Monday, July 6, 2015

FT Flat Half Training Week 8

Workouts

Monday: Ballet class (75 min) + easy run 2.0 miles (12:55 pace)

Wednesday: Ballet class (75 min)

Thursday: Play short round of disc golf (45 min) + swim 1,000 yards + run 2.15 miles (12:06 pace) - easy-ish with some strides

Saturday: FT Flat half marathon - new PR!

Sunday: Easy run 2.0 miles (13:40 pace)

Total swimming: 1,000 yards
Total running: 19.25 miles

And now, it's time for marathon training! I'll do a post or two about it this week, but I'm going to do a slightly modified version of the Hansons beginner training plan.

I'm trying to occasionally fit in a bike or swim, but I still haven't decided if I'm going to actually do a tri this year. I definitely want to prioritize the marathon, so I don't know if it's worth trying to cram in enough other training for a tri.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015 Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon

The FT Flat half marathon is one I've done every year since I started this distance. I've usually set a PR; the course does live up to its name, albeit partially mitigated by the typically hot weather for July 4th. This year in particular - in the middle of a heat wave with temps in the 90s, I wasn't sure how well it would go. 

In addition to the heat, I haven't felt super confident in my training. My dedication to long runs wavered in the past few weeks, and I haven't been holding anywhere near the long run pace that had come easily in the spring when training for my last half. I really wanted to beat 2:30 (with PR from April sitting at 2:34:42 - a bit of a jump, but not totally unfeasible), but wasn't sure how probable that was.

The Flat takes place on Sauvie Island, NE of Portland. Some years I've carpooled and some I've taken the race-provided shuttle but had someone pick me up after. Traffic can get iffy - it is an island, so the one bridge is the only way to get there - but especially after this long of a race I like to have a car there to have anything I want readily accessible immediately after. So I drove pretty early, expecting to be parked over an hour before race time; after crossing the bridge I was part of a line of traffic sent the long way around the island, adding at least 10 or 15 minutes (supposedly because traffic was too slowed down the main direction), but I was still able to park fairly close, use a porta potty, put on sunscreen, etc., with plenty of time to spare.

The temperature was reasonably cool at the start, all things considered - my garmin says 63. I'd guess it was approaching 80 by the time I finished, but fortunately the second half of the course has some nice pockets of shade.

I didn't set a pacing goal per se, but figured sticking as close to goal pace (11:26) as possible for the first 10, dropping slightly after 5 if possible, and then going as fast as possible (maybe close to 11:00) for the last 5k. 

Things started out pretty well. On the slower side of goal pace, but basically there. I carried a water bottle, to save time versus actually grabbing a cup at the aid stations, though I did take a few brief walking breaks to drink from my bottle.

Miles 1 - 5: 11:28, 11:27, 11:34, 11:24, 11:22

At mile 6, I figured I'd see how speeding up by 5 - 10 seconds felt, and it was a little challenging, especially as it was starting to get warmer, so I mostly just stuck with trying to maintain the 11:30-ish that I had been earlier. I ate a shot blok around miles 6, 8, and I think 10. Around mile 8 or 9 I was starting to empty my water bottle, so I paused to get it refilled at an aid station.

Miles 6 - 10: 11:20, 11:33, 11:23, 11:33, 12:10

Yeah, mile 10 wasn't pretty. I think that probably included the water stop, but also lots of walking breaks. I had some shorter walking around 8 - 9, but had enough energy to pick it up enough in between to compensate. Now, that was getting harder. 

Ideally I wanted to push it close to 11:00 for the last few miles, knowing that I had just barely enough time to hit my goal if I did so. Spent a lot of time doing race math in my head, telling myself I couldn't walk or it'd totally fall apart. I walked anyway, tried to make up for it, sort of did, and then kept walking more and more often. Within the last couple miles I knew I wasn't going to make 2:30, but it was clear that I'd have to basically crawl the rest to not PR, so that kept me from slowing down too much. 

Miles 11 - 13.1: 11:00, 11:32, 11:51, 9:31 (2:31 time for 0.21)

Nothing was really hurting (besides pounding on my feet), which was a pleasant change from the usual race, but the heat and overall fatigue was getting to me by the end. Still good for a new PR of 2:31:39!!

I'm honestly not sure if I was/should have been capable of more or not. A couple miles paces that got higher than I liked, but overall I felt fairly strong. Definitely a drastic improvement from previous years!



This might be my last pre-kids half; if so, I think I'm content with that. I want to continue trying this summer for a sub-30 5k, but I don't think shaving another 2 minutes off my half to meet the sub-2:30 goal is worth another 2.5 hours of racing. This time is still good enough to give me in confidence in a 5:15 - 5:30 marathon goal, and that's going to be the priority for the rest of the season.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Avoiding Cooking: Easy Trail Mix [Sponsored-ish]

This post is in cooperation with Nuts.com, but I did not receive any product or other compensation. A link was requested but nothing was required. All opinions are my own.

