Monday, October 31, 2011

Tex-Mex Skillet Bake, Running & Picnic Lunch

Skillet Bake Sunday
Last night's dinner ended up a semi-refrigerator/freezer special. I had some frozen rice that helped make this dish super simple and fast. Jason mentioned casserole, since I haven't made a casserole in ages. In the past, a casserole meant pasta or rice, cheese, frozen veggies, and a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup.

These days, casseroles are comprised of none of those ingredients. So, they can be more complicated. And I think it's safe to say I have a tendency to complicate things anyway. Last night I peered into the cabinet, fridge, freezer. I thought pumpkin = creamy, so that's where that comes into play. The rest I just had on hand and thought it sounded like a good pairing.


Tex-Mex Skillet Bake
Ingredients:
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 package tempeh, crumbled
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
1 small can green chiles
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes, mostly drained
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 - 3/4 cup almond milk
To taste: salt, pepper, red pepper, chili powder, cumin
Daiya Vegan Cheese (or your choice of cheese)


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In large, oven-safe skillet, saute onions, peppers, tempeh, and garlic until veggies begin to soften. Add in tomatoes, chiles, black beans, corn, and seasonings.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and almond milk and seasonings. It should be a creamy consistency, not runny.

Pour pumpkin mixture into skillet and combine all ingredients. Remove from heat and sprinkle the top with Daiya then put into oven. Bake until "cheese" is melted.
 
I must say, this turned out far better than I had even expected. I was nervous, I won't lie. But it was so good, so creamy. Even if you hated pumpkin, I think you'd like this one. 

1st Post-Half Run

I wasn't sure how I was going to be feeling after the half marathon, so I decided to treat myself to an extra day off today. It was such a gorgeous day out too, perfect for being off work.

I slept in until about 8 then got up and made myself breakfast, basically just taking my time. It started off rather chilly, so I wasn't just itching to head out for a run right away. Instead I went ahead and got the grocery store trip over and done with.

Once everything was put away, I decided to take my legs for a test spin. They really don't feel too bad after the half. A little heavy, more like I did a ton of squats rather than race. The temps were about 60 degrees and the skies were blue and clear. Lovely.

As soon as I started running, my legs decided they really weren't as excited about the run as my head was. After about 5 minutes, however, they did start to loosen up and were more willing to work with me. In my head, I was dreaming of 4 glorious miles. In reality, I stopped at 2. I didn't feel like I just had to stop necessarily, but I thought it would be smarter on my part to stop rather than push on.

Picnic Lunch
Jason took off a little early to spend part of the day with me. It was so nice that we decided to go walk some trails, no serious hiking mind you, just leisurely stroll through the woods.

I packed up a picnic for us to enjoy after the walk. We used to do picnics much more often and need to remember to do them more often. It's just nice way to spend part of the day, relaxing outside.
 
 
 
 
After eating our lunch, Jason wanted to go "exploring." Had my legs not been fatigued, hiking and exploring would have been perfect. However, I just didn't feel like trekking through the woods too much.

Instead, we "explored" by driving...and driving. Jason is one who could just drive around and look at views. Me...not so much. But, I will admit that it was a beautiful day. The leaves are just starting to change, so the scenery was spectacular. 

Do you like just driving/riding around in the car for scenic drives?

Don't forget to enter my Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes Cookbook Giveaway - you have until Thursday night to enter!

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Day off
  • Running
  • Picnic lunch
  • Gorgeous day

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Soup Saturday & Blooming Platter Cookbook Giveaway

Soup Saturday
I must say, that while this recent half marathon training plan didn't really have many hill workouts (will add in to the next training), it did have lots of long runs. I know that they sounded crazy to most people - 3 13-milers, but I thought they made sense. I was prepared for the miles (just not the hills).

Not only was I prepared for the miles while running, my body was prepared for them in terms of recovery. So, last night, the only major issues were my sciatica. I was a little tighter than most runs, but I also raced rather than just ran yesterday. But the sciatica kicked my ass (literally).

We ended up going to Vino's for pizza because there was no way I wanted to cook right after the race. Then I firmly planted my rear end on the couch (with ice) and relaxed with a couple of mimosas.

When it came time for dinner, however, I was kind of tired of sitting (not one for being lazy) so I wanted to make something. Of course, I still wanted it to be simple. It was a cold evening so soup seemed to be the appropriate choice.

Yes, more complicated than it should have been, but I ended up coming up with a Curry Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Curry Peanut Tofu "Croutons."

Curry Peanut Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients:
1/2 white onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 can pumpkin puree
1 bouillon cube + 2 cups water (or you can use veggie broth, I was out)
1-2 tbsp red curry paste
1-2 tbsp peanut butter
To taste: salt, pepper, red pepper, curry powder, parsley
1/2-1 cup almond or soy milk

Directions:
In large pot, saute onions and carrots until they begin to soften. Add in the water and bouillon (or vegetable broth) and allow to simmer until veggies are cooked through.

Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree veggies until smooth then return back to the pot. Stir in the peanut butter, curry paste, seasonings, and almond milk. Start with 1/2 cup of almond milk and add more if needed for creamy texture.

Allow to simmer and thicken, re-season as needed.

Curry Peanut Tofu "Croutons"
Ingredients:
1 package tofu that has been frozen then thawed (this is key for this recipe), cubed
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp red curry paste
OJ - just enough to thin the marinade

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together wet ingredients then poor over cubed tofu and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Place tofu cubes on a non-stick baking sheet and bake until golden and firm, flipping once halfway through. This takes approximately 30 minutes.
 

To serve, simply use the tofu "croutons" as a garnish to the soup.

Gym Day
This morning I woke up to only mildly sore legs. My sciatica was actually not hurting nearly like I expected, so I felt golden! I had originally planned to take today as a rest day, but really wanted to get in my upper body weights and do some time on the elliptical just to get the legs moving, nothing over the top.

Jason went up to the gym with me. I start with 10 easy elliptical minutes. Again, just wanted to get the legs moving. Then I went on to my weights for biceps and shoulders. I did 1 set of supersets for each muscle group as 3x8 then followed up with 1 set of dropsets for each (6, 8, 10)

SS#1
Incline curls
Hammer curls

SS#2
Lateral raise
Upright row

DS#1 - Dumbbell curls
DS#2 - Overhead shoulder press

I finished up with some ab work and that was that.

Blooming Awesome Giveaway
Rather than talk about the weather or the chores I got done today, I want to move on to something way more important (and fun).

