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10 Miles on the 10th!

11 May

Everyone has their own running preferences and as I’ve said previously, running first thing in the morning is one of mine.  I just love the feeling I have the rest of the day post-a.m.-run, so I know that rolling out of bed at whatever hour is worth it for the great endorphin and energy filled feelings I have the rest of the day!  Another preference of mine is doing my longest runs on Mondays.  I consider Monday the start of my week and Sunday the end, and what better way to set the pace for my week than a long run!  I generally try to get in my longest run on Mondays, so that I know I have already accomplished one great run for the week.  I usually run lower miles throughout the weekdays and then get in at least one solid run on the weekends that comes close to Monday’s mileage.  But hey, this is just works for me!

Since I am leaving for Australia TODAY and won’t get an opportunity (as far as I know) to run for TWO WHOLE WEEKS, I wanted to push it up until I left.  So Monday, I decided to push myself to the 10 mile marker for the first time. And while it was pretty hard, I did it!! Wooo hooo!!!  I ended up running pretty slow the last mile, but completed all 10 miles in 1 hr 28 minutes, so my time didn’t end up being too bad in the end because I was running a little faster during miles 6-8.  My legs and knees were definitely sore this morning, but since it’s my last day to get in a good run, I was on the treadmill at 7 am to squeeze in 6 miles.  I ended up feeling better than expected (probably since my last two runs were on the treadmill) and pushed it to about 7 miles in an hour.  17 miles in 2 days new record pour moi! Nothing like pushing it before vacation!

I refueled after my 10 mile run with an unexpected breakfast!  I saw butter flavored Eggo’s in my freezer and knew I just HAD to have them!  Hey, when a craving strikes, I listen.  I toasted one Eggo -I cannot remember the last time I freaking ate an Eggo Waffle btw! – topped it with a ton of Justin’s Almond Butter with Honey, a sliced apple, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some light maple syrup = can I say MMM, MMM, MMM?!  I ended up broiling it for 3 minutes in the toaster oven after a couple bites because I wanted to bake the apples a little.  The cinnamon became so gooey on top and the almond butter became even more melted.  I scarfed this up pretty quickly, but it was so good, I know it will be making a re-appearance upon my return.  I plan on buying whole wheat, natural waffles though for this breakfast in the future.

So post-coffee, boring last-minute errands again bla bla bla and then LUNCH! haha Needless to say, I was pretty hungry 🙂  As I was making this, I snacked on a plain Oikos greek yogurt – yea protein!  I threw together a junk salad because I just had so many random item leftover in my fridge.  Today’s mix consisted of arugula, baby spinach, tofu, carrots, red onions, blue cheese, a cut up apple, all topped with balsamic vinaigrette. I haven’t had blue cheese in forever, and I am suddenly reminded of how much I LOVE that strong, pungent taste.  I’ll have to start using it more in my recipes.

What are some of your running preferences?


An IT Thursday

6 May

Happy almost weekend!  Just one more day to get through until everyone’s favorite day of the work week!  Even though it is not quite the weekend, there is NO complaining about today and the beautiful weather NY had today.  Mid 70’s, light breeze, no humidity= 🙂

Now the day did not start off like this.  I was out running by 9 am this morning with a very dreary, gray sky filled with clouds BOO.  Throughout the hour I was out, it sprinkled a little here and there with maybe a solid 30 seconds of rain at any given point.  I was debating whether or not to wait for the rain to pass, but I am very happy with my decision to man through it since it didn’t even rain!  This morning’s run felt really great up until about the last 10 minutes.  I could tell my IT band was bothering me, but so many times the minor pain I have just goes away as I run, but today that feeling did not leave.  I did a little bit of a quicker run because my body felt up for it so I am not sure if this is what could have aggravated it or not, but with about 10 or less minutes left in my planned hour run, I had to literally STOP running because it was bothering me so much.  I knew I could push it and also hurt myself more, but instead I decided to walk the rest of the way.  I came home and did some resistance band stretching specifically focused on my right leg (where the pain was).  I also remembered seeing a yoga video on Runner’s World so I decided to try that also – I figured anything is worth a try!  I used the video below to incorporate some new stretches for my IT band and it honestly feels a lot better already.  The first pose that the instructor does is the one I felt targeted it the most.  Let me know if it works for you!  I ended up doing about 6.6 miles total today.

