Little meltdown of love and experimental tuesday

FYI- Donations for team in training close tomorrow at 5 p.m.  If you want to donate…now is your chance!!

Ya anyway, I have been having a bit of a meltdown lately about all this tapering.  Sure, I’m running just as long in just as many days, but the intensity of the runs has significantly died down.  I have also been a little bit more….emotional….then in the last couple of weeks. TO TOP IT ALL OFF, my birthday is on Friday and it’s not even something I’m thinking about.

WHO AM I???

I am Lauren.  And I am tapering.  I have taper madness.
Weight gain, Tearfulness, Melancholy, Low Energy, Fatigue, ADHD, High Energy, Bird Poop.

I emailed Becca about what was going on with me, and this was some of her response.

Hey Lauren!!
That’s why I started sending out my pre-marathon emotional emails, because it is SO SO SO common. It’s a hell of a journey, but honestly, nothing in the world (except having a child) compares to crossing the finish line in a MARATHON.. Think about the fact that TWO (as in 1.. 2..) of the population will EVER run a marathon!!! Here is another article I have, I cut and pasted the most important parts!
Preparing to run a marathon not only requires physical preparation but also an emotional and spiritual preparation. Marathon preparation occurs over many months with the anticipation of running a  specific marathon in one particular city.  For beginning runners, understanding the process in which beginners prepare for marathons both physically and mentally, will ensure a more smooth transition and guaranteed success at passing through the marathon finish line.

Beyond physical training, the beginning runner will endure emotional and mental preparation prior to a marathon. While for most runners, the goal is not to win the race but, instead, to simply finish.   Especially during the first marathon, the runner will undergo a transformation, both spiritually and mentally, as they experience the achievement of a goal which few are able to a achieve.  Working the body into a state in which endurance, over a long period, is appreciated while maintaining mental awareness. This is most often attributed to imbalance of hormones.

It is normal to experience intense emotions before a marathon. Many athletes feel very anxious and most feel some degree of anxiety. Anxiety can be related to inadequate race preparation.However, they should try to interpret these feelings to mean that they are excited; marathon are by its very nature uncertain, and even the most confident athletes still have a degree of anticipation regarding how things will turn out. It is possible to feel anxious but to interpret these feelings in a motivational way as being ready to perform. Anxiety can be a good thing!! Lauren- you are READY!

She’s right.  I’m ready.  I have to keep telling myself that.  Plus, I really have the best cheerleaders ever…those new and old!  If you have tips, I welcome any and all to get me through these next two weeks!!

I decided to go out today to see what it felt like to do an easy run.  About 5.5 miles with a little walking sprinkled about.  My hamstrings were feeling a little bomb from that Frog Jump workout on Toneitup.com

First, let’s look at me taking pics of me with my Iphone.  First, here is moi pre-run.  Idk why it’s red up in here.

Ya, I know I know, I shouldn’t be complaining, but I’ve never felt confident about me body, especially my stomach…and the last few days I’ve felt like a hellaphant.
Then…after 5.5 miles in the heat and sunshine.  I looked like this:
After a beautious run, and some smart eating today (Green Monster Smoothie for breakfast, tortellini with chicken sausage, goat cheese, broccoli, and butternut squash for lunch, almonds and an orange for snack) because I cried so much last night, I tried out my EXPERIMENTAL TUESDAY SMOOTHIE!
Not sure how I really felt about it…the broccoli kind of reminded me of almond butter when all was said and done…but it included:
3 strawberries
1 handful of broccoli
3 chunks of frozen mango
several blackberries
1 orange
1 cup of almond milk
tiny splash of strawberry crystal light

I know it’s interesting, I know its good…but this run and experimental tuesday, along with some sweet texts and trying to focus on my birthday first…has really helped me to focus on the important things.  Like, my awesome life!
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I made food!

