Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beach Vacation Day 3: Hot Run, Sun, Sand, Sushi & Sunsets

Hottest Run Ever
This morning we were up around 7 am. Guess going to bed by 9:30 will do that to you of course. We had started watching Breakfast at Tiffany's, but just couldn't stay awake.

So, up early, Jason decided he wanted to try to get out for a run with me after breakfast. So, we laced up the running shoes (I think it was a little after 8) and headed out for the hottest, most humid, heat index-of-100-degrees run I've ever done. Holy freaking crap. We made it about 4 miles before calling it quits.

I will say that it was nice to run up to the top of a bridge and look out over the inter coastal waterways. Now, getting to the top was a bit challenging of course. We also ran through a neighborhood/condo area we've never driven through. So running can be a nice way to really see a city. As long as it's not going to kill you of course. I did hit the elliptical for 5 minutes to sort of ease out my legs then I did abs from Cathe's High Reps DVD.

Sun, Sushi & Sunsets
After we got cleaned up - yes we had to clean up before going to the beach because we were that gross from the run - we packed up the cooler with lunch, snacks, and a few adult beverages (and tons of water) and headed down to the beach for the day.
We stayed on the beach from just after 10 am until about 2:45 before deciding to go get cleaned up. We had planned on having cocktails and sushi at this fun little place across from our condo called The Jelly Fish Bar. It had just opened up four years ago, when we first started staying in this condo. We're really glad it's been able to stay open. Not all beach restaurants make it. This place seems to have become a local fave though.
I knew I wanted the edamame and some wakame. I also ordered a cocktail I ordered last year. It's their signature cocktail, The Jellyfish. I must say, it was not the same at all. I looked back at last year's post even just to verify. And realized I hadn't even ordered the same cocktail because that one was no longer on the menu, but they were very very similar in descriptions.
 
 
 
So, I guess they did away with the Comb Jellyfish and just make a different one called The Jellyfish. It wasn't very good at all. I was really disappointed and ended up I letting Jason finish it for me. Do you ever just get your heart set on something you've had before? I didn't even want to order a different cocktail to be honest. All I wanted was that goodness I had last year ;-)

I ordered the vegetable roll and Jason got a volcano and a tuna roll. For me, the best part was still the wakame. Don't know what my obsession is with that stuff, but I love it.

Full, and lazy feeling, we spent the rest of the evening just sitting out on the balcony. It can be so much fun to people watch, as well as ocean watch.
 
 
 
The sunset was absolutely gorgeous last night. Everything had a beautiful pink hue.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Vacation Day 2 - Running, Reading, Relaxing

Running
This morning I woke up a bit before 7 am. Of course, we had gone to sleep by 9....on vacation no less. I had thought I might try for an outdoor run, but the temps were already a humid 83 degrees by 8 am. So, I took my run to the treadmill.

I had the Food Network to keep me occupied for a pretty decent 5 mile run. Running and watching tv isn't so bad ;-) I did 3 miles, then 4 1:00 athletic intervals then finished up another mile to round it out to and even 5.

After stretching and rolling (yep, brought my TriggerPoint kit), we packed up the cooler with lunch and headed down to the beach. Not a bad way to start the day if you ask me.

Beach Time & Stair Cardio
We set up our little umbrella camp and proceeded to just relax. I was excited to start one of the books I brought along with me: Alice Sebold's The Almost Moon. I've read her memoir, Lucky, and her first work of fiction, The Lovely Bones.
.



We were out for a few hours before taking a break. We ended up having to make a trip to Target. Only here, at the beach, on vacation would I EVER go to Target with a cover up, running hat, flip flops, and no makeup. We had to pick up a few things we forgot at Walmart and that weren't already at the condo. While we like renting this particular unit, you never know what essentials (like toilet paper or paper towels) will be left by the previous renter.

Anyway, after that mini beach break, we headed back down to continue with the lazy day. It's funny to me how tired you can feel, too, from just sitting out there, reading, people watching. Jason and I have started taking a tally of the number of flights we're taking this week. The condo is on the 4th floor, so we always take the stairs. Let's just say, they add up! Today we hit the stairs a total of 4 times for a total of 16 flights up (carrying loads of beach "shit," says Jason)

Do you take the stairs or the elevator? What's your flight limit?

Veggie Burger Night
We don't really have nightly menus set. I just bought or brought things to make throughout the week. Ok, did that even make sense...Basically, I have dinner ideas written out and the food to make the meals. But, we don't have anything set as in Sunday night is this and Monday night is that. Kind of winging it in some ways I suppose. We're definitely going to hit up a sushi bar across the street tomorrow though. The only set plan we have other than beach time.

