Zydeco Half Marathon Recap

I did it! I set a new half marathon PR! Though it is a small PR (1 minute, 30 seconds), it’s still progress. I ran the first half with my best friend, then she broke away to run faster. I tried to keep up, but could not. One day I will! Her hubby finished 7th overall for the half! Here are a couple of pics from the race

.before the race

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Next weekend I am doing my first Tough Mudder race. The course is 10-12 miles long but broken up by lots of obstacles. Not surprisingly, the obstacles concern me more than running. We are doing the race with a big group of running friends, so it should be a good time. I don’t get to run with my husband often, so am looking forward to that!

This week, I have a ton going on so Tyler helped me out by going grocery shopping for me last night. He came home with some great and healthy foods for the week, so here’s what we plan to make and the approximate order we plan to make it in. Of course this will flex as needed.

Monday

Steaks with roasted sweet potatoes and sautéed kale

Tuesday

Shrimp taco bowls

Wednesday

Steaks with sautéed or roasted asparagus and roasted sweet potatoes

Thursday

Crock pot pork chops (pork chops, a little water or chicken stock, seasoning, let it cook on low all day) with steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes

Friday-Sunday

We will likely have breakfast for dinner Friday, but am not sure what the plan will be just yet.

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Weekly Meal Plan and Race Prep

Happy March! I can’t believe we are already on month three of 2017. Time flies so quickly.

This week’s meal plan is below. We are leaving the weekend open for plans that may come up since Tyler has a race Saturday morning, I have a baby shower to attend Saturday and I am running the 4th annual Zydeco Half Marathon in Lafayette Sunday morning.

Monday- Chicken burrito bowls

  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Rice
  • Black beans

Tuesday- Pork Roast

  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Spinach salad

Wednesday- BBQ Chicken

  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli

Thursday- Leftovers

Friday- Breakfast

  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Toast

Weekend- Eating out or Steaks

  • We have steaks in our freezer we can cook, depending on our plans

 

Race Week Prep

I have completed the Zydeco Half since they started the race in 2014 and am excited to run it again this year. This is the race course that holds my current half marathon PR and I am hoping to make a new PR this year! To prep for this weekend’s race, I am doing two (maybe three) short runs and a few yoga classes this week to make sure I feel stretched out and mentally prepared for the run. I struggle with remaining in the comfort zone when running long-distance instead of pushing myself to a new PR, so I am hoping to step up my mental game this weekend and push to a new record.

I was thinking about it last weekend and can’t believe this will be my 7th half marathon and my 2nd in the last two weeks! I vividly remember mile 12 of my first half marathon. I looked at my friend Caroline and said “I will NEVER do this again”. Of course later that day, while icing my legs, I was already researching to find my next race. Likewise, a couple of years ago I decided I was “done” with regular long distance running and would stick to only doing the Zydeco half each year. The next year (2016), I crushed my previous PR, signed up for a full marathon weeks later and have completed two more halfs and a full since then. It’s funny how what you once thought was impossible, or extremely difficult, becomes the thing you crave and strive to complete.

 

NYC and Post-Vacation Clean Eating

Hi! We just got back from our vacation to NYC this morning. We woke up at 2:30am CST to catch our early morning flight back and goodness are we tired! We had a great time exploring a new city together. Check out some of our favorite memories below!

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I always find that a little clean eating reset is in order when returning from vacation. We stopped for groceries on the way home from the airport and bought enough for the following. I’m not sure what order we will eat these meals in yet and yes, I realize now they are very red meat heavy but when we were standing in the store at 10am after so little sleep, we didn’t notice.

  • Flank steak with sweet potatoes and a veggie (broccoli, spinach or cauliflower)
  • Sirloin with with sweet potatoes and a veggie (broccoli, spinach or cauliflower)
  • Steak fajitas that will go on top of our usual taco bowl ingredients
  • Chicken taco bowls
  • BBQ chicken with sweet potatoes and a veggie (broccoli, spinach or cauliflower)

 

This will get us through the weekend so we can better plan out meals for next week!

Weekly Meal Planning & Central Park Half Marathon

Happy Monday! It is an exciting and stressful week over here. I’m so excited because we leave (very) early Friday morning for NYC! I’m stressed because I have a midterm in Biostats on Thursday. This too shall pass.

