See Kai Run. See Kai Eat.

Eat, Run, Repeat.

Failsauce January 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — princesskaikai @ 12:41 am

My calendar had December 27th marked for the start of marathon training.  But that plan fell apart before it even began.  Not because of the holiday season, not because of injuries, not because of the negative windchills and lack of sunlight (well, maybe a little because of negative windchills).

No, here is the real reason my marathon training suddenly took a nosedive:

More Treats Please?

A dog racing track in Wisconsin (Dairyland) recently closed, and hundreds of greyhounds have been coming off the track homeless.  They’re sweet, quiet, low-maintenance dogs which seemed like a perfect compromise between what I wanted (a big dog) and what Husband wanted (a small, perfectly controlled robot dog).  A bit of research, some adoption applications, and BAM!  We ended up adopting Molly (known in her previous racing career as Juicy Fruit).

She’s in a foster home right now to get a headstart on her training, and is coming home next week.  Despite popular opinion, greyhounds are not running dogs at all – at least not for any kind of distances.  Molly here, for example, likes to bounce around for 5 minutes and then splay out on the floor for a nap.  So I’m going to have to make some adjustments to my running schedule, since I’ll have to factor in dog-walking time as well.

I may downgrade to the half, I may run the full on a different, easier plan, I may postpone my marathon plans for 2010…who knows?  It’s really too bad Pfitz doesn’t call for dog-cuddling in his plan.

 

The Crippled, Crosstraining Runner December 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — princesskaikai @ 3:25 am

Two things I’m good at (or at-least-don’t-suck-at):  Eating and running.

One thing I’m bad at:  Blogging.

A few months back, in a fit of spontaneity and inspiration, I registered for the Flying Pig and then in a fit of madness and insanity, comitted to the Pfitz 18/55.  Last time around, I peaked at 50 miles, so I figured another 5 wouldn’t kill me (famous last words).  My training plan starts the week after Christmas, so no sitting around and eating all the leftover holiday cookies, pies, and pot roasts for this little piggy.  Of course, I might be modifying some nuances of the training plan, possibly the week where I’m supposed to do 11 miles on Friday, 5 miles on Saturday, and 18 miles on Sunday. Or maybe the week where I’m supposed to race a 15K on Saturday and then run 17 miles on Sunday.  I just don’t know, there are so many fun weeks like these to take me all throughout spring!  Stay tuned – the inevitable meltdown should be really fun.

Last time around, I had an awful approach toward cross-training and by “awful,” I mean “nonexistant.”  Trying to be better about it this time around, I joined a facility that offers fitness classes.  They were having a promotion on Yelp and offering a free class for new students, and being Little Miss Arrogant Marathoner, I turned my nose up at the easy-sounding classes and opted into one called “Shredded.”  It was yesterday.

This morning, I was supposed to do my long run, but I could barely turn over in bed because I was in so much pain.  EVERYTHING HURTS.  My thighs hurt, my shoulder hurts, my abs hurt, my butt hurts MOST OF ALL.  I signed up for their monthly membership, which gives you unlimited access to all classes, and from now on, I am staying away from any “Shredded” or “Power Hour”; I will only be taking ones called “Pilates for Wusses” or “Easiest Core Ever” or “Why Don’t You Just Lie Down and Go To Your Happy Place?”  For sure this will help make me a better runner.

*   *   *

Province

Last night, after the exercise class from hell (in a good way), before the soreness had set in and I could still walk upright, Husband and I went to check out Province for dinner.  Time Out Chicago had released a list of the “100 Best Things We Ate This Year,” and their rabbit confit was on in.  No lie, this dish was delicious.  It was warm and comforting, just something I would’ve loved to curl up with a bowl of on a cold, Chicago day.  If you’ve never had rabbit before, don’t be afraid of it.  It tastes like chicken (really), and is completely harmless (and yummy).