Yesterday was not only my 2nd half marathon, it was my 2-year blog anniversary. And, to celebrate, I thought it would be appropriate to do a giveaway. And I wanted the giveaway to be meaningful. I love cooking (even after a half marathon).

And there is another blogger that I have pretty much followed since I started blogging who has a love of food as well - Betsy DiJulio from the Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

I am so honored that she so readily agreed to let me do a giveaway of her new cookbook: The Blooming Platter. I sincerely believe that anyone will enjoy this cookbook and don't want to categorize it as vegan. Let's just call it plant-based cooking that anyone would love.
Betsy's recipes are always incredible and inspiring - from her Vegan Taco Morocco, Vegan Late Spring Thai Quinoa Salad to Blueberry and Lemon Verbena Pancakes. I love how many of her recipes are perfect for entertaining both meat-eaters and meat-freers alike. For example, Vegan Caraway-Havarti Cheese Spread (Delicious with Apple Dishes) and Vegan Cheddar “Cheese” Spread with Savory Blackberry Chutney would be ideal for a wine tasting party or as appetizers before Thanksgiving Dinner.

If you are into seasonal cooking, this cookbook is even more exciting for you as it's categorized by the seasons, showcasing recipes ideal for what's currently in season. Seasonal cooking, fresh ingredients, incredible recipes...you cannot go wrong with this one.

Now onto the details. I will choose 1 winner through random drawing and announce next Friday. Here's how to enter:

Mandatory: 
Go to Amazon and "like" the cookbook. Leave me a comment letting me know you did this.

Optional (leave a comment for each of the following that you do):
  1. Tweet about the giveaway - make sure to use @hriacobacci and include a link to this page please.
  2. Check out Betsy's blog and tell me one recipe you'd love to make.
  3. Tell me your favorite seasonal recipe.
Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • Relaxing
  • Offering this giveaway

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Soaring Wings Half Recap

This morning started off dark and early. I actually slept really well and started waking up on my own around 5:20. The race was actually about 30-40 minutes away, so the plan was to leave by 6:45. It was so dark, and so cold. Jason brought his bike along so he could be my personal photographer and cheerleader (thank you honey!!!).

I was really worried about the cold and not having trained in it at all. Also, what to wear? I ended up buying some arm sleeves yesterday and cannot believe I have not owned any sooner. I knew that with those, I could slip them down my arm if I did get too hot rather than trying to peel off a layer while running. I also strapped on my iPod just in case I needed a pick me up (never used, but maybe I should have).

For the most part, I was fairly calm - as calm as you can be before a race I suppose. I made a pre-race pit stop at a gas station near where we parked then jogged over to the start. I figured the brief job would at least help me warm up a bit.

This race actually had pacers. I was torn between the 1:50 and 1:55 pacers. That's kind of a big time difference when it came own to the pace. I decided to start with the 1:50 group and figured I could lag back as needed.

The Blue Man

Just Starting - Sun Just Really Coming Up

Around Mile 5
I felt pretty good with that pace all the way up until around mile 5. I was a little behind them, but they were definitely in sight. I did think that I might actually get frost bite on my hands though. They hurt so bad at the start - forgot to dig out throw-away gloves.

The course started off deceivingly flat. The first couple of hills weren't "that" bad, but they just kept coming. I was literally cursing hills. Very rational I know. Despite the hills, I was still hitting the mile markers ahead of my last race times. I really really thought I had a PR coming. I felt really good despite the sciatica that started hurting around mile 4.
Just After Mile 7 - I Think That's a Smile
My hip flexors were a little tight, but nothing serious. And I was solid mentally. I guess I must have started to really falter around mile 11 because I hit 10 at under 1:28. But it was long hill after long hill with no recovery. I thought I was ok, but it was taking a toll more than I realized. And I did also end up with a terrible side stitch a couple of times, which I almost never have and it was more near under my lung area. The cold maybe?
Just After Mile 11 (side stitch again)

When I heard that the 1:55 pace group was nearing me, I got flat out pissed at myself. This was on yet another freaking hill at mile 12 - yes, mile 12 sign parked nicely halfway up a dang hill. GRRRR. I got a slight reprieve with a great downhill stretch where I tried to use the momentum for "free" speed. Apparently it just wasn't enough.

My hip flexors were a little tight, but nothing serious. And I was solid mentally. I guess I must have started to really falter around mile 11 because I hit 10 at under 1:28. But it was long hill after long hill with no recovery. I thought I was ok, but it was taking a toll more than I realized.
Coming Into the Finish

When I heard that the 1:55 pace group was nearing me, I got flat out pissed at myself. This was on yet another freaking hill at mile 12 - yes, mile 12 sign parked nicely halfway up a dang hill. GRRRR. I got a slight reprieve with a great downhill stretch where I tried to use the momentum for "free" speed. Apparently it just wasn't enough.

I just didn't have any gas left in me at that point. I pushed as hard as I could though - I really feel that to be true. I don't think I slacked. I do believe the temperatures and the hilly course (totally unprepared for) affected my run (probably hills more than cold actually).
DONE
I won't lie (I'm a terribly liar anyway), I was disappointed with my time: 1:55:47. I honestly thought I would come in closer to 1:54. Maybe I'm disapointed in thinking that my best just wasn't as good as I had though. I know, bad mindset.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not sitting around moping or rehashing what I could have done different. I am happy with my approach. I am happy that I did push myself and try to go with the faster pace group rather than just assume I couldn't. So, I am proud of the accomplishment. I know it is a major accomplishment that I worked my ass off for.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Half marathon #2
  • Feeling sense of accomplishment
  • Pizza (gotta re-carb right?)
  • Mimosa (gotta celebrate)
  • The support and friendship of my amazing blog friends

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fun Facts Friday - Thoughts on My Half Marathon Training

Fun Facts Friday
Today is my second (gasp) rest day of the week. But, I'm not complaining mind you. I know it's absolutely necessary so that I'm better prepared for tomorrow's race (Soaring Wings Half Marathon) ...um run.

I'm trying really hard to not let nerves get the best of me. I know I have the mileage down. I'm not worried about that. I just get myself worked up being competitive with myself for starters. Yes, it's really stupid. I know this. My brain just doesn't know.

I'm actually a little worried about the temperatures tomorrow to be honest. It's supposed to be about 40 degrees at start time (8 am). I've not been training in colder temps - we haven't had them really. The coolest it's been when I've started my runs has been about 55 degrees, sunny, and then a quick warm up.

