Monday, March 30, 2009

19.2 Miles of Pure Pain + TARHEELS in the Final Four!

Oh man! Yesterday was such a hard run for me! I had on the schedule 20 miles, and I waited until Sunday to run it because I skipped my Wednesday run and did it Thursday morning, so my Thursday run I moved to Saturday morning (b/c we had friends over Friday night -see below to meet them). My Saturday morning workout went well but little did I know it would leave me sore as hell Sunday morning!

I woke up around 8ish (way later than I had hoped) and just could not get motivated to get out the door! So I drank some coffee and watched some TV and then headed out around 9:30 with two GU's (Strawberry Banana is no comparison to Tri Berry even if it is a dollar cheaper), my iPod and some sunglasses. My butt and legs were KILLING me from doing sprints, squats, lunges and leg lifts on Saturday, so I was worried about how the run would go but I knew I couldn't wimp out on it with the marathon less than a month away!

As soon as I started out, I knew it was going to be rough. I was going way slower than normal and my legs just felt extremely heavy. I made a 5 mile loop and then ran back by my apartment (really wanting to just duck inside and call it a day) then I headed out for a 15 mile out and back. I started having to take walk breaks around that time (which I try never to do) and took my first GU around mile 6. I got down to the battery waterfront of downtown, and at mile 7 my iPod died even though it had been charging all night!

It was like a sign that this run was meant for disaster.

So I thought about what I could do, considered cutting the run short around mile 8 and 9, and talked myself into just doing at least 15-16. I kept telling myself that I had to keep going, even if it meant I had to run/walk the entire 20 miles! So that is exactly what I did and managed not to cut it short at all. My legs kept getting worse and hurt with every step, but I just kept pushing myself and thinking that it was okay if I had to run for a mile or so and then walk for a minute or two. I wasn't happy about it, but I managed to finish.

My out and back was a little shorter than I had planned for some reason, so the whole "run" ended up being only 19.2. I considered extending it to the full 20 at the end, but I figured it wouldn't make much of a difference because my body was just dunzo at that point. So I stretched as much as I could, came inside and collapsed, and talked the BF into getting me some bags of ice for my ice bath. That was harsh, but I think I managed about 8 minutes which I think did help my soreness today.

Other than that painful experience, we had a pretty good weekend! Saturday night we went to see I Love You Man (which was pretty funny, although a little long and awkward at parts), got our grocery shopping done for the week and yesterday afternoon (after I recovered a bit) we went to Hometeam BBQ with some great friends Sandy and Jason (hi guys!) to watch our HEELS demolish Oklahoma and win a trip to the FINAL FOUR!! We were pretty pumped about the win, so we decided to go check out the new FreshBerry downtown. It was delish! Here are some pics from the weekend for your veiewing pleasure:

Me and my college buddy Sandy sporting none other than Carolina Blue baby!

My boyfriend Matt and Sandy's boyfriend Jason making fun of us when we suggested they "get together for a picture." Gotta love Matt's huge silly smile!

Me and the boy :)

The reason we had to get to the movie theater early on Saturday, so Matt could play Galaga! He now holds the high score at the James Island Movie Theater if anyone would like to challenge his greatness :)

I don't know about you guys, but I am looking forward to a great week! I have today off running to recover, but here is my schedule for the rest of the week:

Tuesday: 3-5 miles plus sprints & calistenics
Wednesday: 8 miles easy
Thursday: 6 mile bridge & calistenics
Friday: Off
Saturday: 10k Cooper River Bridge Run (if I can register this week in time)
Sunday: 12-13 mile run

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Easy Saturday Morning Run + Calisthenics + Hooray Spring Results

This morning I wasn't too ready to hop out the door and run. We had another couple over last night to watch the Heels game (wooo hoo Elite 8!) and I didn't eat as healthy as I had hoped. So I got up and drank some coffee and watched some Real Housewives of NY and blogged. Then I headed out the door for a quick 4 mile run since I missed my track workout yesterday.

The four miles were kind of hard, I could tell I didn't have the proper fuel in my system and that I was dehydrated. But I made the most of it and just took it easy. I knew it was important to get some mileage in today even if it was only 4.3. Around mile 4 I decided to do some sprints until I got to my building, so I did 4 x 100m (approximately) sprints jogging in between. After the 4th I walked the probably 1/6 mile home to cool down.

Once I got to my building I stretched and decided to do some calisthenics. I never do anything more than crunches, so it is high time my friends! (I know, I know. I am bad. I don't have a gym membership and I don't strength train...I'm working up to it, okay?) I did 2 reps of 20 lunges and squats with stretching in between. Then I did 20 wall push-ups (I'm trying to ease my arms into doing the real thing) and 20 jumping jacks.

Just that small amount of something extra felt really good! I would definitely like to add this to my routine on a normal basis, and of course do more reps of each.