We are only cooking Monday- Wednesday this week and Thursday’s meal will be takeout to make it easier on us to prep for our early departure Friday morning.

Monday- Pork Chop with Wild Rice

We had a fun date night Friday night and after stopped at Whole Foods, because that is what you do when you’re old and married ;). While there, we decided to pick up some food to cook for the weekend. We got 2 stuffed pork chops and some flank steak. The thought was to cooke the pork chops Saturday night and steak Sunday night, but the pork chops were so big we split one Saturday and then again on Monday. They were pre-seasoned with wild rice and some seasonings but we didn’t like the rice much.

  • Pre-seasoned/stuff porked chop
  • Sweet potatoes (roasted- him, baked in microwave- her)
  • Broccoli- steamed in a saute pan on the stove

 

Tuesday- Chicken burrito bowls

  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Rice
  • Black beans

 

Wednesday- Shrimp Stir Fry

  • Shrimp
  • Mixed veg
  • Broccoli
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice

 

Thursday- Take out

Friday-Tuesday- NYC!

 

Speaking of NYC, Tyler signed me up for the Central Park Half Marathon on Sunday! I’m so excited! I ran 10 miles on Friday and planned to do 6 in NYC and 12 the weekend after but am going to switch it up and do the half in NYC and then 6 miles the weekend after, which I think is actually better since the Zydeco half is the weekend after I’ll be doing 6. Excited to share some of our NYC adventures once we are back!

Weekly Meals and Fun Weekends

We didn’t get around to roasting the chicken this weekend, we were too busy having fun! We ended up going to dinner with Tyler’s parents Saturday night and attended two crawfish boils Sunday, so I roasted the chicken on Monday. Tyler had to unexpectedly go out of town for work Monday night and won’t be back until Thursday night, so as you can see my meals will not be very exciting. The chicken will be used up for my lunches this week. Today’s lunch was chicken salad made with some of the chicken, plain greek yogurt, cajun seasoning and a little celery. I put it all in the food processor until combined and it was delicious over some baby spinach.

Monday- Roasted Chicken, potatoes and onions

  • Whole chicken, roasted
    • I roasted it for 20 minutes at 475* then roasted at 350* for 20 minutes per pound. This one was 4.5 pounds which equalled about 90 minutes at 350*
  • Potatoes/onions roasted
    • I just cut them up and put them in the bottom of the pan with the chicken while it cooked.
  • Sautéed kale

Tuesday- Pizza Night

*insert shocked emoji here*

Wednesday- Shrimp burrito bowls

  • Shrimp sautéed in taco seasoning- 1-2 tablespoons
  • Bowl fixings:
    • Guacamole
    • Salsa
    • Rice
    • Black beans

Thursday- Leftovers or breakfast for dinner

Friday- Date night!

Since last weekend was a little off plan, I am waiting to see what happens this weekend before buying weekend food to cook. If we cook anything good, I’ll share next week!

 

Training Update

I ran the Mardi Gras Mambo 10k on Saturday. I was a rough race- difficult running weather, one of my least favorite race routes (last year’s route was awesome) and just generally not feeling like myself out there this time.

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On Sunday Tyler and I hiked the Clark Creek Trails in the St. Francisville area. We had a great time and attempted to run up almost all of the hills we encountered for an extra challenge.

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This weekend I have 10 miles on the plan, which will likely be done very early with a friend followed by heading out to St. Francisville to support Tyler and some of our friends who will be running a trail run 12 or 6 miler.

Weekly Meal Plans

 

I began craving normalcy in eating as soon as I got home from Disney. For Tyler and I, normal means mostly paleo meals (no rice and beans are not paleo, but yes we eat them). We found that throughout the fall semester, we were not planning properly for meals which resulted in too many meals from restaurants and spending more than intended on food. Additionally, I was extra hungry from all the running in my training and often made questionable carb loading decisions.

Starting the day after I got home from the race, I began my old method of planning each dinner for the week prior to going to the grocery store. This time I began typing out all my meal planning instead of scribbling on a random piece of paper. I started sending them to friends and classmates when talking about meal planning and last week a classmate said “you should start a blog and share these”. I already have a blog! Of course I should share with others!