Tomorrow it's not supposed to be warming up quickly, or that much. It is supposed to be sunny at least. That will help make it feel warmer I know. But I worry about over/under dressing. But even more, I worry about how the cold will affect my breathing.

And I have to say, I'm not absolutely dreading tomorrow mind you. I am sort of excited. I've worked really hard. It'll also be nice to do 13 miles on a new route (no threat of geese). Oh, and to say I have a running partner is a mild understatement - from running solo to running with thousands.

As a way to not dwell on the race aspect, I thought I might just highlight what this round of training has brought about for Fun Facts Friday:
  • Many many miles - some bad, mostly good
  • New personal distance record - 14.4 miles
  • Confidence in my ability to push myself - thanks to all the solo miles
  • Some aches and pains and bloody toes - definitely reminded me I've been working hard
  • Lots of early morning runs to avoid the heat - loved the sunrises
  • Some running in the rain, and sprinklers
  • Rocking out to my music - hello air drums to the runner's high beat
  • Camaraderie with other runners along the way - love the runner's nod/wave
  • Interesting tan lines
  • Wore out one pair of shoes
I will also say that all the running has made me realize how much I do love and currently miss my more structured/heavier weight workouts as well. Love letter to legs: Dear legs, get ready for next week!

So, what has training taught you - whether it was for a race, fitness comp, even finishing a degree.

By the way, tomorrow I will have two things to celebrate so don't forget to visit me for an awesome giveaway!

Liebster (say what?) Award
And, I can't forget to thank Sheridan from "Vegan in Arkansas" for giving me a super sweet award yesterday: The Liebster Award. I recently discovered Sheridan's blog from another fellow Arkansan (Jenny at Vegan and So Forth). Hopefully Sheridan and I will get to meet up sometime.

The word “Liebster” is German for ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite’.

The idea behind this award is to bring attention to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

So the rules are as follows:
  • Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  • Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Post the award on your blog.
  • Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!

I decided to pick either some of the newer blogs I have found or ones that you may not know about and should. And please feel free to share some of your new favorite blogs as well please!

Corey at Learning Patience
Betsy at Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes
Lisa at Healthful Sense
Lindsey at Cardio Pizza
Krissie at A Philly Nerd Girl


Daily To-Enjoy List
  • The fact that it's finally Friday is enough isn't it???
  • Sunshine
  • Rest day

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Weights & Kabocha and Poblano White Bean Chili

Gym Day on Gray Day
I guess I am more worn out than I realized - plus less sciatica pain to wake me up means I slept straight through until just after 5 this morning. That never ever happens. No complaints mind you.

Even though yesterday's run was less than stellar, I am certainly glad I didn't have to do it today. The cold front that was supposed to push through last night was apparently running late. So instead of rain last night, we had wind, gray skies, and drizzle all day today.

It started off at close to 60 at about 7 am, but steadily dropped. So definitely would have been a treadmill run and I think that would have been worse.

I did hit the gym, but for weights only. I did warm up for about 15 minutes on the elliptical though. I did supersets for back and triceps (3x8) with some ab work done at the end.

SS#1
Underhand barbell rows
Overhead triceps extension

SS#2
Double-arm rows
Double-arm kickbacks

SS#3
Pullovers
Dips

It was a pretty decent workout. I had wanted to do chest as well, but have a really hard time working chest and triceps at the same time due to elbow issues.

Chili Kind of Weather
I am really glad I decided to make last night's planned dinner tonight rather than last nigh. Tonight just called for chili or soup.

I had some kabocha squash leftover from Sunday's meal and also had some poblano peppers that needed to be used. So I sort of melded two chili recipes into one new one. I chose a sudden new favorite of Jason's and one that I made previously that had kabocha so:


Spicy White Chili Chiptole Kabocha and Black Bean Chili = Kabocha and Poblano White Bean Chili.

Kabocha and Poblano White Bean Chili
Ingredients:
1/2 white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 package tempeh, crumbled
32 oz low-sodium vegetable stock
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 kabocha squash, cubed and roasted*
To taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, red pepper

Directions:
In large sauce pot, saute onions, peppers, tempeh, and garlic until vegetables begin to soften.

Add in the broth, beans, and spices. Let simmer for about 30 minutes then add in the kabocha* and allow to simmer approximately15 minutes.

*If you do not have kabocha already roasted, you can cube up and start cooking with the onions, peppers, and tempeh. Then add in your liquid and allow to simmer longer so that the quash has time to cook.
 
 

You could really take this chili in several directions including making it a fairly traditional tomato-based chili with black or red beans. I just thought it would be interesting to see how the kabocha and poblano played together.

I already knew I loved kabocha and chipotle peppers, but poblano peppers are very different. They are milder, but do have a heat that can sneak up on you at the end. This was really a nice balance of flavors and textures.

Daily To-Enjoy List
  • Much less sciatic pain (forgot what it felt like to not have it hurting all day)
  • Warm, comforting dinner
  • Weight workout
  • Watching a movie with Jason

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Last Training Run & Barley with Tomatoes and Broccoli

Last Training Run
Well, I guess I had hoped the massage would work miracles and I would be 100% a-ok today. I will say that I had much less pain last night and was able to sleep almost through the night. Unfortunately, I sit most of the day, and the more I sit, the more it begins to ache.

I did force myself out for my final run at lunch. I should have gone earlier though. The half marathon training plan called for a total of 4 miles: warmup, 2 x 1 mile intervals at 7:47 min/mile with .5 mile recovery jogs.

I did one mile at a 9 min/mile pace for my warmup then jumped right into the first interval. The winds were gusting like crazy and it was about 74 degrees. Not ideal speedwork conditions mind you (it seems like every single speed run was like this though - apparently Wednesday is not an ideal speed day...).

I hit my first mile interval at an 8 min/mile pace. I was ok with this, but not ok with the side stitch that smacked me at the end. I started to do my half mile recovery jog but part of the path was blocked as workers were cutting tree limbs. This meant I had to circle back long before my half mile marker, which of course threw off all other markers.

Instead of thinking it threw properly, I started my 2nd interval without properly recovering. And the side stitch was still hitting me hard. Usually I can breathe threw them, but not this time. About 2 minutes into the second interval, I had to walk for a second, then started back up. So, that mile was an 8:45 min/mile. Um...way the hell off.