Here are my totals and split times:

Time: 00:43:16
Distance: 4.30 mi
Elevation Gain: 631 ft
Total Calories: 480 C
Avg Pace: 10:04 min/mi
Best Pace: 05:34 min/mi

Total Time
Total Distance
Elevation Gain
Elevation Loss
Average Speed
Max Speed
100:09:55 1.00 207 203 09:55 08:50
200:09:58 1.00 186 188 09:58 08:48
300:11:21 1.00 121 142 11:21 08:53
400:09:33 1.00 90 79 09:33 05:34
500:02:28 0.30 27 19 08:17 06:07

**Notice the slow mile 3? Yeah I stopped to pet the horses at Hampton Park, but the signs on the fence that said "horses may bite" and "caution electric" made me think better of it. The horses were sad though, they came towards me ready for some petting!

Hooray for Spring 6 Miler Results & "Free Virtual Swag":
RunningLaur posted the results to her virtual 6 miler, and I came in 6th place with a time of 54:45. She even made us some sweet medals, which she said we could choose which one we wanted. I couldn't decide whether I was speedy enough for this one, but I really pushed that run and it was a PR for me so I am going to go with it.

But I also like this one, so I am taking two :)

Thanks RunningLaur for the great swag and virtual race!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My thoughts on healthy eating (for what they're worth)

Since I started this space in January to track my training progress for my first marathon, I have also been reading a ton of blogs out there about running and fitness. In the process of reading and discovering more running blogs, I naturally came across a few really great health and nutrition blogs. Running and eating basically go hand in hand, so it's natural that most running bloggers also talk about the food they eat at some point. I have learned so much about how other runners eat, new health foods I might not have discovered on my own, natural and alternative food sources, but most importantly I realized that my crazy way of eating was shared by thousands of other women (and men) out there.

Lil Bit of Background
Before I immersed myself in this blogosphere I wasn't really surrounded by like-minded eaters. My family never ate particularly healthy growing up (not particularly unhealthy either), my boyfriend enjoys healthy food but doesn't naturally crave foods inherently healthy on a regular basis (he used to have an aversion to anything labeled organic because he thought it was "made of beans or somthing" Men!), my co-workers in the past have never generally eaten the way I do. So for me to stumble across an entire network of people just like me has been pretty enlightening.

Someday soon I will share more about me and my background. I think that will explain a bit more about my eating and exercise habits and patterns. But in light of yesterday's post, I wanted to comment briefly about how I qualify the foods I eat.

I used to count calories and log all of my food on Before I started using this site and logging my food and exercises, I thought I was a supremely healthy eater, and I was partly right. But I wasn't paying enough attention to some things that were adding a ton of extra and unnecessary calories to my day (like dressings, sauces, methods of cooking).

This site is a fantastic resource and it truly helped me refine my eating habits. It taught me the right ways to eat healthy. It also helped me to examine everything that I ate, in turn revealing some of the uglier facets of my diet. I would say that going through this process (about 2.5 years ago) changed my life, changed my outlook on food, and helped me to become a smarter eater.

How I Eat Today
Now I don't count calories. Partly because of the fact that I run so much but mostly because MFD ingrained in me the correct way to eat/correct portion size/how much I can comfortably consume in a day.

In the past few years, I have been desperately trying to add more fresh fruit and veggies to my diet. I read somewhere that an easy way to do this is when you are at the grocery store, spend the majority of your time in the outer edges of the store rather than in the aisles where all the paakged and processed foods are. This seems counter-intuitive but I had never thought of it that way, and now I cannot shop without considering that. Try it! It really, really helps you think about what you're putting in your cart.

Generally, I pick up a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and I incorporate these into all of my daily meals. For breakfast I usually eat oatmeal or cereal with fresh fruit and coffee. For lunch I usually have a veggie-packed salad, wrap or sandwich with a side of fruit or veggies. If I only pack a salad I try to add in some healthy carbs like whole wheat bread, brown rice or quinoa. For dinner, I try to cook something that we both will enjoy, that is also healthy and packed with fresh vegetables and a healthy meat. We rarely eat red meat or pork, we try to stick to ground turkey breast or ground chicken, or boneless skinless chicken breasts. For snacks during the day, I always have fresh fruit. I think I eat an apple every day, plus bananas, plums or whatever else is in season.

I also am getting more thorough about reading food labels and choosing items that I can actually read and understand the ingredient list. Although I am severely limited by budget these days, I spend a lot of time in the stores trying to find items that are as all natural and organic as possible and are also low in sodium. I cannot always afford organic, which is okay for me right now. I cannot get all of my gorceries at Whole Foods, so I shop smart at a few different stores and do what I can. I would like to be able to afford to eat organic produce and food exclusively, but right now that is not an option. So I focus on buying tons of fresh produce and purchasing organic when it is possible. The most important thing for me is to make sure that what I am consuming is made up of things that I don't find offensive and damaging to my body.

I do not diet, and I try not to limit myself too much. I actually think that diets in general are crap. My general rule is to be able to eat what I want one day a week. So if I want to share some french fries at happy hour on Friday, I will! Or if I want a cupcake or some greasy pizza, I can enjoy these things in moderation. I have gotten better at stopping myself from going overboard with junk foods, and the healthier I eat, the less I crave these things.