Anyhoo...Tonight we went with some homemade veggie burgers that I brought with us. We sauteed some portobello mushrooms with onions to top along with baby spinach and some Daiya Vegan Cheese. I think you already know what we had as a side.
 This was enjoyed looking at this view.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Where's the Beach? Right Here! Vacation Day 1

First Beach Day
Well, we got into Perdido Key, FL around 2 pm yesterday. Rather than going directly to the condo, unpacking, then heading back out for groceries and such, we stopped at a Walmart Super Center on the way in. It was kind of nice getting that out of the way and only unloading the car once. Though, the car was beyond packed and it took two carts to get it all up to the room

Getting the errands out of the way meant we were able to hit the beach on our first day here. Usually it's around 6-ish by the time we've unpacked and run errands and unpacked again. So this was really a treat.
Where's the Beach? Right here!

Yes, I look confused, couldn't tell if the picture had taken
First Beach Dinner
Dinner was a roasted veggie salad with tofu. We were both looking forward to eating lots of veggies after being in a car most of the day with only a pit stop at Subway. I did have a salad there, but just not the same fresh veggies I like to use.
 

It was so nice eating dinner overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. It was just the right amount of breeze to keep you cool, but not so much you felt like you were being abraded by wind and sand. We pretty much spent the rest of the evening on the balcony. We were pretty worn out from driving (and sitting on the beach for an hour), so bed time was 9 pm. Yep, we're old ;-)

So far, we're off to a pretty decent, pretty lazy start to a week on the beach. I hope you all are having a great weekend wherever you are!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beach Suitcase Essentials

Well, today I am not exactly able to access my computer as I'll be in the car heading to the beach. We did start the trek yesterday evening stopping and staying the night in Vicksburg, MS (about halfway point). So today won't be too terribly bad.

Anyway, there will be no workouts today. I'm not thinking a quick salad at Quizno's will be very exciting to share. And I'm sure you don't want to hear me whine about how I don't like to sit in a car for very long - thank goodness for audio books though.

So, I thought it'd be fun to talk about packing for vacations. Jason and I have pretty much gone to the beach ever since we met (waaaayyyyy back in 1995). So we're kind of pros on beach packing. When it comes to other trips, I sort of don't know what to do. Seriously. Seattle, totally confused and ended up wearing pretty much the same thing all weekend. It's like my brain just fizzles. But beach packing...auto-pilot.

Now, I do still want to over-pack. But I have the basics down pat. I just have to scale back on the number of outfits and shoes I want to bring along. Because honestly, I pretty much live in my bikini, a cover up, and flip flops the whole time. So all those cute outfits, shoes, accessories I lug down with me, they go unworn.

Heather's Beach Suitcase Essentials:
  • Bathing suits - I bring one for each day. Yes, I have that many and then some. 
  • Cover ups - Must bring at least one black and one white to coordinate with my beach hats and bikini color.
  • Beach hats - 1 white and 1 tan/brown to coordinate with suits and coverups.
  • Flip flops - 1 black pair and 1 tan/brown pair (you see the coordination theme right?).
  • Sunblock - I bring an ass-load: 1 sports spray on 15 spf, 1 sports spray on 50 spf for outdoor running, 1 baby formula 50 spf for face, 1 sports type 15 spf (because it lasts longer).
  • Beach bag - the beach bag already has essentials like the sunblock and tissues in a water-proof case (my nose gets runny).
  • Sunglasses - 1 black pair, 1 brown pair (for obvious coordination reasons)
  • Beach towels - 3 because I can wash them so no need to bring all of them along.
  • Long-sleeved t-shirt - because it can get chilly sitting on the balcony in the evenings.
  • Lounge wear - 1 pair of shorts and 1 pair capri yoga pants.
  • Workout clothes/gear - I always bring running shorts, sports bras, socks, running shoes, some DVDs, reistance bands, and weighted gloves. 
  • Books - Gotta have beach reading material...nothing heavy please. Light fluff is a-okay.
  • Music - Must have tunes, especially chill music from singers like Jack Johnson. Perfect for the beach.
  • Real clothes - I typically bring 2 sundresses, 2 pairs of shorts, and a couple of halter or tube tops and 1 pair of capri jeans (in case it's cooler in the eve and we actually leave the condo).
  • Basic essentials - you all have your own: undies, bras, makeup, hair "stuff", etc. 
  • Food - I pack up things like homemade veggie burgers, seitan, and tofu in case I can't find it in stores there. I also pack up spices that we typically cook with.
  • Beach chair/Mat - This year we're taking one folding lounge chair and beach mat b/c the new chairs the condo owner has are not nearly as comfy as the old ones. 
So there you have it, that's what I pack up. Looking at the list, it looks like a lot. But it's really not so much. All the clothes and makeup items fit into one bag. We have a separate bag for beach gear and books, a collapsible cooler, and a reusable bag for the food items that don't need to be kept cold (like granola bars, oatmeal, or any spices I take with us).

What would your beach vacation suitcase(s) look like?

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    Fun Facts Friday - Race Prep

    Final Weight Workout (for a week)
    Today was a weight day for me. I really wanted to get in all my weight workouts before vacation as I won't have access to weights. The condo does have a small gym with elliptical, treadmill, and recumbent bike.

