Fall Weekends-Running and Recipes

Okay, so it’s Monday and I am already wishing for a “repeat of this weekend.  The air is clean, dry and chilly!  The fall foliage is at its peak in most of the northeast and mid-Atlantic states!This is the time of year for me, when I love being outside all.day. long.  This was the first weekend, in a while, where there was time to do all things I love doing on a fall weekend!

Friday Miles- School let out two hours early, so I headed home to squeeze in a few miles. Sometimes those miles after school are just what I need to unwind from a crazy, hectic day with 4th graders.  I don’t run with music, mostly because I am seeking silence after a day full of chatter!

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Dr. Cool Headband and Fuelbelt hydration bottle

Saturday Long RUn- The sunrise run did not happen.  I lingered too long in bed on Saturday morning.  It just felt so good to not have to wake up early because of other time commitments throughout the day.  By the time I headed out of the house for my long run, the sun was at its warmest point in the day.  I quickly peeled off my long sleeve shirt and capri leggings, in exchange for a sports bra and shorts.  62 degrees with sunny skies is still a bit warm for me.

11 miles total-not the 13 I was originally planning for, but still a good solid run!

1 mile warm up, followed by 3 miles at 8:50 pace, 3 miles at 8:30 pace, 2 miles at 8:20 pace and 2 miles at 9:05 pace.  My pesky bunion on my right foot has been giving me some issues lately. Womp, womp.  🙁  I have been trying the KTTape (video)  application for bunions.

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I have an appointment with a sports podiatrist in December.

Fuel on the run- Skratch Lab Energy Chews and Exercise Hydration  The ingredients are all natural with a light and clean, crisp taste.  The energy chews are fruity, but not sticky heavy in my mouth or stomach.

This run felt good, my legs and energy were strong and steady.  I feel like all the hill work this summer and early September/October has really paid off!

**Two weeks till the Annapolis Classic Half Marathon**

Sunday Rest Day- Muffins and Soup-  It must be that chilly fall weather, but I have been craving baked goods and warm, comforting soups.  I have a ton of apples that I grabbed up from a local orchard when I was home in Maine last weekend!

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Apples are my favorite fall fruit
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Warm Apple Muffins

Stonyfield Farms Recipe for Apple Pecan Muffins, but I omitted the pecans because I didn’t have any!  I also used this awesome gluten free flour from Cup4Cup Flour found at Target instead of the white all purpose flour.

Warm and Comforting Soup

This Soup is so creamy thanks to the cannellini beans/White Beans and finely chopped cauliflower.  I also added two heaping tablespoons of turmeric powder which has great anti-inflammatory benefits for runners!

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Creamy Mushroom, Garlic, White Bean and Cauliflower Soup Recipe

  • 1 cup of finely chopped crimini and shitake mushrooms
  • four cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot finely chopped
  • 1 cup of raw cauliflower finely chopped
  • 1 large raw carrot peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 can of white beans with liquid, plus 2 more cups of water
  • 1 vegetable boullion cube
  • 1/4 cup olive oil-for sauteing, adding another tablespoon or two at a time as you add the ingredients to the saute pan
  • two tablespoons of butter
  • sea salt to taste
  • ground cayenne pepper to taste
  • Trader Joe’s Season Salt to taste
  • turmeric powder- two heaping tablespoons

Directions-  one cooking pan- Le Crueset -My Go-To-Pan

  1. Heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil on medium heat, then saute the chopped  garlic, shallots and carrots in olive oil on medium heat until the ingredients are golden brown-push to the sides of the heavy, medium sized deep covered saute pan
  2. add the chopped cauliflower and saute till lightly browned and tender
  3. then add the chopped mushrooms and saute, adding in another tablespoon two of olive oil
  4. Add the beans with liquid, plus two more cups water and the vegetable boullion cube!
  5. Cook everything with the lid on until everything is cooked and very tender, stir in the two tablespoons of butter!
  6. Use a hand held immersion blender to blend Some of the Soup, but not all – you just want to create some creaminess with the cauliflower and white beans
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Soup for supper and more for lunch!

Fall weekends-chilly running weather, warm and comforting soups and yummy muffins!  How was everyone’s weekend? Are you craving fall comfort food!!

13.1-The Journey and Wrapping Up Fall Races

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.

