Life After 26.2 and Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese.

Morning run…6 miles plus a little strength work. I’m slowly but surely getting some of my mojo back after the Tyler Rose Marathon. Bring on RnR Las Vegas! I have a couple half marathons to knock out before that too. Beast mode is on.

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So today I thought I’d talk about a few things you can do mentally and physically after the rigors of running a marathon. No matter how you slice it…26.2 miles is a huge endeavor and you should take good care of yourself to make sure you recover properly. Here are a few things that I like the to do after a hard core race.

Book an appointment for a massage. I like to schedule one a couple of days following the race just to get the tension out of my muscles. Sometimes it can be pricey (check with your job though as they may offer flex spending with your benefits to cover it) but I tell you what a little TLC goes an extremely long way.

Give yourself a break. You have put in some serious work over the last few months so enjoy the rest/recovery time! Active recovery is just as important. I love to get on the bike just to keep the blood pumping.

…but keep moving! It will make you less stiff. The day after the marathon go for a walk or if you’re up for it some slow, easy miles. I personally have found this has helped me in recovering way faster.

Find some other forms of exercise that you enjoy. For me cross training is so key. Get on the spin bike, lift weights, do some yoga. Mix it up a little bit. It keeps your body guessing and keeps things spicy.

Put another shorter/faster race on the calendar so you will have something else to look forward to. Whether it’s a 5k/10k or a half in the next few months having another goal to aim for will keep running fun and help you stay motivated.

Or just run for no reason at all. Sometimes just going outside for some fresh air…NAKED (no data/Garmin/GPS/etc) will keep things in perspective and remind you why you love to run in the first place.

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Switching gears a bit…and I’ve got a tasty recipe for fall! Butternut squash mac & cheese. Squash is so good and filling and paired with this noodle dish makes for the ultimate comfort food.

Here’s what you’ll need.

-1 package of rotini or elbow pasta (I used the Barilla gluten free brand)
-2 cups of butternut squash, chopped
-2-3 wedges of light swiss Laughing Cow cheese
-1 1/2 cups of shredded parmesan
-1 tbsp Earth Balance original spread
-Garlic/salt/pepper/panko crumbs to taste
-1 handful of parsley

I love this pre chopped up squash I found from the store! It seriously takes tons of prep work out.

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Steam/bake the squash and mash it up with a fork, set aside. Put baked noodles in a square pan, then season and mix in spread and cheeses. Mix in squash, parsley and top with a sprinkle of parmesan and panko crumbs. Bake in the oven on 375 for 20 minutes. Done!

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Serve with a glass of white wine and call it a day.

Do you have any fall recipes to share? What’s your favorite way to recover after a marathon?

Tyler Rose Marathon Recap.

Hey there! I got my Monday morning started with a strength session + 5 miles in the ‘hood. Just enjoying catching some rays before the busy work day. #nevermissaMonday

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Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! It was quite warm here…I don’t think Texas has quite caught on to fall weather yet. Highs are back in the 90s yet again! Texas, get with the program. I do see hope at the end of the week, though.

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This past weekend I ran the Tyler Rose Marathon down in good ole East Texas! It’s a couple hours outside of the Dallas area. This part of town is known for their beautiful tall trees and breathtaking country views. Goodness…I love the country. I think eventually I want to get a cabin or home out there. Just basking in nature.

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Saturday night we drove into town, got my race stuff and settled in. I discovered the cutest restaurant on Yelp where they had tapas and live music. I had some steak and homemade mashed potatoes with red wine. Heaven. Pretty much the perfect pre race hearty meal.

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Sunday morning I made my way up to the Tyler Rose Garden for 26.2 festivities. This garden has the largest variety of roses in the U.S. (over 38,000 rose bushes – of at least 500 different varieties!) & is free of charge to come visit. You walk into the lobby and the floral smell just hits you. It is pure heaven.

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We lined up to the start and the gun went off! Game time.

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So going into this race I kept hearing about how HILLY it was going to be pretty much from everyone that has ever run this race! But going into it I felt prepared to tackle the obstacle especially after running the half 2 weeks ago in Cedar Hill. Mentally I felt on, and physically my body has responded well this go round to training. Thank you, strong legs.

