Month: February 2013

Branching Out in March

Happy last day of February! I’m telling myself that March means spring but the snow falling from the sky right now is making that a little hard to believe. Stupid winter.

This year I didn’t really set any new year’s resolutions, I laid out of a few goals for myself (personal, professional, financial and physical) and just wanted to strive to be a better version of me. I feel pretty good about where I stand now but I want to challenge myself a bit more so I decided to branch out in March. 

But then I thought, why wait? Yesterday I signed up for my first ever race that involves something other than running! It’s a short duathlon with a 12 mile bike ride sandwiched between two 2 mile trail runs. I’m really excited to sloooooowly move into triathlon territory and I feel comfortable with these distances already! I’m not the fastest cyclist so I really want to to work on increasing my speed and stamina on the bike. I don’t know how it is easier for me to run 13 miles than it is to ride 10 but hopefully in a few weeks it won’t be. I’ve added some cycling goals to my training plan because the duathlon is 2 weeks after my half but since cycling is the perfect cross training it works out well. I’ve already started to scope out some starter tris and plan to tackle Caitlin’s Ironman March which will be really interesting given that I have NEVER swam for exercise. New things galore!

In keeping with the theme I tried a new-to-me Greek yogurt. I’ve constantly read about Chobani but I have been a Fage + Trader Joe’s brand loyalist from the start. While grocery shopping last night I noticed that Chobani was $0.40 cheaper per container than Fage (back to those financial goals for 2013!) so I took the plunge. 


And I am so mad that I waited this long! This peach flavor was heavenly. I had feared it would be too sweet but it was perfectly balanced and I will be buying lots more in the future. 

Any must try Chobani flavors??

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Speed work all day long

I had a tough time getting out of bed this morning, it was NOT pretty. Let’s just say that there was at least a solid hour between the time my alarm went off and the time I actually got up. Whoops!

I was rushed for time but luckily I had a short speed work session on my schedule. I’m still not feeling 100% so I kept it easy. Throughout this training plan I’ve been experimenting with different types of speed work and today’s came from Jenny Hadfield’s plan. It looked like this:

5 min walking warm up
10 min easy running (I was SUPER crunched for time so I took this down to 5 minutes)
Repeat 4 times: 5 min at a comfortably hard pace (for me today that was 8:00-8:30) 2 minutes slow jog (10:30ish)
5 min easy run cool down (9:00, I was feeling strong still)
5 min walking cool down



All said and done I covered over 4 miles and maintained the 8:00-8:30 pace super easily. My calf has been tight from the transition to more minimal shoes and my long run on Saturday so I knew I didn’t want to push too hard. Since my goal is just sub 2 I only need to hit a 9:09 pace so this was still good for me.

I sped home, cooked a speedy breakfast and ate while I stretched.


On the plate:
1 egg + 2 egg whites
1/4 of an avocado
shredded monterey jack cheese

Delicious but smaller than my average breakfast, I’ll be snacking earlier than usual today.

[And please excuse my photos- I’m working on it! I’ve been defaulting to my iPhone camera and while impressive for a PHONE camera it’s still nothing spectacular. I was actually a photography major for the first half of college so I swear I have some picture taking skillz in me. I’ll show them off soon 😉 ] 

Back to work I go! It’s busy busy busy around here today.

My Favorite Lazy Night Meal

Is it just me or is this week draaaaagging? I can’t believe it is only Tuesday. Ooph.



When thinking about dinner my only preference was something quick and easy. Luckily my saint of a boyfriend offered to cook before he headed out to the climbing wall so I got to relax while he took the reigns.

We have a few default meals and messy Mexican is one of my favorites. It’s quick (15 minutes, max) and really flexible based on what we have/don’t have in the fridge. Tonight’s mix was:

– black beans seasoned with cumin & chili powder
– caramelized onions
– sauteed red peppers + jalapenos

We’ll change it up from time to time- putting it with quinoa or rice but tonight it was served over a giant bowl of romaine topped with cheese, avocado, fresh tomato and plain Greek yogurt (the perfect sour cream substitute).

my massive meal:


(yes, that is a mixing bowl. Totally normal.)

