To marathon or not to marathon, that is the question!

I recently completed my 10 miler and I’m pretty happy with my time. I managed to shave 1 min and 40 secs off my time. I was aiming for more but in hindsight, the temperature difference between this year and last year was significant enough that I believe it contributed to my speed. There was a 10 degree (Celsius) temp difference! It was 28 with the humidex this year vs 19 (zero humidity) last year. While it felt hot, I think the reason I didn’t feel like I was melting is because I’ve been playing soccer this year in much hotter conditions. Plus, it helped that the race organizers had AWESOME misting tents this year. I heart misting tents.

At this same race, I was speaking to a friend and she asked, “So, what’s your next race going to be?” I said, “I’m thinking about running the PEI Marathon.” Her response, “The whole thing?” I thought it was pretty classic and quite funny.

As I type tonight, I’ve got my laptop beside me, trying to rid my laptop of a virus. Can I just say, this is a major drag. I had hoped to be in bed early tonight and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

Sleep, or lack thereof, leads nicely into the reason for this post: should I train for and run a marathon? I was seriously considering it a few weeks ago. Then, as my mileage for the 10 miler got bigger, I started to ask myself “Why?” It’s probably a no-no for a runner to ask that but I did it anyway. Why would I run a marathon? (btw, I keep typing marathong and it’s completely throwing my concentration off) After some introspection, I concluded that the only reason I would run it would be for the sake of doing it. I wouldn’t be running it because I actually wanted to. Now here’s the thing: training for a marathon is akin to a second job. The last time I checked, no one takes a second job just for the sake of doing it. There’s a need for it. I have no need to complete a marathon. Not only is a lot of time required for the training, but you really need to watch what you’re eating for optimal performance and sleep is an integral part of training for a race of that distance. (See how I did that: linked my lack of sleep from this damn virus to the need for sleep when training. Ooooo, clever :))

I have decided, however, that I will run train and run a half marathon. That seems manageable to me and also, (and most importantly) I would like to do that.

Now the only question left is “Which one?”.

Remember: you’re running for you.

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Chicken for dinner? Again? Hooray!

We eat a fair amount of chicken in our house. We mainly eat skinless boneless chicken breasts and it feels like I am forever searching out new ways to cook them that will appeal to all of us. Most times I announce we’re having chicken and get some not too subtle grumbles.

I stumbled upon a recipe and altered it a wee bit and voila: we all LOVE it. Now “What’s for dinner?”, “Chicken!” is met with “Good!” instead of “Can I have something else?”. Here’s hoping you like this too.

Ingredients:
olive oil
lemon juice
ginger, grated
garlic, really finely minced
oregano (optional)

Mix equal amounts of olive oil and lemon juice together. I start with 1/4 cup of each and then add a little more lemon juice. If I have a lot of chicken breasts to marinate, I up the quantity to 1/2 cup of each and then add another 1/4 cup of lemon juice. As you can probably tell, this is pretty scientific.

I add anywhere from 1 teaspoon each of the ginger and garlic and see how that looks. If I’ve got 6 chicken breasts then I’m probably using the following:
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup lemon juice
3 teaspoons each of garlic and ginger

Add the chicken breasts to the marinade. Mix them around to make sure they’re coated. Then I go and prep my veggies and whatever else I’m making for dinner. About half way through the rest of the meal prep, I add a liberal amount of oregano to the mixture. Again, I move the chicken around to make sure everything is nice and covered in ginger, garlic and oregano. I have found that the chicken can sit for as little as 10 minutes and the marinade imparts flavour. I think the most I’ve left them is 20-30 minutes.

Fire up your BBQ and you are set to go. I like to cook these over indirect heat (fire up both burners to get the grill nice and hot then, turn off the side you’re going to cook on and drop the heat on the other side to medium) and they are the tastiest, juiciest chicken breasts I’ve ever had.

Be sure to make extra so you can use the meat on sandwiches and salads!

PS – Great gardening season so far. I’ve harvested a huge bunch of kale (with more just waiting for me) and we’ve already eaten a nice sized head of romaine. If this summer holds, we’ll have a fabulous bounty.

Dealing with the heat.

There’s an interesting little article here about running in the heat.

I’ve learned that it’s coolest at 5am.  That seems like a heck of an early hour but it is the coolest time to run.  Check out the hourly forecast on The Weather Network to plan your run in the heat.

Running in the summer means you have to pay special attention to your hydration level.  Drink water.  Drink more water.  Have cold water ready for you upon your return.

Which leads nicely into this frequently asked question: Do I need to bring water with me when I run?

If you’re running 5K or less and you’re properly hydrated, no.
If you’re running farther than 5K and you’re at all worried about your hydration level, carry water.

I personally don’t carry water with me unless I’m running farther than 13K.  I don’t know why that’s my magic number but it is.

Everyone is different and it’s important that you use your best judgment.  Heat and humidity can sap you even if you are well hydrated at the start of your run.

For some runners, training is ramping up or will ramp up throughout the summer months. There may be some internal pressure to get the training done. Remember that no run is worth dehydration. I’ve said it before – it’s better to miss one or two days than it is to miss a week (or more). Find a treadmill if it’s too hot and/or humid. Check out your local community centre to see if they have a “pay as you go” option. Local gyms will have drop in fees but they can be pretty pricey. Get creative; there are lots of options out there.

Have fun and drink up!

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