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I wanted to finish this race under 4:30 and really just wanted to run by feel. I knew the high was going to be over 90 degrees so I just wanted to hold on to a strong pace for as long as possible before it got hot. The hills were definitely a challenge, but I felt like if you came prepared they were doable. It was still difficult but my legs felt strong. I held on to a good pace throughout and had a few rough patches towards the end when the sun was beating down but overall felt good and happy with my time. I got to chat with a few folks on the course and the volunteers were outstanding. It pretty much exceeded my expectations for a small country race. Very charming city with a challenging, gorgeous course. I also loved the quiet of the Azalea trail and beautiful neighborhoods.

If you’re into tons of spectators this is likely not the race for you…but if you love basking in nature, and prepared to tackle hill after hill with little recovery in between, I’d surely recommend it.

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4:11 finish, 4th place in my age group out of 17 girls…and 10th female overall. Heck yes! I’ll take it. This is the fastest marathon I’ve run in a few years… on a NOT EASY course. So a victory in my book. I’m getting that fire back. Woot woot.

& my sweetest mama came to cheer me on. How awesome is she?! Love love.

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26.2 number 15 done! Up next…2 half marathons in October and then another 26.2 in November. Bring on Rock n Roll Las Vegas. Strong legs…carry me through.

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How was your weekend? Tell me about your upcoming races/training/etc!

How to Survive the Summer Running Season.

With the Runner’s World run streak going on as well as just folks trying to stay fit in general…I thought it would be a good time to go over some vital things to know when it comes to running in the hot summer months!

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Invest in some dri fit clothing. T-shirts, shorts and even socks that wick the moisture sure do make all the difference. I like to make sure I have a ton of light colored tank tops and even bright colored shorts in the summer time. Being outside for hours on end…you will be very happy that you didn’t wear black! Neon is the new black, anyway.

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Wear sunscreen. I love the spray kind too as it’s just easier to mist on and go. And it does not matter about your pigmentation. Black people burn too!! Just being real. I have had many a sun burn in my day. Haha. Believe it. I love this one below but any other kind that says ‘sport’ or ‘active’ on it will do.

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Bug spray doesn’t hurt, either. Texas is known for it’s mosquitoes around this time of year. OFF can be your best friend in the summer time.

Hats, sunglasses, visors…protect yourself against those rays.

Electrolytes. I think salt tabs are excellent things to carry in your spi belt for the marathon training runs. You lose a ton of salt when you run long distance (more than you think) so don’t underestimate this. Accelerade, gatorade and other drinks are helpful too. Mix it in some of your water in your sports bottles. I have had some wicked leg cramps simply because I did not hydrate as much as I thought I did on the run.

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Leading up to a HOT summer race, cut back on those things that dehydrate you…like alcohol and coffee. Keep water handy by your desk at work…this helps me to gulp it down.

Get up EARLY. This is an easy one for me but I know it is not for everyone. Get some shut eye so you can wake up rested and ready to go. The earlier you can get up and knock out that long run before that sun hits hard, the better! It sure does make all the difference!

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What are some things you do to survive the summer running season?

Big Thank You.

Aside

Hey friends! Just wanted to check in with you all. Still alive and kicking. I am in Maryland getting ready for the wrath of Miss Hurricane Sandy! The marathon was a tough one but I finished! Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of you for the sweet blog comments and posts on Twitter and Facebook, they meant a lot and I thought of all of your encouraging words during the hard parts of the race. Recap to come! For photos from the marathon check me out on instagram- thedancingrunner. Hope you have a marvelous week and those of you on the east coast, be safe and God Bless! -Chelsea

I Did It.

So I have had a few days to recover from Sunday’s marathon. Boy, were those days needed! Tomorrow is my last day here in Washington D.C. and then I’ll be headed back to Dallas. I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here and I almost don’t want to leave! I have gotten to spend some time with so many amazing long lost friends from college. Some of them I haven’t seen in years. It has been nice to reminisce with them and catch up on their lives. One of my best friends got engaged the other day, I am so happy for her!! Congrats Aditi!!!

