Thursday, October 25, 2012

More marathon musings and some food

This makes me happy whenever I walk to my car
I was talking with Emily on Monday afternoon, and she told me about a friend - and I am using that term loosely now - who cheated on her "marathon". A mutual friend was suspicious because she had passed her and when she checked this girl's time, found she had finished significantly earlier. She had missed two of the checkpoints, and so ran a 20-mile race. Still not insignificant, but don't go telling people you have run a marathon. I told Emmy that she could run with Paul Ryan (in reference to him shaving more than an hour off his marathon time). She asked me if I had seen the signs in Water Works Park, the one that said "Paul Ryan's marathon", then "If you were Paul Ryan, you'd be done now." I HAD seen them, but politics were the last thing on my mind; I thought it was referring to someone who had died at that spot during a previous DSM Marathon. Just goes to show that cheating will come around to bite you in the butt. (Just for fun, if you're interested in calculating your race time in Paul Ryan time, you can do so here).

I wore my medal to work on Tuesday, and my friends oohed and aahed enough to make me feel special. I had even chosen to wear a top to match the ribbon. One of the women from the administrative side of the museum was in the shop and my friend Cathy (yes, same name, same spelling - it was popular in the 50's) asked her if she had noticed my ribbon. Susie said yes, pretty haltingly, until Cathy told her is was for the marathon. She said, "Oh thank God. It's so ugly that I thought it was maybe an art project or something - I didn't want to say anything!"

And speaking of the Joslyn, one of our potters was in early on Tuesday, and I bought a few pieces even before we put it out. Come check it out if you're in the area and need something for a gift or for you. "To me from me" are always good gifts.

I was pretty sore Monday, so was glad that I hadn't used the gift card for a massage and pedicure that Aly and Alex had given me for doing the calligraphy for the wedding. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) I had a massage Tuesday afternoon after work, and it was glorious - the best I have ever had. My guilty pleasure has always been pedicures, but I may have changed my mind. While my calves and feet were a little achy, she could SEE the knots in my shoulders and upper back before she even touched me - no surprise since I could definitely feel them. She told me I should come in regularly for even half an hour and have her work the kinks out. If you're in Omaha and need a good massage, see Ashley at One Drake Place. She is a little bitty thing, but amazingly strong!

My pedicure was yesterday, and I had my nails painted OPI Russian Navy - the exact color of my bruised toenails!

I really seriously will stop talking about this race soon. I took Monday and Tuesday off, and as I had to be somewhere early yesterday, I hopped on the treadmill instead of running in the dark. And cold. I cannot even express how much I hate the treadmill. I know it will be a necessary evil this winter, but that doesn't mean I have to like it! Tomorrow is outside - it's supposed to be cold, but at least dry.

I have been really hungry this week, and I know it's because I haven't planned any snacks. We have a bag of Chicago Mix popcorn in the pantry that keeps calling my name, and I have been horrible about resisting. So I will plan better snacks, and hopefully be able to ignore the treats. Or at least eat a reasonable portion size. For example, my snack this morning was an Abs Diet banana split smoothie:

And it looks like I have dessert for after dinner tonight
Greek yogurt and slice of chocolate chip banana bread (Thanks, Debbie!)
Hard-boiled egg, yogurt, 1/2 PB sandwich

Oatmeal with 1 T PB, almond-coconut milk, and 2 tsp brown sugar. And coffee
Leftover rotisserie chicken and roasted Brussels sprouts, milk
This just sounded really good when I saw it in the store
And it was. There was a nice little kick to it.

Rotisserie chicken, roasted Brussels sprouts, carrot sticks. I love a colorful meal!
I was feeling carnivorous. Filet, baked sweet  potato, and salad. I ate half the steak and will have the other half on a salad with blue cheese tonight. Dwight has a meeting and I can't eat popcorn for dinner.
So that brings me up to date. My tummy is rumbling so I need to go find something healthy to eat before settling in for an afternoon of knitting. I started a new project - a scarf that will make me think every other row.
The pattern is Three Sisters Scarves #2. I found it on Ravelry. This is NOT my scarf; if it turns out well I will post a picture. My yarn is in shades of blues and browns
I'm using one of my favorite yarns, Handmaiden sea silk - made from silk and a cellulose from seaweed. It just feels so good in my hands! The needles are little and the pattern is airy, so the scarf drapes beautifully. I made the Three Sisters #1 last year, and while similar, this pattern is a bit more difficult. And by difficult, I mean that I have to pay attention! No mindless knitting here - except for the even rows.