    I am taking along my resistance bands and a couple of Cathe DVDs (MMA Boxing and MMA Kickboxing) along with my weighted gloves. But no real weights. I am looking forward to some beach runs and beach bootcamp workouts (sorry Jason) as well.

    Do you ever take DVDs, bands, or other workout gear with you on vacation? Do you workout on vacations?

    Anyway, I wanted to get legs done, but didn't want to be super sore because I knew there would be a lot of sitting happening for the drive. It's not fun to have DOMS going on when you can't stand and stretch. I also wanted to hit back as well, so I started there with a giant set. I kind of messed up the weights so this time it was 3 x (8,6,10). I started with 10 minutes on the elliptical to warm up.

    GS
    Underhand barbell rows - 3x8
    Pullovers - 3x6
    Double-arm rows - 3x10

    SS#1 3x8
    Squats
    Stiff-legged deadlifts


    SS#2 3x8
    Alternating lunges
    Plie squats with low-end pulse


    SS#3 3x8
    Alternating side lunges
    Calf raises 3x15

    I finished with another 10 minutes on the elliptical then a stretch. And finally I get a rest day tomorrow! Woohoo! I am all packed up, and my brain is already at the beach.

    Fun Facts Friday - Race Prep
    I mentioned the other day that my friend is running an 8K tomorrow morning. I really wish we could be here to cheer him on. I think I'm a better cheerleader than actual race participant. I just get too caught up in the competition and it's no longer fun for me. The only consolation is the feeling of accomplishment from crossing that finish line. But I love to be supportive of my friends and their accomplishments. That makes me smile.

    So, even though I don't love to race, I still have learned a few tips and tricks that have helped me over the years.  So, here are Heather's (non-professional) Race Prep tips.
    • Hydrate - this doesn't mean drink gallons of water the morning of the race. Start drinking the water the day before!
    • Rest - don't do a workout the day before a race. Trust me on this. I've even done workouts the day of race when it was an evening race. Hello dumbdumb.
    • Lay out your gear - take the time the evening before the race to lay out all of your gear: clothes, shoes, bib, safety pins, even things like Body Glide and water bottles.
    • Eat normally - just eat a normal, maybe slightly lighter, meal the night before. Make sure you don't eat anything that might upset your tummy of course.
    • Eat breakfast - definitely eat the morning of the race. I like to eat a banana with some peanut butter at least an hour beforehand.
    • Jog - get to the race with enough time to warm up. Do an easy job, some butt kicks, high knees...just loosen yourself up (also helps with nerves).
    • Slow down (some) - this can be so hard. You get caught up in the excitement and blow it out the first mile. Try to relax and pace yourself. Pick it up towards the end instead.
    • People watch - this helps the time go by and helps you to take your mind off any pain.
    • Challenge yourself - while I do say slow down, I don't mean take it easy. It's a race, go for it. 
     What race tips/tricks do you live by?

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Another Two-a-Day: Weights & Run

    Another Two-a-Day
    While I didn't run this morning, I did wake up plenty early enough to get in weights. I guess it was so stuck in my head that I had been planning on running, I just woke up at that time. Anyway, I did lay there in bed and debate weights for about 15 minutes. I just never feel really strong in the morning. Of course, I do just get up, get dressed, and start the workout. Not really any easing into my mornings, ever.

    I went with chest, triceps, and abs. I did triceps as giant sets of 3 x (6,8,10) but did chest as a superset of 6 and 8 reps.

    GS
    Double-arm overhead triceps extension
    Lying triceps extension
    Double-arm kickbacks

    SS
    Flat bench chest flye into chest press
    Chest Press

    I did abs from Cathe's Power Hour. It's such an oldie workout, but I absolutely love the abs from that one. I always have.

    The temps were supposed (key word) to be close to 80 today. But, it was mostly cloudy up until later in the day, so that kept the temps hovering around 70 degrees. The humidity was almost nil, but it was pretty windy out. Anyway, all of that meant I needed to get in my run earlier rather than later.

    When I set out, it was about 69 degrees and I actually felt chilly (well, for all of 5 minutes of course). The wind was at my back for the first half of the run. It felt great actually. It might have been 14-16 mph, but it was just enough (on my back) to keep me from feeling hot.

    The return....head wind city. But, I was having one of those amazing runner's high runs that it didn't even matter. In fact, even with the head winds, I managed a negative split. Ok, so it was only about 17 seconds faster on the return, but still ;-)

    So, two awesome runs this week. I guess I'm back in the game. I think the other crummy runs were likely due to just flat out being sick and overdoing it. And when you've had crappy runs, the good runs right after feel incredible. Today was one of those, run all day long, kinds of runs. Unfortunately, I had to reel it in and get back to work. It was SO hard to do though. Do you ever have to force yourself to stop running? I smiled all the way back to work though.

