Difference of Opinion

September 14, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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FIRST:  Thank you for all the sweet comments and encouraging words!  It never ceases to amaze me how kind blog land people can be.  The combination of your wonderful words and a runner’s high made for a GREAT day.  Let’s get to it. 🙂

Training Calls For: 5 miles

Miles Run So Far: 265.2

Days Left: 34

Buenos dias, peeps!

Another day, another early morning run.  I fueled up with an English muffin and PB plus a smidge of coffee.

Delicious.

The weather this morning was eerie.  It was nice and cool, about 50* but the fog was incredibly dense!  Since it’s getting lighter later in the mornings, I spent the first three miles looping our neighborhood just waiting for enough sun to come up enough to venture out on the State Route that connects our neighborhood to the one down the street, er, State Route?

Overall, I ran the entire 5 miles without any pain and I think I made good time.  I didn’t run with an iPod for safety reasons and I left my technology at home.  I just wanted to enjoy the run.  It was a great way to start the day.

Of course, you know my mind wandered as I traveled those 5 miles…let’s do a little off-roading, shall we?

You all know how I work on a college campus, yes?  So one of the fun things about this atmosphere is that every once in a while, marketers show up to target the elusive 18-25 group with the latest and greatest.  Back in the day it was Red Bull…all too often, it’s booze, but yesterday, it was something new to my eye.

Um, a Smoothie-Mobile?  This refreshment RV was set up outside a local bookstore with a table full of “REAL” fruit smoothie samples.  I was tempted to snag one on my way into work, but then I remembered that McD’s and I have a slight difference of opinion when it comes to the definition of “REAL”.

I base this on the following conversation I had this past weekend while I ordered one of the few things I’ll get at McDonald’s: coffee.

Drive Thru Diva:  Here’s your medium, black, iced coffee.  Are you sure you don’t want cream and sugar mixed in?

Me: No, but I’ll take one of each on the side.

Drive Thru Diva:  Well, here’s four of each…

Me: No, no, it’s okay, I only want one.  In fact, I’m only going to use half the sugar packet.

Drive Thru Diva: (stumped) Um, okay.  Just so you know, when we make it mixed up in the back, it usually has six creams and five sugars.

Me: (stumped) Oh.  Uh, that’s okay.  I just want one.  One.  ONE.

That actually happened — check with Sam.  WHO PUTS SIX CREAMS IN THEIR COFFEE???  FIVE SUGARS?  Pardon me while I go ballistic.  It’s coffee, people!  Get a grip.  You should not turn coffee into a magical, jet-propulsion, go-power tool with armed with caffeine, sugar and liquid heart attack.  That’s not “REAL”ly coffee.

*sigh*

I know I can get all high-horsey about food and the natural is better thing, but c’mon.  This has to shock someone else, too.

My REAL food for the day: 😉

Green bubbles for breakfast:

One scoop vanilla whey protein powder, one cup fat free skim milk, one frozen banana and three huge handfuls of spinach — blended until hippity bippity bop — it became a Green Monster Smoothie.

A lil’ lunch after a mega staff meeting (complete with a chorus of growling stomachs):

SSB and J.  Wha??  Sunflower Seed Butter from Trader Joe’s.  Uh-mazing.  So good.  Made a fabulous sandwich on all natural whole wheat bread.

Numerous handfuls of grape tomatoes — fun-size fruit.

Fresh pineapple.

An orange…

And a nectarine…

Completely gratuitous pictures to showcase a new haircut ;).  Good-bye pony-tail, hello Audrey Hepburn inspired ‘do.  Comparison picture:

Change is good. 🙂

An afternoon snack of the Mom’s Best Shredded Wheat cereal I absolutely….

LUV <3.

Dinnah:

Two sweet potatoes topped with delicious, all-natural baked beans.  Yes, two potaters.  They were small.  I am a running machine.  It all evens out.

In fact, it’s just fuel for the 9 miles I gotta run tomorrow morning!  Nighty-night.

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Recipe Rut

September 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Training Calls For: 8 miles

Miles Run So Far: 232.2

Days Left: 46

Lame: (leym) adjective: impaired or disabled through defect or injury.  See also: having to take another unscheduled rest day due to twisted ankle.

*sigh*

Another morning of getting up, getting dressed and then realizing my ankle is not going to let me run for 8 miles.  This little bugger better heal soon or I’m going to go stir crazy!  I continued my “icing” (hashbrowning) routine and wrapped it in an Ace bandage for today.  I hope it gets the message.  The troublesome thing is my ankle doesn’t bother me when I’m walking — only when I run.  I feel fine putzing around the house, but when I start to trot around the neighborhood — whoa, Nellie.  I feel kind of like a little kid faking sick to stay home from school. 😦

Since I can’t tell you about any running misadventures, let’s talk about the other love of my blog life: food.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been in a recipe rut lately.  I haven’t tried anything new, I haven’t gotten up the gumption to create any masterpieces or take any chances.  There were a couple of nights where I didn’t even think far enough in advance to thaw out whatever meat I needed and we ended up having “breakfast for dinner nights” or “Italian night” (read: easy spaghetti because I am a dingbat).

I called an end to this recipe rut this week while I meal planned.  I plopped myself down in front of the shelf of cookbooks and started thumbing through pages.  Pretty soon, I had three newbies to try out and I was actually excited to tie my apron strings and get cooking.