For lunch today, I ate outside and enjoyed another creation using my home grown sprouts!  My sandwich consisted of tofu, tahini, sprouts, arugula, & slices of a homegrown tomato –->holy yum on homegrown tomatoes!  I enjoyed all of this on 2 pieces of multi-grain sprouted bread = absolutely delic 🙂  I paired it with an Oikos plain greek yogurt also for added protein.  I think this meal will hold me over well.

And I cannot forget my wonderful lunch buddy today Sadie!

Time to go run more necessary errands for a big trip I have coming up!  More about this tomorrow 🙂  Get excited because its HUGE!

Lauren Runs on Dunkin’

5 May


To be honest, I can’t remember if I have ever celebrated a Cinqo de Mayo in my life.  I think I was always bogged down with finals during college (I know, LAME) and then was sucked in by work since.  So it is pretty sad that I am being drug out this evening by my 55 year old mother to a Cinqo de Mayo happy hour!  Not gonna lie though, I am pretty excited 🙂  we’re meeting up with some family friends I haven’t seen in a while so it should be a great margarita filled catching up session!

I still have to fit in a good run outside today, despite the 80+ temps, before happy hour though.  Trust me, I am NOT complaining about the perfect weather that has hit NY and the greater part of the northeast this week…perfect outside evening drinking weather.

My day started off later than I can even admit today!  I am actually embarrassed by how late I woke up even though I did nothing last night.  I was feeling kind of bored with my normal breakfasts so I did something COMPLETELY out of the ordinary today!  A couple of days ago I bought smoked salmon just because I was in the mood to, but I never did anything with it, so this morning I made a “refined” version of Lox as my breakfast.  It included 2 oz. smoked salmon (mmm), a multigrain english muffin (lightly toasted), and 2 baby bell light swiss cheeses spread on the e.muffin to act as cream cheese since I didn’t have any.  I also topped it with onion since i love onion on just about everything.  Not so bad if I do say so myself!  It was sooo delic and such a fun switch up, not to mention it packed about 24 gm of protein.  Experiment #1 = success!

After breakfast I ran some necessary errands.  I am desperately in search of a new black cover for my blackberry tour and for some reason NOWHERE is selling them.  I tried 3 cell phone stores, a Staples, and Wal-Mart and struck out at each one – I think it has to be a joke!  After a semi-successful afternoon of errands I finally put my sprouts to use for lunch!!!

I threw them in a medium salad with carrots, arugula & spinach, raisins, bbq Koo-Loos, red onion, baby bella mushroom, and balsamic vinaigrette. I also stuffed them in my ww pita with tahini, more spinach, and Veggie Patch falafel balls (I LOVE).  All in all, a major success!  I just loved eating something I knew I actually grew!! And they tasted extra healthy and crunchy.  I can tell this sprouting is going to be a regular thing.

Before my run, I snacked on a gala apple – I chose gala over my usual fiji because they were on sale.  And I had a side of Dunkin Donuts NEW Dark Roast Iced Coffee! I think this coffee came out abouuuut yesterday, which is when I had my First one and I was HOOKED!!!  I LOVE dark coffee and I LOVE iced coffees, but I usually find that my iced coffees get too weak towards the end.  I guess D&D can read minds or something because this new baby is 110% of perfection.  It was the absolute perfect flavorful chilled coffee I needed yesterday…& then again today!  You can see how Dark it is with my addition of skim milk.  I highly suggest you try it if you are a serious coffee drinker.  If you don’t like it, it’s on me!  JUST KIDDING, but I know you’ll love ❤

Okay time for my run before my very first cinqo de mayo happy hour!

I’d love to hear if there is a popular “holiday” that you never have participated in before or one that everyone enjoys and you just don’t!

Eight Mile Monday

26 Apr

So in case anyone was wondering, Monday’s are NOT just as hard for the unemployed as the employed.  I used to wake up on Mondays and immediately feel my cortisol levels shoot through the roof – I swear! – thinking of what the week ahead held for me…which was a lot of long, mindless days in a very anxious workplace.  I am keeping myself plenty busy and I have a lot on my plate w/ many things that are self – induced, but I can actually breath easy on Mondays for the time being knowing I am so much more in control of my life now 🙂

After 2 days off from exercise and a mini college reunion on Saturday, my body needed a good run today for many reasons!  Now I am not an expert by any means in running terms, but as I was on the treadmill today I tried to remember best I could what I was doing so I could recount them here.  Here is my first shot at this (please excuse the lack of formality).