But, I was trying not to beat myself up. It's the last run and at this point, how much is one final speed work really going to help? If it really does help a lot - please don't tell me this ;-)

Oddly, my sciatica pain was worse during the slower jogs and warmup. The faster I ran, the less that hurt. My lungs wanted to explode, but my sciatica was fine. Now, after I was totally done, it was throbbing again of course. Sigh.

After work, I did sit on the heating pad for a bit and rolling out on the Triggerpoint Kit and stretched some more. I plan on doing this for the rest of the week.

Barley & Broccoli as Plan B
I had originally planned on making a chili with some leftover kabocha squash. However, the cold front that we have coming through is moving slowly. So it was still in the upper 70's after work, and really humid. Chili no longer sounded like a good idea.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to make. I didn't have a Plan B for dinner. But, I did have broccoli and tomatoes to be used. I also had barley on hand. So I went with a simple Barley with Tomatoes and Broccoli one-pot dinner.


Barley with Tomatoes and Broccoli 
Ingredients:
1/2 cup barley
1 1/2 cups water
1 bouillon cube (I used not-beef)
1/2 container cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch broccoli
2-3 tbsp minced garlic
1/3-1/2 cup white wine or vegetable broth
1-2 tbsp tomato paste 
6-8 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and diced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
To taste: salt, pepper, basil, parsley, oregano
Nutritional yeast flakes (option and to your tastes)

Directions:
Cook barley in water with bouillon cube per package directions.

In large non-stick skillet (with lid), saute broccoli, tomatoes and garlic for about 3-5 minutes then add in wine or broth and cover to steam the broccoli. Steam until broccoli and tomatoes begin to soften (approximately 5 minutes).

Remove lid and gently mash the tomatoes with fork. Add in chickpeas, tomato paste, sundried tomatoes, and seasonings and allow to cook approximately 5 minutes. Stir in barley and nutritional yeast flakes and re-season if needed and remove from heat.
 

I was so happy with how this turned out. I think it'd be great either warm or room temp. In other words, easy to make ahead for a party or potluck.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Midday run (well, enjoy might night be the best word choice)
  • Lots of stretching and rolling
  • Relaxing evening

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Run, Massage & Roasted Veggie Tofu Salad

Back to Running
Resting up yesterday along with more rolling and stretching seemed to help my sciatica. It was not nearly as painful today. So, I went ahead with my planned run. As a bonus, Jason went with me.

It was a gorgeous day, though a little warm and windy I'll admit, but so pretty out. We set out to do the run around the neighborhood so that it would take up less time than going all the way down to the river trails. I won't lie and say my sciatica didn't act up, it did. But it wasn't unbearable, and we kept a fairly slow pace.

I think I really needed the outdoors, fresh air, and the company more than anything. We ended up doing right at four miles before heading in to quickly get cleaned up to head back to work. It was a re-energizing run for me, much needed.

Massage
I did myself a favor and scheduled a massage for after work. Sounds super indulgent right? But, I'll be honest - I really don't like massages at all *gasp*. I just don't like someone touching me like that. Maybe it goes back to a really bad physical therapy experience, I don't know. Just not something I enjoy. Plus, I knew it would hurt like hell.

However, I felt like it was probably in my best interest to get the massage in hopes of being able to have a decent run on Saturday. Basically, I was feeling desperate. We have a friend who is actually a massage therapist, so I opted to go with him.

I will say, that it is a good thing to remember that when you go to a massage therapist that you know and end up at events with, they will see your ass. Note to self...But, it really wasn't awkward, maybe that's because I was just trying so hard not to curse or kick him when he hit the sore spots. I had really only expected to have my legs worked out, but he started with back, even arms, all the way to toes. Let's just say I am one knotted up mess.

I had no idea how tight all of my muscles were. Wow (and ouch). For now I feel looser, but the sciatica is still throbbing. I will admit that I wish Vioxx was still on the market (anyone else ever take that?).


Tofu Tuesday
Thankfully, last night I got part of dinner prepped for today since I ended up home so late (6:45 is really late for me). I knew that I wanted to do a roasted veggies and tofu salad.

So, I got the tofu started early. I cut the tofu into strips then dry-seared before leaving it to marinate overnight. For the marinade, I simply whisked together a baslamic vinaigrette with no-sugar strawberry preserves (thank you for the reminder Averie!).
 

Jason got home before I did for a change, so he started everything for the salad. All he needed to do was  roast up zucchini, squash, sweet potato, portobello mushrooms, and the tofu then cut up roasted red bell peppers and cherry tomatoes and toss it all on a bed of lettuce/spinach and drizzle with a thinner version of the balsamic strawberry marinade.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Midday run (with the hubby made it better)
  • Massage (because it was necessary)
  • Not having to cook

Monday, October 24, 2011

Necessary Rest Day & Vegan Fajitas

Home Style Dinner Revamped
Last night dinner ended up being simple, but rather homey. It felt like the meat and two sides type of meal most of us grew up with. Only, for us it was homemade seitan cutlet with a stone-ground mustard gravy*, roasted asparagus and kabocha squash.

*For the gravy, I simply took some of the leftover cooking liquid from the seitan and added in lemon zest, juice, super grainy mustard, small dash of salt, pepper, garlic powder and simmered on low until it thickened.
 

This is definitely not a meal I would have had growing up. It would likely have been chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes. It was either something along those lines or a casserole. Mom was casserole queen.

What did your typical dinners look like growing up?

Necessary Rest Day
Today was supposed to be a 3-mile run for me. After the dense fog finally lifted around noon, it would have been a gorgeous day for a run. The problem, however, is that I am in too much pain to run. There, admitted it. I'm hurt.

The pain in my piriformis/sciatic nerve area is intense. I am having a very hard time sleeping comfortably let alone sitting all day. Walking is tricky at best. I feel like I have to will my leg to actually move forward - lots of heel shuffling happening (and that does not bode well for my cute knee-high boots).

So, rather than running, I opted to rest completely. No spin, no elliptical, not even weights. After work, I went home and sat on a heating pad (again) and rolled out on the Triggerpoint Kit and stretched for about 30 minutes.

I won't lie and say this was an easy decision to do nothing. Totally throws off the rest of this week's schedule in terms of the half training plan. But, I know, deep down, it was necessary. My goal is a race this week, not just a normal workout week.

Fajitas 
I almost went with a more complicated or time-consuming dinner since I was home with no workouts to do. Instead, I went with something easy: Fajitas (for Mexican Monday of course).