    Oh and the temps, never did budge so I could have run after work and run longer. Of course, had I waited, then the temps would have actually gone up. That's how it goes right?

    Vacation Prep
    When I got home, I started to tackle my vacation prep list. I think I'm about 90% packed actually. Just need to pack those last things that I can't pack up yet like hair gels, hairdryer, makeup and such. I'm trying so hard to not over-pack, which I usually do. I think I'm good right now, but part of me keeps second guessing what I've got in the suitcase. Of course, Jason reminds me that I can always buy it down there if I forget it. Just as long as I have my contacts, I'm good.

    I also painted my nails today (finally). I didn't want to drag extra polish and remover down with me on vacation, so I wanted to get that done tonight. Toes are nice and shiny now. Of course, the sand will quickly abrade the shine, but at least they'll be pretty for a few days.

    I baked up some tofu to take on the road with me, but went with leftovers for dinner - Chickpeas & Veggies Sauce with Noodles.

    Funny how in trying to clean out the fridge I ended up with more leftovers. And unfortunately, they were some that had gluten so my sister can't polish them off when she comes over to stay and doggy sit.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    Spin, Storms, Stir Fry

    More Spinning
    Today ended up being another spin day for me. It was super windy and muggy out (we have a major storm system heading in the evening), so it worked out nicely that I wasn't planning to run. Though, I was sort of putting off weights today.

    It was a good class today, same old track, but good sweatfest nonetheless. Of course, the extreme humidity might have something to do with the excess sweat too ;-)

    I was planning on getting up and running with my friend again in the morning. Really looking forward to it even though it meant getting up before sunlight. But, he had to back out (sigh). He ran today and is planning on doing an 8K Saturday morning (woohoo!!), so he needs to rest more than he needs to run.

    I am absolutely ok with missing out on the run if it's for a good cause. Unfortunately, we'll be on the road Saturday morning so we can't be there to cheer him on (or run ourselves).

    Storms & Stir Fry
    It looks like we're in for a really bumpy ride tonight with the weather. It's still sunny out and we're already under watches. The mid-south and south are just getting beaten up this spring. I know there were deaths from tornadoes yesterday in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas. And we all know about the tragedy in Joplin, MO. It's so hard when places are being hit over and over again.

    We've got major flooding already, and the constant heavy rains and storms are not helping at all. In fact, we found out that part of the route we usually take to Florida is close because it's under water. What always makes me nervous when the ground is saturated, is those large old trees coming down. And that's what we have all in our neighborhood. It seems we've all had some crazy weather starting with massive snow storms, flooding, unusually cold temps...How are you fairing in your area?

    Since I couldn't cook out, and I'm still trying to use up any fresh foods, I went with stir fry. Actually, Jason suggested it. I balked at it, but then made it anyway. For some reason, it really didn't sound appetizing to me. But, it was fast and used up fresh broccoli and squash.
     

    I can't really say this is a recipe at all. It's basically a refrigerator/freezer special. I even used a pre-made sauce that I doctored up just a little bit with some PB2. Oh, and of course some Sriracha chili sauce. Can't forget about that yummy goodness ;-)

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Two-a-Day Tuesday & Chickpeas & Veggies Sauce with Noodles

    Two-a-Day Tuesday
    This morning I did indeed get out of bed and get in an early morning run. It did help that I had a running date with a friend. Jason was going to bike while our friend Thad and I ran.

    I finally had a really great outdoor run too. Maybe it was the cooler temps (only about 64 degrees), being completely over the sinus infection, or the good company. Either way, I'll take it.

    We got in 5.4 miles. We had to turn around just a hair early because part of the path was flooded. I was ready to run, not swim this morning. I have to give major props to my friend Thad.

    I know he's been worried about going out for a run with me, thinking I'll just run off and leave him. But we were there to run together. I let him pretty much set the pace, and he's much faster than he gives himself credit for. So high 5's Thad!!!

    Today was another 2-a-day Tuesday. I am trying to fit in all of my weight workouts before we leave for vacation. So I decided to go with biceps, shoulders, and abs at lunch. I knew I could get in and get it done efficiently.

    Once again, I went with the giant sets of 3X(6,8,10). I really like the total muscle fatigue you get at the end, despite having to go a little lower with weights.

    GS#1
    Alternating bicep curls
    Hammer curls
    Preacher curls

    GS#2
    Arnold press
    Lateral raise
    Rear delt flye

    I did abs from Cathe's High Reps DVD as it's short but tough.

    Since I got my rear up and got my workout done early (and at lunch), I got off at normal time today. This left me time to hit up Barnes & Noble. I am on my last unread book in the house and needed to restock for the upcoming beach vacation. You can't sit on the beach all day without a few books and some magazines.

