All posts by Meagan

Hi, I'm Meagan! I'm a 20-something middle of the pack runner and I love running races. My favorite distance is the half marathon, and I recently completed my first full marathon this fall! I live in Southwest Virginia with my husband, Barry, and our two dogs. Aside from running, I love cheering on my Hokies, particularly in football.

Skunks and cows

Tonight I went for a 4 mile run after work. It was 43 degrees outside so I got to run in shorts again! My quads were feeling pretty tired today, after yesterday’s faster (for me) paced run. They better get their act together because I have a hard, hilly run planned for tomorrow.

When I started my run today, I saw Mr. Boy (the jack russell that lives down the road that occasionally runs with me) out in a field running around like a maniac. I wondered what he was doing… and then I saw the skunk. Right as I ran by on the road, Mr. Boy ran up behind the skunk barking and I saw that skunk’s tail go up in the air. Poor Mr. Boy got sprayed and then there was a lot more barking and some growling. Hope he keeps his distance because he’s going to stink for awhile.

like this, but with a jack russell

A little further on during my run, I spooked a field full of dairy cows. They’re so funny when they decide they need to run as fast as they can away from the fence, just because someone goes by.

[source]

I also ran past a field that had some beef calves in it. They were all right at the fence and when I ran by, only about 3 feet from them, they took off running. There were grown cows in the field, too, that just stood there and looked at me and watched the calves go running.



[source]

The sun set with about 1/2 a mile to go and it got chilly out. I was also worried about cars being able to see me, since I didn’t wear my reflective vest today. Every time a car went by I got in the grass along the road as best I could. When I got back to our road I was worried that skunk would still be around. It was an all black skunk and with the sun down it was hard for me to see. Luckily I did not see him, and thus avoided smelling like Mr. Boy currently smells.

I learned my lesson

First things first- apparently I did not learn my lesson the first time. I left our puppy unattended in the living room this morning and she chewed up the laces on my newest pair of running shoes. I cried, and then cried some more when I found out they’ve been discontinued. Then I bought two more pairs online in my size while they’re still available (sorry Barry… better to ask for forgiveness than permission).

I HAVE learned my lesson now, and my running shoes now reside in our bedroom safely away from said puppy.

This evening I ran 3 miles after work at a 9:43 pace. This used to be my comfortably hard/typical weekday run pace, but lately it has felt a lot harder. Maybe I’m just in some kind of winter slump? I’ve got some races coming up on the calendar, so hopefully that will help. It warmed up to 39 degrees today and I got to run in shorts! Any colder and I wouldn’t have been able to wear them, but right at 40 degrees is where I can switch over to shorts.

Don’t mind the lines on my shins from my work socks.
 
Barry joined me for a little over half of the run today. He was planning on doing more than 3 miles, so he was going to run with me to my turn around point and then keep going. Shortly before we got to 1.5 miles, a white pit bull-mix dog that is usually tied was running loose and ran up to us barking, but then went back to its yard. Because of this incident, I made Barry turn around with me and run me back past that house before going off on his own, and thank goodness I did. On our way back the dog came charging from the other side of the road, barking and snarling at us with its fur up. I was scared but so glad to have Barry with me. He yelled at it (a 6′ 4″ man is a lot more intimidating than a 5′ 2″ woman) and the dog backed down and went home. That dog has been loose once before when I was running by myself and it actually chased me down the road while nipping at my arm. He looks like the dog pictured below. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs and I don’t hold any dog to a breed stereotype. But I do not like dogs that are aggressive and chase me.

[source]
 
In other news, we enjoyed watching the Super Bowl (and the commercials) last night. I thought the Best Buy commercial was really funny and the Budweiser one with the Clydesdale was cute. Of course there was Super Bowl food, and I failed to take any pictures of it. I made nacho chip dip… which is basically refried beans, cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, taco seasoning, hot sauce, and parsley mixed together and topped with cheese. We ate it with multigrain chips, which I’m pretty sure makes it healthy right?

I also made Spicy Asian Chicken Wraps, which were my favorite thing from the dining hall (West End) when I was at Virginia Tech. My awesome sister-in-law got us a Virginia Tech cookbook for Christmas that has the recipe for this wrap in it. My Dad and sister also thoughtfully got me the same cookbook, but my sister-in-law beat them by a few days. Apparently people think I like Virginia Tech or something.

Invited the Hokie Bird to my wedding and he graciously accepted
 

Snowing again and some baking

Today started out as a lazy Saturday. Barry and I stayed in our PJ’s until Noon and had a quiet morning watching TV (him), reading blogs on the computer (me), and baking (more on that in a minute). Finally a little after 4 o’clock we headed out for a run. We ran a little over 6 miles on the roads around our house. I felt pretty good on this run, except my back was a little sore. The weather isn’t too bad today, temperature-wise. It’s currently hovering a little over 30 degrees but there’s no wind, so actually pretty nice to run in. It was snowing throughout our run today and by the end it was sticking to the roads pretty good (we’re supposed to get about 4 inches). We had to be careful and make sure the cars coming around the curves on the road didn’t slide.

Mr. Boy also joined us for the end of our run, and escorted us down the driveway and to our backdoor. I ran inside to get my camera to try and get a picture of him, but he eluded me once again. Maybe next time…

Not a whole lot to report from yesterday. I worked all day and then Barry took me out for a date night. We went out to Olive Garden and had a nice time talking over some good food. I got the lobster cannelloni with shrimp and Barry had the three-cheese ravioli.

