice: came from this article about energy gels.  I'd long had GI issues when running, and the advice to take smaller portions of the gel more frequently was really helpful.  I haven't had a single problem since.

Most Inspirational Runner: The most moving thing in running this year seemed to me to be the events of the Boston Marathon.  Seriously, if not for that event, I wouldn't have signed up for Twin Cities this year.  Stephen Colbert summed it up best when he said all the terrorists could ever do is show just how strong we are. 

Sum up your year in a couple of words: Just keep running.  Just keep running. 


DIY: Homemade Muesli

Muesli is sort of raw granola with less sugar.  Sorry; how else does one describe it?  It's fairly versatile as it can be eaten in milk, with honey over the top, soaked in yogurt, or heated and turned into fantastic oatmeal. There's also no limit to the variations in recipes that can be created.  I tend to make mine in big batches and it lasts for a month or more.

Dried Blueberries
Sunflower seeds
Cinnamon to taste

Mix in a bowl.
Store in something air tight. 

There's about a million ways this can be prepared.
As a cereal: 1 part muesli to 1 part milk/almond milk/whatever, and let sit for 5 minutes.  Trust me.  Let it sit.  Optional: add a banana or fresh fruit.
With yogurt: 1 part muesli to 1 part yogurt.  Mix evenly and let sit for 5 minutes. 
As oatmeal: 1 part muesli to 1 part almond milk (trust me), and heat evenly.  Optional: add a banana or blueberries on top.

I tend to eat 1/2 cup or 2/3 cup of muesli at a time, depending on how much breakfast I want.  Before Twin Cities Marathon, I had a whole cup of muesli.  It really sticks to my ribs.

About the ingredients:
Oats: I use regular rolled oats, purchased in bulk at my grocery store.  It's possible to use thick rolled oats, just involves more time to let the milk or yogurt soak in.  I've never seen it recommended to use quick cooking oats, nor steel cut oats.  And I've never dared try myself.
Dried fruit: The basic thinking is not to put in too much dried fruit, or anything that won't be as good if it sits a month in a glass jar.  A lot of recipes use dates.  I'm not a fan.  I tend to go easy on the dried fruit because I almost always add fresh fruit to each serving.  My favorite fruits for this are a banana or blueberries or strawberries. 
Nuts and seeds: Add what you like.  I used salted sunflower seeds because I like the salt with the sweet of the fruit.  I've also used pecans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sometimes peanuts. 
Other stuff: Some other ingredients will go well in your breakfast.  For a muesli heavy on blueberries and light on salted nuts, I've seen people add nondairy creamer powder to the mix.  When breakfast is ready it's like a blueberries and cream situation going on in the bowl.  Other stuff I've tried includes flax seeds (be careful), chia seeds, and shredded coconut.

Additional recipes: 
The vintage mixer gets fancy and adds rye flakes and wheat bran in addition to oats.  Also, dried cranberries.  That looks like a good idea.
Joy the Baker using the toasted coconut.  Everyone has glass jars in their pictures.  Me thinks I need to purchase more of those?
Eating Well has a whole situation that involves toasting the oats and adding honey. 
Eating Vibrantly doesn't like oats, and found something to do about it.  Hemp huh?  I've heard that's really good for me too.


DIY: Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

I made my own laundry detergent today.  For the second time.  First time was apparently around February 5, 2012(Yes, dates on this blog are in European order.)  The first bath of laundry detergent lasted all the way until this week, when I used the last bit of it.  That's 97 weeks, at roughly 2 loads per week for a total of 194 loads.  We'll do more math later.

One of the things I like about making my own laundry soap is that it's literally a 'once every couple of years' kind of thing.  If it was ever something I wanted to do more frequently, I'd try making these laundry bombs because how cool do those look?  For now, I'm happy with what I've got going on. 

Last time I made the soap, I used a recipe from the simple dollar and it worked quite well. Today I saw a recipe from the happy money saver and was intrigued.  I wound up using a bit of both recipes to make my own concoction.

The recipe: 
1 part oxi clean
2 parts fels naptha  soap (grated)
4 parts boarx
4 parts washing soda

Grate the fels naptha bar soap.  I used my food processor, first with the cheese grater attachment and then with the blade.
Add the ingredients together
Mix the ingredients well.  I dumped it in my food processor to get it mixed right.  Big spoons and big containers also work well.
Store detergent in an air-tight container
Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load of laundry

For any items used to grind, grate, or mix the ingredients: rinse them, clean them and rinse again if they are also used with food.

Here's the specific I put in the food processor for mixing each time.  Obviously an entire box of borax doesn't fit in the food processor at once, so I had to do this a few times.

1/4 cup oxi clean
1/2 cup fels naptha soap (grated)
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda

Cost analysis: 
The total cost for ingredients as $29.02.  I think I could've found some of this less expensive in other places but I got it from my local business where the prices are a bit higher.  Because Target doesn't have washing soda.  WTF?  To be fair, neither Rainbow nor Cub Foods seem to carry it either.  I've heard Wal-Mart does, but there's not one close to me. 