I've feel like I've been pretty successful in building healthy habits lately (for the most part). In particular, my eating of healthy foods has drastically improved over the past year or so, which I credit primarily to getting married. Well, not the mere fact of being married, but being married to someone who's somewhat obsessed with nutrition and being healthy, and happens to enjoy cooking. I'm totally willing (most of the time) to eat a kale and white bean salad or enchilada casserole, if I'm not the one who put the work into it. 

Sadly, even if a marriage, there are inevitably times spent apart. When Abe was in a community theater show and had a heavy rehearsal schedule in May, I ended up fending for myself nearly every night, and rose to the task with such complex dishes as cooking eggs over medium and heating up frozen peas (with cheese - fancy!). 

This week I'm a bit on my own again, as he's pet-sitting for his dad and having to split his time between the two houses. Fortunately he made some of that kale and white bean salad last weekend that's helped tide me over, but I'm needing to put together some food on my own, too. 

To avoid lapsing back into eating nothing but frozen pizza for dinner and buying cookies at the deli downstairs at work for lunch, I have to keep things simple. I tend more towards snacky stuff, rather than real meals. Smoothies, veggies and hummus, nut trail mixes.

One of my favorite, super easy things to put together to take to work is making my own trail mix of sorts, with nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate. Works great as a light breakfast or snack, providing some healthy fats, protein, and fiber. (And chocolate, because when isn't chocolate a good idea?) You can check out some of the health benefits of nuts like almonds here (scroll down to bottom of the page), along with some other easy ideas for incorporating almonds in to your diet. 


almond trail mix

I don't even have to cook anything, but just toss the components into a jar, then toss that into my purse. Some recent mixes have included almonds, dried papaya, and chocolate chips; and cashews, raisins, and chocolate-covered coconut flakes. Everything is in its raw form or minimally processed, and can be readily bought inexpensively, especially if you find it in bulk, online at a company like nuts.com or the bulk/natural section of you grocery store.

What's your favorite nut to include in an easy, healthy snack?

Monday, June 29, 2015

FT Flat Half Training Week 7

Workouts

Monday: Ballet class (75 min) + easy-ish run 3.0 miles (12:50 pace)

Wednesday: Ballet class (75 min) + run 2.35 miles (12:06 pace)

I started the run just to get a couple easy miles, but after hitting a faster than I expected easy-ish (while downhill) pace which happens to be about marathon goal pace (12:32), I decided to see how far I could negative split on the second mile headed home - i.e., uphill. Actually got under my half marathon goal pace! (11:23). Plus a little cooldown to finish the loop.

Friday: Treadmill run 2.5 miles (13:05 pace) + ballet workout (30 min)

Saturday: Twilight 5k in 32:17 (10:25 pace)

Sunday: Play short round of disc golf (45 min) + long-ish run 7.0 miles (12:51 avg pace), with last mile at HMGP (goal = <11:30, actual = 11:13)

Total running: 17.95 miles

Have had a few moments (Wednesday's run, Saturday's race), that have instilled a little confidence, but I'm still not sure how I'll do at the race - less than a week away now! I've done ok overall for total weekly mileage, but not as many double digit long runs as I planned to. I can blame the heat for some of my slower paces during the long runs - but it'll be just as hot for the race itself!





Sunday, June 28, 2015

Twilight 5k

I was considering this race for a few weeks before finally signing up (the final night online registration was available). Though I'm training for a half with higher mileage volume than usual, with a reasonable amount of short speedwork included, I didn't think I'd be ready for a PR. But outside of this month I'm on track for my goal of at least one race every month, so I decided to go for it. 

The Twilight Run is a small-ish race - about 500 finishers this year - that supports the Tigard Tualatin school district. It's run in the Cook/Tualatin/Durham parks, primarily on paved path (so there are some narrow-ish areas), with a very short section on the bark dust paths (less than a tenth of a mile); some inclines but flat-ish. It's coordinated with the Festival of Balloons - the race bib gets you in free, but any spectators would have to pay the festival entrance fee. 

I picked up my bib at Road Runner Thursday night, and they also had a fundraiser going on with the Chipotle across the parking lot, so obviously that was a no brainer to pick up dinner. I really like the shirt; the last couple race shirts I've gotten in my usual size have been too big, so I decided to risk it and order down a size, and it's borderline but wearable (yay weight loss!). 

The race itself is Saturday evening; I love the idea of evening races since that's when I typically run for workouts, but timing what and when I eat during the day for best performance is still something to tweak. Supposedly there was parking at the high school for a small fee, but the directions I took to get there took me down a side street that dead ends in a trail head leading into the parks, so I just went with that, and just had about a quarter mile walk in.

