Thursday, April 17, 2014

Friday- 13 mile run around Salt Lake City and Liberty Park

Friday was another gorgeous day in Salt Lake City.  Again the weather was sunny, high 60's to low 70's.    And again, Thatcher had to work most of the day.  A full day to myself... what to do.  
Well I am really bad at relaxing and really good at keeping busy.

I am starting to taper for my Marathon on May 4th.  I had just run my 20 miler the weekend before, and was going to attempt a 12-15 mile run this weekend. 

The problems with running in Salt Lake City, or Utah in general is:
A:  I am not used to the altitude-  Harder to catch your breath out here
B:  I am not used to the mountains.  We have hills at home, rolling hills, but I am not used to running straight up and then straight down.
C:  It was really warm this weekend- I had been training throughout the winter in very cold temperatures.  My body was not used to the sunny 70 degrees that was forecasted for Friday.


Because I had A, B, and C against me, I decided to stick with a flat route.  The only way to do that is to run the city blocks or find a park.  I did both.  I did some research and found a park called Liberty Park about two miles from the apartment.  My plan was to run 2 miles to the park (stopping to buy a Gatorade somewhere) run 9 miles at the park, and then run 2 miles back to the apartment. 

I wore a pair of biking shorts, a tank top, my compression socks, my newtons, and some sun screen.  I headed out and bought a Gatorade at a local convenience store.  I don’t like to drink super sweet gartorade while running, but my NUUN tabs were at home and I knew with the heat that Gatorade was the better option over water.

When I got to the park, I was stunned.  It was runner's paradise.  There were several “tracks” that went around the park, a mulch path for runners, grass, and two cement sidewalks for runners, walkers, rollerbladers, or bikers.  I switched from the mulch track to the cement track to the grass track.  It was really nice to have the different terrains (oh, and all flat!) -- The track around the park was roughly 1.5 miles.  This worked PERFECTLY for my 1.5 mile running and 1.5 minute walking.  Ran a lap, walked a minute with my Gatorade, set it down, and repeat.  There was also some shady parts around the track, water fountains everywhere (even doggy ones!) and several bathrooms around the park.  Runner's paradise indeed.

I finished my nine miles, all while taking in this gorgeous park.  A big pond with boats, tennis courts, pavilions, benches everywhere, fields, an aviary, bocce, horseshoes, volleyball, you name it.  There were people everywhere, dogs everywhere, and everyone out enjoying the day.  It was one of those runs that just makes you happy to be outside, and reminds you why you run.   This will be a spot I absolutely come back to run, visit, and enjoy the park with Olive.  

At mile 11 (9 on the track) I left the park and headed back towards the apartment.  I was feeling pretty tired and ready to be done, but I think this was mostly due to the heat I was not used to.  I finished my 13.01 at a 9:53 pace, which included my walk breaks.  I was pretty happy with the time that has been consistent with my other long runs.  Consistent pace even with the altitude change and heat? Not bad Katie. 

At this point, I had successfully trained in all types of conditions.  Sun and heat, bitter cold, wind, rain, and even altitude.  I had gotten to the important 20 miler, and I finally feel really ready for this marathon.

The one thing I realized, was that I was going to need some better warm weather gear.  I was going to need some quality shorts for my marathon, that would wick and wouldn’t ride up, and I was going to need a running hat that would wick away the sweat while keeping the sun off my face.   And while I am at it, maybe a fun new tank top to celebrate the occasion ;) 

Once back at the apartment, I hopped in the shower, got dressed, and met Thatcher for a late lunch.  Even though it was quite warm out, he had Ramen on the brain, and who am I to say no to a bowl of noodles?  We went to Naked Fish, a few blocks from Thatcher’s apartment and I ordered a bowl of classic Ramen and a glass of refreshing white wine.  After lunch, we headed to Lululemon to pick out a pair of marathon shorts.

This was not as easy as I thought.  Most of their shorts are  INSANELY short, and made for girls with twigs for legs.  I wanted something a little longer with a little more room for the thighs.  After about 30 minutes and 5 shorts, I finally settled on this pair.   The length of the shorts was perfectly, the legs were roomy, and the band was seamless and really comfortable.  They even have a pocket that’s just big enough for my phone, or some keys and a card.  And don’t worry friends, I will be doing my next long(ish) run in these to see if they will work for my 26.2. 

