Date-nut Balls and the Vegan Challenge

It’s time for another What I ate Wednesday with Jen:

I didn’t do a great job of capturing my eats yesterday, but I did enjoy leftover curried squash soup for lunch and red lentil cakes for dinner.  (We had our usual oats for breakfast, and a banana-almond-butter- raisin snack).

The red lentil cakes were a hit!  I used this recipe and added shredded zucchini to the brown rice-lentil mixture.  For the salsa, I combined fresh tomato, avocado, and cilantro with a splash of red wine vinegar and dash of salt.  We’ll definitely be making this again!

After dinner, I decided to restock my date-nut balls.  Tonight I made a larger batch and actually took the time to measure, so here’s what I used:

Date-nut balls  (print recipe)

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 3/4 cups raw cashew pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3-4 Tbsp cocoa powder (optional)

Mix the dates and cashew in the food processor until well blended.  Add vanilla and cocoa powder and continue to process until they are well mixed and can start to stick together (but not so long that you release the oils from the nuts).  Combine heaping spoonfuls into balls.  Freeze or refrigerate.  This made about 30 balls.

I like to save the cocoa powder for last, and roll some balls without cocoa.  (In this case, use less cocoa for the remaining mixture.)

Finally, I jumped on board the Vegan Challenge with Amanda for the month of March.

I’m hoping this isn’t too hard, as we already eat little meat, and I grabbed some soy yogurt and almond milk today in preparation to jump in on Thursday! Is anyone else joining in?


Weekend long run and Changes

1) Running break?

I headed out Saturday morning, aiming for 15-20 miles, and was surprised to find myself feeling really good.  Two miles in I rolled my left ankle as I was approaching a traffic light (I can’t even remember what the offending object was–an acorn? branch?).  I felt a sharp pain initially, but it lessened in a few minutes as I walked it off, so I decided to keep going.  In retrospect, that was probably not the smartest idea.

Miles 3-11 felt really strong, and I was encouraged that I’m on track for this training cycle.  I tried to keep my pace to a 9 minute pace, but found myself running a few miles at 8:40.  It was another gorgeous day.

At mile 12, I felt a tightness in my left hip and a few minutes later it shot down to my knee and forced me to walk again for a few minutes.  I’ve never felt this before, and have no idea if it was my IT band, or connected to my sore ankle?  I headed home to be safe, and finished the final few miles around a 10 minute pace, feeling okay.

My total mileage was 15.5, which I am really happy with for having raced last weekend.  But once I stopped running, my ankle was pretty sore, and spent the weekend icing and elevating it.

This morning, my ankle was still tender to the touch.  I am assuming I need to take a few days off and make sure it’s nothing serious before continuing my training.  I felt fine at my spin class this morning, but don’t think I can run on it yet.  Booo…

2) Losing the sugar battle!

We had a birthday party for a 3-year-old this weekend, and of course, there were cupcakes.  We’ve finally reached the point where distraction does not work.  L knew the other kids were getting cupcakes and was determined to have one, too.  I scraped the excess icing off, and we allowed her to eat one.

I know it’s only going to get harder to limit sugar as she gets older, but at least we can control the options at home.  And it was pretty sweet watching her enjoying her cupcake with the other kids.

3) Blog changes

While I let my ankle recover, I’m planning to switch to a self-hosted blog.  I like WordPress, and will most likely transition to one of their suggested servers, but want the freedom to do a little more than their restrictions allow.

This means a possible domain name change as well, or at least cutting out the “wordpress” portion.  I like “Mommy, Run Fast!” but since I started blogging in 2011, I found a “Run Faster, Mommy” and a “Run Fast, Mommy” both of which existed before I did.

Even though both ladies have been kind enough to assure me they don’t mind another similarly-named blog, I am considering a change, since this would be my opportunity to do it.  I’d like to keep it as similar as possible to the current name, while somehow differentiating myself a bit from the other two.  Neither of them talk about eating clean or feeding toddlers, so maybe there would be a way to squeeze that in.

I’m not having much luck…

  • Mommy Run Fast and Feed Me
  • Mommy Eats and Runs
  • Mommy On the Run
  • Moms Run Fast, Eat Smart

My creativity is pretty low these days.  Any suggestions? Or do you think I should just drop the “wordpress” and not worry about a name change?

