Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Which came first? The Chicken (of the Sea) or the egg?

"I saw an idea on Pinterest," is usually the start of a downhill story; however, I managed to make something amazing from an idea on Pinterest for the first time last week. I saw the pin a long time ago, and I had originally pinned it for my sister, but it had been floating around in my head ever since. I have found this awesome, protein-packed, breadless tuna salad sandwich to be a Pinterest victory!

Small but mighty!
I first started by making this healthier tuna salad with plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo. Does it taste the same? No, but it doesn't taste bad. It just doesn't taste the same as mayo. I also added a tiny bit of spicy mustard to cut out a little of the tartness from the yogurt. Not up for the mustard, and don't think you can handle the full flavor of the yogurt? Then add two parts yogurt to one part mayo, and at least you are limiting your mayo intake. The next part is the awesome part!

Perfect lunchbox food!
After you have prepared your tuna salad with the yogurt, tuna, and other ingredients of your choosing, slice a boiled egg in half like a deviled egg, dump out the high-cholesterol yolk, and fill the middle with the tuna salad. The protein-packed "sandwiches" are awesome for a mid-day pick-me-up! I found two eggs to be far  more filling than I had originally anticipated, and they are great for diabetics or anyone who's cool really. ;) I am not diabetic, but I generally eat on a diabetic schedule, small meals every two hours or so, because my work schedule is odd, and I have found my metabolism is slowing as I age. This helps keep my energy up, and my mood up with a small, yet filling meal every couple hours.

And in the words of my friend Rachel, "You need to eat more protein!" This is her life code basically, and I am beginning to think she might be right.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Memorial Marathon

When I was growing up, one of my biggest role models was my grandma. She was to me, the pinnacle of independence, courage, strength, and  grace. My grandma lived her life with a strong yet graceful dignity that I admire. After seeing her maintain those qualities despite losing the ability to walk and talk due to ALS, I know that I should always utilize the abilities I have because I could lose them at any time. I do value my ability to walk, run, and be active, so I know that I should take full advantage of those things. I also know that I should use the abilities I have to help other people. My grandma was always doing whatever she could to help others.

The combination of my grandma's influence in my life and the suffering she encountered at the end of her life have reinforced my determination not to give up on the goal I set for myself to run a marathon before I turned 26. My grandma was not some running junkie who would be pumped about my marathon endeavor, but she had a strength that I admire and channel, and she believed in me with a pride and confidence that most people, even myself, often do not. She was also a fighter since the day she was born. She was the only sibling born in a set of triplets to survive, and that was only the beginning of the fighting to survive that my grandma would do in her lifetime.

My grandma was so giving. She gave whatever she could, whenever she could, and she often did so silently. There were so many people my grandma helped, but when she died, my family learned even more stories from people whom she had touched, but that she had never spoken a word about to anyone. My grandma was selfless, in a strong confident way because to her, it wasn't important that anyone knew of the deeds she was doing. She just believed strongly that it was what should be done, so she did it. It may have been monetary, lending an ear, saying a prayer, or giving a gift, but my grandma had an eye for those who were in need or suffering, and she always stepped up to do what was right.

When I add all the factors together, I see the best way for me to honor my grandmother's passing is to run my first marathon before my 26th birthday and the one year mark of her passing which fall on the same day, while raising money to help those in need. I have set up a fundraising page in my grandma's memory through The ALS Association national chapter. I know that this is a tough economic time, but almost everyone can afford to give even a couple dollars. Please view my fundraising page, and don't forget to cheer me on as I begin my training for my first marathon this week.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Racing Recap: Delaware Marathon Running Festival

I had been nervous all week leading up to Saturday. On Saturday, the day before the race, we went to packet pickup. That was when nervousness started to turn into a self-pep-talk, hyper mode. I was impressed with all the race SWAG, and I bought a new shirt at the expo from RUseeN apparel. Their apparel is reflective, and I picked a shirt that says, "I'm slow. I know. Get over it." on the back, and a
little turtle sweating on the front. I am pretty pumped about it. After we got home from the expo, I called my running brother, and my "Anything for 10," sister. They both assured me that I would be fine.

