Stretch, Eat, Love

Thanks so much for the comments and positive feedback on my last post!  I’m glad to see Joy Johnson’s story inspire so many of us!

That post, along with a few others, have led to an increase in followers…yay!  With added readers comes added responsibility, though…I wonder what people want to read about, and I want to make everyone happy.  Do you want to know only about my running, or are you also interested in the other things that make me a very special (read: quirky) flower?  Are you an experienced runner or a beginner?  Maybe you don’t run, and you just think I’m hilarious (thanks, Mom, Dad, and sister!).

I’m going to make it easy for you today:  I’m separating this post into two sections.  One deals with running, the other deals with life and includes a bangin’ recipe for runners that anyone with a taste bud should love!

On to the good stuff…

Running

Oscar the running coach thinks I need to lose five pounds by Christmas…

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Now, I’d love to be one of those carefree sorts that hops right into her running clothes and hits the door, but that just isn’t me.  As HH (Handsome Husband for new readers) likes to say, it’s a fing space shuttle launch for me to get out the door.  Music, clothes, timing food, timing the bathroom, it all matters.  The most important part, though, is the stretching.

Do you stretch before a run?  Do you wonder if you should?  The controversy goes back and forth, and the current view is NOT to stretch before runs (for example, see this article on Runner’s World, and there’s lots more where that came from.)  Most experts recommend not doing any static or intense stretching but rather to do some dynamic stretching moves.

I can’t run without stretching before, and I don’t run without walking a few minutes first.  I have a lovely routine that I do every time I’m ready to leave the house, but I’m careful not to over-stretch or push my muscles to the point of pain.  I keep it mild, and I keep moving, rarely holding a stretch for more than a second or so.

I stretch my arms, waving big circles forward and back.  I stretch my shoulders and neck, constantly moving, trying to just wake everything up and get out some tension (I’m 40, and things ain’t what they used to be, folks!)  I put my hands on my hips with my feet planted far apart and do a big hula hoop motion in both directions.  It’s pretty nerdy.

Then I work on my legs and ass.  I love this recent video by Runner’s World, and I do these stretches before every run (the pike position is especially great for my plantar fasciitis because it really stretches the foot out.)

(Full disclaimer: My butt kicks don’t look as dorky as the chick’s in the video)

I finish up with some standing quad stretches, and then (finally!) am out the door.

Also, I’m a terrible person and don’t really stretch after.  Sure, I’ll touch my toes a few times, and if I feel my PF or hamstrings tightening up throughout the rest of the day, I’ll randomly stretch, but nothing too much.  I’m such a rebel.

I would love to hear feedback from other runners.  Do you stretch before, after, or not at all?  Do you walk to warm up or just hit the ground running?

What I’m running to:  Darling Nikki by Prince (this song is a good reminder to me as the mom of a 14- and 11- year old that Tipper Gore was wrong and naughty lyrics aren’t the devil, since this was my favorite song in 7th grade and I turned out to be a huge prude), The Wire by Haim (so fun!  Great for being dragged down the street by an insane dog, and the beat will make you think of Heartache Tonight by the Eagles.)

Life in General

First, NaNoWriMo.  I should be 10,000 words in, and I’m barely over 2,000.  Basically, I’m batting .200.  

Have you ever seen Meet the Parents?  Remember that scene where Ben Stiller mimics the act of milking a cat?

That’s what I think of when I try to squeeze words out of my brain.  I’ll keep you posted.

Ok, so now I get serious for a second.  If you’re a long-term reader, you know that I started this blog to chronicle my training for my first marathon and raise money for my sister TiffeeG’s disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis.  Well, TiffeeG is having a procedure tomorrow called a RadioFrequency Neurotomy or Ablation.  

Basically, (brace yourself) the doctor is going to burn the nerve endings coming out of her sacroiliac joints (in the lower back) to try and kill the nerves so that her brain doesn’t feel the pain.  If all goes well, the nerve endings will fry (die, devil nerves!) and stay that way for 10-14 months until they eventually regenerate.