Finally, the Boundless Nutrition giveaway will be open for a few more days.  They are also offering a 15% discount on their website through March 31st with the promo code: oatmega

Purposeful Running- Nicole’s story

I am really glad to share Nicole’s story today– she is a relatively new runner, and I love how she stumbled upon running, and what keeps her going.  Nicole blogs at Running While Mommy, and I’m sure she would love some encouragement on her journey, especially as she’s dealing with some injury setbacks right now.

As always, if you would like to share your story about the ways that running has impacted you and what keeps you going, please let me know!

Here’s Nicole!

In July, I ran for the first time ever!  I had planned to be done after I finished my first 5k. But, here I am today, doing a guest blog for Mommy Run Fast, and really, I am still surprised.  I thought I would tell you why I started to run and how I ended up becoming a “real” runner.

I actually thought running was silly.  I didn’t understand why people would want to run so far and in sometimes bad weather.  It made no sense to me.  I am lucky to live in a beautiful and very healthy area.  I have seen people run, bike and walk along the main drag and beach for the last 8 years.  And it didn’t matter what time of year or how cold it was, people were always out.  I am also surrounded by friends who are runners, some bikers and a few brave souls who swim too. I was asked on more than one occasion to run with them and I just laughed it off.

This brings me to this past summer, 2011.  I was in the kitchen making mac and cheese for the kids, and I felt lost. I was sitting there day dreaming about what my life was like before husband, kids, house, etc. I was a flight attendant and used to travel all over the world.  It was the most exciting job I have ever had and it enabled me to see and do things I wouldn’t have had the chance to do if I stayed on the ground. That is where I met my husband.  I knew that this was the man I would love forever. Two kids later and I have everything that I want.  I would change very little, just one thing- to figure out how not to put me last and do something fun and exciting, something I said I would never do.

Why do we say “Oh, I could never do that”?  I think mostly because we are scared of the unknown.  What if we fail?  What if we are not as strong as we think we are?  We have all been there and have feared those things.  What makes us different is when we can say, “Yes I can!  I will give it my all and not give up!”  That is what I said to myself that day making mac and cheese.  I just needed to find the thing that I wanted to try.

I went through a list in my head and had a hard time coming up with something.  There weren’t too many things that I said I would never do.  I jumped out of an airplane, got a tattoo, ran with the bulls, sang karaoke.  You get the picture.  The one thing about all these things is they are usually one time things.  I wanted something that would last a little longer.  I saw an ad for the first Citizens Bank Newport Pell Bridge Run, 4.2 miles long.  I wanted to conquer that bridge!  I discovered the Couch to 5k plan and off I went.  I also signed up for my first 5k.  It was recommended that I do one before I go the longer distance.  I got through the program with no problems and found that I was looking forward to everyday that I was supposed to run.  I also discovered that I was feeling really good.  I mean REALLY good.  I was happy and calmer. My head was clear. When I was running, I was able to think and found that I liked that time by myself. When I crossed the finish line of the 5k, I was thrilled and I wanted to do it again and again.

I had the same feeling at my next race and running over the bridge was just so beautiful. This was my original goal and I did it!  I knew, however, that I needed to keep going.

I was asked to share any inward or outward benefits that I experience.  Well, the outward may be a little obvious.  I feel and look better, it’s that simple.  The inward, however, is what really keeps me going.  My head is clear and I know I am exactly where I want to be.  I became stronger, not just for me but for my family.  I know they look at me and are proud.  My husband was surprised at first, but now he knows this is what I need and he supports me 100%.  My kids think it is neat that I run and my daughter thinks she is a runner too.  It is super cute.  When we go over the bridge, the kids say, “Mommy, its your bridge!”  Yes kids it is.  And I think when it comes to the kids, you can talk to them until you lose your voice.  They may pick up a few things you are saying, but it is the example they will follow.  Monkey see, monkey do.

I found that I was not alone in feeling lost.  I wanted to reach out and help women that needed it.  I was being motivated by blogs and running Face Book pages.  I was shocked at how strangers could get me up and out and run! I wanted to do that too.  I started blogging first to keep records for myself, but soon people actually read what I had to say and the comments were all positive.  I decided that I wanted to help get women out there and do what they love.  I wanted to motivate, but I also want to be motivated by you.  We all have dreams and I want to see you make those dreams a reality.  You don’t have to be a runner or a mommy to read my blog or like my FB page.  You just need to want to live your life to the fullest.