Even with fajitas in mind, I came close to turning them into something more complicated like fajita enchiladas. But, I stopped myself. All I did was saute some onions, bell peppers, garlic, homemade seitan, squash & zucchini. I seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper, and chili powder along with splash of lime juice.
 

That's it. Easy peasy. I served in whole-grain tortillas wraps with Daiya Vegan Cheese and a small side-salad. For the dressing, I whisked together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, salt, black pepper.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Run (nixed for rest day)
  • Relaxing on couch

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gym, Errands & Lazy Sunday

Gym
I wish I could run 13 and 14 miles every day because despite how hard it is, I sure sleep like a log that night. I crashed out hard at 9 last night and slept until 8:20 this morning! I think I only got up twice during the night, which is like not getting up at all in my book.

It was a rainy, dreary start to the morning. No motivation at all. But, I needed to get myself to the gym and just get moving. Jason actually went with me. Huge shocker. He did his thing and I did mine, but it was still nice having him up there with me.

I started with 15 minutes on the elliptical. Surprisingly, my legs are not sore at all after yesterday's 14-miler. The only thing hurting is still my sciatica. Anyway, I did the elliptical then hit the weights for shoulders and biceps. I did supersets of 3x8 and finished with some ab work.

SS#1
Standing shoulder press
Alternating bicep curls

SS#2
Lateral raise
Hammer curls

SS#3
Front raise - pull into chest (not a clue what these are called)
Cross-body curls

I really felt the shoulders today and have a feeling the biceps will be talking back to me tomorrow.

Errands & Lazy Afternoon
After the gym, we made a quick grocery store trip, then back home. We should have behaved and made lunch at the house, but, we didn't. It was gray and yuck out and it just seemed like a better idea to get out of the house instead. So, we hit up Vino's for pizza (re-carbing from yesterday right??). Oh I did get to meet my friend Jenny's (from Vegan and So Forth) sister. That was kind of cool - too bad Jenny wasn't there though (ahem we need to have lunch again!).

Jason wanted to hit up Target after lunch. I did not. So, he was the good guy and went to Target while I washed more laundry and made some seitan. Oh, and painted my nails too. I have been seeing some gray nails on Pinterest and had it in my head that I "had" to find gray polish. I found some O.P.I. for Sephora on Friday (Break a Leg Warmer) and finally had time to redo my nails today. LOVE IT.

While Jason was at Target, he also picked up the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. He knows how much I love Johnny Depp ;-) So, that's our Sunday in a nutshell: workout, errands, lunch, movie time. Might not be super exciting, but definitely enjoyable.


Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Relaxing lunch
  • Time in the kitchen
  • Painting nails
  • Watching movie with hubby
  • Being in PJs by 3:30

Saturday, October 22, 2011

14 Miles. Done.

Long Run
This morning I actually slept in until 8 am. My immediate reaction was to feel like I had wasted time. But why on earth should I feel guilty for sleeping in for a change? I had my long run on tap, but I didn't have to rush out and get it done super early, so, I changed my mentality and took it slower for the morning.

In other words, I ate my pre-run meal (half bagel, PB & banana) and let it actually settle for an hour. It was really cool this morning, so waiting it out for the temps to warm up ended up sounding like a better idea anyway. Today was supposed to be another 13 mile run.

It was about 55 degrees when I started the run just before 10 am. Of course, I immediately ended up regretting wearing capris, but no chaffing was the bonus/trade out. The first 1 and a half of the run was actually really amazing. I felt incredible, was fairly giddy, smiling and waving at everyone I passed by. Good times.

Then it all changed. I barely remember the first part of the run, but remember all of the second part. I had to really fight hard. My sciatica was really getting to me. I tried little tricks like changing pace, kick butts, but nothing really helped ease the pain. I felt myself slowing down, almost plodding along, shuffling my left foot. I have no idea how I never ended up on my face to be honest.

I kept trying to remind myself to at least enjoy the scenery, the beautiful weather, anything. I ended up having to walk for about 30 seconds around mile 11 then stopping to stretch at mile 12. Honestly, if I had been stopping to stretch near my car, it would have been over. Period. The bottoms of my feet were killing me, my legs felt like lead, and my sciatica was almost tear-inducing. But. I still had 2 more miles left.

Yes, you read that correctly 2 miles after 12. Um, that'd mean I ran 14 today. Yes, I am certifiable. I think the only thing that kept me actually going was knowing I was going to hit another personal distance record. So, despite the pain, the fatigue, I ended on a high note because of pride. I drove home actually fairly giddy, exhausted, but giddy.

I spent even more time than normal (which is usually 30 mins) on my Triggerpoint Therapy Kit and stretching. In fact, I ate my post-run meal in the floor stretching and rolling.

Shower & Pizza
We had a couples baby shower to attend at 2, so that meant I really had to get cleaned up and put on real clothes. Jeans are usually comfortable attire right? After long runs...not so much. I just wanted PJs and fluffy house shoes. I felt like my whole body was just swollen. But, the shower was for really good friends, and couldn't/wouldn't be missed.

I normally dread baby showers, in fact, did dread this one too to be honest. Usually it's all ooing and ahhing over baby clothes, diapers, and butt cream. But this shower turned out to be really enjoyable. Yes, wine may have been involved and changed my mind a bit. But that's not the point.

Of course I got to visit with the mom-to-be, but also got to meet some new people - which usually stresses me out. Maybe I was just delusional from the run. But I actually put myself out there and really did visit with people and it wasn't so bad (who knew).

One of the hostesses actually works for the same company as I do, 5 floors down actually. So it was kind of fun getting to visit with her. We had seen each other at the gym many times, then actually met at a tailgating party held by the shower couple and realized we worked together. Small world moments. So, it was nice getting to really visit with her, we definitely have things in common.

Anyway, after the shower, we stopped by to get the makings for mimosas for me - I mean, totally deserved after 14 miles right? We didn't have pizza last night, so that's what is on tap for tonight. I'm looking forward to every single carby bite too. I feel like I could eat a whole loaf of bread right now ;-)

And, speaking of carbs and carb loading... I must give a shout out to my friend Jessica who is doing her 3rd half marathon tomorrow! You got this one my dear!!!! I heart you!!!