Rabbit Confit

Potato Frites

I had a lemon-honey rotisserie chicken as my entree, and ordered a side of perfectly seasoned and cooked fries with it.  Husband had the beef tenderloin, which cut like butter.  But the highlight of the entire night was dessert – the apples and almond wafer “stack,” with dulce de leche ice cream.  Holy running gods, this was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had in my life, and it’s pretty safe to say I’ve eaten a whole lot of desserts in my day.  This apple stack made me want to renounce cupcakes and all other dessert wannabes, and become a Province groupie.  Husband said he would prostitute me out to the chef if it meant he could eat this everyday.  I would completely support this.

Apples and Almond Wafer Stack

Ok, Pfitz. I will run that 15K race followed by a 17 miler if you promise me this afterwards.

 

Hot Chocolate 15K November 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — princesskaikai @ 12:10 am

Hope everyone had a nice Halloween!  Dork that I am, I spent it at the zoo.  Behold:

2009 has been a pretty piss-poor running year for me, but I ended it with a decent race, at least.  Husband’s entire office was pressuring me to beat his coworker’s butt in the Hot Chocolate 15K, but as it turns out, he’s one of those little snots that never runs, trains for 2 months and then runs 7:30 miles with a bum knee.  Sure, I run 7:30′s too…during my interval workouts.  Life, why do you taunt me so?

It was a fun race, and I’m actually very happy with my time (1:19:03), considering I just started doing speedwork again recently, and just began running/training seriously (again) a month or so ago.  I’m especially proud of my pacing job, as I started out strong and hung around a steady 8:30 for the next 9+ miles.  My slowest miles were actually in the beginning, since it took place on a narrow lakefront path and the first few miles were so congested with people running at a slower pace.  I couldn’t break out and find a groove until 4 miles in, and then I settled snugly into my zone.

Afterwards, there was plenty of chocolate, in the form of candy bars, chocolate fondue, and cups of hot chocolate.  I was feeling pretty good until I came home and found out the elevator was broken.  Then I had to walk up 6 flights of stairs after racing 9.3 miles, and I didn’t feel so hot after that. Next week: cutback week or 12-miler?  I guess that depends on how much I eat…

*   *   *

Speaking of eating, my friend Tina was visiting from New York this weekend, so we decided to visit our alma mater, Northwestern.  And by “visit Northwestern,” I mean “hit all the restaurants that we used to frequent during college” because everything in my life revolves around food.  In the span of an hour, we’d gotten bibimbap from our favorite Korean diner, cupcakes and other assorted pastries from Bennison’s, and frozen yogurt from Red Mango.

Bibimbap

Flower Cupcake

Bennison's Apple Tart

A few hours later, we had dinner at Rollin’ To Go and I ate a Carmelo sandwich (turkey, bacon, avocado, and remoulade).  I love love LOVE this place, their delicious sandwiches and pizzas, and house-made potato chips.

The Carmelo

It’s hard to believe we’re in November already, huh?

 

Rain or Shine October 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — princesskaikai @ 3:11 am

Thanks for all the warm welcome-backs!  There’s nothing like people listening to ramblings about your oh-so-boring running stats to feed your ego! (Although I think most of you are in it for the food porn…)

I had the nice change of running with a partner for once in my life this week.  Peter, from my running forums, was in town for the Chicago Marathon, and met up with me on Thursday night to take a jaunt along the lakefront.  His 3:21 marathon probably should have tipped me off to the fact that there was no way in hell I could ever keep up with him, but he was nice enough to slow down to an 8:45-9:00 pace.  The weather, on the other hand, was not so cooperative,  with the wind and rain.  I guess I should have clarified that “seeing the lakefront” really meant “keep your damn head down because Chicago weather sucks after October.”

Afterwards, we went out for burgers and sweet potato fries at The Counter, and discussed how there really is nothing better in life than having a lovely run followed by a delicious, gut-busting meal.  Facts of life, dudes.

On Saturday, keeping up with the “general crappiness” theme, the weather turned on me after a mile, from somewhat cloudy to a windy, freezing downpour.  I had no hat either, being totally unprepared, and cursed my way through 10.2 slogging, slow, miserable miles.  That’s the first double-digit run I’ve done since the marathon last November, so despite all my profanities along the way, it felt damn good to get those doubles under my belt again.