As you know, I’ve been changing my eating habits in order to incorporate a healthier and happier lifestyle.  Because its school vacation week, I’ve had the luxury of sleeping, eating, and running at my leisure.  With all this time, I’ve come up with some really stellar recipes to share with the cooking challenged, such as myself.  I call this first recipe: “I’m out of a lot of ingredients eggs”

Here is what it does require: Multigrain bread- 2 slices
                                              2 servings of egg beaters or however much you think is enough
                                              A splash of milk- I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk
                                              A sprinkling of cheese- I used my dijon ale soft chedder cheese
                                              A smidge of ground pepper 
                                              Optional- A boatload of chia seeds

Don’t let the chia seeds fool you.  The meal was pretty “kick donkey” in censored terms.  I also paired my breakfast with my bottle of Ethos water ala Starbucks from when I went to the Marathon.
Next we have: “Lauren just learned that pasta tastes awesome and can be good for you”
The ingredients:
1 serving of pesto tortellini (I bought premade. You can make your own, fancypants out there)
1 apple chicken sausage cut up
2 handfuls of spinach
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 serving of honey goat cheese
=
AWESOME!
Heat up the tortellini, i.e. boil it
cut up the chicken sausage and put it in a pan with the spinach.  Cook for a bit.
Add the olive oil
Put it all together in one bowl
Add goat cheese and stir until melted.
EAT!
 And last but not least we have Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins.  The best thing ever.
I left them off of my original grocery shopping list but went back to the store this morning after I cried all night about not having my puffins!

Oh man.  I couldn’t help myself.  I opened the box at a stoplight.  Oh well, I justify it by the fact that I was on my way to the gym to do five miles of speedwork.  5, 1 mile repeats at 7:45 min/mile pace with 1 minute rest breaks in between.  I was a sweaty mess.

Green Monster (and not of the red sox variety!)

Ok, where have I been living?  I just discovered a smoothie called the Green Monster.  It’s literally four ingredients and tastes like heaven (although I added chia seeds for a kick).  You could potentially make the smoothie with a different variety of fruit if you wanted, but here is what was on call for today. 

10 chunks of frozen mango
1 whole banana
2 handfuls of spinach
1 cup of vanilla unsweetened almond milk
chia seeds
Some people add protein powder, but girl, I ain’t got none at the moment.  
Here now, is a ridiculous amount of photos showing you how to make the easiest recipe in the history of mankind.
And. I kid you not.  It tastes awesome.  Go mom go didn’t believe me, but that’s because she’s not a believer.

And now, onto a photo montage of me and my green smoothie.

Delicioso! Good for recovery runs but also happened to be my lunch for today!
Now I’m off to the Hynes Convention Center for the Boston Marathon Expo!  Not that I’m running but seeing as how I live in Boston, where the expo is, I better get my butt in gear!

Listen, I already ran my 5 miles AND cleaned my entire room.  Although I didn’t really finish cleaning my roomwhatever.

Fuelbelts: surprisingly the most uncool things ever.

Sadly, I was a bit underwhelmed when I got my fuelbelt in the mail today.  I don’t know why I thought it would be super awesome, like the best thing that ever happened to me.  I mean, its going to keep me hydrated and I can stick snacks in it, but, um, its so awkward and clunky.  I was also hoping to wear that bad boy around my hips, but realized its supposed to go on your waist.  Fuelbelts are basically the runner’s equivalent of a fanny pack.  Yayyyyyyyy……

(Also, leave me alone about these pictures.  My roommate is a surgeon, aka is gone a lot, so I have to use mirrors and self-timers to help out with training pics. pffftt.) 
OK well another thing that came in the mail were my Chia Seeds.  Remember how I said that Chia Seeds hold about 12x their weight in water, and help to curb appetite and insulin production?  Well, we’re going to see just how awesome they are.  You can sprinkle them on top of food, put them in your drink, or soak them in liquid and they turn into gel and take on the taste of the liquid.  
WAIT!  I just got an AWESOME idea.  I’m going straight to my fridge to put them in gatorade.  Ok, so while I finish this post, I’ll wait for the Chia seeds to grow into a gel blob.  I’m a little freaked out though because Chia seeds make me think of the movie Gremlins, where you splash water on those cute and cuddly suckers but as a result they turn into scary gremlins.  Anyway…
Ok, so my run…my run my run my run.  Another fail of a five miler.  I tried my best to fuel up properly before the run, got some gatorade, made sure I ate some carbs, went to the bathroom, and stretched.  However, I got out there and needed to stop every half mile because the area above my ankle that is also a part of the calf muscle often gets tight and cramped.  I felt fine physically, but once that area gets tight, I’m no good; its like someone pinches the muscles and makes it feel like I’m wearing weights.
After doing some research, I stumbled upon an article in the Scientific American that discusses this very issue, which I suspected to be Lactic Acid buildup.  My susipcians were confirmed upon reading this paragraph:
“Contrary to popular opinion, lactate or, as it is often called, lactic acid buildup is not responsible for the muscle soreness felt in the days following strenuous exercise. Rather, the production of lactate and other metabolites during extreme exertion results in the burning sensation often felt in active muscles, though which exact metabolites are involved remains unclear. This often painful sensation also gets us to stop overworking the body, thus forcing a recovery period in which the body clears the lactate and other metabolites.”
I find this condition to be SUPER annoying because it hurts.  It’s also SUPER annoying because you know your body can run, but then these muscle areas make it hard to do anything.  I even had to stop and sit on the pavement to massage the area in question.  
In my research, I realize that I need to do a lot more targeted stretching before and after a run.  I also need to do more tempo runs to improve my lactate threshold.  I believe what is happening, upon intense examinations of my recent runs, is that my body is having a freakout moment over the increased speed and longer runs that I am requiring it to do.  A tempo run just helps to train your body to run faster for longer periods of time.  I do see myself getting faster but also having a hard time sustaining that speed.  Like…tonight I ran 5 miles just under 40 minutes.  My pace lately has been very quick, but my legs are having a hard time keeping up.
The remedy?  I need to slow down a little and let my body adjust.  Then, as I continue doing speedwork and long runs, my body should be able to handle the changes accordingly.  So instead of a 7:30-8:00 min mile, I should try to run at an 8:30 pace, until my body acclimates itself to the intensity.  
Also, I should foamroll a hella lot when I get back.  Sorry for the foul language.