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Long run (a doozy)
  • Visiting with good friends
  • Sunshine
  • Pizza
  • Relaxing with hubby

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fun Facts Friday - Fashion Faves

I was starting to think Friday would never get here. Maybe even more so because I was looking forward to a much-needed rest day. Thankfully, Friday is here and I am taking a rest day. Even better, getting my hair done too ;-)

Since I am getting my hair done, I thought it'd be fun to talk about fashion and style. I never really mention fashion other than random blurbs about shopping. The thing is, I love to shop. I think I need to get paid to shop actually. I love fashion, makeup, funky hairstyles.

Now, that doesn't mean I see myself as a fashionista by any means. I see what I like (hello new BFF Pinterest), but I don't always think I put it together correctly or that it just doesn't look right on me. But man I try.

So, for Fun Facts Friday, I'll do my run down of latest fashion obsessions:
  • Boots - Ok, all shoes really if I am going to be honest
  • Scarves - took me a long time to get on board with that trend, now I want them all
  • Rings - I like large, gaudy rings. I don't own many mind you, but I like them
  • Earrings - Love big, funky earrings
  • Necklaces/bracelets - You can change up an outfit so easily with fun, colorful jewelry
  • Purses - Love big purses
  • Cardigans - more specifically the "fly away" style (if that makes sense)

In other words, this would be the perfect outfit for me (found on pinterest.com) 
...you, know, if anyone is interested in buying me a gift ;-)

Are you a fashion fan? What are your fashion faves? 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Wearing a super cute scarf ;-)
  • Getting my hair done
  • Happy hour with friends
  • Relaxing evening with hubby

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Doubting Myself & Green Chile Soup

    Running Woes
    I know my friends from the north are laughing at me when they read this - but holy crap it was cold this morning - 40 degrees! At least the winds weren't going to sweep me off my feet.

    We did warm up to 60 degrees thankfully. But that feels so chilly after the temps we had over the weekend and up until Monday. Can we just not ease into the cooler weather? I'd like some time to acclimate please.

    I'll admit to being a huge weenie about cooler temperatures. It really made me rethink running today. Of course, I really wanted a rest day to be honest, so that didn't help my mental state. The cooler temps became an easy excuse. Plus, it was supposed to be a tempo run. Basically, I spent my day dreading the run and trying to talk myself out of then into the run.

    Honestly, I don't know where my head is at this week with workouts and running. I flat out don't want to do anything. I feel mentally and physically exhausted and am questioning why on earth I signed up for the race to begin with. I hate racing. I guess I just wanted to prove I could do the miles? I have no idea. But I feel like throwing a big fat baby fit. 

    Anyway, I would have taken today as a rest day, but I am scheduled for a long run on Saturday and know that I must rest tomorrow. Plus, I have a hair appointment so I couldn't get in the tempo tomorrow even if I changed long run to Sunday. Sooooo, that meant I had to get it done. I was supposed to do a tempo run: 1 mile warmup, 4 miles at 8:24 min/mile, 1 mile cool down.

    Smart or not, what I decided to do was try to do the run at my estimated race pace of 8:45 min/mile instead. I guess in some ways I psyched myself out that I couldn't do the 8:24 pace and rationed that at least I was working harder by doing the race pace. Cop out perhaps?

    So, what happened on my run? I kicked ass is what I did. I don't know how; I don't know what clicked, but everything came together. I stopped fighting myself and took it one mile at a time. I managed to do 6.2 miles at 8:22 min/mile average. That'd be faster than the tempo run was supposed to be and for 2 additional miles and much faster than the half pace I thought I was going to do.

    What have I learned? That I must stop doubting myself.

    Another Cold Night = Soup
    One thing I didn't cop out on was dinner. I had some Creamy Green Chile Sauce leftover from the other day and really didn't want to let it go to waste. I had thought about burritos or enchiladas, but I had no tortilla wraps and really didn't want to make a random trip to the store for just a package of wraps (which the store by us wouldn't have the brand I wanted anyway).

    Jason suggested I use it in my Spicy White Chili recipe. But we just had chili. Of course, his response was that chili is like pizza, as long as it's a different flavor, you can have it more than once in a week. Touche my dear, touche.

    Instead of going the chili route, I decided to come up with something more soup-like than thick, stew or chili like. My mind got to going and I came up with a Creamy Green Chile Chik'n Soup.

    Creamy Green Chile Chik'n Soup
    Ingredients:

    1 poblano pepper, diced
    1/2 green bell pepper
    1/2 white onion, diced
    1-2 tbsp minced garlic
    no-salt vegetable broth
    To taste: salt, black pepper, chili powder, cumin, lime juice
    1 recipe for Creamy Green Chile Sauce
    1-2 carrots, small dice
    1/2 cup frozen corn
    Seitan, diced (or other protein option of your liking)

    Directions:
    In large pot, saute poblano, bell pepper, onion, and garlic until vegetables begin to soften (approximately 5 minutes). Add in vegetable broth and spices and allow to simmer until vegetables are cooked.

    Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree until smooth. Stir in Creamy Green Chile Sauce and carrots. Add additional broth if needed and cook until carrots are mostly done then stir in the corn and seitan.

    Continue to simmer until the carrots are soft. Re-season if needed.
     

    Since I was out of tortillas, I just toasted up some strips of whole-wheat lavash that I seasoned up with similar flavors as what was in the soup. Granted, it doesn't look pretty, but it tasted great. I loved having a little texture from the corn and carrots to go with the super creamy texture of the broth/base.

    Daily To-Enjoy List:
    • Warm soup on cold night
    • Painting my nails

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Another Plan B Workout & Chipotle Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili

    Another Plan B Workout 
    Wow, the weather here is just killing my running plans. Not only is it almost 40 degrees cooler than it was Monday, but 30 mph gusting winds? Really???? Mother Nature is not being very nice to me. I was planning on getting in an easy, 5-mile run. And while I've run in rain, sleet, ice, storms, I had zero desire to run in today's insane winds.

    So, Plan B workout again today. I wasn't going to do spin again until after the half. But, considering Mother Nature's antics, I decided to go for it (spin that is). I was missing the class anyway, so this kind of worked out. I did do 2 miles on the treadmill before class. I know, crazy, but I'm trying really hard to stick to the planned mileage for the week. I will fall a little short, but not too bad.

    I gotta say, again, spin kicked my butt. I don't know if blaming the half marathon training really is valid, but it's all I can think of that's making anything other than the runs feel sooooo much harder. I swear, in my mind I was spinning my little legs, but in reality, they were barely moving. Basically, I felt like I was riding into those 30 mph gusting winds. Definitely a humbling workout.