Delicious.

I’m full, tired and ready for bed even though it’s only 8:30. Speed work on the schedule for the a.m.!

Goodnight Blogland.

Playing Catch Up

Tuesday already? I don’t know where my weekend went!

Let’s rewind, shall we?

On Friday night the boy and I had a lovely evening with his parents. We checked out a new microdistillery (yay for free promotional t-shirts!) and a new restaurant all in the same night. 


This restaurant actually opened over a year ago, but being creatures of habit we’ve gotten bad about trying new places. I liked the decor and chalk board menus but it was a bit too loud for my taste (we ended up getting seated in the bar which was not ideal). I wasn’t super hungry but I ordered their vegan black bean burger with a side salad and we split some sweet potato fries amongst the table. The black bean burger was solid- definitely made in house, with a little bit of spice and great toppings (roasted red peppers, mushrooms and a cilantro pesto) but the side salad was the star of the meal! It had white cheddar, walnuts, dried apricots and a spicy mustard dressing. Seriously to die for. I dominated it and took about 3/4 of my burger home. We came home and watched an episode of House of Cards on Netflix (I’m really digging this) before I fell asleep on the couch. I dragged myself up to bed and decided not to set an alarm for the morning.

After a few false starts I got out of bed around 9a and ate a small breakfast to fuel me for a long run. Flax & Fiber toast + PB2 + shredded coconut (a genius addition if I do say so myself) and tons of water. I let my breakfast digest while I waited for it to warm up a bit outside. I layered up in long tights, a long sleeve shirt, a light windbreaker, a headband + gloves and set out for a run. I’ve been kind of a baby lately and haven’t run outside in longer than I want to admit so I wasn’t sure what my plan was for the day. I knew I wanted to run at least 6 miles (which has been my “long” distance since my last injury) but figured I’d just see how I felt. About a mile in I realized that it was THE perfect running day in Ohio and settled on 8 miles. It was so beautiful out and it reminded me what I truly love about running. My runner’s high was in full effect and I honestly ran the last mile or so with a bit goofy grin on my face. My original goal was to take it super slow (~10 minute miles) but I felt comfortable going a bit faster. When I hit 8 miles I decided to run for another few minutes to even it out at an hour and 20 minutes of exercise. I finished at 8.51 miles and felt like I was on cloud nine.

Splits:
Mile 1: 9:04 (I REALLY need to work on starting off a bit slower!)
Mile 2: 9:30
Mile 3: 9:25
Mile 4: 9:40 
Mile 5: 9:46
Mile 6: 9:19
Mile 7: 9:19
Mile 8: 9:15
Mile 8-8.5: 9:17

Not winning any speed contests but a good indicator that I can absolutely nail a sub 2 half this spring! I felt strong at the end and was really pleased with my negative split. I promptly came home and stretched (but not enough 😦 but calf is still tight and I took Monday AND this morning off) while eating everything in sight and chugging some coconut water. The rest of Saturday was nice and calm, we had some friends over for board game night and just hung out. Definitely a good day.

Meet the cats!

I’ve got cardio covered, so allow me to move onto part two- Cats! (I also need to play around with adding photos and showing off my super awesome iPhone photo skills. Ha)

We refer to our kitties as the Gray Girls. They are practically identical and had to wear different color collars (despite being 100% indoor cats) for the early years of their lives because NO ONE could tell them apart. Since then Dora has put on a few extra pounds and Charlotte’s fur has gotten a bit darker but they still make it hard for visitors to figure out who’s who.

Here’s Dora doing her very best Elvis impersonation:

And a pretty terrible picture of Charlotte looking extra dark and tiny:


Don’t worry, you’ll be seeing much more of these two 🙂

I’m currently into week two of my half marathon training (I’m racing Cap City here in Columbus on May 4th) and I’m having a hard time committing to a plan. I don’t mean that I’m having any trouble putting in the runs, setting aside the time, etc. but that I really can’t decide what plan will work best for me. As of now I have two plans posted on my refrigerator- slightly modified versions of Hal Higdon and Jenny Hadfield’s intermediate plans. 

