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Well, Sunday morning was an early run. After a warmup jog, I turned around and ran 3.11 miles hard. The course wasn’t spectacular, just 1.5 miles either side of our farm. I also ran into a 8 mph headwind, mostly so that I wouldn’t get too cold running back home.

The neat thing – my time was 20:24. I don’t know how that calculates on age-graded charts, but the effort was hard. My legs felt strong, but my lungs didn’t quite seem like they could keep up. I sounded so bad I was glad I was alone the last mile.

One other thing – I have more appreciation for cross country runners. Brett has a 9:17 PR as a 9th grader, and Adam ran 20:44 as a 7th grader. On grass. In crowds. Now that I know how hard I worked to get there, I will give them more support and encouragement as they run.

There is no shortcut. Success lies in over-coming obstacles everyday.

For the most part, my workouts are to help keep me fit vs. preparing for a competition. I like to have a routine where I’m working out about every other day. This week I was out of town for a few days and wasn’t able to work out. I’m not sure if it’s more mental or physical, but I usually feel a little guilty not keeping my routine. It’s as if I’m afraid all the progress I’ve made will disappear.

My first night back home I jumped on the treadmill and did 20 minutes of intervals. For me, that’s running fast for 2 minutes and then walking at a good speed for 2 minutes and then repeating the sequence. It felt good to stretch my legs and challenge my muscles. Over the weekend I did a 2 mile run on the treadmill at about the same pace or a little faster than I had previously done.

Whatever the routine, it’s important to get regular exercise. I can see it’s important for my kids too. If they go through a stretch where they haven’t exercised and have sat around quite a bit, they seem out of sorts and a little edgy. For our family, exercise needs to be part of our routine to keep both our body and mind in shape.

Hey everyone, this is Maddie writing.  I go to Goodhue School and I am in 7th. grade.  I have enjoyed running my whole life, but have just recently decided to take on running in races and competitively.  As many other people my age will tell you, I have a very busy life that includes school work, dance, piano, volleyball, religion, 4-H, basketball, theatre, and working on our family’s hog and cattle farm.  Trying to fit training in on top of all of that is a little bit of a challenge but with some hard work and determination, I seem to be getting it done so far. 

Earlier today my mom and I ran eight miles on a trail about 20 minutes away from our house.  I feel great after it and the best part is that I broke my record for the longest distance I have run in my whole lifetime.  Passing some people on the trail got me to thinking about  how lucky I am to be able to have the strength to just decide I want to run and go do it.  I don’t have to spend a whole lot of time getting ready before hand.  As I start putting on more miles, I am starting to realize how much I really do enjoy running.  It is just like any other hobby someone else would have.

Continue to read and I will continue to blog.  I am off to get ready for a new week of school.  Only three days this week! Yes!  Bye bye for now.

Sometimes keeping your health in check during training can be a challenge.  We have had a little bug going through our home, and Maddie has picked up a cough.  You need to be very in touch with your body to know whether to keep training or take a break during illness.  Since Maddie hasn’t had a lot of experience, she’s relying on me to help her out.  We ran a quick four miles together yesterday, but Maddie is taking today off. 

Any race we have done together so far, Maddie has done without any training.  She is in great shape.  Obviously, you can’t run 13 miles without training, but Maddie is going to run less than me during training in order for us to try to run the same pace come race day.  I told her she can run at her own pace the last mile to the finish.  I’m sure she will take advantage of that 🙂

Along with getting enough rest in order to stay healthy, it is important to eat right.  I’ve got a lot of tips I will share along the way, but today I will include a meatball recipe that I fixed for my family last night.  I was given this recipe by my Aunt Joanne when Brandon and I got married, and have used it A LOT~

  • 1 lb ground pork                        1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 lb ground beef                          1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 eggs                                               1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 c. milk                                     1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt                                          1 small chopped onion

Beat eggs – mix with milk.  Soak torn break in egg mixture.  Mix all ingredients.  Shape into balls.  Brown in 400 degree oven about 30 minutes.  Drain fat.  Serve with BBQ sauce, ketchup, or even cream of mushroom soup.  Delicious!

For many, the word quarters indicates a drinking game. For runners, it means a challenging workout that is meant to increase speed. But what business does a marathoner have trying to increase speed? Isn’t the goal just to be able to run 26.2 miles and finish the race?

The addition of speed workouts to the training program adds a very important anaerobic workout to the routine. You run fast, then recover, then run fast again. Leg turnover increases, and so does stride strength. Obviously the ability to recover and do another quality repeat is important. The speed workouts I most dread doing are hill repeats, but I actually enjoy the quarter repeats. Using the Garmin 205 watch, I do these on the open road where the rest of my training occurs, so there are some hills involved.

On Wed I did an 8 x 1/4 mi repeat.The recorded times were:

  • 1:33
  • 1:39
  • 1:30
  • 1:28
  • 1:29
  • 1:27
  • 1:24
  • 1:21

The first 4 averaged 6:10 pace, and the last 4 averaged 5:41. The 2:00 recovery period between each interval is there to enable me to spend more total time running at high intensity before I was too tired. The other benefit of intervals is that it improves resistance to muscular acidosis, a major contributor to fatigue in all-out running efforts.

