Sleep, precious sleep…

If there is one thing my life lacks it is sleep. I spend all week looking forward to the weekend, when I can nap and catch up a bit. I much, much prefer to run before work as opposed to after (when I would rather go out to dinner, walk Pancake, have a glass of wine, or run an errand). As a result, I get a daily 415-430 wake up call and an out the door time of 5 am, to make 6 miles or so, and a 645 work time. did I mention how much this can suck?!? now it is self inflicted, but some mornings it is just tough….especially in the winter. It was easier when I was meeting friends, but now that I am solo with my new work schedule there are days it takes some serious motivation. I try to make it into bed by 1000 at the latest. doesn’talways happen. I know that isn’t too bad as far as hours of sleep go, but when I add it up over the week, come thursday and Friday, I am tired. My body just needs more than 6 hours a night. I read about elite runners who sleep 12 hours a night and take naps….ah, heaven!

the positive to all this, is when I get to work, I feel incredibly alert. I can tackle a lot in the morning. But, come late afternoon, I am wanting more coffee, and when I get home, I sometimes think, “would it be wrong if I just went to bed now?” the fact is, I am probably no different than most Americans. Most jobs are not flexible with start times, and if you aren’t running in the am, you are taking kids to school, riding the bus, or doing a long commute. And, when we do take vacations, they are go, go , go and most every one I know returns says ” I need a couple days off now to rest!” Hmmm, I might need to move to Mexico…don’t some businesses there even shut down in the late afternoon for rest time?

Update on mac and cheese: We are now tied. I made it again tonight, and go the sauce to mac ratio was good, and the chewiness of the macs just right. I just need to perfect the 3 cheese ratio….I needed more of a cheddar taste in tonight’s batch. I am taking some time off from it though…I don’t think my arteries can do another night of all that cheese.

I am ready to tackle my 50Ks! this weekend is easy running and a massage. I hope that is what I need to perk up for next week before Waco, which unless you’ve done it, you will never believe me how hard it is. got a full week though…HCTR meeting, volunteer clinic, work, and the run. but, right now, I am going to BED!!!!!


Score: Mac and Cheese 1, Clea 0

I am on a quest to make the ultimate mac and cheese. I made this recipe up based on lots of internet research. A success minus the proportions. I ended up with too many macs and not enough cheese, so it turned out a touch dry. I also need to slightly undercook the noodles, as I did not allow for the fact the noodles cook more in all the cheese sauce.

The cheese sauce turned out fantastic. It was butter, red bell pepper, flour, milk, white wine, dijon mustard, jarlsberg cheese, sharp white cheddar, and Parmesan…plus lots of spices. it was delicious. The topping was yellow pear tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bread crumbs and more white sharp cheddar cheese. Just needed less noodles. I put in too many….I will beat the mac and cheese though..and make the ultimate! To be continued……


No Lance here…

Did I ever mention I am the WORST cyclist in the world? I have no idea why, Michelle
says your running ability should translate to your cycling ability. Well, I am glad I don’t run as a poorly as I cycle. I mention this because today Stephanie and I dusted off the mountain bikes to explore Hyde Park today. these are ancient photos from the Wildflower ride several years ago. I would love to be a better cyclist and use it as a running alternative, but I seem to be unwilling to put in the time to do this. Although, a goal of mine for summer/ spring is to bike more. Part of my hesitation, is our sucky bike lanes in Austin. I have a fear of being hit by a car, which apparently a lot of cyclists here do not. so, as a result, I am super slow and never seem to work up much of a sweat, so I never think of it as the best workout. I hope to improve this summer, but I doubt I will ever be much of a biker. I am doing the Rosedale ride this year.
It is pretty pathetic I find running 60 miles easier than biking 60 miles. I am really just doing Rosedale for the shirt….they are always awesome designs.