I believe that food is love.  Preparing a meal for someone (or yourself) is an act of kindness and generosity.  It means you like them enough to keep them around and not starve them on stale Cheez-its and a black and blue banana.

Sometimes, love means being a little goofy with your food…

…by channeling an exotic location instead of facing the fact you’ll be 15 minutes late to work because you were searching for tiny umbrellas in the cupboard. 😉

Sometimes, love means being a little daring with your food because you know you’re worth the risk if it could be really, really stellar.

…and you’ll forgive yourself if it’s terrible.  This wasn’t ;).

(“Pearpple” Salad — recipe below).

Sometimes, it means winging it with a new recipe because it reminds you of a time when you were engulfed by love.

(Jerk Chicken — one of the flavors I remember from our honeymoon in Jamaica).

(brand new married Bethany and Sam)

Whether it means you take the extra time to arrange that same old tomato salad a little nicer…

or use cookie cutters for your kids sandwiches or toads in the hole: take an extra minute and put some love in what you’re making or creating.  It will taste so much better that way, I promise. 🙂

Nothing busts a recipe rut faster than remembering you put love in everything you make — so don’t put your love in something crummy. 😉  You’re so much better than that.

“Pearpple” Salad:

🙂 1 medium apple (I used Gala), finely chopped

🙂 1 medium pear, finely chopped

🙂 1/3 cup plain yogurt

🙂 cinnamon

🙂 favorite nut of choice (I used pecans), chopped

🙂 granola (optional)

Mix first 3 ingredients, coat fruit in yogurt.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top and top with chopped nuts and granola.  Delicious and filling!  This baby has simple carbs from fruit, protein from yogurt and healthy fat from the nuts.  Granola just makes it taste so good. 🙂

“Weren’t you guys running like an hour ago?”

August 23, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Training Calls For: Rest (so…yogAHHH)

Miles Run So Far: 201.2

Days Left: 71

Whoa!  WHOA!

Peeps, yesterday, I ran 15 miles :).  That’s the farthest distance I’ve ever pushed my little running sneakers…EVER!

Let’s recap this momentous occasion.

Since Sam and I ran a 5K on Saturday, we made the executive decision to push our long run to Sunday.  Turns out this also made for a more favorable run, weather-wise.  Downpours dominated Saturday afternoon and evening and made way to cool, foggy weather Sunday morning.  Saturday = sweat pants and movie day, Sunday = bueno run day.

I fueled up, as usual, with an English muffin topped with all natural crunchy Trader Joe’s PB + bannaner and coffee with organic half and half.

Here’s something odd:  I don’t really like crunchy PB, but I always eat it before my long runs.  Maybe it’s mental.  Or maybe it’s dental.  Like I need to give my chompers an extra workout before I give my bod a workout.

Interesting.  Feel free to offer your psycho-analysis ;).

Driving out to the route Sam had picked for our 15 miles (up around our little downtown then out a long road to a state park and back again), emotions were mixed.

I was happy.

Sam seemed scared.

Then, got my game face on.

15 miles, I’m coming for you!

We pulled up to park with “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” playing on the radio.  “If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain…” Sam turned to me, “Boy, nothing gets me jacked for a long run like this song.”

Exhibit A of why I love my husband running partner.

When we got down to business, the plan was to run for 4 miles, take a walking break for water and gels and then repeat until 15 miles.  It happened more like this:

Miles 1-4: A good start.  Hilly, but enjoyable.  We kept a good pace and settled in to the run.  After a mini-walk break during mile 2 (killer hill!), it was back to jogging along.

Miles 4-8:  Like watching a horror movie, I was terrified at every turn.  Uphill.  Further uphill.  Turn left, go uphill.  Some of these hills were honestly a 45 degree angle, they must have been.  At one point, Sam declared he thought we were at the highest point in the county.  My mood was so foul, I could only think now would be a good time to jump.

At mile 8, I had no choice but to try and apologize for my negativity.  Stomping up hills, vocalizing my frustration at multiple walking breaks and repeatedly shaking my head like a 3-year-old was unforgivable behavior towards Sam.  He was only trying to help me get through this while getting through it himself.  We stopped to get gels out of Alice the Camelbak and I took the plunge and hugged him.  We were 8 sweat-laden miles in, it was wet, disgusting, smelly and there was an actual *smack* noise when our bodies bumped.  It was nasty, but necessary.

He forgave me and I pledged to be more positive.

Miles 8-12:  What goes up must come down!  I haven’t ever run downhill so much in my life.  Our course took us past a state park shooting range, where one, lonely, militia-loving soul was practicing with bone-chilling accuracy.  “Should we call out to him to let him know we’re in the area?” I asked Sam.  “No, just…just keep running,” he replied.

I think I blacked out for some of these miles, honestly.  I know I was running and moving forward, but it’s like I had an out of body experience.  We got back to the highway overpass that marked 12 and all I could think was, “how did this happen?  How did I get here?”  I was like David after dentist.

“Is this going to be forever?  Is this real life?” (after watching that video again, I have to admit my emotions were eerily similar to young lad David’s…shock, disbelief, random screaming)

Miles 12-15: Ah, yes.  Homestretch, homestretch!  With the finish line within reach, I started to fall apart, physically.  I developed a cramp in my side which wouldn’t go away and my IT band started to bother me.  Ironically, as I was physically falling apart, I was mentally getting stronger.  A man working outside on his lawn called out to us, “hey!  Weren’t you guys running like an hour ago?!”, to which I called back, “FIFTEEN MILES, BABY!”