In case I don't write tomorrow, I have a fun weekend planned - hockey tomorrow night, and then I'm headed to Des Moines for a day of wedding dress shopping with Erin (our bride-to-be!), Emily, and Beth, Erin's mother-in-law-to be. I'm pretty excited, since I have never gone wedding dress shopping - mine was a Gunne Sax dress. Hey, it was 1981.

And if that wasn't enough fun, we're getting together with a bunch of friends to watch the Nebraska-Michigan game on Saturday night. Go Huskers!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thinner thighs in thirteen miles

(Edited to add WHY I was excited to see the Des Moines skyline).

Well, actually 13.1, but it flows better to say thirteen. Thank you, Jeanie, for the title of today's post!

We drove over to Des Moines on Saturday and were met at the hotel by Emily. She has run three half-marathons, the country's biggest 20K, and it was the eve of her first marathon. Having done these races before, she knew how to pack a goodie bag:

The caplets are Imodium for one of my biggest fears. See the race poster quotes below
In the little raffia-tied box was this necklace, made by one of Emily's friends. She makes wonderful stamped jewelry - marathon-related and not. 

This necklace is such an inspiration. I, of course, put it on immediately, and thought of it several times during the race. I have it on now, so I can remember that I did it. (And it is way classier than my finisher's medal, which I will be wearing to work tomorrow anyway).

[Here's a plug for Cindi Douglass, Emmy's friend who makes the jewelry. Her work is beautiful and affordable. If you need anything for yourself or a gift, check out her etsy shop at]

It was a day of necklaces. Jeanie brought me this cross, and she was wearing the same herself. She said she couldn't NOT buy it when she saw it was called the Walk Cross. I have never trained with jewelry on, but I wore both necklaces on race day.

Good swag was to be found at check-in at the expo:

You'd think maybe there would be Gatorade, but no, we got Red Bull - beverage of choice for athletes everywhere?
Jeanie and Tom and Dwight and I had an early dinner at a local restaurant. We had tried to get into Spaghetti Works, but it was booked solid from 4-8 p.m. Emily suggested we would have better luck at a local pub that the out-of-towners wouldn't know about, and she was right. I had a chicken/avocado panini that was absolutely delicious. And french fries - carbs, right? Jeanie got her carbs in a glass of wine. She said the next day that our time would have been faster had we allowed her to have a second glass that night!

Emily and Tony came over to the hotel, and after spending the evening visiting, we went to bed pretty early. I had my alarm set for 5:00, even though the race didn't begin until 8:00. I wanted to get my breakfast eaten (PBJ, banana, and a cup of coffee) and everything taken care of before we headed over at 7:00.

It was pretty chilly at the start, but I didn't wear a pull-over because I didn't want to deal with it later. I knew I'd be plenty warm before the first mile was over. And I was right.

We met Emily and had a pre-race picture taken:

And took care of of some pre-race business:

I was so anxious for the race to start. I was literally jumping up and down waiting for it to begin. I felt like Tigger - boing, boing, boing! Just a few minutes before 8:00 the national anthem was sung (got some tears in my eyes then) and the race began. It took us slow folk about ten minutes to get to the start line, and then we were off.

When we saw Tom, Dwight, and Erin at about mile 2.5, I was so happy that I ran over to give them hugs and kisses:

This smile did not leave my face all day!
And of course we had to pose for another photo:

We ran a little, walked a lot, and talked non-stop. The best part of this race was having uninterrupted time with my sister without having to share her with anybody! The weather was gorgeous - a beautiful sunny fall day. And we got to see a good part of Des Moines by foot! This was a welcome sight at about mile 8:

Where the finish line is!
An even more welcome sight was the Mile 12 marker, which I thought I took a picture of but which turned out to be a video. So unless you want to watch 1 second of the Mile 12 marker and 6 minutes of the inside of my SpiBelt, I'm not posting it.

The crowds were wonderful! We got high (or rather, low) fives by little kids, a dance team was performing by the State Capitol, there was a drum line in Water Works Park, any number of musicians playing along the route, and wonderful signs. I saw some and Emmy saw others (since she had 13.1 miles more than I did), and here are a few of our favorites:

"Don't poop your pants"

"You are pretty and you run fast"

"This seemed like a good idea - 4 months ago"

"Hey. Getting up early and making this sign was hard work too"

"26.2 miles because 26.3 would just be crazy"

"Worst parade ever"

And Emily's personal fave, "These 26.2 miles are for every girl who was ever chosen last in gym class"

My favorite sign, though, was when we turned the corner and saw the finish line. (Again, tears.) We still had at least half a mile to go, but we knew it was there. My feet were feeling it by then, and I knew exactly where the blisters were.