Sounds like fun, huh?  I am praying that it works, and that the pain of the procedure itself is bearable.  I don’t know what they do to help her with the pain of the injections and burning process, but when the doctor warns you that you will think he’s the son of Satan by the time it’s over, I tend to think the worst.  In the past month leading up to this decision, the doctor has injected steroids directly into the joints (in six different places) and also injected anesthetic into the same areas for diagnostic purposes.  Imagine six injections into the base of your spine, into an area that hurts so bad and is so inflamed that you can hardly bear touch and can barely lay on the table in the necessary position.

Not good.  

What do you bring the sister who just had back nerves fried?  I’m thinking Pumpkin Bread and a Booze Tree.  Here are the details…

This Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread is from Runner’s World (several years back.)  It is MAGNIFICENT!  I make two modifications to the original recipe…I only use 1 cup of mini chocolate chips, and I use Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking instead of real sugar (3 cups?  Seriously?  Yikes!)

It makes two loaves (bonus!), freezes well, and doesn’t require using an electric mixer (yes, I’m that lazy.)  My kids eat this and are almost convinced that their mom can bake (kids are so easily fooled.  I can barely boil an egg.)

The Booze Tree is a work in progress, and I’ll be sure to show pics when it’s done.  I went to Michael’s and bought a Christmas tree with six little votive candleholders on it.  I’m going to fill them with travel-sized bottles of booze.  Clever, no?  If I could get my hands on high-level narcotics, I’d go that route, but this seems to be the next best thing.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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Yah Mo Be There!

HH and I are back from Vegas…not well rested and certainly not rich, but full of fun memories and more than a few extra pounds.  Eating at Hash House a Go Go every morning did nothing for my muffin top.

Two comments here…yes, the bacon is also mine, and no, that’s not an origami penis in my lap–

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Helpful tip here– I adhere strictly to the diabetic diet and never eat more than 3,000 carb calories without balancing my meal with protein.  You’re welcome.

My wonderful in-laws stayed at our house and watched our boys while we were gone.  A good time was had by all, although my 14-year old Alex told me he missed listening to our alternative station in the mornings on the drive to school.  Nothing but oldies for him and his Papaw!

The funniest part of trip occurred yesterday morning, and I just hope it’s as funny in the retelling here.  Quick setup:  our son Alex is a freshman.  He signed up to be part of his high school’s volunteer organization, and the first specific opportunity was yesterday.  He was supposed to be part of a 20-person group that went to an office building to take some underprivileged and/or abused children trick or treating.  We thought this would be great, because Alex is so good with kids and loves them.

The email said to meet in the school parking lot after 2nd hour to arrange rides and to bring a hat or some simple costume that young children might like.  We bought a cute Dr. Seuss hat, I signed the permission form before leaving town, and everything was set, but Alex was a little nervous because he didn’t know of anyone else who was going and was afraid it would be all older kids.

I woke up in Vegas yesterday morning and turned on my phone to see this…

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Oh dear lord!  He got left behind…how embarrassing!  I could just picture him standing in the parking lot with his Dr. Seuss hat all alone.  The fact that he’s only been in the district a year and doesn’t really know that many people didn’t help.  I felt so bad for him!  I kept scrolling…

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Oh no!  Upperclassmen had to come back to pick him up.  This was a high school nightmare.  I was torn between laughing uncontrollably and feeling my heart break for him at the same time.

I sent a text asking if they had come back for him, and thankfully soon received a text back that calmed my spirits.

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You can imagine the word…hardcore gangsta rap.  Not something that we play much of…we listen to Eminem together (only the songs without much sexual content), but that’s about it.

I asked him if the seniors had been nice to him and about died when I got this response.

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I’m not sure when that kid has ever made me laugh so hard.  So glad that he “established” himself and yet still apologized to his mother for saying the word “shit.”

And finally, one last screenshot that made my day…

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One of the best things he’s ever done…and it all worked out okay, despite the terrible start.

Moving on to a completely unrelated topic–

Yah Mo Be There!  That’s what I think of whenever I see NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.)  I think of the song, then I think of 40-Year Old Virgin, then I want to go watch a movie so I don’t have to sit and try to write, and blah, blah, blah.  It’s like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, novel procrastination style.