For reference, I’m including what I typically eat for breakfast and lunch each day as well. Thankfully, I do eat all three meals at home MWF and the weekends (unless we go out with friends). I started making a couple cups of rice at the beginning of the week so it will be available and already cooked for any meals we want/need it for. We don’t always add rice to these dishes, but have the option to depending on how much I ran or Tyler crossfitted (not a word) that day.

With our further ado, here’s what we will be eating this week!

Monday- Stuffed Peppers

  • Lean ground meat
  • Rice
  • Tomato sauce
  • Bell peppers (4)
  • Cheese (just a little for the top)
  • Cajun seasoning

Tuesday- Chicken Taco Bowls (crockpot)

  • Chicken*
  • Rotel*
  • Taco seasoning*
  • Black beans
  • Rice
  • Avocado
  • Salsa

*These three go in the crockpot with some water and cook all day on low then take out all the other toppings (already prepped) and build the bowl!

Wednesday- Shrimp Stir Fry

  • Shrimp
  • Mixed veg
  • Broccoli
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice*

*We usually keep the rice separate in case one or both of us aren’t feeling rice that night.

Thursday- Crockpot BBQ pulled pork

  • Pork
  • Bbq sauce
  • Beef broth
  • Rice*

*We usually keep the rice separate in case one or both of us aren’t feeling rice that night.

Friday- Breakfast

  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Paleo pancakes/waffles

Saturday/Sunday

  • Whole roasted chicken for salads, etc.*

*We will eat this for lunch/dinner in different ways over the weekend.

Breakfast

I eat eggs every morning except Tuesdays. Usually it’s 2 eggs over easy with some sautéed spinach or kale, or sometimes just the eggs. Tuesday mornings I have to be in NOLA for 9am class, so I make overnight oats to eat in class. All breakfasts are served with coffee.

Lunch

Lunch is typically salad with leftover protein, eggs or deli meat. Salad always has a spinach mix with tomatoes, cucumbers and celery with a clean dressing.

Snacks

I’m at school all day on Tuesday/Thursdays, so snacks are necessary. I usually bring an apple, pear or banana and a Lara bar to eat before my last class/on the way home. Sometimes I bring almond butter to eat with the fruit or with celery or a boiled egg to eat on the way home, depending on what I’m craving that day.

 

Training

Yes, I am training again! After the long runs I just experienced, this doesn’t really feel like training (in a good way) but I will be doing the Zydeco Half in Lafayette on March 12th. This will be my 4th year doing Zydeco and highly recommend it! I did 9 miles on Saturday and felt good until after the run when my feet started giving me trouble again. I have the Mardi Gras Mambo 10k this Saturday and am hoping for a PR!

26.2

I did it. I ran a marathon. I ran a MARATHON! It feels so surreal. I’m going to recap the race with as much detail as I can remember.

 

After fighting weather delays, we finally made it to packet pick-up one hour before they closed. We were SO excited to get our race bibs and shirts but also starting to feel SO nervous. I had been fighting some foot pain for a couple of weeks and just walking at the expo was hurting, so I was feeling nervous about completing 26 miles the next day.

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We had pasta followed by a chocolate chip cookie for a very early dinner around 5pm (eastern time) since we both missed lunch. After laying out all of our clothes, gear, fuel, etc. for the morning and setting our alarms, we were asleep before 7:30pm which was amazing!

Our first alarm went off at 3:00am but we were awake and feeling rested thanks to 7.5 hours of sleep! We talked about our nerves, got dressed in what felt like a hundred layers of clothes, checked the weather for the millionth time and set out to catch a bus from our Disney resort to the starting area.

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It became apparent to us upon walking to the start line party that the wind chill was even colder than we expected, so after taking a quick before picture, we promptly added on our last layer of warmth, a garbage bag. Yes, you read that right and yes, it was amazing at keeping the chilling wind from bothering us even more. There were many others around us with the same idea (shout out to Erin for the suggestion!) and those who did not do this were obviously in envy of our added warmth and fashion statement. From the time we arrived at the start party to the crossing the start line we stood in the cold for 2 hours! While waiting and huddling together with strangers, we met two great ladies from Tampa who were running together and saw them several other times on the course as well. Shoutout to Heather and Dina for making our pre-race more enjoyable! I’m not sure what time it was, but at some point we made our way to the start line, which was about a mile away. A while later, it was our turn to start!

