>Marathon Training: Week 12

>What a great week!! With caffeine and sweets not clouding my vision or fitness, I felt really good this week.

Monday: 3 mile recovery-ish run, strength training
Tuesday: 5 mile tempo run, strength training… this one felt great!! I love tempo runs.
Wednesday: 4 mile run
Thursday and Friday: rest, did a little stretching.
Saturday: 20-miler with Gabriela!!! Our pace was around 11:30. We started out at 5:30 in the morning and ran mostly on rural roads. Let me tell you, you cannot beat running into the sunrise while smelling signs of spring!
Sunday: Planning on a hike with Becca

I felt so good today on the run. I was hurting some after mile 10, but that’s normal when you’ve been running for close to two hours. I took my new Camelbak (50oz) and had one gel. I think the increase in hydration, plus doing 18 last Saturday, really made it a great run. I drank almost all the water. It wasn’t heavy and it didn’t cause any chafing.

We started out at 5:30 AM, and honestly it wasn’t too difficult to pull myself out of bed at 4:45. We were running for a good hour until we started to see sunlight. I wish I had a camera because it was a beautiful sunrise.

Post-run meal:

Whole grain pancakes w/ butter and lite syrup, mixed fruit and hardboiled egg.

I use the McMillan running calculator to see what my approximate marathon time will be. It says to put in your best time (4 miles in 36:36) and it says I will run 26.2 in 4:32. Seems a little fast to me, but I guess we’ll see. We have another month yet of training. And of course you have to factor in that I’m probably a little less anemic, and I drink more fluids. Plus, on race day, adrenaline is high… race days are so much fun.

>My budding culinary prowess…ish.


Anyone who knows me knows that I love to eat. Going to the grocery store is therapeutic, as long as I have the cash on hand. I treat it like a date with myself, really. I have my list and pen, and I wander up and down the aisles perusing everything. I’m not stressed because I shop for a couple to three weeks at a time, so I know I’m going to be spending a little time there. People who don’t say excuse me or seem exasperated by my strolling drive me batty. If you don’t like it, go around! Or say excuse me! Anyway. 
When I get home from the store, I unpack all the groceries from my reusable bags. When I worked grocery, I used to get annoyed at people who brought their own bags because honestly, it takes longer to bag their food. But since I live in the third floor of my apartment building, cloth bags carry much much more and I’m almost always able to get everything in one trip.
I usually spend a couple hours preparing food once I get home. I know if I just put everything away, I’ll forget what I have. I usually make my list based on what sounds good, and on food I can use in more than one dish. I try to clean out the fridge and do dishes before shopping so I can get right to slicing and dicing.
I thought I’d share with you some of the things I prepare “in bulk”. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I can’t seem to cook for just one person. It gets expensive and time-consuming. I grew up watching my mom, an amazing cook, prepare food for 5-6 people, and still have leftovers. I follow suit, and it works out for me. The other great thing about doing this is that when Aaron and I are living together again very soon (yay!!!), my grocery budget likely won’t go up much.
All the following items are healthy, but I haven’t taken the time to calculate the nutrition facts.

I always have fresh fruit on the table to munch on. Apples and bananas are a good snack to-go, and they stay good for a long time. As the bananas ripen, I use them in smoothies and when they’re almost too ripe, I use them in baking.

Fruit salad! One of my favorites. Apple, pineapple (canned), blackberries, strawberries, grapes.

HyVee has an amazing health food section complete with bulk foods like tea, spices, flour, candy, etc. I decided to get some muesli (oatmeal mix with dried berries and such) and steel-cut oats. I mixed them together with what I had left of the quick oats, some dried cranberries, raisins and ground flax seed. Flax seed is a great source of Omega-3’s, and with water you can use it as a substitute for oil in baking.

I’ve been obsessed lately with reusing containers. You can use this mix as oatmeal in the morning, in cookies, muffins, or pancakes.

 Mmm. Stir fry mix. Snow peas, bean sprouts, yellow onion, red pepper, leftover yellow squash and zucchini from the other night. You can use this over rice, noodles (I’m excited to try rice noodles!), in a salad, in a tortilla with grilled chicken.. the possibilities are endless.

I also put together a salad mix of spinach, bean sprouts, snow peas, radishes, and English cucumber. YUM.

Trail mix: Lightly salted peanuts, unsalted whole almonds, dried cranberries, raisins and a couple handfuls of honey roasted almonds.

So there ya go! It may be a little more expensive to buy all the produce, etc, but in the end I think it balances out when you don’t eat out so often or buy all the junk.

>What a Groundhog Day! and other things

>Snowpocalypse, Snowprah.. whatever you call it, it was a storm. Yesterday we had a snow day for the anticipated havoc. It started in the late morning and continued throughout the night. We even had thunder and lightning. It was bizarre. Luthor and I chilled all day. I was on the computer and sitting on my butt most of the day. I read some, knitted, even made dinner. I also got a sourdough starter going for bread. I got the idea from Katie.. who can pass up fresh, warm homemade bread?

This is what we woke up to this morning, and according to the weather service Peoria got 15 inches of snow.

I was absolutely dreading having to dig out my car as we don’t own a shovel. I got out there with my bucket and dustpan, no joke, and then was able to borrow a shovel from a woman who had borrowed it from maintenance. Two guys came around and helped me with the rest of it, and made sure I could back out. I don’t think I’ll go anywhere today because 1) I don’t feel like it or need to, and the gym is closed anyway and 2) I don’t want to risk losing my spot.

I’m excited about my Kindle cozy. This entrelac knitting has thrown me for a loop (no pun intended). I started it when we were in Wisconsin, and Katie was able to help me with it. She’s really good at reading the instructions and knowing what to do. I am the exact opposite and need someone to show me. Anyway. I got a good portion of it started, and yesterday I spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out how to continue. I combed YouTube and Google for videos and finally figured it out.

I think I will put in a zipper and line it when it’s all done, and maybe get some really cute buttons. It really shouldn’t take too long. Then I’ll tackle the socks again. I tried one and messed up within the first couple rows. Let’s just say I lose my patience pretty quickly with newer activities.

Back to school, back to school
On a different note, I’m considering going back to school soon to get my Master’s. But honestly, with moving around in the next five years, I don’t want to risk starting a program on campus somewhere and having to stay behind to finish it. Not happening. And a Master’s in Spanish online would really not improve my spoken skills all that much. That’s where I’m lacking.

With my current job as an aide to a boy with special needs (but he’s above average with most academic skills), I’ve found a niche I didn’t expect. In my two months in this job, I’ve realized that I can be absolutely content teaching any level, any subject. I subbed for almost a whole day a couple weeks ago and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

This leads me to considering my Master’s in Special Education. I thought about getting a certificate, but if I’m going to put in the time and money, I want to have something more to show for it. The other thing is that we would not take out loans and instead pay cash. This is quite a new concept to me as far as education is concerned. But it certainly is making me rethink a lot of things.

I found a program through a university that offers an online program, but also boasts a brick-and-mortar campus too. They are accredited and offer military spouses an awesome discount. They would also let me take up to five years to complete the degree, which is ideal. Financially, I’d be able to take only one class per term. This would allow us to still put money on debt, not let me be stressed out with school work, and I would have time to work full-time if the opportunity arose.

I’m still thinking about it, because it’s a big financial commitment, as it would be about $12k for the program. Part of me just wants to trust that work will be provided. In this time of uncertainty, I haven’t been jobless. The other part of me wants to be more cautious and wait it out. Education will always be there, even after Aaron’s out of the Army (2016). I could still work on an advanced degree when we start a family, so why rush it now?

However, if I pursue it now, it would let me recertify at some point, and land a more lucrative job. I’d also have more job opportunities and some schools might still offer tuition assistance. Hmm. MyCAA, the military tuition assistance for spouses, does not pay for graduate tuition. I think I will start saving money and see how I feel in a few weeks.

Remember when I was working at the fabric store and said I’d be open to managing something like that someday? Yeah, let’s pretend I never said that. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I want to stay in education for a very very long time. Like I said, it doesn’t matter to me if I’m teaching high school, or an aide in grade school, or even subbing for a little while (gasp!). There’s just something that excites me still about influencing and educating young minds. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been teaching/mentoring/tutoring in some fashion for ten years (I started teaching piano in 2000 at age 14).

Back to fitness
I am going to start tracking my workouts and nutrition again on sparkpeople.com. I gained 3-5 pounds since Aaron was home and got off track with eating. Yesterday I ate a lot.. so many different things that I can’t even remember what all I ate. According to SP, I burned about 300 calories shoveling snow this morning. Since the gym isn’t open and I was supposed to do a six-miler, I’m going to do some yoga and strength training today at home. Back on the healthy wagon I go!

Stay safe, everyone.