 

 

I’m still working on this whole photography thing, and also it still embarrasses me to take pictures of my food in a restaurant. The dishes actually looked really nice and they did a nice job on the presentation…. too bad I ruined it with my crappy photo skills.

As I mentioned, I started the day off with some baking. Recently Hungry Runner Girl included this braided bread on her blog. It looked so good, so I had to give it a try. It wasn’t too difficult to make, which is saying something for someone who was never made bread like this from scratch before. I didn’t realize there was so much waiting, though! Who knew you had to let bread rise before you baked it?? 😉 Good thing I started it this morning so it would be ready for this afternoon (part of the reason we didn’t go running until after 4). It turned out mostly looking like it’s supposed to, and it tasted really good. There’s nothing quite like fresh out of the oven warm bread.

 

This recipe will definitely be added to the recipe book for future use. The loaf on the right is plain and the one on the left is Barry’s creation. He decided to add brown sugar to the “egg wash” that you brush on the bread before baking it. Then he sprinkled a little pumpkin spice on top. It turned out really sweet and would make for a great dessert. Judging by the size of the bread I think I did a really good job of letting it rise 🙂

Runnin’ against the wind (and with it)

I’ll be honest, I just didn’t want to run today. You know those days where you just don’t want to go back outside? Yea, it was one of those. But I am feeling a bit better today, and I felt up to a run, despite the pounding headache that is still sticking with me. So I got out there and ran 4 miles at 9:45 pace this evening after work. It is coooold outside again. Right now it’s 32 degrees with 20+ MPH winds, making it feel like it’s actually in the teens. One interesting fact: even a middle of the pack runner can hit Kenyan speed when running downhill with a 20 MPH wind directly at your back (although you’ll freeze).



Not quite this fast, even with the wind

A highlight of my run, today: An older man was walking out to his mailbox as I was running by. He says to me “Hi. You are very brave.” I guess he thought I was tough stuff to be out there in the wind…. he probably wouldn’t think I was so brave if he knew I am afraid of the dark though.



[from my Pinterest]

What really got me out there today was the fact that I am feeling a bit better from my cold, and the fact that I did not run yesterday. That, and my personal motto:



Don’t mind the bright circle at the top from my poor photography skills.

But seriously, lets talk about the weather for a minute

Two and a half weeks ago: 50 degrees and muggy, then we had 3 straight days of a torrential down pour-type rain
Two weeks ago: The temperature dips below freezing and we get 9 1/2 inches of snow, it remains cold and windy for the next six days
One week ago: Another snow storm rolls through and drops another 4 inches on us, it stays cold and windy over the weekend
Two days ago: The thermometer hits 70 degrees for the high during the day
One day ago: We have severe thunderstorms, high winds, and flooding
Today: There is a flash flood warning, a high wind warning, and a winter storm advisory all at the same time….

And I experienced all three of those warnings at the same time in the area I was working in today:

That creek is normally about 3 feet wide… and that white area back there? That’s where the blizzard was. I was lucky that low bridge I was driving across wasn’t flooded, and at times while driving it was a complete white out. The weather has been wild lately, and the news is currently showing the devastation people across the country have been experiencing as a result. Locally, I think we have seen all 4 seasons over the span of about two weeks. Again I ask you Mother Nature…. can we just pick one season and stick with it for a bit? K, thanks.

Sportsmanship

I am home sick today. That head cold that was coming on has arrived. Don’t worry, though, because I found comfort on the couch while watching Fame, The Princess Diaries, and the first Harry Potter movie. I also have two buddies who are more than happy to spend the day napping/watching movies.

I intended to attempt a run today, even if I couldn’t go to work, but I really don’t feel up to it. Also, we are having strong thunderstorms, high winds, and a chance of tornadoes this afternoon/evening…. that’s enough for me to stay inside.

Did anyone hear about the Spanish athlete who showed a true display of sportsmanship at a cross country race in December, instead of taking advantage of another competitor’s mistake? I came across this article through the Richmond Marathon facebook page.

Photo from the article “Honesty of the long-distance runner”

Abel Mutai of Kenya, number 7 in the photo, had opened up a gap that made him the sure winner. But then he pulled up 10 meters short, mistakenly thinking he had crossed the finish line. Ivan Fernandez Anaya, the athlete in the green singlet above, was running in second. Mutai’s mistake gave Fernandez Anaya the chance to blow by him and win the race. Instead, Fernandez Anaya used gestures to direct Mutai to the finish line, all while staying behind him.

Fernandez Anaya’s coach, Martin Fiz, stated that although the gesture made Fernandez Anaya a better person, it did not make him a better athlete. Fiz states that “you have to go out to win every time”. However, Fernandez Anaya goes on to explain that at this particular cross country race there was nothing at stake, except maybe bragging rights if he had won (Mutai was a bronze medalist in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the London Olympics). He states that if there had been higher stakes, such as a European medal, then he would have exploited Mutai’s mistake to win. That’s quite impressive and speaks a lot about his integrity.

I think Fernandez Anaya did the right thing and showed us that even at higher levels of competition winning isn’t everything. Sometimes it’s more important to be a good human being, even if your coach doesn’t approve.