    Chili for Chilly Night
    I guess you could say it's finally chili weather now. So, what better way to warm up on a cold evening? With chili of course. I decided to try something a little bit different tonight. I've been seeing pumpkin puree used in chili recipes (like this awesome Pumpkin Chili Mole from Florida Coastal Cooking), so I thought I'd give it a shot.

    Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect by adding in the pumpkin. My assumption was that it would add a richer, creamier texture to the chili. I've made chili using cubed butternut squash, and it really imparted a nice sweetness. But with pureed pumpkin? It was a guessing game.

    I decided to start with my typical Chipotle Tempeh Chili recipe and go from there. What I came up with was a Chipotle Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili.

    Chipotle Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili
    Ingredients:
    1 tbsp or less extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 yellow onion, diced
    1/2 green bell pepper, diced
    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    2 tbsp minced garlic
    1 1/2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 can no-salt diced tomatoes
    1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
    2 chipotles in adobe, minced
    1 not-beef bouillon cube
    2 1/2 cups water
    Spices to taste: sea salt, black pepper, red pepper, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon

    Directions:
    In large pot, heat oil and saute onions, bell peppers, garlic, and crumbled tempeh approximately 5 minutes.

    Add in remaining ingredients and allow to simmer over low heat approximately 30-45 minutes depending on how thick you prefer your chili.
     

    Garnish with your favorite chili toppings. I love sprinkling on Daiya Vegan Cheese and serving with whole-wheat crackers. With this on, I wish I'd had toasted pumpkin seeds as a garnish.

    Now, how did the pumpkin work in this recipe? For starters, it made for a creamier chili. And with the addition of just a small dash of cinnamon, it brought out a bit of sweetness to counter the heat from the chipotle. Verdict? Winner.

    Daily To-Enjoy List:
    • Spin in lieu of running
    • Warming dinner

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Plan B Workout & Plan A Dinner

    Plan B Workout
    Well this week's workout plans are just flying out the window right and left. Yesterday was good though. A 3-mile run with Jason trumped at 6-mile solo run in almost 90-degree temps. Today I was going to go for that 6-7 mile run after work.

    We had a strong cold front move through which dropped the temps from 90 to 50. However, "they" said it was supposed to start clearing by noon so sunshine and low 60's. 2pm it was still gray and drizzly and 50 degrees with 20mph gusting winds. Not exactly fun running conditions in my book.

    Luckily, I have become more and more flexible with my workouts. While I might be really annoyed that the weather is messing up my plans, I at least had a backup plan. It wasn't my first choice for the day, but it worked.

    I ended up hitting the treadmill for 3 miles after work then got in my biceps/triceps workout for the week as well. Like I said, not ideal because I hate treadmill runs, but I did intervals so that helped.

    1 mile at 9:05 min/pace
    2 x 3 min and 1.5 min intervals (8:20 and 9:40 min/pace)
    2 x 1.5 min and 1 min intervals (8:20 and 9:40 min/pace)
    .5 miles at 8:49 min/mile

    I wasn't feeling particularly strong today either. I'll blame that on the crummy weather, or perhaps just laziness on my part. But once I got going, I really got into the weights. Sometimes you just have to pick them up and get started.

    SS#1 - 3x8
    Alternating curls
    Double-arm overhead triceps extension

    SS#2 - 3x10
    Hammer curls
    Triceps dips

    SS#3 
    Incline curls - 3x8
    Double-arm kickbacks 3x10

    I did some ab work as well before calling it done.

    Plan A Dinner
    Since the temps were so much cooler, I almost went for a soup tonight rather than my original plan. However, my workout put me home later, so I did myself a favor and went with original plan of Spaghetti Squash with Garlicky Tomatoes Sauce, Kale, and Chickpeas.

    I already had a plan of attack for the dish. Going with soup would have meant figuring out the recipe, which veggies and such. Ok, probably not THAT big of a deal now that I think about it. So maybe soup tomorrow since it's supposed to drop into the 30's (crazy insane).

    While the spaghetti squash was baking, I made the Garlicky Tomato Sauce. Since I was going to be adding in the kale, I used additional vegetable broth to help steam the kale. I added in the chickpeas at the end with the shredded spaghetti squash.

    I went with more Italian style flavors: basil, parsley, oregano, red chili flakes, salt, and pepper and some nutritional yeast flakes for good measure.
     

    This turned out really well with the minor exception that I slightly overcooked the tomatoes. Next time I think I'll steam the kale separately since it takes longer than the tomatoes. 

    Daily To-Enjoy List:
    • Run (Plan B version)
    • Catching up on TV shows

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Easy Run and Quesadillas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce

    Sunday Dinner
    Other than my workout and errands yesterday, I was pretty lazy. I managed to wash one load of laundry and paint my nails at least. We watched a silly movie (Gulliver's Travels with Jack Black) mid-afternoon, and flipped around through mindless tv shows. So when it came time to discuss dinner, I was fairly lazy on that one too.

    Jason had one idea, but the main ingredient was frozen. Then he mentioned a dish I haven't made in ages. Basically it's pasta with spinach as the base and a Creamy Lemon Sauce. Typically I add in another veggie like asparagus or artichokes. Last night I made the dish with spinach, artichokes and chickpeas.
     

    It's really simple and really filling. Silken tofu makes such a fantastic "cream" sauce.

    Monday Run
    Today I packed my bag for either spin or running. I really wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do. My half marathon training plan called for an easy 4 miles. The temps were supposed to hit close to 90 today, but drop off tonight after a front moves through. The rest of the week is low-60's. So, I figured a shorter run at lunch today would work, then any longer run the rest of the week after work because it'll be so much cooler, more ideal for a long-ish run.

    Jason had gone to swim this morning, so I expected to be running solo. But when I asked if he wanted to join me, he said he would. So, that sealed the deal for a run over spin. We just never run together any more so this was something I really looked forward to today.

    We did about 3.25 miles, and kept it pretty slow. It was definitely a good run, and nice break from work. It might have been a little warm, but it was a pretty day out, and it was nice to have someone to talk to during the run for a change. My internal conversations can get a little boring sometimes ;-)

    Mexican Monday
    For the second time since Friday, I ended up with a migraine. I ended up having to leave work a little early in fact. I don't know what's going on, but I start to feel some pain in my right eye then comes the headache and nausea. I thought it was just eye strain perhaps, but I really am not sure what's going on. It did feel better to take out my contacts and wear my glasses the rest of the day at least.

