Marathon Training: Week Fourteen Recap

Sorry for the later than usual recap – instead of getting this post up on Sunday, as I had hoped, I was off to Orlando with McDonald’s (a client) for a few days! I’ve returned to Cleveland and am playing catchup – with work, life, grocery shopping (4 days of eating McDonald’s means my fridge is pretty empty) and blogging!

Last week was week fourteen of Cleveland marathon training. The week’s training called for Tuesday: 5. Wednesday: 9. Thursday: 5. Saturday: 14, for a total of 33 miles.  For the first time since the Toe Incident, I didn’t follow the running schedule. 😦  If you read my last post, you know that I’ve been experiencing some on and off ankle and achilles pain during and after runs – and even somewhat when walking. So, I decided to take one of the days (Wednesday) off and stick to the shorter weeknight runs, ice my leg, stretch, and see how the 14 miler went.

Monday: 5 –  Not a bad pre-work run. After resting on Saturday and using the elliptical on Sunday, my legs were feeling strong. Of course afterwords, the achilles and ankle started hurting again!

Tuesday: 5 – B and I pounded through a great post-work run. We finished our 5ish miles in under 48 minutes, meaning our pace was below our typical 10 min/mile training pace. During (and after) there was still achilles and shin pain, but it felt like a great night for a short run! Yes, it’s amazing what training for a marathon will do for you – anything 6 or under is short… even a mid-week 9 miler is “short!”

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday– Rest, rest and more rest. It felt so strange not to go out with B when he was doing his 9 miles and I couldn’t help but feel jealous when he got back from his good run, but I spent most of the time just icing my ankle and prepping dinner. And of course catching up on the DVR (Glee, The Voice and Ice Loves Coco aren’t going to watch themselves!).

Saturday: 14.1– 14 miles felt great. B, his sister and I did a 14 mile loop, much of it along the actual marathon route! We ran the first 5 with one of B’s sister’s friends, and then took a water break after 7 miles and then continuing on for the rest of the run. I was feeling great emotionally, but around mile 10 or so my leg/ankle started seriously hurting again. It was not as bad as last week, but still found myself going pretty slowly for the rest of the run and not going much faster than 10:30 minute miles. Frustrating –  but glad to be finished and ONE month till race day!

Saturday night, B and I went out to dinner and then met up with my friend Ali to help her celebrate her birthday!

my beer had its own stand!

Sunday I hit the airport for a trip to Orlando for work. I was able to get in a few runs during the trip, along iwth standing ALL DAY on the convention floor – meaning my healing process may be a little sloewr.

This week: Looking forward to being back in Cleveland and participating in the Cleveland 10 miler this Saturday morning. B, his sister and I plan on using it as part of our TWENTY MILE training run.

Taking a few days off …

No, I’m not taking a few days off from blogging. Instead, I’m (sadly) taking a few days off from training. I don’t know what’s up, but since our 18 miler last week, I’ve been experiencing some pain in my achilles/ankle area. I’ve been trying to ice it (I even iced it one day at work!) and ran on it twice this week (two 5 milers Monday and Tuesday), but those didn’t seem to make it much better.

Normal Melissa would just run through it. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, right? I’ve run through similar pain before, including horrible shin splints, nail-less toes, etc. But there’s something about this pain, so close to race day (ONE MONTH AND ONE DAY AWAY) that makes me nervous! And googling “achilles pain from running” doesn’t come up with anything pretty. Marathon-training Melissa is smart. She doesn’t run 9 miles on Wednesday, despite hating herself for “skipping a day,” and doesn’t run or work out at all on Thursday. Instead, she takes it easy, ices when necessary and waits for her 14 mile run this weekend to see how she feels.

Am I crazy? Some days it’s hard to get out of bed and actually run, so why is it harder right now to NOT run?

To end this running post, I leave you with a few images from my new favorite Tumblr – Hey Running Girl. Ryan Gosling can motivate me to run anytime 🙂

Sadly, I can relate to all of these:

Yup. Pretty awesome stuff.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

This week, our office is participating in a few fun activities in honor of our Operation Feed Week – our effort to support local food banks. One of the awesome things we’re doing is hosting a bake sale – with donations going to the local food bank. Of course I was SUPER excited to participate – and decided to make some cupcakes (surprised?) that combine two of many people’s favorite ingredients: chocolate and peanut butter.

