Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for February, 2008

Published February 24th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 3 (41.5 miles)

This week’s theme: “I think I can, I think I can, oh maybe not, oh yes I can! but then again perhaps not, but on the other hand…”

Given the tough workout last week, I wanted to scale things back a bit this week. Mind you, I didn’t skimp on my mileage; I just chose routes that were easy and flat (okay, so MOST of them were easy and flat). I also made sure my core work wouldn’t leave me spent for my speed work.

The biggest boost this week? The weather! Pretty much the entire week was glorious: blue skies; few clouds crisp, cool air. Studies have shown that us Pacific Northwesterners are vitamin D deficient due to the lack of sun, but this week we all came out in droves to soak it in.

Sunday: rest day (I toyed with hitting the pool for a few laps, but instead got engrossed in creating my Medoc shadowbox).

Monday: Arms, abs, stretching (and lunges!). 8-mile lactate threshold run w/4 miles @ 15K-half marathon pace. For this run I ran 2 miles at a very relaxed pace, then picked it up for 4 miles. My goal was to run at a 8:52 pace (my estimated 15K pace). Just as I got to Greenlake I saw my darling, who was in the midst of his own LT run. Since he had run fairly hard he decided to join me for the remainder of his run.

Although I intended to run slower, I was a bit dismayed to see I was averaging about a 9:45 – 10 min. pace; I felt I was running much faster! I didn’t think this would bode well for my speed work, so I decided I’d be happy if I could average an 8:52 – 9:04 pace (the latter being my half marathon pace). When I got to 2 miles I hit the lap button on my Garmin and picked up the pace. I was determined to just run what felt comfortable, albeit fast; I wouldn’t keep checking my progress on Garmin.

A half mile into my speed work my darling had to make a potty stop, so we bid each other adieu. At that point I noticed a runner approximately 100 meters in front of me, running about the same pace. I was determined to pass him at some point, but I also didn’t want to speed up too quickly for fear I’d bonk at the end. As we wound our way around the lake I’d get close, but then he’d speed up and increase the gap. I’m sure I vexed him as much as he vexed me. I finally hit mile 4 and exited the outer loop for a nice leisurely jog along the inner loop (I’m sure my tormentor was more than happy to see me go).

Given it was not only a holiday, but a sunny day to boot, I knew the inner loop would be packed. It didn’t bother me for the first mile since I wanted to cool down from my speed work, but the crowds soon became unbearable. I headed back out to the outer loop to finish out my run. When I downloaded my run upon returning home I was shocked to see what my average pace was for my speed work: 8:46! Goes to show what you’re capable of if you take things slow in the beginning.


Published February 17th, 2008

Crafty McCrafterson

Medoc Shadowbox


I don’t consider myself a particularly artistic person; sure, I have spurts of creativity but I get easily bored. For a while I made a bunch of whimsical refrigerator magnets out of femo clay (my mom has begged me for one for years, but I moved on to my next project). I then got into making my own greeting cards using wooden stamps (I even made our wedding invitations). But again, that phase soon passed.

I started keeping a portfolio of my race numbers years ago (I even have the bib number from my very first 5K). They’re all contained within a basic black portfolio with plastic sleeves. If I received a medal or had a picture taken I’d add those to the page, but I wouldn’t do anything more elaborate.

Then I ran the Goofy Challenge.

Anyone who’s run Disney knows it’s all about the bling, and with Goofy I not only received medals for the half and for the full, I also received the coveted Goofy medal. We’re talking serious bling, people! Disney does not skimp on the medals. When I got home I couldn’t see just putting them in the portfolio; they needed to be shown off somehow. Sure, I could have purchased a pre-made shadowbox from one of the Disney vendors, but I had already spent a ton of money.

I then read a post in a Runner’s World discussion about a home-made race shadowbox. The poster had designed his own for a fraction of the cost of what most vendors charged. A lightbulb went on over my head: I can do that! And while I was at it, I decided I’d make up one for Medoc as well (after all, it was my first marathon).

As I was deciding on what color mat board to use, I remembered the piece of zebra cloth I picked up while putting my costume together. The creative juices really started flowing. I first checked out an artist’s supply store, but none of their frames — not even the custom ones — would be thick enough for what I wanted to include. But I then scored at Michael’s craft shop. Not only did they carry the perfect sized black shadowbox (16″ x 20″), it was 40% off! I also picked up two large sheets of mat board (one for Medoc, one for Disney).