Classy, Bethany.  Very classy.

We finally made it.  Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  In case you’re wondering, this is what you look like after you’ve kept going:

Candids.

We appear much happier after stretching, Gatorade and the blessing of recovery time:

Meals I inhaled post-15, post-shower, post-recovery lounging:

Green Monster Smoothie.  A delicious recovery drink full of protein, healthy fat and fruit and veg.

A E-BLT or a BELT.  Bacon (turkey, of course!), egg, lettuce and tomato sandwich with Chipotle mayo (REAL mayo) on all-natural whole wheat bread.

An unpictured Chocolate chip cookie dough Larabar.  I was so excited to try this new flavor and I am in love.  LOVE, I tell you.  It tastes like freaking cookie dough.  How does she do that?!

A Kalimotxo (said: kali-mo-cho) while I studied for upcoming finals.  A mix of red wine and Coke, I used to drink these babies when I lived in Spain.  They are a poor man’s Sangria.  I earned it and I drank it (after many, many ounces of re-hydrating plain ol’ water).

Homemade fried rice (made with brown rice, lite soy sauce, peas and carrots and egg) and homemade pizza Sam created (mine had lots of veggies, his had veg + pepperoni).  What can I say?  I still get in the mood for junky food, we just healthify it and don’t feel bad about eating it after 15 miles. 😉

I realize, re-reading this post, it sounds like I hated those 15 miles.  I did, but at the same time, I love them for what they taught me:

Marathon training is not about conquering every new distance every time.  It’s about meeting up to the challenge, pushing through and then later, realizing what was once a challenge is no longer an issue.

I used to freak out about 5 miles, now I think nothing of it.  My first 5 probably wasn’t pretty, just as my first 15 wasn’t.  It will be someday.  This was just our first dance.  We’ll get down the rhythm eventually.

Cooler Temps = Hotter Legs

August 17, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Training Calls for: 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 176.1

Days left: 77

I dedicate this morning’s super awesome 3 miler to Mother Nature for her choice of moderately heavy fog and 63 degree temperatures this morning. I couldn’t have done it without you, girl.

I ran my little legs off this morning and achieved a new Personal Record for a 5K. We (Sam and I) were supposed to run just 3 miles, but once it was all plugged into RunKeeper online and mapped out, it was realized we ran 3.09 miles. I’d say that’s good enough for me to count it as a 5K ;). The weather was just perfect. Cooler temps = hotter legs. A heavy fog blanketed our neighborhood and the neighborhood just a street over, so the entire run, I felt like I was in a mister. Awesome. Did I mention it was 63? Yep. 63 glorious degrees. Someone cue the Hallelujah chorus.

I had a good feeling about this run and I was right. It was just the kind of run I needed to reinvigorate for this week’s training. Last week bombed and it’s hard to get out of bed and lace up the sneaks when all you can think about is how hot it will be or how tired you will feel. This was exactly what the marathon doctor ordered.

I try not to make a big deal out of pace or time on this blog because that differs from person to person. I know for me, reading about other (more experienced/advanced) runners’ splits and crazy fast time only made me feel like I was never going to be that good. I would never be able to move that fast for that long a period of time. Since this blog isn’t about defeating people before they start, I choose not to tell you what my PR is. Just know that I made one. Running is an activity that builds upon itself — your joy comes from the little victories and leaves you wanting more. You know how you feel when you’ve run just one more tenth of a mile farther or just a few more minutes longer than last time?

That’s how I felt this morning, and that’s all you need to know.

I think some of the power is from my snazzy, matchy-matchy outfit ;).

Ha. I usually try NOT to match, but it happened on accident this morning. My running wardrobe is brought to you by Champion (and when I say “brought to you by” I mean “brought to you because I buy”). I got this top over the weekend at a discount store for $5. It’s moisture wicking and antimicrobial (so I didn’t smell nearly as manly!). Ah, hello priorities, my how you’ve changed. I used to geek out over shoes, now, I geek out over one style of shoe (running) and antimicrobial running shirts. Wow.

Breakfast of champions:

Green Monster Smoothie (containing 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 1 cup light vanilla soymilk, 3 handfuls spinach, 1 T PB and a frozen like a rock banana) and coffee with organic half and half. I’m trying to cut back on unnecessary over-sweetening, starting with my coffee. Agave is a special addition now. Maybe just for weekends. It’s all about the little changes.

One mostly uneventful dentist appointment later, I was eating lunch at my desk. I would have rather been outside since the gorgeous weather continued, but there was work to do and food to eat.

Pretty standard fare for lunch, except for this little tuna pack:

Bumblebee Sensations: Sundried Tomato & Basil seasoned Tuna Medley. I normally avoid the pre-packaged lunch options, but when I spied this over the weekend, the ingredient list convinced me to buy it. It was natural and looked tasty, even if the can itself reminded me of cat food.

Verdict? Delicious! A little on the light side, but the whole thing (tuna + crackers) was 200 calories, so it wasn’t too light to leave me unsatisfied.

