Spinach Cherry Smoothie and Milestones

I passed a running milestone this week – my first double digit run. I have been nervously anticipating Friday’s run for the last two weeks. I know I’m supposed to only focus on the current day’s workout, but Friday’s 10 miler was looming. Even though I’ve been gradually working up to this distance for the last 4 months, 10 miles just seemed like such a long distance.  It was mostly a mental challenge, and I happy to say I passed. It didn’t even seem that hard, probably because I had turned it into such a mountainous feat in my mind. I need to learn to  just trust in my training and I’ll be fine.

I was a little nervous about running that distance on my ankle, since it’s been bothering me, but it seems fine. The tape and exercises seem to be helping.

There were 3 beers left in a 6-pack of Guinness my husband brought home last week. I really wanted one of those, but I decided I should have something healthier instead, so I made a smoothie. (I did have a Guinness later in the day. I ran 10 miles after all, so I figured I could have one.)

Ever since I stared this half-marathon adventure, I have been trying to eat better. I ate pretty good before, but I realized I could do better, especially in the vegetable department. I have no problem eating plenty of fruit, but I’m not too keen on veggies – especially the green, leafy kind. I’ve found that by sneaking them into my smoothies they are much more palatable. At first I thought that greens in a smoothie sounded weird, but actually it works out pretty well. I can’t even taste the greens. Here is the smoothie recipe I’ve been relying on lately.

smoothie

Spinach Cherry Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain kefir (If I don’t have any kefir on hand, I use 1/2 cup of plain, Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup of almond milk instead)
  • about 1/2 a cup of frozen cherries
  • big handful of spinach
  • about a 1/4 inch of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 2 TBSP of flax seeds
  • a small handful of raw almonds
  • scoop of protein powder (optional)
  • honey or agave to sweeten (optional)

Directions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend it together.

Tips and other suggestions

  1. Because of the almonds, this will have a crunchier texture than a normal smoothie and you’ll have to blend it a little longer than usual.
  2. Sometimes I put a small banana into the mix.
  3. You can also use baby kale in place of the spinach.
  4. If it’s too thick for your liking, you can add a splash of almond milk or orange juice to the mix.

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Half-marathon Training Week 10

  • Sunday: Yoga
  • Monday: 3 miles, last 2 race pace + strength
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: 6 miles with hills + yoga
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: 10 easy miles
  • Saturday: 2 easy miles
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Stream of Conciousness Rambling

Zombies

I never intended for this to turn into a running blog, but as the growing pile of UFOs (unfinished objects) and mate-less socks and legwarmers on my craft desk illustrate, I haven’t had much time to knit lately.

OK confession. . .maybe it’s not so much that I haven’t had the time. . .see my daughter introduced me to her favorite DS game, Plants vs. Zombies, a little bit ago. At first I thought it was the dumbest game ever. Then one day I had a few minutes before the kids got off the bus from school. It was one of those times where there wasn’t enough time to really start anything, but I was too wound up to just sit quietly. My daughter’s DS was sitting on the table next to my favorite chair. I picked it up and decided to try Plants vs. Zombies again. I developed a sort of addiction. Here recently, time I normally would have spent knitting has been occupied with me choosing the proper plants to defend my home from a zombie attack. I’m not proud, but it happens. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

I’ve defeated the zombies and can now move onto knitting mates for the socks I started months ago. I’ve self- committed to complete at least one UFO by the end of this month.

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Candy Fish

The other night the kids wanted some ice cream after dinner. I didn’t have any in the freezer, so they asked if I had any “running candy”.

“Running candy?” I asked. “What are you talking about?”

“Your fish, Mom.”

“Oh, those.”

I keep a stash of Swedish Fish in my office. I like to take along a pocket full of fish when I go out for a longer run. The sugar seems to give me an extra boost at the end, and they’re just a nice pick-me-up when I’m starting to tire. Apparently the kids noticed. I haven’t had many long runs here recently, but I’ve kept a stash to reward myself after all the carpy weather runs (bad pun intended) I’ve endured over the winter months. I may have a small Swedish Fish addiction as well.

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Training Update

I think I ran through all 4 seasons these past 2 weeks. I ran in a tank top and shorts one day, a rain jacket the next, and then all bundled up again like it was the middle of winter. I hate April weather. It can never decide what it wants to be.