Total cost of materials? Less than $40 (that includes the entire sheet of mat board; I only used about a quarter of it). Mind you, we already had spray mount and hot glue, and we also have a mat cutter. But I think it looks a heck of a lot better than what I could have gotten done “professionally”!

Stay tuned for the Disney version. It may take a while since my darling will most likely be making the frame.

(Oh, and my apologies to Angie. I totally stole her headline style!)

Published February 17th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 2 (33 miles)

Week 2 — your new Delta Tau Chi name is “Quads, They Burn.”

I’m DEFINITELY feeling the effects of increased mileage during the week. In looking through my past training schedule, I realized the last time I ran more than six miles during the week was my 9-mile birthday run in November. Although I racked up 150 miles in December, my longest runs were on the weekends when I hadn’t been standing all day cooking.

To make matters worse, I’ve decided to do two other exercises I hate (in addition to planks): lunges and squats. Actually, I should say I’ve decided to follow my physical therapist’s advice and do the exercises as they help build my core. For the lunges, I hold a 4 lb. medicine ball out in front of me, lunge forward on one leg, turn to each side, then come up to standing. I then repeat on the other leg. For the squats, I cross my arms at chest height and then squat.

On Monday I did 10 lunges on each leg and two sets of 15 squats. That afternoon I ran a little over 8 miles, which included speed work, so by Tuesday morning my quads were pretty sore. Of course my yoga teacher decided we were ready for new poses — the triangle and pigeon — plus she had us do more warrior poses. My quads didn’t appreciate the extra work and I grumbled and groaned throughout.

Although I refrained from doing the lunges and squats on Wednesday, my quads were still sore during the afternoon run. I must be a masochist, as I chose a rather hilly route for the 10 miles. We live at the bottom of Phinney Ridge, and the run took us over the ridge (I swear the hills are at a 45-degree angle!) Thursday was either a cross-training or rest day, and considering it was Valentine’s Day I chose the latter (I wanted to get an early start so I’d get home in time to prepare a nice dinner for my darling).

On Friday I was ready to do some more lunges and squats (in addition to my typical arm weight routine), but since my cook date went so long I ended up bagging on my 5-mile afternoon recovery run. Sure, I felt guilty, but I didn’t get home until well after 6 p.m., and by then it was dark and rainy. I vowed to make up for some of it during the next day’s long run, and boy did I. The beginning of the run followed the same route as Wednesday’s, but it also included the loop trail through Discovery Park, which is also quite hilly. Although I was scheduled for a 13-miler on Saturday, it ended up being just under 15. With the extra mileage I ran earlier in the week, I’m only behind a mile and a half.

Published February 12th, 2008

A conversation with my 16-year-old self

Me @ 16


Hey there! How’s it going? You’re looking mighty stylish. Getting ready to go out with friends? What’s that? Oh, I see; you’re just goofin’ around, rummaging through the costume trunk. I forgot how much we enjoyed doing that.

Who am I? Well, this may be tough to fathom, but I’m you 28 years from now. Scary, huh? I’m almost as old as mom is in your world!

What the hell do I want? Boy, that’s no way to talk to your elders now, is it? Don’t you roll your eyes at me, young lady.

Anyhoo, I wanted to talk to you about something, but I also thought you’d be interested in how you turned out. I know you’re still at that awkward stage — all gangly, with braces, no boyfriend. But believe me, it gets better! Your braces will come off before your high school yearbook picture, and there are boys in your future. Some will be nice, others will be total jerks, but it all works out as you’ll eventually be married to the sweetest, most wonderful man. He’s so cute and darling! And SEXY! I wish you could see him. (Actually I take that back. He’s a lot younger — he’s only nine in your world — so that would be pretty creepy).

As for the gangliness, well, obviously you’ll always be tall. But you’ll soon realize it’s an asset; I promise! Sure, you’ll always have trouble finding a pair of jeans that fit well, but you’ll really grow to appreciate those long, lean legs. They’ll take you places you never dreamed. (No — I don’t mean it THAT way).

