Saturday, April 17, 2010

So many things going on! I know that is life, so I'm just trying to stay focused :) I am still running, even though I've had to put any definitive race plans on hold for the moment. This week has been good - lots of miles - although none of them were particularly fast. I'm still cooking like a woman possessed; tonight, sweet seared beef with roasted endive, red potato au gratin, and arugula. I think I use cooking as my relief from stress! Some people use running, but cooking works better for me.

We have been travelling every weekend, so today, since I was home, I have done almost nothing. I got up at 5:00, met my friends, did an 11 mile run, and then went home and went back to bed. It was heaven. I roused myself after an hour, because Top Chef Masters was on, and that was enough to make me go to the store for dinner ingredients. The boys are at the State Math competition, so Tim and I are on our own - a nice dinner seemed appropriate.

Tomorrow, another easy run with friends and then coffee - my favorite part of running! I should end up with 100 miles for the week.

Happy Running!

Friday, April 02, 2010

The point is to live everything - Rainer Maria Rilke

What a week! Crazy! But, oh so much fun! I told you about the boys getting braces - yikes! They were so excited about them, until they actually got them :) We have spent the last few days trying to find food that will fill up two teenage boys and not kill their teeth. It has been tough, but things are looking up. Yeah!

I've had some great runs this week, including a nice 15 miler yesterday morning followed by 5 miler in the afternoon. I don't usually do 15 at one time (unless it is a planned long run), but I slept in and needed to get the miles done. I was taking my wonderful mom out to lunch, and didn't want to have mileage hanging over my head. She has always been a solid support in my life and spending time with her has always been one of my favorite things. We went to Ripe and had Tortilla Soup, Cranberry Turkey Sandwiches, and Mediterranean Salads. Yum! Loved it!

Today, I woke up early (like 2 a.m. early - Hello!) and couldn't go back to sleep. I finally just got up at 4:00 and got on the treadmill, then went and met the group, giving me 12 for the morning. Another 8 later gave me my (OCD) 20, and all is right with the world :) Have I mentioned that I love to run? Funny, but my mom and I were talking about how, when I was little, I would spend hours working on the perfect back flip or cartwheel, etc. Because it was the '70's, she didn't worry (thankfully). Today, I'm sure they would have medicated me :)

Anyway, tomorrow morning, I'm meeting a great guy who is going to take pictures for my new website! Yeah! RunnerSusan is designing it for me (I've been a fan of her work and blog for a long time), but I didn't have any great photos. I never order photos and no one ever takes pictures of me, so I'm doing it tomorrow. Please stay posted to see the new and improved site. Because of my coaching, I needed something a little more informative and accessible than the blog. Susan is going to incorporate the blog into a bigger site so that I can include the coaching info.

Okay, Pizza Night at the Johnson Household. Hopefully, it will be soft enough to eat!

Happy Running!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yesterday and today have been a little bit hectic. Spencer got his braces on yesterday, and Grant got his on today. Thus, we had two 2.5 hour appointments, and some very sore mouths. I have really had to wing it food-wise to make sure that Spencer got enough to eat yesterday (soft foods only) and Grant got enough today. We have been eating a lot of cream of asparagus soup (see last post), milkshakes (thin mint), and tuna. Hopefully, by this weekend, the boys will have adjusted enough so that they can partake in the annual ritual of eating the heads off their chocolate Easter Bunnies. If not, I will have to take up the cause :)

I am definitely ready for bed after another day of 20 miles, with a little bit of speed and weights thrown in for fun (not really, but I'm trying to sound positive :). I ran a little faster this morning with the group, nothing great, but just trying to get the feel for moving my legs faster than my normal "get 'er done," pace. The weather is phenomenal now (thank goodness), so I am trying to get all 20 miles done outside. Soon enough, I know I will have to head indoors for the midday run to avoid the El Paso sun, and unless daytime television has improved immensely since last summer, I know I will suffer :)

I will post my 2010 race schedule soon (yes, I have a loose schedule), but it will remain VERY flexible since I have no idea where I stand. I have never taken this long off, so I am just going day by day. I would like to run Nationals in October because I really miss my former team members, especially Debbie, Jamie, Annette, Phil, and Roy. I'm afraid if I don't show up again this year, I will never see them! I'm sad that I won't be heading to France with them this year, but such is life. Things always work out for the best. I just couldn't focus last year (or the beginning of this year). I am happy to be back training, but it is a long road back - yikes!