It was 92 degrees at the race start, so I didn't have super high expectations. Meeting my PR pace of 10:01 would be awesome, but I decided anything in the 10s was pretty decent. 

I started out in the mid 10s, for a while, but with some downhill and early energy, I got the first mile just under - 9:56. Kept up around that for a while, but started feeling way too lethargic and hot about halfway through, and finally took a walking break just before the end of mile 2 - 10:22. The third mile was not pretty at all, with several walking spots, for 11:35. I got 9:30 pace for the last 0.05 (race measured short), for an overall official time of 32:17 (10:25 pace). 

Though obviously not a PR, it's only 70 seconds off - if I can do that at 92 degrees, I should definitely be capable of a new PR at 20 or 40 degrees cooler! I already have my July and August races lined up (half marathon, Hood to Coast), but I think I'll pick a 5k in September to finally try for a sub-30 (or at least sub-10 pace). 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bend: Vegan Food

We didn't put a lot of planning into this trip to Bend (we had it scheduled for a while, but only tentatively until fairly close to the week of), but we intended to focus on three things, essentially the things that make Bend just a version of Portland: being outdoors, drinking beer, and eating vegan food.

The last actually proved the most challenging, simply because drinking beer requires eating some food at the beer establishments, so we basically spent a couple days totally stuffed and didn't go to everywhere we planned. But here's what we did manage to fit in.

Mother's Juice Cafe

This was our first stop after checking into the motel*, and though the food menu looked good (not all veg, but vegetarian options plentiful and clearly marked), we just wanted something to tide us over until the first brewery. Instead, we looked to the smoothies and juices. 

Unlike many places which commonly use a yogurt base for smoothies, the majority here are dairy-free. I had a small Ida Red - cider, berries, apple, banana, mango sorbet. It must have been the sorbet that really made it creamy (especially considering it didn't have dairy). Really very good. I'm kind of picky about smoothies - I don't like "weird" combinations or ingredients, but there were several fruit focused smoothies that sounded good to choose from.

Abe had one of the juices, Fuel - beet, cucumber, spinach, ginger, lime. And wow could you taste the ginger! Even when set on the table, I felt like there were ginger fumes still wafting towards me.

The setting here is a converted house, with lots of cafe style seating options inside. We hung out for a little bit on a comfy couch to plan the rest of the day. 


Next Level Burger

This is a 100% plant-based burger joint! (That's opening a Portland location soon!) The employees made sure we knew this when we walked in and started perusing the menu ("Did you know our menu is all plant-based?" "Yep, that's why we're here!")

I had the original Next Level burger, while Abe tried the Tangy Tempeh burger, along with sharing fries and a fountain drink. I really liked the NL burger - both texture and taste can really vary with veggie burgers, but this one hit the right spot on both counts. The tempeh burger, not so much for me - something weird about the texture - but Abe liked it.

They're all about sustainability here, with compostable and recycling products (I think there wasn't even a "trash" receptacle at all). The fountain drinks are Maine Root natural sodas, plus there are other options like kombucha and raw juices.

Sarah's Raw & Vegan Cafe

While primarily serving smoothies and juices, they had a selection of food, as well as selling other local products (e.g., lip balms, sun screen, etc.). Also in a converted house, it shares space with a chiropractor, and the entrance to both is in the back. We found parking in the somewhat limited space in front, but we then found there is a small parking lot behind the house (entrance on Staats St., I think).

They are beyond sustainable here, with the only disposable item needed a straw (and of course, if we were local we could have brought out own glass straws). They charge a deposit for the glass jars (though we ate in so didn't need to), and even had cloth napkins/towels for use instead of disposals. 

We were helped by Sarah herself when we stopped by for breakfast on our way out of town; I had a strawberry banana (again, anything fruity is usually good with me), and Abe had the Athletic Endurance smoothie. Though I don't love all of the super-alternative health stuff (allegedly medicinal smoothie blends, juice cleanses, etc.), I can definitely support other aspects of their business model like smoothies in general and their dedication to eco-friendliness.


Kababa

Though not as hippie as our other non-brewery meals, I'll throw this in here so it's mentioned. This is a local middle eastern restaurant, with plenty of veg options. We did the mezze for two, choosing: hummous, babaganouj, curried tempeh salad, falafel, karnabeet, and spinach pie. So much food! All very good (I didn't love everything, but that's on my palate-of-a-12-year-old, not the restaurant).


*Side note: We stayed at the Day's Inn, as one of the cheaper options. I'm pretty sure I've stayed at locations of the franchise before without issue. But this one was a little iffy. Felt safe and clean enough if price is the biggest factor, but wouldn't return there myself. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Wedding Crap: The Name Change

(See introduction to this series here, and other posts in the series here.)