In fact, you’ll end up doing a lot of things you never thought you would. You know how you’re embarrassed to dance? Well, in another year you’ll be cutting up the rug. Sure, you’ll need a couple of drinks in you before you do it, but eventually you’ll love it so much you’ll be the first one out on the dance floor. And you know how you’ve been too scared to try a full-on dive? You’ll finally work up the courage in your early 20s (and yes, you’ll once again need a couple of drinks).

But what will come as a total shock is you’ll become somewhat of a fitness junkie. You’ll first dabble with running and mountain biking in your late 20s/early 30s, but the real spurt comes in your 40s. What’s that? You’re surprised about the running? Oh honey, you don’t know the half of it! You’re gonna become a marathoner! You don’t know what that means, do you? Well, it means you’ll run 26.2 miles. Serious! And not just once, either. You’ll become so addicted you’ll want to run several a year. Pretty freakin’ crazy, huh? You’ll have to check out our blog to read about all of our adventures! (Oh yeah, that’s right. You don’t know what a blog is ‘cuz the Internet doesn’t exist in your world).


Published February 10th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 1 (33 miles)

One week down, 17 to go (damn that sounds like a lot). The training this week wasn’t much different than what I’ve already been doing, but I have to admit there were a couple of times I almost postponed due to crappy weather. But then I reminded myself that attitude won’t get me to Boston, so I laced up and headed out.

I know the hardest runs will be the mid-week ones. I actually relish the weekend long runs, but I typically keep my mid-week runs to eight miles or less. That distance is just the starting point with Pfitz; by week nine I’ll have a 14-mile mid-week run, and several 10-12 milers on other weeks (just what I want to do after standing on my feet all day). But fortunately I’m typically home from my cook dates by 3:30 and it won’t start getting dark until at least 5:30-6 p.m.

I’m also finding it tough to keep my pace slow for my general aerobic and recovery runs. For the former, I should be keeping it to a 9:30-9:45 pace; the latter should be 9:45-10:00. I’m also finding my heart rate seems to get pretty high, even though I don’t feel I’m putting in a lot of effort. However, it’s not too far off, so I’m not going to worry about it too much.

As for my weight? sigh. I’ve been a very, very bad girl. My darling and I decided to hit happy hour on Thursday, splurging on margaritas, chicken wings, Southwestern spring rolls and calamari (oh, and cupcakes from Cupcake Royale). On Friday we met up with friends at Shorty’s for pinball, hotdogs and nachos (oh, and a burger and fries at Dick’s on the way home). We were much more sensible on Saturday, preparing a huge salad with garbanzo beans and loads of veggies. (Oh, I guess I forgot to mention the aprés run mac & cheese and the evening martini. But hey — we were watching Casino Royale; how could we NOT have a shaken martini?). Today my darling joined some friends for the “Love ’em or Leave ’em” 5K at Greenlake; I however, decided to prepare brunch treats for everyone in the form of ooey-gooey caramel-pecan rolls and Southwestern strata. Looks like it’ll be lettuce leaves for the rest of the week!


Published February 10th, 2008

Nine on the 9th (and a 5K!)

Nancy, that crack-the-whip race director, is at it again. Not happy with just making us run eight miles on December 8, she somehow convinced us to run nine miles on February 9th. (And even though she refused to take ME up on my offer to run 22 miles on December 22nd, I decided to buck up and join in on the fun).

Because my darling and I are training for yet another marathon, we had a slightly longer run on the docket (12 miles). We were both feeling somewhat creaky, so we opted to run the very flat Burke-Gilman trail, starting at the Fred Meyer in Ballard and going until we hit the halfway point (just past University Village).

We got off to a rocky start. My darling’s feet have been bothering him, so he’s trying out new insoles and is taping the last two toes on his left foot. He had to stop several times in the first few minutes to adjust his shoes. He then started getting nervous he wouldn’t have time to get back to prepare for his client meeting at 2 p.m. (he’s a photographer and he was meeting with a bride). We had hit the trail before 9:30 a.m., but due to my pokey-Joe pace he wasn’t sure we’d make it in time. So at the 5K mark he bid me adieu and headed back to our truck to drop a few things off. He then headed through the neighborhood back to our house in order to get his 12 miles in.