What may challenge you is different for all of us.  Some of us want to climb Mt. Everest, some may want to bungee jump.  Others may want to learn a new language or how to sew. For others it is a marathon.  For me it is a half marathon.  Lets all voice our interests and challenges out loud and lets give each other a virtual high five when we get to the “finish line”.

The idea of purposeful running is a lot of things.  For me it is learning that I am strong and can still be my own person while raising and taking care of three other people.  But I also love that the races that I have done so far and the ones coming up are all for special causes too.  Cancer, heart disease, homeless and less fortunate to name a few.  I feel it is important to give back to the community and now I can run and do it at the same time.

So, the bottom line, I run because I can and there are those that can’t.  I run because it makes me strong.  I run because it keeps me sane.  I run because it shows my children that they can do anything they put their mind to.  I run because I love my husband.  I run because it has brought me closer to my friends. I run because I want to show other people that you don’t just have to sit on the sidelines and watch.  I run because my parents always told me I can do and be anything I want to.  I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and now I am a runner.

I also would like to take this opportunity to thank Laura.  Your blog is one of the ones that inspire me and I am humbled that you asked me to be a guest blogger for you.  I hope someday we will meet and run together.  Well at least cross the start line together.  I know how fast you are.  See you at the finish.

Run strong, think big!

Boundless Nutrition Review and Giveaway

One of the best things about race expos is all the free goodies and taste tests available! Last weekend in Austin, both my husband and L came along through the Expo, and one of our favorite discoveries was a local Austin company with protein cookies and bars.

There is something about local companies doing it right that excites me, so we asked some questions and learned that these bars are not only tasty, but they use organic and all-natural ingredients.

I also love that Boundless Nutrition is a family owned business.  Here’s a little more about their products, the Oatmega Wellness bars and the Perfect FIT Protein Cookies:

Oatmega Wellness bars:  We sampled all of the wellness bars, and thought they were great–not too sweet, but definitely tasty.  My favorite is the Dark Chocolate Peanut, (of course), but they also come in Dark Chocolate Mint, Blueberry Pomegranate Crunch, and Mocha.  These bars are packed with nutritious ingredients and are low in calories.  Each bar contains:

  • 10-14 grams of protein
  • over 200 mg DHA and EPA Omega 3’s
  • Green Tea Antioxidants
  • 120-190 calories
  • 8 grams of sugar or less per bar

Perfect FIT Protein Cookie: I’ve never had a protein cookie before… what’s not to love? These come in three flavors: Peanut Butter; Chocolate Chip; and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut.  In addition to great taste, each cookie boasts:

  • 10 grams of protein
  • only 150 calories
  • the equivalent of 3 cups of Green Tea
  • gluten-free, no soy, wheat or eggs
  • 7-9 grams of sugar per cookie

I included the grams of sugar, because I was pleasantly surprised they were able to keep it so low.  Their products are sweetened with organic brown rice syrup.  We try to eat as close to a whole foods diet as possible, and I’m often disappointed with the ingredients in products designed for athletes.

I would definitely recommend checking out Boundless Nutrition, especially for athletes who are looking for all-natural alternatives to traditional protein bars.

These products are available on their website at Boundless Nutrition.  In addition, you can win a sampler pack with a bar and cookie of each flavor!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment and let me know which flavor you’re most interested in trying.

For additional entries, do any of the following and leave a separate comment for each, telling me what you did:

  • Like Boundless Nutrition on facebook
  • Tweet about this giveaway

This giveaway will close on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at midnight.  The winner will be drawn through and will be announced on Friday, March 2, 2012.  The winner will have one week to claim the prize, at which time another winner will be chosen.  Boundless Nutrition provided me with the sampler pack for this giveaway.  I was not compensated for this review in any way, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Tomato poached eggs

I’m still feeling good after Sunday’s race, and have been able to ease back into my normal routine with a recovery spin on Monday and a easy run yesterday in place of speed work.

I would love some training feedback: I’m debating how to handle this Saturday’s long run, as the following Saturday is a 5k race and also the weekend I was planning to do a 20 mile training run.  For you seasoned marathoners, does it make more sense to do the 20 this week, assuming I’m recovered enough? Or somehow combine the 5k and 20 miler on the same weekend? What would you do?