    Too Much Dinner
    Dinner was supposed to be fairly simple. We have lots of veggies to use up before we leave on Saturday. I was going to do a Pasta & Veggies dish. Surprise, no rotini or penne. I did have a bag of Shirataki Noodles and some soba noodles though. So I combined those for Chickpeas & Veggies Sauce with Noodles.

    Chickpeas and Veggies Sauce with Noodles
    Ingredients:
    1/4 red onion, diced
    1/2 green bell pepper, diced
    1-2 tbsp minced garlic
    1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
    1 package shirataki noodles, rinsed well
    1 1/2 cups chickpeas 
    1/2 bunch kale, de-veined and chopped
    1/4 cup white wine or vegetable stock
    4 oz tomato paste (or just use less liquid)
    2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
    1 yellow squash, diced
    1 zucchini, diced
    1/2 portobello mushroom, diced (optional)
    5-6 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and chopped
    Capers to taste
    To taste: salt, pepper, basil, oregano, red pepper

    1 serving soba noodles, cooked per package directions (optional)

    Directions:
    In large skillet, saute onion, bell pepper, shirataki noodles, and garlic for about 3-4 minutes. Add in diced tomatoes with juice, chickpeas, kale, wine and spices.

    Cover and let the kale soften for about 5 minutes.

    Add in remaining ingredients, toss well and cover to allow kale to continue to cook down, approximately 5 minutes. Uncover and allow to simmer until sauce thickens.
     

    This is basically a one-pot dinner other than a pot to cook the soba noodles in. And of course this was over-kill and made way more than I had intended. So, you could easily use half a squash and 1/2 zucchini, smaller bunch of kale, and just the shirataki noodles or just the soba noodles.

    BUT, it was really tasty and that's what matters most - especially when you're just making stuff up ;-) It has sort of a Mediterranean hint, maybe because of the sundried tomatoes. If you like feta or goat cheese, either would work really well here too.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Tofu Scramble, Group Ride & Grilled Portobello Sandwiches

    Sunday Night Scramble 
    Last night we ended up having breakfast for dinner. This is a real rarity as I've never been a big breakfast foods fan (other than say oatmeal). I made up an easy tofu scramble with bell peppers, onions, and spinach. I served up some tempeh bacon and half a bagel with peanut butter. Super simple.
     

    I am going to have to remember this meal more often. It wasn't too heavy and you can change out the veggies in the scramble for endless combinations.


    Monday Spin
    Today ended up being spin class for me. We had rain chances in the forecast, plus it was going to be too warm and muggy for a run. I was supposed to meet a friend after work for spin, so it was all sort of decided ahead of time: Monday = Spin. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to make it. But I went anyway.

    It was a pretty good class despite the fact that I've done this one track at least a million times. My legs were talking to me the whole time though. I think they were more tired from yesterday's run (the intervals most likely) than I had realized. But it was good to get them moving.

    This is going to be another one of those weeks when I have to be strategic about my workouts. If I want to run, it'll have to be in the morning or at the gym. We have rain in the forecast almost all week. Also, my rest day really needs to be Saturday as we'll be on the road that day heading to the beach. 

    I am planning on running in the morning with a friend. This means I must get my butt out of bed and actually do this. At least I know it'll be cooler for the run. Now just need the running gods to smile upon me since my last few outdoor runs weren't on the suckier side.

    Grilling Out Sort Of
    While it wasn't exactly gorgeous grilling weather, the rain was holding off (or so I thought). Jason had gone to the grocery store and picked up portobellos and some goat cheese. He's not subtle when he wants a certain dish ;-) It's so rare we have real cheese at the house anymore; big treat.

    So, I decided to go ahead and grill up the dinner. This wasn't a complicated sandwich. I just wiped the mushrooms with balsamic vinegar. I also brushed some tempeh slices with the balsamic vinegar as well (wanted the protein).

    When I went out to top the mushrooms with the goat cheese, that's when I had to go to plan B. The propane tank had just ran out and it started raining at the same time. Guess that worked out quite nicely I suppose.

    I had to finish up the sweet potatoes I was also grilling inside. I mean, I was making a sandwich so sweet potatoes had to come into play right? Anyway, I layered up the sandwich with tempeh, portobello, roasted red bell peppers, and spinach and used whole-wheat sandwich thins.

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    Birthday Party, Wedding, Running

    Birthday Party
    I really appreciate the comments from yesterday's post. I know it was a long one, so thank you for sticking with it. And thank you for sharing your reasons for moving as well.

    Thankfully, the rain moved out so both events we had to attend yesterday were rain-free. The first event of the day was my nephew's 5th birthday party. They had those bouncy things for the kids. The favorite was the bouncy slide though. I can't believe the air these kids were catching!
     

    They were having so much fun that we had to take the gifts outside to the birthday boy to even get him sidetracked long enough to open them.

    Bouncy contraptions also almost trump birthday cake and ice cream too! It took a lot of coercion to get everyone inside for the blowing out of candles. Of course, once they got their cake, they were happy campers.