Today’s Run

  • About 1.5 miles @ warm up pace
  • 1 mile @ 7.0mph
  • 1 mile @ 7.5mph
  • 1 mile recovery
  • 5 minutes @ 7.0
  • 5 minutes @ 7.5
  • 1 minute alternating between 7.0 mph and 8.0 mph (3x)
  • A couple minutes of recovery
  • 1 minute alternates:
    • (7.0-8.0 mph)
    • (7.1-7.9 mph)
    • (7.2-7.8 mph)
    • (7.3-7.7 mph)
    • (7.4-7.6 mph)
  • Cool Down
  • Total: 8 miles in about 1 hr 11 min

I felt great afterwards!  I notice that for me the first 2-3 miles are the hardest, which is probably why I never really ran more than that distance in the past.  When I get up to 4+ miles though, I really feel like I hit my groove or something and I could keep going for so much longer than I imagined.  For now though, I know I can’t push myself too far though b/c I am still working on increasing my distance and I am intent on increasing it in a safe manner so I do not injure or burn myself out.

I rolled out of bed and did this workout first thing in the am… an even better way to start your Monday! So when I returned home, I was pretty ready for a good breakfast.  I knew I wanted to get a run in first thing this am, so I prepped a bfast cookie the night before for immediate devouring!  I added two new things to the breakfast cookie this morning #1 Almond Butter w/ Honey-random TJMaxx purchase (God I love that store!) #2  1/2 scoop of unflavored Whey Protein Powder (I’m not the biggest fan of enhancement supplements like protein powders, but proper nutrition comes first and I knew I would need some extra protein/calories in this morning’s mix after a long run).

Naturally pictured half devoured…

Whey Protein not pictured – I thought that would be ok!

As usual, I followed up breakfast w/ a wonderful cup o’ joe and some Dr. Oz.  My stomach was growling earlier than normal so “lunch” was had in pieces today.  Round #1 Dannon Blueberry Yogurt w dried tart cherries thrown in the mix (have I mentioned these are great for joints!) Round #2 WW Pita stuffed with Turkey and “hummus salad” which consisted of shredded carrots, cabbage, red onion, red bell peppers all mixed up with a couple heaping spoonfuls of original flavored hummus – this is a great fill-in for a mayo based salad.  And Round #3 Homemade fruit salad – strawberries, ultra juicy oranges, and grapes – mixed with some Kashi Go Lean.  I think I covered just about every food group here – Go me!  And everything was ultra satisfying.

This is a semi-ok pic of my pita:

I have some healthified chicken quesadillas on the menu for dinner served with a side of The Blindside.  I still haven’t seen the Oscar winner and am dying to!  Nothing better than a movie for a rainy, rainy evening!

Also, as promised here is my recipe for the Chicken, Peanut, & Slaw Wrap I made on Friday.  I would love to hear if anyone makes it and/or makes some of their own modifications to it!

What is your hardest “hump” to get over/through when it comes to long runs?  How do you manage?

Bulk is the way to go

24 Apr

Happy Friday!!  I’m sure everyone else out there is looking forward to the weekend just as much as I am.  To start my day yesterday, I had stove top oats sans PB!  Do you believe it?  I don’t know what it was but my stomach didn’t want something so heavy.  I opted in banana and strawberries instead and mixed half water and half sweetened vanilla almond milk to give it a creamy fruity taste instead.  It was a good change up for today, but I know PB will be back in circulation soon enough!

Yesterday must have been my day o’ experimental recipes because for lunch I tried up a new Chicken, Peanut, & Slaw wrap.  It was pretty easy to throw together and was a really great fun lunch option.  Though I rarely get bored with the variety of my turkey or tofu salads and wraps for lunch, this one has an asian taste to it which was a little bit more exciting than the norm.  I will definitely make this again for a healthy & PB infused meal though I may make some small changes next time around- I’m not sure exactly how, I’m sure it will just depend on my taste-buds at the time! Pictured below, clearly with srirachi sauce on the side!  I’ll put the recipe up later.