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Miles 1-5ish were spent making our way to Magic Kingdom. We were obviously still feeling very fresh at this point but it was so fun to see the castle all lit up when we got close and then even more fun to run through it!

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We knew miles 6ish-11ish would be difficult since they were spent making our way to Animal Kingdom on back roads. We tried to focus on our surroundings, the DJ’s set up along the way to provide encouragement and the runners and spectators we encountered.

We hit the half marathon mark in the middle of Animal Kingdom, which was great! At this point we began to see our fellow marathoners stop to have a drink at the bar in Animal Kingdom or to get in line for rides (Mt. Everest). We couldn’t imagine stopping and then having to run 13.1 more miles!

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Miles 14-18 were spent traveling from Animal Kingdom to the Wide World of Sports. It was around mile 16 that my foot began to really give me trouble. We had decided ahead of time that we would run consistently only stopping at water stations when needed or if one of us needed to stretch or go to the bathroom until we reached a point (for whatever reason) we needed to implement a walk/run method. Mile 16 was where we implemented walk/run doing run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute. We did a good job of keeping up with this schedule and running extra if we hit a water station in the middle of a run segment.

Miles 18-21 were spent in the Wide World of Sports, which was not the most eventful section, and I don’t remember much except that we passed Mickey and Minnie, I had to stop for the bathroom right after the 20 mark and that we decided during this section to increase our running time to 6-7 min followed by 1 min of walking. We set a goal of finishing the race as close to 5:30 as possible (according to our Garmin watches). Mile 21 had an overpass which was not fun. It is also when my foot went from hurting to really hurting and I just wanted the race to be over. Tiffany said around this point “think about what it will be like to cross the finish line and get our medals” this would normally be something that would help me, but instead I responded with “I just can’t wait to be done and take a shower”. HAHA!

Around mile 23, we entered Hollywood Studios, which was a quick visit only through the front part of the park then headed toward the finish in Epcot. Though we only had a 5K left at this point, it seemed like the longest 3 miles ever. We ran to the Boardwalk and all the way around it (we did not expect this and it was so mentally challenging) before entering Epcot to run around the countries, which by the way felt like they were never-ending.

My watch hit 26.2 right at the 5:30 mark, but we could tell that the finish line was still a little ways off. We turned a corner coming out of Epcot and could see the spectator stands begin, and got so excited! As we continued, the spectator numbers grew and then we could see the finish! I was so emotional at this point. The pain I was feeling was overwhelming but even more overwhelming was the thought that we were almost done. We were almost marathoners. We joined hands as we approached the finish line and crossed the finish with our hands in the air. I know the girl who gave me my medal thought I was crazy standing there crying as she put it around my neck.

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As soon as we stopped, my right foot began hurting very bad. This was interesting since it was the opposite foot that hurt during the race. We made our way to get water, take a few pictures and then found a place to set our feet up to recover a bit.

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I looked at my phone and had some strange texts from Tyler, so I tried face timing him to share my excitement. He didn’t answer. At this point I was suspicious and asked Tiffany if he was there. A few minutes later, after Tyler texted Tiffany and told her he was there and to find him, I saw him! My sweet husband drove to our friends house in Tallahassee Saturday then drove to Disney Sunday morning to be there when I finished the race! He had been texting me all morning (I get text messages on my Garmin watch) and I had responded to a few when I could but ignored the ones I had received around mile 23 and mile 25 since I had no idea he was there and looking for us. Sadly, he did not get to see us cross the finish line even though he was there and looking for us. BUT I was sooo very excited to hug him when he found us.

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After we hobbled to Tyler’s truck, we went to eat brunch then Tyler dropped us at our resort so we could shower and rest while he went back to Tallahassee to stay with our friends again (by his choice, I promise we offered for him to stay). I suffered through the crazy foot pain and made it to dinner Sunday night where we enjoyed some delicious Mexican food and a margarita, followed by a cupcake (from Sprinkles) which was enjoyed in our pajamas at the room while icing my foot.

Saying goodbye to your best friend always sucks, but after such an amazing experience together, this goodbye was very bittersweet.

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I can’t believe all the training and sweat and tears that went into this marathon. I’m so proud of us for doing it and can’t believe it is over!

In my PhD world, the second semester of school starts tomorrow. Here’s to a great semester and new fitness goals to be determined.