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The "welcome back" run

After the mini marathon on Saturday, I took three days of complete rest in order to recover, physically and mentally from the race. I’ve also been getting attacked by allergies since Monday but it has also helped me focus on properly recovering.

I am happy to say that I had absolutely no complaints or injuries to report following the race or the days after. I think this is because when things started to hurt, I slowed down and do what I knew my body could in that moment but didn’t push it too hard. I would rather have walked the last few miles of the race and risk a later finishing time than hurt myself. That’s just me 😉

However, I was quite exhausted in general! So it was a welcome rest period.

By yesterday afternoon though, I was ready to get moving again! But I didn’t want to overdo it, so I did a short loop around the campus and lots of stretching afterwards. It was like giving myself a nice, gentle “Welcome back!” run.

  • Time: 14:31
  • Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Avg. pace: 9:41/mile

I remember in 2008, the first time I ran the Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathon, I took 2 weeks off from running because I had become burned out. Then I half-heartedly trained for a 5K at the end of May before giving up running totally for a while after that. We’re talking months.

I almost completely lost all that training. I could barely run a mile when I started again in the early months of 2009. I ended up walking the mini that year because my heart just wasn’t in running. I had to wait for that fire and passion to come back! Then in November 2009, I announced that I wanted to give running another shot and the rest is history 🙂

It took me what seems like forever to get back to this point, so I’m sure as heck not giving it up now!

I am planning on running a 5K at the Zoo next Saturday! I’m actually really excited that I can focus on my short runs again for a while. I’m hoping between the 5 or so races that I am doing this summer, I will see a PR in there. But if not, it will still be great fun 🙂

What is your typical rest period after a long race?

Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathon 2010

Wow, I can’t believe another mini-marathon has come and gone. It’s also amazing to me how incredibly different each one of these races has been — this was my third in a row!

I have an overwhelming sense of pride at finishing this race and I had so much fun with my friend Farrah and the new friend I made in Chloe. But let’s start from the beginning…

Saturday morning, I woke up at 5 a.m. I ate some oatmeal with banana and peanut butter right out of the jar!

I decided to skip coffee and in hindsight I wish I’d had some but it was so early and I really didn’t have time to make any before I had to meet Farrah at the parking lot!

We stood in line for a shuttle to the starting line and got rained on the whole time! But thankfully, we got to the race in plenty of time and it stopped raining before it started. It was a good 10-12 minutes before we actually got across the start line but once we did, all my pre-race nerves went away – I feel like an old pro now.

The first few miles were a breeze. We did one easy flat mile and then the next couple were through hilly Iroquois Park. The hills did not bother me as much as they had during the 10 miler. Once we got out of the park, we had to stop at the bathroom, which unfortunately took several minutes due to there only being a few and a long line ahead of us!

Once we got going again, it had started to rain a bit but it felt good because I was quite warm. Farrah and Chloe ran ahead of me and then took walking breaks, which allowed me to catch up with them.One thing that really bugged me about this race were the lack of mile markers. The only ones I remember were 1, 7, and 10. The rest of the time, I had no idea what was going on.

During the race, I alternated between water and Powerade. I usually skip the sugary stuff but something told me to do it this time. Do you use sports drinks?

After the first 6 miles (I think), I started taking walking breaks for a minute or so. I didn’t wear a watch so I wasn’t sure of the ratio. But the longer the race went on, the more I walked. When we ran into Churchill Downs, we had finished 7 miles and at this point it was so hard for me to believe that we had 6 more miles to go!

When we split from the marathon runners, around mile 9 or 10, we made another pit stop at the bathrooms. In my mind, I felt like I could jog some more but my legs were hurting and my left hip felt like it was on fire. So despite my best efforts, I ended up walking the last 3-4 miles of the race.

But during this time I got to know a really sweet girl named Chloe. She’s a young, single mom working two jobs AND going to college and following her dreams. In her short years, she has lived a lifetime already and yet she’s so confident in herself and so grateful for her blessings. And it was her first mini marathon! She had just started running earlier this year.

This conversation made my day! It really puts things in perspective for me. I am not at all disappointed that I had to walk part of this race. And I am darn proud of myself for finishing 🙂

The last mile or so of the race was totally ridiculous. They changed the course this year and all the turns made me feel like we had just gone in a big circle. But once we rounded the corner and saw the finish line, we all took off running. It felt so good to finish strong!

Official race time: 3:04:45

Pace doesn’t matter (thanks Andrea!), just that I started, finished and had a great time in between 🙂

Now I can relax a bit, decide what I want to focus on now, and keep on running for fun! I’ve got quite a few 5k’s coming up in the next couple of months, so I’m thinking  a PR might happen at some point. We’ll see!

Spaghetti squash, round 2

I’m still not back to taking photos of all my eats, but I thought there were a few things worth remarking about today.

Like this giant carrot!

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Yeah, ignore the Diet Pepsi, it was a moment of weakness and I found it to be rather nasty, so I won’t be doing that again for a while. I wish it had at least been a Coke Zero.

I also had an AWESOME run today. We did 4.32 miles in about 45 minutes, including stopping for a red light.

It is amazing how good I feel after a run these days. I’m seriously considering keeping it up, perhaps running in some races next year. Like the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini-marathon?

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I ran it in 2008 and then walked in it this year, so I think perhaps it’s time to run it again. I had decided earlier this year to stick to running shorter distances and that has worked for a while, but I think I’m up for the challenge again.

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Check out my running page for more. I’m sure it’ll be updated soon 😉

My biggest concern with running this much is that it makes me insanely HUNGRY. I didn’t gain any weight while training for the mini-marathon in 2008, but what was hard for me was transitioning between eating that way and eating like a person who doesn’t run 20+ miles a week.

But I think if I do this again, it will be different this time. I’ve learned so much more about food in a year and a half than I ever thought I could. And I knew a lot then!

I know more about what foods my body reacts to (good and bad) and what foods are best for recovery. Plus it will be fun to see how sticking to a vegan diet works into training.

What do you guys think? Should I do it?

For dinner, I decided to try spaghetti squash again.

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I made it the exact same way as last time. Oh, and I started off with some lovely wine.

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By the time it was done cooking, I was so hungry that I just threw a little bit of spaghetti sauce and garlic on top of the “spaghetti” and stirred. Sorry, I got lazy!

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Simple, yet delicious.

I also had some leftovers. Not bad, 3 meals for $2.25!

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I need to experiment with more toppings and see if I can’t come up with a great recipe 🙂 I seriously doubt I’ll eat spaghetti again, this is so much better!

I’ve already had some cinnamon toast for dessert, so I think some peppermint tea is next. Then to bed early!

I took the day off tomorrow but I still have quite a bit going on so a good night’s sleep is definitely necessary.

Good night!