I think the number one mistake those who are trying to lose weight make is denying themselves the food that their bodies are craving. You have to learn to be an intuitive eater, but this does take time, so initially you're going to have to make some sacrifices. This doesn't mean when you're on a "diet" you're limited to 1000 calories a day and you can't touch sweets. If you love sweets and you're craving them, you're just going to eat more and more food until you satisfy that craving, which was probably worse than eating the sweets in the first place! Also, if you're working out alot, limiting your body the calories it needs will actually be counter-effective and will cause your metabolism to slow down rather than speed up.

The bottome line is that if you want to get healthier and lose weight, start exercising and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables! Crazy right? But it is literally that simple.

Americans tend to want someone to give them the answer, they want the easy way out, and they don't want to do any work to see results. So they turn to whatever fad diet is out there and might lose a few pounds, but end up gaining it right back. Eat fresh and natural foods rather than packaged processed ones, get active, and you WILL see results.

Challenges to Eating Healthy:
Living with my boyfriend has created some eating challenges for me. I went through a phase last year where I was doing a lot of baking for him (and for me because I love to bake) which meant that we had a ton of sweets around all the time. It is also challenging because when we're together I am more likely to cave in for the junk food, like pizza, chips or bar food. It's also sometimes hard to make a dinner that is healthy but one that he will also willingly eat (I think I have done pretty well with this, although I know he won't be sharing in my tofu dishes any time soon).

The people you're around can create huge nutrition barriers for you. My co-workers used to always tease me about the salads I brought for lunch, or the fact that I wouldn't go eat certain foods when we went out. My dad gives me speeches when I don't want any pork chops he's cooked when I come to visit. I have learned to just get over this because I know that the way I eat is the best (and healthiest) way for me. People are just different and everyone does things differently. If you let yourself succomb to the pressures of eating like everyone else, you will never reach your nutrition goals.

This brings me back to this blogosphere. The fact that I have not always been surrounded by healthy eaters has created a challenge for me. But connecting with all of you through this forum has made me realize that I am not a weirdo for eating the way I do. It's not crazy to crave health food stores and be super excited about Farmer's Market season. It's not insane to want to try out meat substitutes or soy milk or not wanting to eat a big hunk of meat at a barbeque (although I do love me some hamburgers and hot dogs). It's not weird to order a salad for lunch that GASP doesn't have any meat on it, or heaven forbid, I eat without dressing. It's not completely insane to want to buy organic even though sometimes it means shelling out a few more dollars. It's normal to care about how I fuel my body.

So thank you all for opening my eyes to this healthy network of those who are teaching me more every day about how to be a healthier and stronger woman. I have realized now that this is the one thing I truly love and am passionate about. Who knows where this will take me?

Snippets of the past few days...

I only have the energy to offer up a few bullets this morning...
  • Wednesday after work, I got lazy and decided not to run.
  • While still at work, I ate two big pieces of Amish Friendship Bread, which is really cake, leaving my tummy full and my mind pissed off at myself.
  • Once I got home and sat down in front of the TV, I then proceeded to finish off a bag of sour cream and onion chips as well as crackers and cheese, and a huge hot dog.
  • I NEVER eat hot dogs.
  • Since it was the BF's bday the next day and he was at a night class, I made him a batch of Red Velvet Cupcakes.
  • I ate three.
  • I felt like crap all night.
  • Thursday morning, I didn't have to be at work until later so I made the BF bday pancakes!
  • They were whole wheat so I rationalized eating a small one with honey 15 minutes prior to my 8 mile run that morning at 7 AM.
  • That was a bad idea.
  • The run went well, but the first 4 miles were tough due to pancake and food intake of the night before.
  • I felt (somewhat) redeemed after finishing run, but still very pissed that I had skipped it on Wednesday, thus extending my running week and making Friday an on day rather than an off day.
  • Last night I drank too much wine at a work event.
  • I came home and ate TWO HOT DOGS!
  • I was hungover this morning and dehydrated so I made a fruit and spinach smoothie, making me feel a little better about life.
Conclusion? Being lazy and skipping runs for no good reason doesn't make me happy, it actually makes me have a worse night so I don't know why I ever do it! I always end up just eating too much food and watching crappy TV. This week hasn't been the best food wise, I plan on turning that around this weekend. I'm hoping the mega smoothie from this morning will heal all and erase my past discretions.

Got a track workout on for tonight and 20 miles planned for this Sunday. We have some friends coming over tonight to watch the UNC game...I plan on serving a plethora of HEALTHY game food!

Hope everyone has had a better week than I, and is having a fantastic Friday :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hooray for Spring 6 Miler!

Okay, okay. I know I said I was going to do this on Thursday. But once I got running last night, I decided that my time would be good enough to enter for this virtual "race."