And of course, on the last half mile of that, the sun came out.  Oh, Chicago.  By the way, the best way to wind down after an autumn long run?  Apple pie and a cappucino (with full-fat milk, of course, for those recovery nutrients).

Warm Apple Pie

Warm Apple Pie

The Husband and I spent the rest of the day at a nature museum, and then sought refuge from the cold with a cozy, romantic meal at Coco Pazzo Cafe.  My craving for Italian food is apparently directly proportional to my mileage, and I was able to indulge my long-standing love affair with big wide noodles (yay carbs!).

Beef Carpaccio with Pecorino

Beef Carpaccio with Pecorino

Pappardelle with Duck Ragu

Pappardelle with Duck Ragu

A deserving end, I think, to a 30-mile week.

 

The Prodigious Princess Returns October 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — princesskaikai @ 12:54 am

It’s telling when I’ve been away from my blog for so long that Firefox doesn’t even remember my WordPress password anymore.

I didn’t drop off the face of the Earth, I just had a series of crazy life changes between August and September that sidelined pretty much everything else – including running.  I bought a condo, moved into the city, and got married. Now that the dust has settled, I’m back in training mode.  This time of the year especially proved to be nostalgically emotional for me – last time this year, I was gearing up for my first marathon, and the memories have only been exacerbated by lead up to the Chicago marathon in the city.

My friend Tricia and I camped out at Mile 20 this morning, and watched the marathoners run by.  We watched Sammy Wanjiru and Deena Kastor surge past, and stuck around to cheer on the middle-of-the-pack. Do the elites ever get cold?  It was 30-some degrees this morning and they were still in singles or sports bras, and shorts.  I’ve never been a marathon spectator, but I was incredibly excited this year to come out and support, and it was so much fun.

Since the move, my commute is a lot more reasonable, and my training has begun to ramp up again.  I ran 8 miles yesterday, and registered for a 15K at the beginning of November.  I’m mapping out a new training schedule, planning a half or two in the new year, and eyeing a spring marathon.  You know what I’m really excited for?  Taking ice baths again.  Am I a masochist or what?

*   *   *

Photos from today:

The wheelchair athletes

The wheelchair athletes

Elite women surging by

Elite women surging by

Push through the pain!  Only 10K left!

Push through the pain! Only 10K left!

The crowd in Chinatown

The crowd in Chinatown

And of course, this would not be my blog without food photos…

Apple pie cupcake with pie crust!

Apple pie cupcake with pie crust!

Apple slices inside - so delicious!

Apple slices inside - so delicious!

Food hiatus from cheering on the runners

Food hiatus from cheering on the runners

Deep fried hash browns

Deep fried hash browns

 

Way of the Warrior July 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — princesskaikai @ 3:40 am

The much-anticipated Warrior Dash took place this weekend, starting on Friday night, when I drove down to Joliet to meet a bunch of awesome folks from the Beginner’s Forum on Runner’s World for dinner.  Having never really met anyone online before, it was weird but highly satisfying to meet these people who I’ve “known” for the past year or so, who I’ve joked with and swapped running stories with, who know my running life like no one else.

L to R: Mike, Cass, and Casss friends

L to R: Mike, Cass, and Cass's friends

Me, Meghan, Cory, and Katie

Me, Meghan, Cory, and Katie

The next morning, my alarm went off in my ear at 5:15 AM.  Ouch.  In my early-morning haziness, I forgot to attach my chip to my shoe, so now I’ll never know how long it took me, officially to get through those obstacles.  I lined up with Wave 5, but quickly found out that there were a lot of non-runners there.  It was only a 6K course (2 3K laps), but people were walking 400 meters in.  The first loop was obstacle-free, to tire you out before pitting you against danger.

The second loop started with a series of giant mounds – not hills really, but large speedbumps to scramble up.  Next came the plastic barrels, a junkyard of old cars, giant spools to jump over, and two walls – one after another, the second taller than the previous – to push yourself over.  Lines were building around some of the obstacles, particularly the walls, where several people were having trouble getting over them and had to be pushed.

