Tried and True

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Friday means date night! After work, Runner and I went on a 3 mile run. We had a gorgeous view of the Capitol and Washington Monument. The highlight of the evening was Z-Burger for dinner. We sat outside to enjoy the perfect weather.

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Double cheeseburger with Z sauce

Speaking of good eats… I am by no means a fancy chef, but I have enough kitchen tools that I think I am. I want to share a few of my favorite, tried and true recipes. Perfect for weeknight meals to feed your hungry runner.

Taco night – for anyone who is just starting out cooking. Buy a pound of ground beef and a packet of taco seasoning and follow the directions on the packet. Chop up your favorite toppings and you’ll have a meal in under 30 minutes. Don’t forget the sour cream and salsa.

Cheesy Volcano Meatballs – when I shared this recipe with my sister, she asked if the meat had to be browned before it could be used to make the meatballs. True story.

Baked Chicken Tenders -instead of the egg mixture I sometimes use ranch dressing or barbeque sauce.

Juicy Mitras – this is what we call it when I make Juicy Lucys. Make a basic burger but stuff some American cheese in the center of the patty.

Corn Salsa – our newest love, so simple.

And when all else fails, sometimes boxed Mac ‘n Cheese just hits the spot.

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Shoe Review: Nike Pegasus 29+

Shoes are a runner’s best friend, worst enemy, saving grace and sometimes even their only hope. I find myself constantly looking at shoes.  I currently already have my next pair of shoes picked out and ready to be broken in after my current set is retired yet I still am always looking at shoes, reading about them and thinking about which ones I want to use in the future.  That being said, currently I am finishing up a pair of Nike Pegasus 29+ and with over 340 miles on them I feel that I have a great sense of what they can do for a runner and what some of the draw backs are.

No one shoe will be perfect for every runner and it is tough for some runners to ever venture out of their shoe comfort zone once they find one that works.  My first shoe that I ran distance races in was a Nike Pegasus 28+.  I have since tried multiple other shoes but have come back to the Pegasus as my go to shoe for races.   A shoe must fit a person and I think that the Pegasus fits me, fits my running style and fits my needs.

My Second Set of Pegasus 29+

My Second Set of Pegasus 29+

Just most shoes there are some pro and some cons to the Pegasus shoe and to be fair I will list out, and explain some of each:

PROS:

  1. The weight vs cushioning: I think that the constant battle with any shoe is the weight vs the cushioning.  Most runners want some cushioning beneath their feet, and many new shoe models have focused on this idea (Adidas’ Energy Boost has been leading the charge) and I believe that Pegasus has a great amount of cushioning without becoming an overweight shoe that can slow you down.  Given it is no minimalist shoe, and there are some that are lighter that are designed to have cushioning, the Pegasus strives to find the equilibrium that so many runners, including me, are looking for.
  2. The Stability Fit: This is a term completely of my own creation so I better explain it.  The Pegasus makes my foot feel stable when I wear it.  The shoe provides support to my ankle while not causing me to change my stride.  I have a light weight shoe (that I will be reviewing in the future) that I do many speed runs and shorter runs with that sits much lower on my foot, and while that shoe works fine for me during 5Ks and even 10K distances, I cannot run for hours with that low shoe on my foot.  My ankles need support during the hours that I am on the road during a marathon and the Pegasus gives me that support.
  3. Consistency: I have used two generations or Pegasus shoes now, and have tried the next generation (Pegasus 30+) briefly and I have found remarkable consistency with the model line.  Too often shoes are always trying to change their models to match what is the newest, and next form, but the Pegasus has stayed consistent and throughout its long history it has become one of the most consistent shoe models on the market today.

CONS:

  1. Tight Upper Foot Fit: I have found that the Pegasus, more than the other shoes I have worn, has the tendency to be a little tight on the top of my foot.  I sometimes wear a shoe pocket for my apartment keys and must be careful not to tie my shoe tighter when that is on it because it can cause some undesired pain on my runs otherwise.
  2. The Stability Fit: This same idea is in the PROS section but can just as easily be a CON for many runners.  The Pegasus sits higher on the foot than many other shoe models (Adidas Boston 3, Asics Gel-Blur 33 are two models I have tried that sit lower).  This fit can cause discomfort for runners who desire a lower shoe that is more similar to those worn on the track.

Like I said before, these are my personal opinions about the Pegasus 29+ shoe and the whole line.  I hope that someone who is looking at new shoes will look at this review and feel more comfortable either going with Pegasus or feel comfortable removing it from the possibilities on their list.

-Runner

Gettysburg Day Trip

Runner and I couldn’t resist traveling somewhere this holiday weekend. Gettysburg was a good choice because Runner has been wanting to visit there forever. Even his parents and Joey had made it there before him! He actually had a vintage base ball game there last summer, but I was sick and couldn’t go. Needless to say this was on our list.