I started off my run after work, and was going to do a 3 mile out and back over the Ravenel Bridge. For the first 3 miles the wind was definitely on my side and I was blazing it! Then when I turned around and the wind was pushing against me, I started to really, REALLY struggle. But once I got up and over the hill and started to descend, it got a little bit easier. I guess I managed to keep a good pace based on these split times:

Split Total Time Total Distance Elevation Gain Elevation Loss Average Speed Max Speed
1 0:09:53 1 337 87 9:53 8:41
2 0:09:13 1 66 134 9:13 8:13
3 0:08:36 1 58 164 8:36 7:55
4 0:09:34 1 132 30 9:34 8:26
5 0:09:25 1 114 140 9:25 7:46
6 0:08:03 1 11 137 8:03 6:54
Summary 0:54:45 6 719 692 9:07 6:54

So my total time was 54:45 with a 9:07 average pace. Not too shabby for lil ole me!

The Course:
(I started & finished about 1/2 mile inland on the right side of this picture)

This is the runners path on the bridge:

This is what the bridge will look like next weekend:

Yep, it's finally here! The 2009 Cooper River Bridge Run will be held next Saturday, April 4th. This event is one of the largest 10k races in the nation with 40,000 runners and over 20,000 spectators. The Holy City is packed to the gills each year during the April race weekend with runners (elite and amateur), tourists, spectators and a general feeling of contagious energy.

This will be my first year living here and also running the race. I have run the past two years but traveled from North Carolina with a group of friends. Those friends are sadly not making it down this year, but my mom and younger brother will be in town and will be cheering Matt and I on!

Yep, even Matt is running! We ran together last year and finished at a respectable time of 1:16:40. I think Matt had trained maybe one day before running it, so I was pretty proud of him! In 2007 I ran my first 10k (and longest distance to that point) in 1:06:14. This year, I am shooting for a sub-9 minute mile pace, putting me in under 56 minutes.

Tonight I am doing an easy 8 miler, so I will update you later on as to how that goes! Have a fantastic Wednesday and a big THANK YOU to RunningLaur for organizing the Hooray for Spring Race!!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Week 12 of Marathon Training

Whew! I have been super busy lately and haven't really been in the mood to post anything, instead I have just been stalking all of you while you post about all of the yummy and healthy things you've been eating, the races you've been running and generally everything else out there in the blogosphere.

But I figured this morning I would update everyone on how my training is going for my upcoming FIRST MARATHON!

I took a look at my training plan this morning, and I am well on my way. This is week 12 and I have 5 more weeks to go until the race. I have 3 more weeks until taper time.

On Sunday I ran my long run, which was about 12ish miles. I say this because stupid me forgot to charge my Garmin so it died mid-run. For some reason I just couldn't get my ass moving Sunday morning, so after a few cups of coffee and some toast with homemade PB, I got ready to walk out the door and picked up my Garmin....and it was blank. UGH.

So I waited about 15 minutes until it was a bit charged up and then headed out on the road hoping it would last. At about mile 7.5 I looked down and it had finally hit the dust. And it was strange, because although I have only been running with this thing since January, I felt like I was going to be lost without it! My immediate reaction was, "Crap, well what do I do now? Do I keep going?" Then I thought about how absolutely ridiculous that thought was and how I basically knew the rest of my loop and how many miles it was, so why was I fretting?

The run was kind of a struggle, but nothing really out of the usual for long runs. I have been feeling pretty strong lately in my runs, and I think it is because my body is finally getting into the sync of training. My runs during the week have been going pretty well and although I dread the long runs and they get boring at times, they're pretty much okay.

If it's a particularly good run, I will still have enough juice left to sprint in the final few miles. But if I don't, I'm not really upset about it. I have been doing pretty good at listening to my body, going with the flow, and just enjoying my solo runs through town, next to the water, or over the Ravenel Bridge. I look for dolphins, tourist watch, be on the lookout for super cute's been nice.

I had yesterday off of running with intentions to do a Core Yoga workout last night...but that never happened. Matt cooked me dinner and then I just did some cleaning and went to bed early. I have been feeling a bit rundown so I was hoping to get a good night's sleep but I managed to toss and turn and keep waking up last night...oh well, I feel pretty good today.

I realized yesterday that I was not in the slightest bit sore from Sunday's run, and that kind of made me happy. I must be doing something right finally :) This week's training schedule is going to be pretty tough (as it will be for the next 3 weeks until I start tapering) but it will all be worth it on May 2nd!

This week's schedule:
Tonight: 5-6 Mile Bridge Run + Short Track Workout
Wednesday: Easy 8 Miles
Thursday: Hooray for Spring 6 Miler!
Friday: No running, hopefully some Yoga for Runners :)
Saturday: 20 Miles!!!!
Sunday: REST + Yoga

Although I have only done yoga twice since the beginning of March when I said I wanted to do yoga more often (man I just looked back at that post and realized I also said I wanted to lose 6 pounds in March! I think I conveniently forgot about that one...), it is starting to grow on me. I like doing it out on my balcony when the weather is nice. I wish I could get up early in the mornings to do it, but lately I just have not been getting up as easily as I usually do...