I have a new favorite recipe to share.  For dinner last night, we had a spinach salad and tomato-poached eggs with brown rice.  I love the tomato-egg combination, and have tried a variety of recipes for this family-friendly dish. It would be really good with sharp cheese and avocado as well.

Tomato Poached Eggs (print recipe)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional chili powder or crushed red pepper
  • 1 small can of diced tomatoes, or 2 cups prepared pasta sauce
  • 5 or 6 eggs

Heat oil in saucepan, and saute onion and peppers for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and spices, and sauce another few minutes.  Add tomatoes or sauce and simmer until nearly boiling.  Gently drop in eggs and cook covered 4-6 minutes, or until done.  Serve over rice or pasta, and sprinkle with fresh parsley or scallion.

This was just enough for the three of us.  Happy Wednesday!

Austin weekend and race recap

We’re back!  We had a short, full weekend in Austin and really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, it rained most of Saturday which prevented us from checking out a few of the parks we had in mind.  Instead, we hit the expo for my packet and free samples, and then checked out a nearby cafe for lunch at the recommendation of one of the Expo volunteers.  The food was good, and it had a nice Austin flair:

We walked back to the Expo and L crashed in the stroller while I met up with an running-blogging buddy, Clea from Pancake is Cute.  She was running the full marathon as a pacer, and it was fun to connect face to face.  We bonded over our toddlers who started life as poor sleepers, and hope to make plans to run together in the future!

We explored a little more of Austin and came across some fun food trucks, where we tasted a massive donut and found a local custom boot shop.

After checking into our hotel, we headed back out to meet some other runner-bloggers for dinner.  My husband and L tagged along and took some pictures for us.  The group from left to right is Laura, Lisa, Becka, Kim and I.  Most of them are trying to run a half marathon in every state, and it was fun to swap stories and get to know them better.  The running community is such a welcoming, encouraging group!

I got up nice and early to jog down to the start… unfortunately my alarm woke L as well, so we were all up before 6am, sorry daddy!! I was planning to use this run as part of my 17 training run, so I jogged two miles before the start to warm up.

Daddy and L came along later and saw me cross the finish line, and he got a few pictures of the race, but none of me.  Oops!  I was freezing afterward and jogged another slow 2 miles back to the hotel to hit my total for the day.

The race itself went much better than I expected.  The hills were challenging, but I felt relatively strong throughout the run.  Around mile seven, I realized I was on track for a pr if I pushed the pace, but that was on a downhill portion, and when we hit the next hill I talked myself back to reality and decided to finish smiling and not overdo it.

I’m happy with that decision! The race itself flew by, with great spectator support and lots of bands along the way.  Oddly enough, I have no soreness, despite the hills.  Weird.  Maybe that tough leg workout on Tuesday and all the hills in spinning classes prepared me more than I realized..

I ran it a little faster than I had planned.  I have a hard time not pushing myself in a race setting.  But I also didn’t race it all out, and I feel like I can pick right back up with my training this week with minimal recovery time.

You can tell from my splits where the hills were… we were on an incline for much of miles 3-6, and then a steep one at mile 11, and another long one on the final stretch.  My legs had a hard time recovering the pace in the last couple of miles, and I let myself relax and finish at a slower pace, and then picked it up for the final stretch.

Avg Pace
Summary 1:43:27.1 13.23 7:49
1 8:06.7 1.00 8:07
2 7:36.7 1.00 7:37
3 7:47.3 1.00 7:47
4 7:58.4 1.00 7:58
5 7:48.1 1.00 7:48
6 7:44.1 1.00 7:44
7 7:23.7 1.00 7:24
8 7:33.4 1.00 7:33
9 7:43.7 1.00 7:44
10 7:57.9 1.00 7:58
11 8:11.1 1.00 8:11
12 8:01.7 1.00 8:02
13 8:01.7 1.00 8:02
14 1:32.7 0.23 6:50

Final chip time:  1:43:19

I also used this race as part of Grandma Lil’s 10k/Half Marathon at Living the Fit Life… it runs all week, so there’s still time to sign up if you want to join the fun!

After I showered and warmed up, we headed back out to grab lunch and catch the band at the finish line.  L had a great time dancing and clapping for the band!

We finally decided to call it a day, and L and I crashed in the car on the way home.  A pretty successful weekend, all in all!