Happy Running!

Monday, March 29, 2010

So, today was a typical training day for me, which is both good and bad. Good, because I feel happy to be back. Bad, because I feel like most traditional coaches (except maybe RayK) would scoff at my training practices. For whatever reason, I feel the need to run 20 miles a day. I always have, and probably always will. I know that my 20 miles are filled with "junk miles," but I like them. They make me feel strong, and when the going gets tough in a 24 hour race, I know that I have lots of miles logged. But, that doesn't help me be fast, now does it? Basically, my motto is, if you only have time for one, pick mileage. You will naturally get faster, but speedwork will not give you endurance. Make sense?

So, now I am adding speedwork. I have had a big base for 4 years, so I feel safe adding some speed. My problem: I really don't like speed. But such is life. I have to suck it up and add it to my training. I have been comfortable cruising 3:30 training marathons where I can run before and after to get a nice 50 miler, but it is time to suck it up and RUN. Yikes! Slow and long is my specialty. Fast and short is, well...uncomfortable. And I hate being uncomfortable. I hate that feeling in my stomach that says "This sucks!". But I am bored with LSD (long slow distance). And I don't want to quit running. I just want to try something new. But I also don't want any of any of my new runners to take this as an endorsement of speed over distance. You really can't add speed until you have the requisite distance in place. Distance always trumps speedwork in ultrarunning.

Food: Cream of Asparagus soup (recipe adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook), chicken salad, and green salad with sunflower seeds and dressing.

Happy Running!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I am so happy to be back training! I still haven't picked specific races, but it is fun to run with a purpose. I am a little sore though, so I know I need to be patient and build back up slowly. I always push others to take it easy, but find it hard to do it myself. I just want to get busy!

Anyway, I'm looking for some fun races this spring/summer, if anyone has any ideas. I'd like to do a couple of marathons and a couple of 50 milers. I don't think I will try to do more than 50s until the fall.

On the food front, I was absolutely craving Chinese Chicken Salad after my second run, so I had to head straight to the store and buy the ingredients - cabbage, green onions, chicken, almonds, and sesame ginger dressing. Totally easy and totally delicious! Then I ate a Blue Bell Chocolate Covered Cherry Ice Cream Bar - Oh my gosh! Unbelievable. I think I will probably dream about it tonight, it was that good!

Happy Running!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I had a wonderful run this morning with the group. Usually, I hang at the back, knowing I have a couple more workouts in my day. But this morning, I really wanted to catch up with my 3:00 hour-ish marathoning - friend, Angie, so I had no choice but to pick up the pace. And what fun it was! We did a quick 6 miler, and then finished it off with an easy 2 mile cool down. I haven't done any focused running in months, so it was a real treat to feel like a runner again. Later in the day, I made it to the gym for 7 more miles on the treadmill and some weights. Fun day!

I have picked up a few more coaching clients, and instead of feeling overwhelmed, I really feel inspired by them. It is so fun to talk to someone really jazzed by the prospect of breaking 3:00 hours, or running their first 50, or qualifying for Boston. The enthusiasm is infectious! I am already making plans for my racing season. I guess sometimes we need to just get out of our heads and see that there is a whole lot going on besides what it happening in front of us.

On a semi-related note, tonight they are voting on the nominees to the Sports Hall of Fame. I was nominated in the Athlete category, and I was so stunned and honored, that I could hardly believe it. I have to say, though I don't think I will get in, I am totally grateful that anyone would consider me. Anyway, I will keep you posted. **Update, I didn't get into the Hall of Fame, but that is okay. It really was nice to be nominated.

Tonight was chicken fettucine with vodka sauce, a tossed salad, and chocolate covered strawberries (which Grant made). My kids just got spacers today (for braces), and they are in a little bit of pain, thus, dinner had to be soft and easily chewed. I had to sort of make up the recipe, so I can't post any guidelines. Basically, cook the chicken with olive oil and spices (garlic, oregano, onion, etc.) and then toss it with vodka sauce, cream, and butter (yes, I know, I know.).

Reading several good books - I will update later.