The ninety minute drive up there was a breeze. We were concerned about Rolling Thunder traffic but no road closures impacted our departure. Confession: I’m a notorious carcoleptic and had a nice nap on the way. We arrived at the Museum and Visitors Center just in time to catch the 10:00am movie and cyclorama viewing.cycloview

The movie, narrated by none other than Morgan Freeman, was a brief overview of the Civil War and the battle at Gettysburg which lasted from July 1-3, 1863. The cyclorama is a circular oil painting, the largest in America, that was created by French artist Paul Philippoteaux in 1884. The painting depicts Pickett’s Charge. Unfortunately, we were a bit let down by the lights show and the lack of information about the work. Such a unique piece deserves a little more attention but it felt like they were just herding us through.

Next, we walked through the museum. My favorite sections were on medicine and the crude surgical tools. Then, we headed back to our car to take a drive through the battlefield. We followed the “Auto Tour.” The signs on the road were easy to follow and since Runner is basically a human GPS we had no trouble visiting all the highlights.

By far, the best stop of the day was “Shultz Woods” which is just a sign along West Confederate Ave. next to a wooded area with some plaques. More photos here. Made for a perfect photo op!

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Thanks to the amazing weather, we continued our exploring and ventured out of the car a few times. There was an amazing view at Little Round Top.

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Next was a visit to the Gettysburg National Cemetery, the site where Lincoln gave the Gettsyburg Address.

DSC00566Later in the afternoon we headed west of Gettysburg to visit two wineries: Hauser Estate Winery and Adams County Winery. What gorgeous scenery!

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Hauser was unique because we got to do a hard cider tasting (for $1!). We ended up purchasing a 6-pack of Jack’s and a couple bottles of wine. Our final stop was to the Adidas store at the outlets. Holy savings!

How were your Memorial Day travels? Any good shopping deals?

 

The Founding of Memorial Day

Flags decorate the graves of the fallen.

Flags decorate the graves of the fallen. Today we still celebrate the holiday by “decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country” just like Logan initially called for.

This weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer to Americans.  Many BBQs will be had, many miles will be driven and many boats will be taken out for one of the first times this year.  Yet we cannot forget what this weekend holiday is about.  This holiday was created to honor our dead servicemen and their sacrifice to our country and our cause of liberty.  There will be many Memorial Day parades around America this weekend where children will be excited to get candy from the floats and listen to the bands as they pass and all these parades and celebrations go to show the freedoms that we enjoy in America that these men and women that we are celebrating weekend died for.

146 years ago this week the original proclamation for “Decoration Day”, the celebration that would become memorial day, was given by Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) General John A. Logan.  In this proclamation General Logan said that this day should be “for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land”.*  The holiday was quickly recognized by many states and was adopted after World War I as the day to recognize all service members who have died in war.

General John A. Logan, Founder of Memorial Day

General John A. Logan, Founder of Memorial Day

General Logan first set up a day of recognition after he was given command of Atlanta after the Union’s victory in that battle at the Civil War.  This day was mirrored in many cities in America in the years before he issued General Order #11 including in his home county in Carbondale, Illinois on April 29, 1866.  Logan was seen as the greatest volunteer General of the Civil War and went on to be one of the most influential politicians in America for 20 years after the Civil War.  His early death caused him to miss the presidential nomination in 1888 that was surely going to be his. (You can learn more about John A. Logan here.)

I hope that as every celebrates this weekend, weather you are travelling, going to a parade, participating in a race or just relaxing please remember the meaning of this day and remember to enjoy the freedoms that so many have sacrificed their all for.

*Taken from General John A. Logan’s General Order #11 from May 5, 1868 (Its full text is below).

General Order
No. 11
Headquarters, Grand Army of the Republic
Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868

I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their death a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude,–the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.

By command of:
JOHN A. LOGAN,
Commander-in-Chief.

N. P. CHIPMAN,
Adjutant-General

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Bride

Who’s excited for Memorial Day weekend? This girl! Runner and I will be adding another pin to our map, as we are hitting the road and heading to Gettysburg this weekend. Looking forward to touring our second cyclorama (our first was Atlanta, GA) and maybe stopping by a winery.

Since this is only my second post, I thought I’d share 5 things about me:

1. I choke on spicy foods every time.

2. For a couple years I was convinced that I sneezed more than the average person.

3. I can’t sleep with socks on, they will come off.

4. Sometimes I talk in my sleep.

5. When I watch DVRed shows without Runner I watch the commercials because it makes it last longer.

Feel free to share your “5 things” in the comments below.

My Fall Marathon Triumvirate

Runners cover the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to begin the New York City Marathon

Runners cover the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to begin the New York City Marathon

Most big cities in America have an annual marathon now, but arguably there are three that stand out in the crowd as being at the top of the list. These three, Boston, Chicago, and New York are known not just throughout America but throughout the world.  Boston, taking place in April, holds a special place in America, not just because of the recent tragedy, but because it stands alone as the dominant spring marathon.  Chicago and New York compete against each other for attention throughout the fall, with Chicago falling on October 12 and New York occurring on November 2 this year.  Despite the fall competition, both races now must draw their runners in a lottery in order to make it fair.