We want a bagel and we want it now.
It was a good day for the Bollinger girls!  Emily ran the full marathon - her medal is much bigger than mine.
I know I've been talking about this race for what seems like forever, so I'll stop now, although it may seep into conversation here and there, kind of like "One time? At band camp?", only it will be "One time? When I did a half-marathon?" Hey! I did a half-marathon!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Race day minus one

I was going to write a post about how calm I've been the last few days with the cold, rainy, windy, raw weather and how I've been drinking pumpkin spice tea and reading. All that is true except for the calm part. 13.1 miles tomorrow!!!!!

Such a good book! I'll have a book review next week.
I'll keep this short. What I've packed to take to Des Moines:

Pre-race meal. Thank you, Knoxville Hy-Vee, for the jelly packet.
 What Dwight has packed:

He and Tom are NOT in training
Those men may have to share a room and I'll sleep with Jeanie. Two of us need a good night's sleep!

Wish me luck, endurance, lots of oxygen, and a moderate amount of speed!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In need of Xanax

Emily had posted a "You Know You're Marathon Tapering When..." link on her Facebook page, and I can't believe how true almost every. single. bullet point. is. Like being constantly hungry - yep. Cranky from not running - who would have thought? Convinced you've gained ten pounds since you started tapering - hell yes. Every little twinge makes you feel like you've got a race-ending injury? I stubbed my toe on the grocery cart on Monday and had a moment of worry. Obsessively check the weather forecast for race day? Around 50 degrees at 8 AM, with a high of 74 later in the day. Sunny. Wind from the south at 9 mph. 0% chance of precip. The last time I checked. Aaargh!!!!

I did only two miles on Monday and today and wasn't even relieved when I was done. It seemed like such a little bitty bit. I could have gone way longer. As Emily said, "I hope those tapering gods know what they're doing....". I figure I just have to trust all the training miles and hours I have put in. Experts have figured this stuff out. So why the anxiety?

I had such a runner's high after my long walk / run on Friday. Seriously, I was feeling it all day, and even a little bit into Saturday. I was just chattering away, and said to Dwight, "I feel so good now - why can't somebody bottle it and sell it so everyone can feel like this?" And he said, "They have. They're called opiates." Of course he's right: "endorphins interact with opiate receptors to reduce the perception of pain, and are also linked to an increased sense of euphoria and well-being." (source) That Dwight is so smart. It's like he went to medical school or something. But I really do want some more! Guess I'll have to wait until Sunday.

There are 7840 athletes registered for the race. This time I will be one of them! While I did a 5K with the girls a few years ago, and a few Corporate Cup 10K's several years ago, I have been mainly a spectator. I've been at the finish line for Emily, Alex, and Aly for various races, but now I get to be the one crossing the finish line! Dwight and Tom and Erin and Tony will be there for me and Jeanie in our half-marathon and Emily in her full. I am pretty excited!

I've been trying to eat more carbohydrates this week because I know all long-distance runners carbo-load, but all I can think of is this episode of The Office where Michael Scott eats fettuccine Alfredo right before a 5K:

I have consciously not been eating many processed carbs for the last several months (candy corn doesn't count) - dinners are usually lots of veggies and some protein with maybe a bit of carb on the side. Last night I rummaged in the pantry and found a box of fettuccine and some muffalata sauce from Costco and thought it would make a pretty good dinner. It was really tasty, but my tummy was a bit upset. I'm just not used to eating huge amounts of pasta. I think I'll go back to our usual dinners and just add in some more carbs. On the menu tonight: leftover muffalata fettuccine and salmon.

Brreakfast today. Back to the old reliable.
The weather yesterday was absolutely Chamber of Commerce gorgeous. It was in the low 80's with just a hint of a breeze, and the colors were glorious. Of course, it was a training rest day.

The weather today during my run? Yup:

Taken after my workout. I was smack dab in the middle of it during.
So I am all done with my scheduled training walk / runs. The only thing remaining is a 20 minute walk later in the week, not even at speed. Here's to trusting training!

Oh, and another sign of marathon tapering is "your friends / significant other / co-workers run in the opposite direction when you mention the word 'marathon.' " I promise I'll stop soon!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fun weekend!