– Proust –

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Fall Foliage Covered Road in Scarborough, Maine

Every mile is part of the journey.  Covering distance, with every step, mindful of the imperfect roads.  Life and running are perfectly imperfect and a journey of self-discovery.  As I wrap up my fall racing, I reflect on the last five months of training and life.

13.1 Miles-is half of nothing.  This has been my distance to conquer, to test my limits and strengthen my body and soul.  Last June, I decided that this would be the season of running half marathons.  I love this distance because it is a mixture of strength, stamina, endurance and speed.

The build up to this distance occurred over the last five months.  Weekly training was a combination of strength, endurance and speed.  I focused on building a solid base of weekly mileage – 25-30 miles a week.  Running typically happened five times a week out of a seven day cycle.  I included tempo runs, race specific speed workouts and the long runs into this training cycle. I increased my “short” weekdays runs from 4 to 6 miles.  Every Saturday or Sunday I was managing to hit double digit long runs.  Ten miles seems to be my lucky 10!

My constant struggle during any training cycle is “fitting in” the strength training.  Strength training is a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to staying injury free by maintaining good running form and keeping the hips and calves “strong and happy”!! 

There is an incredibly satisfying feeling when training hard through the summer months for fall racing.  You suck it up and get out there in the heat and humidity. My running mantra -#SuckitUpButterCup! For me, it was also a good time to add some races to my summer training.  I like to use some races as preparation for my big goal race.  The magic number, for me, was 13.1 miles this season!  I raced a few 10ks, but have had my eye on the Annapolis Classic Half Marathon which is now in three weeks!!

The Journey to Racing  13.1 

I used three half marathons this season as training runs, in preparation for my late fall goal race.  In July I ran the Portland Maine Shipyard Half Marathon, then I went on to run the Navy Air Force Half Marathon in September, followed by the The Leaf Peeper Half Marathon in Vermont on October 4th  The Annapolis Classic Half Marathon will bring me to a total of ten half marathons since I started road racing four years ago.  Running 13.1 miles over and over again, allows or me to build on what works with pacing and knowing where I need to put in more work.

 Overcoming the Mental Game

I feel like upping my shorter weekly runs to six miles and some nights even 7 miles, during the week, really put me in a good position mentally.  Then, when it came time for my Saturday/Sunday longer runs, those double digit 10 milers seemed so much more manageable.  10 miles no longer seems like a long and challenging task.  I have become more comfortable, both physically and mentally with lengthening the miles during my tempo runs. I have built strength, endurance and speed into my double digit runs, which I feel is key to racing half marathons.

Of course, as my body adapted both mentally and physically to consistent higher mileage, I then needed to add in more speed work and eventually increase my long runs to 11-12 miles every week.  Increasing some of my long runs on weekends was doable because I picked two half marathons between the months of September and October.

The key piece of advice for myself this training season has been-building routines and consistency.  Sticking to my 7 day training schedule and being consistent with a balance if hard tempos, easy long runs and speed work.  Allowing my body and mind to adapt and then pushing myself further, reaching outside of my comfort zone.

 

Three Weeks till Goal Race and Then. . . 

In the last three weeks leading up to the Annapolis Classic Half Marathon, my focus is staying injury free.  I tend to feel a few “squeaky wheels” as I near the end of a training cycle that has been “high mileage” for me.  So, I will foam roll, fill up on fish and legumes for protein, focus on eating complex carbs and start to taper a week and a half out from the race.  I want to nail one more long run workout this weekend!  It will be a tough workout-Allie from Vitatrain4life did this workout.  I will adjust the paces to fit me.

The Plan-

2 mile warm up

3 miles @mp pace

3 miles @hmp

3 miles @10kpace

1 mile @mp

and a 1 mile cool down

 

Goals for Annapolis-allow myself to settle in to a good pace, trust my training, and not be afraid to “leave it all out there” on the course.  I don’t want any regrets about this race and I know that as long as I just “run my race” it will all fall into place.  I feel good about where I have come this year with half marathons.  This is definitely a distance that allows me the opportunity to keep “chipping away” at my time.

This is a late season race, but after November I will take some time off from heavy mileage, let myself just enjoy some easy miles and then start building a base back up in January for spring races.  I’ve enjoyed the journey.  As with anything in life and running, nothing is perfect, the plans don’t always go off effortlessly each week, but the lessons learned along the road to any race build wisdom and strength.

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“Everyone must take the time to sit and watch the leaves turn.”- Elizabeth Lawrence

Any late fall races on your schedule?  What’s next?