Wanna wow your friends with some delicious AND easy cupcakes? The cupcakes feature a homemade peanut butter cream frosting, a chocolate cupcake using (shh!) brownie mix AND a surprise inside – a peanut butter cup!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

(inspired by Betty Crocker)

Here’s what you need:

For the cupcakes (makes 12):

  • A box of brownie mix (see, I told you it’s easy! I used Betty Crocker’s Supreme Brownie Mix with fudge packet)
  • Ingredients required per brownie mix box (mine had oil, water and eggs)
  • 15 Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – 12 for baking in your cupcakes, 3 to chop up for topping frosting

For the peanut butter buttercream frosting (frosts 12 cupcakes):

  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ – ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Here’s what you do:

For the cupcakes:

  • Prepare brownie batter per directions on box.
  • Pour batter into a muffin pan, prepared with cupcake liners.
  • Unwrap the Reese’s peanut butter cups and place one cup softly on top of each brownie cupcake.

Peanut Butter Cups in the Brownie Mix!

  •  Bake, at 350 degrees, until done, about 15-18 minutes
  • Cool completely before frosting. I put mine in the freezer so I could frost them sooner : )

For the frosting:

  • Thoroughly beat peanut butter and butter until well blended.
  • Gradually add sugar, 1/4 cup or so at a time until frosting stiffens.
  • Add milk and vanilla. Continue mixing until creamy.
  • Frost cupcakes! Chop up the remaining Reese’s and sprinkle on top of frosted cupcakes.


Weekend Fun: 18 miles, pizza, volunteering and Golden Gloves

This weekend B and I had a fun time running around Cleveland. We started off our Friday with an 18 mile training run. I know – that hardly sounds like anything fun (and if you read the post, you’ll see it really wasn’t), but it had to get done and we opted to start our Friday night with the run. We finished strong, got some groceries we needed for Saturday morning’s breakfast, picked up some pepperoni pizza and boneless buffalo wings from Angelo’s and caught up on the DVR. Is anyone else watching Awake? I’m hooked!

Saturday morning, B and I got up early and headed over to the Women and Children’s Center of the West Side Catholic Center to prepare and serve breakfast for the women and children there. It was Boston College’s Alumni Day of Service, and as Service Chairs of the committee, B and I had planned and organized the event.

After breakfast, we did some shopping and snacking at the West Side Market before returning home to crash. I was still tired from the previous night’s run and waking up earlier than usual on a Saturday.

Saturday night we met up with some friends to check out the Golden Gloves, an amateur boxing tournament. I’ll admit that I was skeptical when B asked if I wanted to go – while I love the movie The Fighter (who wouldn’t like a movie with Amy Adams, Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale AND Boston accents?) I wasn’t sure if I wanted to witness any fighting in person. We started the night with some Noodlecat Happy Hour, headed to the Golden Gloves, then finished it at Map Room. I love Saturdays!

Golden Gloves fighters

Sunday was pretty lazy and involved sleeping in while B played softball, a light elliptical workout to get my muscles moving after our run, lots more DVR catchup (PSA: The Ringer is THE BEST show on television right now. Please don’t judge me for watching the CW.) and some baking for this week’s work bake sale (proceeds go to the food bank … the recipe is awesome, I’ll be sharing it soon!). Oh, and of course some wine and cider on the patio while we enjoyed 70 degree weather! I love springtime in Cleveland.

Cider tastes better on the patio.

All in all, it was the perfect weekend in Cleveland. Hope you all a great weekend as well – and are off to a great week!

Marathon Training: Week Thirteen Recap

Lucky number 13. This week was week thirteen of Cleveland marathon training – and even included a long run on Friday the 13th (no, it wasn’t 13 miles).

This week’s training called for Tuesday: 4. Wednesday: 9. Thursday: 5. Saturday: 18, for a total of 36 miles. We stuck to the mileage but I ended up moving the days around some to fit in work schedule, happy hours and other commitments.

Monday: 5 –  Not a bad pre-work run. Had to travel to Columbus for a work meeting that day (meaning an extra 5 hours to my commute) and knew I needed a run to get me ready for my long day.

Tuesday4 – B and I had planned a post-run work together for our scheduled 4 miler, but the weather was gross out so I hit the dreadmill for the first time in months. Luckily I had my fun. playlist and some TV to watch to make the run go by smoothly.