Right after lunch, I received a wonderful little surprise in the mail!  Ok, it wasn’t exactly a surprise since I did order it, but I wasn’t expecting it so fast.  Via Hungry Girl I received a discount code for buying a variety of chocolate VitaTops online.  I have been meaning to try these for months, but my grocery store is always sold out of the chocolate flavors and I wasn’t sooo into buying any of the Bran flavors.  Luckily, I recently bought the last 4 pack of the chocolate flavor at my grocery store, and was instantly hooked!  I found that these little treats were the most perfect guilt-free after dinner/pre bedtime snacks.  When I ran out (which was fast!) I found myself searching the fridge and pantry for something and ending up so disappointed because all I really wanted was a VitaTop!  I decided that buying in bulk was def the smarter, easier, and more economical way to go with the Hungry Girl discount. The package was 4 different chocolate flavors (5 each) and 2 “free” Chocolate VitaHearts for $29.99 w free shipping.  Now I must say the free shipping sold me, so I went ahead and ordered.  Hello deliciousness…

VitaHearts – So cute!

Another successful bulk story…my quinoa!  This grain is going a long way.  In the mix this time around was quinoa, balsamic marinated tofu, LOTS of goat cheese (mmmm), spinach, and a new cherry berry dried fruit blend – it consisted of regular raisins, golden raisins, dried cherries, and craisins.  What a perfect blend of tastes.  This is definitely a combo I’ll return to!

I must run for now!  Dinner with my mom is on the horizon tonight.  We’re trying a rustic restaurant in Pennsylvania tonight which I’ve never been to!  Very excited 🙂

What is your favorite item to make/buy in bulk?!

Hump Day aka Snack Day

22 Apr

I’m not sure if my “day after appetite” is a true physical or just a mental reaction after  a long run.  Like I said, 8.25 miles is a new PR for moi, and I didn’t take in that many more calories than normal during the day.  I have slash am getting better at really listening to my body about when I’m hungry and what it wants.  In the past, I have definitely had issues with eating too much and not eating enough, neither of which is good for anyone, physically and mentally.  So I listened to my body and ate when I was hungry and stopped when I wasn’t, but the calories just did not make it far enough w my revved up metabolism!  I woke up at about 5 am absolutely ravenous.  I laid in bed for a while hoping it would pass and I could just fall asleep, but when an active girl is hungry, you gotta eat!  I sleepwalked my way to the cabinet and pulled out a Kashi granola bar.  These new versions of their granolas are soo delic!  Though the pumpkin isn’t what I want in the springtime, it will be a staple in the fall months.  Next time, I’ll stick to the dark choco coconut ones – seriously, like eating a 120 cal dessert!  Here are the remnants of my mid sleep snacking…

For breakfast I had a solid breakfast cookie (hungry Wednesday Lauren was so happy with night before Lauren) and a coffee, but that just did not hold me over either!  Before noon, I was hungry again, and I just could not tell how hungry…like was I fully-meal hungry, small snack hungry? So I tried an apple…

and trust me that did not work!  So then I tried ww toast w/ PB, which worked for about an hour.  Finally, I realized I just needed lunch!  Today lunch was a ww wrap w/ balsamic marinated tofu (which I made), lots of spreadable goat cheese, dried cherries (great for runner’s joints!), spinach, cabbage, red onions, and some sliced carrots.  I topped it off w more balsamic and some spicy mustard on the side for dipping.

Quite delic!  I have never made this before, but one of the many reasons I love using wraps is the endless amount of weird stuff you can throw in them for a smorgasbord of a meal, all neatly wrapped up for easy eating 🙂

After digesting, I headed to the gym for an easy 4 mile run since my muscles weren’t feeling too ready for another long one.  And actually, I could have gone longer as far as my endurance was concerned, but apparently I did not wait long enough for a full digestion and my stomach was killing me throughout the entire run.  I said that I was allowed to stop at 4 miles and I did immediately!  Next time, I’ll know that after eating that much food before mid-afternoon, digestion will take a little longer than normal.  Tums soon followed my afternoon run.