Disclaimers:

1. This is merely a hobby, so I'm not going to great lengths of research to find the most accurate information possible about the history of these traditions. I am trying to verify information to some degree to avoid continuing the spread of non-facts, but mostly this is a summary of the general consensus I've heard through out my life. Ultimately, I think how we treat these traditions has just as much to do with what we believe to be the origin of them, as the actual origin.

2. I am not trying to demean anyone who has chosen to partake in any of the traditions discussed. My goal is to spark discussion about what the history of these things mean to us today, how changing our language and treatment of traditions can affect our culture now, and, ideally, encourage anyone who wants to follow wedding traditions to do so as a conscious choice, not merely as a default that honors our patriarchal past.



What is the tradition? 

Upon getting married, the woman replaces her last name with her husband's last name. This is not only legally, but also is portrayed as a big deal socially - for example, at the end of the ceremony, and as the couple enters the reception, they are formally announced as Mr. and Mrs. HisName.

What is the origin of the tradition?

This varies greatly around the world, but is the English and American tradition. Ultimately, it represents the fact that both legally and socially, the woman was merging into her husband's status and identity. Even once past the time of women being literally owned, they still had limited to no legal standing. It is far too recent in the past when women couldn't open a bank account without her husband's permission. 

A unified family name makes sense, on both a logical and emotional level. But that it is traditionally the woman to take the man's name, and not vice versa, is because of their relative standings in society.

Why is that crap? 

If it were only about forming a united new family with a common last, it wouldn't matter which name you picked. You would pick between the two names (or make up a new one!) based on where they fell in the alphabet, what ethnic heritage they represented, or simply which one sounded the coolest with the parties' first names. But if so, you'd expect a fairly even mix of women and men taking their partner's last name. But no, it's only women who are expected to do this.

It'd amazing how defensive men can get about this, even if they say they don't view it as ownership or anything "sexist" like that. I've far too many times heard a woman talk about jokingly tell her soon-to-be husband that she was going to keep her name - and oh how hilarious it was when this fake news upset him! His name is the important name. If he would never consider taking her name, what the fuck right does he have to ask the same of her?

While there's nothing wrong with a woman taking her husband's name, there is if she's doing so primarily because that's just what people do, or for her husband to be upset if she doesn't want to if he wouldn't make the same sacrifice, or for others to assume that women will take on this burden and that a man wouldn't. Like many things based in historical oppression, modern day choices are not being made in a vacuum, and the historical oppression continues to impact how people perceive the choice and its meaning.

What am I doing with this tradition?

We both kept out last names. To make sure our community knew this, we put language in both our wedding invitation and programs.

Invitation:

Can I reserve a game of [ ] with the new Mrs. HisName? 

I’m afraid not, as no such person will exist. We’ll both be keeping our names as is: Abe T----- and Margaret W------ (Mr. and Ms., if you must.) But we’d both be happy to play a board game with you at some point during the event!

(A side note: my MIL also kept her last name, and my FIL's parents are deceased, so it actually was true that there was no Mrs. T------ present at the wedding, or even currently alive in the family.)

Program: 

Yay, you’re married! What do we call you now? 

Same thing as before. We’ve both chosen to keep our names as is - Abe T------ and Margaret W------ (Mr. and Ms., if you must).

Here's another post with some of my thoughts on this. Obviously, the invite/program wordage didn't help for those not invited to the wedding, but it became fairly self-evident in business contexts, since we operate with a lot of written communication, what my last name was (except to the coworker in the above linked post, apparently).

You might note that we specified that if honorifics must be used (which, I'd prefer they weren't. My Quaker college definitely convinced me of that), I would use Ms., not Mrs. For a couple reasons. 

First - if someone has a formal enough relationship with me to use an honorific, then it is also formal enough that my marital status is none of their fucking business. Men get Mr. just for being an adult, no signifier of being married necessary. So why do people think it's so important to know if women are married? Well, because if they're married they're weren't their own person, but hopefully we've moved beyond that reason. Second, while Mrs. has primarily been used to signify being married, it also was used as a sign of respect, for example the housekeeper might be Mrs. Smith, even if unmarried, due to her respected role. Mrs. = married. Mrs. = respected. So... married = respected. Fuck no. (Sorry for the higher than normal swearing in this post. It's an extremely passionate topic of mine.) 

Don't try to respect me by assuming I'm married. Respect me by assuming I'm a valid human being in my own right.

How did/will you handle this tradition?

I would love to have a lively debate and conversation in the comments! Please join in!

Dissenting opinions (from the post itself or other commenters) are welcome, but I reserve the right to delete any comments that personally attack me or any other commenter.
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