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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?

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Doubles with my Dude

9 May

Things I had on my list for possible fun things to do this weekend:

Visit Basha Kill Winery

Dinner at a new BYOB in our town

See the movie Date Night

Drinks out with High School friends on Friday

Things I actually did on this list this weekend = ZERO.  It’s funny how you can really plan and plan and plan, but the majority of life is just going with the flow!  And that’s what makes it fun.

So Patrick ended up taking a major detour on his drive here and didn’t end up arriving until after 11 pm 😦 so understandably, he was not in the mood to head out immediately, and I was pretty beat by the time he got here also.  We ended up laying on my couch in sweats, watching ESPN, drinking iced tea, and just talking on Friday night, and it was perfect ❤  Having a long distance relationship, it’s important to remember that while you want to do so many things with your significant other when you actually get to see them, it’s really important to have couple down time and just enjoying one another’s company and b-r-e-a-t-h-e

This left me plenty rested for a Sat morning run.  Patrick wanted to sleep in since he had a long week, so I took advantage of our different sleeping patterns and squeezed in a 4.5 mile run at the gym.  I wanted to make it speedier than normal in case Patrick woke up earlier than expected, so I pushed it and completed 4 miles in 32 minutes 🙂 which is the fastest I’ve completed 4 miles so far – and then I had a 1/2 mile cool down, followed by 3 1-minute planks and some more easy core strengthening.

Patrick and I  did some fun shopping around the area for more Australia things I needed and had a leisurely lunch outside, even with the 30+ wind gusts!  He told me over lunch that he wanted to get in a good run Saturday afternoon while he was visiting and was hoping I would go with him.  A fun run with my boyfriend, YES PLEASE!  So instead of heading to the winery, we decided to run outside together…how healthy of us!  My thought = the winery will always be there (for a while anyway), but my boyfriend does not ALWAYS want to run with me.  It was an easy choice.

We ended up doing a slower paced and relaxed 4.5 miles outside together.  I didn’t even time it, how not Type A of me!  It ended up being one of my favorite runs though, combining some of my favorite things, boyfriend, running, & sun 🙂 I was so proud of our distance though because Patrick isn’t that big of a runner and I thought my legs would get tired earlier since I already did a run earlier in the day, but neither ended up being an issue!  This bumped up my running total for the day to 9 miles = awesome for me.  Here’s my happy running partner ready to go!

After getting back we really weren’t in the mood to hurry and get ready to go out to dinner so we opted for cooking in and enjoying some cold beers and red vino!  We tried a recipe I got off of Runner’s Kitchen – Middle Eastern Stuffed Peppers!  We modified it slightly depending on what I had around the house.

Ingredients

  • 4 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1/2 – 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup chopped olives
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin mix
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp diced garlic
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup cooked brown wild rice

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Cut tops off of bell peppers, save tops and set aside, remove seeds, and place peppers in a small baking dish
  • Spray a medium frying pan with cooking spray and cook meat, garlic, cinnamon, and cumin over medium heat for ~4 minutes
  • Add tomato sauce and raisins and cook for another 4 minutes
  • Remove from heat, stir in olives and rice
  • Divide meat-rice mixture evenly among the bell peppers
  • Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until tender

I enjoyed mine with a glass of pinot noir and Patrick had a cold Warsteiner –> it was a new try for him!  It’s a pilsner which is his fav, definitely not my fav type of beer, but I actually liked this brand!  I’m still not converting from my wine though!  The peppers ended up being DELIC!  I loved the middle eastern flavor the cumin and cinnamon added to the peppers.  Patrick and I were happily stuffed like the peppers!

The rest of the evening was spent at some local bars catching up with my high school friends! I guess my Friday night agenda was moved to Saturday night.  It was such a great quality time evening, especially since we ended up rolling in at 3 am!  All in all – a successful weekend!

Tonight’s Mom’s Day will be wrapped up watching Sherlock Holmes w my mom and drinking some tea in this colder than normal weather.

Drinking tea before bed is one of my FAV daily rituals!  What are some of yours?!

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!

Do It Yourself

4 May

I am a big fan of local, home-grown, organic (you know all the adjectives) food.  And since the majority of this type of food is fruit and veggie oriented, I have been thinking for months now how I could grow some of these things myself!  Surprise, surprise though, months have passed and I am JUST getting around to it.  (We will not include the Basil plant I bought at Whole Foods that died because somehow watering it every other day was just too much work.)  Better late than never I suppose!

Anyway, back in February I found a wonderful How To on No Meat Athlete’s Blog and bookmarked it.  So I was happy with my past self this week when I finally got around to my first attempt at home growing!  I decided to use Mung Beans this time around.  Here is what I started with..