Wednesday: 9 – Post-work run with B. The only way I could describe it was one of my new favorite words – Meh. It’s been a busy few days at work, so after an 11+ hour workday, 1.5 hours of running was the last thing I felt up to. Nonetheless, B and I made it out around 7:30 and were home by 10 p.m. for dinner.

Friday: 18 – That’s right, 18 miles!! It was just B and me running this Friday, instead of Saturday, due to a thunderstorm-filled forecast for Saturday and half-day service event scheduled. It finally hit me how far we were running when I figured out the timing – we were going to be running for three straight hours. THREE hours. We did two of our Wednesday night 9 mile route and after, I was SO SORE. I have never been in as much pain from a running workout – I’m going to have to figure out how to keep going, and stay a little pain free, for another 8 miles on race day. Only one more longer long run for training (20 miles) before we taper!

Today, Sunday, I managed to do the elliptical for 45 minutes to loosen my legs. My body is no longer sore but my left achilles tendon is still in pain. I’m wondering if I should skip next week’s mid-week long run and stay with “short” (4-5) miles during the week to keep up the running but help with the recovery? Anyone have any ideas?

A special shout out and good luck to all those running Boston TOMORROW! Best of luck as you race it up Heartbreak Hill and pass my alma mater, Boston College, cheering you on. In honor of Marathon Monday (a.k.a. Patriot’s Day, or the most fun day if you live in Boston), I leave you with an old photo of me and my roomies cheering on the Boston Marathon runners my freshman year at Boston College! I NEVER would have thought back then that I’d be training for a marathon 8 years later myself.


Marathon Training: Week Twelve Recap

I have been putting off working on this past week’s recap. I don’t know why – last week was pretty uneventful and we even had a “short” long run for Saturday … but I just haven’t been feeling it. Twelve full weeks of training for the Cleveland marathon and I’m in a rut.

This week’s training called for Tuesday: 4. Wednesday: 8. Thursday: 5. Saturday: 12, for a total of 29 miles. Again I was able to stick to the mileage and days.

Tuesday: 4.11–  Another chilly pre-work run. BRR!  Thank goodness for layers.

Wednesday: 8.02 – Post-work run with B. And it wasn’t a bad run at all. We got out relatively early (before 7!) AND made it home before dark. We did the previous week’s 8-miler – the downtown, stadium, Battery Park, Ohio City route.

Thursday: 5– Post-work run with B. I was planning on waiting until after the Indians game, but it was never-ending! We finally made it out after the 14th inning. (Sidenote: the lost in the 16th) Again it was cold. Thanks goodness I hadn’t put away my spandex and ear warmers – the weather called for them both!

Saturday: 12 – Meh. It was just B and me this week and even though the weather was decent, I just wasn’t feeling it. B picked out an awesome route through the Cultural Gardens and I really couldn’t appreciate it. I ran with my eyes closed for part of the route because I was tired and not very alert. Again- meh.

Weekly Total: 29. Again, another successful week with all runs completed, but I just haven’t been feeling it. Maybe it’s the chilly weather? Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been training for twelve weeks. Maybe it’s that my parents are no longer making the trip out to see me run the race? Whatever it is,  I hope I’m able to shake it soon, or the next few weeks, and long runs, are not going to be pretty!

Baseball Dessert Inspiration for #OpeningDay!

Today is Opening Day! While I won’t be at the game again (I was lucky to go to the Home Opener a few years ago and sit in the Social Deck), I will be dreaming of baseball and summer games – peanuts, cracker jacks, giant pretzels and beer!

To get me in the mood for baseball, I decided to bake something baseball-y. Well, I decided to, but then was tired after my 8-mile training run and went to bed. Woops! Anyway, here are some of the recipes I looked into – maybe later in the season. It’s never too late to enjoy a baseball cake pop!

Baseball Cookies and Cream Truffles (from me!)

Indians baseball cookies and cream truffles_labeled

Baseball Cake Pops (from Sweet Designs)

Baseball Cake (from Rachael Ray)

Baseball Cupcake Balls (from Kids Fun Reviewed)

Baseball Cupcakes (from Martha Stewart)

Baseball Cookies (from Fam Friends Food)

AND this amazing cake:

Baseball Glove Cake! (from Parenting)

Did you make a special treat to celebrate your Opening Day? Go Tribe!