When I woke up this morning, I couldn't eat. I tried to have breakfast, but it just wasn't happening. I had read somewhere that there would be pre-race carbs at the staring line, and I figured I eat something there. Funny thing about that, we had trouble finding parking at first, and somehow ended up on the highway driving away from Wilmington with about 10 minutes to start time. I was trying to stay calm so that I wouldn't stress out Matt while he was driving, but I must not have been very good at that since he kicked me out of the car near the start to go find parking on his own. We ended up finding each other just as the race was starting.

"Running for Grandma"
For the first few miles, Matt kept telling me that I should slow down, but I was feeding off the race energy. I knew there was a chance that I would regret it later, but my brother had advised me to just feel out the race, and ride the energy as far as it would take me. I am so glad he told me that. I was also thinking of my grandma, with today being Mother's Day. My mom wasn't always round, but my grandma was, and she was absolutely the strongest person I have ever known and probably ever will. I knew this was the first race I would dedicate to her with it falling on the first Mother's Day after her passing.

I was feeling great, and it seemed as if the whole race was going to be flat. The scenery was AMAZING! We ran along the river, through the zoo area, over the river on a neat bridge, and then it seemed as if they decided to put all the elevation gain in only one spot. Or so I thought at the time. I needed to pee so bad, but I just kept running as long as I could to get to the point where I would let myself stop to go. Matt convinced me to run ahead around Little Italy so that I could stop to use the porta potties on the loop back. He caught up right as I stepped out.

Matt's First Half
After that, I knew I needed to keep pushing because this was one of those races where I only felt how tired I was when I walked, instead of feeling refreshed after a break. I realized Matt wasn't right behind me anymore when he sent me a text message saying that he was cramping some, and that he wanted me to go ahead. I felt bad, but then he sent me a message saying that I was on track to PR. He wore the Garmin today, which I think also helped me. I knew after that message that if I wasn't going to stay with him, that I had to PR. And with his support, I felt the drive to push on and keep going when I was getting tired.

I started losing my resolve again when I rounded the corner at mile 12, and I realized Matt was right when he told me that there was a massive hill at that point. I had to walk again because I was losing my energy, and that hill was a beast. When it leveled out again, I started back into a run, and I finished with a PR 8 minutes faster than my previous PR. Overall, it was a great race, and I couldn't have done it without Matt, Grace, Joe, and all the spectators, volunteers, and even cops who cheered me on!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Talk about timing...

"When you are well prepared to meet the demands of a race, not only will your race probably go well, but your recovery should go smoothly, too."-- Susan Paul, running coach and exercise physiologist

This is printed at the bottom of this week's page in my running journal...yeahhh. It is race week, and I am suddenly reminded of how awful things went last year. I took a whole year off from the half marathon distance because of how terrible the race and recovery were last spring at the Joplin Memorial Run. Just reading that at the bottom of the page also makes every run I have skipped flash before my eyes. That includes the run I skipped today due to the spring downpour this morning.

I know that the quote is right, which I why I am so scared. I know that the race ambiance and course should be great. I have obviously never run the Delaware Running Festival before, but I can tell that the race directors take great pride in the event they put on. With this being the 10th anniversary, I know that it will only add to all the great things they normally have for the runners. This means that if the race doesn't go well, that I can only blame myself. And I NEED this race to go well. First off, I have one week off before I begin training for my first marathon! What the heck? I am about to train for a marathon! Secondly, I basically forced my fiance to run this race with me, and I really want him to love running, I would say as much as I do, but maybe I should shoot for half as much as I do, and I am banking on this race to convince him.

Ready or not, the race is four short days away. I will give a full report sometime after the race. I would like to say later that day, but there is a chance that all I will want to do is nap afterward. Then again, the race high might kick in for me to blog. Either way, in the near future, you can look forward to a race recap and the official announcement of the charity that I will be running for as I train for and run my first marathon.

Tomorrow also marks my two year running anniversary!! Happy anniversary to me! I didn't keep a running/mileage journal all year, but I have logged more than 100 miles just training for my race this weekend. You can read my one year recap if you are interested.