running in the summer

This week’s dinner menu

by lachicaruns on

I should have been born a woman of leisure. I uncharacteristically took two days of vacation this week with absolutely no plans — and it was glorious.

I ran, yes, and did my stretching and some core work, but I also went fishing with el husbando, painted our garage doors, ran a gazillion errands, cleaned out my closet and baked yummy treats. All that and I still have the weekend to enjoy. Winning!

Lake Ovid

Lake Ovid

Tomorrow should have been my 26 mile training run — the 50K plan‘s longest — before taper, but I’m delaying that until next week. I’m running up to 18 tomorrow with my friend, Vicki, and running the 26 next week when a bunch of friends and I are doing the Lake Lansing Team Marathon and running all the loops. The event is a favorite and I’m really looking forward to hanging out with the Black Girls RUN! ladies and, yes, eating a ton of food.

lachica team picture

Last year’s Lake Lansing Team Marathon shenanigans.

I’m amazed that I’ve spent most of the summer training for what may be my first (and only) ultra marathon, with taper just a week away. Tick. Tock. Wowza. Taper for my first half and first full drove me a little loopy, but I think I’ll be just fine this time around because I’m more experienced and because this go-round has been so long and has had me running so very many miles. I’ll check in and will let you know if I’m faring.

In the meantime, here’s a week’s worth of meals so you have more time to run. And this is how I plan my meals in the first place.

MENU IDEAS vegetables for Pinterest
  • Zesty Italian chicken and spaghetti with a green salad and garlic bread
  • Spaghetti and (precooked) meatballs, rolls. I particularly like this Weight Watchers Favorite Tomato Sauce
  • Ground beef tacos, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and guacamole
  • Stuffed manicotti (beef, cheese and red sauce), salad, rolls
  • Turkey panini (on the George Foreman grill), chips, fruit

What’s on your training plan this week? Have you found any new recipes? Feel free to share your blog post if you’ve written about this topic before.

menu ideas burger basket final

In honor of the Independence Day holiday, I’m sharing the meal plan we use when we camp, including our most-recent adventure to Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s all easy and fast food to accommodate our vacation status.

From a running standpoint, our trip to the UP was amazing. Lots of challenging trails with beautiful scenery and my first trail half marathon to cap off the week.

Proof that I survived my first trail half.

Proof that I survived my first trail half.

I even got to run the four miles of trails connecting the Upper and Lower Falls, which I have to admit was the most-technical run I’ve ever done.

They weren't kidding when they said it's medium difficulty.

They weren’t kidding when they said it’s medium difficulty.

Altogether, I ran 14 miles that day. Started out running the four miles from the Lower Falls to the Upper Falls on the road, then running back through the trail system and back into a couple of other trails within the park to try to get to my goal of 16.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park trails.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park trails.

Unfortunately, I ran out of water on an 80-degree day and was already past the time I had told la familia I would be back. With no cell service, I headed back to our campsite to a very relieved el husbando.

See? Worth risking dehydration.

See? Worth risking dehydration.

But I went out a couple more times because I just couldn’t waste those beautiful sunny days and scenery.

I don’t know about you, but this running thing has me trying things I never dreamed I would even consider. I’m so glad I got the bug!

Hope you have a great holiday weekend. Here’s a week’s worth of meals to make sure you can find time to run or otherwise be active. Remember, this is how you can make your own family meal plan.

  • Hamburgers, chips, fruit
  • Mac and cheese, rolls, something salad-y or a veggie. I do love this particular recipe, but we use the instant stuff when we’re camping: Italian Macaroni and Cheese
  • Taco-pasta salad
  • Spaghetti and (precooked) meatballs, rolls. Friendly reminder that this Weight Watchers Favorite Tomato Sauce is deliciosa.
  • Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, fruit, chips

Happy camping, boating or, of course, running this weekend!

What’s on your holiday schedule? If you’ve written about this topic, feel free to share your blog post link below.

tips for running your first trail half marathonI ran 13.1 miles through the woods at the Two Hearted Trail Half in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and didn’t die, so I’m now sharing tips on how you, too, can survive — and thrive during — your first trail half.

 

  • Tip #1: Pick your race carefully. Two Hearted was the perfect first race for me. It was well organized, had gorgeous scenery, a well-marked route and made my first experience memorable. I read about this particular race from the Detroit Runner’s race review and it didn’t disappoint.
T-shirt and bib.

Race shirt and bib.

 

Some of the beautiful scenery.

Some of the beautiful scenery.

 

twohearted medal

Two Hearted Trail Half medal.

  • Tip #2: Train properly. Even if you’re an experienced road racer, make sure you put in a lot of trail miles before your first race. I’m fortunate to both have lots of runner friends with extensive trail experience and have a familia that camps, so I have lots of access to places to running trails. One of the best tips my friends gave me was to get used to running on tired legs. That meant a three- to five-mile run most Sunday mornings after Saturday’s long run. It also meant that I was ready for the terrain, even though it was much more difficult than anything I had experienced before.
The course was no joke.

