Monday, November 14, 2011

Back from the Big Easy

I haven't blogged in awhile because I just got back last night from a trip to New Orleans!  The trip was a surprise for my dad's 50th birthday and we had a really great time!  I had been looking forward to the trip for awhile and the opportunity to explore a city through running, however, NOLA had other plans for me!

The first few days there were 22mph winds sweeping through the city and it was just too cold and too much of a struggle to fight through that wind!  I made do with the treadmill at our hotel and was pleasantly surprised that I ran at an 11:19 pace for two 15-minute segments with one 3-minute walk break in between.  I could really tell a big increase in my fitness from the last time I ran on a treadmill, and I could also tell the difference between running on a nice flat surface and up and down all the hills in my neighborhood!

After the weather perked up a little bit I still didn't get to run outside because there was really no great area close to us.  It was a week of short runs--two 30-minutes and one 3-miler--but the sidewalks were so cracked and uneven that I think it would have been a hazard to run on them!  I did see some people running in the grassy area between the streetcars, but they had to duck out of the way when two streetcars passed each other and I decided not to mess with that.  But on my second treadmill run I completed the entire 30 minutes at an 11:19 pace with no walk breaks!  I felt great and strong through the whole run and it was very motivating!

I meant to do all three of my runs for the week in New Orleans, but too much rich food and the desire for more leisure time with my family caused me to only complete two runs.  I'm okay with that, though!  There was one day where I considered running, but we had done so much walking the day before I just felt like I needed to rest.  I've been trying to keep the mantra "listen to your body" in my mind and give myself rest when I need it so that I don't overtrain or make myself sick.  So far so good!

So tonight I completed the 3-miler that I missed in New Orleans!  I really think I could have finished the whole 3 miles without stopping, but a challenging hill prompted me to take a .2 mile walk break.  It was a really great run, though!  When I started, the manner in which I was running can only be described as buoyant!  It was 70 degrees outside, dark, but it felt wonderful and I was really happy to be back home and running outside again.  I was bouncing along cheerfully, until I peeked at Toby and noticed I was bouncing along at a paltry 12:45 pace.  So I curbed my bounce and focused on maintaining my happy pace of (roughly) 11:30.

Tonight was also the first time I wore my headlamp.  I felt like a giant dork, but it was actually very comfortable and helpful on my run.  I wore this headlamp from Athleta and was very pleased with it!  It wasn't too tight, it stayed in place, and lit my path very well.  I felt safe from passing cars and I was able to see the road in front of me so as not to slip on any pine cones or trample through piles of leaves.  Sometimes when I wear things snugly around my head during a workout I'll get a headache, but I didn't have that issue with the headlamp.  It's also a delightfully girly shade of pink, which is just an added bonus!

I've been paying close attention to my 5K time during my recent runs.  Running 3 miles in under 30 minutes is definitely on my list of 1-year goals!  Tonight I was right at about 36:00 when I hit the 3.1 mile mark.  When I was running in 2009 I ran in one 5K race and finished in about 38 minutes, and I was pretty darn slow.  I would really like to blow that time out of the water!  I'm not sure the event timing was all that accurate, but I've got 38 minutes fixated in my mind nonetheless.  I'm happy to have beaten it, but I want to pulverize it!

When I got home I enjoyed this post-run pumpkin spice protein smoothie!

It was delicious, but my blender is kind of so-so and didn't completely puree the raisin bits, so my smoothie was a little on the chewy side, which I wasn't thrilled about.  I've been thinking about getting something like a Magic Bullet to make smoothies, but I haven't decided what I want yet.

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