Dinner tonight is an old favorite:  Pecan Crusted Chicken, courtesy of the double R.

I love this recipe because it is simple to assemble, quick to cook and always impresses the taste buds. Hmm, maybe I’ve been watching too much Mad Men lately? I sound like an ad! I wonder how Don Draper would sell a simple side salad?

Or classic cantaloupe?

I’ll leave the heavy mental lifting to him. I’m off to cheer Sam on in his final softball game (finally — that man is over-scheduled actively, in my opinion, between softball, CrossFit, marathon training and the occasional soccer game!) See you tomorrow for a couple of product reviews…

A Pie for a Pie

August 15, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Training Calls for: Cross Training

Miles Run So Far: 173.1

Days Left: 79

I spent most of this afternoon counting my dough rolling skillz (yes, with a z) as cross training.  For shame.  What kind of marathon runner am I?

Answer: The kind that loves pie and recognizes when cherries are on sale, you must bake.  Must!

I had a little help pitting these delicious dark beauties.  Sam used our brand new cherry pitter to force those pits flying out of the fruit.  I ❤ cherry pitters for making pie creation so much easier.

Action shot!

The pre-bake final product.  I even did the real criss-cross lattice work.  I was not messing around.  Pie making reminds me of my grandma.  She’s been gone for 8 months now and sometimes I’m caught off guard by how much I miss her.  I’ll be doing just fine and when !wham!, something reminds me of her and I get a little teary-eyed.  I’d be lying if I said that pie crust was completely tear-free.  A drip drop or two may have made it into the oven.

But you probably don’t read this blog because I wax poetic about my grandma.  You read it because I’m training for my first marathon.  Let’s get back to that, then, shall we?

Friday night’s dinner was a new standard in my household: pasta!  I know there is some disagreement about carb-loading and whether it makes any difference in your glycogen stores, but I say to heck with all that nonsense.  I like pasta.  Pasta is easy to make.  Done and done.  This Friday’s pasta dinner included a few special guests.  They traveled far and wide, from the freezer section at Aldi, to be a part of Friday night’s feast.  Please join me in welcoming The Mussels.

Yep.  Frozen mussels.  I was skeptical, being that I don’t really “do” discount seafood (*cough* Captain D’s *cough* Gorton’s Fish Sticks *cough* Long John’s), but at just $2.99, I got sucked in by the box and the price.

With instructions to steam them open myself, things looked a little sketchy at first…

They stayed in box formation longer than I thought was absolutely necessary, but eventually, it was a beautiful union — on my plate.

They were delicious!  I officially nominated the Sea Queen mussels in a box as the surprise hit of 2010.  Very awesome.

Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 6, then again at 6:30, then once more at 7.  Finally, Sam and I dragged ourselves out of bed, but not in time to miss the beginning of the hottest, most humid day we’ve experienced in a very long while.  With 10 miles on the schedule, we dressed, stretched and loaded up the car with water and towels to head out to the bike path.

I thought for sure 10 miles would be a piece of cake (pie?).  12 had been fantastic, 13.1 was phenomenal.  10 was terrible.  I am not meant for 10.

The heat + the humidity + starting too late + blaring sun = disaster.  Well, and something else thrown in the mix.  And here’s where I confess something to you in the name of education.

I had been calorie counting this past week.

I know for different people that means different things, so let me explain:  I don’t usually calorie count.  I didn’t have a great weight loss journey that brought me to this point in my life.  I have always been average-sized.  When I started running, I naturally slimmed down because my activity level picked up significantly and my body (I think) naturally wanted to let go of a few pounds of un-fitness.  I had been previously thin and out-of-shape.  Now, I’m thin and in-shape.

Well, our vacation at the beginning of this month threw me for a loop.  Dessert every night, wine with dinner and beers on the boat (or on the shore, or in the house, who cares the location?!) had me coming back several pounds heavier.

Looking back, my attitude is, “what did it matter? return to your regular, healthy, mostly dessertless eating and you’ll be fine”, but my attitude the minute I saw those numbers on the scale was, “oh geez, oh geez, what happened?”  Then, I threw myself into get-rid-of-it mode doing what I know has worked in the past: counting calories.  While this can be an effective way for people to lose weight, it’s not the healthiest thing to do when you’re in a heavy training schedule.  Why?  Here’s the niblet of education for you:

Marathon training is not a weight loss program.

My runs this week were exhausting, lackluster and draining.  Our long 10-miler was no different.  It was probably the worst run I’ve had in a long long time.  It wasn’t just the weather, it was the fact that my body was telling me it could not perform the way I wanted because I had not fed it the way it wanted.

Shame on me.

I reason that I should share this with you because I want you to know I’m human and I freak about weight gain like 99.9% (damn you, Gisele) of the female population.  It’s normal to be conscious, but it not normal to be extreme.  I learned the difference the hard tiring way, and now I’ve put my little calorie notebook away…as evidenced by my weekend eats:

French toast post-run (with blueberries and REAL syrup).

A little road trip with Kelly to P-burg for shopping and Panera’s smoke turkey breast sandwich and black bean soup (is it just me or have their portions gotten smaller?!).

Green Monster Smoothie with 2 scoops of protein powder.  Can’t you still see the hungry look in my eyes? 😉

And a cookie.

