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Shamrock Shuffle 4 Week 8k Training Plan

March 16, 2011

As promised, here’s a look at my training plan for the Shamrock Shuffle 8k:

This is a screenshot of my Google Docs spreadsheet.  I made it public so you can follow along if you’d like and hold me accountable!  I’ll update it and cross off workouts as I finish them.

I based it on Hal Higdon’s 9 week novice 8k training plan.  Since I just trained for a 5k, and I only have ~4 weeks left until the Shamrock Shuffle, I felt comfortable picking up on week 5 of that plan.

I modified it a bit, too, because I like doing yoga 3x/week. Fridays are supposed to be “rest” days, but I love my Friday morning yoga class, so I may take rest days as needed on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays if I feel like I need them.

I took a rest day today (Wednesday) because I am feeling under the weather.  I have no idea how I eeked out a run yesterday, because today even going up the stairs to put clothes in the washer made me winded.  I am hoping that I will feel a lot better tomorrow morning!

Do you make/use training plans for upcoming races?  Do you have any advice for a newbie runner?


Back in Action & Madison Shamrock Shuffle

March 15, 2011

I apologize for my month-long absence!  It’s finally Spring Break, which means I am digging out from the grading-researching-writing-protesting hole I’ve been living in for the past few weeks and getting back to blogging.  I will need to do a better job making time for blogging once school starts again next week, because I really miss it.

Madison Shamrock Shuffle

On Sunday, I ran the Madison Shamrock Shuffle 5k with three great friends who came to Madison to run it with me.  Though we had very different levels of training – one friend runs regularly, I have been training since January (though I’d taken a few unexpected breaks due to getting sick twice this winter), and the other two had not trained at all – we decided it would be the most fun if we stuck together for the entire run.  I’m proud to report that despite two huge and daunting hills at the beginning and end of the run, we made it across the finish line holding hands.   (I am impatiently waiting for the “official” photos to go up online – I want that picture, darnit!) We certainly didn’t set any speed records–we were even passed by some of the elite 10k runners at the finish line–but we had fun and we finished!

Sweaty, but happy! (I’m on the left, #1677.)

The backs of our homemade shirts said “I wish I’d trained for this…” which got us lots of funny comments!


The night before the run, I was feeling VERY anxious and unsure about it.  I hadn’t trained as much as I wanted to train, I was feeling pretty sluggish and dehydrated (blame it on a fun Friday night out until 3 am with the same friends), and I was sure I wasn’t going to make it up the hill.  I woke up the next morning and felt a little better.   Putting on my goofy green shorts ($7 in the girls’ section at Target), shamrock pins, and silly t-shirt certainly helped.  So did peanut butter toast for breakfast.


After we got to the starting line and I saw tons of little kids and people in very unwieldy costumes, I thought, “Okay, if they can do it, I can do this!”  The first half mile or so was really hard.  I  felt like there was no way I was going to be able to make it another 2.6 miles.  Then, before I knew it, we were at mile marker #1 and I had found a (sloooow) rhythm.  Then we were at marker #2.  Then we were back at the hill–everyone else groaned, but I was secretly happy because I knew this meant we were almost finished!   Then we were at marker #3 and back on State Street with the finish line in sight.  The next thing I knew, we were running through the finish line holding hands!

I am very excited to jump into training for my second Shamrock Shuffle:  the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8k, which has roughly 20 times more runners than the Madison one!  Look for a post later today or tomorrow morning about my training schedule.

Where I’ve Been

February 21, 2011

[Note: This blog will rarely be about politics, because politics dominate my academic research, and this blog is my escape from the world of research.  I’ve been absent for more than a week, however, and the explanation is both political and personal.]

By now, if you’re in the U.S. — and perhaps if you’re anywhere in the world–you’ve heard about what is happening right now in Wisconsin.  I live in Madison, which has quickly turned into the epicenter of protests against the Budget Repair Bill, which our new governor tried to force through the legislature in a matter of days, with no deliberation or negotiation with the people it would greatly effect.  It would, among other things, strip public workers of their right to collectively bargain; cut funding to thousands of seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families; change the state Family and Medical Leave Act law in a way that would detrimentally affect working parents; and imperil public transportation in many of Wisconsin’s cities.

As a state university employee, the daughter of a public school employee, the sister of someone with a disability who benefits from FamilyCare, a tax-paying citizen of the state of Wisconsin, and a person who strongly believes in the power of democracy, this is where I’ve been for the past week:

And that’s where I’ll be for as long as it takes to “kill the bill.”