Happy Running!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Okay, since I'm still undecided on my racing plans for 2010, I have decided I will just keep blogging on other subjects :)

First, and most importantly, Food. I went and bought fresh green chile con queso tamales yesterday, and they were absolutely delicious! I'm not a big fan of regular red tamales, because the inside meat creeps me out. But chile con queso tamales, with fresh roasted green chiles? Oh my gosh! You can't beat them. We had them for dinner last night, with a salad, and then I had one again this morning for breakfast.

Second, Running. Or something like it. I ran an easy 3 miles around the neighborhood after sleeping in this morning. At 3:00 am, two ambulances careened into our neighborhood. I'm not sure what was going on, but it definitely got my adrenaline going. During my run, I did a quick sleuthing session to see if I could see what prompted their nocturnal visit, but nothing seemed amiss. I hope whomever they visited is okay.

Later in the morning, I did a 12 mile mountain bike ride on the river. It was such a nice ride - no wind, not too hot, not too cold. I don't ride to often, so it was a wonderful change of pace. My quads are even a little tight now :) This evening, I did another easy run just to loosen up my legs. Really, no significant miles were accumulated today, and that's okay. Well, sort of. I still feel guilty, but not guilty enough to go run some more.

Third. Okay, there really isn't a third, but I feel like no list is complete without a third. We had a great Spring Break in San Diego - weather was perfect. The boys were able to surf and boogie board, and I was able to run on the beach. Everyone was happy.

I read today that women tend to swing like a pendulum between depenndence and competition, and that they won't find true happiness until they find wholeness rather than the two extremes. Do you think that is true? And if it is true, how do you find wholeness?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Fill your thoughts with what you want to create, and will have it. - Sanaya Roman

Okay, so obviously my thoughts have been on food, because it keeps appearing in my kitchen! I love to cook, but I have decided to try some new things for a couple of reasons:

1) I saw an Oprah episode where the guest basically said, "Eat whatever you want as long as you make it yourself." Makes total sense, because I don't know about you, but I don't have any sodium polyglutisorbinate in my cupboard! He claimed that all of our current ills (obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) are a direct result of all the chemicals in our food - not the fat, sugar, etc. I agree. As runners, we know that we need sugar and fat. I really try not to limit any food group, but rather, eat everything in moderation according to what I am craving. I figure my body knows what it needs (and yes, I do crave vegetables!).

2) Because my mileage is still lower than normal while I am ramping back up, I have extra time. When I'm really training hard, I find that I don't have the time, energy, or patience to make complicated dishes. So, I realized, now's my chance.

Gatueax du Citron from Orangette - Molly Wizenberg

The only sad part about my whole little experiment is that it has rained all week - in El Paso! - so that we couldn't sit outside and enjoy any of the food.

Look how gray it is, and this is the Sun City!

Anyway, I hope to keep posting food items here, but no promises after I start training again! After all, this is supposed to be a (sort of) running blog!

Happy Running!

Monday, February 01, 2010

When I am bored, I am a thousand years old.
- CoCo Chanel

We all long to be engaged by life, with life, in life. But sometimes (like when we are resting!), we find that we are not so much engaged. Bored. Cranky. Out of sorts. I very much enjoyed my time off, but building back up is taking me a little longer than I expected, mostly because I can't pick a race. Having a race goal sort of dictates my training schedule. But when I am just running, well, I just run. And that isn't always a bad thing except that I have been doing it entirely too much, for too long. In fact, I think I have several posts about exactly this same issue. Yikes!

I am ready to try something new and different, but I have no idea what that should be. I've been reading everyone's blogs for inspiration, hoping that something will get me out of my rut. Everyone seems to be having such a good time that I am jealous, but I still can't get motivated to get out there! And I can't keep cooking and eating or I will be waddling instead of running!
I am doing a few runs here and there, plus some easy cross training, but nothing that justifies eating three pieces of cake a day. I don't run to stay thin, but with all the running I was doing the last few years, I adopted the eating style of an NFL linebacker.

So, oh great muses of running, please send me some good vibes.

Happy running!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"No woman is required to build the world by destroying herself."
- Rabbi Sofer (I'm stealing this fantastic quote from Kathy Wing - it is on her blog, and I loved it!)