Last Thursday, I ran a 6.5 mile loop in pouring rain and really strong wind gusts. It was one of those days when I was wondering why I was out running instead of in my warm, dry home. The gusts were so strong they literally stopped me dead in my tracks twice. The second time I shouted expletives at the wind before continuing on. Some poor man was getting into his truck when that happened and looked up surprised. I hope he realized that I wasn’t talking to him.

My ankle has been complaining a bit. Last summer I twisted it when I stepped in a hole while playing frisbee with my dog in the park. I don’t think I let it rest enough after the initial injury, so now it’s complaining. So far I haven’t had to stop running on it. My Dr. gave me some stretchy bands and a list of exercises to do. And I’ve been taping it with some KT tape when I run. The tape and home therapy seem to be helping. The pain is lessening, so hopefully I won’t have to take any significant time off.

Half Marathon Training Week 8

  • Sunday: 7.75 mile bike ride (my ankle was complaining today, so I thought I’d give it a rest and try out my new-to-me bike that my mom gave me.)
  • Monday: 4 easy miles
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: 2 easy miles
  • Thursday: 6.5 miles
  • Friday: Core Yoga
  • Saturday: Rest

Half Marathon Training Week 9

  • Sunday: 3 miles + 6 striders
  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 8 mile trail run
  • Wednesday: 3 easy miles
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Core Yoga
  • Saturday: 3.5 miles + core and strength

Running for Boston

I had a post prepared for Monday, but then the explosions at the Boston Marathon happened and it didn’t seem right to post it. I’ll save it for another day.

So many have already written about Monday. I don’t have much to add to the discussion. Yesterday I woke up still sickened, and saddened, and angry about what happened.  What should have been a day of celebration and joy, turned into something horrible. I didn’t know what else to do, so I went for a run. I didn’t think about my training schedule, I just ran until I was too tired to run anymore. It seems like several other runners had the same idea because I saw more runners on the trails than I normally would on a Tuesday morning. I chatted with a couple, waved to them all, and I felt much better afterwards. It restored my faith in humanity.

Today I ran another 3 miles for Boston. I ran because that’s what I do.  I also ran because someone took the joy out of running for a day. I ran to take the joy back.

While I was running, I turned off my music and slowed down. I listened. Sometimes I forget to listen. I listened to the birds and the frogs, who were out in full voice yesterday. They reminded me that life continues to move forward. It’s a sobering reality, but one that gives me comfort.

My thoughts will continue to be with those who were affected by Monday’s tragedy. And if you want to do more than just run, you can donate to The One Fund. Or you could donate to one of the charities that the runners were running for.

As I ran yesterday, I stopped to snap a few photos along the way. The accidental photographer in me never rests. There was a cute family of turtles all lined up according to size on a log. I was looking forward to viewing it when I got home, but all I have in it’s place is a black square. Hopefully the turtles will be back next time I’m on this trail.

About Being the Careful Black Sheep

This post began as a personal entry – one that I write for myself to clear the thoughts from my head so I stop looping. I never mean to share those type of posts. I usually just delete them once I’ve cleared my head. I debated sharing this because I think it might border on self-indulgent whining, and I’m guilty of being annoyingly vague. However, I want it down for future reference when this crap happens again, which I’m sure it will. No matter how hard we try to avoid drama, it always manages to find it’s way back to us. I tried to edit most of the whining out. Hopefully I succeeded in just making this a list of promises to my future self. Maybe someone else can relate. Maybe it will remind them to be careful who they pretend to be.

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I couldn’t resist buying this shirt from the Thinking Atheist. Those who know me well in real life all got a giggle from it when they first saw me wear it. All except one family member. He didn’t understand why I thought I was the black sheep (and he obviously missed the underlying message of the shirt). I think he thinks he’s the black sheep. Unfortunately, he’s just a sheep. A white, privileged sheep. At least that is how it looks from where I sit.

I’m definitely one of the black sheep in the family. Not because I get into a lot trouble. I hardly ever get into any. But I do tend to challenge most of them on certain issues. They all lean one direction, and I’m leaning the other. Actually, I’m no longer leaning. I’ve confidently stepped over the fence. I am after all 41. I think at this age I’m allowed. I actually don’t see the fence that divides us, but they all seem to. And I get frustrated that at my age, I still am affected by what I call soap-opera syndrome; the syndrome where everyone is a victim and it’s always everyone else’s fault (that everyone else is usually me and my “strong personality”).