Looking back on my training so far, I have come a long way since January. I never actually thought I would be able to run 18 miles and not walk any. I never thought I would feel prepared for my marathon, and not scared out of my mind (although we will see how that goes sooner to the date). But as of today, I feel like if I keep up with my schedule and keep my during the week mileage steady, I will be as ready as I can be for this thing.

People have told me that I will get hooked on marathons after I run my first one. I'm not sure about that, but I definitely know that I'm hooked on this running thing...and I like it more every day.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Homemade PB + Other Yummy Eats

Friday + Saturday Morning Eats (at least those worth mentioning):

Lunch was another wrap, this time with leftover grilled zucchini, avocado, tomato, feta and hummus that I then put in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese. I also had some leftover roasted veggies with some hot sauce.

After work I headed to the track to do a short workout. Usually I start out by warming up with three miles, but yesterday I thought I would try and sprint a mile and then go from there. I ran the first mile in 7:41, took a breather and then decided to do some sprints. I managed 2 x 100m, then 1 x 200m (attempted a second one, but whimped out), and then 3 x 100m. I then did 150 sit ups and some plank and boat stomach moves. I basically was like, hey! It's Friday! I'm going home! So yeah, not a great workout but I was DONZO.

Then when I came home and showered, I finally made some home made peanut butter!! It was super simple, I just put one can of unsalted dry roasted peanuts in my food processor and kept grinding it until it formed a smooth paste. I had to keep stopping it and kind of stirring it around with a butter knife. I also added about 3 T of cinnamon, a few dashes of vanilla extract, and...about 2 T of dark brown sugar! I shouldn't have added that, but I wanted it a little sweet!

The nuts before I grinded them:
The early stages of processing:

It worked!

Final product:

YUM! While I was waiting for the peanuts to grind up, I enjoyed a glass of Merlot from my wine glass that Matt's sister gave me for Christmas :) (And yes, that is my Runner's World calendar in the background!)

After sampling this deliciousness (it was Matt approved!) we headed out to dinner at Yo Burrito downtown where I got the Veggie Platos, which was basically a plate of grilled veggies, some marinated tomatoes, cheese, Mexican rice, black beans and two tortillas. I ate probably 3/4 of the plate. We also had queso dip, chips and salsa. Yum!

After rolling ourselves out of there, we both agreed we should probably not order chips and dip before the meal. Then we also agreed that we would probably never be able to not order chips :)

This morning I got up and did Yoga for Runners from It was a little easier this time, but still kind of confusing! I also downloaded the Core Yoga workout as well, to try out this week.

I then made myself a big bowl of oats and wheat bran. It contained: oats, wheat bran (from the WF bins), 1 spoonful of home made cinnamon PB, 1/2 banana, strawberries, 1/2 scoop vanilla soy protein powder, water, pumpkin spice, honey and ground flax seeds.

Well now we're off to the farmer's market to get some local veggies! I am not running today, but will be running 13 tomorrow so I will update you then on how that goes.

How is everyone enjoying March Madness??? I know my bracket is definitely taking a beating! Matt and I are competing against each other and so far he has 9 losses and I have 11! Still pretty close! My TAR HEELS play this afternoon, so you better believe I will be glued to the screen later on!

How far are you guys running this weekend? Anybody have any races?

Hope everyone has a fabulous Saturday! <3

Friday, March 20, 2009

Really looking forward to the about you guys??

It's FRIDAY! I could not be more thrilled. Just a quick recap on my runs the past two days (without splits, of course I haven't uploaded them yet).

Wednesday I ran an easy 8 miles through downtown, it was a relatively flat run and I think my average pace for 8.3 was about 9:55. Thursday night after work, I was truly dreading going out on a run. But since I had been off the past Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, I knew I had to go. So I suited up and headed for the bridge. I made a mistake of eating some sweet treats that were left in the kitchen at work at about 4 pm, so I knew my stomach would be acting up on the run, and it definitely did! Instead of my usual 6, I cut it short to 5, and had to add in some walk breaks due to side stitches and an overall feeling of being rundown. I think the stress of this week is catching up to me! I don't know what my time was, but I would say that it was over a 10:20 per mile pace. I was definitely taking it easy!

I have it on the schedule to do a track workout tonight, or either a run with a friend depending on her schedule. If I do a track workout, I would like to step it up a bit this week and do some 1200m sprints, 800m sprints, and 400m sprints. I will let you guys know what I decide!

My long run this weekend is scheduled to be 13 miles, which I must say, I am pretty stoked about! (Versus the prospect of next weekend's 20 miler WHILE my mother is in town.) So I will keep you all updated.

Other Items of (Somewhat) Interest:
We might be heading to Raleigh, NC tonight to hang with friends for the weekend, but we haven't exactly made our final decision, so we might be just staying here and taking it easy. Either way I will get in my long run at some point (and hopefully manage to mop the kitchen floor, I think things are starting to grow in there).

Also we are still looking to finalize our team for the Wild West Relay. If anyone is interested in joining, let me know!

The Hooray for Spring Virtual 6 Miler officially starts today! Since I have 6 on my schedule for next week, I will probably run mine on Tuesday as she is accepting times up until next Friday the 27th.

