Behind every great race are amazing volunteers. Those people who hand you cups of Powerade at the water stops? Volunteers. The medical personnel that treat your blisters, cramped calves, and chafed nipples? Volunteers. The incredibly helpful and happy people at packet pick up that make sure you get your chip, t-shirt, and that all you have to do on race day is show up and run/walk? Yep, they’re likely volunteers as well. Having run numerous races, I’ve come to realize just how important volunteers are when it comes to having great race experience.
Yesterday evening was spent in Minneapolis at the packet pick up for the Get Lucky 7k and 21k (half marathon). There’s just something about a race expo that gets me all pumped up to go out and run. I love meeting other fellow runners, whether this is their first or 50th race. Since this will be my first year not running the half marathon since it started, I love reminiscing about races of years past, like last year when we were running in shorts and tank tops thanks to record heat (seriously, it was 80 deg on St. Patty’s day last year. In Minnesota. I shit you not). This year looks to be a little more winter like with snow predicted into tonight and temps in the 20s for race time. Brrr!!!!
Put on by Team Ortho, over 10,000 runners are signed up to take to the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul tomorrow morning in their greenest St. Patrick’s Day running gear. I will be volunteering at the finish line med tent for the half marathon (21k) tomorrow morning. While I love chatting with other runners, I really really really hope not to see any of you there tomorrow, unless it’s grabbing a pint of Finnegans at the post race party!
For more information on how to become a volunteer for future Team Ortho events, click here. They offer great incentives, like bones to collect and use on race entries and awesome gear, as well as free gear like the awesome t-shirt I snagged that I plan on wearing Sunday when I get my BodyShred instructor certification. And ladies, the men of Women Rock are usually at the packet pick ups, providing lots of shirtless eye candy for your viewing pleasure at the Women Rock 10k and half marathon, which I ran last year.
With the hammy and mother nature still thwarting my marathon training attempts, my focus has switched over to hitting the weights to get back the strength I’ve lost over the winter. Ok, really, I just want to look like Erin Stern when bikini season comes around. This has meant cleaning up my terrible winter eating habits (hello, muffin top!) and getting back into a strength training routine. Sadly, every diet I’ve seen out there for people looking to build muscles mass while slimming down includes massive amounts of egg whites. I HATE eggs!!!! I have never been able to stomach them. And my dislike for eggs was further solidified in college when a developmental biology project gone wrong resulted in me becoming the parent briefly of an adorable little chick. Spike, if you’re reading this, mommy loves you! So when it comes to having eggs for breakfast every day, Rocky, I am not.
I did what any girl would do, and posted on facebook about my dilemma. Luckily, I have some amazing friends that probably could chug down raw egg whites like they were a frat boy at a kegger. Hello breakfast souffle!! Primallyinspired.com has a couple of amazing breakfast souffle recipes that are not only decadent, but healthy to boot. The breakfast fruit souffle is like eating a really fluffy pancake topped with fresh fruit. Best part is, you can just use whatever fruit is in season or that you have on hand. I made it with some strawberries that were starting to go a little soft and fresh blueberries. YUM!!! Serve it with some vanilla greek yogurt, and it’s kind of like eating berry pie à la mode. I actually ate the rest for my evening snack as a dessert. The dark chocolate breakfast souffle is to die for. It was so rich, I felt like I was eating chocolate cake for breakfast. Minus the OMG-I-had-cake-for-breakfast guilt that hits you on the elliptical later that morning. I omitted the honey in the glaze, and it was still plenty sweet. I can’t wait to try the gingerbread breakfast souffle later this week.
Whatever it is about eggs, if must be working. The muffin top is gone (and there’s still snow on the ground!!!). A few more weeks of this, and I don’t care if it’s still winter in Minneosta. I won’t be hiding my six-pack (currently a four-pack, but much improvement over February’s keg) under bulky sweaters. My neighbors will just have to deal with me shoveling the driveway in my bikini (gotta get some use out of them since the summers are so short).
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
Today’s big discovery? Pre-cut bagged kale at Trader Joe’s! I’ve bought several bunches of kale with good intentions to make kale chips, but I get busy, forget about it, and then when I finally get around to it, I find it’s morphed into a soggy mess. No more using laziness as an excuse to make a batch!