Another blogger that I read occasionally reminded me of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut quote the other day – “We are who we pretend to be. So we must be careful who we pretend to be.” It’s the “moral” of his novel, Mother Night, which is my favorite Vonnegut novel that I’ve read so far. There is truth to the above quote on a couple of different levels. It also speaks to me particularly because I’ve been careful about who I pretend to be throughout my life. For a long time I pretended to be what I thought others wanted me to be. Fortunately, I caught on early enough that the quote also refers to the fact that the people and situations we surround ourselves with shape who we are as individuals, so we need to be careful with whom we surround ourselves and which experiences we choose to participate in. However, lately I seem to have forgotten this bit of wisdom and stopped being careful with whom I was surrounding myself.

How does all this relate to running, reading, and knitting? I read partly as an escape, but also because I have the curiosity of a kitten. I want to learn as much as I can about our blue planet and it’s inhabitants. The old, tired saying, “knowledge is power” is something I firmly believe in. Not everyone seems to believe in that old adage. I’m often told I read too much. I tend to disagree. If I didn’t read, I wouldn’t learn new things and grow as a person.

I took up knitting as a way to express myself creatively, but it also became a form of meditation that helped me quiet my mind and realize that I needed to remember the moral of Mother Night and start paying attention again to who I am pretending to be. My knitting indirectly led me out the door and into a pair of running shoes. That’s when the fog began to lift.

Now that I am seeing things clearly again, I’ve decided to make myself the promise that I will always, from this point on, be aware of who I surround myself with and which experiences I choose to participate in. I will not get sucked into family or “friend” drama. I will not be forced to choose sides when I am uncomfortable choosing. I will not let others’ anger and insecurities dictate my behavior. I will not pretend to be something I am not in the name of “keeping harmony”.

I will no longer continue to explain myself in an endless and useless attempt to get certain individuals to just understand where I am coming from. I can’t make them listen and that is their problem not mine.

I am not wrong because I am different. Nor am I evil or “of darkness”. I am just different.

I will no longer feel guilty for being the black sheep. I am who I am, strong-personality and all. Ironically, I’m not the one who proselytizes or gives unsolicited opinions. I am simply honest when confronted. That’s not to say I can’t make improvements (especially on my delivery method when the emotions start to rise), but I normally put a lot of thought into my actions and the decisions I make. I have nothing to be ashamed of.

And finally, and most importantly, I will not dwell on the past and play the “what if” game. Neither will I get so focused on the future that I take my eye off the prize. Briefly looking back or ahead to glean lessons from our mistakes, relish in fond memories, set goals, or reevaluate our present coarse is one thing. Getting so caught up on the “what if game” and trying to find the “next best thing” that will make our life so much better takes our focus away from the present. This is where I am now. That is my new mantra. And despite what some may believe, I am happy and comfortable with where I am right now. And I wouldn’t have gotten here if I hadn’t stepped over that fence. I feel like I am finally starting to take my power back.

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I’m still training for my first half-marathon, although it’s been hard these last couple of weeks. The mental challenge is what has been getting to me. I just started a new job, my husband unexpectedly landed in the hospital for a week, and I’ve been dealing with stupid family/”friend” issues as you may have guessed from the post. It’s difficult to stick with a training plan when there is so much stress around you. I crave the running, but my nutrition and sleep have suffered as a result of the stress I’ve been under. That has made running less than easy, fun, and enjoyable.

This week I learned the importance of staying hydrated throughout the day (I was forgetting to drink fluids while at work and almost passed out one day). I also learned that I perform better with 2 rest days during the week. As a result, I’ve been doing my strength, and sometimes yoga, after my easy runs instead of on a separate day. And Friday night I learned that I can run through a side-stitch, feelings of nausea, bitter 25 mph winds, sore muscles, and negative thoughts. Yeah, my long run Friday night sucked! But there is truth to the statement that running is largely a mental game. I think I came out ahead this week even if it doesn’t look like I did on paper. And I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I thought I was.

Half Marathon Training Week 6

  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: Yoga
  • Tuesday: 3 easy miles
  • Wednesday: 4 easy miles
  • Thursday: rest
  • Friday: 2 easy miles
  • Saturday: 5.5 easy miles

Half Marathon Training Week 7

  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: 2 miles + four striders and core
  • Tuesday: rest
  • Wednesday: 1 mile with core
  • Thursday: I missed this run. It should have been 4 easy miles, but I just couldn’t muster the energy so I played video games and read Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
  • Friday: 5.5 miles
  • Saturday: Another rest day, but a very active one. I had a 2 mile run on the calendar but I couldn’t face the wind again. I’ll make it up tomorrow.

Next week….train hard, no more whining and no excuses!