Okay, since I seem to be doing a lot more cooking than running, I thought it only appropriate to include photos. I never take my camera on a run, but I do always have a camera close to the kitchen! Tonight, I made bow tie pasta with oven roasted chicken, and mixed green salad with pears, gouda, caramleized pecans and vinaigrette. Oh, and yes, bread!

Yes, we're still practicing taking food pictures. It is actually quite difficult, believe it or not.

Anyway, I did have some good workouts today. I joined my friends for a quick 6 miler around the neighborhood. Then, later in the morning, I went to the gym and got on the treadmill and elliptical. I'm making a concerted effort to stay injury-free, and after a long hiatus, I tend to get injured if I start up too quickly. This afternoon, I did a quick session of low-impact aerobics while watching Oprah. She did a wonderful show on the importance of eating well. I loved it.

Tomorrow, back to Barnes and Noble. I am in desperate need of a new, great book. "A Homemade Life," proved to be a great book. I really, really enjoyed it! Now, the problem lies in finding something as appealing as it for my next selection. Any suggestions?

Tomorrow, 6 miles downtown with the group and then I will take it from there. With no race goals, I have no specific plan for the rest of the day. I will keep you posted.

Happy Running!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Running, Happy Reading, Happy Cooking

We know we are shining, / Though we cannot see one another.
-James Wright (taken from "A Homemade Life," by Molly Wizenberg)

I know this blog tends to revolve around running, but since I'm really taking it easy these days, I thought I should attempt to include some of the "Read" element of the blog. Right now, I am reading another book I love, love, love! It is called "A Homemade Life," by Molly Wizenberg. Now, as odd as it sounds, I love to read cookbooks almost as much as I love to read memoirs. And, halleleuia, this book is both! Don't misunderstand me, I don't actually use the recipes in the cookbooks I read (I am way to ADD to follow a recipe), but I feel like I sort of absorb some of the information for later retrieval - kinda like watching a marathon on tv and counting it as training!

Anyway, this book is great! I want to try all of the recipes and I want to be Molly's friend. She is both clever and funny, a winning combination as far as I'm concerned. Before each recipe she puts in the book, she tells a family story about how she learned to cook the dish. Many of the stories are funny, but some will bring a tear to your eye.

In honor of, or as a result of, Molly's book, I have been very busy cooking this week. Last night, I made peppercorn crusted pork tender, au gratin potatoes, slow roasted tomatoes, and a bread salad. Because I am a freak about au gratin potatoes, I even ate them for breakfast after a hard hill run this morning! I think they are the perfect recovery food :) Tonight I am making an herb roasted chicken with Yukon Gold potatoes, and a mixed green salad with pears and blue cheese. Of course, it will all have to be served with some yummy bread because who can eat salad without bread?

It has been so great to take a break, but I am glad to be moving towards some serious running. I missed you, oh favorite sport of mine! As I said, I met my friends for an 8 mile hill run this morning and then had a second workout this afternoon of biking. I don't want to hit it too hard, too soon, because that is how I ended up hurt last year. I may go out after dinner for a walk, but I will see how things go - no promises.

Happy Running!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Good-bye 2009!

I hate to say this, but I am glad 2009 is over. It was a rather stressful year. I felt at loose ends the whole time, with several odd events occurring. On the running front, although I did manage to get first female (2nd overall) at Run With the Wind 6 Hour in Austin in December, it wasn't enough to get my mojo back. I went to Freedom Park to run the 24 Hour in hopes of re-qualifying for the US National Team, but quit after 12 hours. I just couldn't find any motivation. And 24 hours is a LONG time to run if you aren't feeling it! It was cold and drizzly the whole time, but honestly, I think I would have quit even if the weather was perfect. I just wasn't having any fun.

So, I am ready for a new year, with new challenges and fun things to try. I don't know if I will continue to run 24 Hour events or if I will try something new. I don't know if I got burnt out on the event or just had such a weird year that the running piece became tedious instead of fun. We all know that this is a sport you really have to enjoy to make it worthwhile - it is too dang hard if you don't love it!

Don't get me wrong, I am totally psyched about the new year. I just haven't decided exactly what direction I'm going in with my running. I can't stop running - I dream about it, I love it - but I have to figure out how running is going to fit into my life. There are so many fun things to do, so many races to run, at the moment, I can't choose. But I'm reading, writing and running, so I know that I will figure it out soon.

Happy Running!