I am guessing you want to hear a little bit about how the race went, huh? It was absolutely the best marathon experience I’ve had thus far. Yes, I am a little bit bias considering my finish time, but I loved everything about this race. It was the only marathon I’ve done so far that I can honestly say I want to do again. The Marines, awesome volunteers, beautiful mouments and sights along the course, and even down to the runners who support each other along the way really made this one memorable.

Me and my running buddy Laurie flew in Friday and headed over via the Metro to our hotel to drop off our bags, then to the expo to pick up our packets. The Marines gave us our bibs then we went and got our race shirts and did some shopping at the Brooks store. The expo had a lot of great booths, and it was hard not to want to stay in there forever but we made our way out of there.

We were real low key on Friday and ate dinner at the hotel. We stayed at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, and we got a beautiful room overlooking the capitol.

I enjoyed my stay at the hotel but in my opinion it was a little overpriced for the small amount of amenities that they offered. Anyway, I did like the low key-ness of the restaurant. We met a few people at the hotel running the marathon which was cool. Saturday night they even had an Italian buffet for a decent price for the runners. I laid out my clothes after that and got ready for the big day on Sunday.

Sunday morning, race day. I must say I was a little bit bummed because a couple of nights before I accidently dropped my ipod shuffle in the bathroom sink. Awesome, right? Perfect timing. Even after putting it in rice and doing all of those tricks to dry it out…no music. Anyway, so I decided I was going to suck it up and how many long training runs have I done sans the ipod? Like, a bunch. So I decided that music was not going to be my handicap and I had better quit crying and get over it.

Laurie and I took the metro up to the race site which proved to be the perfect way to travel there! I really like how organized the public transportation is in D.C. We got there quickly without the stress of having to drive. It was freezing that morning, temps in the 30s! So I decided against my skirt and went with my hoodie, leggings and compression socks. They worked out perfectly.

We went to line up and the gun went off. It only took us about 3 minutes to pass the start, which I was happy about. We got right near the 4 hour finish corral area which worked out great.

Pretty much the first 5 or so miles the runners were packed and it did not thin out. So I took that to my advantage and made sure to hold back a bit with my pace. I was just about at 9 minute pace at the 10K and was feeling good, and feeling like I was holding back just right. Since I didn’t have my ipod, I decided I would really take in the sights around me, and even talk to some of the runners who were at my pace. One guy I talked to was running his 20th marathon. It was amazing to hear some of the runner’s stories…something I would not have been able to do had I been wearing my ipod. Everyone was so cordial, and encouraging towards one another. Even when the wheelchair athletes went by the runners would say “on your left” or “make a hole!!” for them to get by. I thought that was so cool.

When I hit 30K, I was surprised at how amazing I was feeling. I had picked up my pace to about an 8:45 and felt like I could hold on to it. It was great that I felt like I hadn’t hit a wall or wanted to slow down. Just seeing all of the runners and how determined everyone looked was so motivating. Even at the water stops, the Marines would say “keep it up! you’re doing great!” and it would be just what you needed to hear to keep trucking.

I hit mile 20 and we were on a bridge with a little bit of an incline and a long stretch of road. I started feeling a little tired here but knew I was almost done. So I started talking to myself. Out loud. I didn’t really care who was listening. So I started repeating Phillippians 4:13 to myself and calling out the names of all of the people who I was running for. My dad who has been sick as of late, my late aunt who was an avid runner…all of the people I wanted to be strong for. And it worked…it gave me the determination I needed to keep going. Towards the end…around mile 24-25, I saw people struggling and I encouraged them and told them to keep going, and they encouraged me.

Finally, I saw the finish straight ahead. The finish had one of the biggest uphills, although it was short lived. At that point I was just running off of adrenaline. I finished strong and gave it all I had.

I can definitely say I fought the hardest during this race and felt mentally stronger than I’ve ever felt during a race. I am not sure if it was the Marines, the runners around me, or what that made me feel that way. But I felt it, the whole way. I didn’t want to stop, no matter how tired I was, I ignored all of those thoughts of being tired and kept pushing. Yeah, I definitely felt sore afterwards (and until today, had to go down the stairs backwards) but I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It just so happens that I nailed my sub 4 hour time goal with a finish time of 3:54.

Marathon number 3 is in the books.

I did it.