Not too heavy on the running this weekend. Did the greenbelt with Pancake on Sat. Hit all the hard hills and tried to push it. Waco should be interesting in a couple weeks. I can no longer ride on Bandera’s coattails…..I am just not in shape. Oh well. I’ve heard many ultrarunners says “Never let a little thing like training prevent you from doing a race!” Did 15 today, and it was ugly. My legs are still fairly shot from last weekend’s fun run. I felt terrific for about 10 miles and then it was 15 miles of misery. I will be scheduling a massage soon…..the jello thighs are in need…

On the recipe front, I am going to test run a new mac and cheese this week that I am making out of a couple recipes. If it turns out good , I’ll post it.

A couple of things to check out if you have time: Mike and I are on a sci-fi movie kick. got 2001 in HD, and it was awesome. Highly recommend it. I had actually never seen it all the way through. It always amazes me how many movies I don’t think would get made today. In 2001, there is little talking, things are implied, and not explained. Today’s blockbusters are constantly yelling in your face….it is nice to see something different that assumes the viewer can figure things out on their own, or interpret as they would like.
I have a new favorite running and work album (since I wear headphones at work a lot): Vampire Weekend
Despite the silly name, they are very Housemartinsesque. Also, got the Juno soundtrack. good work tunes….

Got a hopefully low key week coming up. Next weekend is easy running before the double 50Ks.


Austin "Ouch"-athon

Here’s a shot of all my Austin marathon finisher’s medals. Yesterday was #9. I wasn’t super road trained, but not too worried, I had done a 100K 6 weeks before, a 20 miler 4 weeks before and a 12 mile road run the weekend before, plus my daily 6 mile runs. Certainly I could finish.

I car pooled with Steph so we could park at her downtown office and wait in a nice heated building at the start. after some back and forth, I convinced her she would almost certainly finish before me, so she would need to wait at the finish for me so we could walk back to her building together (she had the key, it was locked). I told her if she waited past 4 hours, she probably missed me, and to head to her building. How could I take longer than that?

Things started just fine. I chatted with Dmitry and Kathleen, and Kathleen (Steph’s cousin) and I ran about 4-5 miles together. we lost each other, and around 10 miles in my legs started cramping. I thought it was temporary, but it got worse and worse. strange, marathons do hurt with all the concrete pounding, but certainly I can go more than 10 miles before I start to hurt.

Things continued to hurt…and not a normal my muscles are tight, but a crampy pain. It was in my quads, then moved to the arches of my feet. I got slower, and slower. My garmin wasn’t charged, so I had no time keeping method, so I had no idea what pace I was on. I was pretty worried that Steph would never find me at the end. I thought of dropping and I started having to throw in walk breaks, but thought “how humiliating would that be, and how in the heck would I explain that one to steph.” It was a very bizarre thing happening though…the only thing of note I could think of was the night before and the night before that I had woken up with a terrible charley horse (usually means your potassium is low). 2 nights in a row is kinda weird, so I wondered if my salt and potassium were just off. However, I wasn’t too upset, as this was not a goal race, and I was more worried about Stephanie not finding me than anything else.

I hobbled along, and saw a timing clock and realized I wasn’t that far off 4 hours, so hopefully steph would just wait for me. saw the HCTR tent and almost started crying when they offered me a cold coke. I hobbled through the finishline, in 4:10, and saw meredith. Am I a wimp that I almost considered crying? Luckily I caught myself: “I ran a 100 mile run. I can’t cry at the end of a marathon!!!” Meredith said Steph had gone to her office to look for me, thinking she had missed me, so I hurried down Congress Ave.

Found steph, told her about what a big fat baby I was, (she probably was not surprised 🙂 and then we went to the bathroom to change and go home.

Ok, warning, things get a little graphic here. I peed a dark reddish/brown color. Ok, now I am a little concerned. See, over the years, I always joked with the doctors I work with that “I gotta race this weekend…off to get rhabdo!” Ok, nurse humor, but I have seen my share of it over it the years in patients. Usually not from exercising circumstances…I had a guy once that was a suicide attempt by an overdose, fell asleep on his arm, kept breathing, didn’t die, but his weight in that arm for a couple of days caused the muscle to breakdown, now he has rhabdo, now renal failure, and it looks like he might die from that. Funny how that works……

I felt like the kid in A Christmas Story “oh no I shot my eye out!” “Oh no I got rhabdo!”