**Sorry for the boring post, I promise I will work on something more fun for this weekend! I haven't been doing too much serious cooking this week, so that is why there have been no pictures. I did make some roasted veggies last night but forgot to take a picture once they came out of the oven! Plus, they weren't that stellar :(

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grilled Zucchini Wrap

I went home for lunch today and whipped up this crazy good wrap, inspired by my lunch yesterday at local restaurant the Mustard Seed.
  • 1 Healthy Grains Flat Out Wrap
  • 1 T or so of Sabra Pine Nut Hummus
  • 1/2 zucchini, grilled in strips
  • Feta Cheese
  • 2 slices of tomato, diced up
  • Sea salt
  • Handful of baby spinach
I just grilled up some slices of zucchini on the George Foreman and then assembled all this together, starting with smearing some hummus on the wrap and then adding everything else. Then I put the whole wrap on the grill to make the cheese melt and the outside a bit crunchy.

Was super good, quick and healthy! I still have the other half of the zucchini so I will probably repeat this for lunch tomorrow.

Running Schedule for the Week:
I haven't talked too much about running since my 18 miler on Saturday...I wanted to take off Sunday and Monday but I wish I had felt up to running yesterday afternoon. After my all-nighter and subsequent early morning test yesterday, I passed out literally an hour after I got home last night! (After I snacked on some tortilla chips and salsa...obvi.)

Tonight: 8 miles + yoga?
Thursday: 6 mile hill run (Amanda, want to join? Bridge run?)
Friday: 5 miles + track workout (possible run with a friend)
Saturday: 13 mile long run
Sunday: Off! Yoga

Recipe: Gnocchi & Chicken Vegetable Soup

I posted about this a few days ago, and got a request to share the recipe so here goes! This is simple and easy and could easily be adapted to add different veggies and a different starch. I also used most of the meat from a rotisserie chicken that I picked up last minute, but I could have eaten this without the meat as well. (I have to satisfy my carnivore boyfriend!)

Gnocchi & Chicken Vegetable Soup
  • 2/3 of the meat from one store-bought rotisserie chicken, skin removed
  • 3 carrots, cleaned, skinned and sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bag frozen corn
  • 1/2 bag frozen okra
  • 1/2 bunch kale, washed and chopped (stems removed)
  • 4 low-sodium chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 1 package gnocchi (potato dumplings)
  • Herbs & spices (I used what I had on hand, dried oregano, basil and a bit of cumin)
  • S & P to taste
  • Olive Oil
Start by heating up some olive oil in a large soup pot, and then add the onion and garlic. Sautee until translucent. Add in the carrots and cook for a bit in the oil and onion mixture. Start adding in the water, a few cups at a time until the pot is about 1/2 full. Add the bouillon,* stir and let cook through until the cubes are dissolved (just a few minutes). I added a few pieces of the skin here to add flavor and then removed it before I added the veggies, but you can skip that if you would like. :)

Then add the rest of your frozen veggies, the bay leaves, and your other spices. Cover the pot and let cook on medium to medium high heat for 10 minutes. Then Add in the chicken and the kale and cover and let cook for 10 more minutes.

You can actually let the soup cook for an hour or more, the longer it simmers the longer all of the spices and other flavors will mingle together. It just depends on how much time you have and/or how hungry the mouths are you're feeding. :)

Add the gnocchi at the end, and when it floats it's done! Usually only takes about 5 minutes. Add S & P to taste (remember that the chicken and the stock are probably already heavily salted). Remove bay leaves before eating.

A note here on gnocchi:
This was my first time cooking with these yummy dumplings, and I just happened to pick up a package from the pasta aisle at Target a few weeks ago. Upon further inspection, I realized they were made with dehydrated potato flakes and some other unappealing things, and I could definitely taste that in the soup! Apparently they are super easy to make, so here are a few links to some recipes. (I think Sweet Potato or Pumpkin would be a serious UPGRADE! I plan on trying that sometime soon.)

Mario Batali's Gnocchi
Sweet Potato Gnocchi!
Pumpkin Gnocchi from Delicious Days
How to Make Homemade Gnocchi from Bitchincamero
Crisp Gnocchi with Lemon and Garlic Greens (Kale!)

Here is a video showing you how to make your own!

Italian Food:How To Make Gnocchi

*You can also use powdered bouillion as well, it's harder to find in low-sodium though and more expensive so I usually stick to the cubes. They also sell veggie bouillion, but still harder to find in low-sodium.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's Tuesday and I'm Tired, So...

Well guys, it's been a long 24 hours. I just got back to my apartment after studying all night and taking my big life, accident and health insurance test at 8 this morning. Although I had a lot on my mind (I think I dreamt about adjustable whole life policies and annuity contracts in the brief hour I was in snoozeland) I still managed to get the proctor to take my pic right before I went in for the test! I knew y'all would want to see just how put-together and sane I was looking at that moment:

But at least this hawt look comes with some good news.....I PASSED!!