Purposeful Running- Christa’s story

We’ll be getting back from Austin this evening, and I’ll have a recap of the weekend up soon.  In the meantime, I’m thrilled that Christa offered to share her story as part of the purposeful running series.  She’s proven to herself that she’s stronger than she expected, and inspires me to remember that good health and the ability to run is a gift.  Check out her blog at Livin’ a Little Life!  And feel free to contact me if you have a story you’d like to share!

Here’s Christa!

On October 20, 2005 I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer at the age of 29.  I had just lost 50 pounds and met my future husband.  I had been going to the gym regularly, would run a few minutes on the treadmill, but always said, “I can’t run”.  I survived the chemo and radiation, got married and in 2008 my BFF moved back to Vermont from North Carolina.  She had started running in NC and thought that I should to.  Again “I can’t run”.  We started out running a little bit at a time and entering a few local 5k’s.  I would always walk for part of them, because again, “I can’t run”.  She would tell me that I didn’t need to walk, that I could run.  I would run sometimes, but not regularly.  In early 2010, I was online late at night and saw the website for the Middlebury Half Marathon.  Middlebury is 15 minutes from my house and it had a relay.  You could do half of the half. I sent an email to my running friend.  She quickly emailed me back and we were signed up.  What did I get myself into??

We trained for the half of a half, ran it and I sort of liked it.  I continued to run and again one late night on the computer found a half marathon labeled as the “flattest half marathon”, again I sent her a late night email, and quickly we were signed up. It was going to be in early October 2010.

We trained during the summer and in August I had some not good test results, my cancer had returned and I was now stage IV, it had spread to my bones and a spot on my chest wall.  I remember asking my oncologist through tears if I could still run.  He said I could.  I started on an oral chemo, and kept on running.

I had some good and not so good long training runs.  I learned a lot about fueling my body and what I needed to eat to do a long run.  About a week before the half marathon I was sick of running.  I had the worst long run ever and decided I was never going to run more than five miles again.  After the half, I thought it wasn’t so bad…

I have continued to run regularly since that half and have completed 3 half marathons, lots of 5k’s and will continue to do so.  I have big plans for half marathons this year; I’ve already registered for 2, am awaiting lottery selection for another.

So…This whole long post is why I run.  I started for exercise, because my friend wanted me to, to keep my weight in check, etc… But now I run for me, because as long as I can run I feel healthy and strong.  I run because I can, I run for sanity, and I run because it’s the one thing in my life I can control.  I learned even on a bad running day (we all have those) it’s still a day that I am running and that I am healthy.

February’s Cross Training Challenge

It’s Friday! And my quads are still sore from a class I took Tuesday for Kim’s New 2 U Cross Training Challenge.

Kim’s running the same race, and we’re planning to meet up with some other runners for dinner Saturday evening.  She also mapped out the hilly course in her post yesterday, and I’m trying not to think about how I’m gonna get up those.

Probably not the smartest timing for my challenge. But the class itself was awesome!

The class was called “Chiseled” and is described as “a well-rounded workout for strengthening all major muscle groups, designed to define, shape & tone your body.”  The instructor informed us they’re debating re-naming it “Body Flex” to see if they can attract more males to join in.  Think it will work?

I’ll do my best to re-create the class.  We started with a 10-15 minute active warm up, with high knees, jumping jacks, burpees (without a ball or weights), forward kicks, butt kicks (is this the technical term?) and other dynamic stretches.

Here’s the progression of burpees, in case you’re unfamiliar with the term:

Then she went after our legs.  With 10-15 pound weights in our hand and one foot up on the step, we cycled through:

  • 10 squats
  • 10 lunges
  • 10 forward kicks
  • 10 combo squat/lunges

30 seconds of squat jump/spins, then we switched sides and repeated the circuit.

We switched to medium dumbbells (mine were 8) and repeated this entire sequence on both legs with the addition of bicep curls and hammer curls on each move.  My quads were so done by the end!

We moved into chest and abs, and did a double set of chest presses and chest flys on our back with our legs in the air, followed by push ups and plank work.  You know it’s a good workout when push-ups are a relief!

I might have missed a set of something, but overall it was a great class.  I love doing strength work in a group setting, because despite the fact that these are all moves I could do at home, I would have NEVER lasted so long or pushed myself that hard without the peer pressure of a group.