Anyhow, I seriously was worried I would have to go to the ER, and how in the heck could I save face if anyone I worked with knew I got rhabdo. All the runs I have done and our little ol’marathon shuts my kidneys down. I would never hear the end of this from my surgeons (we really give each other a hard time). So I was more worried about all the grief I would get more than I was worried about my actual health.

So, basically I went home, parked my butt on the couch with a blankie and hydrated like mad. Was peeing normal by dinner time, and feel fine today other than normal post run soreness. I think I was just very dehydrated going into the run, hence the charley horses and the muscle cramps. No ER visit….whew!

so, I guess I am good to go for my next adventure in a few weeks. Another Austin marathon is in the books.


Hurry up weekend….

This is what I live for all week…a trail run with Pancake! That will not happen this weekend though. The weather sounds hideous saturday and sunday is the 26.2 mile fun run.

My life is not my own lately. I am looking forward to being out of transition and not being the new kid. I am sitting in all these board meetings at Brackenridge hospital with administrators and big wig docs thinking “what in hell am I doing here and how did I get here?” It really comes down to I had one doc in particular who really believes in me, and told the right people. sometimes it just helps to have a connection. Anyhow…I recognize this and am eternally grateful for his mentorship.

I don’t have much to write about the marathon, because at this point, I’ve done enough of them. I recommend going to see Spirit of the Marathon and get a feel for what it is like. I love to see the first timers, because I still remember what it is like. And, I am young enough in my ultra career that I still get first timer syndrome doing the really long stuff. finishing is the best high ever and it lasts a few days, not a few minutes. And, in a side note, Mike remembers my first marathon too. Anytime I bring up running a 100 or even a 50 miler, he says “didn’t you say you would never run another marathon ever again after your first one? And now you want to run 100 miles?”

so, here is recipe #2. Enjoy:

Clea’s Badass gringo enchiladas.

I have been making these for years and they always get raves. They are very easy. I cook a couple pounds of chicken breasts in the crock pot on low with some onion and seasonings until the meat is super tender. I usually do this the day before. save the broth (always the key to lots of flavor). Shred the chicken meat when done. give any scraps to your dog.

The sauce is a cup of sour cream (use lite if you are a dietician), 1 cup green salsa. I go for super hot at central market. Lots of brands are good….pick your favorite, but make it hot. 1 8 oz can green chiles or fresh when Hatch green chilies are in season, 1 10oz can black olives, about 1/2 cup of the homemade chicken broth from cooking the chicken and 1 cut up onion sauteed in olive oil until mushy. Simmer together for a few minutes.

get some good quality white corn tortillas (once again…central market). In a 9×13 greased pan, put down a layer of tortillas. Spread with sauce and chicken meat and sprinkle with cheese (the soft mexican white cheese if you can get it) (dieticians can forgo the cheese). Keep repeating until you are out of stuff, but make sure you end with a layer of sauce and lots of cheese on top. Bake at 350 for a half hour or so, or until all bubbly. If served before a race, I make spanish rice and salad to go with it.



Running Recipe of the Day…

I am going to start posting EASY, recipes good for folks trying to eat healthy, and make some simple things pre-long run, pre- race, or just an easy treat. Here is my disclaimer: I am no expert!! I don’t even like to cook that much, but I do like TRYING to eat healthy, and make things at home. If it is easy, I’ll make it. Here is one in my regular rotation: Thai Coconut Curry Stir-Fry:

You will need: 1-2 lbs of chicken breast
1 small yellow onion
Moist green curry paste (in the Asian specialty food area)
1 can coconut milk (the lite kind does not work as well)
veggies of your choice

Precook some chicken breast. You can do it the day before. I cook mine in a crock pot…but save the broth!!! Shred the chicken meat.

Slice up the onion and stirfry in a little olive oil. when it is getting translucent, sprinkle it with about a teaspoon of sugar to carmelize it.

Add about 2 tablespoons of curry paste and the coconut milk and about 1/2 cup of the broth.