After Lululemon and lots of walking around town, we were hungry again, and stopped at the Desert Storm Brewery for beer, wine, and an app.  We sat outside on the deck and settled on some veggie spring rolls and I had a glass of white wine which was a refreshing snack on a beautiful day. 

After all the eating out, we deiced to make dinner at the apartment.   I made porkchops with a mushroom and red wine reduction, with quinoa and green beans.  A relaxing and healthy meal enjoyed at home to end the day.

A 13 mile run, a walk around the city, a trip to Lululemon, a pit stop at a brewery, and a delicious homemade dinner.  The day’s just keep getting better and better.

<3 Katie 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thursday - flying to Salt Lake City, Utah

Hello everyone!  Happy Tuesday. 

Today I left Salt Lake City, Utah, and I am on my way to Denver, Colorado.  One hour layover in Denver and then one more plane to Columbus, Ohio. 

While sitting on the plane, 
thought I would get a head start on a trip recap.

SO far, I have realized a lot of people do not know that you can bring food on an airplane, through security and all that.  Gels and things like hummus may pose more of a problem (3oz rule) but besides that, you can pack a sandwich at home and bring it right through security.  This means no more airport junk and snacking on peanuts when all you want is lunch.

I had a 6:50 flight out of Connecticut so I packed a banana, orange, grapes, and goldfish.  I was really thankful to have these snacks on my flights!


I landed in the Twin Cities for a quick layover and snagged a window seat on the next flight.  It was really cool to see the topography change.  Lakes, gridded nothingness, then the city, and then the mountains

Flying in to this made me so happy!  So happy for the long week in Salt Lake City, excited to see Thatcher, and excited for the change of pace.

I landed at about 11a, Salt Lake City time (1 my time) and was starving.  I took the lightrail from the airport, to the downtown area, and before I even got rid of my luggage, we went out to the food trucks for some lunch.


Thatcher got some tacos while I got pulled pork in a waffle sandwich with some smashed potatoes.  Holy yum.  Dessert was a maple bacon cupcake…. Because why not?


I was so excited to see so much green, and flowers, and sunshine.  In Connecticut, everything is still pretty brown, except for a few daffodils here and there.  In Salt Lake City, the trees were blooming, the grass was so green, flowers were everywhere.  It was like winter had never happened there. 

After a quick lunch, Thatcher had to go back to work, and I stopped at the apartment to drop off my things and take a quick shower.  Something about airplanes and traveling and being that close to people all day just makes you feel so icky. 

After a quick lunch, Thatcher had to go back to work, and I stopped at the apartment to drop off my things and take a quick shower.  Something about airplanes and traveling and being that close to people all day just makes you feel so icky.   The weather was in the high 60s, low 70s, sunny, and just gorgeous.   I wore my new light pink shift dress, my “leather” flats, and matching purse.  I walked a half mile to the Trax stop (their downtown rail system) and headed to the University about 2-3 miles away.

I had to head to the University of Utah for a meeting with the Professional Masters of Science and Technology (PMST) program director.  She talked me through the program, through the classes, and about financial aid options.  Everyone at the university was so nice and so helpful and the campus was big and absolutely beautiful, set at the edge of the city and against the mountains.,

After my meeting, Thatcher was still busy at work, and I had a little bit of time to kill.  I decided to grab an iced coffee at starbucks, and to get a spring manicure.  My nails were a horrid mess so I decided this was a necessary task.  I went with a super fun springy, eastery purple J

After my manicure, I met Thatcher back at the apartment where we relaxed a little before heading out.  Thatcher wanted to do a hike so we went to Ensign Peak.  A nice wide set dirt trail that goes up, up and up with a fabulous view of the city.  We packed some snacks and wine to celebrate the start of a great weekend ahead.

We watched the sunset before slowly heading back down, to the car, and out to grab some dinner.

Jet lag, a time difference, and a long day meant I slept like a rock that night.   Good thing because Friday was going to be just as busy.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jet setter

I feel like a jet setter this weekend. Thursday (today) bright and early I am leaving Hartford, Connecticut, flying in to Minnesota,
 a one hour layover and then to Salt Lake City.