You’s welcome for those pictures.
Hey…lets check on the chia seeds now!
Weiirrddd.

Well they tasted completely gel-like.  Like gatorade jelly.  This should be interesting.  Happy Friday!

Green Shamrocks, Purple Pandas, Pink Surprises, and… Chia Pets?

I had such a busy day at work, the only thing that reminded me it was St. Patrick’s day was my green shirt and wristband that had a green clover on it.  Oh, and the cupcake that I ate (aka licked off the frosting and threw out the cake part) was bedazzled in green shamrock love!  Honestly, if there is one thing I love more than nachos, its frosting.  

After school, I had to participate in the March Madness basketball tournament.  Students pair up with their opposite gendered teachers and form teams of 3 that compete in a bracket tournament.  The students loooveee this tournament because they get to design costumes for the team to wear.  So, everyone looks silly on top of having fun playing basketball. I only had one team this year.  Our names were the Purple Pandas.  Needless to say, we won’t be making it to the finals that happen tomorrow.  Oh well!  
As for the rest of my St. Patrick’s day…I’m unsure where the night will take me.  Although after my phone call, just this second with Sara Baby Snake, it looks like I’m heading to the Atlantic Beer Garden. Many of you readers know that Boston is front and center in the festivities, and a lot of us South Boston residents save our celebrations for parade Sunday.  However, because its such a beautiful day, I may very well try to venture out this evening.  This will all happen after Jessica and I finish The Fighter, as I walked home into its open arms.
I hate to admit it though, because of the timing of everything that happened today, it doesn’t look like I’m going to get in a run.  I feel a little frustrated by that.  Some days, I just have to remind myself that its ok to take a day off.  I plan on running 5-6 miles tomorrow after school (before heading out to The King and I Thai Cuisine for dinner with my favorites) and then am getting in a 10 mile run on Saturday morning with my training team.  Ce la vie! 
Oh yea…and guess what I bought from amazon!
A PINK FUELBELT HAHAHAH.  Yay for pink outdoor gear. Fuel belts become important once you start trekking out into the world longer than ten miles.  Maybe an elite athlete could do without one, but surely a first time marathoner can’t.  It will hold all my super awesome fueling gear such as water, gatorade, and energy GU.
 I also bought a three pound bag of Chia Seeds after obsessing over Hungry Runner Girl’s Blog.  I love love love her blog, although I’m totally jealous that her entire body is the size of my arm.  Ok, so why would I eat Chia seeds that basically are known to the public through the wonders of Chia Pets?  Well let me tell you.  Ok you either you sprinkle Chia on food, or dissolve chia in water…at which point it turns into a gel that you suck down.  Why that’s awesome is because it can hold 12x its weight in gold er water.  So, it fills you up like woah.  It also helps to hydrate you before, during, or after long runs without weighing you down with too much water.  Chia seeds also help to balance your blood sugar, which is great, because between 8 and 9 a.m. every morning I feel a crash and go on carb witch hunts.  Its a bloody mess. ON TOP OF all of those wonderful qualities, it also helps to regulate your digestive system, which lordy lord knows I need all the help I can get.
I can’t wait to show you my new “toys” when they get here!