So glad that it's over. Just got a shower and now I am back to my normal self again, and ready for work as a newly licensed life insurance producer:

Much better :)

Running tonight is a big maybe, depends on how I'm feeling. Thanks for all the well wishes on the test and my back, it feels much better today! Hope everyone has a great Tuesday!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Quick Update: Saturday's Long Run

Sorry I haven't posted all weekend, I have been so busy! I don't have much time but I wanted to at least give an update as to how my long run went on Saturday morning.

I didn't talk about it too much last week because I didn't want to jinx myself! Considering my past few long runs went horribly, I was hoping to just get out there and run as far as I could.

I had it in my head that I needed to do 17--anything over 15 would have been okay with me, but I had 17 in my mind as what I needed to do to be okay with my training situation. I set out with a newish course, a 4 mile loop at the beginning that brought me back by my building, and then an out and back course that totaled 15. I knew that if I made the loop longer than 17, I would have some room to add on if I was feeling strong.

I started out at 7:15 Saturday morning, which in itself was an accomplishment as I usually get out the door around noon, and the weather was cool and foggy. I was feeling a mixture of things as I started out, I kind of felt pretty strong but I also struggled for the first 4 to 7 miles to get in the groove.

Around mile 3 I really, REALLY had to go pee, and I was worried about where I could duck behind a bush (as downtown Charleston doesn't really allow for that) and as I was searching for somewhere, I glanced ahead of me, and like a beacon of light from above, I spotted a random Port-A-Potty! It was like a divine intervention. So I ducked into there and after that was set to go.

Around mile 7 I got to the Ravenel Bridge and was worried about how this mile + incline would do me. As I was making my way up, I noticed that I was actually running a good bit faster than I had been going previously! I started passing other runners and was feeling pretty strong. At the base of the bridge on the Mt. P side, I took my Triple Berry GU, got some water, and headed back up and over. I was now at about mile 11. This climb wasn't as easy on me and my legs were definitely feeling it.

Once I made it back over to the Charleston side of the bridge (mile 14ish) I had a choice to make. Do I take the longer loop home or the shorter? The shorter would bring me in around 16-17, where the longer would bring me in just around 18.

I chose the longer because I was feeling pretty consistent, and wanted to push myself as far as I could go.

I ended up finishing 18.0 miles like a champ!

My last two miles were my fastest, and I sprinted in mile 18 and finished that one in 8:58, for a total time of 3:05 and an average pace of 10:19. I was so proud of myself!!!

When I got home, I tried to stretch but my muscles weren't really cooperating, so I saved that for later and came in to suffer through a quick ice bath. Which I think has really been helping!

I don't have my splits to update yet, but all in all it was a GREAT run. I haven't even been that sore this weekend and today.

HOWEVER: (this is where the post turns negative) Last night I started to notice that my lower back was really bothering me on my right side when I bent down or turned to the right.

It got worse as the night progressed and was so bad by the time I was going to sleep I could only prop myself up in bed with 3 pillows and not move. This morning I took a hot bath, and brought a heating pad to work and it seems to be helping some, but I am not back 100% yet. I have my big test tomorrow morning so I won't be running tonight (i.e. I will be cramming like a mo fo), so hopefully by resting another day I will be able to run tomorrow afternoon.

I have had problems with my back before, and I think that this one was triggered by my run, but ultimately caused by my horrible posture. It also probably doesn't help that I am not strength training or working on my core muscles. That stops today!

Gotta get back to work, but here are some pics of my Gnocchi and Chicken Vegetable Soup that I made last week. The soup had kale, corn, okra, carrots, onion, rotisserie chicken and gnocchi in it. It was pretty good I must say, and extremely simple!

Hope you all have a fantastic Monday, and an even better week in running!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday's Lunch + Relay Decision!

I just ate the best lunch EVER so I had to share with you.

One Mediterranean Whole Wheat Flat Bread with a few tablespoons Sabra Roasted Pine Nut Hummus, some diced cucumbers, two slices of tomato diced, 1/2 avocado diced, 2 egg whites nuked, and some sea salt.

YOU MUST TRY THIS! This was the best sandwich/wrap/pita thing I have had in a LONG time! Muy bueno. I think it would be even better if I used a wrap of some kind (was kind of messy). I also had the other half of my banana from this morning that was waiting for me in the fridge with some chunky natural PB and cinnamon. Plus a handful of grapes. (I'm continuing on with this fruit theme apparently.)

Relay Race Decision!
Bobbi posted about this on her blog this morning, but I wanted to let you all know that I have decided on running the Wild West Relay in Colorado August 7-8, 2009. I am pumped! (Sorry Abby! I know you will have a BLAST at the Vermont relay. Maybe next time??)

We are still looking for teammates so let me know if you're interested :)

Kale Chips & A (Good) Week in Running

Good morning everyone! I am so glad that today is Friday! I have a ton to do this weekend, and it's supposed to rain ALL weekend so I suppose that is fine by me...although I would prefer that it holds off until about noon tomorrow when I'm done with my long run...