    It really turned out to be a great birthday part (hectic as hell as you can imagine). But all the kids seemed to be having a great time. Even my sis didn't seem terribly stressed out ;-)
    Wedding
    After the party, we had to hightail it back home to get ready for the next event, our friends' wedding. While it was mostly cloudy, this worked out for the best. It meant it wasn't sweltering out for the ceremony.

    Gwynne looked absolutely gorgeous. It was a small, intimate affair of close friends and family. Perfect.Everyone was able to really mingle and chat. The bride and groom weren't trapped in long welcome lines. They were able to fully enjoy the reception as well.
     
     
     
     
    Stormy Sunday
    Today ended up being super stormy. I hadn't expected that at all. I was fully planning on a 6 mile run. But lightening and flooding rains were going to nix that little plan. I ended up taking my run to the gym. Oddly enough, it ended up being a pretty good 5-mile run.

    I started with 2 miles, then 6 x 1:00 athletic intervals (run fast 1 min, jog 1 min). I decided I'd round out the run to 4 miles, but felt good so I pushed on to 5 total.

    When I got home, I spent about 30 minutes stretching and rolling out on my TriggerPoint Therapy Kit. My IT band has been starting to ache lately. Makes me super nervous, so lots of extra stretching and rolling happening.

    We ended up having a really late lunch. The sun finally came out, so we hung out on our patio just relaxing, chatting, and listening to music for a bit. It's been a super chill day over all. I did get some laundry done, but other than that...lazy....and totally ok with that.

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    The History of Me - Why I Move

    Background for Post
    Today is going to be a super hectic day for us in terms of two events in two cities. My nephew's birthday was Thursday, and his party is today in one city (an hour away). It's supposed to be from 12-2. Then we have a wedding to attend back in our city at 4. So, I'll pretty much be gone all day today.

    Alison had a post recently (Just *move*) that sort of got me thinking about why I (or we) workout the way I (we) do. I have had chats with my friend Jessica talking about concerns about people maybe thinking I'm too over the top with workouts. I get comments about being a machine or hardcore. Sometimes that can sound more like insane and over doing it.

    She thought maybe I should do a few posts on over-training syndrome, because I mentioned I've been there and never want to hit that spot again. I've posted about it in the past, and maybe I'll revisit that again. But, then Alison replied to my comment on her post and that got me to thinking (I'm always thinking mind you). I realize what seems normal to me, may seem hardcore to others. But maybe if you understand my outlook on working out, it might make more sense.

    So...Why do I workout the way I do? What drives me? Why do I move?

    Asthma
    I grew up with severe asthma. It was never really exercised induced, more allergy related. When I had an asthma attack, it was never as simple as just taking a few puffs of an inhaler. I would literally be sick for a week or more at a time. The medicines had plenty of side effects as well. So combined with not being able to breath, then being sick from the meds, I was one sick kiddo.

    I remember having to be carried to the bathroom because I couldn't breathe well enough to walk that far. I would lose so much weight during such a short time that my panties would fall down. Now, this doesn't mean I wasn't active as a child. I got out and played with the best of them. I took gymnastics and later ballet. But I could never do quite as much. I could never run for any length of time. Most of my "exercise" and play time had to be fairly anaerobic. Short bursts with lots of rests.

    Again, I was active. I started ballet in the fifth grade. I even did cheerleading and dance teams later in junior and senior high. But I was never ever considered athletic. There was never ever any hope or fantasy that I could ever run more than a mile. The first time I did run a mile, you would have thought it was my first half marathon.

    Also, I was always the super skinny, scrawny girl. I hated hated hated being that way. I actually started going to the gym in high school not to lose weight, but to figure out how to try to look more muscular. Not that I had a clue what I was doing. Dance helped with my legs, and gave me toned arms at least. But I hated being "that skinny girl."
    Source

    As I grew up, I didn't always have the same extreme asthmatic episodes, but I had annual bouts with either bronchitis, pneumonia, or both. Eventually my doctor put me on Singulair after one particularly bad (scary for Jason) asthmatic episode. It seemed to be a miracle drug for me.

    No more yearly bouts of bronchitis and/or pneumonia. Almost no seasonal allergy issues even. So, now when I get a cold or have a sinus infection, I probably downplay it more than I should. Because, in my mind, it simply pales in comparison to any other illnesses I've lived with throughout my life.

    Overcoming Overtraining
    With the Singulair in my life, I was suddenly able to go hiking without stopping and using an inhaler 2 and 3 times up the mountain. I can now scale that same path up and down twice in less time that it used to take me to make up once. And running, I started out slowly, very slowly (hating it by the way). But, wow, I could do it. I started getting more into weight lifting and other forms of cardio like step-aerobics. It was like, the more I was able to do, the more I wanted to do. If 1 hour is good 2 hours is better right?
    Source & Overtraining Info

    Eventually, I did up experiencing overtraining syndrome. I just didn't seem to grasp the concept that every workout didn't have to be balls to the walls. But I could do balls to the walls now. That was the key I think. So, been there, done that and don't ever plan on hitting that wall again.