Plus a bunch of un-pictured other nibbles.  Didn’t count a single thing.  Worried more about natural, healthy, balanced eating.  Felt tons better.

This morning, after a cup of coffee, I inhaled 1 egg + 2 egg whites, dribbled with Texas Pete hot sauce.

And bacon.  I believe in bacon.

See?  I’m starting to look less hungry already!  This was turkey bacon.  All of the flava, less of the guilt.

I can’t actually remember what I had for lunch, so it must not have been all that great.

I feel foolish I let a couple few several pounds motivate me to chose poorly for my body.  It isn’t about the number, it’s about the feeling.  I felt a little off after all my vacation indulgence and instead of doing what would make me feel better, I did what I thought would “fix” the “problem”.  This ended with me feeling worse.  Since I believe you can only learn from your mistakes in an effort not to make them again, I’m doing just that.

I’m working towards feeling fabulous and fit.  Screw those numbers…I think I learned firsthand that the word “numb” is part of “numbers”.

I’m curious though: what are your thoughts on calorie counting?

Notables

July 29, 2010 at 11:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Training Calls For: 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 110

Days Left: 74

The past couple of days have been a little hairy with work and school and preparing to go on vacation (YAY!), so blogging got a little lost by the wayside.  I thought I’d just take you through some of the more notable moments :).

Tuesday’s weather was notably flawless.  It was a cool 63 degrees when I woke up to run at 5:30 (well, I got out of bed at 5:30 — running didn’t really happen until 6ish).  Sam and I made it a technology-free run and just enjoyed the great weather.  No humidity, no sun beating down on us, no suffocating heat.  It was an AWESOME run.  I really tried to push myself and even though we don’t have the splits to prove it, Sam estimated we ran a 9:30 pace (a good clip for me :)).  It’s not always about pace, but when you push yourself and you feel like you succeeded, it is so sweet.

Some notable noshes from Tuesday:

A strawberry Green Monster Smoothie taking part in a backyard photo shoot.

Lunch with a special someone and his giant lunch box:

I told Sam he looked like a doctor on his way to a heart transplant.  He proved to me how valuable his large lunch box is by displaying its contents:

Impressive.  And finally the most notable nosh….

Zucchini boats!  Inspired by a recipe I saw over at The Front Burner, I decided to whip up my own boats.  I’m on a boat!  I boiled the zukes for about 8 minutes to soften them, sliced then lengthwise and scooped out the seedy innards.  In a frying pan, I cooked three strips of turkey bacon, removed it and chopped it up.  Back in the same pan, I sauteed onions and garlic with some cumin and red pepper flakes sprinkled on top.  Brown rice cooked away in the microwave and when it signaled it’s readiness with an ear-piercing beep, I mixed the rice, onions, garlic and bacon together.  I spooned the mixture into the boats, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and baked for about 15 minutes at 350.

I was surprised how filling these babies were for being zucchini.  The rice helped bulk up the filling and the bacon (three strips used for 8 boats) gave a good smoky, salty flavor.  I’d make them again.  I’m always trying to incorporate more veggies where I can and this baby fit the bill!

Wednesday’s run was fabulous.  It wasn’t quite as cool as Tuesday (about 68 degree) and we definitely felt the difference 5 degrees makes (!!!), but my 5 am run was totally worth it when I completed 6 miles at a notably nice 9:29 min. pace.  Again, I want to stress again, pace is not the most important thing (if you’re a beginner runner, I suggest focusing more on increasing your distance before you try and improve your pace), but I really wanted to push myself and do those 6 strong.  I smoked my 10K time from the 10K I ran with former roommate Rachel and I was really proud of myself.

Not bad for a run that started off with a notable bit of nature: I saw a skunk!  I have never seen one before in my entire suburb-dwelling life, but there he(she?) was in all his (her) striped glory.  Obviously, I couldn’t take a picture, but it totally looked like this:

source

But in the grass and minus the confused little boy walking it.  Just focus on the skunk.  Forget the boy.  It’s just a funny picture ;).

I almost screamed.  Fortunately, there was about 25 feet of neighbor front yard between me and Petunia.  Otherwise, a tomato bath might have been in order post-run.

That’s a stank you can’t just Old Spice away.  Or can you, Old Spice guy?

Yesterday night was a lazy night.  After notably ignoring it for three seasons, I finally decided Sam and I could not continue in our lives without experiencing Mad Men.  In the media gear up for Season 4, I became convinced we were the last two people stateside to not experience the world of Sterling Cooper and Don Draper.  Onto the Netflix cue it went and we watched two episodes from Season 1 last night.

The verdict?  I liked it.  I’m a sucker for period pieces and  Sam’s got a flare for the old school style (think bowties, fedoras, dressing well, treating your wife right and drinking two fingers of  scotch to unwind after a hard day — that’s my hubby) so I knew he’d appreciate it.  Season 1 will be coming along on our road trip this weekend :).

Here’s what stands between me and vacation: 10 hours of work, a smidge of homework, a 3 mile run tonight and some packing.

I. Can’t. Wait.

Bag Lady

July 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Training Calls for: 5 miles 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 86 miles

Days Left: 82

Sometimes I measure how busy my day will be by the amount of bags I haul around.  On a carefree Friday, it will just be my purse.  On a day like today, there will be four, moderately heavy baggagettes hanging off my limbs.  Purse, school bag, workout bag, lunch bag.