February 12, 2011

Sorry for yelling, but I am excited!   I experimented with a new pancake recipe this morning and they turned out a lot more delicious than I anticipated.  Maybe this is the 6 days worth of eating mainly vegetables talking, but they tasted like cinnamon rolls to me:

The nutritional stats were pretty darn good (for pancakes), too. I still need to tweak the recipe because I sort of made it up as I went along, so I will tragically need to make these again very soon so that I can post it for you ASAP.  The sacrifices I make for this blog!

Do you make a special breakfast on weekends?  What’s your “go-to” special breakfast recipe?

A Boozy Science Experiment – Part I

February 12, 2011

Some of my grad school friends are hosting a martini-themed cocktail party next weekend. Ssince we’re all grad students on a budget, it’s a potluck-style party, and they’ve asked guests to bring either mixers or liquor.  Since I never can do things the easy/normal way, I immediately started brainstorming about fun drinks I could bring.  After some Googling, I came up with the idea of making infused vodka.

I decided to make a batch of pineapple-infused vodka and a batch of vanilla-infused vodka, mainly because I found a great deal on vanilla beans at Costco while I was buying a pineapple and a bottle of vodka.

For the pineapple-infused vodka, I used this simple recipe.  I cut a pineapple into small chunks and covered with somewhere between 500-750 ML vodka (I didn’t measure, just filled the pitcher).  My quick Google research revealed that it should take 7-10 days to reach its maximum flavor, so it should be ready by the party next week.  I wasn’t sure if I needed to refrigerate it, but I’d rather be on the safe side so I put it in the back of the fridge.

For the vanilla-infused vodka, the general consensus of teh internets seemed to be that you should use 1 vanilla bean (split in half lengthwise) per 500-750 ML of vodka, so that’s what I did.  There’s no consensus on how long to leave it, though; some sites said 3-4 days, some said up to a month.  I’ll taste-test it in a few days and go from there.

Check back next week and I’ll let you know how they turned out!

I also have 6 vanilla beans left and about 1/2 liter of vodka left.  Neither of us are big drinkers, so I have a feeling the vodka is going to sit in the cupboard unless we have a party!  The vanilla beans seem much more likely to get used, though – if you have any recipes that use them, I’d love it if you’d share them.

Two Days, One Dish

February 11, 2011

One thing I’ve realized over the past few days is that a few vegetables go very far!  Every dish I’ve made so far this week has made at least 2, and often 3-4 meals.  I ended up stretching out last night’s dinner to tonight’s lunch and (part of) tonight’s dinner.  Somehow, I forgot to take pictures of its original incarnation, but I remembered to take pictures of lunch today, which was a remixed version of the same ingredients:

The base is a Trader Joe’s whole wheat tortilla, topped with a mixture of sauteed onions, black beans, and Trader Joe’s fire roasted diced tomatoes with chiles (drained of their juice).  I decided to make a pseudo-quesadilla by topping it with half an avocado mashed with a little lime juice and salt:

I finished it off by topping it with another tortilla, then baking it in my toaster oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes.  It got really crispy and it was delicious.  It was REALLY filling, so I only ate half and saved the other half for dinner along with some re-heated sweet potato wedges.

What was your Friday night dinner?  Did you go out or stay in?

Day 3: Getting Over the Hump

February 10, 2011

Yesterday was the hardest day of the Vegan for a Week challenge so far; I mostly just felt out of ideas and was craving something satisfying, but didn’t feel like cooking.  I wanted to give up and just order take-out, but I ended up sticking it out and making a simple and easy pasta salad with spinach, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and Italian herbs.


I originally planned to make the base out of quinoa, but whole wheat bow-tie pasta sounded a lot better last night.

Today is going better.  I ran this morning, which always makes me feel better!   For lunch, I mixed the chickpea mixture and the pasta and added extra olive oil, so I ate it as cold pasta salad today – it was even better than last night, because the flavors had a chance to merge more.

I need to eat a good snack before I head to campus for afternoon meetings; I know from experience that when I run in the morning, I end up STARVING around 3 pm.  I’m thinking an apple with almond butter before I leave home, plus some “emergency” homemade trail mix in my purse will do the trick.

I’m planning on making black bean burgers with sweet potato fries tonight for dinner; I am really looking forward to them!