In Salt Lake City I am meeting with the University of Utah, talking through some graduate school decisions, and celebrating Thatcher's 30th birthday. 

 After a long weekend there, I am back on a plane - quick layover in Denver, Colorado and then to Columbus, Ohio.  After a work conference in Ohio for Oil and Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale (nerdy environmental stuff...) it's on a plane, quick layover in Baltimore and landing in Providence, Rhode Island.  Then it is an hourish ride home.

That is a lot of planes.

I am really excited about the weekend in Utah and the forecast looks... AWESOME!

I love traveling. I really do.  I just HATE leaving my critters behind. 

I did a lot of last minute errands, buying dog and cat foot, new khakis for the conference, packing Olive's overnight bag, and cleaning up the apartment a little.  I am so lucky that Stacie is willing to check in on Abby.
This is why cats are nice.  She can stay at home for the week with her automatic feeder and bowl of water, with a super nice friendly willing to check in and clean the litter box.  Thanks Stacie! 

Well, guys, that's my boarding call...
Lots of trips pictures and updates to come.  Enjoy the day where ever you are :) 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Strawberry cupcakes

I love getting together with my friends from college.  I went to the University of Connecticut and graduated from a tiny program, Marine Science, a program that was 80% guys.  Picture a straggly group of hunters and fishermen and you have my BFFs from college.   They say you find your bridesmaids in college but I fear they won't look so good in cocktail dresses....

Seth and his fiance had some friends over for dinner wine and good times, and I was in charge of dessert.  At first I wanted to make this GIGANTIC cinnamon roll - but then I decided on something lighter.... something that said SPRING has SPRUNG in New England! 

So now I had my heart set on Strawberry Cupcakes.
And pink is always in.  And they looked too cute in gold muffin liners.
On a big white platter<3 


My heart was breaking as I searched for a strawberry cupcake recipe.  It was really hard to find a recipe using actually STRAWBERRIES-  So many of them used cake mix and strawberry jello flavoring.  Um- no thank you.  It was sad to see how many strawberry cupcake recipes did not involve a single strawberry. Seems like a crime, doesn't it?

Well after some searching I finally found it.  Ironically at one of my favorite blogs.  Why didn't I go there first?   Jenna over at Eat Live Run had an amazing strawberry cupcake recipe.  I followed along and was NOT disappointed-- neither were my friends at the dinner party ;)

I modified her recipe a little bit to include a little strawberry puree under the frosting. (Also poked a few holes in the cupcake to let the puree sink in!)   I also made a thinner frosting, almost like an icing, and topped the cupcakes with some strawberry puree.   

Head on over to Jennas Blog for all the details or see her recipe below! 

Strawberry Cupcakes 
with Fresh Strawberry Frosting
makes about 24 cupcakes
for cupcakes—
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups pureed fresh strawberries (from about 2 cups whole strawberries—puree in a blender until smooth)
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon zest
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 egg whites
for fresh strawberry frosting—
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened (1 pound)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt (original recipe calls for fleur de sel, which you can find at specialty shops)
8 cups powdered sugar (from two 1-lb boxes)
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 1 cup whole strawberries)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or grease 24 cupcake tins.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Whisk together the pureed strawberries, lemon zest, milk and vanilla in another bowl. Also set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg whites gradually, beating after each, until combined. Alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the wet strawberry ingredients to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Scoop batter into prepared cupcake tins, filling up 2/3 to 3/4 the way full (depending on the size of your tins…I have really small cupcake tins so I filled mine up all the way). Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes or until golden. Be sure to test using a toothpick to make sure they are completely done in the center. Let cool.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting! Beat the butter until creamy then add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, sea salt and pureed strawberries. Continue beating (ideally with an electric mixer but you can do this by hand if need be) until very light and fluffy.
Pipe or spread frosting on each cupcake. Enjoy!
2 hours (includes time to cool)

Monday, April 7, 2014

20 mile run- Marathon Training

Well, this week wasn't the greatest week for midweek mileage.  