I only used 1 tbsp of the Beans because I wasn’t sure how large they would get.  About one week later, this is what I have:

They are officially ready to eat!  I plan on enjoying them tomorrow with a good hummus, veggie-maybe falafel?-pita.  Can’t wait 🙂  I’ll be sure to take some pics and report back tomorrow!

For a quick running update, I have set a couple PR’s this past week also!  Last week, I ran for a total of 40 miles!  Holy jeez…I’m pretty impressed at how well I have been able to transition to more of a running workout routine rather than switching off to the elliptical or bike.  I also set a new distance PR on Monday – 9.2 miles!  Go me! I never thought I would be one of those people who could run that far, but now that I started successfully tackling the mental hardship of long runs, I am able to push my body harder than I would have ever thought!

Today I did a relaxed 6 miles outside.  My IT band was a little sore, but I came home and did some stretching with a resistance band and it feels better tonight.  Lets hope it stays that way!

It’s now off to enjoy some late-delivered girl scout tagalongs.  What luck?!  Again, better late than never…

What are some of your favorite and easy DIY’s?  Sprouting is just the beginning for me!

A Stress Free Monday

3 May

Happy Monday Everyone!

As we all know Mondays are supposedly the most stressful day of the week.  More health related incidents occur on Mondays than any other day of the week, and most of these health issues are stress related, if not stress induced!  So I want to start off today with a quick clip from this morning’s Dr. Oz show.  If you are a health nut like I am, then you may already be familiar with many of these helpful hints, but I don’t want to presume anything and have you all miss out, so enjoy!  Don’t underestimate the power of stress reduction 🙂

Dr. Oz’s Stress Proof Your Body in 5 Steps

Yesterday’s run was my very first track workout.  I did it outside because the temp’s were finally starting to cool down by late afternoon, but about mid way through the sun was out gleaming down on me and my sweat factor was exponentially increased haha.  I did a quick jog to the track (about 1/2 mile) then alternated every lap (1/4 mile) between a fast pace and recovery lap.  Now back in the day I ran on this track and I can remember pushing myself to complete a single mile!  Since I was doing a semi-speed workout, I set out with a shorter than normal distance in mind and completed a 3 mile run on the track.  It wasn’t easy since I was definitely pushing myself during the speed laps, and add in the heat!, but the relative ease of completing 3 miles felt AMAZING when I compared it with past times on this track.  It was a true testament and PROOF of where my hard work has gotten me! I completed my 3 track miles in about 24 minutes, bringing yesterday’s total mileage to 4 fun & sweaty miles 🙂

On a completely separate note, I also have to share/vent about something I overheard this weekend that really got me angry!  I overheard a woman I know having a conversation about food when I was out this weekend playing on my computer.  She is a smart and professional woman in her 30’s.  Looking at her you would think she is an average sized, healthy woman, not overweight by any means but also not “skinny.”  Unfortunately she, like many people, was giving very unsound health info to her friends, yet was very confident in this bad advice that she did come off to an unknowing person as a knowledgeable diet and exercise guru.  On top of this, she also brought attention to herself by bringing up “how little she eats.”  During the span of her conversation, I heard her reference  how doing anything less than 30 minutes of cardio a day does nothing for the body so she doesn’t bother, how anyone eating over 1500 calories a day is just asking for weight gain, how all she had to eat today was an apple (mind you it was 4 pm), and don’t worry because her Sketcher Shape Ups are going to help her get the perfect body instantly!  And the sad part was that anyone could tell by the expressions and comments from those with her that all the other beautiful women she was with were eating up this info and incorporating this unqualified misinformation into their health and exercise do’s and don’ts 😦

Clearly I am not by any means an expert on any health, exercise, or nutrition subject, but I do know the basics and I can recognize the WRONG in many people’s health mentality.  As many of you readers know, doing any cardio can be great for our mind and bodies!  Especially when you consider some very speedy people out there who have no problem completing 4+ miles in 30 minutes.  Everyone’s calories needs vary depending on activity level, age, sex, and our natural chemistry!  Some days I may not take in over 1500 calories (though I couldn’t recall when that would be!) but most of the time I am well over this limit and am a very healthy body type.  I know I am a very active young female, but there are so many young girls who would hear this info and cut their calories in an unsafe & unnecessary manner because of stigmas associated with calorie intake, like the one I mentioned above.   And lastly, if you’re trying to “brag” about how little you eat, it is not cool, impressive, smart, or safe to eat nothing but an apple all day.  In fact you’re slowing your metabolism down so good luck with the extra fat storage once you do eat.  Any eating plan, whether you are trying to lose weight or not, should involve plenty of healthful eating throughout the day.  I just hope this type of negative food and exercise hearsay doesn’t affect too many more smart and beautiful, yet impressionable people.