    Of course, wearing glasses that are about 4 years out of date makes cooking a little interesting LOL. Luckily, it was an easy dinner. Tonight, I decided to go with quesadillas. I haven't made them in ages. I suppose they fit in nicely for Mexican Monday at least.

    For the filling, I simply sauteed onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes, garlic and Field Roast Mexican Chipotle "Sausages." I sprinkled the tortillas with Daiya Vegan Cheese and browned them up. Super simple.

    I did get a little creative with the sauce though. I had some silken tofu leftover from last night's dinner, so I decided to take that and make a Creamy Green Chile Sauce


    Creamy Green Chile Sauce
    Ingredients:
    1/4-1/2 box silken tofu
    1 small can green chiles
    Splash lime juice
    To taste: salt, pepper, agave nectar

    Directions:
    Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.
     

    The sauce went perfectly with the heat from the chipotle "sausage." It is rather mild and I think would also work really well on a taco salad or even a veggie burger.

    Daily To-Enjoy List:
    Midday run (with the hubby)
    Sunshine

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Long Run, Long Day, Perfect Weekend

    Long Run on a Long Day
    First of all, I won't even apologize for not posting yesterday. I think perhaps I should take more weekend breaks and just enjoy life rather than blogging about. And honestly, I wish that more bloggers would do the same. While I had slight twinges of regret, I remembered that there used to be a time when I didn't stop every day to recap the day. I just enjoyed it. And that's what I finally did yesterday, no regrets.

    I set my alarm for 7:15 am not to beat the heat for a change, but because I needed to get my long run in before the day began. On tap was my niece's birthday party (an hour away), a work related stop, a neighborhood festival (Hillcrest Harvest Fest), then my sis came to stay then night and that also meant drinks with friends, then pizza night. Wow, long day right? But a good one; worth every moment.

    So, got up for my run. I thought I had plotted out a 13-mile route. Apparently I was really off. My 13 mile run ended up being 13.5 miles. Proud of the miles, but worked hard for them.

    It was about 56 degrees when I got started. Probably the coolest run since the spring. I started off in capris and a tank, but at mile 2, passing back by the car, I shed the tank and just ran with my short bra top. The sky was so nice and crisp, I could still see the moon. Very pleasant way to start the day.

    I made my first pit stop (to refill water bottle and take gel) at about 5.5 miles into the run. I was still feeling pretty good, but my sciatica was starting to get to me. Sometimes the pain comes and goes, but for this run, it just came...and stayed. There were times when I really wanted to just stop and find a way to call Jason to pick me up. I had to really think about picking up my feet as I found myself shuffling and stumbling several times. Thankfully, no run ins with geese, gorgeous day, and somehow I managed to zone out (or hallucinate or something) and made the 13.5 mile trek.

    In some ways I was a bit disappointed. I guess I assumed that the run would be like last week's long run - runner's high all the way. Plus, I had done over 13 last week, so 13 wouldn't be so bad today. Wrong. I forgot to account for the fact that each and every single run is different. Period. I definitely fought with myself internally and physically. But, I did it. So for that, I am proud. Oh, and these are the views I was able to enjoy along the way (thank you Jason for taking these!).
    This is view of Pinnacle Mountain from Two Rivers Bridge

    Also from Two Rivers Bridge, I run around this point on my loop back

    Part of the river

    Another view of Pinnacle Mountain

    Close to area where I had run in with geese


    Post run, I actually felt pretty good. I stretched and rolled out on the Triggerpoint Therapy Kit, but not as long as I should have as we had to hit the road for my niece's birthday party. I did bring an ice pack and sat on that most of the drive to the party (an hour).

    Other than the sciatica issues, I felt really great. I think the half marathon training plan having me run so many long runs is paying off in terms of recovery. My body is getting used to the mileage, well, with the exception of the pesky sciatica/piriformis issues.


    Birthday Party, Harvest Fest & Patio Time
    Anyway, the birthday party was pure chaos. I gaggle of 7-year old kids running, screaming, running, playing at a facility built just for running, screaming, playing. I swear they should serve alcohol for the adults ;-) My niece got tons of gifts, had a ball, and that was the point.
    A hates to be the center of attention - so being sung too = uncool
    We left the party, and made a quick work stop before heading to the Hillcrest Harvest Fest. It just keeps growing each year. I love to see that for neighborhood events. I ended up buying a cute, red glass ring. Jason finally got to try the food truck food he waited in line for so long for at the Food Truck Festival, and it was a gorgeous day to be outside.
    The food truck fair came from and Indian truck called the Banana Leaf. I couldn't even tell you the names of the dishes he got. They were pretty good. But my tummy hasn't been quite right since Thursday's buffet ordeal. So a few bites and I just didn't feel right so I stopped. But it was good what I had.

    My sister came up to stay the night and friends wanted to get together as well. So, we opted for Cajun's Wharf because they have a fantastic deck overlooking the river. Such great views, though as the sun started the set, the breeze off the river made it rather chilly.
     

    When we got home we made pizzas for dinner. I made a socca crust for my sis and regular for me and Jason. We just sat and chatted over good food the rest of the evening - while in PJs of course. So it was a very long, very busy day. But a great one that I wouldn't trade.

    Gym & Errands
    This morning I had hoped to sleep in a bit, but Maddie had other ideas. And of course she woke up Sarah and her dog Lilly as well. Sarah and I enjoyed our breakfast and just chatted while mustering up the energy to get ourselves to the gym. She did legs and abs while I did chest, shoulders, back, abs.

    Chest flye into press - 3x8

    SS#1 - 3x8
    Shoulder press
    Pullovers

    SS#2 - 3x8
    Lateral raises
    Single-arm row

    SS#3 - 3x8
    Front raise overhead open to T
    Underhand barbell rows

    It was an ok workout. I was feeling a little fatigued. I am assuming that's most likely due to the long run I had yesterday. While I'm feeling pretty good today, I do recognize the energy levels aren't back to normal yet.

    After the gym, she needed to pack up and head back home. I needed to get to the grocery store. Very exciting stuff happening I know ;-) Of course, I think yesterday was enough activity for the entire weekend. One completely down day is good so no complaints.

    Daily To-Enjoy List:
    • Gym time with sis
    • Breakfast with sis
    • Relaxing day
    • Sunshine
    • Mimosas