    So now that I've moved past the full on balls to the walls, 8 hours a week working out issue. I quite obviously still workout and train hard. But I try to train smart. I get comments all the time about my motivation.

    But am I super happy and giddy about working out all the time? Well hell no. I have days when I'm less than enthusiastic feeling about it. How do I stay motivated? I don't know. I just do it. I don't think about it. I just get in there, get it done. I almost always feel so much better after a workout. Energized, accomplished, strong, successful.

    I have tried to learn from my overtraining mistakes. I vary the intensity of workouts. I try to cross-train. I pay close attention to how much cardio I've been doing. I also try to lift wisely. Fuel and refuel properly. Basically, take care of this body that is now capable of doing things I never thought possible. I think the variety helps keep me motivated too. It's not just the same old workout over and over and over again.

    Do I still screw up? Of course. We all do. No one is perfect. I do stupid things like legs then spin the next day or not take a rest day when I should because I want that stupid rest day on a Friday. But I try.


    If I hadn't changed my mentality for working out, I never would have succeeded with one of my greatest accomplishments this year. For me, completing my first half marathon honestly trumps any college degree, ballet solo, or award. It's something that I never could have dreamed possible.

    It was more than just running 13.1 miles. It was the fact that my body, my lungs, muscles, tendons, joints, were capable enough of that sort of challenge. Oh yes, the mental aspect was there most certainly. But for a child who couldn't run more than a mile or who got winded walking stairs? Monumental.



    Just Human
    So, I'm not a machine. I don't think of myself as hardcore. I'm not always motivated to be quite honest. I'm just human. I'm just me.

    Perhaps it's my history of being sick that keeps me moving. I know what it's like to physically been incapable of being active. I know what it feels like to try to recover from an illness, a recovery period of weeks not days.

    I know what it feels like to not be able to walk up a flight of stairs without being so winded you have to rest at the top. I know. I also know that there will probably come another time in my life when I'm sidelined again. So in the meantime, I plan on continuing to move.

    I know this was a super long (partially rambling) post. If you bailed on it, I understand. If you stuck it out...Why do You Move?

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Fun Facts Friday - Running Must Haves

    Leg Day
    Don't know about you all, but I sure am happy Friday finally arrived. Today I decided to hit the gym for legs. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy and we're super busy so no long run. Hopefully I will be able to run on Sunday instead. Soooo, that means today was ideal for legs.

    I didn't want to go super heavy as my legs have been plenty tired already this week. I did 10 minutes on the elliptical to warm up then the following supersets.

    SS#1
    Squats with low-end pulse - 3x10
    Plie squats - 3x10

    SS#2
    Stiff-leg deadlifts - 10, 8, 8
    Alternating front lunges - 3x16 (8 each side)

    SS#3
    Calf raises - 3x15
    Alternating side lunges - 3x12

    I finished with another 10 minutes on the elliptical then a stretch. I gotta say, this wasn't the most stellar leg workout I've had recently. I really felt weak and worn out to be honest. Just wasn't clicking for me at all.

    Fun Facts Friday - Running Must Haves
    I feel like I've been somewhat of a complainer lately. I guess that's what can happen when you're completely honest and just write out exactly how you're feeling each day. I've been sick, car accident, then migraine, some crappy runs. But life hasn't been crappy overall. I hope that comes across at least. I really do try to look for the good things around me. We need those good things to offset the bad.

    Sometimes those "good" things are just funny, amusing thoughts. I love those amusing notions during runs, especially when I need a pick-me-up moment. During one of my recent runs, I was thinking about all the gear I need for running. I look around and see some people (men of course) just out there in shoes and shorts. Hell, some not even in shoes. No hats, sunglasses, water bottles. They're just there....running.

    Me? Wow...where to begin? When I go down the list in my head, I am sort of shocked at myself to be honest. But then I list the reasons for each item and it totally makes sense (in my crazy world).

    For Fun Facts Friday, I'll share my list of "must haves" for running. I have a feeling you'll either be totally shocked, or nod your head and agree to this long list.

    Heather's Running Must-Haves

    Running socks - I firmly believe that running socks (designed just for runners) are crucial in blister prevention.

    Running shoes (Brooks Ghost 3) - the right shoe is an absolute must. Color? Who cares. It's about the right fit period.

    Sunscreen - I have baby formula for face and a spray, sports variety for rest of body. This is a must. I don't want early wrinkles or skin cancer just because I prefer to run outside.

    Hat - for me a huge must. I sweat. Period. Hats keep the sweat out of my eyes and also helps protect my scalp (as a redhead, more prone to skin cancer on head).

    Sunglasses - unless it's raining, gotta have 'em. My eyes are super sensitive. And even if it is raining, they can help keep the drops out of your eyes. See...a must.