This race for me is all about my time. This will be my third half and I would be lying if I didn’t have high expectations for it. My first race was done perfectly- I went in with the best attitude and knew I would be happy just to finish strong. I finished in 2:09:59 admittedly with a bit too much left in the tank and I decided that for my next half I would really give it my all. Unfortunately I injured my foot a few weeks out from my second and wasn’t even sure I was going to run until the day before (I took THREE weeks off running before, talk about a taper haha). Given the circumstances I was just floored when not only did I finish but I beat my previous time by over 3 minutes. 

That brings me to now, about 10 weeks out from HM #3. I have full intentions of running a sub 2 and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get me there but I know I need to be careful and stay injury free, as that is really the only thing that can hold me back. The basics of the two plans are similar (one or two easy runs, a long slow run, a speed day, a pace run, supplemented by cross training + yoga/strength) but Higdon has 5 runs per week, three sandwiched in the middle, where as Hadfield has mostly alternating days (run, cross, run, cross). I think Hadfield will help to keep me injury free and I feel like my base is solid enough to just stick with 4 runs. I also know that I could trade out a day of cross for an extra run if I’m feeling strong. 

This morning was rough- all I had planned was an easy 30 minutes (I also like that Hadfield uses time and not miles, for some reason that makes sense to me) but we had freezing rain all last night and I knew that 1. running outside was NOT an option and 2. I had a long, cold process to get through before I would even make it to the gym. I finally dragged myself out of the house around 6:30a and didn’t get back until after 8! That wouldn’t be so bad if I had spent more than 40 minutes at the gym but most of the time was spent scraping off my car (a workout in itself as I had to work the core to make sure I didn’t slip and fall) and driving SLOWLY. I was so happy to come home to a hot shower and my favorite meal of the day. 

And to remember that today is FRIDAY, thank goodness.

Hope everyone else dealing with this weather is staying safe!

Ever since I started to take running seriously last year breakfast has become my absolute favorite meal of the day. I live for my morning ritual. Every day starts off pretty much like this:

– wake up
– lay in bed convincing myself that I need to actually move in order to start my day (not my favorite part) and reminding myself that I will feel SO MUCH better after a good sweat session
– finally get up and get ready for my workout
– drive to the gym/step out my front door for a run/pop in a workout DVD, etc.
– complete workout, chug water, immediately start preparing coffee + food

I know that as a runner the first thing I should do post workout is stretch but whenever I run super early I NEED to eat as soon as I get home. I stretch while I eat though, I promise. (well, most days 😉 ). If I had to guess I would say that in the past 400 days I have probably eaten eggs for breakfast at least 300 of them. I tried oatmeal in all forms (hot, cold, overnight, what have you) and it just wasn’t for me. Eggs are my best friends. A whole egg or two and then a crap ton of egg whites. If I had a SUPER hard workout I’ll have bread too but I really crave protein. I like to top my eggs with cottage cheese which most people around me find to be completely disgusting but that’s their problem.

This morning after a grueling 70 minutes at the gym I came home and proceeded to inhale half a giant whole wheat bagel slathered with cream cheese and an egg + lots of egg whites scramble. As I thought about how delicious it was (and how I wanted more cream cheese) I really started to think about how my eating habits have evolved. I had a serious battle with disordered eating that left me hangry all.the.time. I could never focus because I was constantly thinking about if I should eat, what I would eat, how long I could wait to eat, etc. etc. My skin was this weird yellow/gray color, my hair was limp and I always look TIRED. I weighed about 15-20 pounds MORE than I do now (but weight is just a number!) and I wouldn’t have been able to run a half marathon if someone held a gun to my head and the heads of all the people I love. But I couldn’t see any of that and that makes me so sad.

I still have my battles- I find myself feeling guilty if I miss a workout or wondering if the boyfriend is judging me for eating a third piece a pizza (he’s definitely not)- but I also know to push those thoughts out of my head just as quickly as they came in. Healthy living isn’t about being perfect it’s about trying. 

Now, instead of running to create a calorie deficit so I can eat, I’m eating so I can run. And enjoying every bite.