Ever come across a conversation, article, etc that gave really unsound health/diet/exercise advice?  What was your reaction?

Things I Love

28 Apr

If you’re reading this blog, then you and I are probably pretty like-minded about our interests (ie: food, health, running).  Some days though, the regular ole’ things you love just seem 100x better and you’re reminded just HOW much you love them!  For me, today is one of those days.

Thing #1 I love=running in the morning!  Now I genuinely do LOVE running as a whole- the sound of my feet on the pavement, my breath and heart working harder and harder, my muscles aching feeling great as I stride through mile to mile.  But I love all of these sensations so much more when I am running first thing in the morning rather than in the afternoon or evening, and I just don’t know why!  I completely understand why people – myself included – find it kind of stressful to know that the very first thing you’ll be doing in the morning is rolling out of a peaceful slumber and within 30 min pounding the pavement like a mad man or woman, but for me, it is more stressful to have a run looming over my head all day.  I think I just get nervous that something will come up and I won’t be able to get in the type of run I want, or I’ll get burned out by the day’s activities and won’t want to go, PLUS I do carefully plan my meals around my runs to make sure I am properly nourished before and/or after a good workout, and much more thought has to go into my day’s meals if I run later.  I have successfully gotten into and love a routine of working out first thing in the am, and I think this is just the BEST discovery about myself I could have had!  Getting my run done first thing promises that I will feel energized and happier (thank you endorphins) throughout the day.  I love the feeling of my increased heart rate and flexibility, and even better, the appetite that comes along with a good morning run is just FUN to have!

Item #2 = The state of Pennsylvania!  This is a bit odd, I know 🙂  As a girl born and raised in the great state of New York, I never thought I would feel such loyalty and love for my neighboring state.  I know that part of it comes with being a Penn State grad (DUH), but even after graduating and moving to DC, it wasn’t NY that I missed, but Pennsylvania!  As I drove from my hometown to Philadelphia yesterday to visit my boyfriend for a couple days, I had to pass through a lot of country sides, 2 lane roads, and slower-than-should-be-allowed speed limits, but instead of being annoyed and/or rushing through them, I rolled down my window, turned off the radio, and simply enjoyed all of my surroundings.  One might say, I was actually ‘taking time to stop and smell the roses’ in a sense.  Whatever you want to call it, on my entire ride down to Philly, and since being here, I just realize how much I love everything about the state – from the urban areas of the cities (Hello Temple Law!) to the farms that take up the majority of the state, and of course, to the sprawling PSU campus in the middle…there is just something about PAthat makes me happy, and dare I say, makes me feel home?

Thing #3 I love today = enjoying coffee in coffee shops!  Since beginning my unemployment, it has been my goal to at least once a week enjoy a leisurely afternoon or morning in a coffee shop.  I want to take time to just indulging in a good coffee, cappuccino, latte, chai, whatever it may be, and play on my computer or read a good book.  As easy as this sounds, its been kind of hard to get in because I have been doing a lot of traveling to visit friends and on settling in back home.  Even though I am in Philadelphia over the next couple days visiting Patrick who is at work, I am currently sitting in a Saxby’s working on this blog and enjoying a delic coffee (with a free sample of a cinnamon roll).  Somehow this combination just embodies what true relaxation is for me, and after a windy and hilly run this morning (see below), there is nothing else I want to do 🙂

On to the run I mentioned…  Now it is the end of April and for some reason the Northeast cannot get itself out of March weather!  I decided to go out for a run at about 10 am, after Patrick went to work and my banana was semi-digested, and it was 45 degrees out with wind gusts up to 40 mph – and believe me they went up that high!  I have never run in Patrick’s neighborhood before, so I made a lax route on walkjogrun.net  to follow so I wouldn’t find myself going in circles and/or LOST in the unknown territory.  I ended up going 5 miles in about 43/44 minutes.  I could have gone longer because after working up a sweat in the chilled air, I felt more than ready to go!  But I had an impending lunch date with the boyfriend that I knew I would be ultra, rather than slightly, late for if I kept going.  So I stopped , did some stretching and core exercises, and was running (again!) out the door in 15 minutes, which could be another PR for me haha!  Now, if you know anything about the Manayunk area of Philadelphia, you also know that it is unbelievably hilly!  The streets are old and narrow, which gives it a great “feel,” but no matter which way I ran this morning, I was always going up one hill or down another.  This definitely kept my body and mind guessing!  I may have been cursing up the insane Green Lane incline, but all in all, it was such a fun and different work out!  Though I won’t be repeating it for a while.

When you travel to a new/unknown place, how do you plan out/go about your runs outside?

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?