For dinner, I made Quinoa for the first time.  I have had it before, but I never made it myself, and let’s just say that a little goes a long way when boiling those little suckers.  I have leftovers for a few meals.  In the mix tonight was quinoa, with asparagus, onions, garlic, and tomatoes that were sautéed w some EVOO.  I mixed that all together, threw in more balsamic dressing, and topped w feta!  Cooking the quinoa was the hardest part, and clearly it isn’t hard to “stir occasionally,” the patience is the hard part.  But now that I have this amazing grain base to work with, I’m excited about throwing together fun and easy dinners the rest of the week 🙂

Do you ever find yourself ravenous the next day after longer than normal runs?  How do you satisfy your bottomless appetite?

Play With Your Food

21 Apr

So I have officially been living at home for a couple days now, and though there are some obvious pros and cons, I must say the pros are winning.  For instance…

Pro: No RENT!

Con: Living in Port Jervis, NY (if you only knew)

I know a lot of people say their hometown is boring or there’s nothing to do or no one lives there anymore, but I am slightly convinced that my hometown could, hands down, beat anyone’s hometown at that game.  Coming from a lifestyle where I was working 50+hrs a week in Washington, DC to living in a town w a population of about 8,000, the best place, and arguably only place, to shop being TJMaxx, while not even having a job is a definite culture/lifestyle change!  Its funny though, how past Lauren would have never thought future Lauren would find herself in this position.  Yet here I am living, and dare I say, ENJOYING it!

While I love city life and the fun and excitement about urban living, I have genuinely missed the simplicity of the small town life I grew up with.  Towards the end of living in DC, I was feeling very overwhelmed with the day to day routines of life in a city.  From the public transportation commuting to the crowded streets to the expensive living/eating/drinking – you get the point- it was all just getting to me.  So coming back to the “country,” a simpler lifestyle, and cheaper cost of living is something I know my mind and body were craving!

Already, I can tell how much happier and less stressed I am becoming in my new (slash really old) environment.  Another major pro about moving back in with mom…

SHE PAYS FOR GROCERIES!!  So believe you me, I stocked up on all the expensive health food items I had to ration when living on my own.  And now I don’t feel guilty about picking up the not-so-healthy, but fun and still necessary, food items since I know its not my money being rationed for it!  Lots of great veggies, fruits, legumes, proteins, and grains, and even better snacks!!

So with all this new food, I couldn’t wait to get to cooking and EATING it all 🙂

Breakfast yesterday consisted of 2 over-easy eggs on top of a 100 cal sandwich thin, and the obvious topping of srirachi sauce.  I just couldn’t help myself with the picture below…apparently living in the house I grew up in has reverted me to my 7 year old self, and I am NOT complaining!

I enjoyed it with a fresh brewed cup of coffee–> the only evidence I am only the age of 20.

Later in the day, I headed to the one and only gym in my town.

Pro: Cheap gym membership

Con: The gym is outdated, needs a SERIOUS dusting, and has zero of the amenities we’re all used to in our city gyms

I set out for a good treadmill run.  My IT Band has started to hurt a little, and I saw a physical therapist about it who gave me great exercises for it, so I figured a longer run on the treadmill would be better right now than outside.  All in all I set a new distance PR for myself!! 8.25 miles!  There were days when  I couldn’t even get to 2 miles, so getting to 8.25 without too much exhaustion is such a personal triumph for me.  I know for many runners this distance isn’t too impressive, but no matter the PR, it always feels good when you set a new one 🙂

With all that running, I couldn’t wait to get home and eat some more of my new (and free) groceries.  Since I wanted something fast, I threw together a black bean pita sammy.  One Morningstar spicy black bean burger (TDF), lots of avocado (good fat), red onion, salsa, spinach, mushrooms, full-fat cheddar cheese, all stuffed in a ww pita….HIT THE SPOT!  Clearly, I added plenty of srirachi sauce in the pita and on the side for dipping.  While I waited for this to heat up, ya know the WHOLE 5 minutes, I snacked on 1/2 a delic Fuji apple I had leftover.  The pic doesn’t give my lunch justice, but I was in a rush to eat it.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.  My muscles and stomach were feeling great after this one!

Does setting a PR ever get old?  What’s your fav one?!