The construction pipes that came next were more suited to my height. After that, the course led into the woods – steep, muddy, and extremely slippery.  We crossed a narrow plank across a deep ravine (I thought I was going to slip and die here), scaled the steep uphills back into the clearing, and leapt into the muddy swamp.  The website had recommended duct-taping your shoes to your feet, which I blew off.  The minute I stepped into the swamp, I immediately regretted not heeding that advice.  I had to slow down and struggled just to keep the muck from sucking my shoes off, and people were losing their shoes left and right.

When I emerged from the swamp and hit the concrete, my feet felt 15 pounds heavier.  We ran through a simulated “abandoned city” and over the fire – which was actually disappointingly small and faded from everyone jumping over it.  The very last obstacle was the hyped “Muddy Mayhem” and it didn’t disappoint.  There was barbed wire stretched out low across the mud pit, forcing you down deep.  Unlike the swamp, you couldn’t just wade across – the wired made you get down on your hands and knees and drag your whole body through the mud.  Awesome!

Afterwards, my fellow forumites and I hung out at the post-race party and yes, I took advantage of the axe-throwing.  Despite my lack of coordination and general physical clumsiness, I actually got one into the target!  Booyah!  All in all, it was a truly awesome time and I will definitely be back next year. Maybe even in costume…

Warrior Roast

Warrior Roast

Muddy Mayhem

Muddy Mayhem

Where I Ditched My Unsalvageable Brooks

Where I Bid Adieu to My Retired Brooks

Everyone Clear Out!

Everyone Clear Out!

The Warrior Gang

The Warrior Gang

 

Strawberry Fields July 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — princesskaikai @ 3:15 am

I hope everyone had a happy and food-filled 4th of July!

Things are getting hectic in the Princess Kai household.  I had a terrible last week, running-wise.  Let’s just say that having to grade 60, 5-page papers in 3 days was not very conducive to fitting runs in.  We finally got our loan finalized and confirmed, the walkthrough for our new condo is this weekend, and then we’re closing next week.  After that comes painting, buying furniture, and moving.  I’m just looking forward to a shorter commute and running along the beautiful lakefront.

Fiance and I went hiking in the Swallow Cliff Forest Preserve last weekend.  These woods were crucial in my marathon training last summer, as they were the only accessible hills around me.  I knew Philly would have some hills, and with my regular running routes being flat as a pancake, these trails broke up my routine and strengthened my legs.  Nevermind that there was always a shirtless cross-country team training there.  I didn’t even notice.  Honest.

Why Hello, Bambi

Why Hello, Bambi

The Lone Tree

The Lone Tree

Into the Woods

Into the Woods

I will definitely miss this forest preserve when we move downtown.  What I won’t miss?  Being eaten alive by bugs.

*   *   *

Some 4th of July eats:

An American Staple

An American Staple

I know some people thinking ketchup on hot dog is a mortal sin, but I say the more (condiments), the merrier!

Gelato!

Gelato!

July 4th Pancakes

July 4th Pancakes

Steak Crostini

Steak Crostini

Lately, strawberries have been on mad sale at my local grocery store, a huge carton for $2.99.  If you’re like me, you get too busy/lazy/forgetful to wash and divide them into individual Ziplock bags to take to work.  So at the end of the week, I always end up with a giant batch of very ripe strawberries.  Fiance doesn’t really like strawberries, which means it’s completely up to me to polish them off.

On Sunday, I decided to make sorbet.

Step 1

Step 1

I’ve always been fascinated with home-made ice cream and I don’t have an ice cream maker, so this was the next best thing.  It was so simple and easy, and I used a recipe I got here.  The essential part of the recipe is to re-blend the sorbet mixture after you freeze it the first time – the first time around, the syrup and strawberry puree are still not fully blended and you get a lot of ice crystals from the water.  Re-blending it smoothes the whole mixture, and when it freezes a second time, it becomes sorbet, not just sweetened frozen strawberry puree.

Delicious and Home-made

Delicious and Home-made

Wait for a hot, hot summer day and enjoy!

 

 
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