While I would have loved to have him along for the entire run, it worked out better this way. I’m really trying to slow my pace down for my long runs, and I tend to speed up when running with him. My goal was to keep my pace between 10 1/2-11 minutes per mile and my heart rate between 130 and 150.

Despite some wind gusts, the weather was quite pleasant (although I was glad to be wearing my hat and gloves). Because I’ve run this route so many times, I just became lost in my music. I turned around just past the 6-mile mark and slowed to a walk to down a ClifShot and a bottle of water. As I neared the 10-mile mark my quads started letting me know they were ready to stop, but I kept on (I reminded them there was a can of chocolate milk waiting for them in the cooler back at the truck). I finally crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 19 seconds (for 12.5 miles). My overall average pace was 10:25 (10:21 for the 5K, 10:27 for the remainder) and my average heart rate was 137. Perfect!

Published February 3rd, 2008

And so it begins

Okay Pfitz, it’s show time.  You come highly recommended — many have said they’ve qualified for Boston with you — so for the next 18 weeks I’m all yours.  I know it won’t be easy, but I’m ready for the rigors ahead.  I’ve been working on strengthening my core and increasing my flexibility, plus I’ve increased my mileage considerably.

Because I ran my first two marathons for fun, my baseline marathon time is hypothetical (based on some recent runs, I’m guessing it’s in the 4:10:00-4:15:00 range).  To qualify for Boston, I need to get that time down to 4:00:59.  I know the mileage you recommend will certainly help (I’ll be following your “up to 55 miles/week” schedule), as well as the speed work.  But to be safe, I’ll also be adding some hills — repeats, as well as incorporating hilly courses into my regular runs.

As for cross training, I’ve finally found a yoga class I enjoy, so I’ll be taking that every Tuesday and will hit the pool or do some biking on Sundays (I’ve tweaked the schedule to begin on Sunday so that my long runs fall on Saturday).  I also have an elliptical available at my gym, and will be doing an arm/shoulder weight routine three days/week.  (And no, I won’t forget my core work — I’ll be doing that at least five times/week.  I hope to be able to hold a plank for two minutes by the end of the year!)

Ironically, I think my major challenge will be to keep my pace SLOW enough during my general aerobic, recovery and medium/long runs.  In fact, I may actually incorporate walk breaks during the long runs to ensure I stay within my projected pace (I’ll also have my heart rate monitor guide me).

Oh wait — there is one more challenge: my weight.  Mind you, I’m happy where I am, but I know my running would benefit if I were to lose 10 more pounds.  I love my wine (and salt), so my weight has stubbornly stayed in the 162-167 range.  I’m hoping to get down to 150 by my goal race (the North Olympic Discovery Marathon on June 8), but I’d be happy with 155.

Anyhoo, check back weekly for a progress report.  And please, don’t be offended if I use your name in vain.

Published February 1st, 2008

Faster than a speeding…

I’ve been playing a numbers game. I’m about to embark on some hard-core training in my quest to qualify for Boston (goal time of 4 hours, 59 seconds), but I have not established a good baseline. Although I have two marathons under my, er, feet, neither demonstrated what I’m truly capable of (after all, I don’t intend to drink wine or take pictures with Disney characters at North Olympic). Therefore, I have to use my best guesstimate. But what do I base it on? My best 5K time? 10K? Half marathon? Best 15K-30K training run? They all predict different outcomes when plugging in the numbers on the MacMillan Running Calculator.

I originally estimated my time at 4:30-4:40, but recent runs have had me question this. So I plugged in my best times for seven different distances, coming up with projected marathon times ranging from 4:20-4:40. Just when I settled on a middle-of-the-pack time (4:32), I decided I should run a 15K “race” to see if I could improve on that time. (In other words, I chose to run around Greenlake for 9.3 miles as fast as I could. Not the same as true race conditions, but it was close and the price was right!). My goal was to average 9-9 1/4 minute miles.

I’ve managed to convince my darling to join me on my BQ quest (he too will attempt a BQ), so rather than run together we ran in opposite directions, high fiving each other as we crossed paths. Although I wore my Garmin, I was determined not to look at it. Rather, I wanted my body to indicate when I should speed up and slow down.