Great thing about kale chips, you can season them however you want. Today’s lunch is tomato soup, so something on the cheesier side sounded good. I rummaged through the fridge and pantry and found some parmesan, garlic powder, salt, and parsley. Perfect! These are amazing on their own or dipped in soup. And super easy to make!
Parmesan Kale Chips
- 1/2 bag of pre-cut kale (check for and remove any stems)
- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- sea salt to taste
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. In large bowl, toss together kale, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, parsley, and salt. Make sure kale is well coated.
2. Spread leaves evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 min until edges start to brown. Check often, removing finished chips as needed.
Today I kicked off my 2013 race season with the Sweetheart Run 10 mile in Mathomedi, MN. This was my 2nd time running the race. The last time was in 2010. I’m attempting to reclaim my AG winner title in the White Bear Grand Prix this year. This was race #2 in the series, but something about running on a frozen lake for #1 just doesn’t appeal to me. I’d forgotten that A) the course was much hillier than I remembered. B) Country roads in the winter are typically not clear of ice and snow. C) Running a 10 mile race in February is generally a stupid idea.
I had Yaktrax. They were in my car. Which doesn’t help much when most of the out and back course was on snow-covered roads. When I did the race in 2010, I don’t remember the footing being such an issue. It was also much colder that year (no frozen eyelashes this year), so that probably helped keep the roads runable. I’m still nursing the hammy injury from my failed ultra attempt at the end of December (still need to write about that, maybe when my ego heals a bit more). Not the best conditions to be running under my first race back. Towards the end, I felt it start to fatigue and with marathon training underway, I slowed down way more than I would have liked to keep from re-tweaking it. I also got lost. I missed a turn right at the end. Luckily I wasn’t the only one who missed it and only one poor soul followed me. Sorry 😦 Even with everything, I still ran a minute faster than my attempt a few years ago. Ideally, I would have loved to have been in the 1:20-1:25 range, but looks like I’ll be saving that for the 10 mile race that I’m coaching runners for this summer Training starts at the end of the month if you want to join one of our weekend running groups. Email for more information 🙂 (Only shameless plug, I promise!) Next race is a few weeks away. A 5k that is also part of the Grand Prix. Last time I ran this one was in 2010 as well. While I probably won’t beat my PR set last year at the Minneapolis Duathlon, I should have no problem demolishing my old time for that course.
Official time 1:31:31
5th in my AG
13th place in the women’s division
Last night, one of my fellow running coaches invited a guest speaker to speak to our running classes about cadence, or how quickly the feet hit the ground. The speaker was a physical therapist and fellow runner who had done quite a bit of studying up on how changing a runners cadence can not only make them quicker, but also reduce the risk of injury. I’ll leave all this wonderful info for another post, however the moral of the story was that 180 is the magic number to strive for when running. Now you could always run to a metronome to achieve the perfect cadence, or you could just find some great tunes with a similar bpm to rock out to while pounding away the miles on the treadmill. Jog.fm is a great site to find music that fits into the range you’re looking for. Just enter in 7:00 for your mile time and up pop hundreds of songs with the rhythm that will get you speeding up those footsteps.
As a new weekly feature on the blog, Wednesdays will now be What’s on Your Playlist? day. Have a favorite tune to get you going at the gym? Share it with the rest of us so we can keep those feet and ears happy.
FUN. – WE ARE YOUNG (92 X 2 BPM) CLICK HERE TO BUY ON AMAZON
Sorry to have been MIA for the last month. January is by far my least favorite month of the year. Not only is it freaking cold (our high today was 3°F, balmy compared to yesterday), but 60 hour work weeks are the norm. Minnesotans love their winter sports. Way too many hours spent watching hockey, basketball, wrestling, and gymnastics at the high school I work at. Since I’m getting paid, I probably shouldn’t complain. But whoever thought that a sport played on ice was a good idea was wrong. Those ice rinks are freaking cold!
Then there’s that whole being a personal trainer thing. Turns out people like to join the gym in January. Who knew? A dozen new clients between the two gyms, and God only knows how many orientations and consultations I’ve done these last few weeks.
9 more days in the month…. I can do this!!