Monday:  Body Pump
Tuesday:  Riding and off
Wednesday:  3 mile run
Thursday:  Riding and off
Friday:  3 mile run
Saturday:  riding and home sesh- weights, arms, squats, pushups 
Sunday:  20 miler

Well not great but hey I squeezed in two bitty runs mid week.. 
Better than nothing!
I should write a book "Marathon training for complete slackers"

On a sadder note, my groupons also expired and there aren't any more so I need to say buh bye to body pump or suck it up and buy a membership.
First world problems...

So, back to that 20 miler I ran this weekend
(feels weird to even type that)

Breakfast was:
2 eggs scrambled with a little bit of ham and chives
With an onion bagel, cream cheese, and chives.
With the cat leering at me. 
And a large glass of water.

No more pre long run coffee....
it results in me having to pee every 2 miles ---not fun. 

I did some planning at home and decided to do a 10 mile loop and then finish the last 10 miles at the track.  

Well the dog wasn't tired after ten, so instead I did a 10 mile loop, three miles at the track while Olive hung out and drank water, four mile out and back by the water with Olive, and then 3 more miles at the track while Olive napped in the sun.

Olive ran 14 miles with me while I ran the full 20.  

It was nice to keep changing up the scenery and terrain. 
Makes the mental challenge of running a little easier.
I also finished the Goldfinch by Donna Tartt on Audio Book (highly recommend) and decided to start a new audio book to entertain me during the 20 miler.  I decided on Brain On Fire (my month of madness) by Susannah Cahalan.  Loving audiobooks while running lately, makes me think about the book and less about running. 

I snapped a few pictures along the way.  Does anyone else snap photos or send out an occasional text during their long run?  Running gets boring... need to change it up somehow.  

I ran down to the CT Department of Environmental Protection and ran down the boardwalk.  It was a gorgeous day.  Figured some fresh salty air at mile 15 would help.  Certainly couldn't hurt. 

Just a guy who owns a lovely piece of waterfront property, two fake Clydesdale horses in his yard, and his own helicopter. NBD.

Beautiful house on Ferry Road.  Former Nut Museum of Old Lyme. 
Such a goofy little shore town. 

I ran 6 of my 20 miles on the track.  It sort of served as my "home base"  I started and ended here and had food and water for Olive and I here.  She hung out in the sun with water while I ran my 6 miles on the track. She could have easily ran the whole 20 but I didn't want her too.  I also wanted her to have long water and rest breaks. 

Have you ever met a more spoiled dog?

I stuck with my 1.5 miles of running 1.5 minute walk- keeping my watch going the entire time.  This schedule seems to be working pretty well for me still and still has a faster time than my straight running efforts.

As you can see from my splits, miles 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 felt TOUGH.  I was tired and I wanted to quit but knew there was no way in hell I was giving up.

 I had to go ride in the morning, and didn't get out until 11:30, so I was out running on tired legs from riding, and without lunch.  I think starting earlier in the morning would have helped the fatigue and lunch time hunger.

I carried my camelbak with water and 2 nuun tabs.
I ate 1 banana at mile 10 and 1 mint chocolate GU at mile 15.
Not a huge fan of a lot of fueling mid run.
BUT, I was so hungry I was chewing on the GU pretending it was food-
Sad fact.....

SO then I started day dreaming of food-  I was thinking about the delicious lunch I would eat after.  All the sudden I had a craving for my favorite salad right down the road.  This asian chicken salad.  
Then I yelled at myself.

WTF Katie you are running 20 miles. 
You are not eating a salad after.. DO BETTER.

So then I decided I wanted a turkey club sandwich, which then morphed into a chicken club sandwich with fries. 
 Lots of time to debate the endless possibilities. 
About 2 minutes after my garmin said 20 miles I was calling in a to go order.

It was unbelievably tasty (and huge) I ate it so fast I can barely remember it.
I ate it so fast that I felt a little sick after it. 

That just meant more time to relax with Olive on the couch and celebrate our run with full stomachs. 

She was surprisingly tired after that run.  
Tiring out the dog is mostly the reason why I run.
Mission Accomplished. 

The rest of the day was spent with gatorade, 
compression socks, ice packs, and a couch. 

20 miles DONE!  My longest long run done until the race!
Feels so good to be (mostly) done with training.
AND NO INJURIES (knocked on my desk..)

Now to start a taper :) 

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