*sigh*  It’s okay.  Come Friday, I can be carefree again.

If you’re looking at the stats up top, thinking, “why didn’t she run 3 miles yesterday?”, here’s what I’ll tell you: 1) you’re paying too much attention 😉 2) I was sick yesterday and flip flopped swip swapped my days.

Monday after work, Sam and I grocery shopped (which is intense and requires two full-grown adults on their A-game).  Afterwards,  I came home and fell asleep on his shoulder.  Hard.  I might have drooled.

Off to bed I went, hoping to rest up.  When the alarm went off Tuesday morning for a 3 mile run, I felt like I actually couldn’t get out of bed.  I was so tired.  My throat was sore and I felt feverish.  I turned it off and slept for a couple more hours.

No improvement.

Sick day.  Boo.  My day went like this: sleep/study (midterm on Friday, double boo)/sleep/study/sleep/ study.

Since I had a sore throat, I had little interest in breakfast, but I foraged on.  I pretended I was making Sam breakfast instead, to “trick” myself into getting hungry.  Sometimes, I’m not hungry until the food is right in front of me.  If I am the appointed food-giver, this can be problematic in that I don’t want to make anything.  I survive on popcorn when this happens.  Bad bad.

Here’s what I scrounged up:

Cinnamon French toast triangles (shapes make food fun, take notes, moms) with all-natural syrup.  Not REAL maple syrup, but this stuff:

A little cheaper, less sugary and just as tasty.  I’ll take it.  I still put it in a bowl for dipping (and portion control) because it has almost as many calories as the REAL stuff. I created a little fruit salad on the side for some vitamins I’m sure my body needed:

When I was in college, my dad once told me (jokingly…I think): “Just study for your exams whenever you’re awake and you’ll do just fine.”  Um, that was yesterday for sure.  I definitely needed rest and I definitely needed to get my rear in gear to ace this test, so both took over my day.  I babied myself with a little tea service while camped out with my books:

Two tea pots!  Shout out to my mom for the tea set.  The woman knows her perfectly themed birthday gifts ;).

Lunch (eaten at 3:30, because I didn’t get hungry until late in the day):

You know that’s a PB&J, why spell it out for you?

More sleeping, more studying.  Mostly sleeping at this point.  The monsters were annoyed.  They looked at me often, seeming to say, “why aren’t you playing with us?  take us OUT.  W-A-L-K, woman!”.  Yep, all that translated from one, wide-eyed head tilt from Ruby and a “yeooooow” yawn/howl from Zora.  I speak monster fluently.

Finally feeling human, I made the easiest chicken dinner on the planet:

Broiled chicken with green beans and dark cherries.  This is the easiest dinner because it requires three ingredients (lemon juice, oil and salt) and the ability to push broil and walk away.  Dear Grandma, Thank you thank you thank you. It’s her recipe.  You can read how I feel about handed down recipes here.

Today, I was back to normal — still a little tired, but ready to slug through a work day.

Green Go Power:

Plus coffee (of course!).

Lunch…sadly, was nothing spectacular.  A reheated bean enchilada from Monday night.

It was more appetizing than it looks, I promise.

I’ll spare you all the gory side dish details, except for one:

That would be a slice of a plum that came off the tree in my front yard.  We planted a plum tree this year and were pretty surprised when the little baby started producing fruit!  These are the best plums I’ve ever had, even if they are teeny tiny.  Petite plums.

I busted out my I.O.me. 3 miles after work tonight and tried to focus more on form and hill training than pace.  I get awfully wrapped up in pace sometimes (am I alone, runners?  I think not) and I need to remember that my form (i.e. NOT slouching) and trucking up hills are more important elements.  I covered 3 miles in a little more than 31 minutes, but those 3 miles were hilly and it was hot.

I’m glad I followed through.  I gave a nano-second’s worth of thought to skipping it, but I followed the “I can do anything for five minutes” rule.  If you start working out and you don’t really want to, just give yourself five minutes.  You’ll find your groove ;).

I love running around the campus.  I work at a beautiful, red-bricked, cobble-stoned, tree-lined classic American campus.  Since it also happens to be my alma mater, I know the area like the back of my hand.  I go on auto-pilot and just run.  So nice.

I was pretty excited about tonight’s dinner, but it ended up a disappointment.

I tried to make the  Hungry Girl recipe for crispy white pizza.  It doesn’t look very good and it didn’t taste very good.  Bah.  I didn’t even take a picture.  It just looked like a white blob on  a tortilla.  No one needs to see that.  I have a reputation to uphold. 😉

I think I’ll scrounge up some dessert to make up for it.

Nighty night!

Foggy Morning Foggy Headed

July 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Edited to add: This was supposed to publish on Thursday…um, what the heck?  My apologies.  Enjoy this, consider it an appetizer while I’m off preparing a more substantial post ;).

Training Calls For: 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 76

Days Left: 88

Anyone else just working for the weekend?  Me!!!  I have a half day coming my way on Friday, so my weekend will start a bit early and then we’re heading to visit family :).  It will be a good time and it is what is motivating me to keep chugging along until I get to Friday afternoon.

