Friday, December 20, 2013

Spring race lineup!

Happy holidays everyone! As we speed along toward January 1st, I have been working on my race lineup for my "30 for 30" project, and I think I have my spring races pretty well ironed out.  Don't forget part of my goal for this is to raise at least $3000 for Girls on the Run Philadelphia! I really appreciate any donations, of any size, and if you have any fun ideas for fundraisers, I'm open to suggestions.  You can make online donations at my SoleMates website. I'm going to offer suggested donations below, if you'd like to donate in support of a particular race.

Here's the plan:

  1. Ushering in the New Year with a midnight 5k! (Suggested donation: $5.00 for a 5k!)
  2. Shiver by the River 5 or 10k - the second race in this 4 race series takes place on 1/5/14. I'll shoot for the 10k. No frills, but you can't beat $40 for 4 races! (Suggested donation: $10.00 for a 10k)
  3. The 38th "Mayor's" Icicle Ten Miler on 1/12/14. (Suggested donation: $16.00, because 10 mi roughly equals 16k!)
  4. I'm still on the fence for this one, but if anyone wants to join me, I'm game! The 7.2 mi "Chilly Cheeks" Trail Run on 1/26/14 in Reading, PA sounds like fun. Carpooling is welcome. (Suggested donation: $7.20!)
  5. I missed on the boat on the Lehigh Valley Road Racers' Superbowl 10k (that one fills up early!), so I'll be doing Shiver by the River #3 on 2/2/14. (Suggested donation: $10.00 for a 10k)
  6. On 2/8/2014, join me for the Feel the Love Couples 5k at the Philadelphia Navy Yard! ($20 if you register by 12/31!) It sounds like a fun concept where you and a partner (optional) run loops in opposite directions to cheer each other on during the race. You can also run as a loner, or ask to be assigned a partner. I haven't done this one before, but it sounds cute. (Suggested donation: $5.00 for a 5k!)
  7. To wrap up my birthday month, I'm hoping to make it out to Phoenix for the first 2014 Arizona Free Half Marathon on 2/23/14. By mid-February I usually need a break from the dreariness in Philly, so fingers crossed that I can find a budget flight and get out there. Backup plan is the local Fireside Frostbite Five Miler. (Suggested donation: $21, because 13.1 mi is ~21 km.)
  8. In March, wrapping up the Shiver by the River series on 3/2/14. (Suggested donation: $10.00 for a 10k)
  9. Not yet registered, but most like the Caesar Rodney 5k in Delaware. (Suggested donation: $5.00 for a 5k!) I was thinking of doing the half, but I think I'll save up my energy for the next weekend. BUT, I can be talked into doing the half. If I get a $21 or greater donation for this one, I'll do the half! Just comment or send me an email and tell me you're donating and want me to do the Caesar Rodney half marathon.
  10. The inaugural Love run! A new half marathon on 3/30/14, by CGI Racing. I did their Unite half marathon spring of 2013, and it was very nice, so I'm looking forward to this one. And I will be officially doing it as a SoleMate for GOTR Philadelphia! (Suggested donation: $21, because 13.1 mi is ~21 km.)
  11. I'm also very excited to have gotten into the iconic Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC, held on 4/6/14! This should be a real treat, with getting to see some DC area friends on top of a super fun race. Can't wait! (Suggested donation: $16.00, because 10 mi roughly equals 16k!)
There will be more fun to come in April and throughout the rest of the year, but that's enough for now! I'd love to see you out there either as a runner or waving from the sidelines, and welcome your financial support for GOTR. It's going to be a fabulous year!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Another inspiring blogger

I'm not feeling inspired to write anything at the moment, but I just read this great post by another blogger. It's about running, but not only that. I think it's very inspiring, and I hope you enjoy it as well:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Vegan Thanksgiving and getting ready for 2014

I'm having a hard time believing it is December already, and we are almost into 2014. It seems like this year has flown by. A sure sign of aging, no doubt.

I wanted to share what our first all-vegan Thanksgiving dinner consisted of. Most years we end up doing a feast with lots of non-vegan Thanksgiving, so although lots of the sides and rolls are vegan, there is still a turkey. We've just had our little turkey-substitute on the side, like a Tofurky Roast. We did not travel for Thanksgiving this year so we got to have our own little vegan feast with my sister and her husband (also vegan)! I decided I wanted to make our own turkey-substitute rather than buying a commercial product. This was our menu; sorry, no pictures because I never think of things like that!
First Course:


  • Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf
  • Bourbon Sweet Potatoes with brussels sprouts - these are always a hit with the omnivorous crowd as well. Just use Earth Balance or a similar vegan product in place of the butter, or you can even omit it and they're still delicious. To add some green I threw in some brussels sprouts. Tasty! (You can check to find what brands of bourbon are vegan-friendly; that goes for any alcohol. If you're curious, they also explain why some AREN'T vegan.)
  • Cranberry Chutney - I prefer a cooked cranberry sauce, and I've made a version of this for a few years now.
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Latkes - in honor of the one and only Thanksgivvukah in our lifetime, with vegan sour cream and applesauce, of course!
  • Butterhorn Rolls - this is a beloved family recipe. The original, as you may guess from the name, is slathered in butter. We've done them very successfully for several years with Earth Balance. I also attempted a gluten free batch this year - that's going to take a lot more perfecting. I still ate them all over a few days, but they definitely weren't quite right. 
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Apple Pie
The pies were a bit experimental, and I can't say I am entirely happy with the way they turned out. I attempted to make a vegan/gluten free crust by simply substituting for an ordinary pie crust recipe. It was not very successful. The pumpkin pie filling however, was delicious. I have to track down a link to the recipe we ended up trying. The original plan was to use a recipe that I had made before substituting MimicCreme for the evaporated milk it called for. I wasn't able to find MimicCreme*, so plan b was to use full fat coconut milk (canned) - you can also use the cream layer off of coconut milk to make a whipped topping. But the store was also sold out of full fat coconut milk when I was doing Thanksgiving shopping; I'm imagining all of the other vegans were doing the same thing! In the end my sister found a recipe online which called for cashews blended in with the pumpkin and other filling ingredients. It was very tasty, and I would absolutely make that one again - just with a better crust next time.

Aside from not being thrilled with the pie crusts, everything was tasty. This was the first time we tried the "meatless loaf" and I thought it was really yummy. DH wanted gravy, so he made some later on to go with leftovers. The rest of us were happy with the cranberry chutney over it.

Now that we're through Thanksgiving and Hannukkah, and rolling right through December, I imagine a lot of people are starting to think about the New Year along with me. If you like to set ambitious goals or resolutions, let me recommend checking out another excellent blog post from James Clear. As I was reading I was reflecting on how this seems to be true for me - the habit and identity of being a runner definitely went hand in hand. I love the concept of setting your identity and then working toward it, and I think there are a lot of reasons why this is more likely to work than just saying "I want to lose weight" (or whatever it is you may want to accomplish).

What identity will you choose for yourself? I think mine needs to be, I am a person with an organized home! 

* I just figured out why I couldn't find MimicCreme when I went to the company's website. Apparently they are going out of business. So sad! They made some wonderful products.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Philadelphia Marathon Recap

This last week flew by! I've been enjoying some R & R post-marathon - no running for a week or two. I feel pretty back to normal now. October and November have been pretty crazy for a lot of reasons. For one, my mom has been in town helping with a bunch of projects around the house, which resulted in things being pretty topsy turvy around the house. The end result is nice - a pretty little powder room from the disaster of a half bath in the basement, finally baseboard and base shoe all around, the stairs down to the  basement are nicely finished and now have a hand rail, and pretty new interior doors throughout. There was lots of organizing as well. Now that my mom has flown off to her next destination, things are a little quieter.

So, I'm just now getting around to doing a race recap. The 20th anniversary Philadelphia Marathon was my third full marathon. I have mixed feelings about the outcome. My plan was to start with the 4:45 Clif Team pace group, which I did. The race got off to a good start, I stuck to the plan of fueling with my Tailwind Nutrition drink I was carrying in four 8 oz bottles on a waist belt, and hung with the pace group. The pacer was aiming for 10:30 miles, and walk through the water stops. This felt slightly challenging, but was doable...for the first 30k. At that point, I started to drop back. My neck and shoulders were tense and sore, and I couldn't seem to relax, and my hip flexors and IT band were also hurting. I tried to convince myself I could hang in there with the group, but it just wasn't happening. My splits went downhill pretty fast after the 30k mark. At this point I gave up on a 4:45, but was still hoping to break 5:00. I was doing some walking, but still a good amount of running through Manayunk and up until the last few miles. I definitely struggled at the end. There were a few bright moments, with the crowd cheering in Manayunk. One of the best pick-me-ups was when a fellow tapped me on the shoulder around mile 23, I think, and said he'd been following me for a while and it was keeping him on track. I told him I was struggling myself, but I was happy to hear I was helping him out in some way. It definitely kept me going for a bit!

My finish time was 5:01:35, not quite what I was aiming for. However, compared to 5:24:32, it was still a big improvement over last year. A few things that I think went "wrong" or I could improve on:
1. My lower back had been bothering me the week leading up to the race. Maybe the tension there led to the early onset of neck/shoulder pain and the hip flexor/IT band issues. I did not have nearly as much discomfort during my 18 or 20 mile training runs, and this set in around the halfway mark if I recall correctly. I did some stretching during the week, but maybe a good massage or some serious foam rolling would have helped release some of that tension and set me up for a better race.