We’ll see what happens at the half marathon on Sunday.  I thought a Tuesday class would give my body plenty of time to recover, but I followed it with a challenging run later that evening, and went to a 75 minute spin class on Wednesday which killed my quads all over again.  Thursday was a spontaneous rest day to let my body prepare for the weekend, and I plan to get in some easy running miles today.

Here’s a little blurb I found about the last killer hill in the half:

Coming up from the overpass, Enfield rises over 80 feet in less than a quarter of a mile. That may not sound like much, but it’s eight stories, in a very short span.  Many marathoners joke that they’d rather run the full than run this hill. It is quite likely the toughest steep hill on either course.

Sounds fun, huh? I’m linking up with Jill again for Fitness Friday.  We’re off to Austin soon, hills and all!

Valentine’s day WIAW

Hope you all had a nice Valentine’s day! I enjoyed a lot of “why I love running” posts  I saw floating around.  I’m linking up again with Jen at WIAW:

We’ve never made a big deal out of Valentine’s day, but it is a little more fun with a toddler in the picture.  So we started our Valentine’s day off with heart-shaped eggs in toast, mine was topped with avocado and tomatoes.

We played at a friend’s house this morning and gave her one of L’s owl valentines that we made on Monday.  I’m not a crafty person, but they were easy and we were both happy with how they turned out…

For lunch, we had leftover beef borscht (see! we do eat some meat!) from beef cubes and beets that daddy and L picked up at the farmer’s market on Saturday.  The beets turned the whole stew purple for Valentine’s day…

While L napped, I had my snack, pb with raisins and dark chocolate chips on a brown rice cake:

After nap, we headed off to a cupcake-decorating party with some of L’s friends.  I was thankful that there were some mini-cupcake options, and let L decorate and eat one of those.  She wanted more treats, but I was able to distract her for the most part with strawberries.  :)

We got home and daddy had already started dinner… Honey-glazed salmon, grilled asparagus, sweet potatoes and brown rice.

After a quick interval run, I joined my husband to watch parenthood and eat our dessert, Kristin’s 3-ingredient fudge:

We don’t go all out on gifts, but I was happy to see these gorgeous flowers and a bar of dark chocolate.  L gave daddy one of her owl valentines, and I got him a magazine for fun reading, The Economist.  :)  Pretty romantic, huh?

We did set up a babysitter so we can go out Thursday night, when the restaurants aren’t ridiculously packed.

Did you do anything special yesterday? Have kids changed the way you think about Valentine’s day?

Rainy day and Austin prep

It’s a rainy day in Texas.  Since this is our first “winter” here, I’m loving the mild temperatures, but I’m a little jealous of all the snowy pictures I’ve seen from the weekend up north, and I miss the excitement of a day off! So I’m claiming a snow day in our house, and we’re taking it easy and finding indoor activities to do.  I’m hoping L’s attention span will last long enough to get us through a few Valentine’s crafts after her nap:

I love these cute Owl Valentines at the Iowa Farmer’s Wife,

Natalie shared some great ideas at Lil Runner, (I think we’re going to make the egg in toast tomorrow, and hopefully the crayon hearts)…

And I’m going to try Kristen’s 3-ingredient fudge in heart shapes…yum!

Our Austin trip is quickly approaching- the half is next Sunday!  I signed up for this race as an excuse to get our family to Austin for a weekend, so I haven’t put a lot of thought into goals.  Originally, I was hoping to use it to break 1:40, but now that I’m building toward an April marathon, I’m realizing that’s probably not the smartest plan. (Especially if it’s true that there are hills in Austin!)

To continue building long run mileage, I need to get in a 17-18 miler around now, so my current plan is to use the race as part of a long run, and hold myself back from actual “racing”… instead I”ll aim for somewhere around marathon pace, in the 8:15-8:30 range.

I tend to get caught up in race day excitement and run faster than I want to, like my first 5k coming off an injury.  I’m hoping that won’t happen.  With hills, I shouldn’t have any trouble slowing down.

Thanks to those of you who shared ideas of things to do in Austin! One race perk is the 40 local bands that will be set up along the course and at the finish… a side of Austin we might not have experienced with a toddler in tow, so we’re excited for the race festivities on Sunday.

Has anyone else used a race as part of their training runs without “racing” it?  There’s lots of info about using races as “tune-ups” (like this article from Another Mother Runner) but that’s not my plan this time.

Have you had a snow day yet? How do you spend a surprise day off?