The course was no joke.

 

More of the terrain on the trail.

More of the terrain on the trail.

  • Tip #3: Plan ahead. In addition to training for the type of trails you’ll be experiencing, think ahead about things you may need with you that day. While you don’t need a drop bag like you would for an ultra, I certainly was glad to have many of the necessities I pack in my luggage for my long runs, including bandages for a blister that was forming on my right foot, bug repellent wipes and my favorite Chap Stick. My friend Shannon and I were particularly glad we had bought new Nathan hydration packs for the occasion and we were all glad that we had either sunglasses or a hat on this very sunny day. You’ll also want to know where the race starts and ends so you can make arrangements for meeting up with family and friends. In our case, that was particularly helpful because we didn’t have cell coverage. At all.
I was able to bring my usual long-run items in my hydration pack, including bandages for a foot blister.

I was able to bring my usual long-run items in my hydration pack, including bandages for a foot blister.

  • Tip #4: Bring personal pacers. When I started talking about this trail race, I never imagined that two of my favorite running buddies would sign up to run it with me. It. Was. Awesome. While I know I would have finished by myself, having their company and experience (watch out for that tree stump, here’s how you run/walk through these logs) made the difference between a good experience and a fantastic one. If you don’t have running buddies who are willing to travel six hours to run a race with you, then make friends that morning.
With Shannon and Brandess, whose support was invaluable during my first trail race.

With Shannon and Brandess, whose support was invaluable during my first trail race.

  • Tip #5: Pay attention. The race organizers had very clear instructions both on the race website and in person just before the race about how the trail was marked (with blue flags to our right plus mile markers). There were a couple of spots where we didn’t see the blue flags for a while, but were relieved to see them clearly marking our directions. That said, we kept looking for those little flags because no one wants to get lost in the middle of nowhere, especially with no cell reception.

I hope these tips help you not only survive your first trail half-marathon race experience but make it the best it possibly can be. I certainly am hooked even more than I was before and have a lot more confidence as I look to doing my first trail 50K come September.

If you’re an experienced trail runner, please share your tips in the comments below. And if you’re a runner blogger who’s written about this before, feel free to share your link.

You know you’ve found your running tribe when you suggest you head out at 6:30 on a Saturday morning for a 14-mile run to avoid the heat and half a dozen women show up. Even more joined us later on the Lansing River Trail.

Team Playmakers at the Lansing River Trail rock.

Team Playmakers at the Lansing River Trail rock.

So continues our ultra marathon training, which has us ramping up mileage for the foreseeable future. I plugged in the mileage into my online calendar and am following it throughout the week, but not having a print-out on my fridge means that I don’t look ahead, so every weekend long run is a bit of a surprise.

In light of the day’s hot temperatures, here are some tips for running in the heat:

  1. Start early or go late. With the forecast including temperatures in the 80s, we settled on 6:30 a.m. With 14 miles on deck, however, it wasn’t nearly early enough. We may be meeting up even earlier in the coming weeks. Or go at 8 or 9 at night, when the temperatures are dropping again. Worst case, run on the ‘mill inside.
  2. Hydrate. Because we run with a formal team, we have water stations with Gatorade and ice water every two miles. But our trail runs have left me water-less with miles to go. I just ordered a Nathan water belt and can’t wait to try it out. Some runner friends stash water in hidden spots along their route; others plan to stop by their local convenience store.
  3. Dress appropriately. I have some really cute cotton tanks that I just love, but on days like today, it’s tech fabric from head to toe. The wicking properties make a huge difference in making me feel more comfortable. And I always wear my SmartWool socks to avoid blisters.
  4. Wear sunscreen. Yes, even those of us with dark skin should slather the stuff on. We’re already bound to get weird tan lines; no sense in also getting skin cancer in the process.
  5. Consider bug spray. Warmer temps also mean more bugs and in our case that means mosquitoes. In previous years, I’ve found individually wrapped Off towelettes. Still looking for them this season.
  6. Wear a hat or visor. Those of us with little hair should especially cover our heads (or remember to wear sunscreen), while the rest of us can benefit from a brimmed hat to avoid squinting eyes and burnt noses.
  7. Bring sunglasses. Once again, glasses can provide eye protection and prevent wrinkles. Plus, you’ll look better in your selfies when you’re not squinting into the sun.
  8. Fuel properly. No matter the temperature, your body still needs those calories, electrolytes and salt. Consider also using salt tablets. I just tried some today and couldn’t tell the difference, but I don’t know if I could have survived the hottest part of our run if I hadn’t been fueling and hydrating properly.

The weather here in Michigan is just going to keep getting hotter into July and August, so I’ll be sure to follow my own advice about running in the heat in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, here’s the week’s meal plan (and here’s how I make my meal plan in the first place.):

Did you do a long run today? What are your tips for running in the summer heat? If you’ve written about this topic, feel free to share a link to your post below.