    Heart rate monitor - I know what you're thinking...not a must. Oh, but it is. I use my heart rate as a guide for speed and level of exertion. I don't have a GPS, so I also try to gauge my speed then the time so I have a general idea of distance (unless I have my mile markers mapped in my head). 

    Body glide - if I'm wearing shorts, I must use the anti-chafing stick. Trust me, world of difference!

    iPod - Ok, this isn't a total must. If I'm running with someone, then I don't use it. I didn't use it for a few long training runs, nor did I use it during my half marathon. But, it sure is nice to have music to enjoy when out on longer solo runs.

    Water bottles - absolute freaking must have. I have no clue how people run without water. I have a 20 oz hand-held bottle that also has a nifty pocket for key and GU/Gel packet. I keep another bottle in the car for post-run rehydration.

    GU/Gels - If I am running over 7 miles, this is a MUST for me. I found that my recovery is night and day different. 

    Sweat towel - go back up to the hat for this reason, I sweat. After a run, I use my towel to dry off and to sit on so my car doesn't smell like a gym bag.

    Sports flip-flops - these are a new must have item for me. I found a pair of New Balance flip-flops that I am in love with. I slip them on after I am done stretching for the ride home. My feet love me now.

    Trigger Point Therapy Kit - this is another post-run, absolute must have for me. It's been worth every single penny in preventing any additional IT band injuries.

    So there you have it, my running and post-running gear. Over the top? High maintenance? What are your must haves? Or are you the type that just throws on any old duds, your running sneaks and take off?

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Running Fail & Dinner Win with Orange Infused Vegetable Slaw

    Letters are Fun
    So glad you all seemed to enjoy the Letters to Self yesterday. I really enjoyed reading yours as well. It was kind of fun writing those out, may need to do that more often.

    Last night was low-key after the migraine. We did meet up with friends for a pre-wedding happy hour. She's getting married on Saturday and there aren't any bachelorette plans. So one of our mutual friends wanted to just gather a few people to have one last happy hour with Gwynne before the big day. I wasn't able to stay long as I wasn't feeling super fantastic. But it was still nice to show up for her at least.

    Jason made some quick fajitas for us, and then I was in bed snoozing by 9. I actually only woke up only once during the night. For me, that's the equivalent of sleeping through the night. Guess I needed the rest!

    Hot Running
    I had really and truly wanted to get up early this morning for a run for two reasons. One, it's supposed to be in the low 80's this afternoon. Not sure I'm up for those temps just yet. And two, Tiffany has been posting gorgeous early morning running pictures.

    While I don't enjoy morning workouts, there is something so calming about a morning run with the world just waking up around you. Sleep trumped the run though, and that's ok. I needed it.

    In the end, I went out for a hot, windy run after work. I knew it was warm, so I went into the run without a set distance in mind. It was more about going with the flow of how I felt. It was windier that I would have preferred, but when it's warm out, the wind can be a very welcomed thing.

    While I was totally prepared for the fact that it was going to be a tougher run because I'm not acclimated to the heat, I was not prepared for how shitastic it really was going to be. This was probably one of the worst runs I can recall. Just BAD. My legs felt heavy from the start. It was hot, sticky, even the wind was hot. The last 1 mile I ended up doing as intervals. I eeked out just a little over 4 total.

    I'm trying not to be furious with myself over the run. I knew it wasn't going to be a piece of cake, but man oh man. When you have runs that bad it makes you question why you run period. Frankly, the last few runs have been less than stellar. I mostly just enjoyed the being outside aspect. I know running has it's ups and downs, so I'm going to try to not dwell on this run and just look forward to a future run...a better run.

    Orange Inspired
    At lunch Jason and I were discussing dinner ideas. He kept saying he wanted some sort of slaw over cutlets. It didn't matter what other suggestions that came up, he turned those into some sort of slaw over cutlets. So, I made an Orange Infused Vegetable Slaw to go over homemade Seitan Cutlets.

    Orange Infused Vegetable Slaw
    Ingredients:
    1/2 small yellow squash, small dice
    1/2 small zucchini, small dice
    1/8 cup minced red onion (shallot would be preferable)
    1/4 large portobello, small dice
    OJ (not quite half a cup)
    Balsamic vinegar (heavy splashes)
    Caribbean Hot Sauce (or use hot sauce of your liking and add in garlic)
    Honey or agave nectar (to desired sweetness)
    To taste: salt, black pepper

    Directions:
    In medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients and spices. Toss in veggies and mix well. Refrigerate for about 4 hours.

    I made some quinoa as well and seasoned with some of the marinade for the slaw. I added in a little extra OJ and some fresh parsley at the end. For the Seitan Cutlets, I dredged them in a small amount of panko seasoned with garlic powder, basil, oregano and then baked it until crisp.
     

    This actually turned out way better than I had expected. If you have oranges, zest would definitely be an ideal addition.