My 3 mile run was just kind of “meh” today.  I hit the snooze button (gotta knock that off!) once and got up a little later than I wanted.  It’s probably better that way, though.  The fog was so thick this morning, visibility was probably 20 feet — no bueno if you’re a runner on the side of the road.  You could actually see the fog in the air, and I’m not talking, “oh, it’s foggy out”, I’m talking, “oh, look, individual particles of foglettes”.  Whoa.

I kept up a decent morning pace, in spite of my foggy surroundings and foggy head.  I’m a better afternoon/evening runner and you can totally tell in my pace.  Morning pace is a full minute slower than evening pace.  Too bad I have yet to find a race that starts at 5pm!

This is the part of the blizog where I would show you a picture of breakfast (a Green Monster Smoothie and coffee), however, when I went to photograph it, my camera let out a little sigh and went to sleep.  Dead battery.  That’s what I get for not taking all those “low battery” warning seriously.  In addition to “low battery”, I need a warning that reads, “no, for real.  I’m not joking around now — LOW BATTERY!”.  I squeaked this one out, just in time.

Blurry is all get out.  Whoa.

Lunch is a little more exciting, though.

Take a peek under the wrap ;).  VEGGIES!  I once had a co-worker see me eating a veggie sandwich and say to me, “I never thought anyone actually ate vegetable sandwiches.”  Me neither, until the healthy living bug bit me and made a home in my brain ;).  On an Aldi brand multigrain wrap, I smooshed some avocado, added chopped carrot strips, tomato and green pepper and then sprinkled a little Salad Supreme (a mix of spice intended for pasta salad — by McCormick??).

Oh, so good.  If you’re dabbling in healthy alternatives, I encourage you to try swapping mayo for avocado.  That bumpy beauty has the same creaminess, but packs healthy fat.  If you add a little seasoning, like I did, then you get even more flavor without the unwanted calories/ingredients.

Alongside my wrap, I munched on some black, seedless grapes.

There’s an apple hiding in my lunch bag (camera shy) and of course (!), some 4 o’clock yogurt chillin’ in the fridge.

In other exciting news, I realized today makes one month I’ve been training for the marathon.  Whoa!  In 30 days, I’ve covered 76 miles.  That’s more than 2.5 miles EVERY DAY.  Whoa.

Major whoa.

I have to go wrap my mind around that, friends.  Check ya later!

Veggie Love

July 13, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Training Calls For: 3 miles

Miles Run So Far: 68

Days Left: 90

This morning was another early wake-up call, but I actually didn’t mind.  I find it awesome to get 90% of my to-do list ticked off before I head in to work.  Awesome!  Last night, I was able to come home, spend time with Sam and not feel like I had to rush-rush to get something else less interesting and more time consuming accomplished.

We feasted (eh, an exaggeration) on a simple dinner last night: Curried Tuna Cakes.  This recipe was found in a book called the Can Opener Gourmet.  I inherited it from my grandma and hardly ever pick it up.  I think it could use a better title — the current one is a little bit of a detterant.  Might I suggest: Make Dinner?  Sure You Can…haha.  Okay, maybe we all just realized how they ended up sticking with what they had originally.

With a simple ingredient list: tuna, bread crumbs, curry powder, and egg (or egg whites in our case), this baby was a go.   Form the patties, pan fry in a little EVOO to brown up and dinner is served!  Looked pretty…

…plated with a little lettuce and tomato.  It tasted okay — something was missing, something spice wise.   I can’t put my finger on it and didn’t really feel like playing Ingredient Investigator, so I let it go.  I let it go in favor of a night spent reading (Eat, Pray, Love…which is taking me forever to finish!) and hanging out with my husband.  We pushed our plans for Brew Week to another night.

I think it was a good call.

This morning, bright and early, we hit the pavement for our schedule 3 mile run.  Oh, Hal Higdon, you have a love of the prime number 3, don’t you?  3 mile runs bookend mid-week long-ish runs according to his training schedule, so if it’s a Tuesday or a Thursday, you can count on a 3.

I would like to shout from the rooftops: IT IS AMAZING RUNNING IN THE EARLY MORNING!  Oh, me, oh my.  I ran in 70 degree weather this morning as opposed to the 90 degree mid-day heat I had been battling for the last few weeks.  It was great.  I still sweated like a pig had a healthy glow, but at least I wasn’t sweating glowing before the ran even began.

I enjoyed a mini monster after the run…splitting a regular sized Green Monster Smoothie with Sam.

Then got down to biznass making a breakfast that effort.  I’m done with easy-peasy morning meals for a while.  I want the food that takes some work.  Gimme pancakes, homemade waffles, omelets, toads in holes and stovetop oats!  Bring it on!

Yummm.  Behold, this morning’s labor of love:  An egg+egg white omelet stuffed with sauteed green pepper, onion and garlic and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.  I ate the “butt” (heel?) of a loaf of bread alongside with a dabble of REAL butter.  I left it in dabble-form because I thought it looked a little like a breakfast commercial.

In addition to appreciating early morning runs, I am also seriously in love with drinking coffee from a mug once more instead of throwing it back from a travel mug for for sleep-battling survival reasons.  My mug was mega.  I took a picture so you could compare a regular mug to my mug.

Mega mug mega love.  Don’t worry — we’re brewing the half-caf coffee, so I’m not cracking out on caffeine.