This was the first of four weekends in a row that I will be out of town, and the stretch of Omaha-less Saturdays and /or Sundays is off to a great start.

Dwight and I had a date night on Friday. We go out quite a bit, but we rarely go out just the two of us. It was a nice change to go somewhere together besides Costco. Dwight had read about an Ethiopian restaurant, and as we both like Ethiopian food, we thought we'd give it a try. We were a bit concerned, though, since the review said that it is sometimes randomly closed on certain days. We lucked out and had one of the most pleasant dining experiences ever.

This was the first thing we noticed: an Ethiopian coffee service.
Did you know that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia?
(Our first foray into Ethiopian food was in 1985 in Washington, D.C. when I was six months pregnant with Alex. It was at the height of the Ethiopian famine, and I was confused when a friend suggested that we meet there. They have food? Much less a distinctive enough cuisine to base an entire restaurant on? The answer is yes. And I am happy to say that my tummy is much more accepting of the spices and flavors when I'm not having to share my abdominal space with another person).

The restaurant, Lalibela, is a bit of a hole-in-the-wall over by the Med Center (2416 Farnam), but as I said, we were happy to find it open. (I'd provide a link, but they don't have a website).

Our waitress was very knowledgeable, and we just asked her for recommendations. We ended up with the combination platter and the tibs, and we requested medium spice.

Glossaries are always helpful
The table was narrow, about the width of half a restaurant booth. As the food is served on a communal platter, with no individual plates or silverware, it was a very functional size. The meal is served on injera, an Ethiopian bread, which is used to scoop up the food to transfer it to your mouth.

My mouth is watering a little thinking about this...
Combination platter
Dwight doing his best Carol Merrill and demonstrating how to scoop with the injera
As I mentioned, we had the greatest server. She pointed out the tablecloths that were newly arrived from Ethiopia. They were hand-embroidered, and if you look closely, you can see the pen lines drawn on the fabric. We will definitely be going back!

On Saturday morning, before we headed over to Iowa, I made some protein pancakes and topped them with a new Trader Joe's find:

Dwight thought it was "a little sweet". Duh - isn't that the point?!
Only a dollop was needed
We had lunch with Emily at Bravo in West Des Moines, mostly because it was close to I-35 and that's what we needed to take. Another reason we chose that restaurant is because we knew we were going to the Rib Shack in Knoxville for dinner and I wanted some greens in my diet!

Grilled salmon salad
As we were leaving, Emily (who had the eggplant parm - and just happens to be running the full marathon this Sunday) said that she needs to find another race to train for so she can continue to eat the way she has been! I totally feel the same way.

We finally got to meet Tim's parents! Erin is so lucky to be gaining such a great second set of parents. (I may be biased, but they are getting a pretty wonderful daughter-in-law, too!) There was much visiting, laughter, and consumption of wine and Peace Tree beer. I did not think to get a picture of the brisket that I had for dinner, but trust me - YUM!!! The same goes for the breakfast we had at Hy-Vee the next morning.

I was mowing yesterday and my neighbor Marcie came over with a baggie of wheatgrass. She had seen some blog pictures of my green monster smoothies and said that she puts wheatgrass in hers. She was kind enough to let me try it before I went out and bought some, and while I'm not sure I can taste any difference, I know there are supposed to be health benefits (everything from more energy, detoxification, blood purification - just Google it, you'll see), so I though why not. Thanks, Marcie!

Last night for dinner I tried a recipe (pork tenderloin with pan sauce) I had pinned a few weeks ago on Pinterest. While I'm not a huge pork fan (unless it's bacon, and then yes please!), for some reason I had a one-pound pork tenderloin in the freezer. When I saw the recipe, I knew I had been saving it for a reason. After thawing, I had it marinating all day, and served it with roasted Brussels sprouts and baby white, yellow, and blue potatoes. It was delicious AND colorful!

The cast of characters
Seriously tasty
Breakfast today was an invention of Erin's: steel cut oats with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices. She said to prepare five servings of the oats on the stovetop, and when ready, mix in a can of pumpkin and about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Divide it into five serving containers (she used mason jars since she is so much more pinteresting than I; I used glad-ware), refrigerate, and you have breakfast for a week. I heated mine up, added a teaspoon or two of brown sugar, and some almond-coconut milk. She said it kept her full for six hours, and I will second that. I have four  more containers in the fridge!

Lunch today - boring:
Turkey and swiss sandwich with roasted sweet potato slices
Five more days till the Des Moines Half! Eeeeeeee!!!