Assuming I get the same mileage as the last time I tried this, 194 loads, that's $0.15 per load.  At Target, Tide costs $11.99 for a box that does 53 loads, or $0.23 per load.  Even paying local small business prices for the ingredients (hello $1.99 per bar of soap), I still came out ahead.  I did check Wal-Mart prices.  I couldn't find a price for the Fels-Naptha bar.  The total for the other ingredients were about $10 less than what I paid.


Friday Run at Lake Nokomis

Friday I felt like I was losing my mind.  I'd finally had enough of running inside.  I made the choice to head down to Lake Nokomis where at least the path is plowed and run around the lake a couple of times.  It was 15* and 10mph winds.  I hate the wind.  Below a before and after shot from the run.  On the 'after' all the skin on my face that's red is where I couldn't feel it.  Brrr.

This was a "just see how it is" kind of run. Because of the way things were plowed, one direction of the path was much better than the other.  I was able to do two laps and be running on the good side of the path most of the time.  I'm loving my new trail shoes for this kind of running.  Even though they are made of mesh, my feet never get cold, which just seems wrong.  I'm not complaining though; I think my face being so cold more than made up for it.  There were some other people out there with me; one running, a few walking dogs, and some walking with friends.  I saw tracks for at least one bike as well.  Yowza!  This was a 'no music' kind of run, but I did manage to take some pictures before my phone died.  Has anyone else notice the iPhone 5 totally not work in the cold?


Running Playlists of the Week

This has been a serious week of indoor running.  Because it's cold here.  Once the temperatures were starting with a minus sign, I really don't like to be outside.  And it's windy.  Running in the wind makes me grumpy at almost any temperature.  So...

Monday I did roughly 3 miles on the track, in the middle of the work day.  I worked several hours, went to the gym around 4pm to beat the rush hour madness, and then went home and worked several more hours.  It was actually a really long day.
Tuesday I did a morning run at the gym, another 3 miles.  I'm not going very big on mileage right now.  It was a weird day because I saw a car slide through the intersection and crash right in front of me.  Ever notice how that always throws a harsh spin on the day?
Wednesday I got up and went to the gym thinking I was going to do 4 miles, then "maybe 3" and then "let's do 2" and wound up being just over 1 mile.  I just couldn't get moving and made the decision to call it a day.  Good thing too because I got the last shower with hot water at the gym before they ran out.
Thursday I purposefully ran just over a mile so I could save myself for Circuit and Zumba.  I'm finally getting my energy back in Zumba, jumping more and doing more intense versions of the moves.

My running play lists played a big role in these runs.  I even made the effort on Thursday to drag out my ear buds and plug them in for that quick run.  Here's what's been on the iPod lately.


As seen on the interwebs

I've seen lots and lots of interesting articles in the past couple weeks.  Here's a round up to share with everyone:

Let's Run a 10K in the snow and ice!

Yes, folks, it's time for the Dreidel Dash.  For past reports, check out 2009 when I stopped and walked in a 5K, 2010 which has really good pictures, 2011 when I had to go to the bathroom the whole time, and 2012 when the race was cancelled so St Paul could plow the streets instead.  Sigh.

Snow was bound and determined to play a role in this year's race too.  We had several inches of snow earlier this week.  Our friends at the City of St Paul did their usual crack job of plowing the streets (anyone who has driven in St Paul can hear the sarcasm).  Then it started snowing on race day with a few inches predicted.  Excellent.

The starting area for the race is inside which is important because we all stood inside until roughly 12:27pm (race starts at 12:30pm).  It was around 12:45pm that we all went back inside because someone hadn't closed the road.  (I can guess where the problem was becuase it's not a screw up the race management company would make.)  While it was annoying, it wasn't totally surprising.  But I digress.  The 10K race is really tiny, as shown by all the people lined up at the starting line. 

I think the race actually started around 12:50pm, on an out and back course.  The half way mark is the start line of the 5K race, which did start on time.  It created a bit of an issue with two way traffic on a fairly icy street.  I was far enough back that the 5K runners and walkers had spread out a bit and I was able to find my way though them.  On the 'back' of the out and back I caught up with a couple friends and ran in with them.  The worst footing on the course was the final 400 yards.  One minute we were hauling tail trying to finish.  The next we were slipping and sliding and trying not to fall down with everyone watching.  It's too bad they don't have it on video. My time this year was 1:10:11, which is a full two minutes faster than the last time I ran this race.  It's either not having to poop the whole time, or better training, or a combination of both.  Even with the snow this was a more pleasant experience than that last race.

At the finish line I met up with the rest of the team and some other racers and friends.  They were all super impressed by the ice that had formed on my face and in my hair.  I didn't know about my hair until I saw the pictures later.  We congratulated each other, took lots of pictures and then went inside to hear the results.  One of our runners took first in her age group.  To no one's surprise she'd already left so I collected her medal for her.  Maggie tested it out, just to make sure it worked.  Then on to the games.  On the 'hammer of strength' Lucinda gave it a good go but I was the only one able to ring the bell.  It's all in the hips I say. After that we were all starting to shiver from being in cold, sweaty race clothes for too long so we called it a day and headed home.