Add the other veggies: I like red bell pepper and broccoli

simmer until veggies are tender and add the chicken. salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over jasmine rice. ….see easy!!!


Remember, this is supposed to be hard…

Saturday was the best day for Mike to take Pancake and I to the greenbelt. Since I signed up for Waco 50K (which is surprisingly difficult), I decided to run the harder hills and hit them hard. Ouch! My butt was so sore today, so I guess I did what I intended, and got a hard run in. But was this the same butt that had charged up the hills of Bandera just 5 weeks ago? And, now a little greenbelt run is causing havoc in my muscles? How pitiful is that? I did 12 on the roads early this am, and had a moment of panic, realizing I have not done many long road runs….and next weekend is the Austin marathon. Oh well, not much I can do now! I’ll just have to suck it up next weekend. I am excited to feel motivated again…this weekend preceeding the marathon got me psyched up. I have learned that once I hit a big goal race, immediately after I feel charged up to take on anything, and then go through a few weeks of not wanting to do any more long runs! I guess I cannot be “on” all the time. it is nice to have weekends that do not revolve around a run.

This morning, Mike and I took Pancake to Bastrop State park. This is one of my favorite places to go. The pines make me feel like I am somewhere different than Texas, and they create a wonderful, peaceful feeling. Walking on the pine needles is like walking on a pillow. We had a blast, and so did Pancake. It marked the furthest she had gone in the car without getting car sick, so it was indeed a milestone.

It has been a nice weekend…I have been feeling fried lately with the new job. It’s like being in school in that every day is mentally draining, and I have to do my run at 500 in the morning to make it to work in time. YUCK!!! I am a morning person, but that is really early to hit the roads. Definitely not always easy to pry myself from bed.

If you are taking the time to read this, please check my link to photos of Bedlam farm, under “Favorite Websites”…there is some great photography there. Plus, some great border collie shots. It looks cold there though…

So, hopefully the week will be smooth…I cannot wait for the marathon next weekend..so I already know all week I will be building the anticipation. Hope everyone has a good week!


Revenge of the nerds…

Looking at these photos of Rocky Raccoon makes me laugh. what kind of person walks around with a light on their head and thinks it is
a rational thing to do!!! This past weekend was the rocky raccoon 100, and it did not go as planned. I was to pace Doise from miles 60-80.

At the Lodge, we got word she was slowing, after having done great all afternoon. Henry took me out to Aid station 174 to find her and run her in to start Loop 4. When she came through, she was not in a good place. She had some pre-migraine stuff going on, and she was tearful. The short version of the story, is I tried every trick I had up my sleeve to get her to assess if dropping out is what she really wanted to do. I was pretty persistent, and this process lasted a long time! She made her decision to drop, and my duties ended there. I left not too sure if she was mad that I had pushed so hard to make her think twice about quitting. I just wanted her to make a decision that she could live with in the morning when some of the misery wore off. 100 milers take away some of your rational thought process. the end result is she felt she made the best decision, so I am satified with my “pacing” effort. Doise gave 100%, and the fact is finishing a 100 is not always in the cards. Walking away giving your best effort is all you can do, and some of it is left to fate. I applaud her efforts.

It was fun to watch some folks finish and folks work hard to keep up the effort. the weather was PERFECT, and I almost wish I had signed up for the silly thing, since there are not many years with of a low of 60 (beats last year’s 27 degrees!!!) it did get me thinking about how much I love to take on a challege, and maybe, just maybe I will do another 100.

I am a little off on my running schedule with the new job and 645 am work times. I am hoping to get back on track starting with the marathon, and then I have a couple fantastic 50Ks before Boston. It would appear a real vacation is out this summer due to the new job, so I think I might just be selfish, and take a long weekend and do an out of town run….at least a 50 miler.

In non-running news, I am putting in an application to volunteer at the volunteer healthcare clinic, a couple nights a month. I hope it works out, as it sounds like it would be a perfect fit for me. I have been wanting to do some volunteer work for awhile, but I was holding out for something where the hours and work suited me. this fits both criteria…should be fun and rewarding if it happens.