I already posted about my easy 8 miler last night, I finished 8.0 miles in 1:19. I have been so worried about my upcoming marathon recently, but this week has really helped to ease my mind. Although my long run Sunday didn't go as planned, I almost made up for it with my 11+ miler Monday night that went swimmingly. Then Wednesday I had a short track workout (pretty tame, wish I had had time for more sprints), and of course last night's run which went great.

The only running regret I have from this week, is that I couldn't have done more on Wednesday at the track. Next week I would like to run 5-6 miles then do 2x100m, 2x200m, and 2x400m.

I haven't really been doing anything more than 6 miles during the week up until now, so from here on out I will be on schedule by adding one (at least) 8 mile run (easy or tempo), one 5-6 mile + sprints track workout, and one 6 mile hill run.

Last night after my run, I wasn't all that hungry but we had pulled some salmon out to cook so I baked some of that up with some Jamaican Jerk Seasoning and breadcrumbs. Didn't really love it with the breadcrumbs, but that seasoning is always good. The I finally made kale chips! They have been all over blogs lately, and if you google 'roasted kale' you can pretty much find a dozen or more articles on it.

So simple and yummy. It's even Matt approved!!* Here's how you make 'em:

Roasted Kale or "Kale Chips"
-Preheat oven to 375
-Wash and dry as much kale as you want (I used about half a bunch)
-Chop it up into desired pieces and try to remove the hard stems
-Toss with extra virgin olive oil
-Bake on baking sheet for about 5 minutes; take out and turn kale over and bake for another few minutes. (If it's turning too dark, it's burning so just be on the lookout.)
-Take out and drizzle with sea salt.

Finished Product:

Not the best picture, but these do kind of taste like potato chips! I will be making this a lot in the future. Too, too good! (LiLu, I have even seen people putting ketchup on these babies! You especially need to try.)

And if you didn't know, "the beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around." To read more about why kale is one of the world's healthiest foods, click here.

Some other pics from breakfast this morning:

I made a mixture of oats and multi-grain hot cereal with milled flax and soy. I used 1/2 mushed banana, 1 packet Splenda, some light vanilla soy milk, water, 1/2 scoop vanilla soy protein, spoonful of natural chunky PB, some cinnamon and vanilla, and one chopped plum on top. It actually wasn't all that great. I think I had too much hot cereal and not enough oats! But the plum was FANTASTIC. I cannot believe I haven't been eating those until recently.

This week has truly been a fruit-filled week! I mentioned yesterday all the fruits I had eaten that day, and realized after posting that I had forgotten to mention the tangerine! So I really probably ate too much fruit yesterday (if that's even possible).

I have really been putting an effort into eating fresh fruit and veggies in almost every one of my meals lately, and I can definitely tell a positive difference in how I feel, my energy level, and my metabolism (i.e. how often I poo...hehe). I think Matt is even enjoying eating more fruits and veggies lately.

Well must get to work, but I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday and an even better weekend. I probably won't be running today, to give my legs some rest for tomorrow's long run. But since I have my big test coming up on Tuesday, so I will be studying (and running) ALL weekend.

*My wonderful boyfriend Matt has been described by his family as only eating things that are "round and covered in cheese." We have been living together for almost two years now and I am pleased to say that he now likes most vegetables, especially squashes, loves fruit and is generally eating many more things that are not round and not covered in cheese. He has also always said that he hates "all beans, especially green ones," but I have even wooed him with a green bean recipe that now he begs me to cook. Although he still loves his pizza and burgers, he is also pretty open when it comes to trying my health-nut recipes. So if something healthy is "Matt approved" you know is damn good.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Easy 8 Miler

Had a great, easy 8 miler tonight. I found a new loop and explored a bit more of downtown that I haven't run in before! About 15 minutes before I left, I ate a Lemon Zest Luna Bar...I tried to only eat 1/2, but ended up eating the whole thing. Oopsies. I think the protein and carbs helped me out though! Check out these stats:

Time: 01:19:57
Distance: 8.00 mi
Elevation Gain: 1,266 ft
Total Calories: 902 C

Avg Pace: 09:59 min/mi
Best Pace: 06:57 min/mi

Total Time
Total Distance
Elevation Gain
Elevation Loss
Average Speed
Max Speed
100:10:02 1.00 129 121 10:02 08:08
200:10:13 1.00 120 150 10:13 08:47
300:10:10 1.00 126 114 10:10 08:43
400:10:18 1.00 74 104 10:18 09:11
500:10:32 1.00 224 309 10:32 07:58
600:10:38 1.00 331 224 10:38 08:00
700:09:40 1.00 155 118 09:40 08:16
800:08:20 1.00 107 132 08:21 06:57

Came home and baked some salmon and kale chips! Pics to come.

And just to let everyone know, today I have eaten 2 bananas, 1 apple, 1 plum, some blueberries, some grapes, and 2 strawberries. Plus a bunch of other stuff! I think I have definitely had my servings of fruit today.

I'm looking forward to my long run this weekend, fingers crossed it goes well!