Any runner, including this one, who looks to run marathons, wants to run all three of these races.  I was blessed last year to be selected by the Achilles Foundation to run the New York City Marathon as one of their guides for a wheel chair athlete.  I got to run the New York City Marathon, including experiencing all the pomp and circumstances of the start up the Verrazano narrows bridge to the finish in Central Park, all while helping a well deserving athlete accomplish his goal as well.  The year before that I ran what is arguably the greatest amateur marathon in America, the Marine Corp Marathon.  Each of these races were very special to me and I hope to run each many more times in the future.

Runners start the Marine Corp Marathon in Arlington, VA

Runners start the Marine Corp Marathon in Arlington, VA

This year I decided to cross another off the list by applying for the lottery to run the Chicago Marathon.  I was lucky to be selected but soon after I received the confirmation e-mail from the Chicago Marathon I realized that I had a huge decision to make. Last year I deferred my entry into the 2013 Marine Corp Marathon once I was selected to run in New York so I had entry into that race this year also.  Plus I have an intense desire to volunteer for Achilles again this year in New York to continue my wonderful experience with that race and that organization that began last year.  But could I run three marathons in the span of just four weeks (Chicago being October 12, Marine Corp being October 26 and New York being November 2)?

Chicago is my goal race this fall.  There is where I hope to peak and push myself for the best time possible.  Marine Corp will be a much easier run two weeks later.  I know that I obviously will not be in top form with such an important race so soon before but I am sure that I can finish with a respectable time.  Plus, I have a few friends that are running Marine Corp this year that I want to run with and share in their

The start of the Chicago Marathon

The start of the Chicago Marathon

experience.  My big decision, which will have to be made soon, is weather I want to apply to help Achilles International again this year in New York.  Since I have helped in the past, and have only gotten faster, thus capable of helping more athletes, I would be able to easily help again this year if I want, but do I want to after running two previous marathons that month?

As I really begin my training for my fall marathon season I am looking at the challenges ahead of me with anticipation.  I know that the training will be difficult and not the most enjoyable at times, but it will be worth it at the finish lines.  I just wonder now if I will feel that since of accomplishment at the end of two races or if I will complete my Marathon Triumvirate in the fall.

Welcome to the Blog!

Bride here! Welcome to the blog. I’m so glad to be back! You may remember me from My Midwest and the short-lived Metro Mitra blog.

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I’m a self-professed hater of running. Why did I commit to the theme of this blog? For the same reason I rode all those roller coasters: peer pressure. Runner can be persuasive.

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I’m quite proud of my 0.0 status. But if you keep reading you may just learn that my mileage is ticking upward. I’ve done several 5ks and may have caught a bit of the running bug from Runner. I guess that’s a side effect of 10 months of marriage for you.

Runner will be bringing you boring running stats and I will bring you the rest of the story…

Chicago in 150 Days!

I consider myself a fairly serious marathon runner I am always training for the next race, even if that training consists of recovering before starting to build up the base miles for my next big race.

I have enjoyed the recent recovery time since my last marathon in St. Louis on April 6 2014 (a full review will be posted on this site soon). But as the saying goes all good things must come to an end and this recovery time is joining that list.

150 days from today I will be stepping off for my 6th marathon in Chicago, IL. Growing up in Illinois, despite the fact that I lived over 300 miles from Chicago, I always had good feelings and memories in and about Chicago. And on October 12 I hope to add many more great memories to that list.

Chicago is well-known in the marathon world as a great race for a PR and my training plan will focus on getting just that. For 150 days I am going to work on crossing that finish line in as fast a time as possible. I want to be at the start in Grant Park (in the shadow of the John A Logan statue who is from my hometown of Murphysboro) knowing that I have done all that I can to prepare my self to perform my best.

In the next 4.5 months I am going to push harder and focus more than ever on my speed, endurance and health. That being said I am realistic that I will inevitably miss a training run or two and will have other commitments that will always come before running and I will not change those priorities despite my running goals.

What I do plan on doing is focusing more on my overall health, especially what I eat, as a large part of my training. Often times I have let my running become an excuse for poor eating habits but during this training period I want to use my running as an excuse for better eating habits. I am the first one to admit that one of my biggest vices is my love of soda. I drink to much of it and I am going to work on not allowing it to hold up progress that I could be making. This goal is made much easier because Bride is such a great cook.

In 150 days I hope to be crossing the finish line in under 4 hours (which averages to just over 9 minute miles the whole way). That is the goal I am using to track and plan my training. I know that it is ambitious but I am looking forward to the challenge, and the thrill of accomplishing it. Wish me luck!