2. I did drink all 32 oz of the Tailwind Nutrition drink, and had about 1/2 a citrus Clif shot (all I felt I could stomach at the time). Late in the race I mostly just wanted water, but all told I only took in about 450 calories - around 111g carbs. For a 5:00:00 run, with 30-60 g of carbs recommended/hour, or 150-300 g carbs total, that was on the low side. It was also warming up late in the race (around 60 degrees!), which was lovely, but also contributed to dehydration I'm sure. I'm not great at hydrating in general, so I suspect I was somewhat dehydrated going in, and certainly didn't improve during the race. I probably need to work on both my endurance to improve my ability to burn fat for fuel while running, as well as refining my fueling and hyrdation during a race. In general, I feel like I've done pretty well in training with a beverage for fuel since it seems like a big hit of sugar all at once from a gel is too much for my stomach, and I can meter it out better with a drink. I've tried the Clif Bloks in the past and liked them pretty well, but I'm not great at remembering to take them as often as I should, and now with my current mouth bling (i.e. braces, yes, at almost 30), gummies are a problem. I think fueling and hydration might turn into a separate blog post or several.

3. There's a fine line between challenging oneself and overreaching. The 4:45 goal was definitely a stretch. My 18 mile training run was strong and I completed it at around an 11:00/mi pace. My 20 miler was not quite so good. I had a little niggle of doubt that I could pull it off. Maybe if I had been more confident it would've helped. Maybe if I had started out a bit slower, I would have had some gas left in the tank for the finish and could've potentially finished in under 5 hours, if not the 4:45 I was shooting for. Maybe one or two more 20 mile training runs would help me feel more prepared (and perhaps build endurance as noted above). Lots of maybes.

I have to give a shout-out to Team Philly for the great support and coaching throughout the season, particularly the weekend long runs.

Did you run long recently? What have you found does or doesn't work for you in training and fueling?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Eek, I'm turning 30 soon

It's not really a secret: I'm turning 30 in February. In honor of this milestone, I decided to do something that some people might consider crazy. I might even admit it's mildly crazy, and maybe slightly scary - which is why I think it needs to happen. What am I talking about? "30 for 30" - that is, my goal is to run 30 races in 2014 to mark each of my 30 years. Not necessarily original, but it seems appropriate.

It doesn't count if someone else runs a race for me, but there is something you can help me with. To up the ante and make this worthwhile, I want to raise $3000 for Girls on the Run Philadelphia. I have the pleasure of serving on the board and coaching at one of our school sites this season, and really love what Girls on the Run stands for and what we're trying to do. If you'd like to learn more, please visit my fundraising page.
I have some ideas for how people might want to link donations to race completion, for instance. So to enable that, I'm going to commit to race reports here on this blog. You can also check up on my progress on  I hope you'll follow along and cheer me on either in person or electronically. Even better, come run a race (or 10) with me!

Have you ever done something crazy or scary to celebrate a birthday?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Inspiration for your Tuesday

I guess I am on an inspirational kick. Maybe I just need all the inspirational wisdom I can get right now. Regardless, I've been enjoying this blog, and this is an excellent post that I think applies to EVERYTHING in life, so check it out:

This is Pinky, trusty sidekick #2, after a 14 mile run:

Even so, I think she would've been up for longer. Perhaps this spring we'll get a chance to test the theory.

Also, I am about to run my third marathon this weekend. You would think by now I would be past any anxieties, but I never fail to get butterflies leading up to a race. It does not seem to matter that I'm not racing for a place on the podium, just for fun and to hopefully beat my time from last year. If you're out and about in Philadelphia on Sunday morning, please cheer for all of us runners. We'll be very grateful for the support!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Times, they are a-changin'

I have been a lousy blogger. I decided it was time to change things up, and my new goal is at least one blog post a week. The topics might be random, depending on what is currently inspiring (or irking) me.

Let me introduce my Trusty Sidekicks:
Loki and Pinky, on the lookout
Loki and Pinky are my faithful running buddies, kale stem disposals, and floor cleaners. For good measure, here is a picture of them being cute and cuddly.

My goals for this blog are to talk about running, about awesome vegan food (recipes, reviews), and interesting things related to the environment. Yes, this is a broad range, but I think I can tie them together a little bit. ;)

I know I don't have many (any?) readers, but if you're out there - what would you like to read about? Do you want vegan recipes that will satisfy a marathoner? Training and race updates, or advice I come across? Book reviews? More cute pictures of my dogs? Environmental news? Do tell!