I feel that I’m faster – will know more after Sunday’s 5K time trial.

“It’s not what you say or hope, wish or intend, but only what you DO that counts. Your choices tell unerringly who you are.”– Brian Tracy

I tried a new recipe last night, Thai Pork Burritos. It was a big hit with the family. Even Beth, who can be pretty choosy, told me she really liked it. The Thai Burritos use ground pork. I had gotten way from using ground pork the last few years. But I picked up a recipe book from the MN Pork Board and when I started looking through it, I realized there were a lot of interesting dishes to try. Fortunately this is about the time we needed to butcher a hog, so we had some of it made into ground pork.

Pork has become leaner over the last few years and our ground pork really reflected this. There was no fat to drain off. The taste of pork is a nice change in many dishes that call for ground hamburger.

I challenged myself to find new ways to prepare pork that still fit into our healthy lifestyle. I’m glad to say the first recipe I tried met that challenge. If you want to find new ways to prepare pork, go to www.TheOtherWhiteMeat.com.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am traveling with the United South Central High School Band and Choir as they visit St Louis and Memphis. This trip has been good so far, and I give high marks to the students on this trip. Their performances have been great, and their behavior has been outstanding. Today we will visit Graceland, the Civil Rights Museum and Beale Street. Most of the kids are jazzed for today’s events (pun intended).

One of the very difficult things to do as you travel is maintaining some sort of diet and exercise regimen. It is very easy to eat healthy at home when you have total control of the foods available to you. On the road, and especially on a bus trip, food choices can become limited. The bus will stop where there are a couple fast food joints available, and choices become more difficult. One way I combat this is to eat well at the complimentary breakfast at the hotel, thus keeping fuller during the day. In fact, this morning’s breakfast included an omelet, some thin sliced ham, a bowl of raisin bran, a bowl of fruit and coffee. Now this sounds like a lot, but with the apple I stashed away, I could probably go until mid-afternoon before needing to eat. Also, I am at a stage in the training process where excess energy stored as fat can be metabolized on my long runs. This is a short term situation that will be changed Monday morning when I get home.

The training portion would be easier to accomplish on the road if I only had to be responsible for myself. Chaperone duties mean I have to be available on a moment’s notice, and the schedule is more rigid when traveling with about 80 people. So, Thursday morning I ran at 6:00am, doing 1/2 mile loops in an adjacent strip mall parking lot. Traffic picked up during the last loop, so I was glad to be done. Last night about 18 members of the track team needed a workout, so I was one of 4 chaperones that participated. It was a short tempo workout compared to what was on my schedule, but it was 1-1/2 miles at speed, so it felt good. We may have time for an easy run tonight, then tomorrows’s bus ride home will be a forced day off.

Don’t think “if”, think “how.”

The treadmill is my ally. During the winter or when the weather is bad, the treadmill is my form of exercise. Even if I’m feeling sluggish, I tell myself, “a little exercise is better than none.” Last night, I ran 2 miles in 18 minutes, 41 seconds. Not blazing speed for you runners, but for me, it’s the furthest and fastest I’ve run in a long time. It’s a small accomplishment on my way to a bigger goal.

One of my other goals is to try new pork recipes. I found one for Thai Pork Pizza on the MN Pork website. Go to www.mnpork.com, and then click on the icon for Easy Meals in Minutes for Easter and Beyond. This pizza is refreshingly different and pork loin contains less fat that many other pizza toppings. If you get a chance to try it before I do, let me know what you think.

Running a half marathon with my daughter has been a dream of mine for some time now.  It wasn’t that Maddie didn’t have the drive or physical ability to run the race, she just wasn’t old enough.  Now at thirteen, she is ready to join me in running Grandma’s Half Marathon.  We are both fired up about the opportunity, and know the rest of our family will be cheering us on. 

I am married to Brandon, who is a 6th generation pork producer.  Our other children are Kendrah, 14; Max, 11; and Kenny, 7.  Join us on our journey to the finish line… it’s sure to be filled with the unexpected!

I’m running a 5K. Boy that sounds different. While I’ve been active with various sports, especially biking the last few years, I haven’t run competitively since college. So why am I doing it? Three reasons actually. One, I’m excited that MN Pork Board is a sponsor of Grandma’s Marathon and I want to be part of the Pork Power team. Two, my 3 kids and husband have been running the last few years and I’ve felt a little left out. The final reason, I want to challenge myself.

So follow me as I take on this new challenge. I’m also going to share with you some ideas on how to make pork part of a healthy, nutritious diet. As a pork producer, I cook a lot of pork, but I’m always looking for something new and exciting, that’s easy to prepare. When I find something, I’ll share it with you. So here I go, with this thought. “What lies behind us and what lies before us compares little to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson