Month: May 2013

The Heart of it All

Thanks to everyone for hanging in here! It seems like my blog world has recently been overrun with people dealing with family stresses and losses- my thoughts are with all of you going through that.

I just wanted to pop in quickly to shed a little light on what’s been going on in our world. During what should have been a routine appointment last week, K.’s dad was informed that he would be needing a triple bypass- and while it wasn’t exactly an emergency situation they did recommend that he do it as soon as possible, which ended up being the very next day. Although they aren’t biologically my family, I am certainly close to them and I wanted to be present as much as I could throughout the whole ordeal. It was a very hectic and stressful 24 hours- the hardest part for me was watching K. try to deal with it all. He was out on a stress-reducing bike ride when his mom texted to say that his dad had come out of surgery and everything had gone smoothly. When I told K. that things were looking good it was as if every emotion he had been ignoring just washed over him, it was so good to see relief finally settle in. We learned shortly after the procedure that they ended up doing a QUADRUPLE bypass and that his dad’s heart had essentially been a ticking time bomb.

Everyone is feeling quite thankful- he could have had a heart attack while he was out riding his bike, working in the yard or even just during a stressful drive to work. That would have damaged the heart muscle so that it wouldn’t be recovering so fast (or even worse, which I don’t think I need to say). His dad is home now, coming around quite quickly, but still has a long road ahead. 

What this experience shows me is that diet and exercise aren’t just about vanity or stress relief, it’s first and foremost about our health. And while I still strongly believe that we can enjoy all things in moderation, it does make me look closely at the occasional questionable food choices we make (lazy nights of ordering in pizza, post-bar stops at Taco Bell, etc.) and really want to limit them even further going forward.

As I dive back into regular blogging there will be a heavy focus on meal planning as we are going to be preparing lots of food for his parents. Just like everything else in life there are always ways to improve. Although I know that generally speaking I sit on the healthier end of the spectrum I have a few changes to my diet that I want to make as well. I also want to be sure that exercise for health is something that I achieve daily- just because I miss a planned workout doesn’t mean I can’t take a 30 minute stroll to enjoy the sunset. I’m feeling a renewed sense of gratitude for my body and what it allows me to do and I want to repay it for all I put it through.

I plan to return with regularity (and pictures and recipes and workouts, oh my!) on Monday. 

Enjoy the weekend!

Family First

Just popping in to say that I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth! There was a family medical emergency last week and I’ve just been caught up in that. Things are, thankfully, going even better than expected but it’s still a bit overwhelming. I hope to return to my normal routine in a few days and that routine will include regular posts! Hopefully there will be still be a handful of readers left by then 🙂

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Memorial day weekend!

One of those weeks

I don’t know what it is but I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around this week. I feel like I’ve spent most of it not knowing what day it is! Yesterday after a marathon day at work I came home and immediately crashed in my bed, when I finally woke up I was SO confused! I remember thinking it was Saturday morning and I felt like I had to be somewhere. Needless to say I’m more than thankful that today is almost Friday.

Let’s rewind and see where my time has gone.

As soon as I got home from work on Tuesday, I whipped up this banana bread from Christina @ Hungry Meets Healthy, subbing blueberry Chobani for the banana (because that’s what I had on hand). The smell of the bread baking was pretty much all that could get me through my workout. NMTZ was seriously tough. My still sore muscles were rebelling against me but I powered through the best I could. It was certainly not the greatest of workouts but I was happy to be doing it. Dinner was my standard mixing bowl full of salad, this time pumped up with a black bean burger buried somewhere in there. 

Dessert was (unpictured) banana bread and it.was.heavenly! Follow that link and make it right now. I whipped it up in minutes and barely made a mess (which is a HUGE accomplishment for me!). DO IT.

I crashed hard on Tuesday and knew that Wednesday had to be a rest day. Work was kind of blur, things have been hard and hectic at work and my days there just feel so long. I took my random nap last night and raided the refrigerator for anything that could resemble dinner. What I came up with is too embarrassing to admit. Popcorn + banana bread were also enjoyed.

I’m still (impatiently) waiting for photos, but may just end up posting my Dirty Du recap tomorrow anyways, without them :-/. I’ll be so disappointed if there are none because there were also ZERO official race photos of me at Cap City. How does that even happen?!?

Memorial Day is coming up and I barely even realized! A 3 day weekend COULD sound awesome except I’m working second job Fri-Sun. That would bum me out more if I wasn’t desperately trying to save up for a new bike thanks to my reignited love of cycling. If I keep getting all these extra hours I’ll be riding this baby (in charcoal/teal) in no time! Memorial Day also means that it’s just about time to get back into my training plan, where did my freedom go?!? At least I have Monday off to do absolutely nothing, so thankful for that.

Any big Memorial weekend plans?

Running for fun

For the first time in many months I currently have nothing definite to train for. I have some potential races and goals but as opposed to just diving head first back into a training plan I knew I wanted to take at least a week or two to just do as I pleased, exercise-wise. With that in mind I made the (questionable) decision to ignore the 90 degree heat/90% humidity and go out for an easy run last night to shake out my legs. It was rough but at least it was pretty!

I covered about 3 miles running and 2 miles walking, I drank every last drop of water that I had and when I came home to my un-air conditioned house (another questionable decision) I.was.DYING. I couldn’t find an escape from the heat so I did the only logical thing- got into an ice cold shower still wearing my sweaty running gear. The initial shock of the cold water took my breath away but after that it felt like heaven! 

Post-run ice shower was followed up by Thai food and board games with friends. Delicious and fun!

When my alarm went off this morning I literally popped out of bed. I had no intentions of running but it just looked so peaceful outside and despite still being a tad sore my legs were itching to run. Another easy (pace, not so easy on the quads) 3 miles and I was more than ready for a cold breakfast.

Lemon Chobani, raw oats, chia seeds, slivered almonds, tiny pinch of shredded coconut

I’ve got Jillian planned for tonight and I can truly say that I am so excited to spend an hour cursing at the TV. I’d really cut back on the Jillian DVDs pre-half to avoid being too sore and I just didn’t have time for them while I was trying to learn how to ride a bike and trail run before the duathlon (review coming soon, I promise!) so it’s nice to welcome them back into the fold. It feels good to WANT to do my workouts, just a few short weeks ago I was so over running I thought I was going to quit. The weather is certainly helpful too, summer makes me so happy. I swear I suffer from some version of seasonal affect disorder- as soon as the days are long, warm and sunny I’m the happiest girl in the world.

Happy Tuesday 🙂

Manic Monday

Happy Monday! Due to summer hours I get to work a (slightly) shortened day today which would be great if I didn’t have so much work to get done! Considering that, I’ll keep this short & sweet.

1. My duathlon yesterday was awesome! I have a recap post in the works but I’m just waiting for some photos to drop in. I’m absolutely hooked on multi sport events now and desperately want to start swimming so a tri can be in my future. 

2. The high here today is close to 90 degrees! Ohio is so bad at seasons.

3. Thanks to #2 our poor kitties are really hot today. Since the temperature is supposed to drop back down we are trying not to turn the AC on (which I realize sounds insane given the 90 degrees high, but whatever) and the gray girls have just been sprawling out on the hard floors all morning. I tried to explain to them that the basement would be cooler but they didn’t seem to understand.

4. I’m completely obsessed with A1 sauce. Last night for dinner we grilled some spicy black bean burgers and I covered that thing in A1. So delicious, definitely not just for steak!

5. K.’s mom bought us a panini press a couple weeks ago and we thought that was totally weird. We have a REALLY small kitchen (which makes me so sad) with zero storage space and we just don’t need random appliances. Little did I know that I would fall in love with this thing. I swear I have used it almost every day. It makes toasty, melty sandwiches in 30 seconds flat.

6. I’m absolutely eating frozen yogurt for lunch today. 

That’s all for now, have a great week!

Rules of the road

Thanks to the summery weather of yesterday I wanted nothing but vegetables for dinner. On my walk home from work I broke the cardinal rule of grocery shopping (don’t go hungry!) and popped in the store to pick up some dinner supplies. Everything sounded good! I reminded myself that I was walking and therefore needed to show some restraint but I still ended up with some seriously heavy bags.

From store to table in 15 minutes flat!

This picture is deceiving but that is actually a small mixing bowl full of salad. Romaine, red peppers, carrots, avocado, feta cheese and my go to agave-Dijon dressing. Quickly sauteed (maybe 5 minutes in the pan?) kale + broccoli, with sea salt and lime juice, and a good sized sweet potato with butter and cinnamon. I was so insanely full after eating this (but I was still able to clean my plate 🙂 ).

After my dinner of vegetables we headed to a mini cookout with two of our friends. They enjoyed their brats (while I snacked on one too many PopChips) and we started talking about the upcoming duathlon. I haven’t really thought too much about the fact that I don’t even know how a race like this is run. I knew about transition but I didn’t really think about the logistics of it all. This is a relatively small race so we only need to be there 1 hour before the start to get our stuff settled in the transition area. I won’t be wearing cycling shoes to transition for me will literally just be putting on my helmet, switching the Garmin to cycling mode and hopping on my bike. Nice and simple. 

As I learned yesterday the two most important rules are:

1. Helmets are required, which I assumed. I don’t ride without one ever
1. Drafting can lead to disqualification. You must stay three bike lengths behind the nearest cyclist unless you are actively attempting to overtake them. If you spend too much time within three bike lengths you will receive a time penalty. This makes sense to me but I didn’t know if was an official rule.

I’m definitely more nervous about getting into something new than I am about my performance. After looking through some pictures and the results from last year, I know that the trail will be quite muddy (lots of lost shoes!) and I have NO idea what to expect from myself time wise. The fastest female in my age group ran at a 9:46 pace and biked at 15.1 mph, while the slowest ran a 14:50 pace and biked at 10mph. I imagine I’ll fall somewhere in the middle of that but I kind of want to push it hard and be competitive! My running pace will really depend on what the trail is like, obviously. As far as the biking goes I just plan to give it everything I’ve got. I find comfort in the fact that last year’s group wasn’t full of crazy fast girls, I was afraid that I’d be way way back in last place!

Any tips for pre-duathlon prep?

What season is it?!?

Yesterday was kind of an off day for me. I worked both jobs, grabbed fast-ish food on the road between them, got home late, ate ice cream and pizza and stayed up way way past my bedtime. I felt off, I was feeling bad for myself and whining about my long day. At 1a (seriously) I made the decision that come hell or high water I would fit a run in before work in the morning.

5.5 hours later l was slowly reminding myself of said decision. Despite the lack of sleep I felt ready to tackle the day, my body just needed a little convincing. I checked the weather only to be pleasantly surprised- 66 degrees and sunny! With no excuses left I got myself moving, laced up the PureCadences (that I plan on running in this weekend) and got out the door.

I’m not exactly sure what I thought 66 + sunny would feel like, but when you are running what it feels like is HOT. By mile 2 I was super sweaty and needed a little reprieve. K. had told me about some mountain biking paths that shoot off the trail so I kept an eye out for one and was more than happy to hop on and enjoy some serious shade. The running part of this upcoming duathlon is legit trail running and since I have zero experience with that I figured now was a good time to try it out, better late than never, right? I hopped some tree branches, sank into the mud, got hit in the face with more than a few vines and quickly realized that I needed to really pay attention to what I was doing or else I would break an ankle. I did just a bit more than half a mile in the woods before coming to an exit, a good start if I do say so myself.

At this point I was on a real time crunch, as my original plan had been an easy 3, so I picked up the pace just a tad and made my way home. I immediately downed the largest cup of water I could find and stretched my calves, I think this might have been my longest run in these more-minimal shoes (and it is, sadly, my longest run since my half) so I knew I couldn’t skip this very important step that I constantly ignore.

Not too shabby for an easy run for me, especially given my trail running detour

I had about 20 minutes to shower and get ready for work, so that was really fun. By the time I got to work I was famished and quickly headed over to the cafe for my favorite vegan breakfast burrito.

It’s not pretty but it is delicious.
Spinach tortilla stuffed with vegan sausage, marinated tofu, roasted potatoes & broccoli, pico on the side

Two days ago it was 35 degrees when I woke up and now our high is 87. I can’t keep up with this Ohio weather! I’m much more of a summer girl so I say bring on the heat 🙂

Run, ride, run- Oh my!

So yesterday was a landmark day for two reasons- my first ever brick workout and a training ride without K. It made me feel like a real cyclist!

My friend (who is doing the duathlon with me) and I had made plans to work out together. She is mainly a cyclist who has only dabbled in running so I was there to motivate her through the run and she was in charge of pushing us during the ride. Since the race is 2-12-2 we planned to do 1-10-1 with no real pace in mind, just getting out and pushing ourselves a bit.

I had a pretty standard pre-workout breakfast about 2 hours before we were set to head out

Toast with mounds of PB2 + strawberry jam, peach Chobani, coffee

Running a mile felt kind of stupid, to be honest. I didn’t really know a good route so I just took us in a big loop around the block and used the Garmin to figure out when to turn and head back. My street is a serious up hill climb so I probably could have made a better decision (especially with a running newbie) but she did great. It was a nice slow mile that got our legs ready to ride. We popped back in the house, grabbed our bikes and headed to the trail. Here is the downside of having my Garmin- I didn’t even think to bring my phone to use as a camera! It was a beautiful day out yesterday. Chillier than it has been but clear and sunny. The sky was super blue and with all the trees in full bloom the trail just looked better than ever. Thanks to the cooler weather our route was less busy than usual and we could comfortably ride side by side if we wanted. We alternated between a comfortable conversational pace, chatting away, and really pushing ourselves for a mile or two at a time. 

We ended up knocking out over 11 miles way quicker than I had imagined (which was good because I was on a SUPER time crunch) and then headed out for our last mile of running. Unfortunately my friend’s shin splints were acting up so it turned into more of a run/walk deal but it still got us to shake our legs out. I was pleased to see that our average pace was about 2 mph faster than my last ride, it gave me more confidence in my riding and made me more aware of the fact that I can push myself to be better on the bike.

By the time we got home I had to move in super speed to make it to lunch on time. I chugged some water and was showered and out the door in 15 minutes flat. Someone should really give me a medal for that performance.

We were out of the house all day long yesterday and I was so thankful to come home and collapse on the couch, I think Dora felt the same way

Seriously, how cute is she?!

Spring has sprung

Last night’s workout was supposed to be some quality time with my good friend Jillian Michaels, but when I got out of work and noticed that it was still beautiful outside I didn’t want to spend an hour cooped up in my house when I could be enjoying this perfect day. K. was free as well so we decided to set out on a nice long bike ride. We got our bikes all geared up and ready to go and prepared my Garmin (I should name him) for his inaugural workout.

This little guy is my Garmin Forerunner 405 and I am in love with him. 
I have to admit, I don’t have very much experience on a bike. K. has been cycling for years (for enjoyment, as a mode of transportation and competitively) and encouraged me to get into it as well. He bought me my bike for my birthday a few years ago and I’ve rode it every now and then but never really consistently. One of the things that prevented me from riding more often is that he wasn’t exactly the most patient of instructors. On our first ride ever (which was basically my first time riding a bike since my teens!) I could tell how frustrated he was getting with me for being slow. After a good talking to from his cyclist friends he realized he needed to be a bit more understanding and it’s been a lot smoother since then. Our rides now are longer, a bit faster and generally include working on a few different cycling skills (riding close to other people, shifting better, working on my cadence, getting out of the saddle to climb hills, etc). I’m kind of having him train me for this upcoming duathlon even though I have absolutely no expectations or time goals since I have no idea what I am getting myself into.

Anyways, back to last night!

We rode along our favorite trail for awhile but it was a bit congested with commuters and walkers enjoying the day so K. lead us on a bit of detour. We climbed up a steep bridge that ran over a highway (mildly terrifying) and into a less busy area with open roads. I worked a lot on shifting and allowing myself to gain speed on downhills and turns. After a half an hour of that we headed back to the trail to ride up to this super pretty man made lake. It was at that moment that I realized that spring has actually arrived. Everything was so green! I feel like it happened over night. I wish I’d had my camera. We enjoyed the view before heading home. I took the lead and set the pace and discovered that I could actually ride a lot faster than I thought. Don’t let that mislead you I am still a painfully slow cyclist, but I’m seeing improvement and I find that really encouraging. All said and done we were on the roads for about 90 minutes and it felt great. 

One of the downsides of cycling, for me, is that right now it doesn’t feel like as good of a workout as running. I’m not at the point where I am really pushing myself and I don’t experience the endorphin rush that I do after a long run. I’m hoping that once I’m using the heart rate monitor I’ll be able to really start putting in the efforts and feeling more accomplished at the end of a long ride. 

Post-ride I played around with my new boyfriend the Garmin and looked at the stats from the ride. We ate pierogis for dinner and finally watched this week’s Game of Thrones. Does anyone else watch? It’s basically the only TV show we are ever caught up on and that’s only because K.’s parents let us use their HBO Go account. Shhhh… Don’t tell on us!

I’ve kind of completely ignored my proposed training plan, but since the weather is great again today I’m hoping to get back on the bike and follow it up with a quick run. Exercise is exercise, right?

Training Plan Tuesday

I’m a huge fan of alliteration so Tuesday seemed like a great plan to share my training plan for the next few weeks. 

This upcoming duathlon will be my first not-just-running race and I have absolutely no idea how to train for it (obviously as I have clearly not been training for it yet).  I’m still shaking out my legs from the half so I will be pretty flexible with my goals for the week and just kind of see how I’m feeling.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 20-30 minutes- bike
Wednesday: a.m. easy 30 minute run, p.m. Jillian DVD
Thursday: 30-40 minutes bike
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 4 miles running/10 miles biking
Sunday: 1 hour yoga

My plan is to essentially repeat this next week, slightly increasing my times, and try to squeeze in one more longer bike ride and maybe another brick workout. The set up of this race is 2 miles running/12 miles biking/2 miles running. I’m certainly not concerned about the running and I have ridden 10-15 miles plenty of times I’ve just never done it with any sense of urgency. I’m oddly nervous about cycling in a race environment but the only way to move past that is to do it!

After the duathlon I’ll have another easy week and then it looks like I’ll be diving back into half marathon + (eeek) full marathon training! As of today I’m eyeing a half on 8/25 and a full on 10/20 (among a few others…). The plans that I’ve been playing around with line up pretty well and even though I was tempted to have a few more plan-less I think that sticking with a schedule is best, plus I won’t lose any of my base this way. I’ve still got a few weeks until I need to register (re: until the prices rise) so if anything comes up and I need to dial it back it’s not a problem. I’m so excited about moving into longer distances and hope to use cycling as my cross training and come across a few more multi sport races this summer. 

How are your race schedules shaping up?