Still, like many other intrepid bloggers, I am going to attempt the near impossible and try to write 50,000 words in one month, starting tomorrow.  Of course, I’m going to do this without any clear outline of a novel, with Christmas approaching, with maintaining twice-weekly blog posts and with ratcheting up my running.

Lawd have mercy!  Anyone have any good story ideas?  Feel free to pass them on! 🙂  Maybe I’ll just sit down, open up Scrivener and feel the inspiration pouring out my fingers.  Or maybe I’ll stare out the window in 30-minute increments until I decide that I’m hungry or need to clean house, which is what has always happened in the past when I’ve tried to really start writing.  We’ll see…and as James Ingram and Michael McDonald pointed out–

It’s a long hard road

That leads to a brighter day

And

Well, it’s a doggone shame

But never too late for change

Inspiration everywhere!  Keep running, readers, and if you’re going for the NaNoWriMo challenge, good luck!  See you (hopefully) at the other end of 50,000 compelling words!

Stuffing My Face: Quinoa

There’s not much I like better than coming home from a way-too-short run and eating like I just ran a 15-miler.  I’m making quite a habit of it lately.

National Running Day was yesterday, which I celebrated by talking the talk, so to speak (donning the gear) and then running errands with the boys all day until I ran out of time to run and had to start cooking dinner (two hours of my life that I’ll never get back, thank you very much.)  

I compensated by going out hard this morning…trying to rediscover my long-lost friend Speed.  I found the elusive little shit about a half-mile in, hiding out on the other side of the tiny slope I detest and like to call a hill.  We ran together for awhile, he and I, until I hit 2.5 miles by the house and decided I was hungry.  Yep, I called it at 2.5 and decided food was more important.

I feel like a loser.

BUT I was feeling the call of my new food discovery, and it could not be denied.

I talk about eating food a lot on this blog, but I don’t share the healthy recipes that other runners’ blogs do and go on about fresh produce and stuff.  This is because I am lazy.  I don’t like to cook, I’m terrible at it when I try, and I’m just not good about eating my veggies.  Cooking is like cleaning for me…each time I do it, I lose a little piece of my soul.

When I decided to run the marathon, I anticipated that the training demands would force me into eating better and cooking more.  That never happened.  I certainly managed my hydration much better and thought a lot about what I was eating (and when I could justify stuffing my face again), but I just relied on my food staples.

Bananas.  Almonds.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Carbs of any sort.  Meat.  Tostitos for salt.  Eggs out the wazoo.  Spinach.  Clementines.

These are not foods worth writing about.  Everyone knows they are good for runners, and I’m hardly going to publish a post on PB&Js, though I could long sing the praises of Bonne Maman cherry preserves.  But did you know that quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a nutritional powerhouse for runners?

Further, did you know (this is the exciting part) that Costco sells it in microwaveable pouches that cook in 90 seconds?

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(The picture is a little blurry because I was eating with one hand and taking the pic with the other…too hungry to put down the fork and focus on the task at hand)

Take it from me…it’s good.  What else could pull me away from a tempo run, right?  Um, right.

Sacred to the Incas, quinoa was left behind by the Spanish explorers, who instead loaded their ships with corn and potatoes and who I feel are responsible for at least 5 of the 10 pounds I could stand to lose.

Quinoa has twice the protein of cereal grains, plus it’s a complete protein, which means it has the right amino acids for building muscle.  It has healthy fat and has carbs, though not too many.

Stolen from this article:

You name it, quinoa’s got it. It’s a complete protein that contains all eight essential amino acids, it also is rich in calcium, iron, fiber and potassium, and is an excellent source of folate, magnesium, vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, potassium, and riboflavin. And all for 222 calories a cup.

Quinoa also is gluten-free, so it’s a good choice for people with celiac disease or those who are sensitive to gluten, wheat and other grass-based food products.

Did I mention that if you buy it in the cute little pouch you’ll be eating it in less than two minutes?  You can also buy it raw and cook it yourself, but you’ll be costing yourself at least 5-10 minutes, and who has the time for that?

It’s yummy enough to bring even the most dedicated runner inside the house!

Here are some recipe links that I’ll probably never get around to:

http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/The_Top-secret_Superfood

http://www.runnersworld.com/recipes/fill-up-with-quinoa-kale-avocado-and-egg