Speaking of loves, my love of veg has returned, full force.  Gone are the days of carby cravings and sweet scavenger hunts through the cupboards.  Phew!  Good thing, too.  I kinda felt the difference in my diet in my mood and energy levels.  Crazy.  I followed my veggie inclinations and created a salad out of last night’s leftovers.

Romaine lettuce, tomato, carrots, and celery topped with two two-na patties.  They were better cold and the second day.  Odddd.  Fruit entered the picture in the form of a banana, black seedless grapes and some blueberries (which will take a nosedive into my yogurt this afternoon.  ‘Bout 4 o’clock.   Be there, be square…or round).

My renewed interest in vegetables and my recognition of how poorly I felt eating imbalanced for so many weeks made me wonder:  how would I feel if I ate fast food again?

For those of you who are new (welcome, amigos!), let me explain:  I don’t eat un-natural foods.  If I can’t pronounce it or don’t recognize it, I’m not going to put it in my body.  I wrote about how much power fast food used to have over my lunch hour in this post.  I haven’t had a meal from a yellow and red themed restaurant since December!  That’s almost 7 months, peeps.  I always hear people talk about how much better they feel when they eat healthy (and I know this first hand), but I wonder how quickly it would take for me to feel badly if I ate the fast food.  I wasn’t eating junk for the past several weeks — I just wasn’t eating balanced and I noticed a change in my overall health.  If I noticed a change from that, would a combo meal send me into a coma?

I’m kind of tempted to find out.

What do you think?  Should I hit the drive thru on my way home ;)?

It’s Really Happening

July 5, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Training Calls for: Rest 🙂

Miles Run So Far: 46 miles

Days Left: 98

I’m headin’ to bed tonight feeling pretty accomplished.  Even though I had to work this morning, I squeezed all my work day stuff into a half day and was happily headed home by 9am.  Yay!  It’s hard to feel like you’ve even really been to work when you’re heading home to a hubby who just got out of bed.  It’s like I was never gone.  There might be one more reason I’m feeling accomplished…but you’ll have to hang on to find out.

But let’s back up a little.

My Fourth of July was pretty quiet.  I enjoyed an hour long bike ride with Kelly.  We chitted, we chatted, we had a good time.  My legs and knees were pretty sore from the hill training on Saturday and the bike ride really took it out of me.  I was surprised at the amount of stress I was feeling in my quads and knees.  When I dragged my sweaty body into the house, I dove mouth first into the one thing I knew would cool me down:

GREEN MONSTER.  Ah, it never gets old.  Well, maybe for you, but not for me ;).  I knew Sam and I were slated to do a little holiday pigging out, grill-style, so I counted the monstah as part of lunch.  They are incredibly filling.

If it’s a national holiday in the spring or summer, you know you have to fire up the grill or you just aren’t American (said: Amurican).  So, with our patriotism and national pride on the line, Sam grilled up some darn good turkey bratwurst.  Earlier in the day we had mixed up a batch of Killer Beans (a baked bean concoction from my mom — meant killer = awesome, not killer = homicidal to your intestines), black bean salsa with blue corn chips, strawberries and can’t-elope.

It turns out it’s kind of hard to find an all-natural hot dog bun (and you know I’m not down with the fakey-phoney foods), so we subbed Earth Grains sandwich thins.  Sliced up the brat and boom!  Perfection.

Dessert was a mint-line no bake pie recipe we found on the Kraft foods website.  I highly recommend their website.  Obviously, they endorse all Kraft products in their recipes, but you can get sneaky and sub in the generic.  You know this penny-pincher almost always does.  😉  I like their Healthy Living section and have also found more than one crowd pleaser in the Entertaining section.  Just passing it along.

Delicious.  A little like Key Lime pie, but with less effort.  With this bad Johnny, I tried to make it as natural as possible and with the exception of the lime gelatin, we succeeded.

Whoosh!  Fast forward to this morning, at work, when I was stuffing my face with the following ingredients:

Cottage Cheese Oats + Empty PB jar + Banana = Amazing.  I think I’m in love.

Lovely Leftovers for Lunch:

Crunchy Carrots during Calculus Statistics ;).

A little “Banana Soft Serve” to soothe a sweet tooth:

And some highly-addictive homemade mac’n’cheese (my mother-in-law’s recipe) for dinner.  Brussels sprouts and strawberries added for good measure.

Don’t be so cheesy ;).  My, my, what a dairy-heavy day!

In between all that eatin’, I cleaned, cleaned, cleaned.  Homework was done, laundry piles were conquered, bathrooms sparkled (well….maybe) and tidying commenced.  Feelin’ pretty accomplished for all of that…oh.  And for this:

I AM OFFICIALLY REGISTERED FOR THE COLUMBUS NATIONWIDE BETTER HEALTH MARATHON!

It may seem silly, but registering was a big step.  Filling in each little line, submitting my half marathon time for corral assignment and forking over my credit card means I am really actually doing this.  It’s actually happening.  I’m in week 4 of the training, so you’d think this would have sunk in by now, but really, the registration is what made me feel like it was real.

I’m going to run a marathon.  I’m going to be a marathoner.  I’m going to turn a “someday” in to a real day.

I’m going to do all of that…but not if I don’t get some sleep ;).  I’ll be dreaming of mile markers and water stations, I’m sure. 🙂

Question time: Registering kind of scared me…what’s one thing you’ve done lately that kind of scared you, but you knew you had to do it?

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